If the COVID-19 pandemic has had a silver lining, it has been the forced shift to working from home and decentralizing the office building. While this transition to working from home has not been without growing pains, the benefits outweigh the costs in terms of preparing for emergencies on the horizon. Now that we know we can work efficiently from home; it is time to explore options to make our offices even more resilient in the face of future emergencies.
Thirty-Five years ago, when the Value Chain Model was first introduced, procurement was viewed narrowlyas cut and dry cost savings. But as suppliers become more citizen-centric, central procurement officers (CPOs) need to become more value-aware of procurement’s unique position. Public procurement should no longer be viewed narrowly for cut and dry cost savings, but for the additional value the procurement process can add as a strategic partner. Read more “Back to the Value”→
NASPO is pleased to announce that we will be accepting applications for the 2020 Green Purchasing Technical Assistance Funds (GPTAF) beginning Monday, February 3, 2020, via the NASPO Network. Read more “Green Means GO!”→
Everything you buy has a story. That story has a profound impact on our planet and community. Imagine, if you will for a moment, the butterfly effect. A pop-culture reference suggesting that a butterfly can flap its wings in Rio de Janeiro, causing a tornado in Kansas. Now apply this effect to a plastic water bottle. The bottle, seemingly harmless, acts as a vehicle for your water. Once its purpose is served, you throw the bottle in the garbage (or recycling bin) without much of a thought. But did you know before you even bought that bottle of cold, refreshing H20, it affected your surroundings? “The production of plastic water bottles requires up to 17 million barrels of oil each year. This amount of oil has the ability to maintain up to one million cars fueled for an entire year.” [i] Now, I’m not here to prevent you from buying bottled water or tell you to stop throwing away plastic bottles (although you should recycle them). I want to emphasize the importance that everything you buy has an incredible impact on our environment. More so, the purchasing power that states possess has a great impact on not only the environment, but economy and community as well.
No matter how well your office is running, there is always room for improvement! Consistently looking for ways to improve your processes can lead to greater efficiencies and cost savings in the long run. Models like Six Sigma and Kaizen are often used to help identify ways to improve on a day-to-day basis. This process of continuous improvement can help eliminate inefficiencies and wasteful activities or time-consuming steps in the procurement cycle. It’s about taking a critical look at your processes, finding gaps and opportunities for improvement. Read more “Keeping Up with Continuous Improvement”→
Recently, on a NASPO webinar aimed at helping state procurement officials determine what continuous improvement tools and methods might be able to do for them, presenters Jason Soza (CPO, Alaska) and Richard Pennington (NASPO Life Members and NASPO ValuePoint General Counsel) tried to solve a huge problem; the chickens keep getting run over by cars because they’re trying to cross the road…
Jason: “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
Richard: “To get to the other side.”
Jason: “Why did the chicken need to get to the other side?”
If you’ve ever been faced with the frustrating situation of having a Phillips head screwdriver in hand when you actually need a flathead, then you know what it’s like to not have the right tool when you need it. To deal with the myriad of issues they face on an almost daily basis, state procurement officials need all the tools they can get their hands on, and modular or iterative procurement is a key addition to the toolbox.
Modular and Agile methods can be game-changers in procurement offices, especially when it comes to IT procurement. Recently, NASPO and NASCIO joined forces by bringing State Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs and State Chief Information Officers (CIOs) together to talk about how to improve IT procurement. One of the key recommendations of the task force of CPOs and CIOs was to “use iterative/non-waterfall procurement methodologies when appropriate to improve procurement cycles, add flexibility, and reduce risk.” Everyone agrees that Agile and other iterative procurement methods are the future of state procurement… but how do we get there from here?
The road to true iterative procurement can be a rocky one, and if a state procurement office doesn’t plan well, those rocks can turn into boulders. It is key to think through the switch-over to non-waterfall methods, communicate with staff and key stakeholders about the changes being made, and constantly re-evaluate whether what is happening is working toward the betterment of the procurement process.