Charles Dominick of Next Level Purchasing Gives Us His Ten Commandments

Going back to our “10 commandments for procurement” theme that we’re looking at this summer, it's been pointed out to us that there is an excellent list in the book (recommended), “The Procurement Game Plan” by Charles Dominick and Soheila R. Lunney.

Dominick is the founder and CEO of Next Level Purchasing (NLP), a leading global education and certification organisation who run the SPSM, SPSM2, 3 and 4 qualifications. His list, “the Purchasing Agent’s 10 Commandments” originally came from an article he wrote way back in 2006. There are over 300 of these articles on the NLP website, by the way and they do represent a wealth of interesting and useful reading – I can’t say I have been through them all, but from my sample, they provide are very sensible, readable and useful advice.

“Purchasing Agent” is a bit of a US term, by the way, and I guess we might translate it as a “Procurement Officer” or “Buyer” – basically, an operating level practitioner who is actually involved in doing deals and forming contracts with suppliers.

Now some of his 10 fall foul of our “must always be applicable” rule. For instance, he suggests:

“Thou shalt never make price the only criterion in a purchasing decision. Good purchasing agents take quality, delivery, and other criteria into consideration also.”

Well, that is correct in 99% of cases but just occasionally, we might argue, when buying a true commodity product, then price would be the only factor to take into account. We know what he means but that example is disqualified as a “commandment” in our book! But here are a couple from his list that we like a lot.

“Thou shalt always involve thy internal customers throughout the purchasing process. Good purchasing agents never act alone.”

Yes, I cannot think of an example when I would not involve an internal customer. The level and depth of involvement would vary based on the specific situation, and sometimes you might not really have a customer, but assuming you do, then some level of involvement is a 100% Commandment.

 “Thou shalt commit to continuous improvement of thy skills, never letting a year go by without learning new practices used by other purchasing agents.”

Now that one is hard to argue with! Why would anyone NOT want to improve their skills? I don’t think that learning new practices from others is the only route to achieve that, but I don’t think Dominick is suggesting that. Continuous improvement is key with both the pace of change generally for organisations and the need for individuals to keep and enhance their own position in a competitive market. So we certainly endorse that.

Do take a look at the whole list here, and thanks to Charles Dominick for pointing out that he was onto this topic long before us!

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