Procurement of Goods and Services has always been a critical and often, inefficient, process for government departments. One of the most common problem is lack of transparency. There are always doubts around nepotism and bribes. Covid – 19 has further played havoc with frequent lockdowns. In this era of digitization, can the Government procurement processes be made efficient and smart?
There are 2 main components to consider:
- Digitization enablement:
- 1. New technology to make process digital and ready for ‘work from anywhere.’
- 2. New process with the New technology in the heart of it
- 3. Real-time Analytics: to guide the People with information to make better and faster decisions online.
- People Competency enablement: To effectively use Digitization.
We find that e-procurement has become a norm in the last year – rapid changes in the technology has been seen and the government teams have also got access to this. The second part is still a concern. How can we enable the current managers of the procurement process to become more productive ? The desirable outcomes are :
- Cost cutting decisions: Finding cost savings through existing and re-negotiated contracts will be key. Managers also need to consider the financial impacts of stopping, delaying or continuing projects. Planning reprioritization is another focus area as procurement will be responsible for reviewing current projects to ensure that they are aligned with the agency’s new priorities (with limited resources, agencies will surely be working on innovative ways to move forward). Lastly, budget reprioritization will be necessary to help their organization forecast spend and give managers visibility.
- Work from Anywhere with IT support: A leading procurement software company ran a survey in April 2020 and found that 98 percent of procurement professionals had worked from home at some point during the pandemic, and 70 percent of respondents had already adjusted their processes to run bid openings and meetings virtually. As this transition continues and processes are made permanent, procurement teams will need to work closely with IT departments to support evolving work requirements.
- Agile Procurement: During COVID-19, procurement teams had to adjust their processes to source goods and services as fast as possible amidst constantly changing conditions and supply chain disruptions. Technology can help procurement managers make smart and agile decisions given changes in the environment. This needs a shift from a Contract – centered approach to a Project- centered approach and managers need to have access to some guidelines and real-time analytics to make multiple Project -centered decisions. Especially for Projects where IT Software is used, we have to accept that the advancement in technology will need to be considered as the project progresses – since government projects are often long term. Infact, there should be a distinction between short term, plug and play projects and long-term big impact projects.
- Transparency in Decisions and Spends: Data capture, including capture of reasons and thoughts at the point of decision making, should become part of the workflow easily. Digital signatures and video proctoring should enable accountability in the procurement process. Real-time analytics should give recommendations and insights of similar deals and values to enable people to best utilize budgets and enable timely contract and project closures Eg. vendors can be scored on their previous work delivery and ease of working with them. As mentioned above, these should be tracked separately by type of impact expected by the project (short term , small impact vs long term, big impact)
To enable the above we will need to empower the Managers of the Procurement process and help them adjust and work in this new, different, online environment effectively. This requires a change in acceptable behavior as well as an upgrade of technology and other skills. And this will need to be driven from the bottom to the top leadership. We must appreciate that the Procurement team needs help to adjust and perform effectively and one good way to do this is through a People Productivity Lab. A scientific and encouraging (not reprimanding) approach works best to enable quick and lasting changes.
- All existing jobs must be linked (with some adjustments / updates) to the digital procurement process. A digital and transparent documentation of the same should be available to the team.
- Job Competencies (including behavior, skills and leaderships) need to be adjusted and revised for each of the roles.
- Talent Assessments (online, with video proctoring to avoid misuse) should be done to check current levels of competencies in an unbiased manner. A comparison with peer group further aids this process.
- The results should be tabulated, and the Learning needs identified at a per person level.
- Training and Learning initiatives should be instituted to focus on the top Learning needs of each person (in groups or for seniors – through coaching)
Points 3,4,5 should be repeated at regular frequency to ensure all employees in the Procurement Process are Productive, Engaged and Effective.
With our cloud based, video proctoring enables, real time reports and dashboards , analytics driven Talent Assessments at Pexitest.com, we are uniquely positioned to help you create a customized People Productivity Lab for your organizations.
If you have enjoyed reading this article, do reach us at email@example.com for a discussion on increasing People Productivity in the procurement process in a transparent and positive way.
Reference material : https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/public-sector/agile-in-government-procurement-mindset.html; https://kissflow.com/procurement/procurement-process/;