Perfect Procurement Processes Will Not Save the Public Sector

There’s lots of hmming and hawing on both sides of the Atlantic about how the Public Sector has to reduce spend to help get deficits under control and how it needs better procurement processes to achieve this goal. Why, I don’t know, because even perfect procurement processes won’t save the public sector. I could write a treatise, but until the following fundamental problems are solved, there’s no point.

  • Past Performance Does Not Affect Current Awards
    This is so ridiculous its absurd. No private company in their right mind would say “you just screwed up this 500 Million system overhaul, but here, please bid on this other 500 Million system overhaul”. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. (At least not if they wanted to stay in business.)
  • X% Must Go to Minority/Domestic/Preferred Suppliers
    And while we’re at it, let’s just tag on 10% for the United Way. After all, they claim their overhead is now under 15%. (FYI: The overhead of a best-in-class, private, Supply Management Organization is a fraction of that.) Supply Management is about the best buy. Period. Diversity/Domestic/Preferred should only come into account when all other factors are equal or if they bring value that outweighs additional costs.
  • Salary is based on pay scales out of touch with reality
    Supply Management success requires top talent. And if you’re only going to offer 50% of the going market rate, you’re not going to attract anyone who’s any good. While there should be pay scales to insure fairness, they should be adjusted annually based on regional averages and existing employees making less than the minimum when the pay scale is adjusted should automatically be adjusted to the minimum before the annual raise and/or bonus is calculated.