Ohlone College is an ethnically diverse community college with two campuses in the southern San Francisco Bay Area, one in Fremont and the other in Newark. Named for the native population living in the area and pronounced “oh loh nee,” the college enrolls more than 15,000 students a year and offers 192 associate degrees and certificates. Ranked 17th of 922 community colleges in America, Ohlone employs 650 faculty and support personnel. Its Center for Deaf Studies, established in 1972, has up to 200 deaf and hard-of-hearing students a year.
The Purchasing team faced the challenge of more inclusion of local vendors, including minority, women, or disabled veteran-owned businesses. However, their manual process was very slow and required multiple steps. When a vendor wanted to be added to the qualified vendor list, they would have to call the college, and a vendor package would be mailed. Upon completing and returning the form, the College would have to enter the data into their vendor database manually. All future updates were done manually, and real-time data was not accessible.
The PlanetBids system was brought in to automate this process. More than just bringing automation to the process, PlanetBids provided a user-friendly solution with outstanding tech support for both the college and the vendor community. The outreach to local communities improved greatly, and the College experienced a 3-fold increase of local businesses within the available vendor database. In addition, other benefits included:
- Reduced phone calls since vendors can access forms online and update their data directly
- Less money on advertising since all bids are online
- Enhanced document management with better tracking
- Improved integrity of process
The Big Difference: Customer Service
When Ohlone College first began the process to select an eProcurement company, they focused on the system capabilities. As they entered into the selection process, the huge differentiator for them was the element of customer service. Knowing that the transition would be important for their vendor community, they understood the need for a company that would provide outstanding support and fast responses. And PlanetBids met that need. Alex Lebedeff, Director of Purchasing, comments, “They quickly respond to requests, and closure on outstanding items is provided with excellent feedback regarding the resolution. It has made a big difference.” It has been proven time and again. Ask a customer, “What is PlanetBids’ greatest strength?” The resounding answer is “outstanding customer service!” At PlanetBids, technology is important, and so are the people who use it!
Chosen PB System™ Solutions
- Vendor Management is the core of the PB System™ modular suite. It offers a configurable registration process to ensure vendor registrations are complete and unique. Instantly gain access to vendor records, run advanced searches on multiple sets of vendor data, perform real-time verification of provided information (ie. certifications and licenses) against third party databases, generate comprehensive reports with visual charts, and broadcast messages to selected vendors.
- Bid Management is the most complete web-based system on the market today. Procurement agents can quickly manage the process of issuing, monitoring, conducting evaluations, and awarding formal and informal bids. More importantly, the PB System™ can handle construction and public works projects, a feature unique to the eProcurement industry. Vendors can interactively search, view, and respond to bid opportunities securely over the Internet.
- Insurance Certificate Management enables risk, procurement, public works, and contract administrators to automate, maintain, and retrieve up-to-date relevant information regarding vendor or contractor insurance certificates. Paired with My Insurance, agencies and vendors can conduct all insurance related tasks virtually within the PB System™.
- Business Certification/Prequalification Management allows an organization to manage their certification programs such as Small Business Enterprise, Minority, or Diversity as well as Contractor Prequali¬fication(s). Agencies can manage, maintain, and retrieve up-to-date information on vendor certifications and prequalifications. Registered vendors have access to viewing certified/prequalified vendors for potential subcontracting opportunities.
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