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When the number of projects is growing faster than your team’s resources, you need to become more efficient and effective. MTC knew their existing hard-copy submission and paper-based scoring processes were holding them back. With Bonfire, a Euna Solutions brand, MTC streamlined their submission and RFx evaluation to slash project times, improve operational efficiencies, and make better decisions with confidence.
Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. MTC supports the roads, transit systems, airports and other transportation resources that help the region’s seven million residents and visitors get to where they need to be.
The Contracts group at MTC manages all the competitive bidding and RFx projects for the agency, serving the San Francisco Bay Area. This includes over 75 RFPs and many more lowerspend solicitations and projects. It is the team’s responsibility to the agency to deliver the best value for public funds, ensure open opportunity to bid, be as efficient as possible, and maintain perfect compliance to applicable local, state, and federal laws.
In late 2015, the Executive Office tasked the Contracts team with improving the efficiency of their procurement process. It was clear to Denise Rodrigues (Assistant Director,Contracts Compliance Manager), Michael Brinton (Principal, Contracts Manager) and the rest of the Contracts team that their existing manual, paper-based processes were no longer sustainable.
“We have a very small team relative to the volume of procurements and contracts,” states Brinton. “In our old method, everything was via paper… Our confidentiality and conflict of interest statements were signed via paper. We had a paper-based evaluation scorecard, where the evaluation panel members would have to fill out their scores and handwrite out their notes.” Scores and comments were manually aggregated and tabulated in Excel, along with frequent in-person consensus meetings to follow.
Not only was this existing process creating operational hurdles, it also made responding to public information requests a difficult and timeconsuming challenge.
“In our old method, everything was via paper…We needed some way to deal with it.”
Contracts Manager, MTC
The team at MTC began exploring their options, looking for a software platform that would help their procurement activities become more effective and efficient.
With the rise in project volume, they needed to be able to run more projects in less time with the same amount of resources. More specifically, they needed software that not only streamlined their activities and handled complex RFP evaluations, but was also incredibly easy to use, reliable, and stable for their use.
Another requirement was for the software to help the agency respond to public data and information group to find, gather, and share relevant project information as needed. Implementation of the platform needed to be simple and straightforward, with stakeholders able to learn and become proficient in the system quickly and without major disruptions or extensive training.
Many of the options that Denise, Michael, and the team evaluated had individual components of what they were looking for, but ultimately they lacked the full functionality, ease of use for all users, and the modern look and feel they wanted.
“The way that the [first] demonstration was run, we could tell that [Bonfire] was going to be really easy for us to adopt: not a whole lot of training to do, it was intuitive.”
In particular, Bonfire’s PDF evaluation features had the potential to significantly improve their evaluation efficiency. Bonfire’s ability to bring their submissions online, structure their solicitation data, streamline their activities, and allow evaluators to review, score, and apply justifications all in a single place were all crucial features for MTC.
Bonfire would eliminate the inefficient and manual hardcopy processes, improving the efficiency of data and scoring management, the effectiveness of evaluator panel meetings, and overall slash project times to allow the team to tackle the growing number of procurement projects coming their way.
“Bonfire does more than we expected it to do, and still has more potential to change the way we do things.”
“I couldn’t imagine the implementation process being any simpler,” states Brinton.
The team at MTC was up to speed and proficient in Bonfire almost immediately. “It usually only takes about one time experiencing the whole Bonfire process… We walk [new team members] through one project, and they’re off on their own.”
Suppliers have also given Bonfire “universal positive feedback and acceptance.” In a recent satisfaction survey, the MTC supplier community on average scored Bonfire’s ‘ease of use’ as a 9.5/10, system stability as 9.5/10, and indicated average cost savings of approximately $200 to over $500 per submission.
The impact of Bonfire at MTC has been significant. Project times have been slashed by as much as 67%, allowing the team to run complex RFPs in about a month versus the 60-90 days required by their old process. Operationally, Bonfire has enabled the team to be more consistent across all projects and team members: not only are projects run more efficiently, but project setup, documents, and reporting are now more highly organized and consistent.
“It’s really the ease of use, the utility of [Bonfire], the reliability of it, and how much quicker it is for the project manager to get from evaluation to signing a contract. It’s made things more efficient,” says Brinton.
Bonfire has also had an impact beyond the performance gains of their procurement projects: Bonfire has also helped to increase the confidence in what the agency is doing from a procurement perspective. According to Brinton, “Bonfire has been a really big success for us.”
“I couldn’t imagine the implementation process being any simpler.”
Contracts Manager, MTC
Using Bonfire, MTC was able to complete RFPs in approximately 1/3 of the time of their old process – down from 60-90 days to approximately 30 days.