3 Tips to Speed up Public Sector Procurement

By Carol Capek, Proactis Project Manager and Former Project Manager at the City of Grand Rapids, MI

Public sector procurement can be slow. Very slow. This could be due to several reasons, such as safeguards around open competition, or the rules and regulations involved. Additionally, the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) found that 74 percent of state procurement officials report increased procurement responsibilities are not being matched by additional staff.

Despite such challenges, there are things that can be done. We've identified three tips to help you speed up, and improve, the procurement process:

Centralized Contracting
When contracting is centralized, the Contract Manager is responsible for the entire contracting process vs. multiple departments. This method of managing contracts provides a 360-degree view of the contracting process, offering full accountability and transparency from initial solicitation to awarding the contract. Additional benefits include:
  • One location for easy access to find contract end dates, contract terms, performance among other items.
  • Economies of scale, increasing efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Reduced duplication of effort, yielding reduced costs, especially in receiving and inspection costs.
  • Uniformity in Bid documents, specifications and procedures.
Holistic eProcurement
To get the most out of eProcurement, it makes sense to take a more holistic approach that is integrated with the overall procurement strategy to ensure that objectives are met. Having multiple, often disparate systems for each stage of the eProcurement process presents gaps and speed bumps for day-to-day operations. Procurement stretches across many departments, so any slowdown impacts all levels to be effective and robust. An eProcurement system should handle all processes and present a clear path with no obstructions.

Co-operative Purchasing
For a quick turnaround when purchasing products or services, have you investigated if local agencies bought a similar item? Cooperative Purchasing is “Procurement conducted by, or on behalf of, one or more Public Procurement Units” as defined by the American Bar Association Model Procurement Code for State and Local Governments. In this scheme, one agency vets vendors on behalf of the cooperative, saving others the need to run redundant RFPs. In doing so, this process can save months of work and costs for an item/service already sourced by another local government. Using a cooperative contract reduces the administrative burden of purchasing and expedites the purchasing process, while achieving more competitive pricing by aggregating purchasing power. Cooperative Purchasing also allows eligible entities to purchase from approved partners at any time.

We would be interested in discussing the above options with you.

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