Category: NASPO Exchange

NASPO Exchange

The Problem Solvers

The basis of any good business partnership is the ability to understand problems and develop a joint strategy to find a solution. In other words, communication and teamwork are essential. These were the central themes throughout NASPO’s 2018 Exchange conference this year in the Big Apple, New York, New York! It was here that purchasers and suppliers assembled to learn, discuss, and contemplate their relationships. Networking flourished while old friends reunited and new professional bonds were forged. The conference served as a platform in which buyers and suppliers took stock of innovative projects they had worked on together as well as learn about the vast resources NASPO has to offer. Conference-goers had the opportunity to attend large general sessions that featured keynote speakers and interactive, state government panels.
During a general session cleverly titled “Problem Solvers,” a panel of NASPO state members and suppliers sat on stage together to identify characteristics of effective supplier relationship management programs and discuss the impact of positive, open communication on the ability to reach successful procurement outcomes. Audience members were able to text their questions to the facilitator, who then asked the speakers to discuss them on stage. It was an effective way to outline strategies that could alleviate conflict in the state-supplier relationship, as well as keep all parties focused on solving the issues at hand. Although each session began with a script, it quickly morphed into a flowing, organic conversation between purchaser and supplier.
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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.

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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.

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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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