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  1. #1
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    Default Pre-Bid Conferences

    How man of you hold a pre-bid conference (or meeting) when purchasing apparatus?

    I wanted to share an experience that has made me a fan of them. At the suggestion of our city purchasing agent, we held a pre-bid conference about ten days into our 30-day bid process. Attendance was required to submit a final bid.

    This provided several advantages:
    1. You don't have to answer the same question multiple times from different
    dealers.
    2. Everyone gets the same answer to questions.
    3. The dealers see who else they may be bidding against, so increased competition can cause the manufacturers to "sharpen their pencils".

    And most importantly:

    As a department, you determine early in the process who you your potential bidders are. There are no last minute surprises at the bid opening.

    We sent our specs out to six manufacturers, and three of those attended the pre-bid conference. So at this point, we know already before the bid opening date that we will receive no more than three and who they'll be from.


  2. #2
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    I think this sounds like an excellent idea. I know our City manager is always scared of answering bidders questions once the bidding period has begun. This would alleviate his issues, I think. And anything that make the interested dealers sharpen their pencils is good in my book. Oddly enough I wonder do the people here who think everyone should just buy what they want, complain about their taxes? What if every dept. at every level of government bought what they wanted? I guess supply and demand would keep the price of gold toilet seats down!

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Command6 View Post
    How man of you hold a pre-bid conference (or meeting) when purchasing apparatus?

    I wanted to share an experience that has made me a fan of them. At the suggestion of our city purchasing agent, we held a pre-bid conference about ten days into our 30-day bid process. Attendance was required to submit a final bid.
    ...

    How did you handle followup questions from bidders? Req questions in writing with your responses going to all attendees?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    How did you handle followup questions from bidders? Req questions in writing with your responses going to all attendees?
    Would there be many more questions after reviewing the specs and looking to see if you can comply? It looks to me like this gives you 10 days to review the specs and determine your questions, then at this meeting you present the question and everyone hears the same answer and the other builders questions. It would seem to give some added insight into how other builders may be approaching the bid. Then you've got 20 days to submit the bid proposal.

    I'm interested in what some of the salesmen out there think, as sometimes you hears of depts giving differing answers to the same or similar questions. This would seem to keep everyone level on the field. This also adds the bonus to the bidders of hearing what issues others might find. Maybe the group shows the dept. why none of them can comply with a specific spec.

  5. #5
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    I do mostly ambulances sales and have attended pre-bids and honestly prefer them. It lets people know up front who is going to bid.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Would there be many more questions after reviewing the specs and looking to see if you can comply?


    You mean after the salesman gets back and sits with mfg/design eng??? No, not likely to be any questions that need clarification at that point.

  7. #7
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    Default Addendum

    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    How did you handle followup questions from bidders? Req questions in writing with your responses going to all attendees?
    Yes, that's sort of what we did. We made notes of all the vendor questions and a follow-up addendum was sent out by email to all the attendees of the meeting. Most were clarifying questions; I think there were nine items.

    The pre-bid was on Sept. 13, and I have not had any contact with the potential bidders. I do think it adds an element of acco the process.

    FYI, all the bidders present expressed approval of doing it this way. They commented they like the pre-bid sooner rather than later during the bid process.

    The whole meeting lasted about 45 minutes.

    C6

  8. #8
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    We do not do pre-bid meetings. However, the following clause is in all of my specifications and we do send out clarification notices and addenda if necessary to all the bidders. We tend to always have enough bidders since we send bid notices to every manufacturer who has sales and service representation in our area.

    In the event a clarification is requested on the content or context of any part of this specification, the question shall be addressed in writing and forwarded to:

    Battalion Chief XXXX
    XXXX Fire Department
    XXXX
    XXXX, XX XXXXX

    When a Bidder requests clarification, an immediate response can be assured. In fairness to all Bidders, a copy of the request and the Fire Department reply will be forwarded to all participating Bidders who have requested specifications from the City Clerk. To ensure that each Bidder has actually received their copy, it would be prudent of the Bidder to contact Battalion Chief XXXX at various intervals of their bid preparation to check if there has been any clarification requests.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Maybe the group shows the dept. why none of them can comply with a specific spec.
    As you well know, when you read over a builders spec and its says NO EXCEPTION, that almost always means it's an exclusive. So we were very careful about using those words.

    One thing that came up was a product called Tyron wheel safety bands that were included in our spec. One dealer claimed that they were a Pierce exclusive, but I had already contacted Tyron and confirmed the product is open source. In my addendum email, I simply included the product contact information to all the attendees.

    C6

  10. #10
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    Pre-Bid is a good idea for a multiple unit deal or a complex unit, a pre-build (after award) is a must have.

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