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What is State Procurement?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2016
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State procurement is a process which is used by individual states to procure supplies, personnel, and equipment which they need. The state procurement office may handle procurement of everything for all state agencies, from the offices of state representatives who need pencils to the state's road crews which require bulldozers, or it may allow individual state agencies to take care of their own procurement needs, supervising procurement policy across the state. On any given day, a state procurement office can be obtaining anything from paint for its bridges to medical equipment for state hospitals.

Procurement can be a complex process. Procurement officers are responsible for meeting the needs which are brought to the attention of the procurement office. State employees may provide the office with purchase orders with very specific requests, or they may contact the state procurement office to get assistance with determining what will meet their needs, and finding the best option. For esoteric items, the state procurement office may do considerable research to determine the best choice of purchase.

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In addition to obtaining goods and services for the state through purchase, rental, or trade, the state procurement office also sets policies. For example, the procurement office may dictate that when state agencies need equipment, they should farm out the request to other agencies first, to see if those agencies have used and functioning equipment which they would like to sell or trade. Likewise, the state procurement office may issue a directive that goods should be obtained from providers in the state, if at all possible, or that state procurement should also emphasize environmental responsibility, choosing items which are environmentally sound.

When a state procurement office needs to obtain something, it opens the request up for bid. For example, if road crews need new vehicles, the state procurement office would indicate that it has a contract to provide road vehicles which is available. Companies which make, lease, or sell vehicles would have an opportunity to bid for the chance to provide vehicles to the state, with the procurement office reviewing the bids to determine the best choice. Since state contracts can be very lucrative, the bidding process can become quite competitive.

Typically, the office is headquartered in the state capital. This is convenient for state agencies also headquartered in the capital, as it makes it easy to stay in contact with the procurement office. Branch offices may be located in other regions of the state, along with warehouses for supplies.

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