Blog

Michael A Jones at a podium NASPO

Reflecting on 2018

Warmest holiday greetings fellow NASPO members,
As the 2018 calendar fades into 2019 and my Presidential tenure draws to a close, this is truly a time of reflection on all that has transpired over the past year. To say it has been an historic year in the life of NASPO does not adequately capture all that has occurred over the last 12 months.
In January 2018, a small NASPO staff of nine, primarily working in Lexington, joined the executive team led by CEO Lindle Hatton. That team of dedicated staff continues to grow and develop as NASPO assumes the remaining operations of our association, including the recent alignment with our cooperative purchasing arm, NASPO ValuePoint. Beginning in 2019, NASPO will become a fully independent, standalone organization dedicated to supporting the needs of public procurement professionals across the nation.
In March, NASPO members traveled to New York City for the 2018 NASPO Exchange Conference. This unique event once again attracted a record number of state procurement professionals, suppliers, small business leaders and government stakeholders, outpacing the previous year’s record attendance by 11 percent.

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Higher Education Outreach

Building a Sustainable Workforce Through College Student Outreach

Recruitment of emerging talent is an effort NASPO has focused on as an integral part of our higher education initiatives.. Since we began this project in 2017, we have attended supply chain management career fairs at each of our six academic partner schools. We take a two-pronged approach; at least one NASPO staff member attends to grab students’ attention and explain what public sector procurement is and why it is an excellent career opportunity; and state members attend to talk to students  specifically about their state’s career opportunities.
We have learned so much from the first career fairs we attended in 2016. In order to gain students’ attention, we e have colorful pop-up banners, NASPO “swag,” and more of a visible presence on these campuses. Through our work with our internship and scholarship programs, as well as speaking in supply chain management classes and supply chain student groups, we have increased our brand awareness. Now, we often have a small handful of students at each fair who come up to our table and know what we do! We have come a long way from that first fair, we still have work to do.
Read more “Building a Sustainable Workforce Through College Student Outreach”
Uncategorized

A Day in the Life – Roz Ingram

“A Day in the Life” is a new series here on Procurement Pulse! We will give you insight into one of our NASPO member’s busy days in the central procurement office of their state, and allow a small peek into their lives. So look for your favorite friendly neighborhood procurement official to be featured here! 
This week we caught up with Rosalyn Ingram, Director of State Purchasing & Chief Procurement Officer for the State of Florida Division of Purchasing to learn more about her role.
Roz has a B.S. degree in Business from Florida State University. She is also a Project Management Professional, Certified Public Manager, and Florida Certified Negotiator. She has 30 years of state government experience and has worked in several agencies to gain her diverse knowledge of state government and best practices in procurement. The Division of State Purchasing, led by Roz, creates state term contracts that leverages all state agency spend, as well as spend created through cities and counties that are able to use them. Her division also provides training for Certified Contract Managers, Certified Negotiators, and Project Management Professionals. They are also charged with rule promulgation and policy initiatives.
 NASPO STAFF: Roz, first of all congratulations on your re-election to serve a second term on the NASPO Board of Directors. You are one of the many energetic CPOs and dedicated NASPO Board of Directors member. Why do you value your membership with NASPO?

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Survey of State Procurement Practices

Surveys that Matter

How many surveys have you completed this year? Chances are you have already participated in several reviews and customer satisfaction surveys. The real question is how many surveys we complete actually matter? In today’s big data world, businesses need to gather data and understand customer behavior in order to gain a strategic advantage or identify new business opportunities. Requests to participate in customer satisfaction surveys, guest surveys after returning from a domestic or international travel, or surveys to evaluate your recent dentist’s visit have become a part of life. The average consumer seems to be bombarded with a lot of “tell us how we did/tell us about your visit” surveys and requests for feedback. Researchers try to strike the right balance between gathering the right amount of information while being mindful of survey fatigue which can lead to low response rates. Rightfully so.
If you are interested in a survey that matters, a survey that offers a comprehensive nationwide perspective of state procurement practices, look no more! NASPO has the best vantage point to provide insight into how various state central procurement offices handle the procurement of goods and services across the country and infer valuable trends. NASPO’s Survey of State Procurement Practices is a comprehensive data collection, and the longest running survey for the association.

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Procurement Process Improvement

Building a Procurement Team for a Digital Future

Want your procurement staff to be ready for the next big thing? There is undeniable value in a staff that is savvy with current technology, but how do you prepare your staff to be ready to keep up with the digital trend that’s here to stay? In many cases, trends come and go, but sometimes they are the forces that drive innovation and success for businesses worldwide. Organizations of all sizes who embrace changing times are better able to develop strategies to manage change in a way that positions themselves for the future. Digitalization is achieved through the use of technology to strengthen existing processes and practices. It can also be looked at as the thread that is woven through multiple silos of information as means to integrate people, processes, and data throughout an organization. Outside of cost savings, there is value in digital efficiency, especially since procurement plays a vital role in shaping strategic models that support the execution of a multitude of contractual goods and services.

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Emerging Technology

The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part…

Living in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
In the previous installment of this two-part series I discussed the amazing transformation and evolution made possible by automation and technology advancements of the 20th century. Today’s technology transformations such as robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnologies, and the Internet-of-Things will have a great impact on society, disrupting every industry and improving many aspects of our personal and work lives. They also create problems for governments around the world that must now figure out how to regulate this new environment and respond to socio-economic concerns such as displacement of workers by automation, or inequality.
Of all big tech companies using AI to enhance their products or services, Amazon is clearly leading the pack with home automation products like Alexa, its version of a personal assistant. Facebook has recently sunset “M,” which hoped to take current personal assistants to the next level where the trained AI machine would have had the same knowledge as the user and do more things than regurgitating various scenarios scripted by app developers. However, the race to lead in AI as a service is on.

Read more “The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part II”

Emerging Technology

The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part…

The Benefits of Automation
The Technological Revolution, including automation in manufacturing and the automotive industry is synonymous with great innovations and rapid developments taking place during the Second Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century through the early 1900s. Advancements like the assembly line and automated machines, which replaced work that used to be performed manually, led to positive outcomes, including efficiency and mass production of manufactured goods at significantly higher rates.
It’s a known fact that in a manufacturing setting, robotics and automated machines improve productivity and reduce labor costs. And yes, they replace workers. So, it is not surprising that businesses will always embrace automation. To business, automated machines are like the perfect worker who works seven days a week, never takes breaks, never asks for a raise, and never gets sick. Sounds like a deal you simply cannot resist, doesn’t it? Ask the same question of a blue-collar worker displaced due to automation and expect a different answer.

Read more “The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part I”

Contract Management

NASPO’s Contract Administration Workshop

Training and professional development are essential to the state procurement office. Many procurement offices deliver internal training to their staff on a regular basis. The topics of these offerings can be everything from how to conduct an RFP evaluation to how to use the office P-card. Whether an office has a formalized training program resulting in a certification or less formal “hot topic” training, the intent is the same: to improve the procurement process.
In addition to providing internal training, many procurement offices are tasked with delivering training to the agency staff responsible for contract administration. These agency staff may not have a procurement or contract management background but are tasked with the administration of contracts related to their job duties. However, there is a great deal of responsibility delegated to the agency contract administrators, as they are interacting with the contracted supplier most often. Ineffective contract administration can affect the overall success of the contract.

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Contract Management

Through the Vendor’s Eyes: Procurement and Contract Management

NASPO recently held the REACH (Regional Education and Connection Hub) Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. 270 state members representing 47 states and the District of Columbia came together to participate in the first “super regional” conference in NASPO’s history, bringing together the Southern, Eastern, Midwestern, and Western Regions. The event was filled with educational and professional growth opportunities that expanded NASPO members’ support network into all four regions. In this series of blogs, NASPO staff will share key takeaways and highlights from REACH’s expansive programs agenda. 
“How many people have experienced frustration with a vendor?” Valerie Bollinger, State Purchasing Manager for the State of Idaho asked participants at a recent NASPO REACH conference. The room quickly filled with laughter as many state procurement professionals attending the breakout session titled Procurement and Contract Management Through the Vendor’s Eyes realized they can relate. Public procurement professionals and vendors alike are occasionally frustrated with each other and feel like it’s “them vs. us” when doing business together. The group exercise, led by Valerie, was an introspection and challenge to participants to put themselves in the vendor’s shoes and think through solutions that could inform better processes and relationships during the contract management phase, which is an important piece of the complex state procurement process.

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NASPO

What has NASPO done for you?

Through conferences, research, informative publications, and various member benefit programs, NASPO is dedicated to providing educational and information-sharing opportunities to the state government procurement community. Curious to learn more about what NASPO membership can do for you? Don’t take our word for it – check out this new video which features some of our members discussing the benefits of their NASPO memberships!