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Look what you’ve been missing – pure gold!

Since Covid-19 arrived on our doorstep, there has been an absence of ‘business as usual’ for procurement professionals. As a remedy, NECI has been offering a FREE and supportive space where procurement professionals can gather, discuss challenges, brainstorm creative solutions, and most importantly, cultivate a supportive network and virtual community.

We have seen newcomers each week, along with a dedicated group of regulars who recognize and value the emerging wisdom from the diverse group, as they probe hot topics, and share tips and strategies for moving forward. Everyone participates in the candid open discussions and brainstorming of ideas and strategies.

During the first few weeks, conversations revolved around practical matters and best practices for working remotely, effective use of technology, dress code for virtual meetings, and ways to balance work and personal life while working from home. In some unexpected moments, we met each other’s pets.

As working remotely became second nature, the conversations broadened and deepened. We explored supply chain issues during Covid-19 and how the regular distribution channels have been turned on their head. The pandemic has revealed shortcomings in standard operations and planning. In line with sociological principles, until there is a crisis there is no reaction.

Larry Berglund reminded us that post-SARS, the emerging reports recommend future protocols and the need to build in resiliency into your supply chain. Thoughts turned to local sources of supply and away from just-in-time ordering, as many public sector bodies wrestled with a shortage of PPE. Larry’s sage advice: ‘Never waste a good crisis’ to improve things.

The following captures some of the emerging wisdom gleaned from participants during our weekly conversations. If you are ready to join our virtual community and help brainstorm procurement solutions, just click here to get your free link to join.

We’d love to have you join us!

Highlights from Past Community Discussions

  • Pondering the impact of the US economy on Canada
  • RFP, RFQ, RFI: It doesn’t matter what you call it. It matters what you are trying to do with it.
  • CFTA and CETA are not fully aligned, there are important differences and nuances. How to manage? While a single contract may rarely will reach the CETA threshold, emerging wisdom is to err on the side of caution. If you think the procurement might reach the threshold, assume that it will and act accordingly.
  • Plan for Success: Kick-off your procurement project with a team building exercise to ensure good communication and a cohesive team. There are a number of personality and strength assessments that can be utilized to build internal trust and understanding. You might consider RASCI matrix for your next project – basically a responsibility matrix, a method used to assign and display responsibilities of individuals or jobs in a task (project, service or process) in the organization.
  • Shortlisting: Exploring best practices, trade agreement implications, advertising requirements and usage. When is the process most useful? Is it worth the time and effort?
  • Recurring use lists: How do we ensure compliance with the trade agreement implications? When are they effective? How best to draw off the list? How do we get companies off the list?
  • Change Orders: Does your contract have specific wording? How to deal with unforeseen developments during a project lifecycle?
  • Contractor Performance: How do you measure performance? Do you have SLAs written into your contract? Does someone manage the contract effectively, invoking the remedies and incentives laid out?
  • Avoid the pitfall of doing an RFI and moving to direct award. Educate your users.
  • Negotiated RFPs: Pros, cons and illustrations.
  • Allowing proponents to suggest changes to the T&Cs. When, how, what are best practices?
  • E-bidding systems: Managing RFPs and BAFOs. Handling virtual negotiations.

…. and much, much more.