Improving Federal Procurement: Streamline the FAR and Leverage Technology

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

Today we conclude our series of recommendations on transforming federal procurement. To read them all in one place, click here.

While the intent of the Federal Acquisition Regulation is to ensure stewardship of taxpayer dollars and a level playing field for suppliers, the morass of acquisition policies and regulations in many ways works against that very noble intent. Instead, purchasing processes have become so complex that only those in the know can compete for government purchases.

According to a paper by the FAIR Institute:

The [purchasing] process and unique government requirements work to create significant barriers to entry, potentially inhibiting many sup- pliers from competing. Those suppliers that do choose to compete for federal business incur significant costs that ultimately get passed on to government.

Following the example of the Federal Acquisition Reform Act of 1996, which resulted in substantial streamlining of the federal purchasing process, the federal government should once again undertake a review of purchasing regulations and processes. The primary goals underpinning any future reforms should be to:

  • Simplify and streamline the FAR regulations and its numerous agency supplements
  • ƒRationalize the legislation and policymaking apparatus that currently results in conflicting rules issued by different parts of the government
  • ƒStandardize and streamline common processes,tools,and forms that impose significant costs on both government and industry
  • Gain complete visibility into each government supply chain through an integrated data model that tracks key supply-chain metrics
  • ƒDefine the role of technology in streamlining and standardizing processes


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