Competitive Sourcing Guidelines

To ensure that Laboratory funds are properly awarded and to encourage participation in the Laboratory’s procurement process by a variety of suppliers, competitive sourcing should be used to the extent possible. The competitive bidding process allows us to properly survey the marketplace and ensure that Laboratory resources are appropriately used.

In order to make the competitive bidding process efficient and effective, we have Procurement Teams available to assist you. Our Procurement Teams have professional purchasing experience, capabilities and technology to represent the Laboratory in a formal solicitation for competitive bids and help you secure the lowest price and best deal. We can identify competent bidders, develop formal Request for Proposal (RFP) documents, and manage the entire process—using either a traditional competitive bidding process or new electronic sourcing technology.

Contact a Procurement Team Member for more information or read on for details.

The Customer Role in Competitive Sourcing

Customers should follow these guidelines to facilitate the competitive bid process:

  • Contact a Procurement Team early in the purchasing process.
  • When communicating with suppliers, know what—and what not—to say. For more info, download this PDF.
  • Use the Customer Guides which provide you factors to consider when preparing to request a purchase. Our Customer Guides for Construction, Goods & Services and R&D contracts will help you identify information important to provide to the Procurement Team.
  • Provide the Procurement Team with detailed information about your requirements for the transaction. Note that carefully preparing exact specifications will ensure that you get the best results from the bidding process.
  • Allow the Procurement Team sufficient time to research potential suppliers, review and clarify your department’s requirements and prepare the bid documents.
  • Allow sufficient time (up to four weeks) for suppliers to respond to bid requests.

Procurement’s Role in Competitive Sourcing

Our trained Procurement Teams understand the rules, regulations and exceptions involved in the competitive bid process. We follow these guidelines when soliciting bids from potential suppliers:

  • We obtain at least two to three bids from competent sources of supply.
  • In support of the Laboratory’s commitment to supplier diversity, qualified small businesses may be given priority consideration.
  • We use one of the Laboratory’s formal documents to request bids from suppliers: Request for Information (RFI), Request for Quotation (RFQ) or Request for Proposal (RFP).
  • We include in the bid document specific terms and conditions and the Laboratory’s General Provisions.
  • We provide a contact name, phone number and email address for suppliers that have questions regarding the request.
  • We define clear bid submission instructions and assign a submittal deadline. We can only accept bids submitted by this deadline.
  • We evaluate the submitted proposals from suppliers who wish to bid and determine the most advantageous offer to the Laboratory, based on the selection criteria.

Of course, there are circumstances when competitive sourcing is not required or practical. To learn more, please visit our Sole Sourcing page.