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Ten Strategies for Best-in-Class Public Sector Procurement

Public sector procurement – worldwide – is at a crossroads: For the first time,

BravoSolution UK

on 23 January 2014

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Transcript of Ten Strategies for Best-in-Class Public Sector Procurement

Procurement’s longstanding focus on
managing risk and adhering to regulatory
policies is beginning to change. While risk
and mandates are still important, they are
now secondary to cost containment and
resource optimisation.
Here are 10 strategies, as executed by
some of the most effective, public national,
regional and local procurement groups in
Europe, the United States and Latin America.
1.Transform the purchasing culture
2. Start with spend analysis
3. Drive political and local government initiatives
4. Elevate supplier selection
5. Make a firm supplier commitment
6. Centralise purchasing and sourcing
7. Collaborate and share best practices
8. Facilitate technology and process adoption
9. Move beyond the technology: focus on the people, process and skills
10. Partner with the right team
Vision, Leadership and Measurement consistently appear as the top three elements of every successful transformation. Procurement is no exception.
Vision identifies the limitations of the existing culture and sees the possibilities of a better approach to an intransigent problem. It all starts with a vision for change.
Leadership transforms the vision into change. Pockets of resistance are part of any change.
Measurement is the final and perhaps, most important step. Measuring sourcing success used to be validated primarily by tactical metrics, including the number of e-auctions executed and specific compliance benchmarks.
Procurement transformation starts with spend analysis.

It’s shocking how many public sector organisations fail to see how spend analysis can jumpstart change and consequently, miss numerous opportunities for savings and sourcing optimisation. To truly cut costs and improve efficiency, procurement needs cross-organisational visibility into how much it’s spending, on what products and services and with which suppliers.
Fuelling the local economy sits right next to cost-cutting at the top of most governments’ priority lists. With the continuing economic volatility, public procurement has a rare opportunity to align their sourcing strategies with broader governmental priorities, and impact local communities.
Generate as much competition as possible by being 100% transparent about what you need from suppliers. Being more specific about sourcing and category needs consistently drives more customised bids that save steps in the bidding process – and cost less to run
Reframe RFQ's to improve efficiency. Two easily implemented strategies: Limit the number of attachments allowed (to reduce review time) and ask structured questions to strengthen supplier bids.
The value of spend analysis transcends cost cutting. The data makes forecasting achievable and realistic – which in turn forges stronger and more collaborative supplier relationships.
Public organisations have acquired an unfortunate reputation among suppliers for uncertainty. More mature sourcing teams go to market with visibility into exactly what’s needed. These experienced sourcing groups can guarantee volumes – which drives cost down, improves contract terms and enhances the team’s negotiation platform.
Almost every local government has the same opportunity.
By centralising procurement, organisations can uncover common purchasing needs, discover fragmented categories and contractual discrepancies, and drive savings through volume-based discounts and strengthened negotiation power.
Centralisation also aids collaboration – another potent driver for efficiency.
While one agency’s employees may be sourcing a category for the first time, it’s almost certain that someone else within the same government already knows the ins and outs of that marketplace.
Public organisations are all on the same team – with the same mission – and peer collaboration should be natural.
There’s a disturbing trend in the public sector: Along with scaling back technology investments, organisations reeling from budget cuts have practically eliminated training. This has a lasting impact on efficiency as well as adoption; ROI of even the best technologies will plummet if employees aren’t adopting the right processes and techniques.
It takes more than a software suite to drive lasting change.
Skill development, employee mindset and process excellence are all critical. But every public sector head of procurement with a vision, and the desire to align staff, will acknowledge that there are still many employees who see their work as tactical, and are comfortable with the “check the box” approach to fulfilling external policy requirements.
The urgency for change must be amplified by the entire leadership team and rolled out with an action plan for achieving specific goals.
Whittle down the playing field to ensure that your goals fuel the conversation. Ensure that the proposals meet your needs, rather than reflecting a vendor’s future product roadmap.

The perfect procurement partner should have:
• A clear understanding of your local and regional regulations
• Proven ability to customise offerings – in this case, to meet your specific needs
• Deep experience and success in the public sector
• Systems to drive adoption and foster skills
• Ability to add value beyond technology
To read the full report go to

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