Joliet Junior College masters supply chain uncertainty with ESM Source

During the pandemic, bidding and solicitation processes continue without interruption.

When colleges and universities across the U.S. shuttered in response to the pandemic sweeping the country in the spring of 2020, procurement specialists at Joliet Junior College were more prepared than most.

“With ESM Source, I was able to continue bidding as usual,” said Roxanne Venegas, purchasing manager at JJC. “My counterparts at other community colleges weren’t so fortunate,” she recalled. “They struggled to find a way to keep moving forward with their solicitations.”

In procurement, the bidding process never stops—especially for critical services. “We had important RFPs that needed to be released,” Roxanne said. Those included proposals for employee benefits, athletic insurance, and recyclable materials, all of which needed to be renewed to prevent an interruption of service. With ESM Source, bids and solicitations can be handled seamlessly online. “When the college closed for the pandemic, we were able to continue processing those solicitations,” Roxanne said. “And with our bid documents all online, we were able to answer any questions that came up from our vendors,” she added, “even from home.” JJC was also able to reach suppliers more quickly to source products that were hard to find during the pandemic.

Roxanne encourages anyone interested in improving their bidding and solicitation procedures to consider ESM Source. “The reporting features are easy for me to use—I can design my own reports now without contacting IT,” she said. “FOIA requests that used to take a half day to complete only take a few minutes now,” she added. “And I can review inactive vendors and identify those who probably should be removed from the system.”

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“Now I can make sure that we’re getting what we asked for and that we’re comparing apples to apples.”

Roxanne Venegas, Purchasing Manager, Joliet Junior College

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