For the past two days, I interviewed department supervisors about common contract purchases. As Daphna predicted, each department uses different vendors for uniforms/embroidery, office supplies, and cleaning services. If the Town consolidates these purchases, we may be able to negotiate a 10% discount with a vendor.
Other departments shared similar trains of thought. They suggested to (1) consolidate landscaping, pest control, electric maintenance, advertisements, and software services, (2) look at hiring a better vendor for HVAC as the current vendor does not provide adequate, preventative maintenance, (3) install Fastenal to track consumable supplies and lower expenditures.
I was surprised to uncover the politics in such a brief interview. Some participants wanted to improve Town operations, while others resisted change. They argued that depending on the work, only a specific vendor does a good job. The Finance Department does not understand enough about their department to make well-informed decisions. And, some vendors are better because of convenience, personality, or history/reputation.
Rather than writing my notes and handing it to Daphna, I think this project requires a memo! One that considers the cost and benefit of streamlining different purchases and provides actual details about a few vendors. I would be very interested in doing the Town’s negotiating, but I would settle for observing Daphna or Phil. The haggling techniques I’ve used probably do not apply anyway.