In the past, we’ve talked about how suppliers can help government buyers become subject matter experts when sourcing goods, services and systems – particularly those designed for highly specialized applications or environments. We’ve also emphasized why government suppliers need to place a greater emphasis on delivering great customer service before and after contracts are awarded.
However, the COVID-19 crisis is a great reminder just how much the public sector values the private sector’s partnership!
Procurement isn’t just about transactions. It’s about ensuring that agencies have exactly what they need to effectively build and maintain the infrastructure, facilitate the programs, and deliver the services that help communities survive in challenging times and thrive in prosperous times. That’s why state and local governments are turning to their suppliers and contractors – as partners – to ask for expert guidance on COVID-19 rebuilding initiatives.
As Co-Directors of the Center for Digital Government, Teri Takai and Phil Bertolini, recently explained, there are seven ways in which you can be a good business partner to government agencies in the coming weeks and months as they assess their situations and devise their go-forward strategies:
P – Punch In
A – Advise
R – Relate
T – Timing
N – Navigate
E – Engage
R – Respond
Of course, if you have never done business with the government before, it may be challenging to reach the right people right away. Even if you have, it may be harder to reach your usual points of contact right now. Some procurement teams are still working in Emergency Operating Centers while others are trying to manage both routine and COVID-19 related acquisitions remotely. And many government employees are still working modified schedules. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep trying to reach out, especially if you can provide something they urgently need, such as medical supplies, IT hardware and software, janitorial services and even office workspace solutions.
Our advice? You should be looking for opportunities to help government agencies every day. The public sector issues requests for private sector assistance multiple times a day across a number of different channels. Sometimes businesses are directly approached by a state or local government agency for strategic consultation while other times you might come across a public Request for Information (RFI). Either way, if the opportunity presents itself, you should take the time to share your expertise and demonstrate capabilities and submit your solution recommendations. Though you may not always be in a position to provide expert input before your partnership on a project, service or good is scoped and solicited, it is critical to ask questions and provide feedback during the pre-bid briefing (or Q&A) period. You never know how your feedback might be leveraged during the bid evaluation or project execution phases. Government agencies – and government procurement – are becoming more agile, after all.
Curious about the types of goods, services and solutions the government is searching for right now? Sign up now for daily bid notifications from Periscope S2G.