Bob Perkins, Procurement Manager in Ada County, Idaho, is glad that procurement professionals can celebrate and recognize the profession this month. There are plenty of ways that Procurement Month is recognized, Perkins says. “Ada County and other cities in and around the county recognize March is Procurement Month with proclamations from the governing boards as well as various celebratory events hosted by the Idaho Public Purchasing Association.”

Procurement Month is the perfect occasion for procurement staffers to share their passion for an amazing profession, says Denise K. Finn, Purchasing Manager for the Lee County, Fla., Port Authority. Finn says it’s a good time to celebrate accomplishments and convey experiences with others. Finn gives examples of ways the month can be observed:  “Have an open house or go visiting; do outreach to internal clients, vendor partners and constituents to help them better understand the importance of what we do, why we do it and how we make a difference. Take a moment (or a month) to pat each other on the back and don’t forget to thank your team because all of you are freaking fabulous!”

Procurement Month is a good time for professionals to show how critical the public procurement function is to government at all levels, says Marcheta E. Gillespie, Director of Procurement in Tucson, Ariz.

“During National Procurement Month [March], we have an opportunity to spread the great news about public procurement creating value for the communities we serve,” Gillespie (photo at left) tells GPN.

Gillespie says each day brings opportunities for public procurement practitioners to develop, promote and support the profession. “We need to encourage and assist all our colleagues to obtain professional certification, to continue professional growth and development, to broaden our professional network and to continuously find ways to give back to our profession.”

During Procurement Month and throughout the year, professionals should always be ready and able to articulate their value to society, says Stacy Gregg, Procurement Manager II for the State Fiscal Accountability Authority at the South Carolina Department of Procurement Services. “We should also have at least one great story of a procurement we processed that made a difference to our citizens,” Gregg says.

She explains that procurement is a special profession because “[we] have a positive effect on the lives of the citizens we serve every single day.”

Gregg (photo at right) says that the profession has an impact on day-to-day activities everywhere. “Whether it be the traffic lights and road construction projects we pass as we travel, the furniture and technology in our children’s’ classrooms, the vision-testing equipment and cameras we see at our local motor vehicle departments, and even the city ball parks we enjoy on Sunday afternoons…as NIGP says, ‘Procurement is Everywhere.’” Go here for more information on Procurement Month.

New Onvia Offering Can Assist Procurement Professionals

A lot has happened since the last Procurement Month. In early 2016, government market commerce intelligence company Onvia surveyed public sector procurement professionals, and discovered ways that the firm could help purchasing departments use data to improve their processes.

Onvia Exchange was launched in June 2016, bringing to government access to a comprehensive research database featuring 1.9 million solicitation documents from over 68,000 governments over the past 3 years. The database is easily searchable using the company’s proprietary organizational system. In exchange, Onvia asks governments to post award and bid results data on a publicly accessible website or to contribute data directly, so that other agencies and private sector suppliers can also view the information.

To date, over 900 government agencies have joined, with almost 1,500 members. Jim Tillman, Purchasing Manager in Broward County, Fla., offers his views on the product: "Onvia Exchange has been a very helpful tool, both for our purchasing agents and client departments. It has helped us in researching bids, developing specifications and finding additional supply sources. This has allowed us to reduce our lead time in developing solicitations while increasing our competition base."

Watch this video to see the Onvia Exchange in action.

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