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Like anything else that’s new and worthwhile, COMMBUYS adoption has taken time and has required users to embrace change. Since COMMBUYS’ implementation in March 2014, many organizations have demonstrated resourcefulness and determination in their adoption of COMMBUYS. The Operational Services Division (OSD) applauds these undertakings and shares a few, below.

Engaging MCDHH Departmental Contractors
Getting the MBPO for her agency’s most important contract set up in COMMBUYS was easy enough, but with COMMBUYS vendor registration proceeding slowly, Jane Sokol Shulman from the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) recognized that a more concerted approach was needed. The contract in question, Interpreters and Transliterators for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCD01), is used by all Executive Branch agencies to obtain legally-mandated American Sign Language interpreters and signed English transliterators for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Given the importance of the contract, Jane wanted to maximize the number of available contractors, as well as ensure compliance with OSD’s policies by getting the contractors registered in COMMBUYS.

Jane was facing some hurdles. Most of her contractors are part-time W-9 status individuals, many of whom are not computer savvy. Additionally, while in the past the major Massachusetts employer of interpreters and transliterators was MCDHH, people with sign language skills have many more job options today. To retain the MCD01 contractors and meet the needs of state agencies requiring their services, Jane realized her group needed to help the interpreters with the COMMBUYS registration process.

The solution Jane and her colleagues at MCDHH developed was a screen-by-screen how-to guide for COMMBUYS registration that supplemented the COMMBUYS registration job aid and registration webcast and included a suggested UNSPSC commodity code and job title that aligned with the contractors’ services. Jane supported many contractors via phone or other communications modality, as needed. Using this approach, a significant number of Departmental contractors completed their COMMBUYS registration!

“It was clear MCDHH needed to extend a helping hand to our contractors to get them registered,” asserts Jane. “It required a bit of extra effort on my part, including numerous follow-up phone calls, but it paid off. The interpreters clearly know that MCDHH values them and are now enthusiastic about being part of the COMMBUYS market center.”

DOER Website Provides COMMBUYS Resources
Each year, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) makes available various grants and uses COMMBUYS to advertise these opportunities. In an effort to ensure grantee organizations are able to leverage COMMBUYS to find these grants, Steve White, Chief Financial Officer at DOER, recently launched the Grants and Contracts page on the Energy and Environmental Affairs website that outlines what grantee organizations need to do to locate and respond to DOER Grants in COMMBUYS. The website includes a link to COMMBUYS.com, instructions to search for grants, including DOER’s organization number in COMMBUYS, and references job aids to find and respond to grants in COMMBUYS.

Steve White explains, “The goal is simple. We want to ensure COMMBUYS is accessible to all organizations seeking our grants. Providing COMMBUYS resources to facilitate productive searches means a wider audience is able to locate and take advantage of these opportunities.”

Needham Local Business Forum Focuses on Procurement Practices and COMMBUYS
Even before COMMBUYS was launched in March 2014, the Town of Needham was investing resources to learn about the new state procurement system and its value to the Needham community. Today, Needham is using COMMBUYS for purchasing and bid posting, and is taking their adoption of COMMBUYS one step further by sponsoring a local business forum to teach Needham vendors how to do business with the Town.

Scheduled for this week, the Needham Local Business Forum will review how the Town does purchasing and the legal requirements of public purchasing. The Forum also will offer an overview of COMMBUYS led by OSD staff and an opportunity for vendors to register their businesses in COMMBUYS during the event.

Tatiana Swanson, Finance and Procurement Coordinator in Needham, and a staunch supporter of this initiative, is excited about getting surrounding businesses engaged in the procurement process. “Whenever possible, we want to support community businesses and getting them registered in COMMBUYS is a great first step. This way, our local vendors will have the opportunity to receive and respond to Town bids posted in COMMBUYS.”

Does your organization have a COMMBUYS adoption story to tell?
Email us at OSDOutreach@state.ma.us.

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