For many years, government contract officers working at the local, state, and federal level, relied on a variety of different networks to search for qualified suppliers. In many cases, they went back to “the usual suspects”, which often involved suppliers that had been used in the past, or whoever happens to have submitted the lowest bid on the last RFQ. But as every astute supply manager knows, supply market intelligence is the key to establishing a competitive and highly performing supply base.
A new product offering by the Pubic Spend Forum provides government buyers with a new, free tool to conduct market intelligence. This offering provides a comprehensive set of tools for buyers to research, competitively source, and award business to the best suppliers that can meet any specific need.
This is a sorely needed service. Governments purchase nearly $10 Trillion in goods and services to address critical needs in supporting infrastructure such as technology, construction, public services, military deployment, and countless other products and services that we rely on to keep the machinery of civilization working. And yet, one of the biggest issues negatively undermining government markets is the inability of government buyers and suppliers to find and engage commercially with one another!
Government buyers and contract officers have a number of problems. First, buyers often have a lack of knowledge of suppliers, capabilities and market economics to benchmark prices, cost trends, and technological developments. Second, buyers often struggle to find a single portal to learn about and access qualified suppliers. Finally, there is often a lack of collaboration with suppliers to identify emerging solutions to stakeholder issues, often due to perceived behaviors of what the FAR does or does not allow.
Suppliers likewise struggle to engage with government contract officers and buyers. Many suppliers are not privy to discussions on what contracts become available, and when they can bid on new business. The requirements for registration and qualification are often complex and burdensome, and navigating the directions on how to do so are often difficult to understand. Finally, many have no meaningful dialogue with potential government customers, and have no way of understanding what opportunities may exist for new business in the future, or what the requirements for winning the business are.
The GovShop website addresses all of these problems. The site is a user-friendly portal that is open for free to all government contractors, as well as suppliers. It provides an easy way for buyers to search for new suppliers through an open search term feature, as well as by specific product or service categories. Users can use an objective search by Keyword, Category Code or Contract Vehicle all resulting lists of suppliers you can shortlist for further research. The site provides access to a Market Intelligence Library hosted by the Public Spend Forum, with interesting articles on new developments in different areas of category manageme
Governmnent buyers are often interested in finding minority and diverse suppliers, including women-owned, veteran-owned, and HUB zone suppliers. The porten provides links to current, emerging and minority suppliers all in one place, compiled by using Public Spend Forum data and market research teams.
The design of the portal uses best practices from other social media formats that are popularized. For instance, Yelp helps users discover restaurants, using publicly available feedback on each one. GovShop also allows users to discover suppliers, and provides access to Vendor Claim Profiles, which suppliers can fill out and have others augment. Similarly, LinkedIn users can edit and upgrade their profiles, while GovShop also allows suppliers to edit their profiles, upgrade, and connect links to their products and services on the site.
There are also some exciting developments ahead for GovShop. Public Spend Forum plans to offer deeper content focus, including IT, Professional Services, and Facilities / construction, as well as minority and emerging suppliers. It will also be expanding its contracts and taxonomies section, to include all major taxonomies, federal schedules, and government Coops. Expanded functionality will also include more filters (local, customer-specific, etc.), team collaboration tools, and reports that can tabulate results of user market research activity.
If you are in public procurement, you definitely need to check out Gov Shop!