What Do Government Procurement, Presidential Orders and Customer Service Have in Common? Spend Analysis Reveals All

When the White House issued the Executive Order for Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service on April 27, 2011, I’m pretty sure that the procurement officers in federal agencies weren’t called into the meetings on how the organization would move forward on creating the customer service plan called for by the President. After all, procurement is a back-office activity and doesn’t really have a lot of interaction with customers.

Ahem. I beg to differ. In fact, the procurement teams that source, manage and evaluate suppliers do in fact have a great role to play in serving their customers, also known as taxpayers.

My recommendation to the procurement teams in federal agencies? The best way to start identifying opportunities to improve service delivery is by analyzing your spend. That’s right, spend analysis. With spend analysis, federal agencies get the visibility needed to:

• Identify opportunities to improve service – while reducing costs
• Prioritize needs
• Execute on a clear plan

It’s the perfect framework for answering the question: “How can we do better for our customers?”
Don’t buy it? Ok. Let’s talk then about the elephant in the room: the funding crisis that federal, state and local governments are facing in the current fiscal year, and will be facing in FY 2012. With the economy still in a slump tax revenues are sluggish at best. Before we take any action on raising the Federal debt ceiling, once again, I say: it’s time for government agencies at all levels to take page from the best practices of the world’s best run business and apply spend analysis to their own operations. It’s quite possibly the most effective way to identify areas where taxpayer dollars can be put to the best use and stretched just a little bit further.

Spend analysis starts with the most basic questions about the dollars being invested investing in acquiring what’s needed to get the job done – and get it done well.

• Who am I spending money with?
• How much am I spending with each party?
• How effective is that spend in achieving the agency mission?
• Where are my opportunities for saving more money?
• What can I do to get better service from my suppliers?

These strategies are working in government agencies around the world – to reduce costs, maintain and improve service to constituents and provide transparency to taxpayers. In the U.K., one agency started with spend analysis as the entry point for an e-procurement initiative and ultimately was able to consolidate its spend across multiple offices, significantly reducing the time required to source key categories, lowering costs, and improving service levels. While the majority of government spend is entitlement-based (SS, Medicare, etc), and not subject to spend analysis, it’s the balance where savings can be ultimately realized.

The bottom line is that whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a government agency, you simply can’t streamline service delivery and improve customer service without the supply chain – and the suppliers in that chain – who provide all of the goods and services needed for you to deliver what you promise to customers. If improving service isn’t your end game, and cutting costs is, you still can’t do without suppliers. And the quickest way to begin advancing either cause is with spend analysis. As we all know, you can’t measure – or improve – what you can’t see.

Paul Martyn

BravoSolution

Click below to learn more about how BravoSolution can help you get on the path to better service and greater savings with spend analysis.

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