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.

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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