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Technology & IT Procurement

Top Tips for Procuring Accessible Technology

Imagine trying to use a computer without a mouse. Imagine trying to watch a video without speakers. Imagine trying to type an email on your phone without being able to see the screen. These are all  examples of inaccessibility – and we can imagine how frustrating that would be. Accessible technology means that everyone can use the same technology, no matter how they need to manipulate it in order to process information.
So why is accessible technology so important to procurement?

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NASPO Events & Education

A Day in the Life: Jason Soza

This week we caught up with Jason Soza, Chief Procurement Officer for the State of Alaska.
Jason has served as Alaska’s Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) since 2013. As CPO, he and his staff work to ensure understanding of and compliance with the laws and regulations that govern procurement for the State of Alaska, while also always looking for ways to do things better. Jason has nearly 20 years of experience in purchasing at all levels, from the front lines of an agency to his position now as CPO. Jason is a member and board member of NASPO and is NASPO’s President-elect for 2019.

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Data Analytics

Meaningful KPIs in Four Easy Steps

Have you been tasked with developing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your organization and don’t know where to begin? This quick primer can put you on the fast track!
We’ve all heard different variations of the phrase, “what gets measured gets done,” but how much of that is really true? What and how much of our activities do we need to measure to know whether or not we have achieved the desired results, and what changes to make moving forward?
Measuring and tracking key activities can incentivize employees to perform well and achieve success in specific areas. However, sometimes organizations can fall into the “metric trap” and drive for raw activity numbers rather than focusing on truly measuring key activities that influence their success. So how can we avoid inverse response behavior, where managers and employees end up focusing too much on numbers? Here are a few key questions you should ask before setting out on a performance measuring journey:

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Professional Development

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”
NASPO Events & Education

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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NASPO Events & Education

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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Technology & IT Procurement

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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Technology & IT Procurement

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”

Technology & IT Procurement

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 Administration & 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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