New Year’s Resolutions for Public Procurement

Fortive helped us expand our vocabulary this past year to include “kaizen,” a Japanese word meaning “change for the better.” As a part of Fortive, kaizen is our way of life. This means we’re always looking for ways to continuously improve.

The public procurement professionals we work with and have spoken to this past year have a clear passion for their work and their communities. Here are three resolutions we can help you to make — and keep — this year.

1. Build Relationships

Get by with a little help from your friends in 2019! Strong relationships with your peers, procurement partners, vendors and local contractors are very important for your organization’s continued success and growth. This resolution can also apply to building your internal team and rallying them in support of your mission.

Even though these relationships aren’t romantic, you may still need to sweep them off their feet with a little wooing. The best partnerships don’t happen right away. Build trust and ultimately build up your organization’s reputation as a consistent and fair partner, who is pleasant to work alongside, with or for.

Theresa Bauccio-Teschlog, Purchasing Manager for the City of Everett, WA, says that having a strong reputation within the local business community helps to attract quality contractors. She suggests going out of your way to build trust. “When we have pre-bid meetings, the procurement group facilitates them with the project managers, so contractors can see we’re a good team. We make it a point to be responsive and keep them in the loop, so everyone feels supported. That goes a long way to developing a positive relationship.”

You can start building or growing your peer network by engaging with others through Gordian’s LinkedIn groups or networking at tradeshows and events. Tammy Rimes from National Cooperative Procurement Partners says, “The more knowledge and information you have, the better the relationship.”  Reach out to peer agencies and organizations and browse our resources for best practices. Tammy says, “When trying anything new, such as JOC, I suggest reaching out to your peers to learn more from stories from those who have forged ahead of you.”

2. Work Smarter, Not Harder

We r-e-s-p-e-c-t our public service professionals! You are increasingly being asked to do more with fewer financial and human resources. It’s clear that you love your career and your community and are working to put taxpayer funds to the best use possible.

This year, look into new innovative methods that could save you time and money. The County of Monterey, CA, has been able to streamline construction procurement with Gordian’s Job Order Contracting (JOC) solution.

“We’re being asked to do more with less. We’ve done that… We saved $3.5 million in just one year using the JOC program.” – Mike Derr, Contracts Purchasing Officer, County of Monterey, CA

Tammy Rimes promotes forward-thinking and innovation. She advocates for using cooperative procurement partners and also understands the benefits of JOC. “Whether you are a city, county, school district or special district, a huge benefit of JOC is that purchasing can shine by quickly getting a contractor in place. JOC creates a relationship where you’re working side-by-side with the contractor to address the problem. Agency directors can implement solutions quickly and most importantly, comply with all public contracting laws.”

Contractors also benefit from JOC. Dave Wilson, Director of Construction at LMC Corporation says that having a client you do repeat business with through a JOC contract helps to eliminate unwanted surprises. “There might be some unknown circumstances, but as you’re building relationships and getting these projects done, you’re learning to work better together. Pretty soon, it’s not a lot like work.”

3. Start Healthy Habits

The top individual resolutions every year include eating healthier and exercising more. That’s because the quality of our lives often goes hand-in-hand with our health. This is also true for our shared surroundings. The quality of our public facilities and public spaces is dependent upon healthy habits.

Healthy habits to start in 2019 include:

  • Use the right data. Whether you ’re estimating construction costs, benchmarking your facilities or making a business case, the only way you’ll get accurate forecasting is with accurate data.
  • Plan strategically. Take your organization to the next level with strategic planning that is aligned with your organization’s overall mission and places projects in line to meet big-picture goals.
  • Be flexible. Things change. You’ll need to be prepared for emergencies and even revisions to your well-planned projects. The best plans have room for changes.
  • Know your limits. There is a limit to the information, funding and resources you have internally. Take advantage of your partnerships and outside resources for help finding new innovative solutions.

We know our public procurement professionals are often under a lot of pressure to do more with less. Frankly, you don’t get enough credit for finding innovative and less costly ways to procure and provide the necessary construction and general facilities and infrastructure upkeep that maintain quality and ensure public safety. We can help you meet resolutions to build relationships, start healthy habits and work smarter instead of harder this year.

On behalf of everyone at Gordian, we wish you a prosperous and successful New Year!