GO PRO reader feedback
Let’s value common sense over perceptions
[Re: Open Access For All, April/May 2010, Go Pro:] Are we really still debating whether we should talk to suppliers in 2010? How else do we learn about products and services, prices, trends and market environment? How can we meet the needs of our customers if we are not communicating with our suppliers? We cannot sacrifice common sense and conduct business in a vacuum in the interest of perceptions. Let’s take a page from our private sector colleagues and treat suppliers as business partners.
— John O. Adler, CPPO, Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority
The goal of Go Pro is to stimulate thought and discussion on significant issues in the profession, to foster collaboration and community, and to encourage creative solutions to common challenges. In that spirit, this issue of Go Pro will present a hypothetical scenario describing a challenge that procurement professionals might face in the course of their careers. If you feel moved to respond — and we hope that you do — we’ll publish your comments in the next issue of Go Pro.
You are the director of procurement for a medium-sized city in the Midwest. One week ago your office issued an RFP for the operation of a shuttle-bus service that would run the “restaurant loop” in the downtown area of your city from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The operator hired through the RFP would be required to provide the vehicles and drivers as well as manage the service. Proposals are due two weeks from today. The idea for the service originated with the local restaurant association, which had complained to the city council that despite the large number of people who work downtown, its members are not getting enough lunch-time business, especially during the bad weather months of the year.
The contracting officer responsible for the RFP comes into your office with a picture of all the city council members and the director of the client agency for which you issued the solicitation standing next to a vehicle with the name and logo of the operating company prominently emblazoned upon it. The contacting officer tells you that a “little bird” dropped off the picture for him. Employees of the client agency dominate the membership of the proposal evaluation committee. The client agency director is known for bypassing her boss, the chief administrative officer, and working directly with council members. Next year is election year in the city. What action or actions should you take at this point?