Utility District Saves USD 50,000 Annually on Bid Document Distribution

Bentley Procurement Software Helps Electric Utility Energize Supplier Competition

Maintaining a Fair and Transparent Process

A large mid-western utility maintains power infrastructure with more than 3,000 megawatts of generating capacity and 5,000 miles of transmission lines. It competitively bids dozens of construction, maintenance, and service contracts a year and, as a public agency, needs to maintain a fair and transparent process that ensures equal access to opportunities.

The utility struggled with an inefficient, expensive, and labor-intensive procurement process. Maintaining an accurate vendor database was not feasible and the utility was vulnerable to protests from vendors that did not receive required notifications during the bidding process. Additionally, document printing and distribution costs were reaching thousands of dollars per week because state law required the public power district to distribute documents to all interested vendors.

New, Centralized Platform for Procurement

In 2009, the utility tasked its internal IT group to develop an in-house solution to streamline their procurement. After studying the complex requirements, the utility opted to purchase third-party software. They reviewed multiple procurement programs before selecting Bentley procurement software as a centralized platform for their procurement process. The software was initially implemented manage procurement for large construction projects.

The solution featured a vendor self-registration portal, automated bid notification, online availability of bid documents, and a streamlined management process. Responsibility for maintaining vendor information shifted from the administrators to the vendors, who can self-register, update contact information, define service categories, and upload insurance documentation. Vendors that provide complete information are approved instantly to receive bid notices, view solicitation documents, and download project plans. The interested bidders list is automatically maintained by the system, so potential bidders can receive notifications of updates and addenda. Administrators can monitor vendor activity, including document downloads, notification delivery status, and pre-bid meeting registration.

Copying and Mailing Costs Eliminated

The utility completely eliminated the substantial costs of copying and mailing its solicitation documents. By reducing its resource hours, the utility can leverage limited resources for strategic projects and initiatives. As a result of the low cost of bidding projects, the utility continues to expand its use of the Bentley platform to bid all types of products and services. While smaller projects and professional service contracts were previously bid to only a few select contractors, the utility is lowering prices for all projects through increased competition. Previously, only three bids were received for professional service contracts, but now the utility is receiving 20 to 50 proposals.