Need product specifications for a procurement? NIGP has a variety of tools
When they need to find specs for upcoming purchases, public procurement pros can consult several NIGP resources, says Theresa Jordan Webb, project manager at the Tampa, Fla.-based Hillsborough County Aviation Authority.
Jordan Webb has more than 25 years of experience in procurement in both the private and public sectors. She is currently serving a two-year appointment to the NIGP National Research Committee and is also serving as secretary of the Tampa Bay Area NIGP chapter.
Jordan Webb formerly served as purchasing supervisor in the city of St. Petersburg, Fla. In her job as purchasing supervisor, Jordan was responsible for oversight of contracts and major project activities, development of contract standards and templates, professional skills training and work on complex solicitations. She has written several articles on procurement topics such as benchmarking basics and debriefing suppliers. Govpro.com spoke with Jordan Webb recently to find helpful resources for specifications on government products.
Govpro: What spec sources might be useful to public procurement officials?
Theresa Jordan Webb: There is a wealth of knowledge within the governmental procurement ranks, and they are always willing to share and assist others. The NIGP Techspecs Discussion List is one great way to reach out to hundreds of professionals and receive numerous previously drafted documents with specifications that can be utilized to craft one that uniquely fits your organization.
One tip I would give those who utilize Techspecs is to be as specific as possible about the product or service you are researching so that the information you receive targets your project. Another tip is to be sure and update your profile once you have registered. When you first join the discussion lists, you are subscribed as a “normal” member and will receive an email for every message as it is contributed, which could be a substantial number of correspondences. By changing your list membership to “digest,” you will receive one message per day with a list of subjects discussed that day.
NIGP also has a Specifications Library for members that can be accessed by commodity number or description and allows you to research solicitation documents with specifications that have been submitted to NIGP for posting. One thing to consider when reviewing this information, especially for items that change rapidly, such as communication and technology, is to take into account when the specifications were created and whether it is specifying the most current items in the marketplace.
Govpro: Do any other specification sources come to mind that procurement officials should consider?
TJW: The Institute for Supply Management also has specification information available on its website for members to access. Another place to consider for finding specifications is data from relative organizations such as the U.S. Department of Defense MIL-Specs and ASTM, which are always good sources. Another resource you might not readily think about is the websites of firms that provide the product or service you are soliciting, which can provide details for developing generalized specification information.