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Specifications - Procurement's Role

Posted 6/15/2021

Procurement is a collaborative process. We collaborate with fleet, facilities, information technology managers and others within our organizations. We link our internal clients with external suppliers.

Our clients will provide us with product and/or service specifications and ask us to buy the product. Higher functioning organizations will involve procurement at the specification development stage of any substantive procurement project.

Procurement either adds value or gets out of the way. So, what could or should be Procurement’s role regarding specification development? We are not architects or engineers, but we can add value in many ways at the specification development stage of most projects. I will ask a lot of questions such as:

  • ·        What are the alternatives (process, product, etc.)?
  • ·        What are the client’s expectations of a successful outcome?
  • ·        What is the status of the marketplace early, growing, or mature?
  • ·        What could be the components of a service level agreement?
  • ·        Do the specifications encourage open competition?
  • ·        How to apply the organization’s history in sourcing similar products or services?
  • ·        Are there related goods or tasks that could be added or deleted from the scope of work and specifications?
  • ·        What are the risks and how will the specifications serve to mitigate risk?
  • ·        Is there clarity of specifications as applied to the intended market?
  • ·        Has all relevant information been disclosed?

The answers to these and similar questions will inform procurement strategy and contribute to obtaining a good range of competitive offers.

Procurement must be respectful of the expertise that others bring to the project, particularly technical specifiers. We may know a little about a lot of things, however, knowing what to ask and when will contribute to maintaining positive and productive relations with our clients.