James Pond, CIPS membership no. 00795847 – A Licence to Bill

(CIPS has proposed that everyone who buys should be licensed before they're allowed to spend their organization's money...)

James strolled into the casino, immaculate as ever in his Marks and Spencer’s Autograph range, light grey, low maintenance drip dry suit (42 short) and easy-iron white shirt.

It was early, and the high-rollers were thin on the ground, but James noticed everything as he strolled to the roulette table. That was his training kicking in. The thin woman in the red dress, just a little too short for her age and aptitude. The guy by the bar, already hitting the doubles as he hit on the dyed blonde behind the bar.

As he sat down by the Impair – always his favourite – the croupier smiled. “Good afternoon m’sier”, she purred in a deep French accent.  The red hair and figure were top class, but James could see sadness behind the eyes. He knew how she felt. Too many late nights and cheap champagne, not enough fresh air, the wrong sort of men. Just like working for the civil service, James thought.

“Hello”, said James. “I need to ask you a few questions”.

The girl looked surprised. “Go ahead, monsieur” she whispered, in a voice like liquid honey and bourbon. James blushed slightly.

“I’m Pond. James Pond. Licensed to bill. Well, licensed to buy really, but billing sort of goes with buying, and licence to bill has a ring to it, know what I mean?”

The redhead looked confused.  OK, thought James, let’s get down to it.

“Who buys the wheels”?

Now her expression was confusion, mingling deliciously with a small shot of fear.

“No-one buy the wheels. We’re a  clean house”.

“No, I’m not talking about cheating on the tables, I mean who actually buys the roulette wheels. The purchasing. Who does the buying for the casino”?

She looked blank. James sighed. This always happened, as soon as he walked into a place, it seemed that no-one knew who bought anything.

“I do not know. Perhaps we didn’t buy zem. Perhaps we just found zem”.

The same old lies. James put this hand on her arm.

“I think you might find it to your advantage to tell me” he said, with that hint of menace in his voice that had proved so vital during the 2007 Rail Franchising Incident.

Before the girl could answer, James was aware of a presence, like a ghost smelling of Givenchy, materialising at his left shoulder.

“Is there something wrong, Mr Bond? I’m the manager here”.  The slim Italian with the slick hair and the slicker suit hissed, through a smile as fake as the barmaid’s suntan.

“Its Pond actually, not Bond”.

“Perhaps I can get you a drink and we can sort this out Mr. Pond. A Dry Martini, I assume”?

“I can’t drink on duty, I’m afraid. But a cup of tea would be very nice. Two sugars please. Shaken not stirred”.

The Italian returned with a plastic cup filled with a pale brown liquid. Pond sniffed it suspiciously.

“Ah, that’s lovely”, he said. “Just like Mother used to make. Anyway, sorry to bother you, but I’m from the Commission”.

“The Commission? You don’t mean..”

“Yes, I’m afraid you’ve been chosen for a random inspection by PLANC. The Purchasing Licensing and Notification Commission. We check that everyone who is carrying out buying activities in organisations is properly licensed. I’m afraid I need to know who does your buying”.

The Italian smiled. “That would be Luigi”.

Hearing his name, a man elevated his presence from a bar stool and crossed the room towards James. Around 6 foot 7, bald, heavy set, but light on his feet. James had met his sort before, but this was never easy, he thought. Some days he longed for that transfer back to the Department of Work and Pensions, Procurement Policy Branch.

“This is Luigi. He does our buying”.

“Yeah, that’s right boss. I do the buying. Everything”.

“So Luigi”. James smiled to himself. He always enjoyed this bit. “Can you tell me how you would apply the Kraljic matrix to assess the key areas of supply chain risk for the casino”?

The blood drained from Luigi’s face.

(Read part 2 tomorrow to find out what happens if  Luigi fails to differentiate between strategic and non-strategic classification of supply risk situations)!

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Voices (9)

  1. Graham Smith:

    Beware Mr Pond you can’t forever hide behind your alias……….. You have come to the notice of S.M.E.R.S.H. (Supply Management Extraordinary Rendtion Section – Horsham)

  2. Charles Eddolls:


    Your article is great and I look forward to reading the next episode but you know me and that neither I nor any member of my team at Group Supplies had formal procurement qualifications. This dis not stop us or making the largest saving in a UK reverse auction being over £100 million and for structuring and conduction public sector competitions with individual values of up to £1.5 billion..

    So I believe that the suggestion by CIPS that we should licence buyers is Bunkum

    See some of our savings at the following: http://dld.bz/avnRh

  3. themoose:

    Cheered up a very dreary friday morning in procurement land!

    Excellent stuff!

  4. Wendy B:

    My god Peter, you have completely sold it to me!! I WANT James’ job!!! I would definitely end up with my own tv series on BBC 9!! What could we call it? Cowboy Buyers? Bouncing Bad Buyers?

  5. Nick @ Market Dojo:

    Ha ha, love it. Worrying, in your opening para you’ve completely described by business attire. Is that bad?! Fashion was never my bag.

  6. Bill Atthetill:

    You’ve taken a gamble on this one Peter….

  7. Toni:

    The suspense is unbearable! what will happen, may tomorrow come quicker! 🙂

  8. AndyS:

    Excellent!!! I Can’t wait to read tomorow’s update.

  9. Dan:


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