Capital Metro makes its purchases based on several determining factors, including price. Items expected to cost less than $50,000 are purchased through Capital Metro's "small purchases" method of procurement. Anything in excess of $50,000 requires full and open competition.
There are two types of purchases that fit into this category: those less than $3,000 and those between $3,000 and $50,000.
Purchases less than $3,000 are single-source. This means that if the price offered is determined to be fair and reasonable, and the vendor is able to meet delivery and other requirements, no other vendors are contacted.
Requests for quotes (RFQ)
RFQs are used for purchases between $3,000 and $50,000. A brief description of the item or service is provided to vendors, who are notified using a online supplier database, PlanetBidsTM. Interested vendors then submit a written quote to Capital Metro by an established deadline. Capital Metro may notify additional vendors recommended by a requesting department, the internet, phone books, industry guides, etc.
Purchases exceeding $50,000 require more sophisticated methods than those used for small purchases.
The basic types of procurement methods used for large purchases are invitations for bids (IFB) and requests for proposals (RFP). Generally, goods or commodities are purchased via IFB, whereas services are generally purchased via RFP.
In both cases, special efforts are made to make the vendor community aware of our requirements. Capital Metro generally accepts bids or proposals from any vendor that would like to participate in a competition. Solicitations are advertised in newspapers, and registered vendors are notified using an online supplier database, PlanetBidsTM. The notification provides a basic description of the item or service to be purchased and prompts registered vendors to return the appropriate information to Capital Metro. The solicitation is then developed, which includes a detailed purchase description and/or statement of work, contractual terms and conditions, and instructions on how to submit an offer. Solicitations remain open an adequate amount of time to allow vendors the opportunity to respond.
Invitations for bids (IFB)
For IFBs, Capital Metro awards contracts to the most responsive and responsible bidder offering the lowest price. A bid is responsive if it meets all the material requirements of a solicitation; in other words, the bid submitted doesn't vary from Capital Metro's original requirement. A bidder is responsible if (s)he can demonstrate the capacity and the willingness to perform (i.e., has the proper equipment, manpower, financial resources, technical expertise, etc.). It would be incorrect to assume that the low bidder always gets the award when the IFB method of procurement is used. An award is made to the low bidder only if the bidder meets both tests of responsiveness and responsibility.
Requests for proposals (RFP)
For RFPs, the award is not based on price alone, but also other weighted factors of importance specified in the solicitation. Award selection is done by an evaluation team that independently evaluates the proposals submitted.
For each solicitation issued, Capital Metro assigns a contracts administrator as the primary point of contact to assist vendors. In addition, a conference is generally scheduled well in advance of the bid or proposal submission deadline so that vendors can obtain clarification from Capital Metro. Contracts in excess of $150,000 require approval by Capital Metro's board of directors prior to their award. After evaluation of all offers, Capital Metro awards the contract.
Other procurement methods
On occasion, Capital Metro may use procurement methods different from the ones listed above. These include sole source, statement of qualifications (SOQ) for statutory professional services for disciplines that require state of Texas licensing and emergency procurements.