Ten Ways Every State Can Optimize Procurement
Procurement is an inherent government function vital to maximizing state and taxpayer resources and improving government services through effective, accountable procurement processes and decisions.
Here are 10 ways every state can optimize procurement:
1.Manage procurement from an enterprise (statewide) perspective.
- Create common goals and vision.
- Break down departmental and agency silos.
- Encourage information sharing and the integration of services.
- Coordinate with local government wherever possible.
2. Instill an attitude—and build awareness on the part of executive and legislative leaders—of procurement being a value and revenue center, not a cost center, for the state.
- Generate and track revenue through recovery of assets or savings via cooperative purchasing and other tools.
- Reach out to other public sector organizations, such as NASCIO, NASACT, NASCA, and NCMA, that can help inform their constituencies of the value effective procurement adds.
3. Treat procurement as a foundation for effective programs and policies and integrate with all major state initiatives.
- Strengthen the connection between procurement and policy solutions.
- Use procurement officials as a resource, even in specialized areas such as information technology or health care.
- Cooperate with agency directors (budget officers, other procurement officials, state CIOs), as strategic partners in creating solutions.
4. Centralize oversight of procurement and contract management and include the state chief procurement official early on in all major procurement discussions and decisions.
- Create efficiencies for procurement and contracting support, eliminate redundancy, and
maximize resources to deliver services.
- Recognize the special contracting competence and experience of procurement professionals.
5. Ensure that state government has a clear and enforced set of procurement ethics, standards, and policies that apply to both the executive and legislative branches and that are codified in law.
- Set statewide procurement rules and standards and enforce compliance.
- Educate all parties and partners on ethical issues.
- Maintain distance from inappropriate lobbying efforts, whether they come from the private sector or represent political pressures.
- Promote fairness, equity, and transparency in all public contracting.
6. Make use of procurement to advance the state’s social and policy goals such as, but not necessarily limited to, economic development, assisting small business (including women- and minority-owned businesses), and environmentally friendly purchasing.
- Meet policy needs that address social and environmental concerns while maintaining focus
on core procurement principles of value, competitiveness, and accountability.
- Comply with and monitor federal efforts in the procurement policy arena (GSA, USTR) as they affect state programs, policies, and practices.
- Continue to support state policies and goals, which include economic development and
environmentally friendly initiatives, and work to eliminate real or perceived barriers to public contracting for all citizens through research, surveys, outreach initiatives, and other means.
7. Utilize tools and methodologies such as cooperative purchasing, e-procurement, or spend management (strategic sourcing) to bring best value to and maximize procurement effectiveness.
- Leverage statewide purchasing power with other states as well as local jurisdictions or the federal government, using multi-state contracts such as NASPO/WSCA and federal Schedule 70.
- Develop capabilities for reducing total costs of purchased goods and services through strategic sourcing while maintaining or improving levels of quality and service.
- Leverage information technology to increase efficiency, reduce response time, and increase ease of communication in the procurement cycle.
8. Actively share information between states on spend data analysis to optimize procurement
- Work to develop common definitions, standards, and measurements to ensure proper com-
parisons across states while recognizing each state’s unique circumstances.
- Share commodity data quickly and efficiently to better leverage state buying power and serve as a powerful negotiation tool.
- Actively support the efforts of NASPO and other professional associations in developing and sharing information across functional areas.
9. Integrate procurement with state homeland security and emergency planning and response efforts.
- Ensure procurement is part of state’s first response team.
- Create special emergency buying contracts to be activated on short notice.
- Wherever possible, coordinate local homeland security buying with state efforts to leverage volume and reduce costs.
10. Support staff professional development and affiliation with national professional associations to ensure quality standards of practice and adherence to best practices.
- Actively support financial rewards for attainment of professional certification and budget
funds for staff professional development.
- Develop in-house training tailored to specific state needs while also employing quality,
national-level training resources.
- Share best practices with other states through listservs and professional conferences, awards, and recognition programs.
Editor’s Note: Reprinted with permission from the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO). For more information, log on to www.govinfo.bz/4591-201.