Spend Matters: Procurement Independence Day

Today is the Fourth of July in the United States. A holiday to celebrate US freedom from British oppression -- the day our founding fathers risked being hanged by signing the Declaration of Independence (yes we know, the Scots and others are still fighting the battle we were successful in winning two hundred years ago; we wish 'em luck, also at beating the Brits on the rugby and soccer/football fields). Joking aside, we've written quite a bit about the Fourth of July in the past (here and here). We won't bore you with them again here on a day that should be spent with family rather than reading Spend Matters. But we will take a moment to share a few lines of our "Procurement Declaration of Independence."

Here goes (with apologies to the Founding Fathers, veterans, and everyone else that this effort might offend, which is not our intention in the least):

When in the Course of corporate events, it becomes necessary for one team to build tighter political bands which should connect them with another, and to assume among the powers of shareholders, the separate and equal station to which the laws of the top-line and bottom-line entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of enterprise stewardship requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation from the procurement of old to the procurement of new...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that procurement can do more and is created equal with other functions, that they are endowed by shareholders with tasks that are central to company missions, that among these are value, savings and the pursuit of sustainable profit and business practices for a better world for shareholders, citizens, suppliers, workers and future generations. That to secure these rights, procurement is instituted as a central and key board-level function, deriving their just powers from the consent of shareholders.

It is the right of the shareholders to demand more of the function and those that provide its charter, and to institute new spirit and buy-side zeal, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety, happiness and value. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that procurement long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that shareholders are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms of old procurement which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations such as myopic unit cost focus, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute purchasing despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such procurement, and to provide new guards for their future security...

Such has been the patient sufferance of these shareholders; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of buying. The history of the present king of finance is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny of one function over another. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to the measure of value rather than savings, the most wholesome and necessary for sustainable performance.

He has forbidden his vice presidents to issue mandates of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained (e.g., invest in sustainable practices to preserve and improve supplier relationships rather than short-sited negotiations).

He has called together non-representative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of a global function with the right leadership; for that purpose obstructing the laws of progress for global citizenship; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of policy and charter...

We, therefore, the Representatives of the Future Procurement, as assembled together, appealing to the head of the board of directors of our company or state for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by shareholders and citizens, solemnly publish and declare, that procurement sound a declaration of independence; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the unit cost savings crown, and that all business connection between them and those focused on beating up suppliers alone be dismantled; and that as a free and interlinked function, they have full power to create value, build a sustainable business environment, drive the right type of globalization efforts that encourages trade, sustainable practices and worker rights, establishes better forms of commerce, and to do all other acts and thing which independent functions may do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the rights of shareholders, we mutually pledge to each other our spend, our fortune and supply management honor.

Happy Fourth, everyone. I hope those in the US realize, despite our democracy's current gridlock, what an extraordinary country we live in.

- Jason Busch

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