BUYSMARTER is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ReImagine initiative launched in response to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum M-17-22 which states for federal agencies "to consider government- wide contracts for common goods and services to save money, avoid wasteful and redundant contracting actions, and free-up acquisition staff to accelerate procurements for high-priority mission work." Launched in May 2017, ReImagine HHS (RHHS) includes 10 Initiatives designed to make HHS more effective and efficient in fulfilling its mission.
As part of the RHHS transformation, it was recognized that the HHS acquisition function is complex, fragmented, and inconsistent across the Department, leading to redundancies and a lack of transparency. The result is overspending on products and services and suboptimal purchasing functions across HHS. To support RHHS Strategic Shift: "Generating Efficiencies Through Streamlined Processes," the BUYSMARTER initiative was born.
BUYSMARTER has a number of integrated components that align to build an operating model that utilizes modern technology in an enterprise acquisition program. This brings together the collective purchasing power of the Department to negotiate better value, establish more favorable terms and conditions, and maximize total cost savings.
BUYSMARTER established the Executive Steering Committee (ESC) composed of the Heads of Contracting Activity (HCA) and other key decision-makers within the HHS acquisition workforce. The ESC is the primary governing and decision-making body for BUYSMARTER. The BUYSMARTER Program Management Office (PMO) will provide the day-to-day infrastructure, documentation, and reporting to keep all activities aligned.
Key Drivers for Success
Furthermore, the following components expanded upon throughout this document help frame and define the BUYSMARTER journey from initiative to program:
- A Human Experience: All 26 HHS OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs are willing to work together to negotiate better value for the goods and services they purchase.
- Mission-Focused Work: By leveraging a core team for the entirety of an enterprise-wide purchase allows agency contracting resources to now address higher-order, mission-critical, agency-specific acquisition work.
- Operating Model and Process: As an agency driven and executed process, the BUYSMARTER Operating Model is centered around the BUYSMARTER ESC leading the Department’s acquisition process, in collaboration with the Category Collaboratives, the acquisition community, and mission experts across HHS.
- Enabling Technology: BUYSMARTER uses modern technology tools for each phase of the operating model. The Full Contract Scan (FCS) AI Tool for the Medical Category is the first BUYSMARTER enabling technology. This tool uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to “read” contracts and provide an analysis based on pricing, specifications, terms and conditions, and other variables.
- Program Structure: BUYSMARTER has built an intentional program structure to support long-term success. It provides the coordination, communication, and accountability to evolve with HHS' needs.
On October 1, 2020, BUYSMARTER will become a program within the Office of Acquisitions (OA), under the Assistant Secretary of Financial Resources (ASFR). The BUYSMARTER program serves HHS mission and acquisition communities and brings together people, process, policy, technology, communications, and change management to drive enterprise acquisitions for goods and services.