Frequently Asked Questions

Key topics of the Procurement Modernization Initiative:

Procurement Modernization

What is the Procurement Modernization Project?
Under Manitoba’s current procurement model, the government uses a decentralized, transactional approach to purchase goods and services. This means there are often separate tenders issued to buy the same goods and services. This leads to missed opportunities for cost savings and better value for the dollars spent. 

In order to provide greater value to taxpayers and to achieve better results and cost savings, in June 2018, the Manitoba government launched a three-year initiative to modernize procurement.

The project includes:
  • centralizing procurement services to ensure government contracting is more coordinated, strategic and sustainable
  • adopting a category management approach to procurement to help the province become a smart shopper
  • improving planning and using Manitoba’s purchasing power to achieve economies of scale
Why is the government implementing this strategy?
Manitobans are smart shoppers who expect government to do the same. The government currently sources goods and services in a decentralized, transactional approach, which can be costly and inefficient.

Modernizing procurement will enable the government to become a ‘smart shopper’ by bundling contracts to reduce costs. It is expected that Manitoba will see real cost savings while maintaining the quality of services Manitobans expect and deserve.

What is the Manitoba government hoping to accomplish?
It is expected that Manitoba will realize cost savings while maintaining the quality of services Manitobans expect and deserve.

Is this done in other provinces?
The Nova Scotia government is currently updating their procurement services in a similar way. In year three of their implementation process, the current savings are more than $25 million per year. Manitoba will benefit from their experience with this type of reform.

Who is leading the work on this project?
The Procurement Services Branch within Central Services is leading the project.



Category Management

What is category management?
Category management means one contract can be issued for a particular category of goods or services for several departments, instead of several separate contracts. This allows government to plan more effectively, negotiate lower costs through larger purchases of a good or service and better manage contracts.

When will category management be fully implemented?
The Manitoba government's initial transition to a category management organization is taking place in waves, with each wave consisting of multiple category streams. The first wave is currently underway and the second wave will start in late Spring 2019. Subsequent waves are planned for beyond 2019 to continue Manitoba’s transition to category management.

Will category management make it difficult for small suppliers to compete on price?
No. While price is an important factor in how contracts are awarded, Manitoba government will continue to focus on a number of factors when awarding contracts, including quality, value, and a solution that best fulfils requirements.

How will the Manitoba government ensure fair and equitable procurement? 
The Manitoba government remains committed to following open and fair procurement practices.
Through its policies, processes and practices, the Manitoba government remains committed to: 
  • ensure that every purchase represents a fair and reasonable cost to the taxpayer for the required goods or services
  • ensure that all qualified and interested potential suppliers are extended the opportunity to compete for Manitoba government business. 
  • ensure that all purchasing transactions are processed in a timely and cost effective manner that best fulfils the requirements of the customer while satisfying any applicable legislation and/or management policy
  • contribute to the government's environmentally sensitive product initiatives, and encourage the use of environmentally preferred products
What benefits can suppliers expect to see? 
Suppliers, both large and small, can expect to see the following benefits: 
  • Through a more robust demand planning process, the Manitoba government will be better positioned to inform the supplier community of upcoming procurement requirements.
  • Through the adoption of modern, streamlined and standardized approaches to procurement there will be increased transparency and a reduced administrative burden on suppliers when working with the government.
Will suppliers have to follow new processes to bid on tenders?
In certain cases, procurement modernization could result in changes to procurement processes. No decisions have been made at this time regarding specific changes. Where changes are determined to be required, suppliers will be informed in advance and those changes will be adopted incrementally over time. 

The Manitoba government continues to use MERX to post tenders.

Will all suppliers that can bid on tenders now be able to bid on tenders once the new processes are in place?
Yes. All suppliers that bid on tenders today can continue to do so under the new model. We are not changing who can bid on tenders.

Will smaller suppliers still be able to bid on contracts to supply government?
Yes. Under the new procurement approach, requirements for goods and services will be taken to market using category management practices that will lead to larger and longer term opportunities for industry. The approach will provide potential bidders with a fair opportunity to participate in the competitive bidding process for goods and services. The Manitoba government continues to use MERX for tenders.

I am curious if potential suppliers (future bidders) require any level of pre-registration, like a vendor of record?
Potential bidders do not require a vendor of record with the Manitoba government in order to bid on government tenders. However, potential bidders do need to obtain a MERX subscription from the MERX website if they have not already done so. By registering for a basic subscription, which is free for Manitoba vendors and suppliers, potential bidders can receive free access to opportunities posted by the Manitoba government. In addition, there is no cost to purchase any Manitoba tenders through MERX by anyone in Manitoba.

While I have reviewed the website, I am unsure if things have already changed with the Procurement Modernization Initiative.
Work is underway and any changes to government procurement that result from this initiative will be implemented incrementally over time. Both internal and external stakeholders will be informed of any changes affecting them.

How can I bid on any Manitoba government tenders?
Manitoba uses MERX to post tenders. Therefore, the tender documents are only available through MERX.com. A MERX account is required; however you can access Manitoba government tenders at no charge. When signing up for the Basic subscription be sure to select the Government of Manitoba Opportunities account, so that you can access the documents at no charge. MERX does offer value added services but you are not required to subscribe to them.

Once you have your MERX account you will have to ‘order’ the document for $0.00.

Your MERX account will also notify you of any additional information associated with the tender that is made available, to ensure you have the most accurate and up to date information.

To access Manitoba government tenders for free, go to MERX.com

Where do I find more information on how to use MERX?
For more information on how to use MERX, visit https://www.merx4.merx.com/public/Help


Will the Manitoba government change its current procurement operating model? 

Yes. Under Manitoba’s current procurement model, the government uses a decentralized, approach to purchasing goods and services. This means there are often separate tenders issued to buy the same goods and services. This leads to missed opportunities to generate cost savings and to create better value for the dollars spent. 

In order to better leverage Manitoba’s purchasing power and achieve economies of scale, Manitoba will be adopting a category managed approach to procurement and will be centralizing procurement services to ensure procurement is more coordinated, strategic and sustainable.

The new procurement operating model will transition the Manitoba government from a decentralized operating model to a center-led operating model. In the new model, a Centre of Excellence (CoE) function responsible for leading the overall Procurement Program will be established under Manitoba’s Central Services.

Selected government departments will lead procurement category cluster teams responsible for putting in place contracts that can be used by all departments to meet their requirements. A pan-government procurement oversight committee chaired by Treasury Board will be established to ensure departmental procurement needs are met and that key performance metrics are maintained.

When will the Manitoba government transition to the target operating model?
The transition to the new operating model will occur incrementally in alignment with the implementation of procurement categories and is expected to occur over a number of years.