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Office of General Services: Centralizing Procurement in New York State

Office of General Services: Centralizing Procurement in New York State

Managing state services throughout New York is a massive responsibility entrusted to The Office of General Services (OGS). The OGS was established in 1960 to provide support services for the New York State government; since then their responsibilities have grown to include management of state property, construction projects, state tours and procurement. With a focus on delivering value and maximizing cost-effectiveness, the Office of General Services is always working to modernize and improve their processes to ensure the needs of the state are met.

OGS’s primary area of expertise is centralizing the support and service operations of the state government. To do so, the agency focuses on the development and management of state programs, while supporting local governments, eligible nonprofits, school districts and public authorities. When possible, OGS also partners with vendors and businesses to provide goods and services to state agencies, creating significant economic opportunities for vendors. OGS agency services include:

        • Architectural, engineering and construction management services for buildings in New York State
        • Providing building management, energy saving operations, and maintenance services to 49 major office complexes and buildings statewide
        • Managing the leases of privately held real estate used for state purposes
        • Administering support and distribution services for the state, including the alternative-fueled vehicles program, interagency mail and freight services, printing and copying services, disposal of surplus state equipment, and distribution of USDA surplus food supplies
        • Shared administrative services (e.g., human resources and financial management) for 14 state agencies
        • Visitors' assistance, tours and maintenance of historical architectural sites and art collections featured at the Empire State Plaza, the Executive Mansion and the State Capitol

(Source: Office of General Services. About OGS. Agency Overview. 2017)

Minority, Women, Veteran and Small Business Certification

Minority and women-owned businesses in New York State are eligible for Minority and/or Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) certification through the Empire State Development program. The MWBE provides increased visibility and access to state business opportunities, including proprietary access to special networking and training events. [i]

The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act offers a certification that provides economic business opportunities for service-disabled veterans, along with other assistance to help veterans form and expand their small businesses. [ii]

To be eligible for small businesses certification, a business must be independently owned, have 100 or fewer employees and not have market dominance. In addition, the business’s owner/s must be residents of New York State. Certified small businesses have access to a number of specialized resources through the Empire State Development Division for Small Businesses, including business mentoring, entrepreneurial assistance lending and loan resources. [iii]

Green Procurement

Within the United States, New York is a leader in green purchasing and procurement. Environmentally-preferable purchasing involves sourcing goods and services that have a positive or reduced impact on the environment. OGS and Procurement Services are dedicated to meeting green procurement goals through providing environmentally preferable purchasing contracts. [iv] 

As part of this focus on green procurement, New York State mandates the development of sustainability programs and incorporates them into all aspects of state agency operations. This includes reduction goals for solid waste and paper consumption; expanding the use of bio-fuels in state vehicles; and pursuing energy-efficient infrastructure designs. One example of green procurement is the recently-mandated required purchasing of green cleaning products for public and private elementary and secondary school facilities. [iv] 

The Bidding Process

The Office of General Services is the State of New York’s centralized procurement office and facilitates and administers approximately 1,500 contracts annually. Contracts for goods, services, and technology products are issued for state agencies, municipal governments, and educational institutions. Businesses that wish to sell goods and/or services to the State of New York will need to participate in the competitive bidding process, which is designed to deliver the best value for the state.

Before submitting a bid on a contract opportunity, there may be mandatory activities that a vendor will need to complete in order to become eligible. These may include pre-bid conferences; the submission of a Request for Comment (RFC), Request for Information (RFI), Request for Quote/Qualifications (RFQ), Notice of Intent (NOI) or Invitation/Intent to Bid (ITB). The specific requirements for each bid can be different, but will be explained in each bid notification.

During the bid evaluation process vendors may also need to complete additional requirements including interviews, reference checks, product or service demonstrations and/or requests for clarification.

Once all bids for a specific contract are received, Procurement Services will perform a bid opening of all the responses. The response information is publicly posted within two business days of the bid opening and will remain available until the contract is officially awarded.

Following the bid opening, a selection is made based on the responses received. As part of the selection process, contract negotiations, drafting and completion of administrative forms and review of the final contract may be required before the bid is finally awarded.

(Source: Office of General Services. Procurement Services. Bidding 101. 2017)

OGS: Providing a Wide Variety of Opportunities

Interested vendors should stay up to date about new bids published by The Office of General Services. OGS is a diverse agency with many responsibilities and the many types of goods and services they seek reflect this diversity. For example, window washing services, art supplies, food warehousing, buses, emergency lighting equipment and Harley Davidson police motorcycles are just some of the products and services that were sourced by OGS in 2016. This wide range of procurement needs is what makes OGS an ideal partner for businesses that are looking for opportunities with the State of New York.

Kevin McClintock |

[i] n.p.  Get NYS Certified. New York State Office of General Services. 2017. Web 4 April 2017

[ii] n.p.  Division of Service Disabled Veterans. Business Development. Office of General Services. 2017. Web 4 April 2017

[iii] n.p. Doing Business in NY. Division of Small Business. Empire State Development. 2017. Web 4 April 2017

[iv] n.p.  Green Procurement. Procurement Services. New York Office of General Services. 2017. Web 4 April 2017

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