Part 2: Navigating your company’s procurement process

In my previous article, I discussed the importance of learning the procurement process. This article will cover the importance of understanding your project’s requirements for procurement, and the timing of the delivery of those items.

REQUIREMENTS

Your project requires that a certain amount of hardware and/or software must be purchased and delivered to one or more locations. This seems fairly simple at first glance, but if you are to be successful at navigating the procurement process, there are some things you should consider.

Hardware and software standards are common in large organizations. If you have a list of all of the items that the team has indicated that needs to be purchased, this list needs to be very specific and needs to be reviewed by whoever is responsible for enforcing the hardware and software standards. Depending on the size of the organization, the team that provided you with the list of hardware and software usually will not be the same team that develops and enforces those standards. The last thing you want to do is order the hardware and then be told you have to order a different model or software release in order to comply with those standards. When you ask for a list from your team, ask that the hardware and software on the list are very specific. The list should include AT LEAST the following information:

  • Hardware device manufacturer, model number, and quantity
  • Software vendor name, full product name and version required
  • Cost center or project number that has approved funding for the project (Process specific)
  • Date by which you need that device or software available for configuration
  • Contact person for questions regarding the order and their contact info
      • Email address
      • Phone number

TIMING

While you are assembling the list of hardware and software you need, remember that the date you want the hardware delivered is NOT the date the user indicated they needed to begin using it. The project schedule needs to allow for the time required to physically rack the hardware, provide power and network connectivity to it, configure it, install software on it, etc. So, before you hand that list over to procurement, meet with the engineers and other team members who have work to do and determine how much time they need to rack and configure before the device is turned over to the user. Subtract that time from the user required date, and that becomes the date you want the hardware delivered. Also understand that once the purchase order is actually cut for the vendor, there is any number of factors that could delay the delivery of that hardware, so plan accordingly.

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