The world has changed radically since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and governments and businesses around the globe are reinventing their capabilities and strategies. Here are five procurement strategies that have helped keep commerce flowing, despite the pandemic: 

Traffic jams need traffic cops. 

The pandemic has caused multiple disruptions in the global supply chain. In such a situation, governments can play a critical role in mandating purchasing rules that keep the supply chain running without compromising on stakeholder safety. Centralizing procurement of essential goods can help simplify this process and prevent unnecessary competition and price wars in uncertain times. Italy, for example, has benefited greatly from its government procurement agency taking responsibility for procuring ventilators and distributing them equitably. 

Timeliness and Coordination 

Given the sweeping impact of the COVID-19 virus, time is at premium. Greater focus is on the timely delivery of the right quantity and quality of essential items rather than their price. With governments taking a more proactive role and multiple decision-making bodies involved, the communication trail is expectedly long. In order to expedite operations decision making has to be prompter and inter-department communication has to be more coordinated. Electronic procurement has proved particularly helpful in cutting down time considerably.  

Data-driven Decision Making 

Accessible, real-time data makes it easier to predict and manage supply chains better. Providing open data also ensures complete transparency of important figures pertaining to procurement of essential items. This, in turn, is helping to maintain a level-playing field and prevent fraudulent activities. For instance, authorities in Portugal are updating their datasets and posting details on a weekly basis about their COVID-related purchases. 

Supplier Information 

Governments are relying heavily on suppliers to ensure that the essential items reach the right people at the right time. However, for that to happen seamlessly and without delays, supplier data has to be collated and made available on consolidated search platforms. For instance, the US is benefiting from the use of GovShop to gather business intelligence and make prompt supply decisions. 

Civic Monitoring 

Open data makes it easier to monitor the response measures taken by the government and the data that triggered those measures. For instance, in Ukraine, external watchdog groups have complete information on how many ventilators have been purchased throughout the country and where they are located.