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NASPO Internships

The NASPO Internship Program Experience Part II

NASPO’s Internship Program began in summer 2017 with three pilot states and four interns. From there, it grew to eight states for summer 2018. Among the eight states participating this summer, 14 interns from NASPO academic partner schools have been hired. Our internship program works with state procurement offices across the country to build meaningful experiences for college students over their summer term.
The students from academic partner schools are impressive! They come from top-tier Supply Chain programs across the country- the closest field of study to public procurement. Since the program’s inception, we have honed the process and continue to improve for both the participating states and their students. We have highlighted the experience via webinars and conference sessions, leading to an increase in excitement and interest from our state members. 
Below is the experience of Rei Llazani, who took a NASPO-sponsored internship with the State of Utah in the summer of 2017. Please enjoy what Rei has to say about his NASPO internship, and his tips for creating a great experience for your summer interns. For Part I of this series, please click here. 

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NASPO Internships

The NASPO Internship Program Experience Part I

NASPO’s Internship Program began in summer 2017 with three pilot states and four interns. From there, it grew to eight states for summer 2018. Among the eight states participating this summer, 14 interns from NASPO academic partner schools have been hired. Our internship program works with state procurement offices across the country to build meaningful experiences for college students over their summer term.
The students from academic partner schools are impressive! They come from top-tier Supply Chain programs across the country- the closest field of study to public procurement. Since the program’s inception, we have honed the process and continue to improve for both the participating states and their students. We have highlighted the experience via webinars and conference sessions, leading to an increase in excitement and interest from our state members. 
Below is the experience is Mattie Thompson, who took a NASPO-sponsored internship in the summer of 2017. We hope you enjoy hearing about her experiences working in state procurement!

Read more “The NASPO Internship Program Experience Part I”

NASPO Exchange

Turning “Myth” into “Fact” at the 2018 Exchange

Have you ever found yourself wondering what an episode of Discovery Channel’s MythBusters might look like if it focused on “busting” procurement myths instead of the unrealistic rumors, folklore, and movie scenes the show is famous for? I’m sure you have. NASPO decided to find out at the 2018 NASPO Exchange conference and it looked something like this: a panel of experienced suppliers and state procurement professionals onstage in New York City, sharing their collective wisdom and experience to try to debunk some of the most common myths about state procurement. Perhaps that is fewer power tools and explosive hijinks then you were hoping for, but keep reading.

Read more “Turning “Myth” into “Fact” at the 2018 Exchange”

Cronin Awards

2018 Cronin Awards for Procurement Excellence

NASPO is excited to announce that we are now accepting nominations for the 2018 Cronin Awards from our member states!  With criteria focusing on innovation, transferability, service improvement, and cost reduction, the Cronin Awards recognize outstanding state procurement initiatives and provide well-deserved appreciation to the state and its procurement personnel who have accomplished projects that have resulted in distinct benefits to their residents. Last year, in its 40th year, the Cronin Awards saw a record number of submissions and we are encouraging our members to continue the tradition by submitting, even more this year!
Have you ever wondered how the Cronin Award got its name?

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Agile Procurement

Is Agile the Answer?

“We used waterfall to put a man on the moon, so it can’t be that bad,” said Aldila Lobo, Principal with Deloitte Consulting. This line certainly got a laugh from the crowd at NASPO’s Exchange conference in New York City – but it holds a fair amount of truth as well. “Waterfall” is the non-modular procurement methodology that originated in the construction and manufacturing arenas and became popular as a method for software development and procurement. The process of development literally flows from one stage to the next. Agile, on the other hand, focuses on flexibility, continuous improvement, an embrace of change, speed, and satisfied customers. Agile comes not in stages that build on one another, but in sprints, where pieces of the larger puzzle are developed one at a time.
While Agile development and procurement methods have taken hold as an elegant solution to decades-old problems, the simple truth is what Aldila alluded to – that sometimes, for some types of procurements, waterfall is still best. However, Agile and other modular procurement methods do two things that make it easier to manage large developments: they segment risk and increase transparency. While Agile and modular procurement aren’t just for information technology procurement and software development, those are the most popular applications.

Read more “Is Agile the Answer?”

Academic Forum

Academic Forum

In early April, NASPO leaders met with academic partners at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI to discuss common challenges faced when trying to attract and retain qualified talent in the profession of state procurement. The 2018 NASPO Academic Forum provided an opportunity for NASPO leaders and academics to network, identify additional opportunities for collaboration, discuss data collection that will support future NASPO initiatives, and highlight the accomplishments and ongoing efforts of the Procurement U Higher Education initiative.
Since 2016, NASPO’s Top Ten Priorities for State Procurement has included “Staff Recruitment and Retention” as an issue many state procurement offices have been facing. This year’s Academic Forum shed some light on this issue and helped state members understand what the future workforce will look like and how to react to staffing challenges they have faced and are still facing today.

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NASPO Exchange

Ten Things Your Procurement Officer Wants You to Know

A unique aspect of NASPO’s Exchange conference is the opportunity it provides to state members and suppliers to come together and have open and honest conversation in a “safe space,” where no ideas are bad, and no questions are stupid. It is a learning and thinking environment that lends itself to useful and edifying conversations that might not otherwise take place. The session “Ten Things Your Procurement Officer Wants You to Know,” led by Stacy Gregg, Procurement Manager from the State of South Carolina, really seized the moment Exchange creates and used it to convey some hard-won truths to the supplier community in attendance.
In an overflowing room, Stacy walked through the “ten things” with care and precision – taking questions along the way and allowing CPOs and other procurement officials in the room to chime in with additional viewpoints and advice. Her list included insightful quotations from her fellow public procurement officials and is presented with many of those insights below:

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NASPO Exchange

NASPO in NYC for Exchange 2018

The 2018 NASPO Exchange hit record attendance, but that was no surprise in an exciting city and tourist destination like New York City. NASPO members and staff, suppliers from all over the country, and guest speakers and presenters descended upon Times Square in the Big Apple in mid-March for NASPO’s biggest conference of the year. This conference presents a unique opportunity to build relationships among the supplier community and state governments – the largest consumers of goods and services in the country. Exchange is a place where partnering, networking, and learning come together to develop business relationships that support public procurements that are effective, efficient, transparent, and fair.
From our 2018 host state, New York General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito welcomed our NASPO members and partners during the opening general session and shared her home state’s motto: “Excelsior”, or “ever upward.” Destito energized the suppliers and NASPO members in attendance by applying this motto to the public procurement profession by saying, “We are moving procurement ever upward by being here and networking at the NASPO Exchange.” Commissioner Destito also presented a certificate to NASPO President Michael Jones (CPO, State of Alabama) from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declaring March as Procurement Month in the state in honor of NASPO bringing the Exchange conference to New York City.

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Cybersecurity

Have a Safe Cyber 2018

It’s Monday morning and you have just arrived at work…congratulations!  You stroll in with sleep still in your eye as you overhear your coworkers reminisce about their excellent weekends.  You grab your Monday-sized cup of coffee and proceed to your desk, where everything seems just as you left it the Friday before.  Sitting down, you take a big gulp of coffee and flip on your computer.  “NOT AGAIN!” you cry, shaking your fist in the air.  As you shake out the frustration, you turn your attention back to your laptop, which is prompting you to “Please enter a new password.”  Begrudgingly, you attempt to reset your password, as something you will remember but “haven’t used in the past 60 days.”  Sound familiar? With so many digital platforms in today’s world, how are you supposed to keep up with all the information!? There’s a password for email, one for the Amazon, bank accounts, Facebook…the list goes on and on.
Frustrating? Perhaps.  Necessary? Absolutely.  But why?  Cybersecurity!

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Effective Sourcing Strategies

Effective Sourcing Strategies: How Innovative is Your State Government?

Public procurement professionals often need to ask themselves, “Should we innovate, or can we use our traditional sourcing methods more effectively?” Many state central procurement offices have answered “Both!” to this question with much success.
Innovation continues to be a buzzword. We often hear calls for government innovation and rethinking public procurement, especially due to budget constraints or to keep up with the fast pace of innovation in technology.
Innovation can mean implementing new or better solutions. These could include changes as simple as a facelift to a traditional procurement method, adopting a new approach such as modular procurement, simplified multi-step bidding, communications with the supplier community prior to issuing a procurement opportunity, or allowing the state to test new technologies before procuring them. Sometimes, the most innovative ideas come from procurement professionals in the trenches who work closely with stakeholders and can offer helpful feedback.
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of hosting a webinar highlighting innovative and effective ways of procuring goods and services in state government. Read more “Effective Sourcing Strategies: How Innovative is Your State Government?”