What Does The Procurement Process Look Like?
The individual steps/timeline of procurement looks a little different for each Public institution but this is the general process:
- RFP or RFQ is published – Federal institutions are currently published to www.buyandsell.gc.ca (soon to be CanadaBuys.ca), all BC Public institutions are amalgamated on BC Bids and most (but not all) institutions have third party platforms for bidding on either Bonfire, bidsandtenders, MERX, etc.
- Question Period – This is the time when you can ask for specifications about items within the document.
- The process is usually via e-mail OR on the platform the bid is posted on.
- (Optional) Site Visit – For services, there is sometimes a pre-scheduled site visit date, sometimes mandatory.
- If you cannot make the scheduled date, the procurement officer is not obligated to offer you a different time but often they are happy to schedule another one.
- Bid Submission Deadline – The actual submission of the bid, there are typically 4 different methods:
- Federal – ePost Connect (powered by Canada Post), essentially a secure email server, you will be invited to a conversation and submit this way.
- Physical – Some municipalities/institutions require sealed physical documents delivered, we deliver these via commercial couriers, typically FedEx or Canada Post. In the requirement of physical delivery, we have an internal deadline of 48 hours before the official closing in order to assure the documents reach their proper destination in time.
- Email – Many municipalities still have the process of just having the bid emailed to their procurement manager.
- Other – Some platforms (e.g. Bonfire) have systems built in for suppliers to upload documents. The Federal government is currently working on a new SAP-powered platform for bid submissions.
- Bid Evaluation – This process can take between 5 days (for high urgency items) to 180 days. You may be asked to provide additional items (e.g. Insurance papers, WorkSafe BC letter showing you are in good standing) during this time. Do not be discouraged if you haven’t heard anything in a month, it just likely means the procurement officer is working on other projects.
- Contract Award – All bidders will be notified if they have won or lost the bid. The winning company will have a representative sign the contract.
The time that a contract is open for bidding can vary wildly depending on the complexity of the item, most Federal tenders have a minimum of 2 weeks where it is open but some municipalities open and close in 1 week. Jametec operates in the high urgency realm and we have had CEOs contact us 24 hours before bid deadline with the intention to submit. We do not recommend having such short time frames but it is the nature of the business.
If you have any more questions about the procurement process, please contact me at [email protected].