Government business intelligence company Onvia has released a new report addressing key changes and shifts taking place in public purchasing today.
The report — based on a survey of 668 procurement professionals and key decision makers from state, county and city agencies, including school and special districts nationwide — provides insights to businesses seeking contracts with these units of government.
In the report, agencies describe their current contracting environment as generally healthy and improving. 39% of the survey respondents expect growth in bid volumes in the next 12 months. The report notes the “recent surge in demand for infrastructure bids stemming from the $200 billion in tax initiatives for these projects approved by voters nationwide in November.”
The increase in opportunities is contrasted with agency staff’s collective recognition that the formal bid/RFP process is “one of the most challenging aspects of their job, particularly in the areas of research, planning and specifications.” State and local government procurement teams report that since last year there has been an increase in the share of procurement staff that are stretched or overworked. Onvia notes that when purchasing staffs are overworked it has a negative impact on businesses who have to navigate through poorly worded bid language, adding preparation time for bidders.
Given the current purchasing environment, Onvia’s report contains a number of meaningful observations for businesses in pursuit of contracts with state, local, and educational (SLED) institutions. Among the observations:
- The most successful government contractors do not wait around for a bid or RFP to be issued but are actively building constructive, consultative relationships with government agencies. Without demanding loyalty or future business, these proactive companies will offer helpful advice to busy, overworked buyers about market or product trends, best practices and pricing guidelines that can help procurement staff during the critical pre-bid phase of research and planning.
- Forward-thinking and proactive contractors should pay attention to these trends and consider how to be sensitive to buyer and user needs in their outreach, communications and project management. Where there is greater uncertainty, stress or confusion on the buying side, vendors that become known for working well with agency teams as valued partners can help differentiate themselves and earn more business even if they are not typically the lowest-priced option.
A free copy of the complete survey results and report can be downloaded at: https://www.onvia.com/market-research/surveys/survey-government-procurement-professionals-2017