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Where Does Innovation Fit In to Public Procurement?

Michael Thornton, Purchasing Manager from the City of Leesburg, VA, recently wrote about Innovation in Public Procurement at NIGP NSites.

Michael states that innovation is not a word usually paired with public procurement.  He furthers discovers that as a procurement leader he has asked the key questions of:  What do we do? Why do we do it? Is there a better way?  In asking the questions, the desired outcome is to determine how as an organization we can “buy better to deliver better.”

This adage can speak volumes if answered and acted upon. Innovation directly supports purpose-based procurement and transformation.

In support of Michael’s insights, has your organization asked the question lately?  If so, what was the answer and is a plan in place to address the innovation question?


NIGP Commodity/Service Code is Still the “go-to” Answer

The NIGP Commodity/Services Code continues to be the “go-to” answer for public procurement in the classification of suppliers, and procurement spend tracking.  During the past few weeks, a broad spectrum of entities has licensed the 5-digit and 7-digit Code.  A few of the licensee entities include:

·          City of Augusta, GA for use with supplier management;

·          Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, MD for strategic sourcing analytics;

·          Hennepin County, MN for supplier registration and to capture purchasing history;

·          Bibb County School District, GA for supplier registration and purchase history; and

·          Ascension Parish Government, LA.


e-Procurement is the e-Commerce Function of Government Contracting

For today’s public procurement professional to be successful, a strong focus on the delivery of quality procurement services is essential.  Technology has transformed the world for business and communications in general which has impacted public procurement.  In the past, public procurement officials could be “gatekeepers” of the procurement process, but in today’s information age with the ability to purchase and shop on-line the “gate” is too broad to act in the same manner.

Increasingly, customers have had their own experiences in shopping on Amazon or other e-commerce sites, which creates a new performance level for the delivery of public procurement services.  As a public procurement official, with a goal of increased spend under management, while providing quality products and services, the “shopping” experience of the customer needs to be as “easy, transparent, and quick” as one’s personal experience in shopping online.

Additionally, public procurement officials need to review policies and procedures to address these types of online purchases to ensure a level of reasonableness for obtaining quotations, Pcard transaction limits, or in having technology available to meet the inevitable demand for online purchases for today’s fast pace of government procurement.


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