In the beginning, there really wasn’t much of a Procurement function. When someone needed something, they either went to the local buyer (who was either the office manager or the designated purchaser) or the local boss and got permission to buy it themselves if it was small. Assuming it was large enough, then it would go through the buyer who than bought either from a catalog, a local vendor, or a contracted supplier for products he or she couldn’t get locally.
Volume leverage was small, time was short, and deals weren’t that great. It was typically the lowest price from some semblance of 3-bids and a buy. And any deal found by one location typically wasn’t shared with another.
As organizations grew and began to realize these inefficiencies, they decided to centralize the purchasing function to achieve volume leverage and better deals, at least for common categories, and in turn decrease the manpower needed for common buys. This also allowed best practices to be created and shared and archived in a knowledge center, but the centralization came with its own problems. Uncommon or unique categories to one or two locations were often sourced with worse results (as the centralized buyers couldn’t exploit volume and didn’t know the local market), local knowledge was lost, and manpower wasn’t reduced that much as inventory managers and designated “buyers” still needed to be at each location to order off of the master contracts and manage inventory.
So, these organizations moved to a center led model. Common, strategic, and/or high dollar categories were centralized, but uncommon, non-strategic, and/or low dollar were managed in a distributed fashion. This, presumably, would achieve the best of the decentalized and centralized procurement worlds with no disadvantages. Right? Wrong.
As center-led organizations matured, a number of cracks in the shiny new armor appeared. This model, like every model before, had its own disadvantages which leaders are now grappling with.
Another evolution is needed. What is that evolution?
A Virtual Procurement Center of Excellence.
What does that look like?
Join THIS THURSDAY’s free webinar (registration required), sponsored by Pool4Tool and featuring the doctor, and find out.