SuperQuote: UH Adopts Electronic, Web-based Bidding SystemUniversity of Hawaiʻi
The University of Hawai'i is phasing in an online system for postingrequests for prices on goods and services. The system, called SuperQuote,was developed in partnership with CommercePoint, Inc., a private technologyfirm founded in Hawai'i and incorporated in New York.
Based on successful trials by users in the university's Information TechnologyServices operation, UH is training additional employee users and signingup additional vendors as it prepares to expand the procurement model system-wide.
Use of the Web-based system is expected to open UH procurement to morevendors, thus generating more competitive prices, and create efficienciesover manual, paper-based processing of quotation requests. Instead of obtainingprices from three specified vendors, UH buyers will post their specificationson a CommercePoint Web site, and any vendor registered with CommercePointcan review the request and submit a price quotation.
A more complete description of the SuperQuote system and comments fromUH employees and vendors who have used the system are in the attached article.
Vendors can choose between free basic membership and the additional benefitsof a fee-based professional membership. To register or obtain more information,vendors should visit the CommercePoint Web site, www.commercepoint.com,or contact the CommercePoint Help Desk, located on the Manoa campus at 1380Lower Campus Road Room 58, by phone, 808 956-5934; fax, 956-3110, or e-mail,firstname.lastname@example.org.
UH Adopts SuperQUOTE for Online Price Quotations
The University of Hawai'i, in partnership with CommercePoint, is launchinga new electronic, online system for requesting price quotations in the purchaseof goods and services. The university's Information Technology Serviceshas been using the system, called SuperQUOTE, since Feb. 1. Plans call forphasing in other users, with the UH Community Colleges starting this month,followed later by UH system offices, UH Hilo, UH West O'ahu and UH Manoa.
"This electronic system will replace the current labor-intensive,manual process for obtaining quotations and will open up the process, allowingmore vendors to participate," notes UH Senior Vice President for AdministrationEugene Imai. SuperQUOTE will benefit the University in two ways, he adds.Use of the electronic form should increase efficiency and speed in processingrequests for price quotations on goods and services. Also, the increasedsupplier competition in responding to online requests should result in lowerprices. "This is an excellent working example of how technology canbe used to help government do business more effectively with the privatesector," Imai says.
University staff members are receiving training to use the online purchasingsystem, which, with some exceptions, will be used for purchase of goodsand services between $1,000 and $25,000. As the buyers, UH users fill outan on-screen requisition form on the Web, listing their specifications.Instead of having to make multiple, individually addressed copies for faxingto vendors, they simply submit the request for automatic posting on thesystem. Any vendor registered on the system can then bid on the requestedgoods or services by submitting a quotation electronically. After reviewingthe submitted quotations, the buyer selects the desired quotation and insertsany special instructions. They selected vendor is notified by e-mail.
Vendors need only an e-mail address and Internet connection to use thesystem-no additional software is required. To register, vendors must verifytheir iedntity and select a membership level. Basic membership isprovided at no charge; it allows vendors to log onto the system to viewall UH requests, submit quotations and receive notification via e-mail.Vendors can also opt for a professional membership, which entailsa fee but provides automatic notification whenever a request is posted intheir product or service category. Professional membership holders alsoreceive space on the CommercePoint Web site to store their quotations, advertisingspace in an online vendor directory and a link to their company Web site.As a special introductory offer, vendors who register during May will receiveprofessional membership benefits for a free, trial period.
So far, the UH experience has been positive. "It's a good way toget prices," says Lloyd Tsukano, Netlab manager for the College ofBusiness Administration, one of the UH employees who used the system duringthe initial phase.
"I have found SuperQuote to be faster and easier than having tofax requests and call vendors," adds Sharon Suzuki, a secretary inthe Information Technology Services Telecommunications operation. Priceswere competitive, she says, and she received quotations from vendors thatshe hadn't been aware of previously. Cori Kobayashi, the UH site licenseadministrator, finds the system easy to work with. "It has expandedour vendor base for computer software, especially locally," she says."It helps them get awareness for their products and services."
As trial buyers, both employees found CommercePoint receptive to theirsuggestions for improvements. So have early users on the vendor side.
"It saves a lot of paperwork," agrees Melvin Teruya, presidentof Honolulu Electronics, a family business that has used the SuperQuotesystem. "It is faster." Bob Tappy, of Kailua-based Jarrett TechnologySolutions, agrees. "I think this is a good tool. We have the opportunityto bid on jobs we didn't know about before." Tappy commends the CommercePointoffice on the Manoa campus for providing assistance and computer accessto all interested vendors. "The response was excellent," he says.Getting help walking through the steps the first time made the system easyto use.
CommercePoint, founded in Hawai'i and incorporated in New York, developssourcing modules for business, government and university communities. "Thegoal of our company is to provide an easy-to-use, cost-effective and widelyavailable electronic quotation solution to the global e-commerce community,allowing buyers and sellers to work more efficiently, shorten the sourcingand buying cycle, lower costs and expand opportunities for all parties,"says founder William Wang.
The University will benefit from further efficiencies when the SuperQUOTEsystem is linked to the Financial Management Information System (FMIS) sothat data from the selected quotation can be automatically inserted intoFMIS-generated purchase orders.
Additional information is available on SuperQUOTE at www.commercepoint.com.Also, the CommercePoint Help Desk at UH Manoa can be reached by phone, 808956-5934; fax, 808 956-3110; or e-mail, email@example.com.