Have questions about using the Hawaii e-Procurement System (HePS) for competitive sealed bids and proposals for goods, services and construction? You may find what you are looking for with these frequently asked questions.


What is HePS?

HePS is the electronic procurement system that the Board of Water Supply, City and County of Honolulu (BWS) uses to issue solicitations for competitive sealed bids and proposals for goods, services and construction, receive responses, and issue notices of award. Our eProcurement system is hosted by SicommNet and has the following elements:

  • Vendor registration: Vendors register on HePS by entering standard information such as company name and address, and create a profile identifying the categories of goods, services or construction the vendor provides. Government purchasers can search HePS prior to solicitation to ensure vendors are registered for the goods, services or construction they need to procure.
  • Electronic Solicitations: Government purchasers (called buyers in HePS) enter their solicitation on electronic forms and may attach files, if needed. Once released, posted on the internet via HePS the electronic solicitations are available in a standard format to vendors registered on HePS.
  • E-mail notification: Each evening e-mails are sent to vendors registered for the categories of goods and services being procured, providing a link directly to the solicitation. Amendments are also issued electronically with e-mail notifications sent to vendors.
  • Submission of electronic quotes. Vendors submit quotes electronically in as few as three clicks and may also add comments or attach files as appropriate. A vendor may amend the quote electronically as many times as necessary up to the submission due date and time.
  • Electronic award: Once a solicitation closes, the HePS buyer reviews the submissions. When a decision is made, the buyer notifies the vendor on HePS and the awarded vendor receives a notice of award in an e-mail. Non-selected offerors are also notified.
  • Searchable: Because the solicitations, responses, and notices of award are electronic, data is kept in a database and is searchable. Vendors and buyers may search awards and solicitations.

What are some of the benefits of utilizing HePS?

Some benefits of HePS are:

  • Open access: Vendors have more opportunities to submit quotes for small purchases. Vendors who have submitted quotes are notified via e-mail when the solicitation is awarded and have access to an abstract listing all vendor names and their quotes.
  • Record keeping/Search Function: All solicitations are kept in one place on HePS. HePS buyers can search HePS for all solicitations; vendors can search the solicitations for which they have submitted quotes for a year.

Sharing Information/Streamlining: Solicitations that have been issued in the past may be searched, restaged, amended as necessary and reissued when new needs arise. HePS buyers can search for and restage any solicitation issued on HePS, not just their own. This allows a sharing of knowledge and keeps state agencies from having to “reinvent the wheel.”

Is HePS being used for all solicitations? Can vendors stop checking the procurement notices website?

Currently, the BWS uses HePS to issue Invitations for Bids (IFBs) and Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for goods, services and construction pursuant to §103D-302 and §103D-303, Hawaii Revised Statutes.  

What are the benefits of HePS for vendors?

  • Vendors are sent email notifications of solicitations whose commodity code categories they have included in their commodity profile. Vendors may also log in to see all solicitations.
  • Vendors have access to their history of awards in HePS all in one place.
  • Vendors have access to the outcome of solicitations. Once an IFB closes, vendors may access an abstract of all quotes submitted, including the vendor names and prices.
  • Vendors are sent an email when a solicitation is awarded.
  • Vendors may search HePS solicitations/awards.

What is SicommNet?

SicommNet is the company contracted to provide HePS for the State of Hawaii. SicommNet is an application service provider, which means there is no software to download to use HePS. With your login/password you can access HePS from anywhere you have access to the internet.

Where do I register for HePS?

Vendors can register for HePS by going to http://www.sicomm.net/vendor-registration​.

Vendors can register for HePS at any time. We recommend vendors watch the HePS registration instructions prior to registering as it walks vendors through all the information needed and provides step-by-step instructions on how to register. The registration process takes about 15 minutes. The HePS registration instructional video can be found  on the HePS page found on the BWS Procurement site at www.boardofwatersupply.com/procurement/heps.

Once registered, vendors will begin receiving e-mail notifications. Note e-mail notifications are often batched and sent in the evening. If a vendor wishes to see a solicitation prior to receiving evening e-mail notifications, the vendor can log in.

Note: Upon registering for HePS vendors should also register for Hawaii Compliance Express (HCE), a program separate from HePS, if they have not already done so.

What does it cost to use HePS?

HePS is an unfunded initiative which means that no funds have been appropriated for the program. There is no cost for vendors to register or to submit quotes or bids. However, when a vendor is awarded, the vendor will pay SicommNet .85% of the award, (or $8.50 for every $1,000).

The fee is due upon delivery. When the vendor receives a notice of award in HePS there will be a delivery date (entered by the buyer). HePS will automatically generate and send an invoice to the vendor. The vendor will have 30 days to pay SicommNet.

For instance, a buyer may send a notice of award on January 1 for delivery of goods on March 1. On March 1, SicommNet will generate an invoice, it will be sent to the vendor and the vendor will have 30 days to pay.

If the award is an indefinite quantity to be delivered over time, the vendor will report sales to SicommNet each quarter with a copy to the buyer. SicommNet will bill based on the report and the vendor will have 30 days to pay. Lastly, there is a cap of $5,000 for the fee for each award. The fee for awards of $588,000 and above will be $5,000. Vendors may pay SicommNet upon award.

If a vendor is in HePS does that mean the vendor is compliant?

No, it does not. This is because vendor compliance can change from day to day. HePS connects with Hawaii Compliance Express at the time a buyer is awarding the solicitation to verify proof of compliance.

Is there a way to see what is being procured on HePS without having an account/logging in?

Solicitations are open to all registered vendors are on the HePS Public Procurement Notices site.

 

What are commodity codes and what is my commodity code profile?

When you register in HePS, you will create a profile of your company including selecting from a list the categories of the goods, services and construction your company is interested in providing. When you log in to HePS, the solicitations on HePS that fall within your profile are displayed rather than having to search through a long list of all solicitations. You can also view all HePS solicitations simply by clicking the show all button.

How do vendors view solicitations on HePS? Do vendors have to include all commodity codes in their profile?

No, as a vendor, you do not have to include all commodity codes in the vendor commodity profile.

  1. Log in to your account on http://www.sicomm.net. Remember, the login/password are case sensitive.
  2. From the top row of tabs, select Agency Opportunities
  3. Select Quotation (or Bid, Proposal or Information, as appropriate) from the row of subtabs below it. You will see a list of all current requests for quotes (or bids, proposals or requests for information) on HePS for the commodity codes in your profile. To see all the requests for quotations (bids, Proposals, etc.), select the Show all Solicitations button at the top of the list.
  4. Click the radio button in the Respond column to see the details of a solicitation.
  5. To see all quotations including those not in the vendor commodity profile select the show all button.

What is proof of compliance/compliance documentation and how do I get it?

All vendors doing business with the BWS are required to comply with all applicable statutes, administrative rules and procedures.

Proof of vendor compliance (compliance documentation) is required. Acceptable proof/documentation for the BWS is obtained by subscribing to Hawaii Compliance Express (HCE). Proof/documentation of compliance is required for awards of $2,500 and above and may be required for all awards at the discretion of the purchasing agency or Chief Procurement Officer.

Registration in Hawaii Compliance Express allows the vendor to submit applications for proof of compliance of compliance for the following:

  • Registered and in Good Standing (COGS) with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Business Registration Division
  • Tax are paid/tax clearance (federal and state) verified by the IRS and Department of Taxation
  • Compliance with the following labor laws: HRS Chapters 383, Hawaii Employment Security Law (Unemployment Insurance) HRS 386, (Worker's Compensation law) HRS 392 Temporary Disability Insurance and HRS 393 Prepaid Healthcare Act, verified by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Hawaii Compliance Express (HCE)
Vendors obtain proof of compliance by subscribing to Hawaii Compliance Express (HCE), a one-stop online program where vendors may verify and manage their compliance. HCE eliminates the need to provide paper documents for each award. The cost to subscribe to HCE is $12/year.

Note: If a vendor cannot provide proof of compliance upon award, award may be delayed or may not be awarded. It is recommended vendors register in HCE as soon as possible and prior to responding to a solicitation to allow time for processing which may take up to two weeks. Purchasing agencies may check Hawaii Compliance Express for compliance status at any time.

See also: Hawaii Compliance Express FAQs

Do vendors located outside of the State of Hawaii have to meet the requirement for proof of compliance?

Yes. Vendors should register in Hawaii Compliance Express (HCE), a program separate from HePS, if they wish to do business with the Board of Water Supply. See the Hawaii Compliance Express FAQs.

I receive email notifications of solicitations from the mainland but not from Hawaii. Is something wrong?

Your commodity code profile may simply not include any of the commodities being purchased by the Board of Water Supply at this time.

To verify, you may always log into your HePS account and select the view all (solicitations) button at the top of the solicitation listing. If you do see solicitations for which you want to respond you may do so and that commodity code will be added to your profile when you submit your bid.

What are some statutes and regulations with which vendors must be in compliance with prior to being awarded?

All vendors doing business with the State are required to comply with all applicable statutes, administrative rules and procedures.

While applicable statutes will vary with the types of goods, services or construction, vendors doing business with the Board of Water Supply must comply with the following Hawaii statutes, including but not limited to:

  • HRS Chapter 84, Standards of Conduct
  • HRS §103-53, Contracts with the State or counties; tax clearances, assignments
  • HRS §103-55, Wages, hours, and working conditions of employees of contractors performing services
  • HRS §103-55.5, Wages and hours of employees on public works construction contracts
  • HRS Chapter 103D, Hawaii Procurement Code (for goods, services and construction)
  • HRS Chapter 103F, Purchases of Health and Human Services (for health and human services)
  • HRS §11-355, Campaign contributions by state and county contractors prohibited
  • HRS Chapter 237, General Excise Tax
  • HRS Chapter 383, Unemployment Insurance (Hawaii Employment Security Law)
  • HRS Chapter 386, Workers’ Compensation Law
  • HRS Chapter 392, Temporary Disability Insurance
  • HRS Chapter 393, Prepaid Healthcare Act

Vendors must also be registered and in compliance in Hawaii Compliance Express to show proof of compliance for:

  • Registration and in good standing to do business in the State of Hawaii from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Business Registration Division
  • Payment of federal and State taxes due -tax clearance- (State Department of Taxation and IRS),
  • Compliance with HRS Chapters 383, 386, 392 and 393 (Department of Labor and Industrial Relations).

Vendors may also be required to complete forms testifying they are in compliance with various statutes such as HRS §103-55.

Can vendors access the abstract for a solicitation and see the quotes and vendors who submitted them? If so, when are they available?

A vendor who submits an offer may access it’s abstract for the following methods of procurement:

  • Invitation for Bids (IFBs /RFBs)

Abstracts are available on the evening of the submittal deadline. This occurs after the evening batch, usually between 5:30 and 7:30 PM HST.

What can I do if I forget my password to access HePS?

Go to the HePS log-in page. Click on the help button next to the login. Enter your e-mail and you will get an e-mail with your password in a few minutes.

Who can I call to ask questions?

For general questions about HePS and policy questions contact the Board of Water Supply Procurement Office at (808) 748-5071 or via email at FN_Procurement@hbws.org.

 

For help in registering, how to use the HePS application, refining your vendor profile only, contact SicommNet:

Note that SicommNet is the vendor contracted by the Board of Water Supply to provide the HePS application only and cannot to respond to any questions regarding procurement. The Board of Water Supply is not responsible for any advice vendors may seek from SicommNet.

Posted: 09/03/19