We told you last Friday that whether or not you were 100% convinced, you have to put Procurement first. Hopefully some of you listened, but I’m sure some of you didn’t. Even though the seventh rule of acquisition is that you should always keep your ears open.
We will again start by reminding you that your organization depends on goods and services provided to it by suppliers. Those goods you sell come from somewhere, and even if the goods are made in house, the components and raw materials will come from suppliers. The days where a company was vertically integrated down to the raw material extraction and production are lone gone (and it’s all your fault — you started the outsourcing and “right”-sizing craze, and now you get to live with the consequences).
And the individuals selling those goods and services are your brethren (from another school) who have the same training, follow the same rules, and never forget the the one hundred and eighty first rule of acquisition that says that not even dishonesty can tarnish the shine of profit. They use the same tactics you do and sell the sizzle, not the steak, as per the one hundred and fifty third rule, and if that’s not enough, they’ll use the one hundred and sixty eighth rule and whisper their way to success.
And only Procurement understands this. They are trained to look past the sizzle, tune out the whispers, and look for the shadiness behind every corner. Procurement knows that, by default, satisfaction is not guaranteed (as per the nineteenth rule of acquisition) and that sales people live by the thirty ninth rule and don’t tell customers more than they need to know.
Like you, your MBA brethren trying to sell into your organization are trying to figure out how to learn the customer’s weaknesses, so that you can better take advantage of him (as per the eighty seventh rule). If you don’t want your profits to become their profits, you better make sure they only deal with someone that is tight lipped and won’t give away the farm … like a hard-hitting Procurement Professional. Plus, if they came from Engineering, you give your organization a bit of an advantage. Your brethren know to beware of the scientist’s greed for knowledge, as per the seventy ninth rule, and sometimes an Engineer can catch them off guard.
Who else besides Procurement knows that as far as MBAs are concerned, MBAs are not responsible for the gullibility of others (the sixty ninth rule) and that they will never give up because faith moves mountains … of inventory (as per the one hundred and fourth rule). And only Procurement lives by the rules that only fools pay retail (which is the one hundred and forty first rule) and that you should know your enemies … but do business with them always (as per the the one hundred and seventy seventh rule).