TAVARES — The Lake County Board of County Commissioners approved at its meeting this week a list of initiatives that aim to make it easier for businesses to fully participate in the Lake County purchasing program and the programs of other governmental entities within the County.
The initiatives were the result of coordination through the County’s registered vendors, Lake County Chamber Alliance, County staff and other public sector purchasing entities. The list of procurement-related business friendly initiatives is separated into two categories: ones that are well underway and others that need to be accomplished.
One of the continuing activities is to increase emphasis on the Procurement Officials of Lake (POOL) organization, which hosted the Reverse Vendor Tradeshow in February 2009. More than 1,000 people representing more than 300 business representatives attended the tradeshow for an opportunity to learn how to do business with local governments attended that event.
“Representatives from government purchasing offices throughout the County are trying to maximize use of unified procurement processes so businesses don’t have to deal with differing sets of rules throughout the County,” said Barnett Schwartzman, Director of the Office of Procurement Services. “We’ve been working on a number of initiatives, including a unified Web site, and we will continue that effort aiming for the most positive result.”
Another feature of the business friendly initiatives is the implementation of an automated Request for Quotation (RFQ) process. The newly established automated system brings more transparency, openness and competition to the process of acquiring informal quotations for goods or services valued below $25,000, Schwartzman said. The automated process sends the request to all vendors registered with the County for that particular good or service, and posts the RFQ to the County’s Web site at www.lakecountyfl.gov/departments/procurement_services.
“There’s much more transparency with this process,” Schwartzman said. “Twenty-five to 30 percent of our registered vendors are local, so we think this system will be a big boost for the local business community.”
Other business friendly initiatives include various process improvements, such as providing additional search capabilities throughout the procurement Web site, conducting periodic training sessions for vendors and hosting vendor symposiums.