The Twelve Procurement Days of Christmas – Complex Services Analysed!

Our latest Paper, sponsored by BravoSolution, the Twelve Procurement Days of Christmas is available for download here. It explains how the song was NOT written to accompany a pagan fertility rite, as some experts have suggested, or to remind Christians of key stories from the Bible. No, in fact, we can reveal that the ancient Christmas song is actually a very early example of a procurement training course – CIPS eat your heart out! It covers many of the key principles of procurement, all presented in a memorable and easy to assimilate fashion.

Today, we have our final extract for now. And we move onto some of the most complex services that we can buy.


On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Eleven Pipers Piping ...

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Twelve Drummers Drumming ...

And now we finish by getting onto some of the most complex services that procurement has to handle anywhere. Music-related services include highly intangible issues around intellectual property, ownership of ideas and performing rights. For instance, if your Pipers play Mull of Kintyre, are you going to get a bill from Paul McCartney? If your drummers use a rhythm made famous by ... umm, a famous drummer-type person, should you be paying performing rights to him, his record company or his publisher?

We’re really taking procurement into the outer limits of complexity, yet also into areas that are critically important in both cost and value for many firms. How much, we wonder, did John Lewis pay last year to Keane, for the rights to re-record “Someone Only We Know (paying Lily Allen to do the new version)? And by how much did it help sales? Well, we probably know the answer to that, it always was a wet song.

(Editor’s note; and for more vital insight into this subject, you should read Richard Kirstein, our guest writer, who is a world expert on this subject).


From basic questions around specification, demand management and aggregation, we've moved onto issues of global commodity trading and hedging, logistical conundrums, and whole life costs. Then, we move into the complex world of services procurement, with questions of specifying outputs or input, managing contingent labour, and the complex world of buying intellectual property and rights - a long way away from that first simple purchase of a partridge and a pear tree.

And there you have it - the Twelve Days of Christmas explained. Not just the song we sing over the washing up after Christmas lunch, but an aide-memoir and primer for procurement good practice. Who would have thought it!

Read more here!

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