September 25, 2018

Team from left to right: Christy Tran, Maura Platt, Shawn Postera, Emilie Schulhoff, Annie Teav, Heidi Leibbrandt, and Aleem Hajee
Over the last several months, the Multco Align Source to Settle (Contracts and Procurement) team has quietly unveiled new Multco Marketplace (MMP) functionality in three separate rollouts.

In March, the new supplier portal went live, allowing businesses to register with the County and receive automatic notices of procurement opportunities. And in July and August, the Sourcing (procurement) and Contracting modules made their debuts.

Behind the quiet success of the new Multco Marketplace, there’s a dedicated team of professionals and subject matter experts from across the County.

The need for a change

In 2017, the County processed 1,017 contracts and amendments and awarded over $260 million in contracts.

Before the new system, significant pain points were associated with that work. The process was mostly manual. From tracking businesses that work with the County, to routing documents for approval, to administering contracts, the work took place over the phone, email, electronic and hard-copy documents, sticky notes, and calendar reminders. Decisions and progress were hard to track.

The Multco Align Program  

As part of the Multco Align business transformation program, the new Multco Marketplace set out to solve those issues while also putting the County at the forefront of public procurement.

The earlier launch timeline for Marketplace has given the Multco Align program the chance to learn and apply lessons from their challenges and successes to the overall transformation  project.

The benefits of the new Multco Marketplace

The new Multco Marketplace is an integrated, one-stop shop for all purchasing needs – from office supplies to road paving.

Benefits for County employees

Have a purchasing need? The new supplier portal acts as a database of potential businesses. You can search the portal for a business that can meet your need. You’ll be able to see if they have experience working with the County and invite them to apply for the opportunity – all within the system.  

Negotiating and executing a contract will also take place within MMP. A document library with pre-approved contract templates eliminates the need for challenging edits, multiple versions and lengthy approval processes.

Michelle Hull, senior contract specialist in the Department of Community Justice, appreciates the document library – now she can be confident she’s always using the correct version of a contract.

Once a contract is in place, Multco Marketplace can facilitate contract administration. Need to remind a business to update its insurance documents or submit progress reports? Those communications and reminders can be scheduled within MMP.

Ken Scholes, senior procurement analyst in the Department of County Assets, enjoys the new system.

“It flows more intuitively than previous systems,” says Scholes. “We're using it now for a complex, multi-step software solution for the pharmacy. I'm confident that the flexibility in the tool will give us a good, competitive process that is easier to manage and document.”

Benefits for the greater community

The new Multco Marketplace makes it easier for businesses to find work with the County. With a centralized database, Central Purchasing will be able to evaluate past procurements for unnecessary barriers to increase participation for state-certified COBID (MWESBs) firms.

For Barry Zimmerman, Source to Settle lead, the new Marketplace is truly a one-stop shopping experience.

“It provides the ability to identify available suppliers, perform online order placement, conduct procurement activities, and create and manage contracts. All of these features streamline the ability to get our customers the resources and services needed to support the County’s mission. And the exciting part is we are just scratching the surface on this system’s capability.”

What’s next?

This winter, Multco Marketplace will be fully integrated with the County’s new business software suite, streamlining work and connecting the contract process and financial system for the first time. The shopping experience will expand as the County adds Amazon and simplifies the ability to order services like printing and catering.