The Procurement Commandments – Dr Michael Lamoureux Gives Us Ten

commandments-159649_640So how is our Ten Commandments of Procurement topic for July coming along? Well, we’ve had two significant additions to the thinking in the last few days.

The first came from Michael Lamoureux , the Doctor of Sourcing Innovation, who chipped in with his own entire list of ten, written in suitably biblical style! What can I say – it is excellent, although I might pick up on a couple of his list, if we stick strictly to our definition that these commandments have to be points you really can’t argue with, ever. I’ll come back to that in a moment.

Do read his entire article here. But let’s pick out a couple of his entries, which combine the twin positives of being both appropriate and thought-provoking.

"4. Remember the organizational strategy, and adhere to it.

Procurement’s mission is to support the organizational strategy, not to set or change it (without consensus of the C-Suite). Everything it does should be aligned with the chosen, and agreed upon, strategy."

Our commentyes, agreed. Procurement must be aligned, no-one would argue with that, although often that isn’t what actually happens in reality. That is not always the fault of procurement or the CPO, however, think of all those poor old procurement people whose number-one (or only) “target” is cost savings, yet sit in an organisation that really is not at all driven by a low-cost strategy. The reputation of those functions will never be good.

"9.  You shall not bear false witness against any supplier.

Whether the supplier performed well, performed poorly, or performed average — the truth is never obscured and all the data is laid bare, regardless if this is a supplier recommended or selected by Procurement. And Procurement works with the organization to learn why the supplier performed as it did, what the organization did well and what the organization could have done better, and what the supplier could have done better and uses that knowledge to improve its next set of supplier interactions."

Our commentyes, agreed. I hesitated thinking “might I lie about supplier performance as part of a negotiation?” But no, I don’t think I would!

But now, a couple of the Doctor’s commandments that I would not accept on the basis that they don’t always hold!

"1. You shall have no process before The process.

Procurement will have a process for sourcing organizational goods or services, and will always follow that process, even when sourcing goods and services for itself. Procurement is not above the process."

Our comment – “always follow the process?” Yes, we should have processes and follow them – but just occasionally, when there is a real emergency, processes have to be adjusted or even ignored, we’d argue. So this is a “true 99% of the time” commandment we think.

"3. You shall not take the name of the Stakeholder, your Customer, in vain.

Without the Stakeholder and its needs, Procurement would not be needed and would not exist in the average organization. It is there to meet the needs of the Stakeholder, needs which are derived from the needs of the organization’s customers. It must respect those needs, no matter how strange, and not take the name of its reason for existence in vain."

Our commentagain, true almost always! But just occasionally, when the stakeholder wants something really stupid, or wants us to do something unethical or even illegal ... then we have to push back. I’m sure the Doctor would agree with that, and there certainly should be one of our commandments that relates to stakeholders. Let’s think a bit more about the exact wording though!

All excellent stuff, thanks to Dr Michael Lamoureux and do read his entire article here.

Voices (6)

  1. the doctor:

    You shall NOT take the name of the Stakeholder, your Customer, in vain.

    You will always be at your best behavior.

    Pushing back is not taking the customer name in vain, as long as it is done with respect and elucidation, but, even if the customer wants the dumbest thing ever, as long as you have clearly explained why, presented a better alternative, and documented your attempt (for the C-Suite who may have to remedy the situation at a later time), it is their budget and they get final say.

    But if they ask you to do something unethical, or illegal, you shall blow the whistle. This should not need to be written as a consequence of Commandment #7.

  2. the doctor:

    Peter, there is no process above THE process. THE process is not a rigid workflow that can never change, but a stream that is constantly flowing, with tributaries that can be followed instead if the main branch becomes blocked, and emergency underground aqueducts that connect the tributaries.

    In other words, THE process is a process that has a standard workflow for every situation, a workflow for handling exceptions, and a well defined method for dealing with the exceptions to the exceptions if the exception workflows can not be used, which could be to bow down to the word of the CPO, or CEO. If an organization’s process does not have the flexibility to handle change, it is not meta enough to be THE process (and the organization should fix that). (Just like when you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice, THE process also includes a process to not follow the process).

    1. bitter and twisted:

      No true scotsman…

  3. Clearview (Clearview Group):

    Honor your category contract because post contract management of the category is crucial. One cannot walk away once the contract has been awarded. The category, spend, supplier performance, risk, market intelligence, and benefits need to be continuously managed and tracked.

  4. Clearview:

    Creative commandment related to procurement:

    You shall not depend on, or idolise, one supplier because typically buyers should be flexible enough to have hundreds, if not thousands of suppliers, while maintaining awareness of how supply markets are always changing with new products, services, incoming and outcoming suppliers, competition, and buyer requirements.


    interesting. think I would share with others

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