How does an organization hold itself accountable to continuous improvement and industry best practices? Hiring knowledgeable staff, setting aggressive goals, and monitoring key metrics and benchmarks are all important. But perhaps one of the most effective ways is for the organization to open itself up for examination and evaluation by respected industry institutions.
For the third year in a row, Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) took on the rigorous application process for the prestigious Achievement of Excellence in Procurement® (AEP) award from the National Procurement Institute, Inc. (NPI). And, for the third year in a row, Sourcewell successfully earned the distinction.
The annual AEP Award is earned by public organizations throughout the United States and Canada demonstrating excellence by obtaining a high score based on standardized application criteria. The criteria are designed to measure innovation, professionalism, productivity, e-procurement, and leadership attributes of the organization.
“NPI is one of the most respected organizations in our industry,” said Dr. Chad Coauette, Sourcewell executive director/CEO. “It really sets the bar for public procurement entities as far as excellence, industry best practices, commitment to continuous improvement, and professionalism. Sourcewell is humbled to be a recipient and we remain committed to surpassing the expectations of our over 50,000 member organizations looking to us for procurement solutions.”
Sourcewell’s procurement team greatly increased its efficiency in early 2018 with the implementation of DocuSign, an automated document routing software that allows for electronic signatures. The new tool enables all parties to route, review, and sign a document in a single day — even while out of the office for travel or meetings. The previous paper-dependent process took days and was more prone to human error.
In the last year, Sourcewell also adopted a professional development program calling for all procurement staff to participate in 25 hours of professional development each fiscal year. Staff engaged in courses and trainings focused on best practices, trends, and skills development. They also pursued education that will satisfy the requirements for professional designations such as Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM), Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM), Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB), and Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP).
Sourcewell is among 200 successful applicants for 2018, including 45 counties, 71 cities, 27 higher education agencies, 24 school districts, 26 special districts, and 7 state agencies.
“We are honored to be a repeat recipient,” said Jeremy Schwartz, Sourcewell director of operations and procurement/chief procurement officer. “To be recognized by NPI along with high-performing organizations like the New York State Office of General Services – Procurement Services, County of San Diego, the City of Red Deer, California State University, and several others affirms our commitment to continuous improvement and eagerness to set and achieve organizational benchmarks as we serve government, education, and nonprofit entities.”
For more information, visit www.sourcewell-mn.gov.