When a vendor learns of a bid opportunity with the State of North Carolina via an IPS posting, they can follow an embedded URL link to a public posting summary on Ariba Discovery for further information. Vendors with an Ariba Network account can then respond to the Solicitation by accessing the ‘Sourcing Event,’ which is an electronic collection of all the requisite details provided by the State’s Sourcing Agent, and a template into which a vendor can respond with answers and attachments.
For more detailed step-by-step information regarding this topic in a printable format, see the following job aid.
Clicking the 'NCEP' button in IPS will direct vendors to the Public Posting for the ‘Sourcing Event’ on Ariba Discovery.
Vendors do not need an Ariba Network account to see this page.
Once the user clicks on ‘Respond to Posting,’ they will be directed to the Sourcing Event where they can review the details of the Solicitation and provide a response to the Sourcing Agent for their consideration.
The Event Details page will show time remaining, a checklist of steps to take, and the option to review the prerequisites and accept the bidder agreement before continuing the process of submitting a bid.
It will be important for vendors to download certain documents when composing their bids, the ‘Solicitation Document’ being the most important of these.
Navigate to subsection 3.1 and click on the attached document highlighted by blue text, then click ‘Download this attachment’ in the subsequent popup menu. This should be the ‘Solicitation Document’ that the Sourcing Agent has customized for this specific Solicitation. It will include information and instructions about timing, Agency contacts, the State’s Terms and Conditions, and many other important details.
As the vendor scrolls down the Content section of the Sourcing Event, there will be fields into which they can provide answers to questions or upload attachments. Answers in some of those fields will be entered with free-text while others will be answered via drop-down.
A red asterisk (*) to the left of a field will indicate that an answer is required. If a vendor attempts to submit a bid without having completed all required fields, the system will display an error message and direct the vendor to the incomplete field(s).
When all questions have been answered and attachments have been uploaded, the vendor should carefully review their answers for accuracy, scroll to the bottom of the screen, and click the ‘Submit Entire Response’ button if they are ready to send their bid to the Sourcing Agent for consideration.
If there is still more work to be done and the bid is not ready to be submitted quite yet, the user can click ‘Save draft’ and return to complete the response portion at a later time.
Note: It is advised that bids responses be submitted 48 hours prior to the bid ‘Due Date’ time, and that vendors open all attachments to check that they are accurate and readable before submitting.
Vendors may ask questions to the Sourcing Agent up until the deadline listed for a question and answer period in the Solicitation Document. Per subsection 3.2, they are instructed to use the ‘Vendor Question Template’ and communicate via the ‘Event Messages’ page.
Note: This is NOT the case for vendors responding to Solicitations from the Department of Information Technology for Statewide IT Procurement contracts. In those instances, please read the ‘Solicitation Document’ carefully and follow the instructions to submit questions to the Sourcing Agent outside of this tool.
If a Sourcing Agent needs to issue an Addendum to the original Sourcing Event, whether following a question from a vendor or for any other reason, they will fill out a document detailing the changes and post that document into Section 3 of the Sourcing Event.
If a vendor has not yet responded with a bid by the time an Addendum is posted, they should just take the addendum into account when submitting their initial bid. If they have already responded and wish to revise their bid based on new information, they can initiate an update by clicking the ‘Revise/Alternative Response’ button.
Vendors can revise their submitted bid response as many times as necessary until the Event’s deadline for accepting responses as indicated by the countdown clock in the top right of the screen.
Vendors can unlock a previously submitted bid response for revision by clicking the ‘Revise/Alternative Response’ button at the top of the screen.
Vendors can submit a version of their response that protects potential Confidential Information from public distribution by submitting an additional version where that Confidential Information has been redacted.
Vendors can submit as many Alternate Proposals as necessary. For example, maybe the pricing for a set of items in one color is different than the pricing for those same items in another color, and they want the Sourcing Agent to consider both bid responses. The vendor will submit a bid response for the first set of items in the normal fashion, and then they will attach all bid response information for the second set of items (as well as a duplicate version of the primary bid) in a compressed file to the bottom of the same Sourcing Event.