A recent blog post and subsequent comment exchange over at Sourcing Innovation made me recall a now-amusing conversation from a few years ago.
I was attending a local purchasing association meeting when a colleague said to me, “Hey, you should talk to Brian. He was just telling me that his organization is looking for some procurement negotiation training.”
So, I approached Brian and asked him if Next Level Purchasing could be of service.
Brian then responded with a sneer usually reserved for people’s worst enemies, saying “Yeah, we’re looking for negotiation training, but we want real-world stuff, not CONSULTANT THEORY” and then walked away.
Even though I have over 10 years of results producing experience and have negotiated eight-digit sums off of some contracts’ values during my purchasing career, because I no longer held a role in a purchasing department, this guy had lumped me into that subhuman species known as CONSULTANTS (gasp!).
As I got further into my career leading Next Level Purchasing, I have found that purchasing professionals are indeed very skeptical about who they can learn from. (Professors, in particular, seem to inspire the most under-the-breath criticism at purchasing association meetings).
I agree that purchasing professionals should always filter what they hear or read through their experience-based common sense – there is a lot of garbage information out there – but it also concerns me that we are sometimes not open-minded enough when it comes to learning. Consultants (who are often purchasing professionals who have moved on to a new career), professors, and even people from different professions can provide a valuable purchasing education experience.
With regard to the Sourcing Innovation post, it was about a lack of purchasing professionals who regularly visit and participate on a few of the more popular purchasing blogs. Personally, I feel that a few of the purchasing blogs out there are definitely worth a daily visit.
In particular, Sourcing Innovation, Supply Excellence, and Spend Matters are excellent resources for getting a purchasing professional to think about the environment in which they operate. I don’t always agree with everything those guys write but, again, it is healthy to see what others have to say and then filter it to form and/or strengthen your own opinions.
Another sub-topic of Michael’s blog was the frustration that vendors/service providers/software providers comprise a higher percentage of blog visitors than do the authors’ target – sourcing professionals. I suggested to Michael that they embrace that.
These bloggers have proven that there is a hunger for purchasing insights among the vendor community. If they continue to try to go for the market of purchasing professionals, they may be missing an opportunity to monetize an obviously interested market – the vendors.
Hmmmm….if they don’t realize the opportunity that has made itself obvious, maybe Next Level Purchasing will have to seize it!