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Responding to ITBs/RFPs/ITNs – What Vendors Need to Know

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Presentation on theme: "Responding to ITBs/RFPs/ITNs – What Vendors Need to Know"— Presentation transcript:

1 Responding to ITBs/RFPs/ITNs – What Vendors Need to Know
Gwenn D. Godfrey, Chief Bureau of General Services Florida Department of Environmental Protection 3800 Commonwealth Boulevard Tallahassee, Florida Phone: 850/ (Last Updated on 11/09/2011)

2 Course Goals: Provide background regarding procurement methods.
Assist vendors in identifying/locating procurement opportunities. Assist vendors in responding to solicitations (ITBs, RFPs, and ITNs). Share common pitfalls/issues found in responses. Identify other helpful/useful tips.

3 Knowing the Acronyms and the Meaning Behind Them
ITB – refers to a competitive procurement solicitation known as an “Invitation to Bid” When is an invitation to bid used by a State agency? When an agency is capable of establishing precise specifications for a commodity or defining, with specificity, a scope of work for the commodities or contractual services sought. Through this process, vendors are able to compete on a cost basis for like items or services.

4 RFP – refers to a competitive procurement process known as a “Request for Proposals”
The request for proposals method of procurement is used when it is not practicable for the agency to specifically define the scope of work for which the commodities or contractual services is needed. Simply put, the agency can describe what it wants to accomplish but the methods or means to accomplish the desired outcome cannot be easily defined. There may be several methods available to accomplish a task, and the agency is considering all the available options.

5 ITN – refers to a competitive procurement process known as an “Invitation to Negotiate”
An invitation to negotiate is used when the agency determines that negotiations may be necessary for the state to receive the best value. This method of procurement is frequently used in areas experiencing constant change in the marketplace. Agencies want the opportunity to obtain current up-to-date goods or services at the time of contracting.

6 Agency Requirements Can an agency describe in sufficient detail the specifications for the commodity or the services needed? If not, why not? File should be documented regarding reasons for not using the ITB method of procurement. If determined that an ITB won’t work, proceed to Step 2. ( (1)(a), Florida Statutes) Step 1: Step 2: Does the agency find itself in a position where it is unable to specifically define the goods or services needed? If “yes”, why? Are there different methods/ means available to meet the needs? Does the agency feel that it can obtain “best value” using this approach? If no, the agency must document in writing why this process won’t meet the needs of the agency before moving to Step 3. ( (1)(b), Florida Statutes) RFP

7 If the agency has determined that an ITB or an RFP will not result in the best value to the state, the agency if authorized by the head of the agency, may procure commodities and contractual services using the ITN process. The procurement file must be documented to support why an ITB and a RFP will not result in best value to the state. ( (1)(c), Florida Statutes) ITN Step 3: “Best Value,” as defined in Chapter (4), Florida Statutes, means “the highest overall value to the state based on objective factors that include, but are not limited to, price, quality, design and workmanship.”

8 Locating Procurement Opportunities
Vendors interested in doing business with State agencies in Florida should register in MyFloridaMarketPlace and become familiar with the following website. Department of Management Services Vendor Bid System

9 For this example, I have selected the Department using the dropdown menu.
Click on “initiate search” to begin the process.

10 Review the “Ad Type” Agency Decision = Recommended Award or Action Competitive Solicitation = Procurement Opportunity Be cautious of this date because it is based on a date for the end of the advertisement and may not reflect the true due date for a vendor response. For this example we are going to click on the Number “ C.”

11 Periodically, return to the advertisement to check for updates.
Each agency must identify at least one DMS Class and Group Number to place an advertisement in the Vendor Bid System. Always review the numbers for ads you are interested in to make sure you are registered under all the appropriate codes for your business.

12 For the most part, DEP includes all solicitation documents with the Vendor Bid System Advertisement.
If you have a question, put it in writing and submit it to the procurement officer as directed. Take note of important dates!

13 Revisit the advertisement periodically to check for additional documents/ information that may have been posted for respondents to consider. The “Version” column should help in identifying additional documents added over the course of the procurement process.

14 Possible source for identification of future competitive procurement opportunities – OSD Website:
OSD provides information under the “Vendor Resources”/ “Office of Supplier Diversity Resources” section of its website. State Fiscal Year: July 1st – June 30th Using the State Fiscal Year noted above, calculate the current fiscal year quarter to be considered. Q1 = Quarter 1 Q2 = Quarter 2 Q3 = Quarter 3 Q4 = Quarter 4 Recommend that this data be reviewed within the first few weeks of each quarter.

15 Basic Solicitation Elements
General Terms and Conditions (DMS PUR1000 and PUR1001 Forms) Special Terms and Conditions Scope/Specifications/Deliverables Submittal Requirements Evaluation Criteria

16 Responding to Solicitations
Review the Scope of Work/Scope of Services. Determine if your organization can provide all of the goods or services sought. If only a portion of the goods/services needed can be provided, identify whether an opportunity exists to team with another vendor to provide all goods/services needed.

17 Review the deliverables expected and the schedule for delivery to evaluate the reasonableness of the requirements and your company’s ability to meet the dates considering current workload. Be honest with your assessment of your organization’s capabilities to meet the needs of the agency. Review the draft contract provided in the solicitation. Identify any issues with the agreement that need to be addressed.

18 Determine if teaming with another entity is allowed under the solicitation.
Consider the risks associated with the project – financial, business, and employee. Determine if sufficient time is available to prepare a meaningful response to the solicitation. Review the schedule to verify that scheduled events requiring a prospective vendor’s participation haven’t been missed.

19 Actively participate in mandatory and non-mandatory meetings scheduled by the agency.
Periodically return to the website where the solicitation was originally posted for updates. If you have questions, put them in writing to the Procurement Officer identified in the solicitation.

20 Terms and Conditions All State agencies are required by 60A-1, Florida Administrative Code to include the following documents in formal solicitations issued by the agency. State of Florida, PUR1000 – General Contract Conditions State of Florida, PUR1001 – General Instructions to Respondents

21 Familiarize yourself with these documents.
Identify terms that are problematic to your company. Keep a highlighted copy available for review with issued solicitations. Look for terms that have been changed (replaced) within the solicitation. Consider asking a question if you feel the term or condition isn’t appropriate for the solicitation. Keep in mind that agencies may include additional special conditions that must be met.

22 Preparing a Response Based on the solicitation type (ITB, RFP, or ITN) the instructions for responding may differ. An invitation to bid is generally structured in such a way that a respondent provides minimal documentation to support their qualifications to provide the goods or services. Examples of documentation required may include: licenses, permits, insurance, proof of agreement from product source, references, available equipment, years experience performing the services sought, etc. Once the respondent has passed the minimum requirements test, the award is recommended to the respondent with the lowest bid. ITB

23 Focus on the information to be provided.
RFP ITN Detailed instructions identify the elements of information or documentation to be submitted for evaluation purposes. Respondents should review the instructions with the evaluation criteria established in the solicitation to ensure that all critical elements are addressed. Focus on the information to be provided. Provide a professional looking response – no need to spend money on a presentation that doesn’t add value to your response.

24 ITBs, RFPs and ITNs Know the last date for submission of questions and don’t wait until the last minute to ask your questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Utilize checklist provided in solicitation in an effort to confirm compliance with the basic requirements. References – confirm willingness and availability of proposed references to participate in evaluating your past performance. Provide willing references with questionnaire contained in the solicitation.

25 ITBs, RFPs and ITNs Make sure letters required and other forms included as part of the response contain the appropriate signatures. Provide sufficient time in the process to allow someone in your organization to review the response as proposed for submittal. Recommend that this person not be an active participant in the preparation of the draft response.

26 Common Pitfalls/Issues
Submit incomplete or unsigned documents in response to a solicitation. Did not consider the evaluation criteria in building a response to a solicitation. Did not communicate with proposed references regarding their participation in the review process. Submit incomplete or incorrect contact information for references. Incumbent contractor assumes that details requested in response aren’t necessary as agency knows the quality of work provided.

27 Exceed established page limits for response.
Common Pitfalls/Issues (continued). Exceed established page limits for response. Do not participate in mandatory meeting/site visit. Submit a response as a “prime contractor” and agreed to serve as a “subcontractor” in another response. Fail to use updated forms or submit signed addenda. Rely on something heard rather than getting information in writing.

28 Sample Evaluation Criteria

29 Sample Evaluation Criteria Scoring Notes

30 Calculation of Evaluation Results

31 Other Helpful Hints If you think that an error exists in the specifications/requirements, submit a question on the issue. All communication regarding the solicitation must be directed to the Procurement Officer established in the solicitation. If using an overnight delivery service, provide sufficient time to address delivery problems, should one exist. Don’t use the language contained in the solicitation as your response to the solicitation.

32 After the Award Request copies of your score sheets to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Request copies of reference reviews to assess your performance as viewed by your client. Request a copy of the selected vendor’s response.

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