This blog is written by Ed Smith, Right-Sizing Subject Matter Expert and President of Agile Access Control, Inc.
Are you getting ready to purchase fleet technology? Before you do, here’s my advice gained from several years of supporting a government contracting and procurement office and more than 15 years as the president of a fleet solutions company:
- Make sure you fully understand your procurement processes before you get too far in to the process and,
- If you have one, form a very strong alliance with your procurement / contracting officer. Failure to do so may slow you down… or worse!
Here’s a true story from a few months back. A manager in a county government called about our company’s fleet software. He understood his needs and the features in our product. He asked about our company and even checked our references in other county governments. He had procurement authority and asked for a price quote. All seemed good until he called and said, “We’re not going to buy. Someone else in the County just bought a different fleet software product unbeknownst to me.” That other person had grown impatient and felt they could skip the due diligence process and just get the procurement done. Well, about 6 weeks later, they called back. “The company we bought from went out of business. We’re ready to buy your product now.” The lesson-learned here is to follow the procurement process. Buying doesn’t have to be complicated.
Here are a few tips that will streamline or even circumvent some of the more tedious aspects of procurement. Consider these few items and you should have a new solution on your doorstep in no time:
- Know what you want to accomplish, but do not dictate a particular technology. There may be more than one way to achieve your goals, with hidden pros and cons for each. If you decide on a certain technology without considering other solutions, you may experience unfortunate “gotchas” once the solution is implemented. Start by focusing on your goals and objectives first.
- Engage your procurement or contracting officer early in the process and understand what role you will play and cannot play. Procurement rules are there for a reason. Follow them.
- Avoid “paralysis by analysis”… ask for a free trial. Documenting every single requirement you have is a difficult task. Doing a trial of the viable solutions helps you get a first-hand feel for whether the solution meets your needs.
- Leverage available buying contracts to streamline the buying process. Purchasing cooperatives (e.g. NJPA), GSA schedule, and even use of existing contracts are ways to utilize the due diligence performed by others to your advantage. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Using existing contracts can save you months or even years.
- Refer to existing Statements of Work or RFPs. We have a library of pre-written statements of work and RFPs. Speak to one of our procurement specialists about your needs and we can provide you with sample RFPs or Statements of Work that will jump start your process.
If you are considering purchasing fleet technology, download our e-guide: Checklist for Choosing Motor Pool Technology. It features 20 don’t miss questions to ask yourself when evaluating motor pool technology and deciding whether or not it is right for your organization. It also offers insights on how to skip the RFP process by leveraging existing contracts, and much more.