SMEs, supplier reduction and bribery: last week’s comments

We had some great comments last week so I wanted to highlight a few here.

Our series on SMEs and public procurement (e.g. here) drew various comments, including some around the social care market and whether local authorities even know whether they are dealing with an SME or part of a bigger group. But Barry Hennicker challenged the underlying rationale for promoting SMEs.

What puzzles me about the whole issue is that it appears to be driven by political dogma and not on any shred of empirical evidence that directing more government spend towards the SME arena will actually have a net positive effect on an economy which is in dynamic equilibrium.

Then we had a good debate around whether supplier reduction programmes are worthwhile. Here's Pietro (from Italy):

A reduction in the supplier makes the administrative quite easier but, do we want to “think” administrative or strategic?

A great point. Charles Dominick of Next-Level Purchasing pointed us at a similar post he wrote a while ago (which I hadn't seen I should add before the plagiarism charges start!)

... supplier consolidation only truly benefits organizations when at least one of three results is achieved: headcount is reduced, the consolidated spend is leveraged and lower prices are negotiated, or work billed on a per-supplier basis is reduced. Often supplier reductions happen WITHOUT any of these results and thus are wastes of effort. You and your readers can check out the full article at:

Christine Morton widened the debate to 'useless KPIs' (now there's a topic for future debate..).

...reminds me of another place/another time – where the head of corporate procurement had a KPI of the “number of procurement cards issued.” Useless, pointless KPI… but, hey, it made for a pretty graph…

And finally, our April Fool on the Bribery Act provoked our regular reader, 'Final Furlong' into this;

... I’m writing this on my new i-pad (2!) given to me by our new IT supplier for my birthday, but the wireless on this island, owned by my friend Richard (who also owns an airline I might add) isn’t that great. We’re in the middle of nowhere! I’m here helping him write his response to our airline tender and he said that instead of doing it in London, why didn’t I come and join him on his island. How cool is that! (I say cool but it’s absolutely roasting here!) Well, his team did help us write our Travel Policy, so I do feel that I should reciprocate. So, anyway, here’s my question. In relation to the bribery act and all that, will I have to send my back a gold pen that was given to me recently? The thing is, it’s got my name engraved upon it and so it’s going to be useless to anyone else.

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