Sunday, December 11, 2011

City of Cambridge, MA, Reprographics Services Bid

On October 17, 2011, I did a post on Reprographics 101 to let you know that the City of Cambridge MA would likely be issuing a bid for reprographics services in the near term.

And, this morning when I did some Google-searching, I did find that the City did, recently, issue its bid document.

City of Cambridge MA Bid for Reprographics Services

Reprographics Services – File No. 5687

Bids due on Thursday, December 22nd, 2011, 10:00 a.m.

Contact Information:

City of Cambridge, Purchasing Department

795 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 303

Cambridge, MA 02139

Purchasing Agent: Cynthia Griffin

Phone 617-349-4310

Fax 617-349-4008

Bid document can be downloaded off of the City’s web-site,

Reprographers, I took just a few minutes to look though the list of services that bidders are asked to bid on, and, folks, this bid document is one of the worst ones that I’ve come across in the past few years. This City, home to MIT and Harvard no less, appears be quite backwards; one wonders if the purchasing department did any homework, at all, on the services it needs and how to appropriately describe the services it needs. Here are some of the line items and my comments about each.

- Diazo blackline prints

How many reprographers in the Boston/Cambridge area still offer diazo printing services, and, even if any of them do, why in the world is this service even necessary in this day and age?

- Photographic mylar with wash-off emulsion

What !!!!!

- Output from electronic Macintosh file to bond/vellum large-format max.width dimension 36”

One price per sq ft for bond and vellum. Maybe they should have included mylar in this line item as well!

- Docutext printing from MAC electronic file black & white printing

Well, I know they meant to say “Docutech”, but, even if they got that right, brand names have no business being included in any line-item description.

- Banners and signage Color Output 30” wide x per sq ft (no specific media mentioned)

How in the world is anyone supposed to provide a unit price for this line item without an understanding of the media-type required?


Joel’s final comments on this Bid document:

This Bid document is a perfect example of bids in the past that used to make me cringe, literally! Fraught with inaccurate (or, worse, stupid) line item descriptions and services that are obsolete. Shame on the City’s Purchasing Department for not reaching out to area reprographics vendors for assistance and guidance in updating/revising/modernizing the City’s bid procurement for reprographics services. And, shame on Boston area reprographers for not educating the City’s purchasing department on current reprographics technology and services!

I’ve uploaded a copy of the bid document to my Google-Docs library; here’s the link:

1 comment:

  1. As a Cambridge resident, I can assure you they are that backwards. It comes as a great surprise to outsiders, but those of us who live here and care about municipal government and its services, can point to item after item where the city is living in the past. There are a small group of City Councilors who understand this but, given our form of government, their influence is small.

    (I have no idea how this ended up in my RSS feed, but I consider it the good serendipity of the day.)