7 Ways to Improve Your Public Procurement, Acquisition Knowledge

Recently, the lessons we’ve drawn from Public Spend Forum articles have focused on doing the basics of public procurement well, and this week’s post will look at a workforce competency model that PSF has helped create to develop procurement professionals by exploring seven competency areas that can take your government-contracting organization to the next level.

After taking what we learned from the beginner’s guide to the procurement cycle, we’ll see what wider lessons we can draw by looking at advice for government procurement workers given by PSF, a sister site of ours.

So what is the Public Procurement Workforce Competency Model?

It’s a four-year project done by PSF, which collaborated with experts and stakeholders in the public procurement community from the federal, state and local levels.

“The role of procurement in the government space is overlooked and thought of as a clerical role. But when you consider these individuals are responsible for purchasing goods and services that total $2 trillion a year in government dollars, the importance of the role becomes much more obvious,” PSF states.

“Government procurement professionals are an essential part of a well-functioning government and affect the lives of citizens because they are working with taxpayer dollars. People who are in these roles support public policy from infrastructure improvements to ensuring national security. They are constantly looking for ways to save taxpayer dollars — something that benefits all Americans.

So, it is important that people who fill these roles are fully trained and educated to make the best purchasing decisions.”

Read all the details about the model here, but let’s look at the highlights of its seven competency areas:

Strategy

  • Mission and public benefit: This simply means providing support to government operations and services for citizens by procuring the required items from the best possible vendor.
  • Transformation and vision creation: Here, we are focusing on the development of strategic decisions, theory and public management practices that are needed for logistics and supply chain activities.
  • Social responsibility alignment: finding the government laws and policies related to the relationships held domestically and abroad.

Policy, Legislation, Program Oversight 

  • Enabling relations and compliance: understanding and applying the basics of contract law and identifying the legal consequence of one’s actions
  • Ethics, integrity, transparency: knowing the relationship plays in the role of public procurement
  • Legislation and legal environment: As in any industry, compliance with legal principles and legislation is required.
  • Program implementation, management and structure: Identify and actively manage project budgets, schedules and deadlines.

Planning and Analysis

  • Requirements planning and understanding: Identify who your end user is and what they require of your services, such as, quantity and frequency.
  • Cost, price and value analysis: Analyze all functions to meet the required purpose at the lowest possible price without impacting satisfaction.
  • Spend management: Develop a procurement and sourcing strategy by reviewing past, current and future spending habits.
  • Risk management: Minimize and manage the effects of accidental and unanticipated losses by projecting potential risks.

Sourcing and Solicitation

  • Sourcing and contracting methods: Find the best pricing strategy while still complying with laws and procedures.
  • Specification development: Lay out the plan so you can easily communicate to all stakeholders the requirements of the customers.
  • Evaluation methods: Identify and justify the methodology and criteria that the project performance will be judged on.
  • Negotiations: There are three phases, including, preparation, negotiation and agreement.

Contract Execution

  • Contract and supplier management: Complete the draft and finalize the contract while ensuring all obligations are fulfilled as defined within the document.
  • QA, inspection, acceptance: Make sure you know how you plan to meet the quality requirements and other specified requirements.
  • Logistics and transportation: Demonstrate that you have a plan, implementation process and control over the transportation and storage of the customer’s product needs.
  • Asset and inventory management: Ensure oversight and control of inventory and make sure the product is in the right place at the right time.

Leadership Skills

  • Driving change, innovation and agility: Develop and implement new process and procedures to meet objectives and transform current processes.
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking: Develop innovative solutions to meet customer needs, improve best practices and more.
  • Relationship management: Hold relationships with stakeholders to keep the strategic goals in sight.

Business Principles and Operations

  • Business management and continuity: Know the future needs and demands of the facility to properly manage staff, resources and contracts.
  • Economics, budget, financial management, accounting: Make sure financial resources are used effectively and are in compliance with policies, procedures and regulations.
  • Project management: Practice scope by managing project budget, schedules and timelines.
  • Technology management: Use technology to your advantage and use systems to help make your procurement more efficient.

Read the full story here, and check out Govshop to find government suppliers and information on them.

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