It seems that not a week goes by without an auditor criticising departmental programmes and procurement for inefficient programme controls, lack of transparency, and inefficient use of time and money.
For the most part, the people involved in these programmes are doing their utmost to ensure effective outcomes and adherence to the rules. Participating companies know that their reputations depend on delivery. They don’t want to fail either.
Why does it go so wrong, so often? More importantly, what do we do to avoid the pitfalls?
It all starts with a good engagement strategy, effective execution, contracts that go beyond the transactional, and ongoing management. It is about the right people, at the table, in the right frame, engaged the right way.
Our experience on both sides of the public-private sector boundary gives us clear insight into effective procurement engagement.
Before the table
It is the real estate axiom paraphrased: prepare, prepare, prepare.
- What do you want and how does your business run?
This is requirements analysis, and it’s tough. The end user wants more than they can afford, flexibility without commitment and few constraints, all of which cost! Sometimes they don’t know how the business runs, and almost certainly don’t know how the business could run. It’s easy to avoid these issues, to be sorted out after selection – but then how will respondents know what you want and how to price?
- Only the most trivial of procurements are transactional. Most seek a contributory relationship. How will that work?
- What does value look like and how will you know when you have it?
- The answer is usually complex, and “value for money” isn’t sufficient. If you don’t know, we can help you find out.
- How will you engage? One pass, EOI, industry briefings, sole, limited or open tender? What are the probity concerns?
- How will you evaluate? Will you select by value for money, or by who you can negotiate best value for money with?
What does value look like?
“no plan survives first contact with the enemy”
At the table
It’s exciting, it’s nerve-wracking, it is where the value for money is realised.
Everyone can negotiate, the same as everyone can play tennis. Some have a talent and will excel, others might enjoy watching better. Even the most talented improve with training, experience and coaching.
Strategy helps. Know where you are going, how to get there. Be manoeuvrable as pathways unfold. As the military like to say, “no plan survives first contact with the enemy”. Adapt.
There is a Negotiations Cycle. If you know it, you can manage it. Those who control the pace and the momentum control the negotiation.
Teams are difficult. Understand the roles and how to manage them.
There are almost always two negotiations: the external and the internal. Managing nervous stakeholders is a time-consuming challenge essential to your success.
Create contracts that help deals work. Don’t focus on the things that go wrong, but the things that will help you succeed: relationships, strategic conversations, dealing with disagreement, and maintaining momentum.
Kiah can help, hands on or hands off. We can lead your negotiations for you, provide background support and advice outside the room, or coach you and your team to do it yourselves. The earlier you bring us in the better, but we have provided emergency coaching as late as the day before negotiations begin.
Beyond the table
Negotiations end, and the work begins.
You want contracted service delivery — the harnessing of the power of a partner in the supply chain of service delivery.
You can’t avoid risk, only mitigate it.
You can’t avoid responsibility for delivery, only gain assistance to do it more efficiently and effectively.
Don’t mistake contract management for contract administration. Templated Contract Management Plans usually focus on who does what to whom and when. You want to focus on building relationships, having difficult conversations early and well, and adapting to change in a sustainable way.
You want a contacted service delivery program that includes monitoring, assessment, review, strategic conversations, increasing value over time, and swift resolution of disagreement.
Design it in, then manage it to reality. Let us show you how.
Design it in, then manage it to reality.