U.S. Customs And Border Protection Strengthens Procurement Procedures
To help streamline and improve U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) purchasing of goods and services, CBP has unveiled the Acquisition Improvement Initiative (AI2).
AI2 is a strategic sourcing plan, compatible with the Department of Homeland Security strategic sourcing strategy, that allows CBP officials to analyze buying trends throughout the agency, identify multiple or similar purchases of items and streamline purchasing in-bulk to reduce costs.
The goal of AI2 is to create an acquisition environment that embraces both government and commercial best practices, resulting in reduced customer burden and the reduction of the cost of goods and services.
In developing the AI2, CBP business processes will be evaluated along with internal operating procedures to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the acquisition management process.
The overall benefits of AI2 will be:
–Significant reduction of procurement cycle times;
—Significant reduction of time spent by mission personnel on procurement-related activities, allowing them to focus on their border protection mission;
–Greater oversight of products and services acquired; –Improved customer satisfaction with products and services;
–Assurances that the acquisition program complies with CBP’s strategic plan and budget;
–Improved supplier relationships.
“When CBP was created as the unified border agency, we had to merge four organizations with different acquisition systems and different buying habits. We quickly realized that we needed to strategically plan our purchases to fully support our priority anti-terrorism mission and that is where the Acquisition Improvement Initiative comes in,” said John Ely, Executive Director for the CBP Office of Procurement.
CBP began work on AI2 in October 2004, and is nearing completion of the first phase of the program. Phase 1 included assessing current CBP acquisition processes, identifying a future acquisition process, conducting a spend analysis pilot and initiating a strategic sourcing pilot.
Phase 2 will include the development of a future acquisition process, creation of a transition plan to the new process and analysis of resources needed to support the new acquisition process. The final phase of the initiative will transition CBP to the new acquisition plan and include refinement of CBP processes.