Case Study

Procurement Process of Champions: Clermont, FL Improves Operations and Efficiency by Taking Purchasing 100% Digital

It’s March 13, which means it’s National Procurement Day!

Clermont, Florida is known as the “Choice of Champions” because of its reputation as the training ground for premier athletes, including 20 Olympians from the 2016 Summer Olympics who brought home a total of 10 medals. The City’s pristine lakes, rolling hills, and warm climate make it an ideal location to train for triathlons, foot races, water sports, and more. But it’s not just athletic champions. The City’s procurement team, led by Procurement Director Freddy Suarez, features an all-star lineup of its own.

“Working in procurement is rewarding,” Suarez said. “ I get to work on all the projects the City works on, and I enjoy working with my staff.”

Suarez has always been a champion of procurement technology, initially pioneering the move from paper to a combined paper and electronic process years ago. However, during his tenure at the City, Clermont has quadrupled in size, along with the department and workload. To stay on top of the game, Suarez knew it was time to say goodbye to a legacy procurement system and adopt OpenGov Procurement.

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Population
47,263

Agency Type
City

Annual Budget
$203,439,730

Role
Procurement

Region
Southeast

Solution
Procurement

Customer Results

Faster Solicitation Assembly

More Accurate SOWs

Improved Supplier Experience

Clearer Contract Management

The Challenge

Suarez and his team Senior Procurement Agent Ramsey Jimenez and Procurement Agent Anabel Gates, were struggling with a legacy system that was not being upgraded and still required lots of manual work. For example, each addenda needed to be saved as a PDF, and then uploaded into the platform. The team wanted to remove as much administrative work as possible and improve efficiency.

While on the hunt for a new solution, neighboring city and OpenGov customer, Groveland, Florida, gave the team a chance to log in and see how OpenGov Procurement worked.

“The procurement team at Groveland allowed us to look at the software from a real-time perspective, not just a demo perspective,” Jimenez said. “That was really helpful.”

The Solution

After experiencing it for themselves, the Clermont procurement team was impressed by the user-friendly software and the experience for suppliers. So, the team chose OpenGov to bring procurement operations 100% online.

And, the team got to a fast start out of the gate. Having already implemented an eProcurement system in his career, Suarez was ready to move fast, dial into the details, and start putting the new software to use.

“All of our templates were built by the time we finished implementation, and we were even able to view templates from other agencies to get new ideas,” said Suarez. “Plus, the customization throughout the process was really nice.”

The Results

Speedy Solicitations

Today, assembling solicitations is much more automated and collaborative. No more searching for the right language in different templates or uploading different documents. Thanks to prebuilt templates and step-by-step guides, the Clermont team can create RFIs and RFPs much faster.

“And when we’re ready for departments to review the bids, they are able to go in, make comments, and approve it,” said Jimenez. “ It’s not lost in an email and we can track all edits and approvals in the same system.”

More Accurate SOWs

With OpenGov Procurement’s AI Scope Building feature, drafting SOWs is a big time saver. Starting from scratch, it’s easy to make scopes more detailed, tighten the specs, and then automatically add the text to the bid.

“It helps make sure all the details are there for the vendor. The more thorough scopes reduce the number of questions we get from the team or suppliers, ultimately saving us time,” said Jimenez.

A Better Supplier Experience

With Groveland, Orlando, St. Petersburg, and other Florida communities using OpenGov, suppliers in the area can create one profile and subscribe to free notifications from multiple agencies.

“As we’re talking to vendors at local reverse trade shows, a lot of vendors were happy about not having to manage multiple profiles and we’re expecting the number of vendors who subscribe to our notifications to increase,” said Jimenez.

In addition, the inline Q&A makes it easier for vendors to ask clarifying questions and for other suppliers to see the responses. With close to 50 questions on larger projects, this saves the team lots of time.

“It also helps us maintain he integrity of the bid process. No one is calling or emailing because they can’t figure out how to submit their question. Now, it’s simple to go in and submit the question, where others can see it,” said Jimenez.

Clearer Contract Management

Contract management has also become a much easier process for the team. Vendors can upload their own documents right into OpenGov when they create a profile. Plus, it’s easy to manage insurance information, assign and categorize document types, and view upcoming renewals.

“The dashboard is very nice. You can click into a chart and pull up a list based on what you need to view, such as insurance, and work from that populated list,” Gates said. ” We don’t need to click on every single COI.”

So Long, Administrative Work

These combined results combined have turned Clermont’s procurement team into one laser-focused on strategy. The upgrades mean the administrative side of procurement has now completely gone away. In fact, the admin role has been changed to a procurement specialist position.

“Saving time helps us be more productive and able to focus on bigger procurement tasks. We’re not dealing with stacks of binders and scanning them in one by one, making sure they are in order and all questions are answered and addendums are acknowledged. Instead, we’re focusing on the bigger picture,” said Jimenez.

What’s Next

Champions don’t stop, and the same goes for Clermont’s procurement team. The City is now working on connecting finance and procurement by implementing OpenGov Budgeting & Planning. With an integrated purchase order process, the team will be able to operate even more efficiently.

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