Procurement Officers: We Need More Qualified Vendors

Procurement officers are getting creative when it comes to finding companies willing to work with the public sector

One of the best methods for ensuring that goods and services are acquired in a cost-effective manner is to create as much competition as possible. Competition is the cornerstone of procurement, and is a critical tool for achieving the best possible return on investment for taxpayers.

But procurement officers across the country face a growing problem: Not enough qualified vendors are responding to bid requests.

According to Governing:

‘We are not seeing large numbers or even sufficient numbers of qualified firms responding to our solicitations,” says Debbie Dennis, Oregon’s chief procurement officer. She’s bemoaning a startling fact of life: For many cities and states, there’s a lack of qualified vendors for all sorts of products.

The procurement process can be a herculean task for smaller firms. Procurement laws are often antiquated and can require scores of pages of forms, many of which cannot be submitted electronically — even to this day. This puts states and localities at a disadvantage when compared to private-sector establishments that may be seeking the same bidders. “The private markets are less complicated,” says Dugan Petty, Oregon’s former CIO and chief procurement officer and a senior fellow with the Governing Institute.

The vendor shortage is causing some states to rethink procurement policies, while others encourage procurement officers to take advantage of opportunities to meet face-to-face with prospective vendors.

Read the full article for more information.