Procurement Horror Story: Janitorial Services Gone Bad, Very Bad

My procurement horror story comes from something that an MRO buyer told me at a conference. But instead of re-telling it in normal prose, I will do it in the style of a DirectTV commercial (there is a nice compilation of them here).

  • When you are an MRO buyer being measured by PPV, you look for purchase price savings to avoid getting fired.
  • When you look for purchase price savings, you guide your stakeholders to the lowest price suppliers.
  • When you pick the lowest price suppliers, your supplier quality suffers.
  • When your supplier is a janitorial services supplier, your janitorial service quality suffers.
  • When your janitorial service quality suffers, you end up with dirty bathrooms.
  • When you have dirty bathrooms, your co-workers get mad at you for selecting the low-price supplier.
  • When your co-workers get mad at you for dirty bathrooms, you feel guilty about dirty bathrooms.
  • And when you feel guilty about dirty bathrooms, you start wiping the counters to keep those bathrooms clean.
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In this case, you'd have to dust the antlers too.

Don’t clean dirty bathrooms at your workplace – stop getting yourself measured on PPV!

Yes, this story is actually true. Of course, you know where it went off the rails in terms of purchasing: advocating lowest price rather than facilitating a team process with a balanced scorecard followed up by strong contracting and supplier performance monitoring. Yet, this stuff still happens all the time.

Anyone have a story that can beat this? If not, the prize is mine! (said with maniacal laugh). By the way, there is a prize, right?

[Note from the editor: There indeed is a prize. All the details, as well as submission form, can be found here. Time's running out, so send in your story!]

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