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How Bonfire supports emergency procurements during COVID-19 (and beyond)

January 22, 2021 | Meghan Hennessey

Masks and PPE (pictured here) are examples of emergency procurements made during COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus is on the rise again and lockdowns continue across North America. And now, public procurement teams are facing a whole new challenge—sourcing and distributing vaccines.

It’s a daunting time, but also a time of great innovation. Industries are adapting new processes and technologies that they may not have ever considered before, or they may not have expected to implement for another few years. The field of public procurement is no different—we’re seeing an industry that has traditionally not been first-adopters of new technology, now adapting quickly to keep business flowing as usual. Truly, the teams behind the hand sanitizers we see in every public sector building are heroes as they have found new ways to maintain status quo in a turbulent year. 

Through COVID-19, Bonfire has witnessed first-hand how public procurement teams have used our solution and, specifically, how our procurement software has supported emergency scenarios. To enable your team to continue to adapt to the curveballs that COVID-19 has thrown your way, or to prepare for future emergency situations, here are two key Bonfire Strategic Sourcing Software functionalities that are here to help:

Vendor Databases for Emergency Procurement

For both regular and emergency procurements, Bonfire can suggest vendors based on commodity codes, so clients can build invite lists quickly. You can save these lists as a roster of vendors who can support emergency situations, or you can use the functionality on-demand. Once the list is prepared, you can invite the vendors to bid on the proposal and then immediately close the project (for example, if your agency has an emergency procurement policy, it may allow you to close projects sooner than usual after running an invitational). Bonfire even has built-in best practices that recommend how long a project should be open for. However, you also have the ability to override the timeline, which is particularly useful in emergency situations. 

We’ve even seen cases with our clients successfully completing one-day project turnarounds, which is almost unheard of in the public sector. This type of scenario allows you to get the submissions online with the same digital (or “contactless”) means as before, while maintaining rigorous security and transparency obligations in an emergency situation. 

Centralized Emergency Documents

Emergency documents can be created and uploaded in Bonfire and stored in a centralized place to outline procedures during an emergency situation. Bonfire offers the capabilities to store these documents safely, but the documents and procedures themselves—as well as the legal decisions as to how to proceed in an emergency—are decided upon by the client. Having a place to store such a document, however, provides you with the peace of mind in case you are audited in the future and need to reference your emergency procurement procedures.

How Municipal Procurement Teams Transformed in 2020

As a procurement professional, you have had to adapt on-the-fly to address the changing needs of your constituents during COVID-19. We dug into the Bonfire database, and comparing usage in 2019 vs. 2020, here’s an inside look at how municipal government procurement projects have changed:

  • 350% increase in communications devices and accessories
  • 285% increase in computer services
  • 150% increase in consumer electronics
  • 67% increase in data voice or multimedia network equipment or platforms
  • 1300% increase in information technology service delivery
  • 122% increase in software

To ensure a contactless government experience, or to ensure government employees can work from home seamlessly, municipal governments had to quickly and compliantly source the right technology. And Bonfire was there to help.

To learn more about how Bonfire can help your procurement team navigate emergency procurements during the pandemic and beyond, talk to a Bonfire expert today.

About the author

Headshot of Bonfire Blog author Meghan Hennessey

Meghan Hennessey | Bonfire Interactive

As the Marketing Communications Manager at Bonfire, Meghan follows current procurement trends through analyst and media relations. With a passion for community and innovation, Meghan believes in building meaningful relationships with clients and industry experts to contribute to the growth of the industry, supporting it through strong brand communications and multimedia content development.