In the News Archive
A new book by Gerald Antonette, Larry C.Giunipero and Chris
Sawchuk offers purchasers help with transforming supply management
through technology. Purchasing professionals, CEOs, public sector
experts and academia from around the world provide insight to
process change, technology tools and integration issues. This
second edition (www.epurchasingplus.com) also contains a new
section on government, military and public buying in Canada and
the United States.
The Province of Nova Scotia, through Service Nova Scotia and
Municipal Relations, offers each of its municipalities a free
NovaLIS Land Development Office (LDO) software licence. The Town
of Truro took up the offer and is implementing LDO, a database
management system that will automate Truro's land permitting
process and integrate easily into Truro's current geographic
The residences of Peterborough's Sir Sanford Fleming College
now have a voice, video and data network that serves the students'
group teamwork and research needs. The network, based on Cisco's
Architecture for Voice, was designed and installed by Bell Canada.
In addition to benefitting students, the converged network should
result in long-term cost savings, better use of in-house IT expertise
and, possibly, revenuegenerating opportunities for the college,
which plans to extend the network to its other campuses.
A Canadian technology yet to be used by Canadian authorities
is being used by 26 other countries as well as the United
States Department of Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol,Tobacco and
Firearms (ATF). The ATF is expanding its National Integrated
Ballistic Information Network with Montreal-based Forensic Technology
Inc.'s (www.fti-ibis.com) Integrated Ballistics Identification
System (IBIS), which digitally captures and stores the images
of bullets and cartridges found at crime scenes, performs comparisons
and ranks the matches.
News service CNW Québec, three-time winner with the
Province of Québec, signed its third consecutive three-year
contract to be the official news release service for all ministries,
agencies and departments. It will host,maintain and operate the
province's web-based news portal.
NORTH Network,Ontario's telehealth project, links the communities
of Timmins, Cochrane, Kirkland Lake and Chapleau to Sudbury and
major hospital services in Toronto. The federal and provincial
government, a variety of medical institutions and organizations
and several private sector partners support the network.The system's
two-way health video conferencing, mostly based on Cisco Systems
(www.cisco.com) technology, facilitates consultations with medical
specialists and delivers continuing medical education and educational
information for patients. NORTH Network's expansion recently
received $2 million from the Ministry of Northern Development
and Mines and a donation of over $100,000 from Cisco.
FirstBus Canada Limited, based in Regina, recently won a five-year
The military recently renewed two contracts with ATCO Frontec.
The first covers ATCO Frontec's support services at six separate
The second extends the military's arrangement with ATCO and
The bargains were going, going, gone at the Nortel Networks high-tech auction. And when the final gavel fell Communications Research Centre Canada (CRC) pocketed savings of three-quarters of a million dollars. CRC is the federal government's primary laboratory for advanced communications.
When CRC (www.crc.ca) scientists learned Nortel Networks was liquidating assets to generate cash, CRC staff knew they'd have to move fast. But there were hurdles to face. These included lengthy timeframes to obtain wire transfers, payments required in American funds, a need to override existing policies, and a lack of experience in the inner workings of auction sales. In addition, a detailed list of items was only made available a few days in advance.
"It was a real frenzy to get accurate pricing information," says Joseph Seregelyi of CRC's Research Military Satellite Communications group. But everything came together in the end, with Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) granting authority a mere 16 hours before the auctioneer brought the first gavel down. Armed with a wire transfer for US funds, eight scientists and two buyers from PWGSC, CRC, contracting officer Luanne Campbell went shopping. Sitting in a crowded auction hall following the fast-paced patter of an auctioneer is not part of her job description. Clutching registration card number 67 in one hand and her wire transfer documentation in the other, she stuck close to PWGSC buyer Diane Charlebois, who made the bids as the auctioneer raced through 4,000 lots in two days.Much of the equipment was still in the box, or less than two years old. Buyers from around the world sent bids through cyberspace the tension mounted as the prices rose.
"Fights broke out.Not physical, but arguments over what was said," says Campbell. But with the scientists identifying needed equipment, and the spending authority in her pocket, the bargains started rolling in.They purchased a $70,000 laser for $5,000 and a $108,000 Network Analyzer for $14,000.At the end of two days CRC had scooped up one million dollars'worth of equipment for $215,000, a savings of 77 percent. These savings let CRC outfit its new photonics lab to a professional standard one to two years ahead of schedule.
"The timing could not have been better for the Research Military Satellite Communications Section (RMSC/VPSAT)," says Seregelyi. "They are just starting a microwave photonics lab where they will be optically generating high-quality RF/microwave and communications signals. Several of the items we were planning to purchase through regular channels were for sale at the auction at very reasonable prices." After the auction CRC cancelled some purchase orders already in the system.
But besides the savings, the process showed what a government agency can accomplish when they are willing to think outside the box.
"In my books, we just defeated the 'at times' negative
perception that the government is not always as proactive as
the private sector," says Luc Bouchard,manager of CRC's
WISELAB. Gina Gillespie
The Canadian Association of University Business Officers' (CAUBO) stated mission is to "promote the professional and effective management of the administrative, financial and business affairs of higher education."One of the means the association uses to do this is the National Procurement Committee (NPC), which came into being in 1993 as a task force, and was made a standing committee by the CAUBO Board in 1997 (www.caubo.ca). Originally, the committee consisted of four people representing the four regional university purchasing associations of Canada.Today there are five: Chair,Gwen Toole from the University of Saskatchewan, Ron MacDonald from Interuniversity Services Inc., Abder Sbahi from the University of Ottawa, Robert Scardera, from Concordia, and board member, Larry English, also from Concordia.
At the national, regional and institutional levels, the NPC promotes the sharing of information on procurement activities, particularly in the areas of commodity research, government regulations, identification of best practices and, of course,pricing.The committee has negotiated agreements in the areas of courier services, car rentals, customs clearance, hotel accommodations, international re-mail, moving services and tattle tape strips. Competitive bid processes for continued agreements for credit card merchant rates have not been successful so far,but negotiations with a major computer supplier are proceeding along the lines of developing an e-business website that would allow online procurement of personal computers for institutions with no campus computer stores.
A recently completed study by Gartner Consulting for CAUBO, supports the trend of university procurement departments moving towards a consulting and facilitative role. The study assessed the current state of CAUBO members in "e-activities."Gartner recommended that there be no moves towards major national projects the e-business environment, in their opinion, is not sufficiently mature and the institutions themselves are not ready. There are no consistent standards among the institutions even those that have modernized their systems did not do so in coordination with others and many still operate on legacy systems.
The NPC plans to educate and encourage members to implement
procurement cards a basic component of e-business.As well,
it is taking on an advocacy role in working with agencies such
as the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, which is involved
in research grants, to improve the procurement process. The committee
also consulted with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International
Trade and Public Works and Government Services Canada on the
impact of the new Controlled Goods Registration legislation on
universities, specifically research contracts with private industry.
At Public Works and Government Services Canada, the Supply Operations Services Branch was restructured to allow the procurement sectors to focus more on core procurement functions such as:
Among the changes is a new Common Services Sector, headed in the interim by Jean Roy, bringing together cost/price analysis, forensic auditing/accounting, controlled goods registration, seized property management, crown assets distribution and industrial security. In the Supply Program Management Sector, a new directorate has an expanded role for client and supplier relations. Business Services and Operations Support will be responsible for the Technology Partnerships Canada Program, contract quality control, operational support, and human resources among others.
And over at Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) following the
January 2002 announcement on restructuring budget and resource
allocations, TBS is focusing on expenditure management and implementing
its new framework-oriented approach to financial and human resource
management and service improvement, as well as building a strong
monitoring capability. A new Strategic Policy and Planning Secretariat,
responsible for corporate policy,will coordinate policy functions
and do strategic planning for TBS.
Human Resources Development Canada got serious about overhauling and maintaining the department's computer infrastructure. Ottawa's Sirius Consulting Group (www.sirius.ca), with a little help from Montreal's Cognicase, was hired to do the work on an "as and when requested" basis up to a contract value of $11.7 million.
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, getting serious about procurement,
plans to contract professional procurement services as early
as July 2002.
compiled by Summit staff
Fax: (613) 688-0767