Half of buyers plan to work remotely throughout 2021

21 May 2021

More than half (53%) of US local government procurement professionals plan to work remotely at least one day per week throughout 2021, a survey has found.

Strategic sourcing software firm Bonfire said it canvassed 32,000 US-based local government procurement professionals on how they anticipate the pandemic would affect their work.

Over 30% of respondents said they plan to work remotely for most of the working week, according to the report Public Procurement Priorities and Strategies for 2021.

Two-third (65%) said navigating supply chain shortages was by far the most common challenge caused by the pandemic.

A third (34%) said finding new vendors in new categories as fast as possible was the major challenge.

And 28% said they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that stakeholders expected faster results now than they did prior to Covid-19, while 33% disagreed.

Almost equal numbers named cutting costs (28%) and increasing speed and efficiency of processes (27%) as the top priority in 2021.

When asked what innovative strategies they were planning to use to drive savings in 2021, 53.73% said using cooperative contracts.

“This strategy allows public procurement teams to avoid running a solicitation and, in turn, provide a faster solution for their customers,” said the report.

“The other benefit of using a cooperative contract is that the procurement software or process has already been vetted and approved by the contracting agent.”

In terms of digital transformation 43% said they had made temporary changes in favour of digitalisation while 31% had made permanent changes. A quarter (25%) had made no changes at all. 

Omar Salaymeh, Bonfire CEO, said: “As public sector organisations adapt to the new and changing needs of their constituents, it’s clear that procurement teams are prioritising cost, speed, and more efficient, flexible processes.

“Yet, with a majority of procurement professionals and many vendors continuing remote or hybrid work, digital transformation will be critical to achieve those goals.”

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