Many often think of procurement as being solely a part of the business world, but the reality is that nonprofit organizations and government entities of all shapes and sizes also rely on such processes every day. However, these efforts may be a particular pain point for local governments because they tend to operate on rather tight budgets, and under processes that have been in place for potentially decades.

In the post-COVID world, the ways in which all types of organizations operate are being reordered. Many within the world of local and regional government see that as a prime opportunity to improve their procurement efforts in a number of ways, according to American City & County. After all, many changes were put into place on an emergency basis during the pandemic, and with things returning to normal in the coming weeks and months, there is no real necessity to just revert back to pre-pandemic operations.

How can government departments improve procurement?How can government departments improve procurement?

Instead, decision-makers should sit down and consider what's worked and what hasn't in recent years, and then strategize about ways to improve processes based on the lessons they learned when problems arose throughout the pandemic, the report said. These could include finding new ways to increase agility (or to make temporary efforts previously put into place more permanent), investing in new technology thanks to federal COVID relief funds, or even partnering with other local government entities to boost your buying power.

Cooperation pays
The rise of cooperative agreements in recent years has been a boon for procurement pros in the world of government, especially because they can use their heft to sway existing supply chain partners to efforts that benefit smaller, potentially more diverse suppliers, a separate report from American City & County said. Data suggests that among 13 long-standing organizations of this type, the dollar value of total transactions has risen appreciably in the past several years, from $29 billion in 2015 to $47 billion last year, and with the potential to climb to $61 billion by the end of 2025, the report said.

"It definitely provides for a successful synergy of the interests of saving money through large-volume purchases, coupled with providing additional opportunities for small, minority- owned, women-owned and other disadvantaged businesses," Keith Glatz, purchasing and contracts manager for the City of Tamarac, Florida, and member of a government co-op, told the site.

What can be done?
When government entities are trying to improve their procurement efforts, there are a few areas of focus that could set them up for success, according to procurement software expert Adam McInnes, writing for LinkedIn. These include looking at risk management over the entire course of a contract, making sure current technology and software is aligned with current needs, and that they have as close to complete visibility in their processes as is feasible.

This all starts with careful strategizing and an honest assessment of where it is now, where it wants to be, and what may stand in the way of getting from Point A to Point B. That extra effort at the start of the process could pay serious dividends even within the course of a few months.

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