Ivalua Blog

Streamlining Public Procurement: 6 Strategies for Efficiency and Compliance

Public Procurement Journey

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As public procurement teams face increasing pressure to improve efficiency while upholding compliance and transparency, it’s essential that they have the right strategies in place. After all, how can you streamline procurement processes without sacrificing your standards? In this blog post, we’ll discuss six key strategies to help public procurement teams optimize their workflows while maintaining regulatory compliance. 

Processes and Compliance

The first step in streamlining public procurement processes is to ensure that existing protocols are compliant with applicable laws. Having a comprehensive understanding of the rules and regulations surrounding public procurement can help teams better manage their workflow by allowing them to identify areas where improvements can be made. While regulations are established to prevent fraud, mismanagement, and cronyism, it is imperative that organizations comply with the regulations without adding additional requirements that make the process cumbersome and eroding service levels. To avoid this pitfall, it is necessary for public procurement teams to routinely review the entire process and challenge steps to ensure that requirements are necessary to meet rules or requirements and/or deliver real value. 

Automation alone does not transform a cumbersome work process. Once the business process has been validated, Public Procurement teams should invest in a system  that allows them to digitize these processes to deliver compliance, efficiency, and complete transparency. When it comes to managing ongoing regulatory compliance, having a dynamic platform is key. Outdated systems that can’t keep up with changes in the law will lead to audit risks and could result in costly workarounds – so stay agile for optimal efficiency, trustworthiness and cost-effectiveness!

Scalability

One major challenge faced by public procurement teams is scalability—or the ability to quickly adapt processes as workloads increase or decrease. To maintain efficiency during times of high demand, teams must have a system in place that allows them to easily scale up their processes as needed. This could include automating routine tasks, introducing self-service solutions, or leveraging cloud computing solutions. For example, adequately enabling item catalogs and service contracts allows individuals to take advantage of existing commercial relationships driving value and efficiency.  Another aspect of scalability is ensuring a solution can match organizations’ appetite for change.  

If the organization is not ready or able for a complete procurement system, can a system be deployed in a modular fashion over time building on the previous efforts? Can an organization start with a Public Portal and Supplier Management Solution and then add solicitations, contract management, and purchasing solutions as they mature or as funding becomes available? Just because models are sold under a single logo does not ensure that they effectively integrate. Starting small and growing should not be a handicap.     

Data Insight Strategy

It is vital that public procurement teams develop a data insight strategy to gain visibility into their operations. By gathering data on process performance, costs associated with each task, and other metrics related to the team’s overall performance, leaders can make more informed decisions about how best to streamline their processes and improve collaboration across departments. 

An effective data insight strategy should also incorporate analytics tools that allow stakeholders to monitor progress in real-time and make adjustments as needed. This is strategically important and can be a valuable tools for quick wins. For example, having access to data analyses such as spend under contract can expose significant insights.  It can show opportunities to redirect spend to an existing “preferred” contract to achieve savings as a short term benefit, and it can provide the necessary information to consolidate contracts.  This can provide longer term benefits minimizing administrative burden and providing greater leverage in the solicitation process.   

Modernizing Technology Systems 

One of the most effective ways to optimize efficiency in public procurement is by modernizing technology systems. This could be anything from moving away from paper-based processes and into more automated ones, or introducing cloud-based systems that allow for greater collaboration across departments and system landscapes. Either way, it is essential that your new solutions can work well with your existing systems and processes. 

While it is important to challenge processes as discussed above, ultimately it is absolutely critical that a solution can accommodate the end process. Inflexible systems dressed up as “best practice” are precursors for future issues and frustrations. By using the most flexible and up-to-date technology solutions, organizations can reduce the amount of time spent on manual tasks and focus instead on innovative ideas and strategies that help drive progress in public procurement. Further, the right solution can integrate data from various systems and sources of data to expose organization wide insights that can drive strategic planning and generate considerable value.   

Adopting Automation 

Implementing technology alone does not guarantee success, measuring and driving user adoption of the solution is critical. This will require a robust training program for users complete with key performance indicators to drive continuous improvement.  It may also require the public agency to re-evaluate the skills required to manage these digital processes and solutions. Developing this new talent profile internally or hiring externally is something that organizations must consider. The same is true of the suppliers that will interact through any solution. A robust change management program needs to address all the users and stakeholders. Stakeholders, users, and suppliers must be aware of the value and benefit of the project. 

Users must understand how the project will save time and improve accuracy and consistency throughout the entire process. Additionally, using automation can help ensure compliance with regulations by providing real-time visibility into each step of the process which drives trust and goodwill. 

Improving Collaboration 

Finally, improving collaboration between departments, stakeholders, and suppliers is the key to increasing efficiency and innovation in public procurement. Staying informed is the key to preventing delays and uncovering opportunities. By granting everyone in the loop real-time data, potential setbacks can be quickly avoided and any chances for progress discovered and maximized. 

Streamlining communication can be essential to avoiding costly delays and identifying new opportunities. By utilizing a centralized system, all involved parties are kept up-to-date on requirements or changes that come down the pipeline – this way no one is missing any crucial information for the project’s success. Moreover, if there are expired documents in compliance with certain regulations, quick messaging within the system allows responsible parties to respond rapidly before setbacks occur so projects stay firmly on track. If no one has replied yet, staying on top of the conversation doesn’t have to be a chore. With follow-up communication made easy and clutter free, keeping your conversations organized is effortless!

Improved communication also ensures that everyone is working towards a common goal and prevents misunderstandings or discrepancies between departments or stakeholders regarding expectations or deadlines.  

Conclusion

Public Procurement teams are under immense pressure to improve their efficiency while still adhering to strict guidelines for compliance and transparency regulations. 

Streamlining public procurement is no small feat—it requires buy-in from stakeholders across multiple departments and a commitment from leadership to invest in necessary resources like technology and training. However, with an understanding of regulatory requirements coupled with strategies such as scalability, automation, collaboration, and data insights, any team can build an efficient workflow that prioritizes compliance while meeting the needs of its customers. 

With these strategies in mind, you’ll be well on your way toward optimizing your operations for improved efficiency!

For more information on Ivalua’s Public Sector Solutions–please check out the following resources: Public Sector Resource Page, Public Sector Datasheet, State of Maryland Case Study

Jarrod McAdoo Blog Picture

Author

Jarrod McAdoo

Director of Product Marketing

Jarrod McAdoo brings over 26 years of procurement experience to Ivalua as a product expert for the Analytics & Insights, Supplier Management, Spend Analysis, and Environmental Impact Center Solutions. A frequent thought leadership contributor for the Ivalua Blog, Jarrod has worked across multiple industries, including higher education, public sector, retail, manufacturing, and engineered products. Prior to his time at Ivalua, Jarrod held various roles in category and supplier management—including strategic sourcing and procurement team management where he led teams to implement shared service procurement models and Source-to-Pay systems. Jarrod holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Duquesne University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Carnegie Mellon University.

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