Must-Watch Films and TV: Recommendations From and For Procurement Professionals

A few months ago, we published a post on book recommendations for procurement and supply chain practitioners. Textbooks they were not: I solicited recommendations both inside and outside Spend Matters for books that have relevant takeaways for procurement, even if they are about, say, tulips (that would be Mike Dash’s “Tulipomania”).

Today we’re back with another round of recommendations, this time in the film and TV show category. The gist remains the same: What films and TV shows, while not nominally about procurement or supply chain, nevertheless contain pertinent lessons?

Grab the Remote

The recommendations that came in range from drama and crime to slapstick comedy. Some are classics; others are more recent. There’s also a Norwegian political thriller in the mix. Now, if only you could convince your boss that watching television counts as a valuable use of work time.

'12 Angry Men'

“[This is] a movie often used as a case study in business classes on group psychology and decision-making. It's interesting in how it mirrors the team situations we, as procurement people, find ourselves in every day.

Like most people, the jurors in the movie want to do the right thing. They also represent a cross-section of society, with differing backgrounds and life experiences that come into play when they get down to evaluating situations and make decisions. You could almost play Bingo with a stakeholder matrix while you are watching!” — Rebecca Karp, principal at Sourcing Synergies

'Glengarry Glen Ross'

“I hated Glengarry Glen Ross with a vengeance in the theatre, but it won loads of awards. [It’s] all about real estate salesmen [and] tells you something about negotiation (and being cautious about trusting salespeople!).” — Peter Smith, managing director of Spend Matters UK/Europe


“In most organizations, everyone, even those you think are on your side, is working against you when you are in procurement.” — Michael Lamoureux, editor-in-chief of Sourcing Innovation

'Life of Pi'

“I want to say ‘Breaking Bad,’ but that’s an offline conversation — ha! I’d say ‘Life of Pi’ teaches us some very good concepts both for an individuals or corporations working in supply chain.

Plan ahead but plan wisely. (Pi put all his supplies in a separate raft that drifted away during a storm). Learn to survive and prosper together with your suppliers. (Pi learned to finally live with Richard Parker.)” — Abhishek Dahiya, chief of staff for global materials at Dell Technologies


“If you want to be jolted by a fictional, but realistic, geopolitical scenario that will make a CPO or supply chain manager think more clearly about what-ifs of global supply chain disruptions, ‘Occupied’ is for you.

In this show, set in Norway, you've got it all: oil and gas supplies, alternative energy, the Green Party, the E.U. and Kremlin energy alliance to keep oil and gas — and money — pumping. Things get very tense when Russia occupies Norway, Crimea-style. In the current political environment, more than ever, something like this could actually happen and cause many of us major headaches, if not worse.” — Andrew Karpie, research director of services and labor procurement at Spend Matters

'Ocean’s Eleven'

“One of my favorite movies. The supply chain takeaway is that the cast is compiled based on experience and areas of expertise related to the job (objective) and how they are tasked to work together, each contributing in their own areas to succeed. [One] can draw the comparisons for supply chain and procurement, especially contingent workforce procurement, as it would entail the expertise brought by CPO, HR, TA, Legal, finance, etc.” — Jim Holcomb, chief executive at Cloudious

'Trading Places'

“Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd illustrate the most classic example of the pump and dump scheme when they cornered the market for frozen orange juice concentrate futures and used signals and information asymmetries to earn record trading returns. The movie may have even influenced the development of a financial regulation around misappropriated government information, or what is commonly called the ‘Eddie Murphy’ rule.” — Jonas Divine, business intelligence leader at Merchant Metals

Did this list leave one of your favorites? Tell us in the comments below!

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First Voice

  1. Dan:

    War Dogs – a story about subcontracting, relationships and contract management.

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