Proper planning and identification of needs is essential to allow sufficient time to obtain quality goods and services at competitive prices through fair and open competition. The first step is to identify what is needed, when it is needed, the quantity needed and where it is needed. As the Department is considering its needs, it should contact Purchasing to coordinate various tasks such as identifying funding and developing specifications to ensure that there is sufficient procurement lead time to meet the Department’s delivery requirements. Urgent or unrealistic delivery or performance schedules should always be avoided since it generally restricts competition and increases prices.
An essential element of proper planning is to consider the “Administrative Lead Time” required when processing a competitive procurement. Administrative Lead Time is defined as the period of time from initiation of the requirement by the user to issuance of an award. For competitive sealed bidding or competitive negotiation (those greater than $50,000), the minimum time required to prepare, solicit, evaluate, and make an award is 10 to 12 weeks depending on the complexity of the procurement. Please remember that this period should be included in your planning. Figure 1 provides an example calendar with the major milestones highlighted.
Important: The calendar in Figure 1 is for example purposes only and represents a straightforward bid. Additional time will be required for competitive proposals to allow for negotiation and additional Commissioners Court approvals.