Many companies are on missions to improve their procurement processes. One technique that caught my eye is an approach used by the U.S. government, which started in 2011 when the Office of Federal Procurement (OFPP) , a unit of the Office of Management and Budget began disseminating a series of “myth-busting” memos.
The concept is interesting because it is aimed at helping procurement people (many of whom have been in their jobs for their entire career) realize that policies and practices are much different than what they have learned over the years. The first memo explains that “with expenditures of over $500 billion annually on contracts and orders for goods and services, the federal government has an obligation to conduct our procurements in the most effective, responsible, and efficient manner possible.”
So what are some of the common myths? One is a major misconception that the government can’t meet one-on-one with potential suppliers as they seek the best way to develop a strategy or prepare for a competitive bid. Sadly, many in government procurement believe this is not allowed, because talking to one supplier can unfairly disadvantage other suppliers that are not also called into meetings.
The myth-busting memo sets it straight, pointing to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), in Part 15, which actually encourages exchanges of information with interested parties during the solicitation process; this then ends with the receipt of proposals. “There is no requirement that the meetings include all possible offerors, nor is there a prohibition on one-on-one meetings,” the memo says.
Kate Vitasek, Educator and Expert, University of Tennessee