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mbta-logoThe MBTA has announced its partnership with FairMarkIT, a new public e-bidding forum, in order to modernize its procurement processes from a combination of electronic and paper systems to an easy-to-monitor, transparent, web-based operation. This partnership is projected to increase procurement efficiencies by 15 percent, resulting in millions of dollars in anticipated savings over the coming years for the MBTA.

 “FairMarkIT brings our bidding for purchases under $35,000 into a new era that includes massive enhancements to transparency and efficiency,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez. “Expect prices to go down and competition to increase, all done through a new system that dramatically simplifies the process and opens the door for new vendors to do business with the T.”

“The current process can be a slow and burdensome way of conducting business,” said MBTA Chief Transformation Officer Nick Easley. “FairMarkIT gives our buyers the tools they need to make responsible, informed decisions, based on detailed history of purchasing information.”

“I’ve been blown away by the T’s openness to embrace new technology. Both organizations have the mission of providing a completely transparent marketplace through innovation,” said FairMarkIT CEO Kevin Frechette. “Being a local Boston startup ourselves, we’d also love to help other small businesses have a seat at the table.”

In FY17, the vast majority of MBTA purchase orders were less than $35,000 (94 percent), though they accounted for less than 2 percent of FY17 total purchase order value. With multiple steps required, the MBTA’s previous procure-to-pay process was difficult to measure, monitor, and control, and was lacking in transparency. The MBTA’s “Small Purchasing Processes” for those procurements under $50,000 have historically been difficult to manage as quotes for purchases were not electronically stored and vendor information was not shared across buyers.  Additionally, the process to invite new vendors was time consuming, and was set up such that new vendors could potentially be put at a disadvantage.

Noting these inefficiencies, the MBTA brought its procurement process into the twenty-first century through a year-long pilot with FairMarkIT, a tech company that stores quotes and vendor purchasing history in an electronic, centralized location that are easily retrievable, open to the general public, and make inviting multiple vendors to bid much easier. This transparent marketplace allows more vendors and businesses the opportunity to compete fairly for MBTA contracts while giving the MBTA’s buyers the tools they need to make more informed decisions.

For more information or to view the Fiscal and Management Control Board Meeting open meeting video, please visit FairMarkIT or mbta.com. To view open MBTA bids, please visit mbta.fairmarkit.com.

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