Purchasing Pumas – Supplier Information Management needed (not CATegory Management)

We’ve written before about the growing need for supplier information, and therefore supplier information management. One of the drivers for this is the need to show that your supply base is  regulatory compliant, meet whatever accreditations are required for the goods or services they provide, and adhere to the corporate responsibility standards you require.

This includes issues as various as labour laws, conflict minerals and metals, anti-bribery law and so on. But I’ve got a new one to add to the list today.  When I first saw this story, I confess I thought it was going to be a light hearted bit of fun, but actually, when you get into it, there are serious messages about supplier information, as well as broader issues around conservation and corporate responsibility – indeed, matters that go way beyond just procurement.

So, the Karachi Zoo recently PURRchased (sorry) two young pumas,  the endangered and beautiful big cats, which will be moved to the Safari Park once their enclosure is built there. The Zoo paid 3 million Pakistani Rupees – some £200,000. But conservation experts want to know more about the supplier of the pumas, and whether it was licensed to trade in endangered animals.

The Dawn newspaper (Pakistan) reported that the “Sindh wildlife department (SWD) has initiated an inquiry into the procurement of a pair of pumas recently housed at the zoo...

The conservator of the Sindh wildlife has asked the senior director of the culture, sports and recreation department of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) to provide relevant documents of the pumas recently brought to the zoo”.

The Zoo says that proper procurement was implemented with a competitive process. Well that’s interesting – it never occurred to me that zoos might purchase animals in a professional manner. Category Manager, Big Cats perhaps?

“The KMC had invited interested parties through an open tender and awarded the contract to the lowest bidder in a transparent manner. We have all documents to prove that the pumas are acquired through legal means” .

A Puma from Karachi Zoo

The issue that has blown up is not around competitive procurement though – it is whether the supplier was accredited to trade in these protected species, and whether everything was legal and compliant to relevant conservation-related  legislation   There is also some apparent confusion about whether the supplier – a commercial animal importer – actually did import these animals or whether he raised them in Pakistan.

The conservation organisation pointed out “international concerns over wildlife trafficking and there was a dire need that relevant local government officials were made aware of the global sensitivities attached to the wildlife”. There have been previous issues over the donation of chimpanzees to the Zoo, where again there was a lack of “traceability" around the animals’ background.

So let's paws for thought here. This is clearly another field in which supplier information, going well beyond simple administrative data, is a hot topic. Understanding the provenance of what you’re buying, whether it is cocoa, manufactured garments, iridium or big cats is becoming a major issue for procurement people in many, many different environments.

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