Last week (October 27, 2011) we presented to a group convened by Buysmart, a program of the Fraser Basin Council focused on sustainable procurement. There was a diverse mix of attendees, including the government, labour, educational institutions and local businesses.
View the LOCO presentation below.
- Trends in large organizations are moving to bundle contracts so that one supplier provides greater and more diverse goods. For instance, office supplies are bundled with office furniture and/or janitorial supplies. This denies access to small businesses that often specialize in one product or service.
- Big organizations with government funding are afraid of trade regulations. Trade regulations exist to allow access to many businesses. Purchasers can continue to use defensible criteria to select quality local businesses without fear of repercussion.
- Small businesses have a limited capacity to respond to public bids. They are overwhelmed and can’t compete with bigger multinational organizations that have full-time staff devoted to the job. Streamlining the process is essential.
- As a purchaser, you have immense power. Seek out available products and services, and work with existing suppliers (even multinationals) to require them to buy local.
Thanks to Shannon White for helping us put together the content on regulations and to Buysmart for partnering on this workshop. We’re talking to the Vancouver Economic Development Commission about how to support small businesses to increase competitiveness and reduce procurement barriers to local business.