More than 30 suppliers and vendors looking to do business with HISD learned how the district is improving its procurement process to create better opportunities for small businesses during a workshop held Tuesday.
“If we’re able to get the product we want, and you’re able to sell it, it’s a win-win for both of us,” said Gilberto Carles, the district’s general manger of procurement services. “If you’re not an awarded contractor, you need to understand why, so you can develop ways to take your company to the next level.”
Carles shared an updated nine-step strategic sourcing process that calls for improved sourcing execution, selection and deployment from the procurement team by researching potential suppliers, identifying vendors that are minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE), analyzing supplier usage by category and school, determining supplier impact on internal stakeholders and the community, and tracking supplier performance.
“We need to understand what works and what doesn’t work in terms of the bidding process,” Carles said. “My team is analyzing what our vendor participation is like. Are we using a supplier over and over? Are we using other vendors? We want to make sure our suppliers understand the projects they’re going after, so they can submit a complete proposal for our projects.”
The procurement services department is committed to increasing the participation of M/WBEs for general supplies and services, classroom supplies, technology equipment, warehouse operations, food services, and cafeteria equipment.
Under the HISD 2012 bond program, there are also numerous opportunities for suppliers to bid on requests for items and services related to the district’s efforts to build and renovate up to 40 schools.
“My company is a vendor for HISD, but I want to find out how we can be utilized more,” said Liza Carlos of Eyeful Art, which designs murals and graphics for indoor and outdoor facilities such as school gymnasiums. “After listening to this workshop I feel like if I were to bid again, it’s clear to me what I would need to do.”
At the workshop, participants were encouraged to visit the procurement website to review a list of current bid opportunities and a project calendar that outlines various requests for items such as district vehicle rentals, districtwide appliances, and frozen food and grocery services.
“We’re adding a list of future bid opportunities to come, so you can actually prepare for the bid in advance,” Carles said. “We want to make sure the data we’re putting out there is clear and that you’re able to get the best information on our bids.”