Long Beach Buys, the City of Long Beach’s new online purchasing platform and marketplace, offers a more efficient, equitable approach for local businesses to contract with the City. Business owners can easily view contracting opportunities, register as a vendor for free, and submit proposals for current listings.
The software positions the City to more effectively engage with local, diverse and disadvantaged businesses and facilitates the lowering of barriers for prospective vendors with easy-to-use technology, a landing page and instructions available in multiple languages, and an expeditious vendor onboarding process.
“We are committed to providing quality services and impactful, results-driven policies and initiatives for its residents,” said Long Beach’s Financial Management Department Director Kevin Riper. “Long Beach Buys will make our purchasing process better for everyone and will position the City for a more sustainable purchasing future with the utilization of more local businesses and organizations.”
To provide quality programs and services for residents, the City purchases hundreds of millions of dollars in goods and services every year, ranging from vehicle parts and construction contracts to professional services. The City posts contract options both big and small, so there are opportunities for a variety of businesses.
Registered vendors in Long Beach Buys can submit proposals for large purchase opportunities, over $25,000, through a transparent and competitive proposal process. Registered businesses and organizations can also access and compete for small purchases (those under $25,000), where the City consults the registered vendor directory and approaches vendors directly for quotes.
As part of the City’s Extreme Procurement Makeover initiative, which aims to make Long Beach’s procurement process more efficient, results-driven, equitable and sustainable, Long Beach Buys also includes recommendations related to the City’s other initiatives such as: the Language Access Policy – ensuring the platform and all associated materials are available in different languages and alternative forms; the “Everyone In” Initiative to boost diverse entrepreneurship and inclusive local procurement efforts; and the Framework for Racial Equity and Reconciliation to advance racial equity and economic inclusion.
To ensure Long Beach Buys is reflective of the above, the platform boasts internal data and reporting modules to provide dashboards and reporting on vendor demographics and other statistics, supports the tracking of progress on equity goals and will offer greater transparency to the public. The contract milestone tracking and management feature also makes it easier for City staff to effectively manage contracts, which means fewer City resources spent on administrative functions and more value out of contract performance.
“There was a considerable amount of time taken to address how we can most effectively strengthen our contracting relationships with local, minority owned businesses and also to ensure these businesses are aware of the opportunities available to them through this platform,” said Riper.
To ensure local businesses were aware of the development and launch of Long Beach Buys, City staff provided targeted direct outreach to more than 5,000 small businesses within the City’s business licensing database, in addition to email notifications to over 25,000 current vendors.
Long Beach Buys is partly funded by the Long Beach Recovery Act, a plan to fund economic and public health initiatives for Long Beach residents, workers and businesses critically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of the funding has been allocated to support procurement innovation and improvement. Many Long Beach Recovery Act programs are designed to partner with community-based organizations, notably local minority and women-owned businesses and businesses who work with communities of color.
Local businesses and organizations can access Long Beach Buys at longbeach.gov/purchasing.