Virginia officials knew that their traditional, decentralized procurement system wasn’t working — for either buyers or sellers. Suppliers were frustrated: companies had to first identify all of the purchasing offices to market their goods, then travel to in-person meetings to identify and track opportunities. State officials lamented a lack of transparency, consistency and availability for small and diverse businesses to participate.
To address these issues, Virginia officials developed an e-procurement system that uses a single entrance point, has self-service supplier registration, a centralized bidders list and uses push technology. This integrated, single electronic system allows state agencies, higher education and local governments to interface with suppliers using the “e-procurement app.” The app provides information on all solicitations and status updates in real-time. Other features enable suppliers to register and maintain their businesses transactions through a single website, provide access to a single list of vendors that can receive and send information electronically, and notify vendors by email when business opportunities arise.
The article points out that implementing an e-procurement system is complex and recommends funding options.
…There are at least three approaches: traditional state appropriations; the use of transaction and other fees; and a public/private partnership in which a company builds the system at no initial cost to the state and then collects a portion of the fees charged for use of the system.