Improving Federal Procurement: Restructure the Workforce and Transform the Culture

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

While there is significant discussion of increasing the number of contracting officers and other purchasing-related positions within the purchasing workforce, there is limited discussion on how best to reorganize and realign the staff. There is an enormous amount of redundancy and inefficiency within the current purchasing workforce that can be eliminated through a well-structured realignment.

To improve productivity and effectiveness of the workforce and to realize the redefined vision of purchasing, OMB—along with purchasing leaders from the departments—should build on current workforce initiatives and develop a workforce transformation plan that addresses the following key issues.

Alignment of the Workforce

In the current environment, the purchasing workforce is primarily focused on tactical execution of hundreds of transactions while following the complex set of regulations within the FAR. Furthermore, most purchasing personnel are aligned by process, instead of by category or supply chain, leaving them little time to become experts in any particular area. Moving forward, government agencies should develop a plan to realign the workforce in order to strategically manage critical supply chains, efficiently manage transactions, and centrally deploy critical capabilities.

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