Feds expect to rollout new $80M electronic procurement system starting late 2019

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The federal government will start rolling out its new electronic procurement system later this year, representing a sizeable shift in how Ottawa companies will do business with a major local buyer.

Public Services and Procurement Canada awarded a five-year, $80.3-million contract to Infosys Public Services last July to develop a simplified procurement platform for the federal department. Parliamentary Secretary Steven MacKinnon shared more details on that plan Tuesday.

Under the feds’ “Better Buying” plan, PSPC will begin incrementally rolling out its electronic procurement system in late 2019. The interactive solution will eliminate the need for paper filing and reduce the administrative burden on suppliers, according to the department.

In order to make bidding on federal contracts as accessible as possible, the feds say they’re simplifying language and removing duplicate wording in tenders for goods and services. PSPC notes that some 100-page tenders have been reduced to 44 pages through these efforts, and has set a goal to cut the length of contracts in half by 2020.

PSPC’s forthcoming procurement changes include new tools to track vendor performance, giving an edge to existing suppliers that maintain productive relationships with the feds.

Internally, PSPC has also launched recruitment and intern initiatives to attract procurement talent and new graduates to the department.

In an effort to include a diverse range of businesses and socio-economic groups in the procurement process, PSPC has also been in discussions about launching social procurement initiatives aimed at women, visible minorities and Indigenous populations and business owners with disabilities.

The federal government purchases some $22 billion worth of goods and services over the course of the year; closer to home, the feds represent the largest single buyer of goods and services in the National Capital Region.