Public Administration Electronic Marketplace: advantages and disadvantages of the MEPA platform

September 8, 2021

The MEPA platform is a tool developed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance to enable public administrations to access a virtual marketplace where qualified suppliers of goods and works offer their products.

In this way, Public Bodies can negotiate supply contracts and procure goods exclusively using the virtual channel, optimizing their purchasing processes and having a guarantee of the legal validity of the entire procedure: through MEPA, in fact, Public Administrations can purchase all goods and services whose value is below the threshold established by the European Community in a direct and completely transparent manner.

The purchase transaction can be made through Direct Purchase Orders (ODA) or through Requests for Offers (RDO): in the first case, it is the Entity that chooses the good or service to be purchased by referring to the catalogs uploaded on the platform by the various registered qualified suppliers, while in the second case the Entity publishes a request in which it specifies the characteristics of what it intends to purchase and asks suppliers to submit an offer. The bids collected in this way are then compared in a bidding process, and the winner will be able to conclude its supply contract directly through the platform.

The MEPA platform is an important support for public bodies, and offers significant advantages in terms of transparency. Alongside this platform, however, there are also other tools-such as Venicecom’s PRO-Q-that achieve the same results and may prove, in some respects, to be even better performers.

The advantages of the MEPA platform

Operating through MEPA is functional for a long list of reasons. In particular, the use of the MEPA platform makes it possible to:

  • Contain costs, since the platform gives the entity using it the ability to identify the goods and services most in line with its needs, obtaining the most competitive price possible.
  • Increase the transparency of processes, which are at all times perfectly traceable.
  • Digitize processes, as by operating through MEPA the entire process of request submission, negotiation, contracting and payment is done through the virtual channel and does not require paper documentation.
  • Reduce the time it takes to complete each purchase.
  • Access a vast repertoire of suppliers, since the pool of potential dealers is opened to the entire country and the purchasing entity can directly deal with a broad target market.

Finally, it should be remembered that the MEPA platform is made available free of charge, and therefore the Public Administration does not have to bear any costs for its use.

Alternative tools for e-Procurement: the advantages of the PRO-Q platform

The use of the MEPA platform helps Public Administrations to operate better, according to criteria of traceability and transparency that are now indispensable, but Public Entities can also make use of alternative tools, which add to the potential of MEPA additional advantages.

  • Customization: the MEPA platform is, by its very nature, set up rather rigidly, while Venicecom’s PRO-Q provides extensive customization options to best meet the needs of the individual entity using it. A customized platform allows all users to complete the various procedures (regardless of the amount and object of the contract or concession) quickly and easily, avoiding loss of time and taking advantage of a system based on easy-to-navigate “forms.” Customization also allows for the inclusion of specific filters that enable the display of only tender notices related to specific product categories or to automatically exclude bids that do not meet certain requirements, simplifying the users’ work and speeding up the entire purchasing process. This way, the advantages guaranteed by MEPA are complemented by the convenience of operating with a truly customized and efficient tool.
  • Update: To provide Public Administrations with a service always in line with the regulatory requirements, the PRO-Q platform is constantly updated based on new provisions and legal obligations.
  • Automation: to simplify the organization’s activities, the PRO-Q platform manages the bidding forms (participation requests, economic offers, etc.) in an automated manner, reducing the risk of errors and avoiding unnecessary time losses. However, the benefits of automation are not limited to this: PRO-Q is also capable of autonomously identifying any offers that deviate from the current regulations, as well as generating the report of the operations carried out within the bidding process, ensuring significant time savings for platform users.
  • Additional services: the PRO-Q platform allows the Public Entity to benefit from various additional modules and services, such as the “Planning” module, enabling the definition of a schedule for future purchases, or the “Needs” module, facilitating the planning of upcoming procurement. Furthermore, through the platform, it is possible to access additional services such as the Supplier Verification Service, which allows the Entity to delegate to the Venicecom consultancy team the task of verifying the Requirements of the Awardee and all individuals representing the Awardee within the last year (as required by Article 80 of the Public Procurement Code). The outcomes of these verification activities are entirely available to the Entity, enabling them to avoid personally undertaking the burdens of a highly time-consuming task.
  • Simplification of supplier management: Unlike MEPA, the PRO-Q platform enables the Public Entity to establish a genuine suppliers’ register for the management of economic operators. This way, entities using PRO-Q have the opportunity to maintain a consistently updated overview of their suppliers’ status. They can enhance invitation management (for instance, in negotiated procedures and direct awards) and simplify the verification operations concerning specific requirements attributed to these suppliers. The benefits, however, do not end here: thanks to a consistently updated suppliers’ register, it is also possible to:
    • manage communications related to the suppliers’ register between the Contracting Authority and economic operators in an innovative manner, ensuring the traceability of the communication flow.
    • view statistics related to each economic operator and easily extract the information.
    • organize a digital archive of documentation related to the economic operator, with an automated schedule for individual document deadlines.
    • efficiently manage the renewal processes of registrations.

Finally, by choosing to use a platform like PRO-Q, the Entity can rely on the consultancy of a specialized partner. This partner not only provides a digital tool but also remains available to offer support in managing the various phases of the tender process. They assist the personnel responsible for using the software, ensuring assistance wherever necessary.

Venicecom offers Public Entities a personalized and continuously updated service capable of tangibly enhancing the functions of their Procurement Office. This service enables them to operate more effectively and transparently. Contact us to learn more and assess how using the PRO-Q platform can best meet your needs!

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