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In the News Archive
March 2002

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compiled by Summit staff

Notice: date change

Canadian Forum on Public Procurement Forum 2002 is scheduled for September 29 - October 2, instead of the previously published dates October 1-3.

Yukon College wants ethics input

Yukon College (www.yukoncollege.yk.ca) in Whitehorse is currently developing an ethical procurement policy to address issues such as fair trade, ethical business practices, and green procurement. Larry Bull, contracts and procurement officer with Yukon College, hopes that purchasing professionals working at other colleges and universities can assist with the policy development process. He says policy excerpts, research, knowledge, contact information or any other assistance would be greatly appreciated.

CIDA-INC plans services online

The Canadian International Development Agency’s Industrial Cooperation Program (CIDA-INC, www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/inc) will be the agency’s first branch to implement Government On-Line (GOL) initiatives to communicate with Canadian companies. CIDA-INC is the agency’s branch that assists Canadian firms in expansion overseas.

CIDA anticipates significant changes will be made to the way in which firms’ proposals are sent and tracked, and has asked companies who are, or who have received project funding from the agency, to provide input into the design of new GOL software. CIDA hopes the software will serve as the principal mode of communication between itself and each firm it deals with, resulting in improved response time and transparency.

CIDA media relations officer Dominique Hetu says it is not known when the GOL approach will be implemented by CIDA-INC, but the agency as a whole expects 50 percent of its services to be carried out online by 2003, and the remainder in 2005. “Right now, every branch has information on services online, but not actual services that can be carried out online,” she says. Through its GOL initiative, the federal government in general is aiming, by 2005, to allow electronic access to information and services at any time of day. For example, at CIDA, self-registration for partners and suppliers, based on a unique identifier, and the capability to submit invoices electronically and receive information about their status are examples of functions now being contemplated.

Although many firms already do much of their communication with CIDA-INC by email, as is the case with most email communication anywhere, security measures are often minimal, with information left un-encrypted on any number of Web servers through which an email crosses. According to Hetu, making information secure will be one of CIDA-INC’s GOL aims, including functions to enable financial transactions but only “nearing the end of the implementation, in 2005.” – Celeste Mackenzie

As advertised: a marriage of sorts

The federal government left the procurement of advertising and communications services out of the marriage of two of its biggest communications centres.

The merger combined the Canada Information Office with the Communications Coordination Services Branch, housed in Public Works and Government Services Canada. It was aimed at placing the bulk of communications services managed by the two agencies in one office.

Meanwhile, the Procurement Services Sector (PSS) of CCSB moved to the Supply Operations Services Branch at PWGSC, where it continues to provide services in the procurement of advertising and communications – RFPs, contracts and/or standing offers. Information is available at www.contractscanada.gc.ca/en/icpss-e.htm . –Robert Parkins

DND’s private sector supply chain

Department of National Defence (DND), in its efforts to focus scarce resources on core military activities, is examining the use of the private sector to deliver supply chain services. The Supply Chain Project (SCP) is an Alternate Service Delivery initiative. In late summer 2001, DND (www.vcds.dnd.ca) contracted Tibbett & Britten Group Canada Inc. (TBG) to do the start-up work – expected to take a year – on the business case and implementation plan for the SCP. Contract value is $5 million. If the government accepts the plan, TBG will gain a follow-on contract of seven years with options of up to four more years being awarded at the discretion of the Crown.

A master at purchasing management

Internationally there is an increasing demand for managers who have strategic training and international experience in procurement. As a result, the Advanced Diploma in International Procurement and Supply (ADIPS) has been developed and is recognized by all national professional purchasing associations in Europe. The International Master in Strategic Purchasing and Supply Chain Management was built on the ADIPS standards. For 2001-2002 a new concept has been added – three Masterclass sessions at Centres of Excellence linked to the Universities of Bath, Grenoble and Stuttgart and four clustered sessions in Belgium. The courses are given in English. For information see www.bevib.be/VIB/index.html

Cyberworld copyright protection

Support for stronger copyright protection resulted, this past summer, in a copyright reform proposal being introduced that envisaged a notice-and-takedown system where the ISP provider could remove content. The Canadian Association of Internet Providers, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and other organizations called instead for a notice-notice-and-takedown system that would involve a court decision before removing content. As well, the ratification by the federal government of the Convention on Cybercrime treaty should help – not only in the battle against hacking, denial of service and fraud – but because Article 10 of the treaty requires that a range of criminal offences be adopted to deal specifically with copyright infringement. For more information: www.globetechnology.com

Partners in Digital Heroes

Ontario’s Promise (www.ontariospromise.com), launched in November 2000, brings together business, non-profit agencies that serve children, community leaders and individuals, as well as parents, to provide leadership and support for Ontario’s youth. It has designed a program, Digital Heroes, that joins the forces of Frontier College and AOL Canada with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) to provide e-mentoring on aspects of personal development, educational questions and careers for the province’s youth at risk. AOL Canada supplies the Internet access; BBBSC and Frontier College provide the mentors.

Real-time data on ROADS

Early this past January, Cornwall police (www.cornwallpolice.com) began using ROADS – a remote office and dispatch system – in their patrol cars. ROADs runs on Windows and in-car laptops connected to a private radio network. The application, installed by Canadian IT firm xwave (www.xwave.com), is based on a wireless communications infrastructure and interfaces with local dispatch systems, making possible messaging between patrol cars and direct access to databases like the motor vehicle registry and the Canadian Police Information Centre. The speedier response to queries means more effective and safer policing for the officers.

xwave’s application is being used in about 25 police detachments across Canada. Some challenges to the design of the application included the availability and types of a wireless networks, the cramped quarters of a patrol car and the varying levels of computer skills of the users; however, training time is minimal – four to five hours.

Best practices for e-procurement

Aberdeen Group (www.aberdeen.com), based in Boston, is a leading IT analysis firm providing IT market intelligence, positioning and acceleration services. Research focuses on emerging markets, growth rates, industry trends and customer buying habits. Aberdeen defines e-procurement as Internet-based procurement – a private marketplace that automates communications and transactions between partners in the supply chain – and segments e-procurement technologies into three categories:

  1. Indirect e-procurement, which creates private Web-based markets that are accessed from the desktop of employees, while enforcing corporate rules and contracts.
  2. Direct e-procurement/supply chain management, which automates the coordination, management and collaboration of supply chain activities around acquiring raw materials and parts.
  3. E-sourcing, which automates the identification, evaluation, negotiation and configuration of the supplier, product and services mix.

Aberdeen’s research found that the most successful e-procurements have 10 common success factors:

  1. Using the technology to support a larger procurement strategy.
  2. Knowing how much is spent on what and with whom.
  3. Developing a strong implementation plan.
  4. Understanding internal processes in order to develop benchmarks before embarking on an e-procurement implementation.
  5. Ensuring there is support from management.
  6. Ensuring there is support from the daily users of the system.
  7. Designating a champion – someone to drive the implementation process, measure the results, solve problems and ensure the successful adoption of the new system.
  8. Ensuring the active participation of suppliers by educating them and providing tools to make access to the system easier.
  9. Identifying the areas that promise the most success and proceed with these first to show the value of the system.
  10. Measuring everything – user adoption issues, contract compliance, cost savings, process changes and supplier usage and performance.

Adapted from Aberdeen Group, online Newsletter, Editions: Dec. 5 to Dec. 12

Cleaning up the Act

After working under legislation nearly 150 years old, in December 2001 Ontario municipalities got a new Municipal Act that reduced the number of pages of legislation that governed them from 1,100 to 350. The Act endorses regular consultation between the province and municipalities. A Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario that defines the parameters of that communications process has been signed. The new Act gives municipalities broad authority within 10 jurisdictional spheres: public utilities, waste management, public highways, transportations systems, drainage and flood control, parking, economic development services, animals, structures not covered under the Building Code Act, and culture, parks, recreation and heritage. In addition, it gives municipalities natural person powers – the ability to conduct daily business without legislative authority and other general powers, some of which are limited by definition in the Act. A backgrounder on the Act is available at www.mah.gov.on.ca/inthnews/backgrnd/20011018-2c.asp  and the Act is online at the main website for Ontario’s Municipal Affairs and Housing.


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