- Setting Up/Editing Vendor Discussions Schedule
- Project Owner/Buyer's Perspective
- Allow Vendor Responses
- Vendor's Perspective
- Further Reading
The Vendor Discussions feature allows Project Owners to communicate with Vendors and vice versa directly in Bonfire. Depending on the Vendor Discussions Due Date, Project Owners and Vendors can send messages during the Open and Evaluation stages of the project. The Vendor Discussions Due Date can be set to a specific date or Never. Setting the Vendor Discussions Due Date to Never will allow Vendors to send in questions even after the project closes (if the project is still available in Past Public Opportunities).
Project Owners can continue to send one-way messages to Vendors regardless of the due date, but Vendors cannot reply if the Vendor Discussions Due Date has passed unless explicitly permitted by the Project Owner.
Vendors are not able to see messages to and/or from other Vendors. Project Owners and Vendors are notified of new messages via email. It's important to note that only Project Owners and users with unrestricted write access can respond to Vendors through Vendor Discussions.
Vendor Discussion email notifications are automatically queued and sent once every half-hour (30 minutes), they cannot be edited or deleted once sent.
Note: The Vendor Discussion feature is turned off by default. If you are interested in using the feature please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to have it enabled. Once enabled, it will be available portal-wide and applied to all projects.
Setting Up/Editing the Vendor Discussion Schedule
Creating a new project will prompt you to set a Vendor Discussion Due Date. You can choose a specific date or Never.
To edit your Discussions Due Date after you publish a project, go to Project Details --> Actions --> Edit Schedule.
Project Owner/Buyer's Perspective
Vendor Discussions can be viewed on the Project Details page under the Messages section.
Project Owners can send messages to your Vendors once they have started engaging with the project on the portal. Messages can be sent to All Vendors, All Active Vendors (Vendors that have interacted with your project), All Work-in-Progress Vendors, and/or All Eliminated Vendors.
Projects Owners can include attachments in their responses by clicking on Attach File. In order for Vendors to include documents, a thread needs to be created first (by either the Project Owner or Vendor). Once there is a thread, the Project Owner can toggle on Vendor Attachments.
Project Owners will now also be able to view a thread's status at a glance, as well as choose to delete a selected message thread:
Allow Vendor Responses
In specific cases, such as BAFO, Project Owners may wish to communicate with specific vendors after a project's scheduled Question Period has closed. To allow continued conversations with a specific buyer, first navigate to your project's Messages, then Vendor Discussions. Select the message thread you want to Allow Responses for.
From there, you can turn on Allow Vendor Responses, and allow responses or files from that vendor despite the project's current Discussion Period settings.
When changing a message thread's settings, you'll see a confirmation pop up.
Select OK to confirm your change. You will then see the page automatically refresh to notify the vendor as well as display your changes.
If you no longer wish to allow any further responses from a Vendor, you may toggle Allow Vendor Responses at any time to turn off this function.
Vendors can use the Ask A Question button to easily access Vendor Discussions. This button can be found on any Project Details page with an open Discussion period, guiding vendors directly to where they can submit and view Vendor Discussions.
Clicking the button brings you directly to the Vendor Discussions tab in the Messages section.
Vendors can only view the questions they have submitted and the corresponding responses from Project Owners.