In procurement, it seems we’re always fighting battles with internal customers.  They are resistant to try new, profit-boosting approaches to acquiring and using goods and services because they are too comfortable with “the way we’ve always done it.”

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Now, usually “the way we’ve always done it” isn’t optimal.  And, sometimes, it’s downright irrational as I was reminded when reading a news story recently published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

According to the article, the new Allegheny County Parks Director was shocked at what county employees began to do when he asked them to dispose of ice skates that were no longer usable by the county parks’ ice skating rink.

They began to bury them.

No, not throw away.  Bury.

When asking the employees why the heck they were burying ice skates, they simply replied “that was how they had always done it.”

Apparently, a now-retired, “misguided” foreman “decided in the 1980s that burying old skates was the safest way to dispose of them.”
And now the county has ordered that more than 400 pairs of skates be exhumed from their mass grave.
Getting back to procurement, might we have a new internal code for dumb ways that internal customers do things?
“The way that the production department manages its inventory is like burying ice skates.”
Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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