A Small Step in Government Procurement Reform

Benjamin Schmidt, PhD

Benjamin Schmidt, PhD

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Procurement is a big and scary topic for most governments. We all know that does not function as well as we would like it to – both from the government perspective nor from the corporate one. People have written at length about various overhauls and audacious mechanisms to move it forward. However, here I want to make one minor philosophy change, rather than a policy one.

This is it: seek out solutions that already exist in the market.

Nothing revolutionary, and nothing that changes the typical procurement process. My suggestion would be for more governments to look at the current market products and learn more about them. Personally, I would steer clear of creating a consultative approach to this. Instead, jump on google or bing and start searching.

In the same way you might begin a personal search for a new pair of shoes or a lawn mower, just ask the internet. Learn about the current products and companies and read their reviews. Take that information and compile your RFP or ask your consultant for a solution but with the knowledge of what is available.

But first, go looking.

I find that unfortunately, all too often, governments are pigeonholed by what their local agencies are aware of or what has been the status quo process. Or alternatively, they ask for what may or may not be already available. The internet is a big place and there are a lot of potential answers.

If you ask for custom shoes, you’ll get custom shoe pricing. If you ask for mass market shoes, you’ll pay mass-market shoe prices.

Procurement reform will take considerably more effort. But to get started: go ahead, start searching. 

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