Insights & Ideas

Procurement: Who calls the shots?

Unsurprisingly, Gartner’s Supply Chain Top 25 for 2012 had organizations like Apple and Amazon at the top.

When we look at those organizations, we can see that they lead the field by allowing customers rapid access to the goods or services they require. Amazon stole a march on traditional suppliers of books by providing rapid availability to customers through internet ordering.

Not content with this, they then produced the Kindle, which meant that customers can be provided with literature instantaneously, eliminating the traditional supply chain problems such as buffer stocks, lead times, transport costs, etc.

Contrast the behavior and performance of the above organizations with a local council I had to do business with recently. To preserve their anonymity lets call them Dinosaur LA. I needed to book and pay for the hire of some council facilities.

Each time I called I was met with an automated voicemail, or an unhelpful administrator who proved to be a barrier to my receiving the service I wanted to pay for. I had to persevere as Dinosaur LA was a monopoly provider of the service I required. When I finally received the service, I then had trouble paying for it. Although I owed a substantial amount of money, nobody chased me for it, and making payment required me to physically visit their offices (in my own time and during office hours) and join a long queue of disgruntled council tax payers.

This all led me to thinking about the role of the procurement professional:

  • Who are our customers?
  • And how easy is it for them to access our services?
  • Do we differentiate ourselves from others through our speed and responsiveness?

To put it bluntly, are we an Amazon or are we a Dinosaur?

In this modern constantly evolving environment one thing is certain, the dinosaurs will become extinct.

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