Overcoming Modern Procurement Challenges to Build Supplier Pool
Procurement professionals are facing many modern challenges.
Supply chain issues. Restrictive requirements and thresholds. Weak outreach and lack of bid submissions. Slow, disjointed workflows. Balancing compliance and innovation needs.
Although solving for many of those macro challenges would be difficult, if not impossible, for a single local government, there are a few steps that your team can take to cast a wider net and attract an increase in diverse vendors to your bids.
Start making your submission process easier for vendors and suppliers using these steps, leading to both a more diverse and deeper supplier pool.
52% of local procurement officials said that it takes more than 45 days from the time they receive a purchase request to the time they release the solicitation to suppliers
Start with an Internal Evaluation
“The procurement process takes too long. There are too many hoops to jump through.”
How many times have you heard this phrase, or something similar from your internal team? So often, procurement departments have a reputation for being an internal hurdle, versus a helpful resource.
In a recent survey of local government procurement leaders, 52% of respondents said that it takes more than 45 days from the time they receive a purchase request, to the time they release the solicitation to suppliers. Add on a submission, evaluation, and award period, and it can take months to complete a single purchase.
To start, map your internal procurement process and identify the largest pain points for stakeholders. Ask your team:
- Which steps take too much time?
- Is there too much coordination?
- Are any requirements too repetitive or redundant?
- What are the biggest obstacles?
The answers to these questions should reveal some key steps in your process that can be automated or simplified to improve the experience for your internal team, leading to a more strategic process that gets solicitations out the door faster.
Consider solicitation development. For many departments, this is a step that can be easily automated so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time.
Audit Your Vendor Experience
Just like internal team members, vendors may have similar struggles working with your team. Slow pay and long review processes make the process from bid submission to signed contract longer than it needs to be.
Talk to vendors of all sizes to understand what makes it hard, or even impossible, for them to submit bids. Then, use this insight to take action and break down barriers to submission. Consider some of these top ways to improve your submission process, leading to an increase in bid submissions.
- Speed up evaluations and awards – Don’t keep vendors waiting. Streamline your internal process with evaluations and awards to get the vendor involved faster. BONUS: Faster and more collaborative evaluations makes it easy for your team, too.
- Invite vendors to submit – Procurement is not a situation of “build it and they will come.” Create notifications that tell suppliers when a new bid is open. Whether it’s through a simple email or an automated notification within an eProcurement platform, these communications alert suppliers to bid openings and important deadlines.
- Create consistent and easy solicitations – Not only does step-by-step guidance and automated error checking in solicitation development make it easy for your team, the consistency also makes it easy for respondents to submit when they know what to expect. In addition, consider getting rid of the tedious PDF uploads/downloads that aren’t safely stored in the cloud.
For more information on how to grow your supplier pool, download our latest eBook: How to Build a Deep Supplier Pool: Overcoming Supply Challenges While Improving Equity