From the Frontlines of Federal Procurement — We talk biggest challenges with DHS’s Nick Nayak

Federal procurement has seen a lot of changes since its inception back in the 1940s. Right now federal contracting does more than $500 billion dollars annually. 19 of those billion dollars are from the Department of Homeland Security.

Nick Nayak is the Chief Procurement Officer at DHS. He joined Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program with his four big challenges facing DHS acquisition right now.

Nick Nayak talks acquisition with Chris Dorobek by cdorobek

Nayak’s Four Big Challenges:

  1. Hiring the right people
  2. Getting the right numbers for contracting specialists
  3. Training them to be their absolute bests — Nayak says, “Training is the number one priority to make acquisitions successful.”
  4. Effectively engage the DHS contracting community with their industry counterparts

“Engaging with industry before you make a buy is essential so that you can ensure the best possible contracting price and process.” — Nayak

Nayak says on the real key to acquisition success is setting up the right requirements from the beginning.

  • Ensure that the contract is a good deal by offering up lots of competition.
  • Make sure what you are buying is 100% compliant with what the requirement calls for.
  • Make sure you are using the correct contract type.
  • Consider small business and green contracts.

One of the best ways to illicit the best contract is to have a strong relationship with the contractor. DHS has launched a number of programs to help build that relationship.

  • DHS host an annual Industry Day
  • DHS launched an acquisition planning forecasting system
  • DHS has a procurement liaison in every one of the DHS component offices
  • DHS also has a small business specialist in every office

Right now is an especially trying time for the acquisition world. For the first time in almost 10 years procurement officials are seeing their budgets shrink. But Nayak says now is the time for acquisition personnel to look at the big picture.

Nayak says of his leadership style, “You have to have a plan…and people have to see themselves as part of that plan….when people see themselves as part of something they will work harder for it.”

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy is still looking to replace Dan Gordon at the top of the agency. So we asked Nayak what he would like to see from the future top procurement official.

“I would really like a scorecard, so that we can see how we are doing…how we are stacking up against other agencies and programs.”

What do you want to see from the next OFPP administrator? The DorobekINSIDER is going to be talking to a bunch of current and former Chief Acquisition Officers to see what they want in the next OFPP administrator.

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