Two years back, an old friend and co-founder of a solution provider in the sector, approached me with the idea of doing a comic strip about procurement. Her ideas were hilarious, appropriate and dark (so dark the Coen brothers would even appreciate some of her themes). But like so many things in life, both of us got sidetracked and the series never made if off the ground. Perhaps we'll revisit it in the future, but at least for now, we have a far more politically correct procurement and operations comic strip, Spendman, to turn to. So far, Spendman, only a few days into his earthly existence, represents good old family entertainment that would not be out of place at a Disney theme park (unlike the idea I was working on which probably would have gotten us banned for life at such an establishment).
You can read more about Spendman on his website or you can follow him or become a fan on Facebook. In the Supply Excellence post welcoming the Spendman series, Justin Fogerty writes that the messenger, "Spendman may be funny, but the message is for real ... Knowledge is power (super power?). If a procurement department -- or some well informed people within that department -- can quickly and easily compile data, strategize on savings opportunities and execute on that strategy, they'll achieve hero status. The cape is optional." In other words, Spendman is spend analysis man.
My biggest criticism of Spendman besides the fact we've not seen his evil side yet (I want to see his doppelganger kidnap the CFO's wife after a new spend visibility investment is shut-down for budgetary issues) is that his name, well, leaves a lot to be desired. It's a good marketing gimmick, but "Spendman" sounds bad to me. It's like the guy is a big spender, not a saver. I traded emails with someone last week who suggested the name "Data Maverick" instead, but this gentleman also pointed out that "maverick spend" holds a "bad connotation as well". Oh well. At least we know the plot themes that are coming down the pike:
"It's kryptonite, Spendman. Little souvenir from the old home town. I spared no expense to make you feel right at home."
"But did you buy it on the spot market or on a long term contract? And how do we really know its really kryptonite and not lead? Our supplier is from China and he's been known to ship substitutes if he can get away with it ..."
"That's coming on the next episode. We're tentatively calling it 'China and The Dark Spend Cube' ..."