NIGP has resources if a procurement requires product specifications data
Public procurement professionals should not hesitate to consult the specification resources at the Herndon, Va.-based National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP), says Darin Matthews.
Matthews is procurement officer in Procurement Services at Portland, Ore.-based Metro, which is the elected regional government in Portland, Ore. Metro serves more than 1.5 million residents in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, and the 25 cities in the Portland region. He has conducted some recent presentations on specification resources.
Matthews says NIGP members often post their specification needs on the NIGP Techspecs Discussion List. “It is a great way to tap into the expertise of our existing membership. Whatever you are needing to purchase (and specify), there is likely a colleague out there who has already bought it,” Matthews says.
Matthews also speaks highly of another NIGP resource, the NIGP specifications library. “Over the years, I have found the resource library of specifications very helpful,” Matthews says. “There are great samples of just about any type of good or service. In recent years, my agency has accessed solicitations for project management, auditing and power generators. My advice to procurement professionals is to access these NIGP resources and avoid ‘recreating the wheel’ on their bids and RFPs.”
The library’s storehouse of specifications is best searched by:
—Narrowing the search to only solicitations by clicking the appropriate box.
—Use a limited number of words as search terms.
—Use alternate or substitute words for the initial search terms.
—If policies, forms and templates are needed, the Models and Samples feature of the library can be a good resource.
NIGP covers specifications in a number of its core courses. It offers an online course on specification writing, plus it has a two-day course on capital acquisitions that covers developing equipment specifications. Go to the NIGP online course catalog for details.
Matthews has a few suggestions for public purchasers who are seeking specifications for procurements of green products. “Since sustainable procurement has really come to the forefront for public agencies, I also recommend some existing resources,” Matthews says. His recommendations include the following:
—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing site
—City of Portland, Ore., and its Sustainable Procurement Program
Theresa Jordan Webb, project manager for the Tampa, Fla.-based Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, recently provided some suggestions to Govpro on using NIGP specifications resources here.