Procurement Chief: Government Shops as If It Were ‘130 Mid-Sized Businesses’

February 1, 2013

The government lacks solid information on past prices paid under goods and services contracts, the nation’s top procurement officer said Thursday. This is just one of the reasons he gave for the Obama administration’s push for greater use of strategic sourcing.

“I know everyone buys podiums and tables and microphones, but currently you can’t just look at who bought it how much was paid because you get a general description bucket of goods, and not level-three price data,” said Joe Jordan, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, at a panel put on by the Professional Services Council, a contractors trade group.

“We don’t need to touch the wonderful 2,200-page [Federal Acquisition Regulation] for agencies to share what’s been paid,” Jordan said. “Our government is the largest purchaser in the world, but it buys as if it were 130 mid-sized businesses. We’ve got to leverage our buying power.”

Jordan joined with two General Services Administration acquisition specialists to speak to some 100 federal contractors and further an ongoing dialog with industry representatives, some skeptical that strategic sourcing -- used by private industry and government for bulk buying of office supplies and commodities -- is sufficiently flexible, quality-focused and adaptable to sophisticated services.

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