(Part II) Jaime Schorr, Chief Procurement Officer of Maine: Let's Talks Procurement

April 24, 2020 National Association of State Procurement Officials Season 1 Episode 3
(Part II) Jaime Schorr, Chief Procurement Officer of Maine: Let's Talks Procurement
(Part II) Jaime Schorr, Chief Procurement Officer of Maine: Let's Talks Procurement
Apr 24, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3
National Association of State Procurement Officials

Part 2 of our interview with Jaime Schorr, CPO for the state of Maine. We discuss her role on the NASPO Board of Directors, research resources, why a podcast for procurement professionals is valuable, and her take on the future of public procurement.

 Click here to download the 2020 Top 10 Priorities for State Procurement

Show Notes Transcript

Part 2 of our interview with Jaime Schorr, CPO for the state of Maine. We discuss her role on the NASPO Board of Directors, research resources, why a podcast for procurement professionals is valuable, and her take on the future of public procurement.

 Click here to download the 2020 Top 10 Priorities for State Procurement

Kevin Minor:   0:07
part two of my interview with Jaime Schorr the CPO for the state of Maine. If you haven't already check out Episode one where we interview NASPO CEO Lindel Hatton and CAO Jennifer Salt. You also might want to check out Part one of Jaime Schorr's interview. Basically, we cover COVID-19 and the innovative ways that her state is dealing with it. You know what we're doing people... let's check the pulse.  

Kevin Minor:   0:40
You are not only the CPO in the great state of Maine. You are also the research and innovation champion for NASPO, right? Can you explain what that is for me a little bit?

Jaime Schorr:   0:52
Yeah, thanks so much for asking that Kevin. I am so fortunate enough to serve on the NASPO as the aboard a director for the National Organization for 2020 and 2021 as, ah, board member. I'm really I'm one voice among other elected colleagues to make decisions regarding the NASPO organization. And our goal is just to ensure that the national organization serves government procurement in the most beneficial way possible and is part of my role on the board of directors. I was asked to be the research and innovation champion. I could not be more thrilled with that role, because what that really means is we I'm a voice for the folks behind the scenes at NATPE oh who develop research on various topics. We think about ways to be innovative within the procurement profession. And really, what I love the most is that we're not afraid to push the boundaries of the weight of the normal of yesterday, and that's exactly what we're doing. So my valise on the board of directors is supporting the research and innovation team at NASA Bow to do what they're really, really good at and broadcast that to our national membership.

Kevin Minor:   2:06
You talked about some of the resource is that come out of research and innovation. So would you just briefly kind of go over some of those resource is, And then we'll talk more about the podcast part.

Jaime Schorr:   2:17
Sure, so, of course, with the White Papers and the research, procurement officials are just incredibly busy procurement. I like to think of it as the melting pot behind the scenes, right, So we need to know a little bit about many, many things and then apply that to our process. And certainly as one CPO individual, I don't know everything. I don't ever pretend to know everything. I have people in my team that are, um, far exceed my level of expertise in various areas, but they don't have all the expertise, either. So who do we reach out? Teoh. Who do we call if we need help with a particular area of research and the research and innovation team at NATPE? Oh does a great job at reaching out to state members in our national organization and also the state teams. And just try to figure out what is it that we need to know more about today? Or better yet, what is it that we need to know more about tomorrow? And that's where some of these white papers and other resource is come into play. The top 10 priorities that come out every year State C. P O's wait with bated breath for the top 10 priorities to come out. I think I think of this a little bit about keeping up with the Joneses, right? So one state might might be thinking about talent management and succession planning. Maybe in 2018 or 2019 and all of a sudden now in 2020 once these top 10 come out, talent management and succession planning has dropped to number six. But number one is leading procurement strategy statewide. That will start changing my strategic plan. If I was on a different top 10 because we want to make sure that as a profession were moving together in the right direction and looking at just probably the top three top 10 priorities, he now can refocus our priorities. What's coming up for this year were leading the procurement industry and the strategy statewide. We're maximizing technology from an e procurement utilization standpoint and functionality, and then we're being responsive, toe our agency stakeholders. So those top three guide us for the next year, and it will help formulate our strategic plans over the year,

Kevin Minor:   4:39
right, right. And not only that, the top 10 priorities for the entire nation right, but also we have been doing the regional top tense, and that is something that I assumed to is kind of shaping your track for the year in Maine.

Jaime Schorr:   4:57
So, Justus, I mentioned with the national top 10 and keeping up with the Joneses, our regions within the states are no short of loving competition. So we look from a regional perspective to see how toe we vary from the southern region or the Midwestern region or the or the western region. Um, and we have to focus as, ah, northeast region. How do we come together and buy what we need to buy or develop strategies that make sense for our region because we have a different need than other regions? And I think Nassib oh does a great job at understanding that there are differences across all 50 states and the district and making sure that each of us have what we need to continue to perform our job on a regular basis. That brings me to

Kevin Minor:   5:43
another question. You know, we had several conversations surprised prizes in the first time that you and I have talked to each other about innovative ways to get information out to a broader audience to procurement, specifically on one way what we decided to do that was podcasts. Because podcasts are prevalent right now. I mean, everybody has one doing everything that you need for a podcast online for about $50 right? How can a podcast. Be helpful to someone in your position to someone in your office or to just some, you know, random person on the street that has no idea about procurement or how their office supplies get in their desk.

Jaime Schorr:   6:27
So, Kevin, I'm gonna tell you something that you already know and that most of the listeners of this podcast aren't You know, we're busy. Write what you know, shocked from the time we we opened our eyes in the morning, many of us spend the 1st 15 minutes of our day just checking emails and seeing what happened overnight, right? And then and then our time We're over scheduled from beginning to end. And throughout the day, we often don't take enough time just to breathe, take a step back and then sponsor the creativity or the imagination. In our brain, S, O. C, P O's and other procurement officials were often taxed with performing analytics, communicating, collaborating with suppliers, soliciting bids or building relations with state agency customers. I mean, we just don't have that quote unquote extra time in our day. So we at the Research and Innovation team and as the champion, we started thinking how else other than maybe the more traditional methods of guides and white papers. How else can we start getting information out to our membership, or just to the general public about procurement and what we dio the benefit of a podcast? It's a terrific way to engage audiences, and it's convenient, and it's an easy to consume platform. It's on demand technology, and it enables multitasking while learning new things and tapping into the highly underutilized portion of our brain. The imagination, right? Take a step back, learn and then get back into the daily grind. I think at that point we start to feel a bit more refreshed on Guy. Just I'll play out a scene very quickly, especially in light of Cove in 19 that it seems like things are moving faster and faster. We have that moment throughout the day when emails air balancing in her inbox faster than we can even keep up with. Or perhaps your your cell phone is ringing or your Microsoft Teams icon is ringing. We have deadlines looming, and we have to take those few moments to re prioritize the tasks to ensure that we're not in a reactionary mode. But we're in an advanced thinking mode, and podcasts are a terrific way toe. Help us not only re prioritize er's house, but take 10 to 15 minutes once we've re prioritized to think about what we haven't been thinking about, right? We haven't been thinking about strategy. We haven't been thinking about process we have been thinking about, I gotta buy PP. Podcasts are that very 10 or 15 minutes way to recharge our brain and be very thoughtful about it. And I think the research and innovation team has been very dynamic and thinking about how we can apply podcast to our general membership and extend it to people that don't know anything about per chairman so that they can start to soak in, that what we do every single day and why it's so important we

Kevin Minor:   9:47
really want to do is its interactive right. It allows, um, not only membership, but suppliers, right students, academic partners. It allows them to communicate with us either through voice memos or through e mails, and say, Hey, I think you should talk about this or hey, I have idea or hey, I have a question. Can you answer it for us? Can you find somebody to talk to standing.

Jaime Schorr:   10:11
You imagine anyone not listening to this podcast. At least 34 400 times it's been It's been around right? They now have an insight. The listeners of this podcast has an insight to the state of Maine chief procurement officer. So if there's a vendor out there listening that No, you didn't know who to reach out to before, Maybe you do know. And if you need somebody on the research and innovation team at NASA bow that you've got a great idea. We should start researching. They know who to reach out to, right?

Kevin Minor:   10:39
That's definitely gonna that part out. But on a more serious note, this really does help to do what our mission is, which is to elevate the field of public procurement. I truly believe I wouldn't be putting effort in making this podcast that things like this are truly helping. And people are truly listening to it because it is so important. And we see that now more than ever with the global pandemic, that procurement is extremely important to the flow of our daily lives.

Jaime Schorr:   11:11
Yeah, Kevin, I know we're gonna bump up on time pretty quickly, but I want to take a minute just to think about the future of procurement and how the podcast can flow in tow. I think you said it exactly right. When it's on demand and it's reactionary, we have to respond very quickly. So procurement is moving. Teoh two types of approaches. It's a right now approach and then a think ahead approach. Our customers within state agencies are vendors, etcetera, and I'm gonna call that the right now approach. They would like to be able to shop online to buy goods, to buy grants. Taub I services, right? So a catalog. Just like we find on Amazon, where we're buying cereal or hand sanitizer these days, as state government, we want to be able to buy those services that we need to provide the critical and essential services that we offer. I think procurement officials air challenged with pushing the boundaries on traditional sourcing sourcing methods to create that right now approach that was sort of the yesterday and in the world that we live in today, where technology and everything else is is available. We have to embrace the right now in the on demand and That's part of the podcast, thinking it's information that's available right now at my control and at my fingertips. So then touching home the thinking ahead and purchasing for what's needed for tomorrow We start thinking a little bit about artificial intelligence or bots that are looking at our search. Are searching functionality or our habits of purchasing, and I'll use a great example right now. I happen to be looking last week for a couple of soccer balls for my kids while we're quarantined. It was something that was, you know, personal. I'm on my phone, I'm or on my tablet. I'm looking for soccer balls. And let me tell you, since then, I could tell you just about every type of soccer ball known to man. What color, what size, what shape and I happen, Teoh. I bought a couple of them. So now, using artificial intelligence and probably some bots on my search functionality, I have advertisements that are constantly popping up. Per chairman is no different. We need to be thinking about artificial intelligence. We need to be thinking about looking ahead into the minds of our customers and our agencies and anticipating the need so that procurement can actually perform the necessary sourcing event before the agency even knows that they need the item. If they call us and say we need this item, we're too late. That's the future of procurement.

Kevin Minor:   13:59
So more more of a quantum, then, Oh, then a linear procedure, right?

Jaime Schorr:   14:07
Yes. And I would I think I would add to that the more collaboration that we can get a za state government as a whole and then collectively within all states and the district, the more power and leverage that we have to purchase items or services in a timely manner. So if I knew that the governor's office was thinking about a particular kind of bill or that there was a bill that was coming up, we could for Karen could be reacting to it. We wouldn't have to wait six months before we could actually utilize the item just by a little bit of collaboration and thought process ahead of time. We have now beaten the curve and we're working through tomorrow's world,

Kevin Minor:   14:44
right, right, And that helps not only in a a normal time, but also in a time of crisis, right with what needs to be stocked right now. And what can wait a little bit? Absolutely. Yeah. Well, Jamie, it was a pleasure. I was speaking with you.

Jaime Schorr:   15:06
I always appreciate the opportunity, Kevin, to chat with you. I think I'll put ah one lash Shameless plug for the research and innovation team. These folks work hard. They are tireless, the they're not afraid to get their hands dirty. Do the great research. And I will say I just appreciate the level of innovation and being able to push the boundaries that this team has offered to not only myself, but to the national network and the national membership. So research and innovation team keep on going. You're doing fantastic.

Kevin Minor:   15:40
Embracing on demand thinking. That's some powerful stuff. What do you think? What are the horizon issues for public procurement? Is this podcast a good way to disseminate that information? Let me know. Email me. Podcast at natpe oh dot org's That is N A s a p o. Make sure you subscribe to the pulse wherever you get your listens. You do not want to be the only person in the room that doesn't know what happened on the pulse. Make sure to check out, the pulse blogged. That's pull. Stop nascar dot org's Oh, and shout out to the national research and innovation team. I really do awesome work. I'm here on minor until next time.