Case Study

Groveland, FL More Than Doubles Bid Responses with New Approach to Supplier Engagement

“I have had so much growth in my local supplier community that I am so pleased with how I've been able to grow it.... 3,000 suppliers just for the little old City of Groveland is amazing.” - Chris Coghill NIGPCCP, Procurement Director, City of Groveland, FL

On the southwestern side of Lake County, a few minutes from the Florida Turnpike, lies the sunny City of Groveland, FL. Formerly known as Taylorville, the City recently celebrated its 100th birthday. While it is growing in population, community members take pride in their home’s history, natural charm, and small-town appeal. 

With limited staff and resources, the City of Groveland is constantly looking for ways to do more with less. In 2019, the City opened its first Procurement department and sought out OpenGov to manage the bidding process with efficiency and equity. 

“I tell my peers: ‘Run, don’t walk to OpenGov.’ Because they really have made it that easy.” 

Chris Coghill NIGPCCP, Procurement Director, City of Groveland, FL

 

Population
13,474

Agency Type
City

Annual Budget
11,822,000.00

Role
Procurement

Region
West

Solution
Procurement

Customer Results

Average of 2.5X More Responses to Bids

1-3 Months Faster Bid Cycle

< 1 Month Implementation Timeline

Chris Coghill, Procurement Director for Groveland, started from scratch. Before 2019, the City’s already overworked finance department handled purchasing while larger bids were managed at the County level. Coghill was brought in to establish the City’s first procurement department and bring all bidding back under the City’s roof. 

At the time, the City’s process was paper-based and “old school,” says Coghill. As a one-woman team, she managed multiple bid cycles at once. Every step was laborious and time-consuming, including amending the agenda, printing the correct amount of copies for each committee member, and faxing evaluation documents—just to name a few. After weeks of drowning in paper, Coghill was determined to make a change. 

Saving Time (And Her Mind!)

“Electronic bidding is not only the way of the future but something I desperately needed as a one-person office,” said Coghill. After speaking with several different e-procurement vendors, Coghill fell in love with OpenGov at first sight. 

“My jaw dropped. I said I don’t need to see anything else. OpenGov is it. And I wanted to sign the contract as soon as possible.” In less than a month, Groveland was up and running on the new system. 

Coghill was enamored with OpenGov, as it had the “full package” while other vendors only had bits and pieces of remedies. The solution had everything she needed to make her labor-intensive process more manageable, from automated solicitation development to bid tabulation. With OpenGov, an entire bid cycle from issuance to evaluation is now 1-3 months shorter. 

“It balances my workload. I don’t have to spend hours and hours and hours on hardware. I can simply work a couple of hours, and boom, it’s done!” 

With this time savings, Coghill can get back to the strategic work she loves, like developing the City’s department and administrating the City’s first purchasing card program. 

“I’ve had no problems, not only for my suppliers but from my team at Groveland and all the people who provide me with the information I need to build an RFP. The evaluators: They love it. I don’t even have to train my evaluators. They can do it on their own. That’s how easy it is.”

The More Suppliers, the Merrier

One of the other big benefits is the supplier engagement tools, says Coghill. Before OpenGov, the City worked with a limited supplier base and averaged around two responses per bid. 

“As a smaller city, suppliers are not always interested in what Groveland has to offer,” said Coghill. However, with OpenGov’s self-service vendor portal, Coghill watched her response rate double, and her network expand beyond belief. 

“I have had so much growth in my local supplier community that I am so pleased with how I’ve been able to grow it…. 3,000 suppliers just for the little old City of Groveland is amazing.”

Another aspect of working with suppliers that is important to Coghill is that she promotes open and fair competition. Features like automated addenda acknowledgment, in-suite Q&A management, and calendar updates and reminders help Coghill stay on top of the multiple vendors she works with and ensure they are all treated equally. 

A Match Made in Heaven

Known by her peers as a leader with a “servant’s heart” and a “passion for giving back,” Coghill’s work goes beyond the City of Groveland. In her free time, she leads study groups for CPPO and CPPB certifications, is Vice President of Central Florida’s NIGP chapter, and is a member of NIGP’s Leadership Development Committee.

As a seasoned and dedicated leader in procurement, Coghill is proud to partner with a company that matches her values and mission. 

“I experience more and more camaraderie. I experience more and more empathy and understanding and compassion, and willingness to actually embrace the procurement industry. There’s no one out there that does that, and I just will never be able to thank OpenGov enough.”

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