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Jul 14, 2023

Public Procurement Innovation: Pittsburg’s Case

Public Procurement Innovation: Pittsburg’s Case

Nestled in the heart of the East Bay of Northern California lies the City of Pittsburg, a small city with a big story to tell. Despite its relatively modest size, Pittsburg has a rich history of public procurement innovation and a deep-rooted entrepreneurial spirit that has fueled its growth and development over the years. From its early days as a booming coal mining town to its current status as a thriving hub of industry and commerce, Pittsburg has consistently demonstrated a remarkable capacity for adaptation, resilience, and progress. Find out how Pittsburg is making progress in public procurement innovation and leading the way for small cities to make significant changes.

Like other cities in the United States, the City of Pittsburg follows a regulated, statutory, and decentralized public procurement process. According to the city, this decentralization allows each department to procure goods and services, prepare and solicit bids as necessary, and comply with state and federal guidelines as well as purchasing policies and procedures approved by the City Council.

However, in 2022, the city made a decision that would not only change how it purchases goods and services, but also how it manages the public budget, strives to achieve socio-economic purchasing goals, and supports small and local businesses. The city decided to incorporate the use of the City of Pittsburg’s Government Marketplace, an e-commerce platform that facilitates government buyers’ access to goods and services from diverse small and local businesses.

Although it may not seem significant at first glance, we should recognize the city’s decision because it takes a consistent, clear, and specific government initiative to change the way a city conducts its public procurement processes, particularly in a city with less than 80,000 residents.

When a small city makes an innovative change to its public procurement processes, it can inspire other small cities to follow suit, driving broader adoption of innovative procurement practices. Furthermore, recognizing these innovations can help elevate the importance of public procurement and promote a culture of continuous improvement within government agencies. While large cities may have more resources to invest in public procurement innovation, recognizing and sharing the successes of smaller cities can foster a greater sense of collaboration and progress in the public sector.

The City of Pittsburg’s Government Marketplace was launched to create the city’s first updated and dynamic local business directory, where government buyers can easily find small local vendors; to provide government buyers with a one-stop-shop where they can find small local vendors, browse through their catalogs of goods and services, compare prices, request quotes, and place orders with just a few clicks; to simplify the city’s purchases under the small procurement threshold; and to expand Pittsburg’s outreach to current and prospective small local vendors.

Thus far, the platform offers close to 9,000 products and services, which come from 22 small and local businesses. With the government marketplace, Pittsburg has been able to save up to 22% compared to what government buyers were previously able to source through other means.

The City of Pittsburg has demonstrated its commitment to innovation and progress by implementing the government marketplace platform for public procurement. By supporting small and local businesses, Pittsburg has not only saved money but also strengthened the local economy. This small city’s successful adoption of an innovative procurement process can serve as an inspiration to other small cities looking to improve their public procurement practices. 

What do you think about this big step for a small city? Leave us a comment and check out our blog post about public procurement for innovation

This blog was written by Gisela Montes, GovTech Community Lead at Glass.