Q&A: Anne Yanciw, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Smithers
Town of Smithers presented with a 2017 Best of Public Procurement Award for the procurement of the Airport Expansion Project.
In the day to day procurement process, details are not always “crystal clear”. The Town of Smithers knew this and worked harder to ensure a transparent bid process at every stage of the Airport project.
Once again, congratulations! Let’s start from the beginning. Can you briefly describe the project and scope for us?
“This major capital construction project to expand the 50-year old Smithers Regional airport terminal building will serve to strengthen the local economy and effectively accommodate more travelers. A new departure lounge will be built and other terminal facilities will be re-organized to improve the flow for passengers. The construction is expected to be completed in Spring 2019.”
In a sentence or two, what do you think is the secret to a successful procurement process?
“I would say properly ensuring the criteria for assessing vendor proposals objectively and ensuring that those criteria are relevant and important to successful project delivery. And when reviewing proposals, ensuring that those criteria remain the primary assessment tools.”
You were recognized for numerous best practices. Which of them was the biggest challenge and why?
- Provision of financial information such as cost estimates.
- Having a sufficiently sound process to have the confidence to know what and when to keep matters public and when to hold information back so that an open transparent process is the guaranteed outcome is not always crystal clear.
- Utilizing a seasoned professional to help with the process and bringing in the lawyer to confirm the legalities was worth its weight in gold.
What advice would you give other public sector procurement professionals?
- Plan ahead.
- Ensure all the pre-work (business case, feasibility studies, cost analysis, etc.) are done to support the project.
- Don’t underestimate costs. If you are not completely confident on best practices in tendering, get help with the documents and the process.
- Go into projects with no hidden agenda and act with the highest of standards.