Big cities have their share of problems, but they also have a larger financial base to work with. Smaller cities, on the other hand, also struggle to address their own issues, but they are forced to do so with limited funds. On a business level, even if an organization doesn’t have big-city funds, it can take big-city best practices and adapt them to meet their needs. Here are some things that small cities can do to “punch above their weight.”
Eradicate Waste. In an earlier blog post by BidSync, we quoted research that calculated the average cost of processing, storing and retrieving a single piece of paper and found that it costs $30.00 per page. This is the cost to process a page, not create it. Think about how many file cabinets there are in your office. Each five-drawer file cabinet holds approximately 12,000 pieces of paper. If you do the math, it means that it cost your agency $360,000 to manage the paper in that one cabinet. Paper, email, documents and spreadsheets are not an efficient way to manage the strategic activity of spending your allotted budget.
What Big Cities Do: Big cities use automated systems, like the e-procurement system that BidSync or BuysSpeed offers to manage costs and streamline processes.
Analyze Spend Data. According to a study from the Pew Charitable Trusts, data and analytics offer cities a critically important way to improve services and stretch budgets. Data analysis has moved from an annual, semi-annual or quarterly endeavor to an ongoing one. If you have streamlined your processes with an automated e-procurement system, analyzable data is easier to come by. A previous blog post gives some great insights into which KPIs to track and analyze.
What Big Cities Do: The Pew study quoted Rick Cole, deputy mayor for budget and innovation in Los Angeles, who said, “It’s not the numbers, it’s what you do with the numbers.” Big cities use data to make adjustments to operations and improve performance. They use data to identify weaknesses and needs, so they can make strategic decisions.
Leverage Cooperative Purchasing. One of the biggest problems that smaller cities face is that they lack buying power. Smaller organizations can’t buy in quantities that give them the price breaks they need.
What Big Cities Do: If businesses don’t have the buying power, they combine forces with other agencies through cooperative purchasing or piggybacking. BidSync’s e-book on cooperative purchasing and piggybacking, Cooperative Agreements 101, gives readers the information needed to leverage the purchasing benefits of cooperative purchasing.
Being a small city or organization doesn’t mean you have to settle for less than a large organization. By making a few smart moves, you can eliminate waste, maximizing the value of every dollar spent.