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When a municipality in Massachusetts uses COMMBUYS, the Commonwealth’s electronic market center, they not only receive access to Statewide Contract (SWC) pricing and streamlined purchasing; they’re also given an unparalleled level of support every step of the way. The stories below highlight some of the ways that OSD is dedicating itself to improving municipal procurement throughout the Commonwealth.

 

City of Lawrencelawrence

When the City of Lawrence recently prepared to make decisions about upcoming Information Technology (IT) purchases, they needed to know the ins-and-outs of their procurement options. OSD’s Senior Strategic Sourcing Manager Tim Kennedy (pictured right) was there to help.

Tim, who oversees the SWCs for IT, worked in conjunction with Local Government Enablement (LGE) Account Manager Jackie Abbott to conduct a modified training session in Lawrence. Because IT goods and services can be complex, it was important to break down the details of how best to use the SWCs. This opportunity allowed Lawrence buyers, representing the City’s budget and finance, fire, police, and school IT departments, to ask targeted questions about their upcoming purchases.

Lawrence’s Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Rita Brousseau, an expert user of COMMBUYS and Statewide Contracts, raves about OSD’s commitment to municipal buyers. “It is so nice to have the opportunity to meet a Contract Manager in person and put a face to a name. From our previous conversations over the phone, I was confident that Tim knew everything about the IT SWCs. Our team knows how to proceed now because Tim had the answers – and he made sure to let us know he was available if we had additional questions.” Because of this dedicated customer service, the City of Lawrence already has contacted one of their vendors to request that all qualifying purchases go through SWC ITC47 instead of consortium contracts.

 

City of Haverhillhaverhill 

OSD’s tailored approach to buyer training also has impressed the City of Haverhill’s CPO, Orlando Pacheco (pictured right). Since May 2016, 36 Haverhill buyers have been trained in COMMBUYS navigation and buying from Statewide Contracts. With such a large group of newly enabled buyers, it’s important each staff member feel included and understood.

Pacheco remarks, “Everyone on our team learns and adjusts in very different ways, which can make change difficult; but OSD has been incredibly flexible and accommodating.” He continues, “The Training team adapts to different buyers’ comfort levels instead of following a script. Because of that, we’ve seen a real ease of transition.” With training held during the summer months when finding a mutual meeting time can be tough, he commends the OSD team, saying, “They have been so dedicated and willing to meet with anyone at any time. That one-on-one attention is crucial.”

Working with LGE Account Manager Jenn Forsey, the City strongly encourages the use of COMMBUYS to their buyers. “The administrative duplication of doing everything on our own all of the time was becoming cumbersome and slowing us down, so the decision to use COMMBUYS was a matter of administrative expediency.” Still, it was the relevance to every buyer’s job that won the City over. “There’s something for everyone on Statewide Contracts, and the OSD team was able to communicate that value to each and every buyer.”

 

Town of Needhamneedham

As the first Massachusetts municipality to become COMMBUYS-enabled, the Town of Needham has become exceptionally familiar with all of OSD’s programs and services. Since November 2014, 79 Needham buyers have purchased more than $337,000 worth of goods and services from 17 SWCs. In doing so, the Town not only has accumulated a wealth of knowledge about COMMBUYS, but town employees also have built many relationships across OSD.

Tatiana Swanson, Needham’s Finance and Procurement Coordinator, highlighted how beneficial these relationships have been. She says, “Whether it was the OSD Training, Enablement, or Strategic Sourcing team, everyone has been so helpful to us. The staff doesn’t just set you up in COMMBUYS and leave you to fend for yourself. From teaching us how to better navigate the system to managing vendor relationships, Jenn (Forsey, LGE Account Manager) and the OSD team have been instrumental in helping the Town save time and money.”

It is not OSD’s support alone driving Needham’s procurement success. The Town has been incredibly proactive in its own COMMBUYS adoption, organizing a vendor forum to train business owners on the Town’s procurement process (pictured right), and helping troubleshoot system problems. Tatiana elaborated, “Having used the system for two years now, we are COMMBUYS liaisons. If we encounter any issues, we relay those to OSD, which makes the system better for all buyers. I like that we can be an influential part of the process and that OSD takes seriously any suggestions that we may have.”

 

Additional Information

If you’re a municipal procurement professional wanting to learn more about how COMMBUYS may work for you, visit the Local Governments webpage. Contact the Local Government Enablement Team to set up a time to meet by emailing COMMBUYSEnablement@state.ma.us.

 

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