Academic journal article International Journal of Purchasing and Materials Management

Measuring Relative Productivity and Staffing Levels in a Federal Procurement Office

Academic journal article International Journal of Purchasing and Materials Management

Measuring Relative Productivity and Staffing Levels in a Federal Procurement Office

Article excerpt

UNWEIGHTED PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

The literature reports on a number of attempts to measure productivity and staffing needs within federal procurement offices.[1] No single approach to date, however, has gained general acceptance. In fact, staffing decisions and workload assignments made by federal procurement managers continue to be more of an art form than a science. Given the current administration's efforts to "reinvent" federal procurement, the development of a model that can systematically measure relative performance among federal procurement offices would be beneficial in achieving the goals of the National Performance Review.

Most workload assessment studies of federal procurement offices have attempted to measure productivity based on output. Many of the reported studies measured efficiency in terms of the quantity of output achieved across offices examined during a specific period of time. Some even have attempted to measure quality of performance. All, however, have failed to adequately account for the relative (weighted) complexities across work assignments, as well as relative (weighted) differences in staffing and grade levels.

The use of unweighted performance measures that fail to systematically account for the relative differences in workload and staffing across offices examined must be avoided. Three questionable measures of productivity generally used by federal procurement managers are (1) the average number of procurements processed per staff member, (2) the average number of dollars obligated per staff member, and (3) the average number of days required to process a procurement.

These three measures produce skewed results because they fail to account for the relative (weighted) differences in work tasks and staffing across the offices examined. A small average number of procurements (or dollars) processed per staff member does not necessarily indicate poor performance; nor does a large average number of procurements (or dollars) processed per staff member necessarily indicate exceptional performance. A relatively large average number of days required to process a procurement does not necessarily indicate poor performance; nor does a relatively small average number of days necessarily indicate exceptional performance. Such comparisons of productivity among offices based on unweighted arithmetic means clearly are invalid. Federal and private sector procurement managers must use caution when employing unweighted performance measures that fail to systematically account for relative differences in workload and staffing across the operating units compared.

THE WORKLOAD INDEX MODEL

Any analytical model used to assess the productivity among various federal procurement offices must accurately measure both the relative workload complexity and assigned staffing. This can be achieved through the systematic assignment of weights whereby a Workload Index (WI) for a federal procurement office is calculated by the following set of equations:

The Workload Index Model is based on the following assumptions that generally apply across all federal, and perhaps private sector, procurement offices:

DATA SOURCES

To test the Workload Index Model, procurement and staffing data were collected on ten decentralized R&D contracting offices at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the six-year observation period of FY 1988-1993. In response to the NIH chief contracting officer's request not to identify individual offices due to the sensitivity of the research results, each office was given a numerical identification.

Procurement data on the ten offices were collected from the NIH IMPAC System.[2] Procurement information is collected from the NIH procurement activities and maintained in the NIH IMPAC System, a centralized on-line mainframe-based system that serves as the primary procurement reporting system for NIH.

The NIH TAPS System was the source used to collect the necessary personnel data. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.