Procurement Efficiency for the Public Sector: Optimizing Vendor Lists

Published on Feb 7, 2024
by Haley Glover

Public sector organizations face significant challenges in achieving procurement efficiency due to their inherent limitations in resources and time constraints. Partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) plays a critical role in enhancing procurement efficiency, especially for preferred vendor lists. Preferred vendor lists are important tools for executing Statement of Work (SOW) projects efficiently. These lists are comprised of various, qualified vendors who have proven their ability to successfully deliver a multitude of projects. Through tailored expertise, MSPs streamline operations by pre-vetting quality vendors, expanding the vendor network, and facilitating transparent reporting.

Procurement Efficiency Increases Bandwidth 

State, local, and education (SLED) institutions often operate with constrained resources, leading to significant time constraints. This makes it difficult to complete the necessary procurement documentation promptly, such as compliance documents and financial viability. With the support of an MSP, SLED organizations are no longer burdened by the authorization of key compliance-related documentation. Public sector MSPs, like Knowledge Services, can efficiently procure this process by having a list of quality vendors who have signed the necessary agreements and documentation. Preemptively completing this documentation streamlines the procurement production process, saving costs, time, and ensuring the quality of vendors. While the MSP expedites the procurement process, the client still retains full access over the chosen vendor. Through this expedited process, public-sector clients can quickly deploy necessary solutions.

Quality of Vendors Over Quantity

While using an open vendor list initially sounds like a great option, having a vast quantity of vendors to choose from is not always the best practice. It can lead to wasted time and resources which is not a viable option when resources are already limited. Choosing an MSP with quality, pre-vetted vendors grant public sector clients a diverse pool of suppliers and consultants, allowing them to discover unique approaches to tackle longstanding obstacles. During pre-vetting, MSPs conduct scouting, market research and development to ensure the vendors possess the necessary means to efficiently execute the project at hand. This pre-vetting process mitigates the potential risks that may arise through using unreliable vendors who do not fully understand the business operations. 

“We believe more choices aren’t necessarily better if they don’t align with your requirements. Rather than offering an open vendor list, Knowledge Services pre-vets vendors aligned with your Master Services Agreement.”

When choosing a vendor, it is important to assess the vendor value outside of cost. Some factors to consider include the level of collaboration, communication skills, and ensuring the vendor’s ability to procure efficiently. Vendors who have a long-standing partnership with an MSP provider are a great resource for SLED institutions as they have proven their ability to deliver projects and have a fuller understanding of the company. Through evaluating multiple skill sets and levels of experience, many SLED organizations benefit from greater buy-in of the Statement of Work (SOW) project.

Expand Vendor Network 

The pre-vetted list provided by the MSP offers public sector clients a broader vendor pool, tailored to suit their project needs. The MSP will work alongside the client to review the vendor pool, making tailored recommendations based on validated success. The MSP will also identify new suppliers to onboard and add these vendors to the SOW respondent network accordingly. Diversity of vendors ensures the client receives clear SOW responses that offer tailored strategies. The diversity also gives the client more of a competitive advantage based on flexing in some new vendors. The vendor network can be further refined into vendor sub-pools to account for specific needs. For instance, if a public sector organization needs a SOW project dealing with sensitive company information, they would want a vendor who specializes in security. MSP for SOW allows clients to gain access to vendor networks, including minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses.

Transparent Reporting 

Transparent communication and reporting provide necessary visibility into the overall project status, ensuring all parties understand the objective. A thorough outline of the procurement process from start to finish helps address all the concerns, facilitating the identification of obstacles and required solutions. The clear, timely reporting allows necessary stakeholders to gain insight into what individual departments and agencies are procuring. Additionally, throughout the project duration, the MSP should periodically assess vendor performance around fulfilling SOW. This ensures the SOW projects at hand are in line with procurement policies and standards. This approach also fosters innovative strategies for performance improvement, ensures suppliers present compelling projects at affordable rates and enables organizations to build long-term relationships with their suppliers

Utilizing the right technology, such as a Vendor Management System (VMS), provides clarity and insight by streamlining several processes through standardization and automation. This enables the client to promptly deploy much-needed solutions, shortening the overall procurement time. The majority of MSP providers leverage Vendor Management System (VMS) software to streamline vendor and client operations. However, it is worth noting that many of these providers outsource their VMS. At Knowledge Services, the largest government MSP in the nation, we created an in-house VMS. Our propriety cloud-based technology is completely scalable for clients and adapts to budgets and specific project needs. Through our development team, we can build on our current technology to better serve our clients, such as building out tailored capabilities. It is also the only VMS on the market that is FedRAMP and StateRAMP ready, ensuring robust security for not only our employees but also the clients we serve. 

Partner with Knowledge Services Today 

Knowledge Services has procured over 1000 SOW projects for government and higher education. Thanks to our procurement efficiency, consultative approach, and secure technology, we consistently deliver exceptional customer service to our clients. Through the quality of work delivered, we strive to expand our vendors into other areas, granting new business opportunities. Contact Knowledge Services today to discover more about our MSP Services.