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Improve Buyer-Seller Relationships

Whether you are a procurement professional or a supplier for the public sector, it is necessary to have a strong relationship with your counterpart.  The NIGP Business Council, of which Periscope Holdings is a member, authored the Healthy Supplier Relationship Guide in support of NIGP and the public procurement profession by the sharing of resources and collaboration of expertise. The Healthy Supplier Relationship Guide provides best practice ideas and practices for both procurement practitioners and suppliers to improve and elevate the value and effectiveness of buyer-seller relationships. The Guide focuses on three key components of the procurement cycle; non-contract relations and activities, competitive solicitation activities, and contract holder interactions.  Such concepts as development of a communications plan, market survey development and completion, conduct of procurement fairs, and award de-briefings with unsuccessful offerors are just some of the tangible, practical ideas that can be put into action.

Take some time to read the Healthy Supplier Relationship to improve your procurement or selling practices in the public sector.

Healthy Supplier Relationship Guide


Skills & Capabilities of Successful Procurement Professionals

Earlier this year Andrew Bartolini, Publisher of CPORising.com published a fantastic blog series highlighting the key skills and capabilities that a successful procurement professional should have. His list included:

1. Data Analysis
2. Financial Analysis
3. The Sourcing Process
4. Category Management
5. Supply Market Knowledge
6. Cash Management
7. Contract Management
8. Business Consulting Skills
9. Leveraging Technology to Drive Business Value
10. Supplier Performance Management
11. Supply Risk Management
12. Operational Procurement
13. Project Management
14. Presentation Skills

You can click here to read all of the blogs in this series. When you think about your future as a procurement professional, which skills and capabilities will you focus on developing?

Periscope works with procurement professionals every day, and we are in awe of your diverse skills and expertise. We applaud your hard work and leadership, and we stand with you.


2014 State CIO Survey Released by NASCIO

The 2014 State CIO Survey entitled Charting the Course: Leading Collaboration During Uncertain Times was recently released by the National Association of State CIOs. NASCIO’s mission is “to foster government excellence through quality business practices, information management, and technology policy.” The report shares a number of interesting insights into the complexities of IT procurement.

The report asserts, “The success or failure of many projects is greatly influenced by the quality of the procurement for system implementation services.” The following advice is offered by the state CIOs surveyed:

  • “Pre-award dialog between candidate vendors and the state management team can help the process.”
  • “Understand what motivates vendors; and how to meet their needs as well as the state’s needs. If not, resentment builds up.”
  • “Keep in mind that bad procurements lead to bad contracts, which lead to bad deliverables.”
  • “Do not define ‘successful procurement’ as simply an award with no protests.”

The relationship between procurement professionals and IT professionals is vital, and this report from NASCIO helps to create dialogue about how procurement and IT can work together effectively. You can access the full 2014 State CIO Survey here.


Sustainable Procurement Series: Examples of Sustainable Procurement in Action

Welcome to the third post in our Sustainable Procurement Series for public sector and higher education procurement professionals. We are exploring sustainable procurement, why it matters, how Periscope’s purpose intersects with it, examples of sustainable procurement in action, and how you can take action. Come back next Friday for the final post in this series. Click here to read the first post in this series and here to read the second post in the series.

Today’s post explores some examples of sustainable procurement in action.

Example #1: The State of Maryland ~ Source: Maryland Green Purchasing Committee web site and Summer Conference
The Maryland Green Purchasing Committee was created in October 2010. The Committee provides information, assistance, and guidelines for environmentally preferable purchasing, so that Maryland is procuring goods and services that have a lesser or reduced impact on human health and the environment.

This Committee was responsible for:

  • Creating Purchasing Guidelines that address practices, products, services, and food that reduce negative impacts on human health
  • Creating an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Best Practices Manual
  • Creating and implementing a Strategy to Increase EPP Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)
As part of this effort, The State of Maryland’s Green Purchasing Committee has embarked on an important initiative around Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Reporting.  Maryland is leveraging the NIGP Commodity/Services Code to define and report on spend in five categories:
1.       Janitorial Supplies
2.       Disposable Food Service Products
3.       Paper and Office Supplies
4.       Paint
5.       Electronic and IT Products
  • Maryland is piloting the reporting initiative now with the 20 constitutional agencies.
  • Since the agencies are not yet all on a single system, the process they are going through is manual (leveraging Google Docs and running a report from there).
  • Even with a more manual effort, the use of a standard coding system can help everyone report on an “apples-to-apples” basis. This is a strong testimonial to the value of the NIGP Code and its importance in helping to organize procurement data.

Read more about Maryland’s Green Purchasing efforts in the 2013 Maryland Green Purchasing Committee Annual Report.

Example #2: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts ~ Source: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts web site
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) Procurement Program helps the Commonwealth use its purchasing power to reduce the environmental and public health impact of state government and stimulate market demand for green products and services.

Program Goals:
The primary goal of the EPP Program is to use the Commonwealth’s purchasing power to reduce the environmental and public health impact of state government and foster markets for EPPs. We are faced everyday with the reality that many of the products we buy can cause damage to the environment and/or public health from the extraction of raw materials and the manufacture of products, to their use and disposal, products that we use every day can be harmful. By purchasing EPPs, we look to reduce those impacts, some of which can be severe.  The choices we make affect our local environment, our health and the global community. The power of the purse is an extremely effective tool for promoting products that do less harm and contribute to the overall well-being of our planet.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a detailed Recycled and Environmentally Preferable Products and Services Guide that contains an alphabetical listing of all the products and services that have recycled content or other environmentally preferable features available on Massachusetts Statewide Contracts.

More information about the sustainable procurement efforts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is available here.

Example #3: San Bernardino County
~ Source: NACo Green Purchasing Toolkit, Success Stories
San Bernardino County Green Team Develops Standard Practices for Green Purchasing
Project Statistics
  • County: San Bernardino County, CA
  • Population: 2,035,210
  • Total Annual Procurement: $840 Million
  • County Staff: 16,978
  • Green Purchasing Policy Adoption: 2009
In 2009, San Bernardino County, CA, adopted an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy, based on the recommendations of an interdepartmental Green Team. Standard practices developed by the group, in coordination with the County’s centralized Purchasing Department, provided direction about green purchasing practices to County employees.

The Standard Practices include standard solicitation and contract language, definitions, environmental factors and service labels, and other market considerations for environmentally preferred products. In various categories, desired products are identified for stated reasons. The documents also outline practices related to the county’s printing and stationery policies, office equipment standards, and toxins and hazardous waste to be avoided.


Recommended Best Practices for Developing a Green Team:
  • Include representatives from a diverse selection of county departments.
  • Invite knowledgeable and proactive participants. When possible, include elected officials and their staff in the process.
  • Develop goals and a timeline for accomplishments.
  • Meet regularly.
Read the full details of San Bernardino’s sustainable procurement initiative here.

You can read more Sustainable Procurement Success Stories by visiting the NACo Green Purchasing Toolkit and the NASPO Green Purchasing Guide, which includes a list of green purchasing policies and programs currently utilized in other states and localities.

Be sure to come back next week for the final post in our Sustainable Procurement Series! Tell us about your sustainable procurement efforts and challenges by commenting on this post. Have a great day!


Sustainable Procurement Series: What You Need to Know

Today is the first post in our Sustainable Procurement Series for public sector and higher education procurement professionals. We will explore sustainable procurement, why it matters, how Periscope’s purpose intersects with it, examples of sustainable procurement in action, and a call to action. Come back each Friday for the next 3 weeks to read the next installment in this series.

What is Sustainable Procurement?

First let’s define sustainability. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, sustainability means: “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Sustainable procurement is an approach to purchasing that considers the environmental, societal, and economic value of the goods and services being purchased. This approach allows the buyer to calculate the full cost of a purchase. Preference is given to the purchase of goods and services which are environmentally preferable, provide benefit to society and the local economy, and achieve good value for money on a life-cycle basis. This results in the purchase of goods and services that are better for both the environment and the local economy, and it ensures that resources are not diminished for future generations.

Why is Sustainable Procurement Important?

From the NASPO Green Purchasing Guide:
“As more procurement managers understand the connection between broader social issues and purchasing decisions, sustainable strategies aimed at reducing the adverse environmental and social impacts of organizations’ purchasing decisions are being adopted. Environmental, health, and safety concerns are increasingly being integrated into strategic sourcing. Government waste, emissions, and environmental risks are being recognized as often being directly linked to the quantity and quality of the goods and raw materials a government buys.

In the U.S., federal state, and local governments are part of the largest procurement group in the nation – representing over twenty percent of the Gross National Product. Thus, they can use the clout of their buying practices to direct industry manufacturers toward making more sustainable products that are reasonably priced and do less harm to the environment and public health. As this purchasing power is used to push suppliers toward a more proactive, planet-conscious direction, suppliers are also being enabled to achieve an enhanced market position.”

In a recent study conducted by the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP), procurement professionals were asked about the primary drivers of their organization’s sustainable procurement initiatives. The top 5 drivers identified were:

  1. Doing “what’s right” for the planet
  2. Cost reduction/savings
  3. Green factors
  4. Human health considerations
  5. Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements

What are the Outcomes of Sustainable Procurement?

  • Improved ability to meet environmental goals
  • Improved worker safety and health
  • Reduced liabilities
  • Reduced health and disposal costs
  • Increased availability of environmentally preferable products in the marketplace

Learn More about Sustainable Procurement:

Be sure to come back next week for the next post in our Sustainable Procurement Series! Feel free to share your perspective about sustainable procurement with us, along with how your organization is focusing on sustainability in its procurement operations.


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