Procurement is a big part of business that plays a huge role in helping businesses save cost and maximise their profit. However, unlike other departments like accounting and marketing, the role of procurement is seldom talked about. In fact, there are some people who still confuse procurement with stock take or delivery services.
Procurement is the process of obtaining resources and negotiating contracts to help businesses gain the most out of their spending. In some countries, procurement is heavily regulated. However, some countries might need to catch up.
In countries like Singapore, procurement is already seen as an important factor for businesses to grow and rules and regulations are already in place to help the procurement industry. However, does Singapore have adequate procurement practices in place? Here are some of our findings.
In Singapore, The procurement policy is modelled based on three key principles. The first is to create practices which are fair by creating a level playing field for all would-be suppliers. The second principle is to ensure that the public is given value for money by ensuring that goods and services purchased represent the most effective and efficient use of public revenue and the third principle is to maintain the highest standards of integrity in the procurement process by minimising the possibility of corruption (WTO, 1997b)
Public Sectors who aim at working with the government as part of their procurement processes will have to study a number of rules and regulations. It might seem tedious but the rules are in place to help provide fairness in obtaining government procurement contracts between businesses in Singapore.
Singaporean government introduced the Government Electronic Business or also known as the GeBIZ portal that aimed at providing a fairer and more transparent procurement platform by giving suppliers an equal opportunity to participate in the bid. Using GeBIZ, all government agencies must post their invitations for tenders and quotations openly on the platform for all procurements above $5,000.
This way, all public sectors can view tenders that are available and send in their bid. GeBIZ also has built-in functions to protect the confidentiality of the bids that are submitted. To ensure transparency, the schedule of bids received and award notices for open tenders and quotations are published after the close of the tender.
Not only that, businesses can also register to receive RSS or email alerts for business opportunities that are related to their industry whenever they are published on the GeBIZ portal.
GeBIZ is only one of the many platform used by the Singaporean Government to ensure fairness and transparency in government procurement.
In order to prevent corruption, The Singaporean government has enforced strict controls on the part of officials and suppliers. The controls are aimed at preventing things like misappropriation, cronyism and bias, bribery, cheating, and disclosing false information. Officers working with the Government Procurement who are involved in purchasing, are required to declare any possible conflict of interest especially in relation to personal or family connection with a business or company submitting a quotation or tender (or any affiliated business or company), through ownership, partnership, or shareholding.
Teaching the public sector on Procurement Processes
So what if you are not intending to participate in a tender bid with the government and are only concerned about learning the procurement process for the benefit of your own company? Luckily in Singapore, even the Ministry of Finance have prepared a brief introduction to how procurement works and they are easily available on their website.
The website briefly outlined what a procurement process is, the 3 different forms of tenders namely, open tenders, selective tenders and limited tenders as well as an in-depth discussion on what public private partnerships are.
Understandably, the website may not be sufficient to guide business owners and procurement professionals through the entire procurement process but it serves as a starting point and guideline to those who are new to the industry.
As far as educating the public sector goes, most Singaporean companies are great at providing training for their procurement professionals. For companies that don’t, they still have access to accredited institutions that offer training and courses for procurement professionals. Most companies are also entitled to a certain amount of grant from the government to provide training to their procurement professionals.
In short, when discussing whether or not Singapore has adequate procurement practices in place, it is clear that they have. However, is there still room for improvement? As everything else goes in business, there is always more things that can be improved.
That being said, Singapore has done a great job at placing an efficient and fair procurement practices and educating their public sector on the rules and regulations. As long as Singapore continues to change with time and continuously adapt new technology, they will always be on top of their procurement game.
ThunderQuote is the most comprehensive business services portal in Singapore, Australia and ASEAN , where hundreds of thousands of dollars of procurement contracts are sourced every month by major companies like Singapore Press Holdings, National Trade Union Congress and more.