Government procurement is big business and is often key to helping small suppliers secure new revenue. Government procurement can also be a leader in market adoption of new technologies.
But government procurement can also demonstrate to the market what not to do.
In a new report, the Governing Institute separated the good, from the bad, from the just plain ugly, when it released its rankings of state procurement practices. The ranking of 39 state procurement offices examined their behavior on an array of factors, including effectiveness of the implementation of technology and their contract management skills.
The top-ranking states are: Georgia, Virginia, Minnesota and Utah, with Massachusetts and Ohio tied for fifth place.
According to reports in Government Technology, these states have spent more than a decade modernizing their procurement procedures and embracing new strategies. These states also held top-level government officials that agreed that procurement could be a strategic area to advance state goals, instead of considering the procurement office simply as a body to ensure government procurement remained complaint.
Despite these leaders, researchers found some areas in which state procurement offices were lagging overall.
For instance, while consumers and corporations have caught on quickly to using technology to do their buying and spending more effectively — and to track how their money is being spent — state governments have yet to see similar adoption of these tools.
Just 35 percent of those surveyed said they have access to up-to-date spending data and market metrics; that’s despite two-thirds of respondents agreeing that this type of information is crucial.
The problem is that states are often less willing to onboard to new processes, according to Old Dominion University professor and public procurement expert Stephen B. Gordon.
“They often choose to take the safe path rather than the best strategic path,” he told Government Technology, “because they’ve been punished before and they could be punished again.”