Hawaii moves away from the NIGP Code . . . will other states follow? by Jon Hansen

Posted on June 2, 2015


IMPORTANT NOTICE! HIePRO currently uses NIGP (National Institute of Governmental Purchasing) commodity codes to connect vendors to the solicitations they are interested via e-mail notifications. In August 2015, the State Procurement Office (SPO) will change the commodity code classification system from the NIGP codes to the NAICS (North American Industry Code System) code. The e-mail notification process will remain the same. To preview the NAICS use the NAICS code search – State of Hawaii eProcurement web site

First the AMR news hit before the Memorial Day weekend (With AMR announcement, is NASPO distancing itself and the UPPCC certification program from the NIGP?).

Then – amid rumors that some states are looking to make a move away from the NIGP Code taxonomy, Hawaii announces that effective August 2015 they will be “changing their commodity code classification system from NIGP to NAICS.”

One has to wonder what the future holds for the NIGP.

In an upcoming post I will examine more closely the process for changing from one taxonomy to another – something with which I have had some parallel experience. However, in today’s post I want to focus on what the Hawaii decision might represent in terms of the NIGP’s future.

For example, if this migratory trend continues, is it yet another sign that the days of the NIGP are possibly numbered.

Yes I know, such an event would not happen overnight but, have years of questionable decision-making under present Chief Executive Rick Grimm – which reached a crescendo with CodeGate – finally caught up with the NIGP?

Some may argue that the NIGP is too entrenched to fail, or that the public procurement profession requires an association beyond NASPO – which only represents the States’s CPOs. Fair enough.

However, if I were ISM, IACCM or for that matter any other procurement association, I would seriously consider focusing my time and energy on establishing a separate public sector procurement group. I would also begin making overtures towards NASPO – who through the AMR announcement is clearly in the drivers seat relating to the management of the UPPCC. While NASPO may balk at the drivers seat reference, a January 2nd, 2015 press release titled UPPCC and NASPO: Partnering for the Future clearly suggests that such sentiments are not necessarily off the mark.

Let’s face it, and as demonstrated by the Missouri debacle, the availability of more options or alternatives to the NIGP is likely in the best interest of public sector procurement overall. In fact, it might even stimulate membership growth with Generation Next professionals who, has reflected in recent news, have a low tolerance for the type of underlying cronyism that is associated with conflict of interest relationships, such as the one between the NIGP and Periscope.

In the meantime, there is still much to learn regarding the Hawaii decision, including the reason for making the change, and the actual process of conversion from the NIGP to NAICS. Perhaps transitioning from one taxonomy to another, is not as daunting a proposition as some believe.

While I can only speculate at this point in time, I think it is safe to say that the decision on the part of the 50th state to change to the NAICS Code was probably made before CodeGate.

This in and of itself is perhaps something that should be more of a concern regarding the NIGP’s ongoing viability. Specifically, the existence of long standing issues that have likely been simmering beneath the surface for some time, and are just now coming out in the form of the AMR announcement and the Hawaii code change.

In this context, while the revelation of CodeGate has likely fanned the flames of a pre-existing discontent, it is probably just another symptom of a greater problem within the NIGP itself.


Just started following the NIGP #CodeGate story? Use the following link to access the Post Archive; https://procureinsights.wordpress.com/nigp-codegate/

Follow my coverage of this story on Twitter using the hashtags #missbid and #CodeGate