Diuretic Pills: Procurement and Supply Chain Lessons From Weight Lifting Supplements (Part 3)


In the spirit of Santa’s fast approaching all-night ride and the training he must endure before setting out on the around-the-world trek — it’s amazing he was able to do it before supplements — we continue our series comparing weight lifting supplements to procurement and supply chain strategies. If you’re just finding this write-up now, please see our introductory and Ultimate Orange installments from earlier in the month. Today, we cut right to the chase — or rather, cut the excess liquid in our bodies, as we come to our next supplement, diuretic pills.

Diuretic pills have a long and disreputable history in weightlifting. (And, no, we won’t admit to using these bad boys, unlike Ultimate Orange.) Bodybuilders took these synthetic compounds to essentially show up "ripped" or "shredded" at different events until contestants literally keeled over during shows. (Superstar and fan favorite Mohammed Benaziza was one who died from using them.) Diuretic pills literally sucked the lifeblood — water, actually — out of one’s system at the expense of showing a near-term “pump.” Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances can be deadly, despite superficial appearances.

So, they got banned.

RIP: Mohammed Benaziza

RIP: Mohammed Benaziza

Now there are more tamed, natural supplements that basically flush excess water and other stuff from muscle and cells to appear leaner. But theoretically even these less dangerous supplements still bring the potential to put an enormous amount of stress on the heart and the body overall.

There are numerous comparisons we can think of between diuretic pills and procurement and supply chain tactics. But perhaps the easiest comparison is the near-term pump one can achieve through tactics that unfairly beat up suppliers by challenging their cash flow (while benefiting ours) on dictatorial terms — sort of like ordering all of the water out of your body.

One tactic here is GM’s now famous “we’ll pay all invoices at a discount” edict under Jose Ignacio Lopez. (That really helped cement strategic supply relationships.) But a much more common tactic that is nearly as bad is extending payment terms out to a certain level (e.g., moving from 30 or 45 to 90-day terms). This causes supply chain pain that will come back in the form of suppliers needing (or wanting) to cut corners as payback. Of course, procurement and accounts payable organizations that put in place an early payment discount program at reasonable terms while extending DPO get a pass here, but few do it effectively at scale today.

So next time you’re thinking of putting on the working capital “pump” for a balance sheet competition, do consider the implications of doing it — or at least doing it without thinking about overall supply chain supply chain health. As for us, we’re just saying no to this one and these tactics.

As our series continues, we’ll move to a happier note with one of our favorite (and legal) substances: creatine.

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