Seeing Excellence: Learning from Great Procurement Teams




In 2002, the Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration merged five separate offices -- State Purchasing, State Controller, Central Payroll, State Buildings and Real Estate Programs, and Central Collections -- into a single division, the Division of Finance and Procurement.  The department had recently adopted a set of guiding principles, the "3 Cs" -- customers, communication and credibility -- to align the department.  The division leadership met and, despite widely varying missions, realized that they had three essential things in common.  They all had financial oversight functions with some operational responsibilities, all had external customers and interested internal stakeholders, and all had a role in oversight of delegated authority in a decentralized environment.

During August 2002, the Division of Finance and Procurement Core Team outlined a methodology around the acronym "SCOPE," which in the beginning stood for "Systematic Controls, Oversight, and Policy Evaluation," to reflect the internal control and oversight nature of the division's mission.  Over time, the relevance of the model to operations emerged.  For example, SCOPE was used to implement the 2004 statewide audit recommendations relating to the statewide accounts receivable debt collection function and processes. 

Back to the Future

Our first foray into quality occurred with the Air Force's Total Quality Management program in Washington D.C.  Like other TQM implementations, the customer focus parts of the implementation were very good, but the metrics aspects of the program never gained traction.  Further, the momentum was difficult to sustain.

Two books were central to the development of SCOPEVision. One was The Consultant's Calling by Geoffrey BellmanIt reinforced the conclusion that all managers are consultants, challenged just like external consultants in sustaining improvement and making organizations self-reliant.  The other book was Hammer and Champy's Reengineering the Corporation, that contrasted TQM with what reengineering was intended to achieve.   That led to purchase of another book, The Six Sigma Way.  The epiphany was that all of these models had very much in common, but in some ways they were impenetrable to mere mortals.  The division's SCOPE efforts in the meantime were sort of languishing, and we wanted to know why.  The research that followed helped flesh out the SCOPEVision core that is described in the Introduction to SCOPEVision.

Use in the Division of Finance and Procurement

In the Division of Finance and Procurement, the model was used primarily in a financial controls and supply management environment.  The achievements -- the "missions accomplished" on the division's radarSCOPE -- included contract and procurement thresholds adjustments which eliminated transactions out of the central system, about 30% reduction over the past three years.  SCOPE was used to survey the state's contracting community and to develop statewide contract management training.  The model was used to clarify relationships between the Department of Correction's Correctional Industries and state agencies (who must purchase office furniture from them) and to streamline construction contracting review.  SCOPE was to implement statewide audit recommendations arising out of the statewide audit of the state's central debt collections operations. 

The Business Stuff

SCOPEVision was registered with the United State Patent and Trademark Office as a precursor to further developing the SCOPE model for broader application.  

SCOPEVision went public to a broader audience in May 2004 with an article published in Colorado state government's Stateline magazine, and at a presentation to the Colorado Financial Managers, Information Managers, and State Managers Associations joint annual conference. 

The Present and Future

SCOPEVision has been integrated into supply chain management presentations at local meetings and conferences of the Institute for Supply Management, National Contract Management Association, and American Society for Quality in Colorado. 

GyroSCOPE and periSCOPE are used in presentations as metaphors for key parts of SCOPEVision --  the basis for decisions and customer centricity.  The original seven-SCOPE core was joined in 2004 by CinemaScope as the metaphor for the leadership dimension.  In 2005, horoSCOPE was added as the metaphor for the organizational learning and knowledge management dimension, a reflection of the challenges being faced by lost knowledge in the division that was on the bow wave of retirements.

The first seminar -- Launch! Practical Personal, Project, and Performance Management-- was developed in collaboration with a project management consulting company.  The inaugural seminar was held in April 2006 in Denver, Colorado.

A Negotiation page was added in 2008 to illustrate the central role of negotiations.  A leadership page is under development to provide an approach to self-discovery about the key principles of leadership.

We now are particularly interested in possible application of SCOPEVision's relevance  utility to other governments and nonprofit organizations, and the relevance of the approach to emerging small businesses.  The concepts in SCOPEVision are helpful and have been used in seminars and presentations on supply management, contracting human resources strategy, quality/purchasing professionals' contributions to the "bottom line," contracting and procurement, negotiations, ethics, contract management, business communications, and organizational development. 


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