Using procurement skills in real life – our competition winner

We asked you before Christmas to give us examples of either how your procurement skills had helped you in your day to day life; or alternatively, examples of how your procurement skills had let you down in real life. Perhaps not surprisingly, we didn’t get too many responses to the latter!

Either our readers are supremely effective or they just don't want to own up to failure in front of our learned readership...  But there were some good entries in terms of bringing procurement skills to real life.

Ian R told us about his approach to “secret Santa” gift buying:

My recipient had asked for one of two Blu Rays. Being someone who generally thinks that Blu ray was invented stem the falling costs of DVD’s and offers not much else to justify the additional cost I had a quick look on Amazon and discovered that I could buy my colleague both films on DVD for the price of one on Blu Ray. Therefore she is now getting more than expected – not sure she’ll see it that way but, hey!

What did she think Ian when she got the DVDs? Because, let’s face it, you didn’t actually buy to the specification, did you?!

I’m never sure how much to believe from the mysterious ‘Final Furlong, but here was his entry:

I even ask for discounts when I’m in a major retailer, and, often, they provide one. No-one usually asks, and they don’t offer. Every year, I ”tender’ everything – fuel, phone, TV, broadband – the lot, and save hundreds of pounds (or contain costs). The only exceptions are charity shops and local SMEs. My personal adoption of ‘demand management’ is truly aligned to world class standards and very little gets passed a robust, strict (tried and tested) transparent set of controls, levers, incentives and penalties. I’m married.

Nick Drewe of eSourcing solution providers  Market Dojo told us about using eSourcing to buy construction services related to his own home. There's a lot more on their website, but I don’t think we have yet seen the proof of this exercise – that is, a successfully renovated property.  We’re hopeful of a  happy ending for you Nick!

On that note, I’d like to put forward my case for part a) of your competition – my domestic eSourcing event. I won’t document it here, as it is covered in 3 parts on our blog, but here was the final result:

Then Wendy B told us about her wedding plans and her approach .

I very nearly didn’t get married when my husband-to-be discovered that I had produced an evaluation spreadsheet that I wanted to use when narrowing down the shortlist of proposed wedding venues. Everything we wanted the suppliers to provide was listed and weighted, as were the prices. We conducted visits to their premises and sampled their offerings. Everything was filled in on the spreadsheet, which duly told us that one particular venue was way ahead of the others in terms of quality and value for money!!! This supplier won the contract, the wedding went ahead and I brought the entire wedding and honeymoon in on time and under budget!!!!

That reminded us of Sheena Moore of Spend Matters US who also wrote about her wedding plans – and the very successful conclusion recently to all her work. But I think Wendy took it a stage further, with her weighted evaluation criteria – very impressive!  So well done to her and she wins our competition…  and a copy of my book and another surprise prize.

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Voices (5)

  1. Pierre:

    Ken, Bravo! Sad context, but great story, Actually, having worked with you and experienced first hand your business acumen, I KNOW that some of his skills got passed down to you and that he’s with you and proud of you.

  2. Ken Hartman:

    Last year, I performed a competitive bid for my father’s funeral. I defined the specifications, researched the marketplace (dominated by one corporation with 50% market share!), did a value analysis of coffins (available on-line through Costco, Walmart, etc), and eventually selected a local, family-owned funeral home with the best pricing and service level. It was an amazing learning experience. My dad was one of the best businessmen I ever knew and I am sure he would have gotten a chuckle if I told him the story.

  3. Wendy Burdon:

    Thank you Peter, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues, friends and family for their unfailing support, particularly during the wedding reception when they staunchly boosted the supplier’s profits by spending long hours at the bar!!!

    Now, how do I collect my prize(s)!!!

  4. Ian R:

    Peter, I interpreted the specification as outcome based. The client wanted to see both films, I provided a variant bid that allowed her to do just that within budget – a compliant bid would have left her one film short of her objectives.

    However the EU notice didn’t allow for variant bids so I am awaiting a challenge from any unsuccessful bidders……

  5. Dan:

    I’ve just been to Morocco, where there is a reversal of the usual negotiating technique. Rather than ‘getting to yes’, you instead have the problem of getting the local salemen to accept ‘No’ as your answer

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