Christmas Books for Procurement People – Our Reviews from 2015

What do you get the procurement person in your life who already has a state-of-the-art calculator, a leather-bound copy of the hospitality policy, and a magnifying glass for spotting those tricky contractual clauses? Well, what about one of the excellent books that have appeared this year relating to our area? It really has been an exceptional bunch, and I doubt whether we have ever seen a year with so many worthwhile procurement books. None of them are what you might call a “CIPS standard work” like Lysons and Farrington’s classic, but there are a number that we think will be read and appreciated for many years to come.

We do realise of course that this website is read by procurement people, not the partners, children or parents of procurement people who might actually give these books as presents to our professional colleagues. But you can suggest tactfully that they might want to read this article, or perhaps print it out and leave it lying around with the ones you like the look of subtly underlined!

Anyway, we reviewed most of these through the year, so have included the links here as well as a very brief summary of each book.

"Strategic Sourcing and Category Management” is a very generic title but the sub-title of Magnus Carlsson's book - “Lessons Learned at Ikea” is more revealing. The author worked for 25 years in procurement and supply chain practitioner roles in the firm, and this is a fascinating and detailed look at how IKEA drives cost effectiveness and innovation from their supply chain, as well as a glimpse of the unique corporate culture that has led the firm to such success.

"A Practical Guide to Public Procurement " was the first book on the topic to be published as far as we know covering the new EU and UK public procurement regulations - well done to Abby Semple, a very impressive achievement from a relatively young but talented lawyer and public procurement expert. Essential reading and should be on every contracting authority's bookshelf (see picture).

“The Lean Supply Chain - Managing the challenge at Tesco” by Barry Evans and Robert Mason (both academics and practitioners) was another very interesting insight into a firm, covering both some of the wider business issues the firm has faced recently as well as real insight into the supply chain area, where Tesco has been a genuine leader and innovator for some years.

A second edition of 'Strategic Procurement - Organizing suppliers and supply chains for competitive advantage', by Caroline Booth. was published. The author was CPO at Lloyds Banking Group when she wrote the book and it is unusual in that it is aimed perhaps more at executives outside the function than those inside. But it has much to offer us in the profession, with a good combination of conceptual thinking and practical "war stories" and advice, and the new edition gets into the procurement issues around mergers and acquisitions in more detail for example.

The Procurement Value Proposition – subtitled “The rise of supply management” was an important new book from Gerard Chick and Robert Handfield. A number of authors contribute to a wide ranging book that has some deeply insightful material around a range of strategic procurement topics. Its primary importance to the profession lies in its core message, which is clearly and powerfully explained - the message of value as the central proposition and driver for procurement activity, rather than cost savings or transactional execution.

Sourcing Portfolio Analysis by Andrew Cox is a significant book and will be studied by academia as well as the practitioner world. Well, it should be anyway! We suspect most readers will know something about Cox – the pioneering founder of the Birmingham University Supply Chain MBA course and a source of inspiration for a whole generation of procurement managers and leaders. In this work, Cox aims to develop a whole new segmentation and positioning methodology for sourcing. You thought you understood the Kraljic Matrix and that was enough – think again. This will make you a better procurement professional.

Jonathan O'Brien added some substantial new sections to the new third edition of his classic Category Management in Purchasing – A strategic approach to maximise business profitability. That follows his new 2014 publication, Supplier Relationship Management, the third of an essential "trilogy". From its first publication in 2009, the category management book has become probably the standard work on this topic, being both a very comprehensive reference guide (running to almost 500 pages now) and also a source of practical advice for the practitioner category manager. There are substantial additions this time round, making it even more useful for the practitioner.

And finally, we are cheating a little but don't forget our friend Sigi Osagie's excellent Procurement Mojo, which was published in late 2014 but is an inspiring and practical book about procurement performance improvement, strategy and techniques – but also very much about leadership.

Happy reading, everybody!


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