OFPP says strategic sourcing would improve federal spending

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The federal government could get a better value for purchased goods and services by increasing its use strategic sourcing and sharing related data, says Joe Jordan, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

Adopting a strategic sourcing approach will help the government make smarter purchases by leveraging its buying power instead of acting as 300 disparate businesses and will help it build in analytics to the procurement process that can be used to track best value, Jordan said at a Jan. 31 forum held by the Coalition for Government Procurement, the Professional Services Council, TechAmerica and ACT-IAC.

The sourcing concept was strengthened recently through a Dec. 5 memo (.pdf) from Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget that called for more use of governmentwide strategic sourcing vehicles.

The government can build on a smarter acquisition approach by internally sharing more information about its purchases. "One of my biggest surprises was the lack of prices paid information we have as a federal government," said Jordan, noting that no change to Federal Acquisition Regulation needs to be made for agencies to share information with each other about prices paid for individual goods.

Jordan said the plan is to slowly make some strategic sourcing initiatives mandatory. "It's really hard to get the best price without committing actual dollars," he said.

Another priority for OFPP is building the right supplier relationship, he said. Jordan says the government should engage existing partners to ferret out fraud, waste and abuse, as well as provide them information with more explanations about why unsuccessful bids were not competitive.

He also said the government must work to maximize the use of small businesses and businesses run by disadvantaged socioeconomic groups.

Eventually, said Jordan, strategic sourcing could be used for $150 billion of the more than $500 billion the government annually spends on goods and services.

For more:
- download Zients's Dec. 5 memo (.pdf)

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