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The Public Procurement Leaders Podcast | Danielle Hinz
Danielle Hinz Procurement Leaders Podcast Public Spend Forum
As Chief Procurement Officer of King County, Washington, Danielle Hinz has her own dreams for improving the procurement function. From technology modernization to shortening the RFP process using lean methods, she’s proving that private sector best practices are absolutely workable in the public sector, as long as you maintain a culture that isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo.
This is good news for King County, and good news for a leader responsible for $2.2 billion in procure to pay spending each year. But for all her aspirations, she’s managed to maintain a straightforward list of three priorities to help her and her organization focus on what’s important, as you’ll hear in the clip below.

We love how these priorities all come back to one thing: an emphasis on the customer, which requires a degree of culture change. What Danielle is trying to achieve is an evolution from “no, because” to “yes, if…”, and while it is a process, she’s excited about the support she’s receiving from Public Spend Forum’s workforce competency model. There’s also excitment around what a new generation of professionals will bring to public sector organization’s nationwide.

“In order to make us all better, we can’t be afraid to ask why…and that’s something the younger generation is really good at, at least if my teenage daughter is any indication. They’re going to be really good at asking “why,” and for those of us [that are a little older] we need to be ok with answering the why.” Because, in her words, the “why” isn’t always known, which creates an opportunity to adapt lean process improvement methods to sharpen the focus on the customer and outcomes that matter.

This is not just lip service, as Danielle has found success with eliminating waste for her customers. Recently, she led an effort in partnership with her wastewater treatment division to “lean up” the Architect & Engineering Request for Proposal process. The group looked at wait times, paperwork, current “boilerplate” templates, and how people accessed information. At first, her process improvement team focused on small wins, enabling trust to attack larger problems and earn more significant achievements, like a change to their process for evaluating proposals that took 4 weeks out of the overall award process:

Another exciting initiative is King County’s utilization of Amazon Business, which Danielle led. First up was a conversion of all individual business prime accounts into one county-wide account. This consolidation enabled Danielle’s leadership team to have a visibility into spending data that was not available before, paving the way for wider adoption of Amazon Business features that are now paying bigger dividends in staff time availability and greater participation from the small business community.

Listen to the full episode of Danielle’s Procurement Leader’s Podcast for all the gems she has to offer, and let us know if you have any questions for Danielle by including them in the comments section of this article. And check out our recent episodes with procurement leaders from across the public sector!

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