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Procurement

5 Ways to Future-Proof Public Procurement in 2024 & Beyond

The world of procurement is changing, and public procurement teams need to adapt along with it. With staffing shortages, increased project volumes and complexity, little transparency for stakeholders, and outdated processes, doing your best work is harder than ever.

We recently held a webinar in partnership with NIGP where we explored five ways you can take on the toughest procurement challenges as we move into 2024.

As part of our 2023 State of Public Sourcing report, we gathered data from our own systems, publicly available government data, and information from experts in the public procurement space. Through this information, we identified these five key areas to explore and provide you with strategies and insight:

  1. Filling capacity gaps
  2. Optimizing tech and process
  3. Creating collaborative culture
  4. Reducing risk and increasing visibility
  5. Adapting to citizen needs and values

Let’s dive into each of these topics and learn how your organization can address these challenges in 2024 and beyond.

1. Filling Procurement Capacity Gaps

With 30-40% of the public sector workforce eligible to retire, public procurement teams are understaffed and feeling it. Hiring is still lagging post-pandemic and the higher demand on procurement’s time means these strains are on everyone’s minds.

You may say “this is HR’s problem,” and you’d be partially correct. However, there are many ways procurement teams and leaders can proactively address capacity challenges. Here are some ways you can make your procurement jobs more attractive to candidates and build skills on your current team, to start.

Break the “Boring Procurement Job” Stereotypes

For most people, procurement is not top-of-mind when they are deciding on a career path. You have an opportunity to break that trend, though.

With so many people retiring from the public sector, the younger generations are set to fill open positions. Each generation brings different values to the workforce, and these generations are looking for efficiency, growth opportunities, and meaningful work. This includes demonstrating tech-forward processes and team values, clear career pathing and training, and highlighting how your department helps your agency and communities thrive.

Take the Time to Train

With steep competition from the public sector, you’re vying for experienced candidates against companies with much deeper pockets. Taking on employees with little or no experience in procurement is a hard pill for many teams to swallow. However, back to that earlier point, many people kind of fall into a procurement job—so we know it can be taught. Instead, look for candidates with passion, dedication, and an eagerness to learn and train them to your agency’s needs.

Training isn’t just for new employees, either. Offering opportunities for your current staff to hone their skills is key—especially when it comes to digital skills. A great example of this is a partnership between the Georgia Technology Authority and the state to offer all state employees free training on cloud technologies. Creating partnerships with educational institutions in your area or finding online training resources is a great place to start.

So how do you seamlessly begin to integrate this new dynamic of workers and technology?

2. Optimizing Procurement Tech & Processes

Whether you’re working with paper processes, out of an ERP, or with a procurement tool that just isn’t working how you need it to, you’re likely dealing with a disjointed, patchwork process. It’s hard to create the processes you need when you don’t have the right tools.

Finding the right combination of tech makes it far easier to optimize your process. Many procurement shops are forced to use an ERP that just isn’t built to handle the complexities of public procurement. One way around this is combining the administrative power of your ERP with a purpose-built solution that prioritizes integration and dataflow between systems.

By combining this technology with your ERP, you’ll find that you can create a system that:

  • Is flexible and customizable to the needs of public procurement
  • Facilitates data flow to other systems—like your agency’s ERP
  • Prioritizes transparency, visibility, and compliance
  • Enables easy collaboration within your team and other stakeholders
  • Handles procurement process end-to-end—from request, to award and contract management

Next, let’s focus on that last concept, creating easy collaboration among team members and stakeholders and how tech can help make that a reality.

3. Creating a Collaborative Culture

Misaligned project expectations, missed details, stakeholders not understanding their roles—these are the hallmark symptoms of poor collaboration. There isn’t a snap answer to solve all your collaboration and communication challenges, but nailing down your tech and process is a good start. Optimized tech and process means far more opportunities for collaboration and centralized communications.

Building that combination of relationships, collaboration, process, and tech can help you create a more proactive approach to procurement activities.

Here are a few of the results you’ll notice:

  • Faster, more accurate project request and approval workflows.
  • Better-informed requirements, pricing, timelines, etc.
  • Better inter-agency and interdepartmental collaboration
  • Streamlined solicitation building, document management, and centralized communication
  • Improved vendor engagement and competition

Implementing procurement-specific software that increases transparency and teamwork in your agency will be a game changer. Even better than that, integrating a solution that can couple these benefits with streamlined compliance processes will take another weight off your team’s mind.

4. Reduce Risk & Create Procurement Visibility in Your Organization

We know how easy it can be for simple errors to slip through the cracks. This is especially common when you’re operating under a complex patchwork of spreadsheets, software, and local documents.

Wouldn’t it be nice to compile your data and documents into one system, creating that “one source of truth”? When you incorporate a solution that prioritizes user-friendliness, data flow to other systems, collaborative features, and transparency, compliance becomes a snap.

But one key element to compliance that isn’t often talked about is relationships. Expanding on what we talked about in the previous section, building those relationships within your team and with other internal stakeholders helps increase buy-in and makes them open to adopting policies, procedures, and systems. Thus, allowing the procurement team and leadership to standardize those policies and procedures so everything that comes through your department is processed in the exact same way. One phrase we stand by is “consistency breeds compliance.”

5. Align with Corporate and Community Goals

As society’s values are changing, organizations’ leaders are applying pressure to incorporate initiatives that revolve around community impact. With fewer resources and not a lot of guidance, creating diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI & B) and sustainability initiatives within organizations is increasingly challenging.

There are many small steps you can take toward increasing this impact, such as:

  • Building a diverse, competitive vendor pool
  • Prioritizing accessibility of information—internally and externally
  • Finding ways to reduce environmental impact in your supply chain
  • Internally reducing footprint by reducing paper usage, files storage, etc.

Take on Your Procurement Challenges in 2024 with Euna Procure

Euna Solutions™, a leading provider of cloud-based procurement solutions, can help you transform each and every topic we covered—from supporting your workforce, to standardizing tech and process, to building better collaboration and compliance.

Future-proof your procurement processes, gain data-driven insights, and increase stakeholder trust, all while building your community engagement.

To learn more about how you can take action today to optimize your organization, download our 2023 State of Public Sourcing Report.

DOWNLOAD OUR LATEST EBOOK.

Learn how to find the right solutions partner to enhance your ERP, save time and resources, and ultimately deliver a greater impact on the communities you serve.

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DOWNLOAD OUR LATEST EBOOK.

Learn how to find the right solutions partner to enhance your ERP, save time and resources, and ultimately deliver a greater impact on the communities you serve.

Download eBook