Metrc recognizes it plays a leading role in cannabis regulatory software and, as such, we can play an important role in advancing the economic inclusion of diverse businesses and the communities in which we operate.
We aim to provide equal access, opportunity, and information to all businesses, and to facilitate nondiscriminatory business relationships. We believe that a diverse supply chain furthers resiliency and success. It helps provide reliable resources, create jobs, and foster competition. That, in turn, helps keep the costs of goods and services competitive – benefiting not just Metrc, but our clients and customers, too.
To provide equal access, opportunity, and information Metrc has made available the following resources. They are intended to support all small businesses as well as enterprises that are owned by minorities, women, veterans, members of the LGBTQ community, and disabled persons (“small and diverse businesses”).
- Best Practices: Our recommendations on how to approach a public or private procurement, including steps to take before responding, during the response creation, and post submission.
- Vendor Questions: Potential questions that vendors may get asked during a public or private procurement, so that vendors can plan ahead and be prepared.
- Metrc’s Supplier Diversity Policy: Our written policy, shared publicly to increase transparency and invite small and minority-owned businesses to engage with us.
- Online Office Hours Signup: A signup form for vendors interested in virtually meeting with Metrc staff to learn more about contracting opportunities with Metrc and/or learning more about our perspective and expertise in government contracting.
- Commitment to Prospective Partners: Our written commitment to providing a fair and transparent environment for prospective vendors.
- Dedicated Procurement Email: A direct line of communication to our procurement team for any vendors interested in partnering with Metrc.
- Reading Materials: Additional reading materials for those interested in the benefits of a diverse supply chain.
General Training and Resources
When responding to a public or private procurement, we recommend that businesses consider the following best practices:
- Attend any pre-procurement conferences or meetings: These sessions may be mandatory for potential bidders, but even if not, they can offer an opportunity for entities to provide more context or information on the procurement and its goals, for bidders to ask questions, and for you to get an idea of the other potential vendors that are interested in the business. Also, as a subcontractor, you may be able to identify partnering opportunities with a prime contractor.
- Get your team together: Set expectations and priorities for subject matter experts (SMEs), clearly articulate the process, set milestones and deadlines, identify if there are any questions or concerns (and start work immediately to get them addressed), determine if this is a contract worth pursuing based on the requirements and your available resources.
- Consider bringing in experts: for example, you may want to consider legal counsel if there are terms and conditions provided and/or SMEs if you’re expanding into a new product line or industry. Furthermore, consider bringing in subcontractors if there are any areas of the procurement your business does not currently do or that you want to strengthen.
Drafting a Response
- Ask questions: Procurements typically allow vendors to ask questions, which is a great opportunity to clarify any confusing or contradictory aspects of a procurement – or even see if you can offer alternate proposals, value-added services, or different pricing models. But be aware of deadlines and designated points of contact. Public procurement entities in particular have strict policies around who you can communicate with and when. Breaking those policies might disqualify you from responding to the procurement.
- Determine budget: Is there a public disclosure of the budget allocated for this product or service? If not, consider asking, but don’t be surprised if they don’t provide it.
- Do your research: Talk to other providers that may know the client and their needs, research publicly available information on their goals, research the incumbent vendor and any potential competitors.
- Ask for help: Ensure all relevant internal departments at least approve of the proposal and the commitments made. Ask subject matter experts to review any technical or process (eg implementation) sections.
- Check in regularly for updates: Develop a regular cadence for checking in with the procurement entity’s point of contact, especially if the decision is overdue.
- Request a debriefing: Whether you win or lose, debriefings can provide valuable information on where you did well – and where you fell short. Sometimes they can also provide scores so you can quantify your response.
- If you win, ensure the contract matches the proposal: Double check the contract language to ensure that it matches the commitments made in your proposal. Consider including top-line information in the contract and including a statement of work (SOW) or the proposal itself as an addendum.
- If you lose, ask about timelines, contract expiration, renewals, and future check-ins: Even if you’re not selected for the contract, it doesn’t mean the business is forever lost. Ask about any expected timelines to negotiate, contract, and implement – as well as the contractual terms, including the expiration and any optional renewals. Also ask when it would be appropriate for you to check back in to see if they’re satisfied with the selected vendor.
When responding to a public or private procurement, be prepared to respond to any or all of the following questions; even if they’re not asked at the outset, buyers might inquire on any/all of the following at any point during the process – including during demonstrations, interviews, and/or negotiations.
- Have you ever been notified that you’re in breach of contract? What happened and how was it resolved?
- Have you ever had a contract terminated for cause? For convenience? What happened and how was it resolved?
- Have you had any known security breaches? What happened and how was it resolved?
- Please describe any litigation you’ve been party to over the last X years. What happened and how was it resolved?
- How many public contracts do you have? What percentage of them are you prime versus subcontractor?
- How many private contracts do you have? What percentage of them are you prime versus subcontractor?
- How long have you been in business?
- What’s your contract renewal rate?
- What’s your longest contract term?
- What percentage of your contracts provide similar services to what we’re requesting? Can you give a brief description of one of them?
- What geographies do you work in?
- Are you a certified small business or majority owned by women, minorities, veterans, persons with disabilities, or LGBTQ persons? Where are you certified?
- What’s your staff turnover rate?
- Do you work on a fixed fee or variable rate or both?
- What’s your average customer satisfaction rating?
- What’s your average employee satisfaction rating?
- Can you provide at least three references?
Office Hours Sign Up
Metrc’s contracting staff hosts monthly office hours for small and diverse businesses. The purpose of these office hours is to provide small and diverse businesses with the opportunity to ask questions on any of the information presented and seek additional guidance and/or best practices on a public or private procurement. (Note: office hours are scheduled upon request.)
The following articles investigate the benefits of a diverse supply chain – to businesses, industries, governments, and consumers.
- How diverse sourcing can create more resilient supply chains (Ernst & Young)
- The Importance of Diverse Suppliers Within the Supply Chain (Michigan State University)
- Why You Need a Supplier-Diversity Program (Harvard Business Review)
- Supply Chain Diversity: More than Quotas (Wharton Magazine)
- Five Reasons Why You Should Prioritize Supplier Diversity (Accenture)
- Why Supplier Diversity Programs are Essential (Diversity Inc)
- Buying Better: The Benefits of Supply Chain Diversity (Bain & Company)
Metrc’s Policies and Procedures for Prospective Partners
Metrc’s Supplier Diversity Policy
As a global leader in the seed-to-sale cannabis supply chain technology, Metrc recognizes that having a diverse supplier pool will bring create innovation, attract talented partners, and create a competitive advantage and a powerful business tool. Metrc’s supplier diversity mission is to proactively identify, build relationships with, and purchase goods and services from certified small businesses as well as enterprises owned by minorities, women, veterans, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, and disabled persons that can help Metrc achieve its corporate objectives.
Supplier Diversity Policy
It shall be the policy of Metrc that diverse suppliers will have an equal opportunity to be included in our strategic sourcing and procurement process. Companies that seek to do business with Metrc must demonstrate the ability to add value, and provide high-quality goods and services that are competitively priced, reliable, and aligned with our superior level of service. In order to assess such value, goods and services, Metrc will have a diverse panel of leadership to assess the proposals provided, and will ensure that at least three different executive leaders provide such assessment in a written form. Diversity of experience and thought shall be one category of assessment.
Companies seeking to do business with Metrc in a RFP will demonstrate its own commitment to a diverse supplier program, including its own goals of promoting diverse suppliers. Any Metrc RFP will not move forward without at least 10% of the suppliers establishing diverse representation. Advertising for subcontracting opportunities with Metrc shall be posted in publications and with organizations with a diverse following.
In an effort to continuously improve in the area of supplier diversity, Metrc will be involved with groups such as the national minority supplier development council as well as the following:
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
- US Pan Asian Chamber of Commerce
- US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
- National Veteran-Owned Business Association
Metrc’s involvement in such organizations shall include advertising and recruiting for subcontracting opportunities; offering business mentoring and training, specifically in the areas of RFP responses, other bid responses, and best practices in subcontracting. Metrc will also participate in such organizations to provide sponsorships both monetarily and in representation for events, panels and other networking opportunities. Where appropriate and welcomed by the organization, Metrc will invite other organizations to its internal training and development activities to provide additional support.
Metrc understands that new and diverse business may often face the problem of having fewer resources and a small network to seek assistance from. Metrc will help such companies build a network base and provide advice and support in improving access to equity and finance. It will provide roundtable discussions where appropriate with the right audience to help solve small business problems and to add value to diverse entrepreneurs.
Our objectives include:
- Actively seeking out certified diverse suppliers that can provide competitive, high-quality goods and a service model that is aligned with Metrc’s business strategy.
- Ensuring the inclusion of diverse suppliers as part of our strategic sourcing and procurement process.
- Communicating the value of supplier diversity to all internal and external stakeholders.
- Leveraging our supplier diversity results to meet our customers’ supplier diversity goals and requirements.
Our success will be based upon our ability to attain and exceed these objectives.
Metrc is committed to building a strong Supplier Diversity Program. The foundation of our program consists of internal and external deliverables to help ensure program success for all Metrc stakeholders.
Our program focuses on:
- Objective Measurements — establishing and meeting company and departmental goals and objectives that support our overall diversity strategy.
- Tracking and Reporting — monitoring and reporting our progress toward achieving our supplier diversity goals and objectives with a strong emphasis on continuous improvement.
- Training and Education — helping to ensure that associates in decision-making positions throughout our organization understand Metrc’s supplier diversity principles and commitment.
- External Outreach Activities — seeking diverse suppliers through active involvement with small business and minority development organizations, and participation in various trade shows and procurement events.
- Communications — educating employees, management, diverse suppliers, and the community-at-large on our supplier diversity program, policies, and achievements.
Metrc Contact Information: [email protected]
Metrc Commitment to Prospective Partners
Metrc makes the following commitment to all prospective vendors and suppliers:
- We will be clear and transparent in what we look for in vendors – and how we evaluate them – at the outset of any procurement to provide an equal playing field among bidders.
- For successful subcontractors, we will work with them to develop a mutually agreed-upon statement of work and contract, embed them within the appropriate team to facilitate collaboration, provide them with the appropriate access and tools to adequately perform their job, and be fair and transparent in periodic performance evaluations.
- For unsuccessful subcontractors, we will make every effort to follow up with them via phone and/or email to notify them of the decision, rationale, and offer a debriefing for candid feedback and/or future coaching.
- Interested vendors should use the below email address to express their interest in partnering with Metrc. In order to provide a fair and transparent process during the certification and evaluation process, Metrc will ask a subset of the questions identified above under, “Vendor Questions.” These questions are meant to ensure that prospective vendors are appropriately qualified and compliant with solicitation requirements. Following an evaluation period, which may include interviews, reference checks, sample materials, and/or demonstrations, Metrc will notify all prospective vendors of its final decision.
- Should a selected vendor be partnering with Metrc on a government contract, Metrc will provide technical and/or management assistance in bid preparation, certification, and/or procurement compliance, as necessary. This includes, but is not limited to, review of proposal content, guidance and training on areas of improvement and/or gaps in responsiveness, and compliance checks for all required forms, attestations, and registrations.
- Finally, Metrc will provide regular evaluations of selected vendors to ensure requirements and commitments are being made on time, within budget, and at the appropriate quality. Should any performance gaps be identified, Metrc will work with the vendor to develop a mitigation and improvement plan to ensure contract compliance.
Dedicated Procurement Email
The following is a dedicated email address for small and diverse businesses interested in working with Metrc, either as a vendor or as a subcontractor.
Email Address: [email protected]