Supply Chain >
Purchasing Services has partnered with
Iasta, a software and global
service provider of cost effective online competitive bidding technology. The Iasta
tool called "SmartSource", has been designed to be used as a centralized repository for sourcing
projects with an integrated document library and bidding templates for use by the campus community. The tool is also being used for other functions such as
managing the contract renewal process for the Supplier Showcase electronic marketplace initiative.
Online competitive bidding technology is a very effective sourcing tool that has many
advantages over a traditional competitive bidding process. It saves significant time,
reduces the purchase price of most products and services, and creates competitive
pricing pressure that could not be replicated using a traditional request for
Using SmartSource, buyers are able to quickly and easily
communicate Penn's business requirements to all suppliers participating in the online
competitive bidding event. All participating suppliers receive the same information
at the same time in the same format. Suppliers are given the same opportunity to
ask questions about the Request for Quotation/Proposal and view all questions asked
and answered. A library of standard templates is in the process of being developed which will make the tool even quicker and easier to use.
Purchasing Services encourages all campus buyers to begin using SmartSource for their competitive bidding requirements as per University financial policy #2308. To begin utilizing the tool, new users should complete the SmartSource User ID Request Form. Upon receipt of an email containing a userid and password, the software may be downloaded to your desktop. Issues involving administrative rights to download software should be directed to your LSP. Once signed into SmartSource, select the option to Create A New Project and utilize the application wizard to enter all of the required information. You will automatically be established as the Project Administrator and Owner of the project. First time users are encouraged to contact the eBusiness Administrator for assistance. All projects must be reviewed by the eBusiness Administrator before being published to potential bidders.
Internal users who will be acting as bid response evaluators only, along with bidders, do not need to be set up as desktop users but will be invited by the Project Administrator to access the online bid through the SmartSource Web Portal.
Building a Survey Using Excel
When using SmartSource to solicit information from vendors, whether it be in the form of an RFI, RFQ, or RFP, the questions to which vendors are asked to respond are contained in components called "Surveys". Surveys may be constructed by entering information directly into SmartSource or by creating the Survey in Excel and then importing it. This second alternative is particularly useful if the questions are derived through a collaborative effort and all contributors are not SmartSource users. This spreadsheet template is an example of how the information to be imported must be formatted, and this pdf document illustrates how it appears once it has been imported into SmartSource. Note that the third column in the spreadsheet is informational only as question types must be defined after the information has been imported. Importing Surveys into SmartSource from Excel is quick and easy and can be accomplished with just a few key strokes.
When to Use Online Competitive Bidding Technology?
Purchasing Services has identified the following criteria for determining an
appropriate use of online competitive bidding technology:
- Does the commodity lend itself to negotiations?
- Can the Request for Proposal/Quotation specifications and business requirements be clearly defined for the potential bidders?
- Are there enough suppliers interested in the business opportunity to participate in a competitive bidding event?
Purchasing Services has used online competitive bidding services for Penn specific
requirements as well as collaborative initiatives with the
Philadelphia Area Collegiate Cooperative (PACC) and
the University Health System.
Please direct all questions regarding online competitive bidding technology to
Vira Homick in Purchasing Services.