Buying smart solutions: Technology is now part of (almost) every government purchase


When municipalities to start with moved towards automation, early purchases concentrated on delineated silos in between technology and non-mechanized purchases. With today’s getting trends, there seems to be a computer chip or automation element included in just about each governing administration acquire.

Transforming attire field

Whether or not it is uniforms for basic safety staff, custodians or park rangers, do the job clothing is a very long-standing authorities procured commodity. Nevertheless, the moving items of an awarded uniform contract can be sophisticated. With various employee wants, onboarding a new provider can be a very long, drawn-out method as the fitting and supply component is guide and time intensive.

ServiceWear Apparel was recently chosen to provide uniform products and services for the Los Angeles Earth Airports (LAX). With 1,200 employees to onboard across a two-day period, the enterprise examined a new know-how produced by their producing partner, Workwear Outfitters, powered by Couture Systems. This ground breaking, virtual check out-on device delivers a exact in good shape, streamlines the sizing approach and enhances the consumer knowledge.

For the duration of the onboarding course of action, LAX staff arrived on-web page to bodily attempt on their new do the job apparel. Afterward, Workwear Outfitters and Couture engaged the workers in a check of this new technological know-how. Following measurements have been taken, an worker methods on a specialized mat in front of a pc tablet. The procedure generates a personalized avatar, fitting the exact same garments to the employee’s virtual entire body. This technological approach generates dimensions suggestions that are accurate to the employee’s actual system measurements inside garment dimensions. In the upcoming, there will be no have to have to haul dozens of uniforms in distinct models and measurements to the employer site for fittings. This approach also addresses specialised sizing, supports cleanliness protocols and minimizes returns.

In accordance to Jim Burnett, main development officer for ServiceWear Apparel, “A suitable match is crucial to warranty suitable variety of motion, temperature control, protection and positively effect personnel morale. A two-hour journey across town to a uniform store to be fitted will turn into a way of the past. On-website sizing classes can consider 15-20 minutes per employee as opposed to a lot less than two minutes with this new engineering. We are psyched about the opportunity of this new tactic.”

Community safety bigger interaction

Regardless of whether it is a multi-car incident, civil disturbance or natural catastrophe, community protection crews involve superior conversation to deal with any crisis. In the course of the previous decade, technological advancements in machines and networks have resulted in smaller sized packaging and decreased expenses in contrast to former iterations. This craze gives applications to make the significant work of the very first responder much more productive and safer.

One particular of the most major enhancements is a nationwide, interoperable, wireless broadband community with priority and preemption for community protection to reliably transmit information and facts. Called FirstNet, obtain to the network is managed by the federal Initially Responder Network Authority, and delivered by way of a Sourcewell cooperative contract with AT&T. This innovative thought has been adopted by 3.3 million subscribers symbolizing 20,500 general public basic safety agencies and now currently being replicated in other international locations.

Even so, a railroad community with no trains doesn’t present a lot advantage. As a outcome, the next improvement are the units and applications to collect knowledge and info for 1st responders to secure lives and property. A excellent instance is the use of thermal imaging cameras. In thick smoke with minimal visibility, these gadgets let firefighters to see every other and any victims requiring rescue. In the past, owing to budgetary constraints, a fire office may possibly be fortunate to have one of these devices obtainable for the whole section. These devices are now smaller and inexpensive adequate for every firefighter to likely be armed with this tool. Cameras can also be mounted on drones for lookup missions to find lacking folks, securely transmitting gathered information in excess of the FirstNet network.

Crosby Grindle, who sales opportunities strategic development for public safety at Sourcewell, states, “technology continues to evolve in the general public basic safety space. The integration of an total ecosystem of products and applications is now out there. As a continuous stream of new products and applications continue to be designed, this will considerably improve how community basic safety responders are equipped to share details critical to their mission.”

Alternatives concentrated on pandemic 

Prior to the pandemic, air excellent was not often top rated of thoughts, and HVAC models were assumed to be primarily for heating and cooling. With lots of college districts going through tightening budgets, clear air initiatives have been usually put on the backburner. Having said that, when the pandemic struck, air high quality quickly moved to a bigger precedence.

Just outside the house of Detroit, Ecorse General public Faculties experienced this firsthand, as they up to date their amenities to properly welcome back college students and school. With federal reduction funding, district leaders created the selection to function with a long-phrase supplier associate, Johnson Controls. Industry experts commenced employing $1.7 million in new solutions throughout 4 buildings—elementary, center, superior educational facilities and administrative centre.

Just about every technological innovation option was selected to satisfy the faculty district’s special demands. In a massive setting up, air dealing with units can often be hundreds of feet away from the genuine distribution place. An IsoClean filtration unit will allow educational institutions to address clear air on a localized, home-by-home basis. By equipping lecture rooms with this device and integrating all into the centralized Metasys system, university directors obtain an innovative stage of handle, enabling scheduled procedure in accordance to demand.

“This was just one of the several times in schooling that we didn’t have all the solutions, so we sought out experts who could give us all those responses to deliver clear air steerage,” explained Dr. Josha Talison, superintendent at Ecorse General public Faculties. “My advice to district leaders struggling with very similar worries is to get your time to discover the appropriate option that satisfies your wants. Get the job done with a spouse that you believe in can enable you act strategically.”

According to Jenny Stentz, vice president and typical supervisor, HVAC and Controls for Johnson Controls Building Options North The united states, “incorporating technologies into existing making infrastructure can lead to enhanced occupant productiveness and all round bigger creating efficiency. Leveraging technology to make improvements to indoor air good quality is no various. Clever HVAC options can enable automatic detection of weak air high quality that can be remedied from wherever, so making nutritious areas for occupants.”

New technological answers in building

Northern California’s Yuba Local community College District was dealing with roofing problems as persistent leaks raised the chance that a dozen roofs essential replacing in a quick timeframe. Looking for a extended-time period solution, Director of Facility Setting up, Upkeep and Operations David Willis contracted with Tremco Roofing and Setting up Maintenance’s affiliated construction companies company Weatherproofing Technologies Inc. (WTI), to make repairs throughout campus. In just this partnership, the district approached different alternatives to combine technological innovation to be value powerful, maximize lengthy-expression effectiveness and use the newest items in the market.

Finding the best technical solutions was only half of the problem, as the district also wished to take care of manage of the campus-wide task. Procuring a answer by means of WTI’s OMNIA Associates cooperative agreement enabled the district to deploy its have staff as task administrators.

Several roofing assignments are normally accompanied by disruptions, smelly substances and harmful environments. However, this was not the circumstance, when 174,000 square ft of roofing for dozens of properties was restored, fixed or changed in just four months. By utilizing a newer high general performance, odor-totally free engineering option (AlphaGuard program), no odors have been emitted. Vital to a mastering environment, the properties remained occupied all over the job, staying away from additional time costs and disruptions.

David Willis, district director exclaims, “this has been a single of the best, most gratifying assignments that I have ever been a section of. It was not extended before the new roof units had been examined with large wind-driven rains. Not a solitary roof leak resulted from the storms. Now that is incredible!”

Meeting sustainability aims with technologies

For the Point out of Washington, the Section of Company Solutions (DES) Surplus Operations application recycles, reuses, repurposes, or sells products and solutions and devices. Reusing no extended desired goods, or advertising products at auction, outcomes in surplus products receiving a new life in its place of heading to landfills, although bringing benefit by conserving taxpayer pounds.

As a price recovery agency, Surplus Functions manages all those goods no more time necessary by the owner company. Other state and neighborhood agencies are presented 1st decision to acquire high-quality reusable things before remaining sold. On ordinary, Surplus Functions returns approximately 80 per cent of all the money generated back to the originating organizations and for the duration of 2021, returned approximately $7.5 million to its purchaser organizations.

All through the pandemic, DES was activated by the State Unexpected emergency Operations Heart (SEOC), to aid the COVID-19 response. Obtaining much more than 330 million parts of PPE, Surplus Operations experienced to swiftly repurpose its functions to clear surplus things from the warehouse and build methods to get in, take care of and distribute tens of millions of items of PPE throughout the whole state. Developing a PPE stock method exactly where none experienced formerly existed, employees had been speedily qualified to aid mass relocations of PPE inventory and accommodate multiple warehouse alterations, even though making certain day-to-day exercise and controlling operational reserves. The crew labored very long several hours more than an prolonged period of time to make certain that PPE obtained to the entrance traces proficiently and correctly. The freshly automatic processes routed 100 % of greatest priority orders inside of 24 hrs, and decrease priority orders in just 48 hours. In a single single working day, they were being instrumental in unloading 17 semi-trucks holding 489 pallets of PPE products—a record large for the workforce.

Prior to the pandemic, the software bought surplus products via on the web auctions and a community retail retail store. As operations began to normalize, the crew place jointly a “back-to-business” rollout of the expert services they could safely present less than pandemic suggestions. Initially, reopening the in-person store was not possible, and prevalent teleworking and office environment closures limited incoming surplus material. Introducing a “buy now” choice to its on the internet structure permitted lower dollar resources to be sold a lot more speedily and avoided disposing of property via recycling. On top of that, procedures were shifted from a wander-in/choose-up process to an appointment-based mostly treatment. The appointment-primarily based method garnered a increased good results rate for customer accountability. Clients presented constructive opinions concerning the new emphasis of amplified communication to guide them by means of the sale approach.

Whilst checking out new operational avenues, Surplus Operations additional an online storefront as a result of its contracted system for auctions,, providing broader on-line existence to convey in additional prospective buyers. For electronics and items confiscated from vacationers (knives or corkscrews) by the Transportation Safety Administration, increased income was recognized as opposed to selling via the brick-and-mortar public shop. Through automation, Surplus Operations was equipped to lessen labor hours to finish these tasks.

The pandemic authorized the crew to change from outdated methods, redundant processes and siloed functions towards a holistic and cross-functional technique. By these technological developments, the program has grown and prospered in ways not observed in more than a decade. Chris Evans, the auctioneer supervisor, states, “Optimizing our processes to get in advance of our customers’ problems will allow us to take care of potential challenges in a timely and consistent method.” The team vows to constantly search for strategies to services the Evergreen Point out by providing usable solutions at reduced charge, reducing the tax load, and holding unneeded waste out of landfills.

Performing smarter via collaboration

As the new procurement officer for the County of Orange, Calif., Maria Agrusa (Pirona), oversees 24 departments with above 250 deputized procurement industry experts. She states, “a massive company with decentralized procurement sections would make sharing of contracts much more of an concern then just one would believe.” To tackle this situation, the crew determined to consider a new approach and appear over and above just their county’s desires.

With the board’s support, her crew introduced a initial-of-its form, tech-enabled initiative to generate regional collaboration. Generating the Orange County Procurement Alliance, the aim is to merge contracting initiatives and leverage the expend for 34 neighborhood municipalities inside the County. Maria supplies a persuasive rationale for this effort, stating “the industry standard discounts from making use of cooperative procurement is between 5 to 15 p.c. With a contract devote of above $2 billion for Orange County, just 1 % price savings equates to $20 million.”

The next move was to discover the system or system to make the Alliance possible. Maria shares, “luckily the yearly California procurement convention was coming up, so I built it my mission to discover a remedy. I attended each individual session and talked to each and every seller, and ultimately located CoProcure, who provided a cost-free option that could host all our contracts. They had been energized and passionate about developing this platform. We immediately sat down in the center of the convention to strategize on a partnership to leverage CoProcure research engines. And the most awesome element? Their crew created the software in just 5 enterprise times.”

Mariel Reed, co-founder and CEO of CoProcure, states, “what is exclusive about what we’ve constructed for Orange County Procurement Alliance is the search encounter is embedded on the county’s own web page. Thus, procurement experts continue on to accessibility the govt web site they are now utilizing. A different reward is that Alliance users have entry to our database of further shown cooperative contracts to broaden their selections.”

The have to have for collaboration carries on as governing administration employees expertise source chain delays, pandemic purchases, and teleworking issues.

According to Doug Looney, senior vice president, community sector product sales for OMNIA Companions, “Cooperative buying is a strategic very best practice for procurement teams throughout the nation. Leveraging cooperative contracts offers an agency access to goods and options at the very best price in a rapid and efficient system, in numerous scenarios from a local business enterprise or distribution location. Procurement’s ability to stay agile and revolutionary is additional useful now than ever, which can be accomplished by way of the strong partnership received when operating with a cooperative.”


Tammy Rimes, MPA, is the government director of the National Cooperative Procurement Partners (NCPP). She formally served as buying agent for the City of San Diego, the ninth major metropolis in the nation, and unexpected emergency logistics chief in the course of the 2007 Witch Creek Fires. Beneath her management, the city consolidated its warehouse operations, centralized all obtaining and contracting operations, and moved to a extra customer focused solution.

This report at first appeared in the June 2022 difficulty of Government Procurement.


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