Traditionally when people talk about procurement, they tend to focus on the process of inviting submissions, applying the tendering process, receiving and evaluating bids and awarding contracts.
While important, this is only part of the wider picture. However, procurement professionals (particularly in the public sector) increasingly look at the whole process as a cycle, rather than a single journey with a beginning and an end.
As you can see from the diagram below, the procurement cycle begins with pre-market engagement, moves on to formal procurement and supplier award, and then leads on to delivery and contract management. The lessons learned at each stage are then fed back into the procurement cycle, allowing you to refine every new procurement project in the light of previous experience.
One advantage of looking at procurement in this way is that it helps you visualise the three related areas in their relevant context.
- Pre-market engagement – the work you do before going to market
- Procurement – communicating with bidders, evaluating bids and awarding contracts
- Delivery – contract and supplier management
Each context allows you to consider each part of the process from the point of view of stakeholder need, helping you to decide on the most appropriate ways to consult, inform or collaborate with each audience as needed. You can find useful ideas for mapping digital tools to these activities in our free guide, Transforming Public Sector Stakeholder Engagement.
When procurement gets complex
While the procurement cycle looks simple on the face of it, the reality can be very different. If your procurement process is particularly complex, you face the challenge of managing many-to-many communications and team working activities.
The only effective way to make these relationships work is to provide all parties with access to a definitive source of information. It must be secure, it must ensure that contributions are seen only by authorised parties, and it must connect the right teams and stakeholders at each stage of the procurement process. Above all, it must be scalable – so you are free to involve more than just the ‘famous few’ staff members and suppliers.
The best way to do these things is to use cloud collaboration as an integral part of the procurement cycle. In this way stakeholders can collaborate from any place, at any time, using any device. As you can see from the diagram below, it can unite any person or team – simply and flexibly – as and when needed.
In recent years, many public sector procurers have turned to Kahootz cloud collaboration software to provide continuity and context for communications throughout the procurement cycle. You can put a free trial of the software to work by following the link below, and as you’ll see in an upcoming blog post it will help you to create and strengthen a ‘virtual cycle of procurement’. In this way, you can quickly learn how to reduce costs of public sector collaborative procurement, particularly during pre-market engagement and service delivery.