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There are hints in public and development procurement that come with years. These hints appear like an enlightenment, like a well-deserved prize for many years of hard work and consistent thinking. But when they finally come, they become an Eureka moment.
Procurement TV is pleased and proud to share one of these precious hints, it is called Planning from Z to A.
Good beginning is half the battle. Good planning in public procurement is more than half of it.
You may think that the biggest frustration moment in public and development procurement is when everyone thinks procurement is “when you buy the cheapest”. But there is another upsetting and annoying part. It’s when Procurement Officer is approached with a request a day or two before the actual products or services are needed. As if s/he is a magician. And as if there are no rules to follow and the spend needs no reporting. And the suppliers have everything ready and only wait for your signal to deliver. And as if auditors do not exist in our Universe.
To forecast and eventually avoid situations like that, public procurement gurus developed a smart tool called Planning from Z to A. Originally, it has been offered by Levon Hovsepyan and soon became super popular among his colleagues from International Procurement Group.
The principle is simple and intelligent. When you plan your procurement, start from the day products or services need to be delivered (Z point), and then go planning backwards. Do not start from the day when you need to receive a request for procurement and then go forward, you will be late.
So, imagine you need to have 150 computers delivered by September 20 (your Z point). Go backwards from that date.
If the delivery day is September 20, then the contract to deliver those computers should be signed on around August 15 (we give suppliers some 35 days for delivery).
If the contract should be signed by August 15, then you need to complete your evaluation by August 10 (we give 5 days for drafting the actual contract).
If you need to compete your evaluation by August 10, then the deadline for submission of bids should be around July 15 (here we give some 25 days for evaluation of bids).
If the deadline for submission of bids is July 15, then your invitation should go to bidders on June 10 (we give bidders some 35 days to bid).
If your invitation should be sent out on June 10, you need to have a request for procurement on May 30 the latest (you give yourself some 10 days to prepare the tender documents). This is your A point.
So back from September 20 to May 30.
And that’s it.
Planning from Z to A, in reverse chronological order.
Now when you know the date you need to be requested for procurement, show your requesters the process map with all the milestones and dates and let them know. Tell your requesters that if they provide the request later than May 30, they will have to receive the computers later than September 20. Simple as that.
This way you will:
– plan your procurement properly;
– inform your requesters;
– always be on time.
This easy hint (if added to your charm) is so effective. Planning from Z to A has been used in numerous complex and high value public procurement cases. Works brilliantly. Simplicity is indeed the ultimate sophistication.
It’s now time to apply Planning from Z to A in your everyday procurement practice.