When buying procurement services and technology (e.g., sourcing software, consulting services, etc.), it is all too easy to get sucked into the “customization trap.” The customization trap is what happens when you think that there is no other organization in the world that remotely resembles yours and that you need a software built or a service performed in a way that deviates from the way that the vendor builds the software or performs the service for every single one of its other customers.

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The customization trap often leads to processes that take too long to implement or cost too much. How can you avoid this?

I like to defer to a few questions:

  • “What is the worst consequence that could happen if I bought the standard version of the service or technology?”
  • “How much would that consequence cost my organization?”
  • “Is the cost of the customization greater than the cost of the consequence?”
  • “What really is the goal here and how much more does a customization contribute to the achievement of that goal?”
  • “If customization wasn’t possible, what would happen?”

Objectively, many of the customizations that are insisted on really aren’t necessary. So, if you are tempted to customize the procurement services and technologies you’re buying, I encourage you to really scrutinize whether they are must-haves or just nice-to-haves.

Because they do come at a cost. A cost in money and a cost in time.

Are they really worth it? Maybe.

But use today’s questions to verify that they are.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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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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