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How North Cowichan streamlined procurement using Bonfire Intake

May 17, 2021 | Bonfire Interactive

Two procurement professionals collaborating on requests using Bonfire Intake

How does your procurement team manage intake requests? If you’re like procurement coordinator Marla Bossons of the District of North Cowichan, requests could come in any number of formats, from phone calls to Post-It notes left on your desk to what she calls the “Friday afternoon drive-by.”

No matter what, juggling so many different intake channels makes it tough to work strategically, track progress, and get projects off the ground successfully.

Fortunately for Marla, all of that changed when North Cowichan implemented Bonfire, complete with the Intake module. By making the switch, the District has realized major process improvements that are supporting key procurement objectives.

For other public sector organizations hoping to improve their intake process, North Cowichan’s story shows how a more streamlined request system leads to direct benefits for your stakeholders and internal clients.

A procurement team of one

Like many small municipalities, North Cowichan has limited resources and needed a way to make their procurement procedures as efficient as possible.

Located on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada, the District has a population of approximately 32,000 residents. Since becoming a Bonfire client in 2018, they’ve processed over 100 projects through the platform.

That’s no small feat for a procurement team of one. With over 20 years in the finance department, Marla started working on procurement policies and procedures six years ago when she realized the value that process improvements could deliver to her community.

Enhancing the process with Bonfire Intake

Whether you’re flying solo like Marla or part of a larger procurement team, the reality is, all procurement professionals are working at or over capacity most of the time.

With so many responsibilities to juggle, everything you can do to streamline is a good thing. By implementing Bonfire, Marla says North Cowichan now has “a consistent, defensible, transparent process throughout the lifecycle of our projects” with notifications that keep projects on track, a central place for information, and heightened visibility into the pipeline.

 Bonfire Intake gives North Cowichan an efficient, easy-to-manage system for receiving all project requests. Instead of being brought in late to new projects or learning about them through emails, phone calls, impromptu conversations, Council meeting minutes, or Post-It notes, Marla is looped in from the start. Project managers are required to submit all requests through Bonfire, triggering an immediate notification to procurement.

An intelligent to-do list

Marla says “the Intake dashboard is now basically my to-do list.” From a single screen, you can see all project requests, including the number of unassigned, new, and draft ready requests. You can even check the Archive tab to review information about past requests.

For multi-person procurement teams, the option to assign projects is especially helpful, allowing you to distribute the work, while still having a bird’s-eye-view of all projects.

By tracking the status of requests and providing automated notifications and reminders to stakeholders, Bonfire Intake has saved procurement substantial time, reducing the need for back-and-forth correspondence about project requests. 

Project managers can go into Bonfire to get updates whenever they need to without having to reach out to procurement for a status report. The new intake process has also eliminated the need to email large files, since all documents for review can be shared through the module.

The benefits of centralized intake

Overall, North Cowichan’s new process using Bonfire Intake is a game-changer when it comes to tracking, prioritizing, and successfully posting projects. Not only does it make the process easier for all stakeholders, the risk of projects falling through the cracks is virtually eliminated. 

Most importantly, procurement is brought into every project from the get-go, allowing North Cowichan to plan strategically and set projects up to succeed. No last-minute scramble or overlooked priorities – just greater efficiency and value for the community.

For North Cowichan and other organizations using Bonfire Intake, a streamlined request process unlocks these benefits and more:

  • Improved efficiency driven by a consistent, trackable process for receiving project requests 
  • Complete visibility into the procurement pipeline, including planning, approval workflows, execution, and contract activity
  • Better collaboration across the organization, allowing stakeholders and internal clients to see all project requests at a glance, track progress, and distribute tasks
  • Simplified decision-making, thanks to a central dashboard that makes it easier for senior leaders to prioritize projects according to strategic goals

Bonfire Intake helps you start every project off on the right foot, maximize your team’s efficiency, and deliver more value for your organization. Join our upcoming webinar to learn more about Bonfire Intake and Approvals.

About the author

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Bonfire Interactive

Bonfire helps public procurement teams reach better sourcing outcomes through an experience that’s blazingly fast, powered by peer insights, and so easy to use—vendors love it just as much as buyers do.