ECMProfessional

When Washington State voters passed Initiative 502, legalizing Cannabis, on November 6, 2012 the Liquor Control Board was put in charge of developing rules, regulations and policies to support the implementation of this ground breaking law. This presented a unique challenge, as there is no regulatory, operational or practical precedence for the agency to follow for managing the licensing and enforcement for the production, processing and distribution of Cannabis. To get expert assistance the agency published RFP K430 to select a consultant(s) to assist them with the process of implementing I-502.

Challenge

The RFP timeline from publication to closing was only 30 business days. Nearly one hundred vendors submitted responses, and 52 of those were accepted as qualified applicants. A team of nine evaluators from agencies across the state was formed to review and score each bid. The large number of applicants and geographical separation of reviewers made this a more challenging situation than the typical RFP review process.

The evaluation team was given ten business days to complete scoring of the bids. If standard processes for evaluating and scoring bids had been used it would have required significantly more time, duplication of documents and hundreds of emails.  Instead LCB Procurement and IT decided to take a “lean” approach to evaluating the responses.

Objective

Provide a single web interface that would streamline the evaluation process, be very easy to use, support mobile devices and accomplish the following primary objectives:

  • Automate scoring and eliminating duplicate or manual data entry.
  • Provide secure view-only access to all 52 bids.
  • Provide electronic signature verification of confidentiality and evaluation certification.
  • Eliminate printing, emailing and simplify access to documents.

Secondary objectives were to provide evaluator anonymity, create a complete electronic audit trail of the evaluation process and alternatively be capable of supporting public disclosure requests and/or eDiscovery processes in an efficient manner.

Solution

Provide access to a cloud service to securely review and score all vendor bids. cloudPWR® developed a Bid Evaluation Cloud using the following content management, collaboration and electronic signature platforms.

BoxSecure Document Collaboration

Vendor proposals were saved in Box, in a limited access folder.  Access to the documents was restricted to only those who were invited to participate.  Evaluator access to the proposals was restricted to “view only” rights, which prevented document downloading and ensured security of the proposals. Access to the Box website allowed evaluators to complete their evaluation utilizing an iPad, or two (2) computer monitors, further reducing evaluation time.

WordPress Web Content Management for the Evaluation Website

Evaluators were also given access to the RFP K430 Evaluation Website that was developed by cloudPWR. Evaluators were able to sign the Confidentiality and Certification forms, view vendor proposals, and submit their scoring via this website.

GoogleAppsElectronic forms for entering & compiling scores

GoogleApps was used to develop the electronic form used by evaluators to enter their scores.  Evaluators used this form to electronically document and submit their scores for each proposal.  To ensure security, access to the scoring form and evaluation website was password protected.

As soon as vendor scores were submitted by evaluators they were automatically populated and saved into a Google Spreadsheet.  To ensure security, access to the spreadsheet was password protected and limited to the procurement team.  All data populated in the Google Spreadsheet was protected and unable to be modified.  The data was able to be exported directly to Excel and used to efficiently complete the evaluation of Proposals.

DocuSignElectronic Signature Verification

DocuSign was utilized for electronic signature of the evaluator Confidentiality Form and evaluation Certification Form.  This eliminated the need to email, print, and/or mail the actual forms.

All evaluators were trained in under an hour using a mix of demonstration and hands on experience.  Feedback from evaluators was unanimous that the process was very easy and would significantly reduce the amount of time required to perform evaluations

Outcome

The Liquor Control Board evaluated all vendor bids securely and efficiently. The solution saved time and was completed in an environmentally positive manner due to the elimination of printing, scanning and photocopying paper.

  • Time Savings:  Significantly reduced total evaluation time
    • The total evaluation of 52 vendor proposals was completed in less than three (3) weeks
      • Evaluators completed the non-cost evaluation of proposals in ten (10) calendar days
    • Allowed procurement team to see real-time scores submitted by evaluators, track evaluation progress, and verify all vendor responses were evaluated
    • The entire process was completed electronically, thus facilitating quick manipulation and evaluation of data
  • Error Reduction: Evaluations were completed and recorded electronically in the cloud
    • Reduced the potential for administrative error re-keying all evaluator information
    • Allowed for identification of duplicate evaluations
  • Security: Evaluation portal and proposals were secure
    • Access was limited to only those who were participating in the process
    • Documents were secure, and unable to be downloaded and/or shared
  • Ease of Use: Evaluation website and forms were easy to use
    • Simple, easy to learn process
    • Evaluators were trained in approximately 45 minutes
    • Initial evaluator feedback suggests the process was completed smoothly
  • Additional Savings:  Evaluation completed in environmentally positive manner
    • Reduced paper:  eliminated printing, scanning, and photocopying of copious documents
    • Reduced email:  eliminated numerous emails back and forth
    • Reduced mailings:  eliminated mailing documents and/or digital media

The cloud solution is modifiable for other purposes including Bid Publication, Anonymous Vendor Q&A, Electronic Vendor Submission, Award Notification and Contract Management. 


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