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Tyler Liu, guest of episode 8 of Inside Public Procurement

Episode 8: Making Your Job Easier with eProcurement and Contract Management

eProcurement | 39 minutes

Episode Overview:

Going through daily procurement processes can be a slog. Time-consuming tasks bog you down and often prevent you from spending time on the more impactful items on your to do list. 

With procurement technology, those challenges can be a thing of the past.

Tyler Liu, Strategic Sourcing Services Manager at ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia), explains how procurement software has streamlined processes in his department and allowed him to focus on the important pieces of the RFP process.

We discuss:

  • The benefits of eProcurement
  • Running an efficient RFP process
  • Managing multiple procurements
  • The two components of contract management
  • The importance of training

Reach out to Tyler at [email protected]

You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to Inside Public Procurement on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or gobonfire.com/podcast.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Inside Public Procurement in your favorite podcast player.

About our guest

Headshot of Tyler Liu, Strategic Sourcing Services Manager at ICBC

Tyler Liu | Insurance Corporation of British Columbia

Tyler Liu is the Strategic Sourcing Services Manager at ICBC, a provincial crown corporation that provides auto insurance services to the people of British Columbia. Over his ten year career, Tyler has spent time in both public and private sectors, including education, tourism, and oil and gas.

Transcript

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You’re listening to Inside Public Procurement by Bonfire, a show celebrating the unique stories and heroic efforts of those on the front lines of public procurement. Each episode, we bring you the latest trends, tips, and real stories from procurement trailblazers, like you who work tireless to bring positive impact to the agencies and communities you serve. Together, let’s elevate the field of public procurement to new heights. Now pull up a chair and let’s gather around the bonfire. Our show is about to begin.

Tuong (00:39):

Hello and welcome to the Inside Public Procurement podcast. My name is Tuong La and I am a client support agent at Bonfire, an eProcurement solution used by over 500 public agencies in North America. I’m very excited because I’m joined today by Tyler Liu at ICBC and Tyler Liu is the strategic sourcing services manager at Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. ICBC is a provincial crown corporation that provides auto insurance services to the people of British Columbia. Tyler has spent time in both public and private sectors from education to tourism and oil and gas. At ICBC, its procurement is organized by three categories, material damage, professional services/IT and bodily injury/legal services. Tyler supports the BI/legal category. That’s a mouthful to say, hi Tyler.

Tyler (01:35):

Good Morning, Tuong.

Tuong (01:36):

Tyler, it’s so good to see you. How’s life, what’s going on?

Tyler (01:40):

Things aren’t going good. I just came back from a five week parental leave.

Tuong (01:47):

Oh yes. Congratulations. How was that? Was it relaxing for you?

Tyler (01:51):

Well, let’s say this, I lost six pounds in five weeks. So it was a lot of, it was, it was a lot of hard work, but I did get a chance to connect with my baby and my family. That was really, really nice.

Tuong (02:06):

So you’re saying the secret to weight loss is to have a child and then go on a couple week parental leave, not vacation because it’s not vacation, I assume.

Tyler (02:17):

It’s not a vacation. Like I tell everyone that parental leave is not a vacation and I’m not sure about the weight loss thing. So don’t take that advice from me.

Tuong (02:28):

Right, you’re not a health expert, you’re a procurement professional. It’s a little bit different, right?

Tyler (02:33):

Exactly.

Tuong (02:34):

Tyler, before we get into the meat of the topics that I want to discuss with you today, I want to hear from you, your journey into procurement, because a lot of people out there kind of stumble into procurement. Some people know what it is beforehand, but other people have no idea what it is until the job is presented in front of them. So I’d like to hear your journey on how you came to be where you are today.

Tyler (03:01):

Absolutely. So I kind of fell into it, but also in a way I kind of know it. So I first heard of procurement/supply chain management in my, I think, so my third year university and I was in business school. And I remember one of my, a professor was telling us that, Hey, you guys heard of supply chain management and we’re all like, no, I don’t know what that is. And he said, well, that’s good because that you can almost guarantee to get a job after you graduate. So at the time, it was just after the financial crisis. So I thought, okay, getting a job after school is a good thing.

Tuong (03:41):

Yes.

Tyler (03:42):

So I looked into it a little bit at the time. I have no idea what it was, but it sounds interesting to me. So I chose that as my major. And so I studied supply chain management in my latter years of university. So thanks to my professor’s prophecy. I did get a job after studying in it. So that’s when I started with an oil and gas company in Calgary. So, I started out cutting PO’s for a year or two, and then I moved down to a little bit more challenging tasks like doing some simple contract extensions, amendment. Then I got into the bid and, and so on and so forth.

Tyler (04:27):

So after I left Calgary, I came to British Columbia, it’s in the west coast of Canada. So I begin in my journey in the public sector. So it’s very, very different in the public sector. And that’s when I spent some time at the federal government, in the tourism industry where I did primarily RFP’s and the competitive bids. And then moved down to UBC in the public sector. And now I’m here doing public procurement as well. So it has been a very interesting journey. And for me, I didn’t know what procurement was and I got into it, but I say to people that… Stick with it, because it’s a very interesting profession.

Tuong (05:06):

Absolutely. It’s definitely a profession that, and you might be able to attest to this because you’ve been in procurement for a number of years. But it sounds like it has changed quite a lot from even 10 years ago.

Tyler (05:20):

Yeah, that’s true. So, interestingly enough, this is my 10th year into this profession.

Tuong (05:28):

What? Congratulations. Congratulations. We get you. I don’t have any celebratory cake for you, but I can make sure to send one after this podcast, if that’s okay with you.

Tyler (05:40):

I don’t know if our company accepts that. Official policy.

Tuong (05:45):

No, that’s fair.

Tyler (05:47):

Yeah, but the gesture is very welcome.

Tuong (05:49):

I’ll send you an emoji instead if that’s okay.

Tyler (05:51):

Sounds good. I accept that. Yeah. I actually remember this year. So it was actually my dad sending me a note says, Hey son, congratulations on your tenure. I actually didn’t remember that. It’s just kind of went by as another day, but I was really kind of emotional when my dad sent me the note. Cause he sometimes forgets my birthday I find.

Tuong (06:14):

It’s funny how parents remember what job you have, but not your birthday.

Tyler (06:18):

Yeah. So no, so that was nice of him, but no, you know what, profession has changed so much, especially in terms of the technology realm. I find when I first started, we were still using fax and the more techy people are starting using the emails, the USB stick and also etching it on a CD disc. I’m not sure if people still know what that is, like a CD.

Tuong (06:43):

Oh man. I feel like we’re aging ourself. They don’t know what a CD is.

Tyler (06:48):

I know. So like I remember if you use the USB stick, that’s considered high tech versus some people using facts. That’s what we considered old school. But by the time when I joined the profession, so fast forward 10 years now, it seems like most people are using either eProcurement solutions or on their journey to use eProcurement solutions. And I feel like the companies I’ve worked for ever since, nobody is accepting CDs as proposals.

Tuong (07:18):

Yeah. That would be interesting if they still were.

Tyler (07:20):

Yeah. Because you would need a CD player.

Tuong (07:24):

I don’t think most computers have that anymore.

Tyler (07:27):

No. That’s interesting.

Tuong (07:29):

Yeah, that is interesting. Wow. It definitely sounds like you’ve gone through quite a journey. And would you say going into the eProcurement space, it’s helped a lot with maybe some challenges that you had before eProcurement was even a thing? And I assume that there are challenges that come with a new platform as well, right?

Tuong (07:51):

Yes. I’m really glad you brought it up because I am a firm believer in technology and I think technology does wonderful things. So for me, I definitely see the processes improvement with technology, because you can do things faster, eliminate a lot of the email attachment, the back and the forth. Did you receive it? Did you not receive it? Did I send it, those type of things. Also technology, I’ll often have best practices built in. So you can use that, kind of the out of box solution, especially for organizations are kind of not very, I don’t want to say that we’re not good at procurement, but maybe not as sophisticated as some other organizations. So you can even use the software out of box solution as kind of like best practice. So that’s actually helpful, I think in all sizes of organizations, cause you can always learn something from the software you work with.

Tuong (08:52):

So I think that is definitely a benefit I find interesting. The software is also a learning process for people and I find people at different age group or at comfortable level with software reacts differently. So it does need to make sure the management and the team whoever’s bringing in the software to actually do a good job at assessing what kind of software you need. Do you need a full suite procurement solution or just something simple as contract management notification or something in between. So, I always caution people before you jump into a software, know what you need first. So it’s almost like buying a car. You got to know whether you want to go off roading or racing or if you want to just like day to day commuter, then it is easier to decide what you want because if you suddenly buy a Lamborghini and you just like driving in downtown with all the traffic stops, it’s like, that’s not really working for you. Right. So, that’s kind of my view on the software part.

Tuong (10:01):

Right. Yes. So technology, it sounds like has really helped and streamlined a lot of processes that may have been difficult or challenging in the past or things that just took a lot of time where the software kind of does that for you, and now you can focus on the more important pieces of the RFP process. Does that sound right?

Tyler (10:23):

Yep. Absolutely.

Tuong (10:25):

Well, that’s great. Speaking of RFP too, my first question to you is that every organization runs their RFP’s differently. So I would say to start off, there’s no one way to do it, but from our discussion, it sounds like you have opinions on how to run an efficient RFP and what that looks like, shortening the timeline from the creation to outputting it into a platform.

Tyler (10:48):

Right. I think running an efficient RFP is different to different people. For me it’s about running an RFP from the beginning, when you have a request from your business units to when the contract is signed. If you can do that within three months, about 90 days period, then I would consider it as an efficient process. And it varies with the complexity of the project. Some of them definitely would take longer. Some of them would take less, but on average, if you didn’t get it done in three months, I would say it’s not bad for a public procurement, just because all the compliance we need to follow. Right? So I think it really comes down to first, do you have a solid scope of work? And I find that part is the most difficult and also the most confusing for the business units because the business units don’t really often know what they want.

Tyler (11:43):

So they’ll say, oh, I want a pen, but then they’re like, what color, what’s the quantity? Do you need it for sketching or drawing? What do you need it for, how to use it? So it’s not as easy as I just want it, go buy for it. And then we work on some RFP and then come back to them. So I find building a good relationship with your client and really understand their scope of work and help them to craft it. And so then make it RFP ready. That’s the number one thing for me. And in the process of the RFP, I think a procurement professional needs to have a good mental picture of the end to end process. So you kind of know where things are at in the spectrum of the process. So to me, couple of mental compartments is the scope of work definition and then the scope of work drafting. And then the RFP drafting or the bid document drafting, and then goes out to the market for bid proposal and evaluation. And then the contract negotiation and award, and then post award project closeout and contract management.

Tyler (12:49):

So there’s several key steps in these stages. And I think, especially when you run multiple procurement projects, you want to kind of make a note of where things are at for each of your projects at their stages. So then you can guide your client and also help yourself to either speed things up or slow things down accordingly.

Tuong (13:11):

Right. How do you manage multiple procurements? There’s an aspect of, there’s a lot of new workloads coming in and now you’re juggling multiple, multiple opportunities. How would you go about that?

Tyler (13:25):

Yeah, I think one, you can always use software. There’s a lot of software out there. For me, I’m a little bit old school in this aspect. So I actually just keep a spreadsheet on my desktop where I go and revisit from time to time where things are at. And I have all my timelines listed out. So I have kind of like a snapshot of the timeline for all of my projects. And then I would just see where things are at and then how I can adjust it. So it’s not the perfect system. I’m sure there’s a lot of other ways or other tools out there. But for me, I kind of stick with it.

Tyler (14:03):

I find the most important thing is, take some time out of your day at the end of the day or end of the week or midweek, make it a good cadence for yourself, kind of step back and then say, where are all my projects at. Either it’s a simple extension or it’s a RFP, or if you have multiple RFPs, don’t get to the next email, but actually take some time to think and to review where things are at. And what’s important in terms of your own portfolio and then adjust accordingly. You can talk to your manager if something needs to be extended or get some extra help if you get really swamped. Cause we all get swamped from time to time. So it’s just about having that mental picture and ask for help. I find it that helps me.

Tuong (14:49):

Right. At least you’re not that old school. Like you’re not putting your schedule on a CD or something like that. Right?

Tyler (14:57):

I wish, I don’t wish I do that.

Tuong (15:00):

Tyler, when it comes to engaging your vendors, there’s an aspect of running your RFP efficiently if you engage your vendors in appropriate way. Would you agree with that?

Tyler (15:12):

I absolutely agree.

Tuong (15:14):

Yeah. How would you approach your vendors then when you’re trying to streamline in your process?

Tyler (15:19):

Yeah, to me, it really comes down to like kind of the three phases where I approach my vendors. Most of the time when we think about approaching the vendors, is what I would call the during phase. It’s during, when you do the RFP, when you send out the proposal to the market. Now you are kind of waiting for questions from the suppliers and see who have downloaded your proposal. So to that phase, I think that’s kind of the least amount of communication, or building that relationship with the vendors, because at that phase, it’s more about compliance. It’s actually… We don’t allow our business units to engage with the vendor. All the information need to flow through sourcing. And there’s only limited things we can disclose. If they need more information RFP, then we have to get that information and then send it through a public notice to all the vendors.

Tyler (16:20):

So I think that the during phase, is actually the least amount of work we can do. To run an efficient process by engaging the vendors, I think it happens at the other two phases, the before phase and the after phase. So what I mean by that is with the before phase is where we’re not doing the RFP’s. Then we have a lot of freedom. We can ask the vendors in our existing vendors have regular check-ins like how things are going, any new technologies or development from your field that you can share with us. And also we can do quarterly reviews on their performance and stuff like that. So we can really engage with our vendors, how things are going and get any insights they can provide us. And also we can engage with vendors who are not providing services yet.

Tyler (17:07):

So you can do that by attending conferences, talking to those vendors there. I know I learn a lot when I attend the conferences. And you can do market research these days. You can basically use Google and you can find so many things about vendors and supplier demos. I see a lot of, especially IT vendors, they love to do demos. So I would encourage people, if you are interested in certain fields of procurement like IT, then I think you in a way, you kind of hit the jackpot because there’s so many information about IT companies. And IT companies have a lot of good demos. So that’s some of the ways for the before phase. As related to the after phase, I think that’s also very important, the contract management piece and also the supply relationship management. It’s like, how do you ensure the vendor that you selected, actually is doing the job they’re supposed to do, and manage that relationship from there. So I think in a view, that’s how I kind of view the vendor communication part of how they can help us with running our RFP process.

Tuong (18:14):

You mentioned this word a few times now, contract management. Could you expand on it a little bit more because there are some people in the procurement world that are pretty new to what contract management even is. So if you can explain what that is and how you manage it currently.

Tyler (18:30):

Sure. So contract management to me is a phase during the procurement life cycle when a contract is in place and that’s where we need to monitor and manage the vendor performance to ensure it delivers against the scope and requirements outlined in the contract, at an agreed price. So it really requires the vendor, the procurement staff and the business units to all work together to make it happen. And I view it as kind of the two main piece of contract management. One is the performance and the scope of work management. So this is to ensure the contractor or the vendor’s actually doing what they’re supposed to be doing. And then they are charging at the rate that’s agreed already in the contract. And if there’s changes in the scope, say a scope creep or a scope decrease or delivery changes if the timeline of delivery got moved. So then we got to also manage those changes, like the change order’s amendments.

Tyler (19:40):

So that’s on the contract performance and the scope of work management side. The other piece is more around the contract notification management. So this is where how we manage all the renewals. If we have hundreds of contracts, what contracts are due, what’s the lead time for each contract and then setting up the notification system. So we can remind ourselves and the business units. Say, hey, we have contract expiring in six months, so what’s your plan? Do we want to extend, terminate, or go to the market? So to me, those are the two main components for contract management.

Tuong (20:17):

Right. There is a piece, as well, that after a bid has been awarded, that things might go wrong. Like there’s the piece of yes, you’re going to market. You’re, you’re putting out the bid vendors finally awarded. And sometimes back of your head, you’re like, we did it. It’s awarded, we can go home. Everyone’s happy, but that’s not really the case. There are things that you might even argue that there are things that normally go wrong after a bit is awarded.

Tyler (20:45):

Absolutely. I think you phrase it very well. It’s almost like most organizations set up a pre-bid team and a post-bid team, if there’s one. And I feel like many of us work in the pre-bid front. So we get the contract awarded and we in procurement feel very satisfied. And that’s where we feel like we hit a home run, getting the best contractor for the company and we negotiate hard and all the dollar savings. And then we’re like, okay, good. And then we move on to other projects and then a month or a year later, you hear that, oh, the project became a failure and then they want to go out to the market again or there’s change orders. And you are like, what the heck happened? Between us having a home run to how we lost in the end, right?

Tyler (21:36):

So I think it’s unfortunate that, I don’t want to blame the business units, but I find sometimes when the contract is transferred to the business units, that’s where things go sideways and, and there’s lack of management of the contracts. So I think having contracts management is very key, especially for big projects where there are multiple deliveries and milestones listed out in the contract. So those are really beneficial, to manage those contracts and see where things are at and identify early issues.

Tuong (22:11):

Yeah. It definitely sounds like there’s a little bit of a challenge in the post award process that just… What happens to these contracts after and whose responsibility, is it to carry it forward?

Tyler (22:25):

Exactly.

Tuong (22:27):

Yeah. So my next question to you is that when it comes to managing challenges in the entire procurement process, I think a very important piece to all of this is training your staff, training your colleagues, and even more so or equally maybe is training evaluators, because a lot of times evaluators may not even come from your own organization. So what is your thought process on that?

Tyler (22:53):

Yeah, I think training is probably the most important thing for your own staff. And I think you can’t expect people who have no knowledge of procurement and expect them to basically put them in the driver’s seat and then see them perform. I think that’s wishful thinking. I wish it could happen that way, but it doesn’t. So I hate to see you have a brand new person who’s motivated and throw them into the deep end, and then see them struggle. And I find many organizations surprisingly enough, they do that from time to time or all the time. So that’s when I think the culture of the organization needs to shift to invest time and energy and money into training. And staff also learn at different rates and different speed. But I think having a combination of some formal education, like going through, there’s a lot of good institutions now certification bodies, that offer them.

Tyler (23:55):

So there’s definitely a lot of formal education that you can get. And I highly recommend if you are sticking in procurement, take some formal education, it’s helpful. But also the most important thing I think is the actual on the job training. How do you actually do a debrief? How do you talk to your business units? How do you get the RFP scope of work and how do you manage the vendors? So I think having that formal training of your staff is very, very critical to your own procurement success. And you cannot take shortcuts to it. It is taking time. It takes time out of your time. Or if you’re a manager, or if you’re a peer, it takes everybody’s time and energy, but I see it as an investment upfront. So the more you invest early on, the best payoff in the end.

Tyler (24:47):

So, that’s how I view it. And in terms of the evaluators, I’m really glad you brought it up because evaluators are usually these internal business units and sometimes outside our organization. These folks, I would say, probably have the least amount of experience with procurement. It depends on their experience, of course. So I often find suppliers or vendors have way more procurement experience than our internal clients. And it’s just because they’re not talking the same language that we do. So then for procurement, I think we also need to invest in them. Train them and have a solid evaluation guideline, evaluation handbook. And explain to them, hey, here’s what you need to do. Here’s the tasks that you will execute in terms of procurement project. This is how you give out the proposals and when I need you to get it done for me. So I think it’s really about explaining to them the details of the tasks that they need to perform and to what kind of expectation you have for them. And communicate that clearly and make sure they understand it. If they don’t, then ask them to clarify with you and just help them.

Tuong (26:06):

Well it sounds like training is a huge aspect of having a successful procurement process in general, but it does sound like, as well, that potentially evaluators may need even more training because they’re not exposed to the same world that maybe we are on a day to day basis. And I think that aspect of being on the same page of language is very important too, because even in the world of procurement, between organizations, people have different verbiage and jargon that they use internally. And if you bring that over to a different organization altogether, they could be like, I don’t know what you’re talking about. So it’s good to be on the same page.

Tyler (26:44):

Exactly. And I think a perfect example is when we now post our fees on Bonfire and suppliers… In our fee we say check on Bonfires. Submit it through it. And most vendors would be like, okay, good. Either I had experience or no problem. I’ve worked with other platforms. So they’re quick. But when we ask our internal clients to do the evaluation in Bonfire, and the first thing we ask them is to create a username and a password. And then they would be like, what, I need to do that?

Tuong (27:17):

Right.

Tyler (27:19):

And then it’s just about, explain to them the benefit of it saves you time, it’s better compliance. It’s easy for the consensus and it gets the job done faster. And I find interesting, sometimes we need to provide more education and more time to convince our own internal folks, rather than like the vendors are usually pretty helpful in that aspect.

Tuong (27:41):

Yes. I agree with that. So last question for you is obviously you’re very passionate about procurement. You’ve been in this space for, for 10 years. And I want to hear from you what career growth in the procurement space is like. How do you advance your career? If you want to, if this is the profession that you want to do for a number of years, how do you go about that?

Tyler (28:04):

Yeah, I think from early on in your career, I think what would be helpful if someone told me when I joined is, I think it’s almost think as kind of two routes. One is the management route, and then the other one is, I would call it the expert route, the technical route. So it’s kind of has a slightly different path. So what I mean by management route is so you do change orders, cutting PO’s and then R fees, more complex R fees. And then you want to kind of branch out to managing people and working with people. So then you kind of need a slightly different skill set because going through the management is more about working with people, coordinating, negotiating, facilitating. So it’s a little bit different.

Tyler (28:58):

And then the other route is, I call it the technical route. So you become contract specialist or senior specialist, and then the expert, like the Guru. So you know the category very deep, like say in a gas companies, we have almost like senior, senior, senior specialists while they have… The technical name is not that, but then they become the Guru. So they would know the specifications of a particular wow pipe so well. They know what’s the steel component, you know how it’s made, the temperature, the stress level or whatever. So they become very, very specialized in that category. And they are very highly respected in the industry and very, very sought out. So if you have that special technical knowledge on the procurement, you’re a very highly sought out professional. So those are kind of like the two routes, in general. And of course you can go cross paths as well.

Tyler (30:01):

You can become expert and then you become a manager and working with people. So it depends on which route you take. It is slightly… I guess your skill set is… Your focus is a little bit different. But there’s some common factors that help you to advance your career. One is, I always think continuous learning is very important. That’s where you, say you come out of school or you joined the profession recently. The things that you need to pick up in terms of software, the people skills like how to work with client and then the vendor and what actually you do with RFP. Those kind of things are rarely taught in school. So you need to continuously learn all aspects of a work setting to kind of get ahead. And another thing is have a positive attitude because that goes a long way. Because nobody likes to work with a party pooper or something.

Tuong (30:57):

Yeah, like a grouch or someone who’s negative all the time. Right. Yeah.

Tyler (31:00):

Right. So have a positive attitude. Be willing to help your coworkers, be willing to be a team player. Right. And then a third is, do a great job. And what I mean by that is be thorough in your work, make sure there’s no errors. Make sure you fact check before you either speak or write an email, like don’t guess work. So do a great job because if you do a great job, chances are you’ll get noticed by your peers, by your manager and then by the business units. And I find that’s probably the most important thing at work, is do a great job because we are all here to perform and to work. Right? And I think lastly is build a positive relationship with your managers and your peers. And that comes down to have a positive attitude.

Tyler (31:48):

It doesn’t mean you need to be a kind of social butterfly or spending hours chatting with people. It’s more about bringing your good attitude and then make people feel like you are someone they can count on. Someone people deem you as reliable and people think that you can get the job done. So I think those are some of the things I would tell people who are thinking about career advancement.

Tyler (32:13):

And I guess last but not least is the advice I got when I first started. I remember at the time there was a very senior manager told me that don’t view career growth as a sprint. View it is as a marathon because it’s hard for anyone to get into the profession and then say within a year get promoted to a manager, or I want to be a CEO in five years. I think having that aspiration is very important and very good, but the journey is not always straightforward and there will be ups and down times in your career. I’ve experienced that. So I encourage you, do a good job, have a positive attitude, build a positive relationship with your manager and peers, and then just enjoy the journey. And if you sprint yourself, I think that’s not going to help. You will tire.

Tuong (33:03):

You might burn out. You might burn out in the area that you thought you were interested in, and you might not be happy. And we already said that you want to have a positive attitude when it comes to career growth.

Tyler (33:14):

Yeah. And, and then I’m really passionate about career growth. So just one last thing I also want to share is that if you are unhappy in an organization, take a deep look at why is that the thing. Is that because of you? If you are having a bad attitude or you are not… If there’s something that happens with you, then of course you need to do something with yourself. Change or adjust. But also, don’t be too hard on yourself because you need to join an organization that values who you are and also, you have good alignment with your own personal values. So you got to find a company that values you and believes in you and are willing to invest in you.

Tyler (33:59):

So I think that’s a hard balance because sometimes the hardest thing is to tell, if you’ve been in the company for a couple of years, say you have a goal of achieving something and you haven’t get there. And I think for me, I had that experience. So then I got to think, is that me? Or is that the organization? Or do I need to do something with myself? Or do I need to choose a new company? So I don’t think I have the right answer. And for everyone, every situation is different. So you really got to think, what’s the best for you. But my advice is choose a company that you feel comfortable and that’s… Chances are when you feel the good click that’s when you bring your positive attitude, you will do a good job and you get noticed. And, and also chances are you build better relationship with your manager and peers.

Tuong (34:51):

I love that. My last thing that we use to close the show is usually the number one piece of advice you give to people starting their career in public procurement. I feel like you just gave us just so much good advice just now. But if you had one more piece of advice that you could share with the people listening at home, starting their career in public procurement, what would it be?

Tyler (35:13):

I think for me it is continuous learning. Make it a key priority for yourself. There’s just so much to learn these days and what you learn in school. It’s like a drop in the bucket. I’m not saying my four years in university is not worthwhile, but I say to people that what you learn after school is completely different from what you learned in school. So make that as a priority and learn the craft, learn the basics of procurement. You got to learn how to cut a PO, how to do simple renewals, extensions, change orders, how to read a contract, RFP’s, RFQ’s. You got to learn the tools, your procurement tools or whatever other tools. Learn how to work with people, your peers, your client, your staff, your manager, and also learn the organization. I think that’s also something, a lot of organizations, they don’t really do a good job in their staff.

Tyler (36:10):

I think everyone should build more business awareness. What I mean by that is, understand how your actual organization works. Like, how does it make money? What are the cost drivers? What are the profit drivers, so you can understand your industry better and your company better. So I think that’s something I would encourage people to read is their financial statements or annual report to really understand how your company works because then you have a better idea how procurement fits into your organization. Yeah. So long story short, continuous learning is something that’s important. And then if you want to get ahead or if you want to do good at your job, then just make it a priority for yourself.

Tuong (36:53):

Yeah. I think that’s just fantastic advice. I’ll always be hungry to learn more because we are in a profession that is always changing. Right. So we are no longer in, what am I trying to say? You know what, forget it. You said it better than I could ever do it.

Tyler (37:11):

No, I just want to thank you for your amazing hosting because I really enjoyed the way you host these podcasts and not just this one, but I’ve listened to the ones you had before. And I learn a lot from the previous guests that you brought on.

Tuong (37:30):

Thank you.

Tyler (37:34):

It just makes me very humble. The more I do procurement, it makes me more humble. And by listening to your podcast, there’s so much more for me to learn from other guests. So yeah. So that’s why I think continuous learning is important for everyone at every stage of their career.

Tuong (37:51):

Oh, thank you so much, Tyler. It’s such a joy to talk to you and I am positive that people listening at home have also taken away something from you as well. So I can’t thank you enough for giving us some time to talk to you today. It’s just been wonderful. Do you have anything, if anyone wants to get in contact with you, is that okay if you share any information on how they can get in touch with you?

Tyler (38:14):

Absolutely. So it’s [email protected] So feel free to shoot me a message and I’m always happy to connect.

Tuong (38:27):

Amazing. Well, thank you so much, Tyler.

Tyler (38:29):

Thank you, Tuong.

 

Procurement professionals like you are the lifeblood of public sector organizations dedicated not only to supporting your agency, but the constituents you serve. That’s why we’ve created the Inside Public Procurement podcast here at Bonfire, a unique place where you can share stories and discuss the topics that matter to public procurement pros, from digitization and the future of public procurement to ensuring a fair and transparent process. We’re all about finding new strategies to help your agency succeed. Join us at gobonfire.com to learn more. You’ve been listening to Inside Public Procurement by Bonfire. If you like what you’ve heard, make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. And if you have an idea for an episode or want to come on as a guest, email us at [email protected] Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you next time.

 

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