Merx changes pricing model with revamped site

Merx, a provider of government e-tendering solutions dominating 70 per cent of the business in Canada, is launching a new version of its procurement system at the same time that it has won two new clients.

The revamped service,

which is now helping the federal and Ontario governments, will offer several benefits including reduced costs, said Jocelyn Poirier, president of Montreal-based Merx, a subsidiary of Mediagrif Interactive Technologies Inc.

Merx has traditionally offered clients access to only a subscription-based model priced at $29.95. Poirier said the new version will offer several options to suppliers according on their needs.

“”If somebody only wanted to have access to everything, this supplier can pay $29.95. But if this supplier wanted to have access only to federal tenders, for example, the pricing would be reduced to as low as $21.95 a month.””

Access to all services means tapping the tenders of all the provinces excluding Alberta, B.C. and Quebec, said Poirier. He said B.C. launched its own system in 2001, and the other two began their own independent services today.

Under Merx new cost savings, said Robert Groulx, senior director of the electronic processes directorate of the federal government, a feature suppliers will appreciate is the ability to view entire documents for free before downloading them or ordering actual paper contract details.

The shift from the sale of paper-based products to online documents is “”a real incentive for suppliers,”” added Groulx, who had the job of convincing procurement officers the extra steps needed to make the process electronic and introduce new services was worthwhile for all the stakeholders.

The revamped Merx will also offer profile matching, where users will be able to submit up to nine criteria to match their operations with any public contract that may be posted, Poirier said.

Although in the past a supplier could say he’s working in the contruction industry, now he can say “”‘I’m also working in foundations. I’m working in electricity.’ And within electricity, he could say, ‘It’s cable. It’s fibreoptics.’ You’ll be able to dig a bit more and . . . allow yourself to get access to a maximum of vendors because your profile will be more descriptive,”” said Poirier.

Poirier said in September, clients can expect information on private-sector tenders to appear in the Merx system rather than “”getting their information on private-sector projects (by) reading their local newspapers or even daily newspapers or business newspapers.””

Future changes will include showcasing international contracts emanating from groups like the World Bank, the European Community or the Chinese government.

Of the 23,000 Merx subscribers, 70 per cent visit the site every day and 80 per cent are small- and medium-sized businesses.

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