PurchTips - Edition # 159


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Picture of Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Does Cost Containment Have 2 C's Or 4?

By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

What Are The 4 C's Of Cost Containment?

If you're looking at the letters in the term "cost containment," you'll only see two "c's." But there are actually four "c's" associated with the practice of cost containment. Use these four techniques to maximize the results from your cost containment initiative.

Consolidation – A timeless principle of cost-effective purchasing and supply management is that the more you buy, the less you pay per unit. So you need to consolidate your enterprise-wide spend in a category or combination of categories into a large "market basket" that you will entice suppliers to bid on. Leveraging your volume in this way helps to maximize the cost savings available to you.

Competition – Competition between suppliers is a powerful tool for reducing costs. After you have developed your market basket, you should identify a healthy number of suppliers to bid on your requirements, perhaps even using a reverse auction, if appropriate. The less certainty that suppliers have about earning a valuable chunk of business, the more aggressive their pricing will be.

Contracting – What gives suppliers a lot of incentive to win your business? A long-term guarantee of a certain volume of business does! If you are able to promise a forecasted quantity to the successful supplier via a contract lasting three or more years, you will likely inspire in suppliers a keen interest in helping you achieve your cost containment goals.

Collaboration – Your cost containment work doesn't have to end when the contract is signed. You can collaborate with your supplier to identify waste, inefficiencies, and other opportunities to take cost out of the supply chain in a manner such that both your organization and the supplier can financially benefit. Agree to meet regularly during the term of the contract with the goal to exchange ideas that can result in measurable cost containment activities.

With a large market basket, maximized supplier competition, a contractual guarantee of multi-year volume, and a plan for working with your suppliers, you are well on your way to cost containment success!

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Spotlight On Professional Development Opportunities

Could learning and applying one technique help you save $2 million for your employer and give your career a huge boost? Well, that's just what happened for Erick Opdenbosch, SPSM!

And how did Erick learn that technique?  He learned it in the Senior Professional in Supply Management® Program on his way to earning his SPSM® Certification. If you were able to achieve similar results,  what would that do for  your career?

Want to hear Erick and  other purchasing professionals share how they are achieving workplace and career success? Check out our collection of SPSM® Certification Success  Story videos at: at:


The Latest Purchasing News

  • Vote in the Purch-lympics! Five purchasing professionals have won in the semi-final round and their essays will be competing in the final round on August 27 and 28. Submit your vote at: www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/blog
  • Purchasing Managers/Directors: Are you struggling to develop a plan for improving your team's performance? If so, visit: www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/benchmark
  • Considering a career move? Since the last edition of PurchTips, at least three new jobs preferring candidates with the SPSM® Certification have been posted at:

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