Daily Archives: July 9, 2015

Ten Commandments of Procurement, Christian Style

On Canada Day, while LOLCat was proactively learning the pledge of allegiance, Mr. Smith asked what were The Ten Commandments of Procurement that you adhere to that were absolutely, unarguably, true under all conditions (and offered a prize for the best set of commandments submitted).

Now, this is a challenge, because your commandments are, inevitably, going to depend on your Procurement religion. Just like a Buddhist is more concerned with the five precepts than the Christian ten commandments, a Procurement professional overly concerned with supply assurance in CPG is likely going to implicitly follow a different set of commandments than a Procurement professional overly concerned with risk management in Food and Beverage where contamination results in more than a costly recall. While someone is unlikely to get lead poisoning from a single model train covered in lead paint, someone is very likely to die from a severe salmonella contamination.

That being said, if you are a devout Christian Procurement professional, there is a set of Procurement commandments you likely follow on a daily basis, and to get this topic going, SI is going to define them.

10. You shall not covet status or budget you do not have.

While you may deserve the status and the budget, coveting it does you no good. Instead, you work to find ways to reduce costs and save money so that you can work out deals to jointly apply savings against against new tools and platforms to help both parties perform better in the future. By doing right, and succeeding, budget and status will come.

09. You shall not bear false witness against any supplier.

Whether the supplier performed well, performed poorly, or performed average — the truth is never obscured and all the data is laid bare, regardless if this is a supplier recommended or selected by Procurement. And Procurement works with the organization to lean why the supplier performed as it did, what the organization did well and what the organization could have done better, and what the supplier could have done better and uses that knowledge to improve its next set of supplier interactions.

08. You shall not allow or enable fraud.

Fraud costs an average organization 1% of its revenue, but some organizations lose even more. A recent study by Oversight in 2014 found that about 1% of 10 million transactions filed during a three-month period in 2014 on corporate expense reports proved fraudulent, amounting to $13.7 million in losses. Moreover, a study by the ACFE found that in 75.6% of their cases involving expense reimbursement fraud, the perpetrator was also engaged in at least one additional form of occupational fraud. Procurement will actively work with Accounts Payable to identify systems and processes to identify, and stop, fraud and will insure that no one in its organization is committing fraud to set an example.

07. You shall not support corruption.

Procurement shall not deal with third parties that engage in corrupt activities — including bribery, money laundering, or dealings with denied parties and terrorist organizations — and will do its best to identify systems and platforms that will prevent and detect any attempts at bribery and corruption within the organization.

06. You shall not allow unsafe working conditions or unfair worker treatment.

Not only will Procurement make sure that all of the organization’s workers (full time, contingent, etc.) are treated fairly, but that the organization only deals with suppliers who also adhere to the same principles. Every supplier will ensure that each worker’s rights are honoured and that its suppliers also do the same.

05. Honour the wisdom of your elders as the platform is the enabler, not the full solution.

Old timers that did Procurement before modern internet enabled platforms and actually succeeded at reducing cost and identifying value have a lot of wisdom about the right way to go to market, the right way to qualify a supplier, negotiation techniques that work, gotchas to look for, and processes that can be made even better with new tools and technologies and they should be listened to and respected.

04. Remember the organizational strategy, and adhere to it.

Procurement’s mission is to support the organizational strategy, not to set or change it (without consensus of the C-Suite). Everything it does should be aligned with the chosen, and agreed upon, strategy.

03. You shall not take the name of the Stakeholder, your Customer, in vain.

Without the Stakeholder and its needs, Procurement would not be needed and would not exist in the average organization. It is there to meet the needs of the Stakeholder, needs which are derived from the needs of the organization’s customers. It must respect those needs, no matter how strange, and not take the name of its reason for existence in vain.

02. You shall not make idols of preferred suppliers.

Personal feelings have no place in Procurement, only performance does. If the supplier performs poorly, it performs poorly — and Procurement will not hide that fact, even if it was Procurement’s recommendation. But more importantly, if the supplier performs (exceptionally) well, the supplier performs (exceptionally) well and that will be taken into account in the next sourcing event. However, Procurement will not give itself accolades or try to convince the organization of the supplier’s greatness. The supplier will be allowed to rise or fall on its merits (and performance).

01. You shall have no process before The process.

Procurement will have a process for sourcing organizational goods or services, and will always follow that process, even when sourcing goods and services for itself. Procurement is not above the process.