5 Tips for Government Agencies, Suppliers to Communicate Better

In public procurement, government agencies tend to be tight-lipped when dealing with potential suppliers who are bidding on their contracts.

That stems from being risk-averse, says Public Spend Forum, a sister site of ours that offers five tips for improving the communication between government agencies and suppliers.

But what’s behind this friction between these groups that needs to be eased?

“We’re afraid sharing too much information could create an unfair advantage for one supplier or another and possibly lead to a protest,” PSF reports. “When communication doesn’t occur, the relationships between buyers and suppliers are not as productive as they could be, and neither party is able to achieve the outcomes desired by the contract.”

The article has links to a podcast with Gen. Wendy Masiello, a former Department of Defense procurement expert, in a PSF interview last year where she discusses how better communication improves the process — and the contract.

And then Public Spend Forum jumps into the five tips:

  • Release information early and often (before solicitation)
  • Be mindful
  • Share everything (almost)
  • Use common sense
  • Intel doesn’t mean OCI, or an organizational conflict of interest

Let’s look at a couple of these tips more closely.

On the last item, about OCI, the article says a large myth surrounds the sharing of information with suppliers. It goes like this: “If a vendor receives information on an upcoming procurement that is not available to other vendors, that vendor will no longer be eligible to bid because of a possible Organizational Conflict of Interest.”

Not so, says the article, which cites government memos that spell out this myth-busting point, and it offers resources for your company to get started to properly share information.

On another tip, what does “be mindful” mean in a procurement context?

The article delves into the issues and offers these take-aways:

  • No one’s a mind reader: If you have a question, just ask it.
  • Contractors have skin in the game and want the contractual relationship to go just as well as you do.
  • Shared understanding is the foundation of interpersonal success in business.

Read the full article at Public Spend Forum, and check out GovShop, the tool that lets you connect and research government suppliers.

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