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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Operational Services Division (OSD) establishes and manages Statewide Contracts for goods and services used by Executive Departments and many other public purchasing entities. With more than 100 contracts and hundreds of thousands of items across a wide spectrum of categories, there is ample opportunity for businesses to profit. There are many reasons to pursue Statewide Contracting and many resources to help you succeed. Statewide Contracting, however, also requires time, has defined reporting obligations, and may require you to work with a partner to meet a Supplier Diversity Program plan. Read on for some considerations if your company is contemplating becoming a Statewide Contractor.

Part 3

Alternatives to Statewide Contracting

If it appears that Statewide Contracting might not be a good fit for your business after all, you may want to consider the following:

Certification as a diverse business

Take the Certification Self-Assessment to determine if you qualify as a diverse business. The Supplier Diversity Office recognizes the following types of diverse businesses:

  • Minority-Owned;
  • Woman-Owned;
  • Veteran-Owned;
  • Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned;
  • Portuguese-Owned;
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender-Owned;
  • Disadvantaged-Owned; and
  • Disability-Owned


If you qualify as a diverse business, you may be able to partner with awarded contractors to fulfill their Supplier Diversity Plan commitments. These partnerships may be ancillary (goods or services for their company that are unrelated to the contract), subcontracting (providing goods or services for a particular part of their contract), or development (the contractor sponsors something that contributes to the business growth of the SDP partner, such as a trade show booth or professional development). Be creative!

Reach out to the awarded contractors on the Statewide Contract for which you had contemplated bidding. It may be that you can help them fulfill part of their contracted goods or services in a way that makes them more competitive.

Departmental contracts

For goods and services not available on Statewide Contract, Executive Departments may opt to issue a Departmental Contract to obtain those items. Additionally, many local government organizations (cities and towns) post their bid opportunities in COMMBUYS, though they are not required to do so. If your vendor profile is up to date with the proper UNSPSCs, you will be alerted to all matching bids that are posted on COMMBUYS, regardless of the contract type.

Small Business Purchasing Program (SBPP)

The goal of the SBPP is to provide special consideration to eligible small businesses when Executive Departments conduct procurements for goods and services not available on SWC with total values up to $150,000. The SBPP does not apply to construction projects. The Commonwealth’s Executive Departments are required to award contracts to SBPP-participating small businesses if their bids meet or exceed the solicitation/bid criteria. Additionally, Executive Departments have an annual benchmark spending goal of 3.3% with SBPP members.

To participate in the SBPP, you must complete your business registration in COMMBUYS, accept the COMMBUYS participation agreement, and meet certain eligibility requirements.

Resources available for success

The OSD website provides a wealth of information for everything Statewide Contract-related. Contract User Guides are available for each contract, outlining the details of the contract and how buyers may use the contract to purchase goods and services. They are an excellent resource for vendors becoming familiar with Statewide Contracting to learn the process and language commonly found in contracts that match your category of business.

The OSD website also is home to the SWC Index and Procurement Schedule. The SWC Index allows users to search contracts by type, end date, and a number of other filters. The Procurement Schedule outlines the contracts that are newly established, being renewed or extended, those that are being rebid as new contracts, and those that are ending. The Procurement Schedule also contains the contact information of the Contract Manager for each contract. Prospective bidders always should consult COMMBUYS for current bid information and dates.

Free training is available for all prospective vendors and courses are offered through classroom-based workshops, online webinars, and pre-recorded webcasts covering topics such as COMMBUYS Essentials for Sellers, How to Locate and Respond to Bids, Connecting Your Business to the Commonwealth, and Supplier Diversity Pre-Certification for small and/or diverse businesses.


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