4 tips for working with internal teams for procurements

One of the most challenging parts of a procurement professional’s job is working with internal teams to determine the exact scope of a project, nailing down evaluation teams, and ensuring the proposal is written correctly. These tasks must be completed before the RFP can be tendered. So what steps should a procurement professional take to get bids out the door faster and more efficiently? Here are some examples:

1. Schedule a kick-off

When starting a new project, be sure to schedule a kick-off meeting with everyone involved so they can learn more about the procurement. This could include many people from different teams depending on the project, such as:

    • Communications
    • Marketing
    • Sales
    • IT
    • Operations

With many people working remotely this may be harder to coordinate, but it’s vital to the overall process. Often questions and concerns come up from unlikely sources through discussion that the procurement professional may not have thought of before, so including all the stakeholders at this stage prevents surprises later on.

2. Set up the evaluation team and parameters in advance

More often it’s internal, rather than external, factors that slow down a project. Even a simple error or miscommunication can lead to delayed projects, lost money or even legal action against the organization.

To reduce the risk of internal errors, it’s extremely important to be proactive, and get ahead of any issues that may occur rather than trying to fix them later. Before implementation, set up the evaluation team as well as the parameters and schedule a meeting to review and discuss. Early involvement is essential for effective implementation, especially when coordinating with multiple internal teams.

Doreen Wong from Robinson Global Management consults with public sector procurement professionals to help prevent errors and miscommunications, particularly in the evaluation phases. 

Learn more about the most common evaluation mistakes  in this on-demand speaker session, "Skating on Thin Ice: Common mistakes in public procurement evaluation."

3. Be clear about deliverables

When working with different teams, it’s important to remember that each group will have a different process for how they manage projects. To ensure everyone is working towards the same goal, the team must be clear about deliverables. Make sure this information is communicated at the very start of the project, and is available for reference until it’s completed.

For example, if a procurement professional is receiving bids for the purchase and installation of a new HVAC system in a public building, there will likely be closures for that installation. Those closures will need to be communicated to the marketing team so that websites, signage, and customer emails can be updated. Since the marketing team is responsible for those communications deliverables, they need to be clear with the procurement team what information they need and by what date.

4. Set realistic timelines

Sometimes internal teams will leave their procurement requests to the last minute, making the procurement team struggle just to get it out the door. Rushing to meet this tight deadline can result in cut corners and administrative errors that can end up costing the company later on.

Setting realistic timelines is a good way to manage expectations and avoid mistakes caused by last minute deadlines. This also ensures time for review and final edits so even if mistakes were made there is time to fix them.

Communicating projects early in the process, even before teams are ready to post, allows the procurement team an opportunity to give input on the timeline. A procurement professional may even have templates available to assist the internal teams with their requests and documentation, so that they can submit things to the procurement team sooner.

Moving forward

The procurement industry is continuously evolving and expanding to include more people from different teams within the company. It is vital that procurement specialists are given the tools needed to manage their projects quickly and efficiently, especially as they continue to involve more and more people.

Working with internal teams can be a challenge, but when managed correctly it can improve the operations of the business overall.

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