Censeo supported a federal agency’s preeminent acquisition program by developing a more user-friendly application and review process for commercial vendors seeking access to a competitive government contract system.
The client, a federal agency that supports government acquisition programs and operations, manages a major initiative to establish government-wide contracts with companies as a way to provide price-competitive products and services. Vendors had reported that the current application process was long, unclear, often inconsistent, and depended on information fragmented across government systems. No “single-point of truth” describing the current-state process existed, and the agency brought on Censeo to help improve the application and internal review processes to attract competitive vendors.
Censeo’s 12-week project approach brought together multiple stakeholders to provide a baseline of current processes and agree on strategies to improve commercial vendors’ experiences. To develop these strategies, Censeo conducted more than 60 commercial and federal interviews, focus groups, and workshops to document detailed process maps in “plain language.” For eight core process steps that were identified, Censeo evaluated about 80 sub-processes, including desired outcomes, supporting activities, outputs, roles and responsibilities, policy and guidelines, supporting IT systems, and resources. This analysis was complemented with feedback from commercial vendors and federal contracting officers. Censeo identified improvement opportunities evaluated on their value and feasibility.
Censeo worked closely with the client to develop process improvement recommendations focused on improving process effectiveness, efficiency, communications, and systems integration. By working extensively with client leadership to build comprehensive—but practical—action plans, Censeo’s strategies received broad agency support.
Once implemented, the recommendations will significantly improve transparency and communication to commercial vendors, reduce application processing time by several weeks, and improve the consistency of internal reviews of applications.
Seeing the vendor application and review process so rigorously laid out on paper makes me realize how complicated the current-state process is and now I have a different appreciation for how we can improve the vendor experience.