Supplier Diversity – The Supplier Clearinghouse

About this post. This is one of several posts (overview) sharing R|CAT’s afternoons of in real time blogging about certifying entities and their certification criteria.

This post presents initial activities for formally beginning (on 12 November) the The Supplier Clearinghouse (California-based) application process, as well as some thoughts while “walking-through” the process.

Bottom line. Applying is free. The on-line application process is an alternative to the hard copy application process. Create an account to start the process. There are several mandatory, required documents that must be scanned. The application must be notarized (which also must be scanned). Information about (but not hard copies of) any maintained licenses is required. The User Manuals are easy to follow and read. A one-hour training (which requires signing-up for a specified date and time) to complete the on-line process is available, as well.


The Supplier Clearinghouse

The Supplier Clearinghouse, under the CPUC supplier diversity program, has an on-line application processes. If preferred, applying via hardcopy is an option.

SuppClear_header

The Supplier Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) is described as follows:

The Supplier Clearinghouse is a Commission-supervised entity whose primary purpose is to audit and verify the status of WMBEs and LGBTBEs, and to establish and maintain a database of WMBE/DVBE/LGBTBE firms that is accessible to the CPUC and to participating utilities. The Supplier Clearinghouse audit and verification program precludes the need for individual utilities to audit and verify WMBE/DVBE/LGBTBE firms with whom they do business — it is one-stop shop.

3_SuppClearOverview

Creating an account with the Clearinghouse and filling in the on-line application is straightforward.

Step 1: Create an account (which requires business Federal Tax ID number)
Step 2: Review program information (optional)
Step 3: Receive/review email confirmation of account information
Step 4a: Begin the on-line application process by self-identifying type of business using prescribed drop-down links.
Step 4b: Choose “Continue” after self-identifying to access the actual on-line application.
Step 4c: Receive/review email confirmation of account information (which includes the direct link to access the specific vendor application)
SuppClear_log back inStep 4d: Fill-in on-line application sections and regularly save.
(NOTE: Because it is an on-line process, lack of on-line activity will require re-logging in to the dashboard. )
Step 4*: R|CAT suggestion – Create separate off-line document containing responses to application fields, which may be used for completing other certifying entities’ application forms for certification
Step 5: Collect mandatory, required documents to scan
Step 6: Complete and notarize the Agreement and Affidavit form (.pdf)
Step 7: Submit
and
Step 8: Be patient (based on other colleagues’ experiences)

The “hard part”? While not difficult, compiling the mandatory, requirement documents may be time-consuming.

About the Program

The on-line process appears fairly streamlined. The Clearinghouse provides information about Why Apply. For the two criteria R|CAT fulfills, participating utilities’ procurement goals are

    • 5% goal for woman-owned businesses
    • 15% goal for minority-owned businesses

– for which the criteria under the CPUC’s General Order 156 (.pdf) are –

SupplierClearinghouse“Women-owned business” means (1) a business enterprise (a) that is at least 51% owned by a woman or women or (b) if a publicly owned business, at least 51% of the stock of which is owned by one or more women, and (2) whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of those individuals.
(section 1.3.2)

“Minority-owned business” means (1) a business enterprise (a) that is at least 51% owned by a minority individual or group(s) or (b) if a publicly owned business, at least 51 % of the stock of which is owned by one or more minority groups, and (2) whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of those individuals. The contracting utility shall presume that minority includes, but is not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and other groups, as defined herein.(section 1.3.3)

Asian Pacific American person, for purposes of this General Order, refers to a person having origin in Asia or the Indian subcontinent, including, but not limited to, persons from Japan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Trust Territories of the Pacific, Northern Marianas, Laos, Cambodia, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
(section 1.3.12)

The application submission is free. Based on the benefits described, R|CAT is applying for classification as a women-owned, minority-owned business.

SuppClear_NewApplCreating An Account

R|CAT is considered a new applicant, regardless of previously certified status (pre-2007). Creating an account requires basic information, including the Federal Tax ID Number.
After creating an account, an email confirmation of a created account is sent. Information to start the application process is included.
SuppClear
With this a series of clicks, several web pages can be accessed. Because of R|CAT’s number of employees (one) and historical annual receipts of the past three years, R|CAT qualifies for the Fast Track Process application.

2_SuppClear

As a prospective applicant, the dashboard provides useful information for the overall application process. Seeing the beginning of the Fast Track Process is a milestone.

3_SuppClear

On-Line Fast Track Process and Documents

The hard part.  In addition to filling in the on-line form, there are several mandatory, required documents. Also, the application process requires a notarized the Supplier Clearinghouse Participation Agreement & Affidavit (.pdf).

1_DoctsReqd

After reviewing the list, choosing to continue formally begins the application process.

Another confirmation email is sent to confirm this action.

3_EmailAppCreatedReceiving this email confirmation is another milestone – completing the creation of a Clearinghouse account and accessing the on-line application form.

Form-Filling Milestones and Discoveries

The “Certification Application: Main Summary” page presents the level of completeness of the application sections –

    1. Contact Information
    2. Business Capabilities
    3. Business Profile
    4. Owners & Management Personnel

– with a “fifth” section for mandatory documents to be submitted electronically or by hard copy/mail.

In the beginning

2_MainSumm_0

In the middle

4_AppSections

Near the end

5_MainSumm_XAlmost complete.

deletion dateThe date for the Clearinghouse’s deletion of the application is February 10, 90-days from my initially starting the process. An extension (upon request) of one-week is available. This means that for the next several weeks, mandatory and requirement documents will be gathered and scanned to complete the application process for Clearinghouse review.

Discoveries

A few discoveries and thoughts emerged while completing some of the sections –

    • SIC Codes – R|CAT’s three Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes are 8999, 8742 and 8299. When establishing R|CAT in 1994, R|CAT identified under two SIC codes – 8999 and 8742. Based on additional services offered by R|CAT, SIC codes include –
      • 8999 – Environmental Consultants
      • 8742 – Human Resources and Personnel Management Consulting, Management Consulting Services
      • 8299* – Professional and Management Development Training
    • Copy responses – Realizing information in this process may be used for other certifications, responses for select items are copied into an off-line document.
    • Business Specialty – Completing the “Business Specialty” section (Section 2.A.) was an iterative process, as I described services more in line with the selected SIC Codes.
    • Date established – R|CAT was established in Spring 1994 as a sole proprietorship, with formal public notice dba filing completed in October 1994 and corporate status in 2003. Will review archived files to determine correct date for this form.
    • Local business, contractor, or professional licenses – A hard copy of licenses is not required, howvever, dates (issuance, expiration) and license holder name is required, for which R|CAT maintains a local business license.

For The Supplier Clearinghouse certification process, what tips do you have for completing the process?

Update
* After further reviewing SIC codes, it is unclear whether this code applies for the type of training services R|CAT intends to provide. One version of the SIC definitions references “schools” of which R|CAT is not.

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