State Bureau of Procurement
The State Bureau of Procurement (SBOP) is part of the Wisconsin Department of Administration and administers the procurement laws, policies and procedures of the state on behalf of all agencies and campuses. If you are looking for enterprise contracts and tools that your group can take advantage of, The State Bureau of Procurement can help with valuable resources, tools, and tips/tricks for best practices:
Existing Contracts: Many times, the good or service you need has already been procured by another entity. Making use of existing contracts can save time and allow you to take advantage of competitive terms and pricing. Vendornet (http://vendornet.wi.gov/) is the application where all the state contracts can be found. Just by using a keyword search to narrow the focus and selecting “Yes” for Cooperative Purchases, you will have the ability to see all contracts available.
Solicitations: Solicitations conducted previously can serve as a template for your own. They can provide ideas on how to write requirements, develop cost structure, award methodology, etc.
Market Research: Make use of industry experts and market research for ideas on: solicitation strategy, potential vendors, price drivers, and market condition.
- Request for Information (RFI): When presented with a new or challenging procurement, a RFI can be a useful tool to gather information. A RFI is considered a pre-sourcing method used to obtain preliminary information for a potential procurement. A RFI may include general or specific questions related to the need of the procuring entity. It does not result in a contract, however responses to the RFI can help you:
- Develop solicitation requirements
- Identify potential vendors
- Determine if cost is within budget
Additional information on RFIs can be located within in the State Procurement Manual
, which includes a Sample IT RFI
that can be modified to fit your needs.
Request for Proposal (RFP): Official solicitation method referred to as a competitive negotiation. Contract award is made to the most advantageous proposal as judged by an evaluation committee. The process requires time commitment for development, evaluation, and award. An award cannot be made strictly on specifications or cost (i.e., Request for Bid). This should be utilized when you know the desired outcome but want vendors to propose the solutions for how to get you there. An RFP should be developed by subject matter experts who write requirements, develop evaluation criteria, and provide scoring benchmarks. It should be managed by a procurement lead with the proposal responses being evaluated by an evaluation committee. An RFP can involve many steps including demonstrations and presentations as needed. Basic elements include: Mandatory requirements, Technical requirements, and Cost. Optional steps can include proposer conferences, presentations and demos, and best and final offers. More information on RFP’s can be found in the State Procurement Manual, which includes a nice Process Diagram to help you with the process.
Procurement Manual Home page: For additional tools, see the Procurement State Procurement Manual Home (wi.gov).
- Background/History: Give vendors a detailed background/history of the project and objective goals that are being pursued.
- Requirements and Response Instructions: Time spent on developing the requirements and response instructions is well worth the effort to ensure a good evaluation and successful award process. Aim the response instructions at what you feel is most important to the desired outcome. Ask for a specific response to a crucial element if possible. Many vendors may be able to provide solutions, but we are looking for one vendor to rise to the top as the best fit and value.
- Response Format Instructions: Provide a specific format in which the vendors should respond. A Table of Contents is helpful.
- Evaluation Criteria: Specific criteria that is tied directly to the response requirements is much easier to score during the evaluation. Many IT projects will have an Excel spreadsheet with “requirements” listed and a response of yes, yes at additional cost, and/or no. Narrative response requests typically include describing implementation and training plans, schedules, staff experience, etc. Having a specific point value assigned to each response requirement is very helpful. Include the evaluation criteria in RFP documents so that vendors know how they are being judged.
- Balance the Value of Cost: Cost percentage typically ranges from 10% to 40%. This can cause issues at evaluation time if the cost value is set too high or low.
- Evaluation Team: Appoint a chairperson to manage and schedule the evaluation activities. The chairperson typically acts as a scribe and handles disputes. Select diverse team members with different areas of expertise related to the project.
- Other RFP Elements to Consider:
- Include a process and deadline for vendors to submit questions to be answered in an official addendum.
- Include a calendar of events with question deadlines, estimated addendum posting date, due date, estimated dates for interview/demo, and award. Build in enough time for each element of the RFP.
- Include a description of the evaluation process in RFP documents.
- Include a Designation of Confidential and Proprietary Information form. The State of Wisconsin has a very good form that can be adapted and is posted in the forms section of VendorNet.
- Include a protest procedure