Water Utility Achieves Sourcing System ROI in First Month with New Procurement Portal

Bentley Procurement Software Saves Utility more than USD 35,000 a Year in Postage and Printing Costs

Labor-intensive Process puts Strain on Resources

The Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) has managed the water and sewer systems of the Hartford, Connecticut region since 1929. MDC’s procurement department struggled with a manual, expensive, and labor-intensive procurement process, which relied on private lists, email correspondence, and persistent phone calls from suppliers.

As a public agency, MDC’s goal is to be consistently fair and transparent in its procurement process. However, its previous bidding methodology involved a limited pool of suppliers that vied for advantage behind the scenes. The challenge was to implement a system that imposed transparency over its procurement process, converted manual procedures to an easy-to-use, automated system, and delivered operational efficiencies and cost savings.

New Procurement Process Improves Sourcing and Bidding

Bentley worked closely with MDC’s procurement management team to deploy its integrated software with features to manage suppliers, sourcing, and bidding. The Bentley project team configured its procurement platform to specifically meet the needs of MDC. As part of their supplier management process, MDC instituted self-registration to eliminate the burden and expense of maintaining contact data for thousands of suppliers.

To ensure a transparent procurement process, solicitations and automated plan holder lists are publicly posted,enabling contractors and potential subcontractors to view bid information in a centralized location. Once registered, vendors have complete online access to review and download plans and documents, including addenda. All of these actions are automatically logged and available for administrators to review, certifying a consistent and auditable procurement process.

New System Saves MDC Time and Money

MDC has saved more than USD 20,000 a year in postage and substantially cut costs associated with printing and advertising, perhaps the biggest savings it realized is the ability to accomplish more at a faster pace and with less personnel. “We were able to reduce two to three full-time
employees’ amount of work,” said Jay Sheldon Wesley, manager of procurement with MDC.

MDC also saw consistent growth in the number of bids on solicitations using Bentley procurement software. Previously, 32 percent of MDC’s projects were single-sourced, having received only one bid. By contrast, less than 5 percent of projects are single-sourced, and over 76 percent of their projects receive three bids or more. As a result, existing suppliers have adjusted prices to stay competitive and costs have decreased. In addition, the MDC has seen an increase in prime contract participation of Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and Women Business Enterprises (WBE). Specifically, MBE participation rose from 5.2 percent to 9.2 percent and WBE participation rose from 6 percent to 16 percent.

With MDC set to spend more than USD 1 billion in the next several years to improve the area’s water quality and reinforce its infrastructure against storm events, Bentley Systems will continue to play an integral role in the organization, ensuring fairness and transparency for all of its 2,500 vendors.