The Buyers Network is published monthly by the Purchasing Division by the West Virginia Department of Adminstration to promote better value in public purchasing.
Welcome to the April Issue of The Buyers Network!
ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE:
Information at Your Fingertips
Explaining the Nuts and Bolts of TEAM
The idea of using a credit card for governmental purchases at first may have seemed too innovative; however, according to Dick Estill, the State Purchasing Card Administrator, this program is far from new.
"The federal government began using a purchasing card in 1986," he said. "This year, they estimate that they will charge $3.5 billion using their card program." Just in the U.S. General Services Administration, there are approximately 250,000 cards assigned.
Although this program hit the private sector and federal government level over 10 years ago, states have been slower in implementing similar programs. With West Virginia being among the first to implement a full statewide purchasing card program, Estill describes our efforts "ahead of the pack". All state agencies, who were not part of the pilot, received information about the program and were requested to appoint a coordinator. The coordinators and agency managers were invited to attend a workshop explaining how the program is to be managed.
Ten workshops were conducted, with over 150 individuals in attendance. "After attending the workshop, the managers and coordinators have been asked to return to their agencies and determine how they could utilize the program," Estill said. "In addition, they are to design guidelines on how they will implement the program within their own agency and to submit to us individual card applications."
Forty-three (43) active cards were issued during the pilot program. Estill predicts over 3,000 cards will be issued once the program is fully implemented. "We want to get the cards in the hands of the people who make the purchasing decisions," Estill said.
The ravishing floods which were created by a seemly endless rainfall the weekend of March 1st caused millions of dollars in damage within West Virginia and neighboring states. With a continuous plea from Governor Cecil Underwood and other state leaders, President Clinton declared 16 flood-stricken counties in West Virginia as federal disaster areas.
This declaration entitles West Virginia to federal reimbursement for a portion of the flood recovery costs it incurs. It also makes flood victims eligible for different types of federal assistance for individuals and businesses.
The counties included Braxton, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Gilmer, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Mason, Putnam, Roane, Tyler, Wayne, Wetzel, Wirt and Wood counties.
The Federal Emergency Manage-ment Agency (FEMA) worked jointly with state officials in coordinating the recovery efforts. A toll-free telephone number was established for individuals who experienced flood losses to call for assistance.
The Purchasing Division assisted in the flood cleanup efforts by working closely with the Office of Emergency Services (OES). This agency served as the clearinghouse for all of the purchases made, according to Curt Curtiss, Acting Purchasing Director.
"The total financial impact of the flood to the state will take weeks to estimate," Curtiss said. "Last year, the four floods which occurred cost approximately $7 million each for a total of $28 million in state relief only."
The role of the Purchasing Division during this time is to assist the recovery workers by locating needed equipment and supplies, and placing these items in the required areas. Some of the items acquired by the state during the cleanup effort was bleach, gloves, mops, brooms, and a wide variety of food, Curtiss said. "Our Division is used by the National Guard during emergencies such as this disaster for source assistance in locating needed supplies."
It is a good business practice to be skeptical of goods and services being furnished to you. Check your original records of the purchase and verify that what was asked for was actually received. This pertains to quality as well as quantity.
If the goods and services were obtained under a contract or purchase order, verify that the terms and conditions, and specifications were met. The vendor should be notified immediately if you detect a problem. If no action is rendered, the Purchasing Division should be notified at once to correct the situation.
Why do these problems exist? In most cases, the problems can be attributed to an oversight or mistake by the supplier. But, don't rule out the fact that a select few of the vendors may try to take advantage of you. There have been cases where goods and services were billed to the agency, but never delivered. Unscrupulous vendors are counting on you not checking or verifying the order.
The morale of the story? Be cautious. Check double or even triple check before you verify that an order is complete.
NIGP Elects State Chapter Officers
At the February general meeting of the West Virginia Chapter of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP), members elected their new officers:
Division of Environmental Protection
Angela White Negley
WV Development Office
Division of Highways
Need more information on WV-NIGP? The WV-NIGP Chapter meets bi-monthly at different locations throughout the state. If you would like to learn more about NIGP, please contact any of the new officers.
As part of the Purchasing Division's homepage, The Buyers Network is now available online. Within each electronic issue is the option to inquire for additional information. It's easy...Just "click" on Questions... Just Ask Us. When you click at this location, a form will appear which may be completed to receive information on any of our programs and services. You will even receive a response, if possible, by e-mail. We've come a long way...
Statewide Systems Furniture Vendors Offer Demo at Ergonomics Day `97
Employers have found that modifying the worker to accommodate the workplace only results in high costs and injured employees. According to Emil Golias of OSHA's Salt Lake City Technical Center, government and businesses alike are addressing the problem by looking at ergonomics, the study of adapting workstations, tools and techniques to be compatible with the human anatomy to reduce risk of injury due to occupational stressors.
Golias was the keynote speaker for Ergonomics Day '97, which was held at the State Training Center at the Capitol Complex on March 4th. Other activities included a panel discussion, a tour of the WV Rehabilitative Services' Assistive Technology Job Accommodation Mobile Service, informational videos, demonstrations of preventive exercises, and a display of ergonomically correct workstations.
Vendors of the statewide contract for systems furniture were on hand to show the latest in workstation design and accessories to properly fit today's worker. Prison Industries also offered samples of their adjustable chairs.
The purpose of the event was to make people aware of the importance of ergonomics and the savings which can be realized by properly designed workstations. It is estimated that failing to design the workplace to fit the worker has cost employers $20 billion in direct workers' compensation and five times that amount in indirect losses.
Try Not to Manage All of Your Time
You may think of time management as working smarter and faster, but the author of First Things First provides a different focus.
Leadership guru Stephen Covey advises: