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Photo of clock and landscape in the City of Everett.

Photo by the City of Everett.

 

The COMMBUYS Enablement Team (CET) had a busy September. While the entire team is dedicated to helping municipal organizations access competitive Statewide Contract pricing through COMMBUYS, Jackie Abbott is the Account Manager responsible for outreach to Gateway Cities. These 26 communities across the Commonwealth have populations between 35,000 and 250,000, and an average household income and educational attainment rate below the state average. As part of the Gateway Cities adoption effort, Abbott contacts municipal procurement departments to schedule informational sessions about the benefits of COMMBUYS and buying from Statewide Contracts. Among the interested communities was the City of Everett – a 3.5 square mile community north of Boston, along the Mystic River.

Lara Wehbe, Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Everett, needed information. More specifically, Wehbe wanted a uniform procurement process and access to a database of detailed purchasing information. Additionally, Wehbe looked to increase staff awareness and knowledge of buying from Statewide Contracts. Wehbe heard about COMMBUYS and the potential for huge savings from discussions with other procurement agents. Coupled with Abbott’s timely outreach, it was clear that the COMMBUYS advantages naturally aligned with the City of Everett’s needs.

Wehbe decided upfront that the COMMBUYS implementation would be a quick process. Beginning in early September, the OSD Training team, working in concert with CET, trained 91 City employees over the course of eight, three-hour training classes, with a “go live” target date of October 1. The Purchasing department mandated that, after this date, available items must be purchased through Statewide Contract. The impact of this policy cannot be underestimated, as it completely re-shapes purchasing patterns throughout the City. Wehbe was adamant that COMMBUYS be adopted and incorporated, noting “COMMBUYS will help the City of Everett save both time and money. When soliciting quotes, we will have easy access to a larger and more diverse audience to obtain competitive pricing. In addition, employees can save time by searching for and purchasing items right off the COMMBUYS website as opposed to searching multiple vendor websites.”


 

“We had a wonderful experience working with the COMMBUYS Enablement Team. Jackie Abbott reached out, followed up, and streamlined the whole process for us. Our employees were very receptive to the enthusiasm and helpfulness of the CET. They came in with handouts, hands-on training sessions, and solutions to everyday issues that we run into while purchasing for the City.”

Lara Wehbe
Assistant City Solicitor
City of Everett


 

On October 6, Abbott returned to Everett to gather feedback and was met with a positive response. City employees are using the process and tips that they learned during training. They also are accessing resources like the Help Desk for additional reinforcement. Monthly training classes will be available for new employees and those changing job roles. Wehbe is excited about the response, stating “we have received positive feedback from many employees. I know that people are using and responding to COMMBUYS in a positive way because I have had their coworkers come in and ask to be registered for the make-up classes because they want to learn how to use the system.” Abbott says “thus far, the data that’s being captured is meeting the needs of the City. I expect that Everett will be even more enthusiastic once it realizes a greater cost savings over time.” She attributes the City’s COMMBUYS success to their complete commitment to the COMMBUYS system and a quick adoption plan. As for CET, they continue to refine their framework for implementation, using what they learn from each city and town to improve the COMMBUYS adoption process for future municipalities adopting COMMBUYS across the Commonwealth.

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