Last winter, when a surprise snowstorm shut down most of the city, the County’s Emergency management team needed help removing snow so emergency shelters could stay open. They needed to clear sidewalks the old-fashioned way: by hand with shovels. Who do you call for human-powered snow removal? The County hadn’t contracted this service before and needed help right away: who would have thought landscaping and janitorial companies were the answer?
We now have a system that can help fix this
Earlier this month, the Source to Settle (Contracts and Procurement) team launched a new feature in Multco Marketplace called ‘Total Supplier Manager' featuring the Supplier Portal. This new functionality allows the businesses (called suppliers in the new system) that currently work with the County, and those who want to work us, to register online and describe the services they offer. So the next time there’s a snow removal emergency, a search of the new system will show which companies provide the service.
This expanded functionality of our purchasing and contracting software is part of the Multco Align Program to modernize the County’s business software systems.
Why this matters
Currently, tracking businesses that work with the County is done manually. Without a centralized way to share information, departments often have a hard time finding new suppliers and services. Previously, when a business, service, or state-certified Minority-owned, Women-owned, and Emerging Small Businesses (MWESBs) was identified, that information often stayed siloed within a County division or program.
Total Supplier Manager (TSM) allows us to build a database of the organizations and services in our community. All County programs and procurement staff will have access. Because information flows both ways in the new system, the County can now communicate directly with current and potential suppliers. When there’s a sourcing opportunity that matches a service they offer, they can be notified and invited to apply. Suppliers can also view opportunities online in the new Supplier Portal.
Importantly, Total Supplier Manager will help the County identify state-certified MWESBs, which was difficult in the old system.
Setting the stage for more robust and equitable procurements
This new system will create more competition and provide the community with better access to opportunities work with the County. With the benefit of a centralized database, Central Purchasing will be able to evaluate procurements, see if we’re creating unnecessary barriers, and research ways to increase participation for MWESBs.
The new supplier module is integral to the entire Multco Marketplace system. It was launched earlier in the Multco Align timeline than other software in order to begin creating a robust database of suppliers. This database will set the stage for additional upgrades to Multco Marketplace planned as part of the Multco Align Program. Contract templates, workflow steps, electronic signature capabilities, and integration with the finance side of Workday will create a user-friendly experience for everyone.
Benefits of the new system
The ability to centrally track and communicate directly with suppliers will replace cumbersome manual processes. Information will be more easily shared and the procurement and contracting process will be more streamlined; all goals of the Multco Align Program’s mission to upgrade and modernize the County’s business software.
Help spread the word
Lee Fleming, the County’s Supplier Diversity Officer, has been promoting the new system since last December. His goal is simple: to have as many suppliers registered and connected as possible. For Lee, this new functionality is exciting. “All sourcing events will now be marketed through the new tool. We’ve never been able to do that before.”
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