Failing to empower procurement – Port of Guam

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According to a news report that came out of the Pacific News Report on Monday, February 17th, 2014, the Port of Guam lost power early Saturday morning and had no back-up generators.  The procurement process at the Port of Guam has turned into a bureaucratic bottleneck and has resulted in stalling the acquisition of goods and services vital to the day to day running of the port.  The failure to empower procurement at the Port of Guam with an efficient process has resulted in major delays to the supply chain, underscored by the Saturday power outage with refrigeration units shutting down until 1:40pm; almost 7 hours later.

The Port of Guam has been seeking back up generators for months but procurement for the port is the responsibility of the GSA (United States General Service Administration). Having proper checks and balances is needed to make sure spending is being appropriately allocated, however the cost of compliance and proper management should not have to result in major delays.  Delays in receiving vital goods and services can often cost an organization many times more than the requested item.  Empowering key pieces to have the ability to procure needed items can greatly reduce bottlenecks and delays.  In this case, had the Port of Guam, been giving authority to make purchases on their own behalf they would have had back up generators to mitigate the power failure.

Port General Manager Joanne Brown believes that the best solution would be to merely allow the port to conduct the procurement process on their own.  Even with the power outage, back-up generators are expected to be delayed for at least another month under procurement through the GSA.  The power outage is a prime example of how many organizations are equipped with a lacklustre procurement process, often experiencing bottlenecks as well as delays to approvals and order requests.

The power outage at the Port of Guam was not a life or death issue, but it was a problem that could have mitigated had the port been allowed to empower procurement internally.

There might not have recently been a power outage at your facilities but it might be time to empower procurement within your own organization.

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About Author

Matt Lim has spent the majority of his life between British Columbia and California, where he graduated from U.C. Irvine with a degree in Economics. Matt is currently writing about business operations, best purchasing practices, and optimizing the individual & workplace.

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