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Let's Share the Cool Things

By Michael Thornton posted 09-27-2019 09:01

Last week I was preparing to present on my agencies implementation of our e-procurement system. With this implementation we now issue Solicitations and receive all responses 100% electronic.  No paper. During my preparation I came to realize Public Procurement Professionals are really, really bad at two things. The first is asking for what we need to do our job better and more efficiently. The majority of us do not ask for the tools, professional tools, needed to better serve our agency and suppliers. I guess the positive side of that is we are really, really good at getting by with what we have. We get by with using Excel, Word and creating PDF's. We are the 'MacGyvers' of our agency.

The second thing our profession is really, really bad at is celebrating, promoting, sharing, blowing our own horns about the cool things we are doing within our agency. We don't promote our successes within our own agency and definitely not with other agencies or the Public Procurement Community. I find this ironic; as a profession we are very willing to share knowledge, bids, contracts, supplier lists and resources of all types.  But when it comes to sharing neat processes, tools, software products, etc . . . nothing - radio silence. I don't know the reason. Maybe we don't think anyone else would be interested. Or maybe there isn't a good way to share. Whatever the reason we need to get better at sharing this type of information.

When I identified I wanted to move my agency to 100% electronic solicitations (e-procurement) I did not know of any other agencies that were issuing Solicitations and receiving responses 100% electronic, no paper. Something other than a file download and upload.  I knew there must be some agency out there but I couldn't name one. I had to look to the European Union for my inspiration and guidance.

For me, the best thing about Forum and other user conferences is that ONE THING you learned from another attendee you can take back and implement at your agency. We need to continue that sharing and networking the other 51 weeks of the year. Share that one little thing another agency may be looking for.

To start the sharing, I am going to start a thread in the Nsite Purchissues communities with something my office does. I will then request members to share something they do that may help another agency. Something that saves them time, makes them more efficient, benefits suppliers or the departments they serve. The only rule on the posts is, "Nothing is too small". Let the people you are sharing with determine if it is too small or if it won't work for them. For some agencies it may not work. But for an agency your thing may be that one thing they are looking for to make their work life better.

1 comment



10-02-2019 08:37

​You are absolutely right about not patting ourselves on the back for the great things we do in procurement!!!

I spent many years performing procurement compliance reviews for organizations all over the country and the one thing I heard during each and every review was "well, we're a little different here."  If I had to guess, the reason we might not broadcast our inside-baseball achievements is because we all kind of operate under the impression that we're unique in how we "have" to get things done.  While there is some truth to that perspective, I think we all face very similar challenges and could definitely benefit from hearing the great things our peers are doing.