The Power of Partnerships in Education
Procurement has changed globally, and rapidly with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has proven that there is little to no benefit in acting as silos, and there is great power in partnerships. We are facing unprecedented challenges right now worldwide that no-one has ever seen before or could have expected. It has resulted in people from all walks of life making minute-by-minute decisions.
In procurement at present, there are many contributions to support the medical personnel and help with the crisis. A great example of this was the recent creation of a Procurement and Acquisition Innovation Response Team by the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. This team was created dedicated to reviewing, vetting, and coordinating of Coronavirus inquiries.
Procurement as a Front-line Response, Nationally
The most amazing story of collaboration coming out of COVID-19 so far is the team effort amongst the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Health, other parts of the U.S government, as well as the private sector to bring masks from China to the States. In early April, the U.S National Guard, private enterprises, 3 State Governers, and the government of China worked quickly and decisively to transport 1.2 million face masks aboard the New England Patriots’ plane and then transported them to New York and New Jersey hospitals experiencing critical shortages on board the team’s 18 wheeler truck. This could not have happened so smoothly without collaboration and dedication from all who were involved.
How Colleges, Universities, and Schools Have Responded to the Crisis
Partnerships similar to this are happening at colleges and universities across the U.S. JAGGAER has relationships with around 800 schools and has been incredibly busy over the past few weeks engaging with them to find ways to adjust during the COVID-19 crisis.
One of the schools used JAGGAER to put a message on their landing page of the shopping interface that linked to the buying guidelines during this time.
Another school used the terms and conditions page, which made those landing on the page accept the news terms put in place for changes in policy before moving forward. In the third example, the school scheduled emails to all their vendors to inform them of the process change. This shows the great relationship between the school and the vendors.
The next example is of a school that decided they are going to start tracking all of their purchases that are tied to COVID-19. They used JAGGAER to create an activity code to make this easier. This allowed them to modify their accounting workflow, which in turn made it easy to run reports. These reports are incredibly important post-pandemic for disaster relief funding.
The final example is one of the largest schools in the U.S. Their success story is great because of their relationship with 3M. They were able to open up the warehouse functionality within JAGGAER school-wide and get an immediate count of how much PP they had, and based on product availability reports they could see in their vendor community where additional PP could come from. With the data at the school’s fingertips, they contacted 3M and received authority to purchase straight from the vendor and had PP in the hands of their medical center within 24 hours.
How has the Role of Procurement Changed in the Last Weeks and Months?
There is so much changing daily, hourly, and minute-by-minute with the outbreak of COVID-19. Now is the time for procurement professionals to step up and show their leadership and value. In every situation, there will be those who are prepared, and those who are not. With the speed that the pandemic and regulations change, even those who may have felt prepared have found themselves not. This is a new game, with new rules. Speed is life here. This crisis is completely changing the game of how flexible organizations need to be, how they deal with obstacles, how they look at sourcing in different ways. Flexibility to allow sourcing to happen in the way that it needs to for the benefit of the institution is key.
How you can Support your Staff During COVID-19?
It would be advisable to invest in personal development for your organization’s staff post-COVID-19. Many will be working even harder than normal. It would be a great investment to give them project management training as well. Procurement departments are finding themselves taking on project management roles, with little to no formal training.
Overall, the crisis has reminded organizations that planning and communication are crucial when it comes to suppliers, and the development staff is an investment for any business. These types of powerful partnerships have shown what is possible in times like these.