VINELAND — Cumberland County has added an Internet component to its bidding process, promising cost and convenience advantages for itself and would-be vendors.
The interactive “procurement portal” went online Oct. 1, and it has about 155 registrants.
County officials and designers proudly put the portal through its paces at Friday’s annual Economic Development Board breakfast, held at Mori’s restaurant.
“It will allow us to cast a wider net with receiving bids for services the county may need,” Freeholder Jane Jannarone said.
Chioli Technologies LLC of Verona was paid $21,738 to design the portal, customized from a version in use in Essex County since 2008. The firm also will manage the portal, county purchasing agent David Mulford said.
Michael Frungillo, a partner in the firm, said Essex is saving about $100,000 per year from reduced costs in paper, mailing and related expenses.
Frungillo said Cumberland’s bidding system handles about one-third the volume of Essex. He estimates at least $30,000 in savings.
Traditionally, anyone interested in doing work or supplying materials or services for the county relies on advertisements, notices or contacts with county staff for information.
A trip to county offices usually is required to obtain bid specification packets.
Frungillo said those kinds of documents, with the exception of large projects, now can be downloaded from the portal.
The system also has a feature that automatically e-mails vendors notices on items in which they might be interested.
Watson & Henry Associates, a Bridgeton architectural and engineering firm, is one of the early registrants.
“It was very easy to do,” said Betty Jones, Watson & Henry’s marketing and public relations director. “Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by that. It only took five minutes, and then popped up a RFQ (request for quotes) that’s pertinent to our business.”
Ralph Laird of Ecology Contracting, which consults on oil spills, also signed up to use the automated notice system. He’s downloaded one set of specifications so far, he said.
The web address for the portal is http://cumberlandprocure.org/.