Customers give Florida purchasing system high marks

Customer satisfaction with Florida’s online purchasing system, MyFloridaMarketPlace, topped 90 percent in a recent survey and has saved the state $71 million through strategic sourcing.

The system achieved an overall satisfaction mark of 91 percent, according to a survey conducted in August. The survey polled purchasing and finance/accounting groups about MyFloridaMarketPlace’s purchasing and invoicing components. Eighty-nine percent of the purchasing respondents said they were moderately to very satisfied with the system’s purchasing tool, compared with 84 percent who reported that satisfaction range in a December 2006 survey.

Meanwhile, 94 percent of the finance/accounting users said they were moderately to very satisfied with the system’s invoicing tool, compared with 77 percent in December 2006.

MyFloridaMarketPlace went into service in 2004 and was upgraded this past spring. The marketplace uses software from Ariba. Accenture is the systems integrator.

Walt Bikowitz, Florida’s bureau chief of state purchasing operations, described the marketplace as a full e-procurement system that includes e-purchasing, e-bidding, bidder notification and a sourcing tool.

The purchasing component starts with requisition and supports the entire approval cycle, with agencies able to set up their own approval processes, Bikowitz said. The system interfaces with the Florida Accounting Information Resource (FLAIR) system, which makes payments for the state.

Buffie Rodri, a senior executive at Accenture, said the marketplace has improved purchasing cycle time by more than 40 percent. She said the improvement on the invoicing side has been 30 percent.

Between its 2004 launch and June, the marketplace has saved $71 million. Bikowitz attributed the savings to better strategic sourcing. The system generates data on the state’s purchasing activities, providing greater insight into spending, he said.

As a result, the state can provide bidders with closer estimates of the product volumes expected to move under indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts. The improvement in forecasting encourages vendors to price more aggressively.

Armed with the spending data, the state put six contracts in place that contributed to the cost savings. The contracts cover office consumables and uniforms, among other items.

“Vendors…were bidding on a much better known quantity,” Bikowitz said, noting that the system has boosted competition.

The purchasing system also gives the state the ability to conduct reverse online auctions. Bikowitz said such an auction is in the works for PCs. He said the same sourcing tool used for standard solicitations lets the state conduct reverse auctions, adding that other purchasing systems use a stand-alone tool for reverse auctions.

About the Author

John Moore is a freelance writer based in Syracuse, N.Y.

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