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How social media is changing procurement

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Changes in public sector procurement are advancing at an alarming rate. An increasing number of PQQs and Tenders now require electronic upload onto portals.

Wiith no printing needed it saves many, many trees! In a relatively short length of time the tender process has changed from a complete printed process to a paperless one with the introduction electronic uploads and portals.

Norfolk Council have taken the initiative and are leading the way in procurement innovations. They have recently utilised the micro-blogging site, Twitter, in an attempt to make it easier for smaller business to be made aware of, and bid for, public sector contracts. The idea is that they will post new contracts onto the site to make them more accessible. The council Tweeted about 18 contracts for passenger transport services within the Norfolk area. The tweet was posted to the Council’s 5000 corporate Twitter followers and since then has been re-tweeted numerous times.

The council’s communication department is working in conjunction with their procurement team in order to ensure that the information Tweeted is correct and contains the necessary information to register interest. This joint venture between council departments is the first of its type and, depending on its success, could be rolled out across multiple councils nationally. The overall aim of the scheme is to reduce the amount of paperwork that goes between councils and suppliers: this innovation offers a simple way of informing SMEs of the contract and the details without the need for paper dialogue. The response and feedback so far has all been positive, with many businesses within Norfolk declaring this type of interaction a success and saying this type of imitative is well overdue.

The government has identified SME businesses as a means of bringing the country out of recession. Many larger firms are struggling to cope with the demands of the recession, suffering from diminishing margins owing to their large hierarchy of command and traditional bureaucratic structure. Their traditional views favour managing the business and often not enough focus on the deliverables. The bureaucracy in large firms makes them slow to react and can mean they make decisions which lead to them missing out on new opportunities, or suffer as they struggle to adapt the traditional routes to which they are familiar.

The spontaneity of SME firms allows them to adopt new working practices and remain innovative in the ways in which they market their product/service and the ways in which it is delivered. Large numbers of SME businesses are also benefiting from government initiatives and tax breaks to combat the recession.

Some would say that the adoption of social media into the Tendering process is long overdue, but with tight controls and restrictions imposed about the information contained within the contract notice, it is no wonder that it is only emerging now. If you would like any further information regarding procurement or the ways in which to source PQQ information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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