Case Study

Newport News, VA Meets Demand of Redevelopment Initiatives with Increased Solicitation Efficiency

“OpenGov procurement allows suppliers to see the results quickly and easily which helps with transparency and also reduces the need to provide follow-up with suppliers and calls for information from suppliers." - Gary Sightler, Purchasing Agent, Newport News, VA

At the vantage point of the James River and the Chesapeake Bay lies the City of Newport News, VA. While this City is rich with history and dates back to the founding of America, today, the City is focused on updating aging infrastructure to attract new business. 

One of many of these substantial projects is Transforming Marshall-Ridley, a “comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy developed through extensive civic engagement that, when implemented, will achieve the core goals of housing, people, and neighborhood.” Through this vital initiative, the City has invested over $1M in building over 170 homes, multiple schools, and a community center.

These redevelopment initiatives bring urgency to the City’s Procurement department, which is responsible for all purchasing surrounding projects like Marshall-Ridley. To keep up, the City partnered with OpenGov Procurement to bring efficiencies to solicitation development and supplier engagement. 

“Our procurement team is dedicated to completing procurements as quickly as possible. When we moved to OpenGov Procurement, the capabilities of the system made a positive impact on efficiency and have resulted in time savings which allows more focused time on other responsibilities, including contract management and the ability to move other projects more quickly and at a higher volume.”

Gary Sightler, Purchasing Agent, Newport News, VA

 

Population
179,611

Agency Type
City

Annual Budget
1,041,000,000.00

Role
Procurement

Region
East
Northeast

Solution
Procurement

Customer Results

100% of Bids Submitted Electronically

Easy-to-access Relevant and Talented Vendors Using NIGP Codes

Automated Solicitation Development Saves Time for Strategic Work

Before partnering with OpenGov, the City’s Procurement department conducted paper-based processes that relied heavily on email, Excel, Word processors, and snail mail. 

The City answered vendor questions via email but only collected submissions via hand or mail delivery. Vendors delivered finished proposals in large boxes that were often unorganized and contained several projects at once. 

It took Sightler and his team hours to file and tabulate each document through disparate processes. 

“The most challenging and time-consuming aspects related to time associated logging, managing, storing, and distributing bids, along with the time involved with bid tabulation,” said Sightler. 

These archaic processes did not reflect how the rest of the City was operating:  “We leveraged technology to the greatest extent possible, but the final milestone was moving toward an electronic bidding process,” said Sightler.

With OpenGov Procurement, Sightler and his team said goodbye to the clerical work associated with paper-based submissions. Now, every vendor submits their bid electronically through the City’s eprocurement portal. 

Struggles with Version Control

Before OpenGov, building out bids was a laborious task using Word. When a change had to be made, or an edit came in from a different department, Sightler had to manually update every version of the bid and then share the new version with all stakeholders via email. 

Now, this process is streamlined. When Sightler edits a bid, it is updated in real-time for all users viewing the document. Internal stakeholders and vendors will only see the latest version of the document. 

“The process for making changes for those templates was much more time-consuming compared to what it takes to make edits in OpenGov Procurement,” said Sightler.

Efficiently Navigating a Large Supplier Base 

Before OpenGov, the City leveraged Virginia’s proprietary eprocurement portal, to build its supplier network. Now, the City has a network of over 5,000 suppliers from across the country. 

“After one and a half years of using the system, our list of vendors continues to grow,” said Sightler. 

It’s not just the increase in suppliers that has benefited the City, but also how quickly the City can sort through vendors based on project qualifications. “OpenGov allows us to better search and locate vendors using NIGP codes,” said Sightler. 

More Transparent Supplier Engagement

Transparency is critical among the City’s supplier community, especially for large public-facing initiatives like Transforming Marshall-Ridley. 

“OpenGov Procurement allows suppliers to see the results quickly and easily, which helps with transparency and also reduces the need to provide follow-up with suppliers and calls for information from suppliers,” said Sightler.

Meeting Redevelopment Demands

Moving forward, Sightler and his team are ready to meet all procurement needs of City initiatives big and small. Thanks to efficient solicitation building, an increased supplier network, and improved transparency for all stakeholders, the team can continue to be dedicated to completing procurements as quickly as possible.

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