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Alaska’s continuous improvement process receives top honor as 2018 best in procurement

LEXINGTON, Ky. – (October 15, 2018) – A statewide procurement continuous improvement effort undertaken by the State of Alaska has received the Gold Award, the highest honor in the George Cronin Awards for Procurement Excellence, presented annually by the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO).

The Cronin Awards recognize outstanding innovative and exemplary state procurement initiatives while also spotlighting state procurement personnel who have undertaken and accomplished projects resulting in distinct benefits to a state’s economy and the efficient delivery of services. By calling attention to these efforts, the Cronin Awards seek to disseminate and encourage adoption of these initiatives by other states. Cronin awardees and finalists create opportunities for adoption of best practices, improving the procurement function nationwide.

“Public procurement can and should be a leader for innovation and process improvement within state government agencies,” said Alabama State Purchasing Director and NASPO President Michael A. Jones. “The Cronin Awards are an outstanding venue for showcasing the best in state procurement. It’s a pleasure to see my colleagues and their home states recognized for their visionary contributions while also providing valuable food for thought for other states facing similar challenges.”

The 2018 Cronin Awards were presented at NASPO’s Annual Conference, September 23-26, 2018, in Long Beach, CA. Twenty-one Cronin submissions were submitted for consideration this year. The 2018 award recipients are:

Gold Award Winner, State of Alaska: Continuous Improvement in Statewide Procurement—Alaska’s Statewide Contracting Office embraced an opportunity to evaluate procurement processes to find ways to do it better and faster, enabling more focus on strategy and delivering value. Every process, form, approval, and policy has been put on the table and continuous improvement methodologies were applied. Three procurement-related improvement projects completed to date have eliminated waste from day-to-day work, returning literally years of time worth millions of dollars to procurement staff across the state. More projects and training are forthcoming as a culture is built that encourages looking for improvements as a matter of course and celebrates them when found.

Silver Award Winner, State of Massachusetts: Local Government Enablement Team—Eligible local governments, schools, and government authorities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have always had the authority to use statewide contracts for goods and services issued and managed by the Commonwealth’s Operational Services Division (OSD). Prior to 2014, their use was not promoted or

directly managed by OSD. With the 2014 implementation of a new eProcurement solution, OSD recognized a unique opportunity to significantly expand access and usage by its non-executive customer base through increased outreach and marketing and the offer of a free online purchasing system.

The establishment of OSD’s Local Government Enablement (LGE) team marked the beginning of a highly successful and expansive effort to increase local government customer engagement with non-executive branch customers, increase statewide contract spend, and embed the routine use of the new eProcurement system into major cities, small towns, and school districts across the state creating substantial savings for all of participating government entities.

Bronze Award Winner, State of Michigan: The Unrealized Transformative Power of Internally Focused KPIs in Public Procurement—Believing that rigorously developed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will improve performance and customer satisfaction, the Michigan Central Procurement Services Division developed a map of KPIs to measure the division’s operation. The indicators were defined by staff and tracked in the state’s central database. Current results and trends are shown on a continuous loop on a TV in the agency’s lobby. Selected KPIs include solicitation lead time, customer satisfaction, hard savings, contracts in place before current contract expiration, supplier performance and employee recognitions.

Finalist, State of Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Best Value Initiative— Pennsylvania Best Value Initiative, which resulted in the implementation of an electronic procurement solution, a streamlined RFP procurement process, and a method to increase Small Business/Small Diverse Business (SB/SDB) participation while encapsulating quality, on-time delivery, savings and return on investment. The combination of the JAGGAER (eProcurement management tool) solution and the streamlined RFP process includes supplier forums; amped-up supplier outreach; streamlined forms; reduction of meetings; more efficient question and answer process; objective scoring; electronic reviews and submissions; real-time data; configurable workflows; and a transferable toolkit of procurement resources.

Finalist, State of Oklahoma, Innovate OK: The Market of Government Innovation—Innovate Oklahoma leverages procurement authority to create a synergy for innovation. By utilizing their personnel’s outreach ability to engage and promote new businesses and technology to address government issues/problems, a new avenue for engaging the vendor community has emerged.  The rightsizing of solutions to problems provides tremendous benefits to the vendors that gain experience with the state while the state certainly benefits from having a lower cost of adoption than would be incurred from larger more traditional vendors.

The George Cronin Awards for Procurement Excellence have been a foundational part of NASPO’s benefits and member engagement since 1977. To learn more about NASPO and the George Cronin Awards for Procurement Excellence, visit


NASPO is a nonprofit association dedicated to advancing public procurement through leadership, excellence and integrity. Its membership is comprised of the directors of the central purchasing offices in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the territories of the United States. NASPO helps its members achieve success as public procurement leaders through promotion of best practices, education, professional development, research and innovative procurement strategies.

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