Improving Federal Procurement: Utilize Advanced Capabilities

This post, written by Raj Sharma, originally appeared on Public Spend Forum

Establish Supplier Performance and Relationship Management Programs

In spite of being the largest purchaser in the world, the U.S. government lacks the most basic capability when it comes to managing supplier relationships. For instance, most departments have no enterprise-wide view of their supplier performance.

Private-sector organizations that understand the value of supplier relationship management start with the basics, establishing performance scorecards to gain enterprise-wide visibility into supplier performance across all contracts. They use that visibility to identify opportunities for improvement, whether with specific suppliers or with groups of suppliers (e.g., all small businesses).

Building on recent initiatives such as the Past Performance Information Retrieval System and the OMB Mythbusters initiatives, the federal government should establish formal supplier performance and relationship management programs in order to gain full visibility and transparency into supplier performance via performance scorecards. The government should also develop improvement roadmaps, identifying specific initiatives that lead to overall improvement in quality and supply chain costs.

The history of government purchasing is littered with stories of the colossal failures of major programs, from the Secure Border Initia- tive to the much-maligned Virtual Case File system for the FBI that was shut down after spending nearly $100 million. To minimize such failures, all agencies should rapidly adapt the highly successful Tech- Stat review process, established by the federal CIO for the area of IT program review and governance, for all major acquisition programs.

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