The application period for this challenge is now closed

  • Governer Partner :City of Mobile
  • Department :Office of Supplier Diversity
  • Category :CRM / application management, Digitization, Process Improvement

Project Summary

Easy-to-use tool for vendors to apply for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certifications, and to effectively participate in government bid opportunities.

Challenge Details

To equip Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) with the information needed to properly register as a business, more easily identify and reply to City bid opportunities applicable to their skills and certifications, and accurately submit a Disadvantaged Business certification application.

The City of Mobile Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) is responsible for vendor registration, DBE certification, evaluation of bid packages for proper DBE participation, tracking of DBE spends, Micro-Economic Loan Program (City and County) and engaging DBE and Small Business vendors in the City’s procurement process. We also facilitate the publication and advertisement of bid opportunities, especially for DBE’s.

Currently, when a vendor wants to register to be a vendor for the City, they are directed to the City’s vendor self-service portal to register or are emailed vendor registration forms. For DBEs, OSD staff emails and discusses verbally what needs to be attached with the certifications application. Once the packets are submitted, the OSD reviews the information included, verifies the information, and schedules their on-site visit (with employee interview). For bid solicitations, the City posts its bid documents on the City web page, and mails or emails bid packages to vendors that have indicated their interest in receiving bids directly. The bids are in paragraph format with often lengthy terms and conditions. Vendors are responsible to find bid opportunities, screen them for qualification requirements, and complete responses that often require multiple forms, assertions, and legal documents (bonds, certificates, insurance, etc.)

The City wants to improve DBE certification and DBE bid participation. The DBE certification processcan be a time consuming, repetitive process to get the required information from the DBE applicant to allow for review of the DBE’s file. Once the evaluation process begins, if the necessary information is not included with the application, an email is sent to the vendor with a listing of the unaccounted documents with a request for them to be forwarded to OSD. (Many times the vendor does not have and does not know how to obtain the information needed). The City has to assist with obtaining business/personal tax records, banking documents, equipment lease/purchase agreements, E-verify, State Registration and business type designation documents. For bids, the City often does not get sufficient numbers of DBE bidders, or their bids are submitted incorrectly.

The City would like to see more DBE vendors correctly registered with the City and successfully bidding for and obtaining contracts. The City would like to do this by reducing administrative and informational barriers with a user-friendly tool that helps the Vendor determine the right documentation required, and helps the Vendor complete, compile, and submit that information. Additionally, the tool would ease the City’s review process for compliance. The tool would help the City reach more DBEs with bid opportunities, allow DBEs to be aware of and screen bid opportunities for best fit and likelihood of success, and improve a DBE’s success rate in submission of a responsive bid. Some functionality of such a tool may:
• Guide vendors to the City’s Vendor Self-Service website
• Guide them through the Disadvantaged Business Application Checklist
• Provide website links to the proper agencies they would need to obtain information from information for completing their DBE Application
• Provide businesses with a template of what they should have when they come to the City Vendor Self-Service portal to register as a vendor with the City of Mobile.