GFX Exclusive: All About Fleet Purchasing Contracts, with Tammy Rimes
GFX Exclusive: All About Fleet Purchasing Contracts, with Tammy Rimes

In 2015, Tammy Rimes led Government Fleet Expo & Conference (GFX) attendees through a dynamic session about how to work with the procurement department within your own agency. This year, she’s returning to educate attendees about fleet contract management. Here’s a preview of what to expect:

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: For 20+ years, I worked for the City of San Diego, with the last few as purchasing agent. It was a tremendous time of change, with first-time centralization of all purchasing and contracting operations, conducting a business process review to “earn” the business of remaining as the city’s purchasing team, and serving as the logistics chief during the 2007 Witch Creek Fires. Outside of my government life, I helped create and run a successful family business, so have that entrepreneurial experience as well. My work as principal of Tammy Rimes Consulting is to develop fun and informative educational sessions for government teams to help motivate and strive for greater success. 

Q: What’s the biggest misconception fleets have about contracts?

A: Most attention gets spent on putting a contract in place — with the development of a bid or request for proposal (RFP), the evaluation of the proposals, and then final negotiation of the contract. However, that’s just the first part — the next four to five years of that contract are the truly most important part of the process. And that’s usually when purchasing is out of the picture and it’s up to the fleet contract manager to monitor performance and bring in the full value of that contract.

Q: What should we expect to learn at this educational session?

A: Contract management is not the most exciting topic, and while it’s the most important component, it can often be the most overlooked part of the procurement process! Even though it’s one more thing to do in your burgeoning workload, discover some simple, valuable ways to drive savings and ensure your agency is receiving the full value of that supplier contract. This interactive session places the audience squarely in the chair of a contract manager. Participants will learn about real case studies and quickly review the contract scope of work to identify any issues or deficiencies. Many of these situations will not be necessarily black and white.

Q: I have a fleet to take care of – why can’t Purchasing just take care of contract management for me?

A: I used to ask myself this when I was a customer department manager. However, when I became purchasing agent, I learned that purchasing can only do so much — and know so much — about any one category or service. Who knows your fleet best? You and your team! And who knows what is needed, when it’s needed, and how it should be delivered or provided by any contracted supplier? Again, you know best. So it makes the most sense that you oversee those daily and operational expectations, and just bring Purchasing in when needed. 

Q: How much do fleet professionals know about contracts?

A: It varies per contract and per agency, but here’s a simple quiz to test basic fleet contract knowledge.

  • True or False: Changes can easily be made to the specifications or scope of work during the contract term.
  • Approximately how many days before a contract expires should you start planning?
  • If there is a problem with a vendor’s performance, do you have the right to cancel a contract?
  • Can a contract be extended beyond the expiration date?
  • If you have multiple contracts to manage, what are the three key parts to oversee in case of an audit?

Come to the session to discover the answers, best practices, and simple facts of effective contract management!

Rimes will lead the Contract Management: Discover What’s Ideal and What’s Downright Unacceptable educational session at GFX. Visit the GFX website for more information.