Welcome aboard … Now hear this
Welcome everyone! I am your newly appointed Director of Procurement. I am excited to be here as we embark on this new adventure together. I left my comfort zone across the country to take this new position to challenge myself and to challenge you to build a solid, ethical world-class procurement program from the ground up.
First things first: We must leave at the door our pre-conceived notions about past directors, county executives, and employees. Today is day one of our efforts to build the foundation of a solid procurement program, and it will take everyone’s efforts and energy starting from this moment. We are going to get back to basics and the principles and core ethics of sound procurement practices. We will start implementing them in our every move, from the way we enter into work, to how we conduct our daily work routines, until we walk out of our business door and into our own doors and beyond.
It is imperative we establish and develop a program based on the procurement core values. Our program must be accountable for all its actions, be ethically sound, be impartial, always display professionalism, pride itself on service, and be completely transparent for all parties. We will implement a 90-day program to create a solid and ethical foundation. This is just the beginning phase of our evolving program; we will be constantly evaluating and improving.
Communication is the most important tool for any program to be successful. We must converse often. We must “eat, breathe, and live” the fundamentals and values of procurement.
For any program to work and operate effortlessly and efficiently, it must have a strong leadership in place, and our communication must be constant and fluid, both up the chain of management and down. Our County has a mission, to ensure that goods and services are procured in a timely and efficient manner with all the principles of procurement being adhered to. However, if leadership is not displaying these principles, neither are its people. If the people are not acting within the parameters of a sound and ethical procurement program, neither are the parties involved, and the entire chain breaks down. The County’s mission should be our first and main concern; however, people make up our county and should be considered always. There is a delicate balance between our County’s mission and our people that needs to be nurtured. Mission first, but people always.
This is easier said than done. However, every day, every action displayed and conducted makes a change, even a minor one, and eventually all the small changes make big changes. Let’s all be the small changes that make this procurement program a world-class program.
Carrie A. Patrick, MBA , CPPB, is senior buyer with Harrison County Purchasing Department, Houston, Texas. She wrote this “welcome letter,” which has been edited for space, in response to last month’s Procurement Ponderable question about how to transform a procurement program that has a reputation for corruption and poor business practices into a world-class program. For another response, see “Procurement Ponderable response“.