3 ways to make government a smarter shopper

It is time to rethink federal acquisition, particularly as we move into a new era of governing—one that is focused on delivering public service for the future. 

There is a groundswell of energy around making procurement a more efficient and outcomes-driven process.

American Flag 2Forward-looking agencies are not simply improving the acquisitions function, they are strategically aligning acquisitions with the organizational strategy, creating holistic business units focused on a highly engaged workforce, total cost of ownership and predictable outcomes.

Taking three major steps can help agencies fundamentally transform federal acquisition.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2015/06/3-ways-make-government-smarter-shopper/115798/

IGs creating ‘fearful paralysis’ among agencies, vendors

Right Then Forward
The inscription on the IG crest (Droit et Avant) is French and literally means “right and forward.” Freely translated this motto embodies the IG philosophy of “First be right; then take action.”
The number of successful investigations by inspectors general has more than doubled in 20 years. Does that mean IGs are doing a better job weeding out waste, fraud and abuse in government, or are they creating mountains out of molehills?

Kymm McCabe, founder of ValueStorm Growth Partners, said the increased oversight is creating a “fearful paralysis” in the acquisition community.

“We’ve become so focused on using oversight to try to solve every problem, that folks are now just afraid,” McCabe said on In Depth with Francis Rose . “It’s really caused a freeze on communication.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/147/3851146/IGs-creating-fearful-paralysis-among-agencies-vendors

Becoming a ‘Chaosmeister’

Acquisition professionals can achieve results beyond their most positive expectations by approaching the current challenges and chaotic acquisition environment as operators — they can innovate and adapt tools and processes, creating networks and coalitions.

These are the times that try [our] souls.” What was said in Revolutionary War times seems as apt today. Resources are shrinking. Our workforce is changing significantly with the departure of the baby boomers. The warfighter’s needs are in great flux, creating instability in Department of Defense (DoD) and military Services requirements. The gulf between Congress and the Executive Branch continues to widen, causing inconsistent direction and uncoordinated oversight. Industry is changing how it works with DoD, adding to the turmoil. Defense acquisition, always a tough job, is getting tougher.

Becoming a ChoasmeisterIs the defense acquirer’s job in a “no-win” situation? It depends on our perspective.

If we approach the challenge purely as administrators of processes, who can only do what we are explicitly told to do, we are indeed in for an unrewarding, unfulfilling time.

If we approach the challenge as operators—committed to innovating and adapting tools and processes to support our goals, creating networks and coalitions that can enlarge our ability to advance our projects, striving to understand the chaotic operational environment of federal and defense acquisition, and leveraging opportunities that come from that understanding—we can achieve results beyond our most positive expectations.

Download this article from Defense AT&L magazine here: Becoming a Chaosmeister – May-June 2015 – Defense AT&L

Backseat drivers plague procurement

Top defense acquisition managers on likened the procurement process in the armed services to a dysfunctionally piloted bus with dozens of backseat drivers — and did so in front of some of those drivers.

Heidi Shyu,  Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology
Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology

“Each seat on the bus is equipped with its own steering wheel and brakes, but no accelerator,” Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Heidi Shyu said during an April 22 hearing before the Senate Armed Services Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee.

Each of the drivers, she said, was capable of steering the vehicle in their own direction at the expense of the other drivers. The only thing each couldn’t do was drive the bus forward.

The Senate and House Armed Services committee have made defense acquisition reform a priority, though congressional micromanagement has sometimes been cited as one of the problems with the process.

Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2015/04/22/defense-procurement.aspx

Can states teach the feds about procurement?

[The following article was written by Michael Fischetti, executive director of the National Contract Management Association.]  

Having recently attended an event by the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO), one is struck by the alignment of the issues, conversations, and knowledge areas across different sectors. There is much these days that supply chain, state, local, and federal communities could learn from each other. Yet real or perceived organizational, logistical, and cultural differences persist, limiting the identification of problems within one community or another, as well as potential solutions.

The challenge is to look beyond norms and see opportunities across sectors and even nations.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/acquisition/blog/2015/04/09/states-teach-feds-procurement/25543017/