Welcome to this week’s edition of the Keystone Column. We focus on bid management training, tenders and public procurement matters this week including some topical examples of interest from around the world this week.
Public procurement scandals: There are two ongoing scandals with public procurement angles that we are keeping an eye on. In both cases, bid management training, procurement training and tender training may well have been of benefit to all involved (on both the buy and the supply side).
There is something about bridges from Alaska to Padma and beyond – they are to public procurement as rioting crowds in soccer are to sport. The most recent scandal concerns the now infamous garden bridge project in London. This is another one of the tenders that were driven through with blatant disregard for EU public procurement rules by then Mayor, Boris Johnson. We will select just one problematic fact here: the audit trail of documents is reported as having been destroyed (and not retained for seven years as required on projects above a material spending threshold). Normally, this means a process must be abandoned/set aside and re-run (if it goes ahead) under the remedies directive. Other much more serious sanctions can also arise (e.g. financial penalties). It worth looking at this unfold. Questions abound over the credentials of the winning bid and the lack of objective criteria to assess the bids. Now it would appear the paper trail has been destroyed. More to come in the months ahead. If ever there was an opportunity to consider bid management training and procurement training in an organisation, this might be it. Something tells us, however, that this may have had very little to do with a lack of corporate knowledge.
The second scandal is the Volkswagon emissions scandal. Under the new 2014 public procurement directives, there are very serious consequences for misrepresenting a product or service in public contests. It is puzzling that no frameworks in place across Europe for VW vehicles appear to have been frozen where emissions standards were part of the award criteria. It is also puzzling as to why the question of VW being excluded from public procurement contests has not arisen yet either. Will the same level of forbearance apply to small businesses in other EU states? Either way, SMEs need to be aware of their obligations when making statutory declarations and the consequences of misrepresenting (knowingly or otherwise) their track record. Bid management training can be a worthwhile investment for SMEs to make sure they avoid making mistakes that can be damaging reputationally.
Back to the future: There has been speculation as to how the rise of the self-driving, electric car could see traditional manufacturers, like those in Germany, scrambling to remain relevant. While the chatter around Silicon Valley driven ideas can be hyperbolic, Mercedes is making some interesting changes in its supply chain for its high-end vehicles. Its robots cannot keep up with the pace of change and customization options at the end of its assembly line. Their precision engineering solution is plain old-fashioned human beings, for now. To paraphrase an American president, perhaps German car manufacturers have no word for zeitgeist.
Many businesses could benefit significantly from a recently announced initiative in the UK. We have made no secret of our admiration of the Digital Society (aka Estonia). The UK has been creeping toward Estonia’s 21st-century vision of government for some time now. English authorities within the UK are proposing to open up government data for initiatives that are of demonstrable benefit to citizens. This will include data that can help health research and smart city initiatives but also, interestingly, a complete change of tack towards crime and fraud. If we are interpreting the white paper correctly, England is considering the loosening of rules so that financial and other forms of cybercrime can be tackled. Proposals to protect data and privacy are included in the plan. It is interesting to see a large, wealthy country with a hugely complex bureaucracy set out ambitious targets that are aimed at achieving societal good. Smart city solutions can be quite complex so it is worth upskilling in bid management training and/or procurement training if companies are looking at this area.
The Johnson and Johnson group have really embraced start-up and scale-up culture in the United States. They now have five labs across the US and partnership arrangements in place with over 100 entrepreneurial companies. The deal is simple. J&J build the labs and provide the equipment to develop breakthrough ideas; the small companies provide the ideas, know-how and elbow grease. Commendably, a no strings attached policy applies to companies using the facility. They are free to develop relationships with competitors of J&J.
Innovation – things we have seen and like
The design innovation blog is a really useful resource for people involved in creating new business ideas. There are good ideas, well-reasoned posts and case studies that are insightful for businesses at any stage of development. From a procurement sourcing perspective, this upstream knowledge and idea sharing can be invaluable for businesses looking to create knowledge capital.
Note: we are in the sourcing & procurement business. We highlight things we like or that are novel or innovative. We seek neither compensation nor recognition for doing this. We are fully paid up members of the pay it forward mindset. Innovators should be encouraged.
New public procurement tenders this week
Visit the Keystone website to view our take on the 374 active public procurement opportunities with more than five days until their deadline. There is a vast range of services, supplies, and construction-related opportunities available including in the following sectors:
- Construction and related trades,
- Professional & Advisory Services,
- PR, Media, Advertising and related,
- ICT supplies and services,
- Property & facilities management,
- Vehicle & automotive,
- Catering and related services,
- Cleaning and related services,
- Waste Management,
- Research & environmental monitoring,
- Printing, office supplies and related services,
- A vast range of other services and supplies.
Businesses interested in any of these public procurement opportunities that are unsure of how they can follow-up on these tenders can contact Keystone at any stage to avail of our courses on bid management training, tender training or procurement training. These public procurement opportunities are sources of business growth and innovation for companies across the country.
Please note, e-tenders often have public procurement opportunities incorrectly categorised so people relying on e-tender alerts could easily miss out on opportunities if they are dependent on it. E-tenders is only as reliable as the people inputting tenders and mistakes are made very frequently. The Keystone Column includes all live tenders posted on e-tenders since January 4th 2016 that have five or more days until their deadline as at 03/03/2016.