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How do Vendors Obtain Bid Invitations?

Illinois utilizes the Illinois Procurement Bulletin (IPB) to post solicitations. When you register your business on the Illinois Procurement Bulletin, you can:

  • Receive email alerts whenever we need what you sell
  • Respond to notices and calls for bid
  • View awarded contracts

To become a Bulletin subscriber, go to and click on Registration. Vendor employees can create a profile with the specific codes for the products and services they offer and receive email notification of new bid opportunities in those categories.

Still have questions?

Call our Help Desk at 1-866-ILL-BUYS (1-866-455-2897)

How does the procurement process start?

The procurement process starts with a procurement request from a state agency. Combining procurement requests for like items from several agencies into one solicitation document often reduces the cost to the state by allowing purchases of larger quantities. The solicitation document contains:

  • Detailed specifications (description) of the commodity(s) and/or service(s) to be procured
  • Appropriate terms and conditions
  • Date, location and time of the bid opening

What is the importance of specifications?

The specifications for the items/services being solicited are one of the most important elements of a bid solicitation. Clear specifications must be written in order to provide a common basis for competitive bidding and ensure an understanding between the purchasing agent and prospective bidders as to the exact nature of the items or services to be procured.

What are "terms and conditions"?

The terms and conditions are another important aspect of a bid solicitation. Some are general to all solicitation documents and some are bid specific. The terms and conditions convey how to submit a bid. They also state if the bid is for a specific quantity (firm contract) or a specific period of time (term contract). Terms and conditions also include delivery instructions, how the bid will be awarded, literature and sample submission, etc. The importance of reading every word of the terms and conditions before submitting a bid packet cannot be emphasized enough.

What is the correct way to submit a bid packet?

Always check to make sure the solicitation document(s) are signed prior to placing in the envelope. It is important to follow completely the instructions in the solicitation when preparing the bid packet. Information including the bid number, due date, and time should be added to the outside of the bid envelope. Without this information, bids may not be properly identified or opened at the correct bid opening time.

What is the function of the Bureau of Strategic Sourcing (BOSS)?

The Bureau of Strategic Sourcing (or “BOSS”) is an important part of the Department of Central Management Services (CMS). As the central purchasing unit of state government, BOSS helps State agencies buy more than $10 billion of commodities, equipment, supplies and services, and also establishes and maintains open-ended master contracts for a wide variety of them.

Many of the Constitutional officers and state universities also use BOSS for select procurements, although each Constitutional officer and state university usually has its own purchasing department.

Many contracts established by BOSS are also used by local government units throughout the state through the Joint Purchasing Program.

Any questions? Please feel free to contact our Help Desk at (866) ILL-BUYS.