This past weekend, I attended an event back in the neighborhood where I grew up. I had the chance to catch up with people that I haven’t seen since I moved out nearly 12 years ago.
It’s weird, but I can’t seem to do anything or go anywhere without the topic of procurement following me. That’s fine by me – procurement is obviously my passion!
So, here’s how the topic came up. I ran into an old friend who owns a pizza shop. He asked me what line of work I was in and how business was.
I then said to him that he must be doing well, because his shop has survived all of these years (at least 20 by my estimation). He said that they were doing “OK” despite what was going on in the economy.
I expressed a little surprise that the economy hurt his business because I thought that pizza would be a lower cost alternative to eating at a fancy restaurant. He said that the economy was only part of his struggles.
The other part?
Well, this pizza shop is located across the street from a hospital. And that hospital, part of one of the smaller health systems in the city, has recently adopted a policy forbidding employees from accepting gifts and meals from suppliers. Apparently, suppliers would often buy pizzas for hospital employees. As a result of this policy, this pizza shop is hurting.
Who would have thunk it? A procurement policy having a negative impact on the economy of its community.
While I’m sad for my friend, unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that it is not the hospital’s responsibility to keep the local economy thriving. The flip side is that – hopefully – more objective procurement decisions will be made by the hospital, making the hospital more financially viable and keeping health care costs down, which should indirectly help the local economy. While that alternative is less measurable from the local business owner’s perspective, it really is the better one in the grand scheme of things.
Maybe I’ll buy a pizza the next time I’m in the neighborhood. While it is not the hospital’s responsibility to help local small businesses, the current and former residents of the community have the ability to keep the neighborhood economy alive.
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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