“One thing all procurement offices seem to have in common (even before the pandemic) is too much work and too little time,” says Christina Nielsen, director, government accounts for Lawson Products. The firm is a distributor of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products and supplies. The company is also a supplier on many cooperative procurement agreements that governments use.
Nielsen says compliance is a priority for procurement teams, and that managing supplier and end-user compliance to contract terms is a time-consuming and ongoing task throughout the life of a contract for those teams. She adds that it’s also a heavy lift when it’s time to re-solicit an agency’s home-grown competitive solicitations.
The pandemic has made life more difficult for lean-staffed procurement departments, Nielsen adds. “COVID-19 only magnified the problems associated with limited human resources by adding a layer of sourcing complexity (everyone needs personal protective equipment/PPE) to a challenged supply chain (can’t make enough PPE).”