The Director’s Message
Purchasing evolves-Then, a business transaction was little more than a gentlemen’s agreement and a handshake. Now, it must be reduced to written form. Then, it took only a few lines for that same agreement, now much verbiage with authorizing signatures of contractors and witnesses. Then, there was a requirement for hard copies, now, automated electronic transmissions are the mantra.
Then, service maintenance calls were $15.00 per hour and the equipment was of such a mechanized nature that often the repairman could talk one through a diagnosis for self-repair, with a human presence not always necessary. Now, repair costs start at ranges from $80-$125/hr. for the services of a technician to tackle digitized and highly technical equipment problems.
Ostensibly, Purchasing employees were little more than clerics or “glorified secretaries.” Now, a paradigm shift is causing transition throughout the country as Agency Purchasing Officials are required, in most states, to hold a certification from one of the national certifying boards - NAPM, NIGP or NASPO in order to do the states business (UAPB has two certified professionals).
Recent new Arkansas legislation has endorsed the profession; Senate Bill 358/Act 1237 of 2001 recognizes that there is an entire gamut of duties to include buying, renting, leasing, solicitations, specification writing, awarding, etc.-thus our name has been changed to – “Purchasing” giving more credence to the profession.
This new legislation, affects a broader base of flexibility in purchasing and spending. However, coming in tow with that increased flexibility is a greater need for accountability by this agency and its end users- you the requester, continuing education of the rules and regulations and compliance monitoring.
While the pace has increased and the demands are ever present, we are excited and anticipatory of the new era in State Purchasing history- the capability to process orders in minutes as opposed to hours/days is here; hard copy formats/signatures will soon be supplanted by electronic transactions/electronic signature.
We are more committed to addressing the socio-economic concerns of those historically underutilized business’ that have not always been able to substantially participate as economically as have others. The new legislation, which raised spending limits lends greatly to the removal of some of the impediments to this objective.
With our primary function in the forefront, which is to obtain goods, services and construction for public purposes, we endeavor to continue to serve and to do business within the purview of high ethical standards and sound purchasing practices which is integral to credibility and reliability in the everyday activities of this agency.