CPO Seminar: 8 Takeaways for Public-Sector Procurement Transformation

By Alan Dowless

Our last two posts looked at the spend management dilemma facing the U.S. government and how the UK Government Procurement Service tackled a similar challenge of their own.

The main takeaway: With a glaring need for more transparency and public cries for a stronger procurement system, U.S. federal procurement teams need to completely transform their approach to tracking, analyzing and managing spend.

Transforming procurement operations, however, is no easy task. Last week, David Shields, the former managing director of the United Kingdom (UK) Government Procurement Service, led a seminar on this very topic to a select group of government Chief Procurement Officers and Senior Procurement Executives in Washington D.C. Here are David’s top eight tips for getting started: Continue reading

Get On the Same Page with Internal Stakeholders

We’re starting a new blog series called “Get on the Same Page” where we’ll discuss tips, techniques and benefits of better aligning with the groups of people that procurement comes into contact with every single day. Stay tuned and let us know what challenges you’re facing!

Who’s your internal advocate?

If you draw a blank on that question, it’s time to start making some changes.

Continue reading

Spend Management Lessons from the UK

By Alan Dowless

U.S. federal procurement teams – as discussed in our last post – have come under immense scrutiny for failing to provide transparency into government spending.

While this situation has many layers, two primary issues stick out: missing information and poor data quality. In fact, despite publicly-stated goals to be more transparent, a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that USASpending.gov is missing a whopping $619 billion in spending.  And of the data that was actually recorded, less than 7% can be confirmed as accurate. Continue reading

Spending Transparency: Government Missing $619B!

By Alan Dowless

Know who you’re paying, how much and for what. It’s one of the most basic principles of procurement.

And if you’re in the public sector, be transparent.

While most government procurement professionals would agree wholeheartedly with both of these statements, in the case of the U.S. federal government, intent is not translating into action. Continue reading

Stop, Listen and Learn: Improving Relationships with Suppliers and Stakeholders

Have you heard the phrase “it’s just business” tossed around? Every time that I hear someone say that, it makes me pause. What does that even mean these days? That we can be rude, burn bridges, worry about no one but ourselves and forget we have a business to run? That doesn’t sound like a recipe for success.

Even in the work place, we’re all humans interacting with each other, and business relationships? Well, at the end of the day, they’re still relationships with an eye on profitability. Continue reading

The Secrets to Becoming a Highly Effective Procurement Team

Most procurement teams want to impact operating margin, returns and earnings-per-share, but very few (less than 7%) have the resources and plan in place to do it.

Steal a page from the winning playbooks of the procurement organizations that are driving financial performance and profitability today; here are a few secrets of success:

The procurement department can make a big impact on the success of the company by delivering financial performance that improves operating margins, returns and earnings-per-share every quarter.

But how does a procurement team achieve this? What distinguishes a highly effective procurement department from the rest? These secrets will help the purchasing team achieve profitability and growth that all members of the organization will enjoy. Continue reading

Executives: Do You Have the Right Resources?

Resources are the lifeline of our business and work places. Technology, talent and processes are all resources and directly influence the outcome or performance achieved. Each has its own intelligence, qualities, maturity and life cycle. At any point in time we can measure the maturity of each, suggest improvements and watch as they become fully developed; topping out a resource to its fullest potential. Maturity, it is said, comes from experience. Each of the three resources we depend upon daily has a maturity level in its current state. It is only with change — education, training, collaboration and innovation — that we see a new knowledge or maturity level evolve. As this evolution occurs, we must review our resources and align the right resources for the short term, longer term and the future. Continue reading

Technology and The Ripple Effect

You do your day-to-day job and at some point it can become mundane, if not routine; you have become a master of the process. Then something happens to change it up a bit – perhaps a new employee, product, technology, customer or supplier. Just one change can have a ripple effect upon your processes, day-to-day interactions with your stakeholders and on your performance. Continue reading

Partner or Vendor?

When I was a practitioner, one of my former companies hated the word “vendors” to discuss suppliers so much that if you used it, you were asked what circus vendor you meant (vendors were considered circus suppliers, not business suppliers.) And “partners” were considered your top 50 suppliers in the top right section of the Kraljic matrix. Today the world is composed of all sorts of suppliers and some of these suppliers are really partners to our business. It is important that we understand the difference between vendor and partner.  Because it can make a substantial difference to the way we work with them, how they work with us and the joint value we both can bring our business. Continue reading

Transforming Public Sector Procurement: Two Secrets of Success

By Dan Warn

Public sector procurement in North America is undergoing massive change for the first time in decades, as government procurement teams aim to improve efficiency, supplier participation and savings.

Ontario is leading the charge and raising the bar for other Canadian provinces and the United States. The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is creating a modernized, streamlined procurement process that is open, fair, and transparent.

Other governments are now following in Ontario’s footsteps. Change is always hard, but there are two ways to make this transformation easier on both users and suppliers. Continue reading