Earlier this morning, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the unemployment rate has risen to 9.8% – the highest rate since 1983.

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I believe that there are implications in the purchasing profession. Specifically in the service sector.

Here’s what I’m thinking (keep in mind I’m making generalizations here, so don’t be offended if you don’t fit the stereotype)…

Traditionally, purchasing leaders in the manufacturing industry have preferred to stay in the manufacturing industry. This is generally because purchased goods and services are more directly related to the core competency of the organization when compared to service industries, so purchasing feels more strategic.

Also, many service industry purchasing professionals have the bad habit of shutting out purchasing concepts that they feel are specific to manufacturing. I’ve witnessed many occasions where a service industry purchaser would be presented with an idea and would say “Well, that’s a manufacturing principle, so it doesn’t apply to us” rather than putting just a little thought into how the principle could be adapted for success in a service industry.

But I think that this is about to change.

While, in a healthy economy, manufacturing purchasing leaders would remain in manufacturing, with 10% unemployment, they can’t be so choosy. So we will probably see the service industry infused with manufacturing purchasing talent as the economy slowly recovers.

When these manufacturing purchasing leaders go to a service industry, they will be bringing their toolbox full of manufacturing purchasing practices with them. And the “that doesn’t apply to us” excuse won’t be so well-received by the leader.

This is a good thing. The service industry has needed a shot in the arm with some more advanced purchasing practices. I believe that high unemployment and a soon-to-be-recovering economy creates the conditions that will facilitate just that.

So, if you’re a service-industry purchasing professional, my advice would be to start having an open mind right now. You are about to be exposed to some different approaches and you should embrace them.

Your organization and your career stand to benefit.

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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