Testing the market – where do I start?

Many managers we have worked with find themselves, at one time or another, in a situation where they need to navigate a procurement process. Without much support or perhaps even having undertaken a gruelling government procurement process before, they nervously begin to tiptoe through what feels like a minefield to acquire a value-for-money solution. Navigating this pathway can be extremely daunting when you have various levels of oversight looming, from management, audit and – more seriously– ICAC in the government space.

Those in the know can find the road to procurement success – but with the State Government’s devolution of procurement in full swing, an agency can easily be left wondering where to start. How do you ensure that your procurement outcome is optimal and that the process you have taken will stand up under scrutiny?

The greatest mistake is to jump straight into developing the requirements for your tender. The key to success is to be an informed buyer. Charging ahead without all the information you need can result in a lengthy and poor outcome. Take the time to consider:

1. Procurement plan and approach:
Remember that procurement pathways can take many forms – all of these should be considered, from extending existing solutions, partnering with other organisations, piggybacking on existing contracts, and approaching the market. An RFT is very time-consuming and is not always the only solution!

2. Requirements of end users:
Consider users, owners, other business units, organisation plans and strategies. This means having open and frank discussions with internal stakeholders to really understand the drivers and outcomes that will inform the procurement requirements and your strategy to meet the need.

3. The capability of the market:
Don’t be afraid to take your ideas out into the marketplace to find out who can do what by communicating with both previous and new suppliers. The better informed you are, the better the outcome will be – so before you begin to develop your requirements, get out there, talk to industry and find out how they can meet your needs.

In our experience, good procurement planning will always save you time, money and resources in the long run – overall, a much better result.