Managing DBE Compliance with eBid eXchange

by Tim Schmidt

Managing supplier diversity programs can be difficult and time consuming – especially if you do not have a sourcing solution with built in M/WBE tracking functions. eBid eXchange makes managing supplier M/WBE programs simple and easy. eBid eXchange is ideally suited for managing supplier diversity programs. Today it is used by all kinds of public and private organizations to increase supplier diversity and track compliance with diversity goals. While eBid eXchange works well for managing all kinds of M/WBE programs, in this article, I will focus on how to use eBid eXchange to manage Federal DBE compliance. In a future article, I will explain how the same tools can be more broadly applied to other programs.

Today the largest diversity program is the US Department of Transportation (DOT) DBE program. Since most large infrastructure projects are at least partially funded by the DOT, managing DBE programs is a necessary burden of most transportation agencies.

The DBE regulations require that organizations do the following on DOT funded projects:

  • Set DBE goals
  • Create and manage a bidder’s list
  • Ensure contractors have DBE certification
  • Monitor DBE contract compliance
  • Assign personnel to develop DBE policy and act as DBE liaison
  • Provide DBE reporting to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
  • Have a prompt payment mechanism (subcontractors to be paid within 30 days after prime contractor has been paid)
  • eBid eXchange helps organizations comply with requirements and simplifies the reporting process.

Setting DBE Goals

eBid eXchange makes it easier to set realistic DBE goals because it provides a baseline of participation of disadvantaged companies within the organization. It tracks DBE status of registered companies, companies invited to bid, actual bid responses, contracts awarded, and actual spend on contracts. This information can be compared to regional demographics to identify the gaps and to create reasonable goals.

Managing the Bidder’s List

The public registration function of eBid eXchange makes it easy for DBE companies to register to receive bid notifications. Notices can be sent to all DBE vendors or to select companies based upon any type of qualification or relevant classifications. Other interested vendors are automatically added to the bidder’s list and the bidder’s list can be published along with company DBE status. This helps foster teaming between prime and sub contractors.

Ensure DBE Certification

During the registration process, vendors can upload their documentation of DBE certification. Staff can verify documentation and record it within internal tracking fields. Reminders can be sent to vendors when their certifications are expiring and remind them to upload updated information.

Monitor Contract Compliance

The most important and difficult part of monitoring contract compliance is the actual spend on the contract to determine what percentage of the contract payments went to certified DBE firms. eBid eXchange makes it easy by providing a simple web interface for prime contractors to submit their monthly reports of payments received and payments made to its subcontractors. eBid eXchange aggregates the payment information with prime and subcontractor DBE status to give timely and accurate DBE participation measurements.

Other capabilities include providing contract managers with a compliance checklist so they can record the completion of appropriate documents and steps.

DBE Reporting to FTA

eBid eXchange generates the necessary FTA reports at a click of a button. Contract managers can generate reports for individual contracts and annual reports for all federally funded contracts. All reports can be exported to Excel.

Additional Advantages

The most obvious way that eBid eXchange helps increase DBE contracting is by making bidding more accessible: It’s easy for disadvantaged companies to register, receive notices, and submit bids. The DBE liaison can quickly identify which categories lack sufficient DBE certified companies to help them identify the trades that they should focus their outreach programs on. They can also quickly identify which minority groups are underrepresented in their supplier database.

According to the report, Best Management Practices for Transit Agencies for Increasing Participation of DBEs and Local Minority and Low-Income Employment by Deepak Bahl and Hilda Blanco, another key way to increase participation is to breakdown large projects into smaller jobs that are more manageable by smaller firms. eBid eXchange helps by making it easy to manage many small bid events and to conveniently roll them up into the larger project or contract. Additionally, its “bid by trade” capability supports partial bids and split awards so that DBE firms are able to bid on the services they provide.

As a result of using eBid eXchange, all types of public organizations have increased supplier diversity and simplified the process of ensuring DBE contract compliance. It reduces the administrative time by as much as 75% and has increased DBE participation for some of clients by more than 50%. Contact us for a discussion of your specific needs and for a personal demonstration of how eBid eXchange can work for you.