Procurement Splash Plays

What Big Procurement Things Will You Do This Year?

PurchTips Edition #385

By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Since I wrote the last edition of PurchTips, American football season began. Football is the source of a phrase adapted to business:  “blocking and tackling.”  Actual blocking and tackling are learned as soon as one begins playing football.   And they are used in every level of football, including professional football.

In business, “blocking and tackling” refers to fundamental techniques that people learn as soon as they enter an industry or profession and are used throughout one’s entire career. In procurement, these are fundamentals such as conducting competitive bidding, negotiating, working with terms and conditions, etc.

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A football game would be boring if the only things that happened were blocking and tackling. There are more exciting things that happen, including something called “splash plays.”

A splash play happens when a football team executes something unusual that makes a huge difference in a game. If a defending team tackles the opposing quarterback, preventing his team from scoring and gaining the lead, that’s a splash play.  Or if the defending team intercepts a pass and returns it for a touchdown of their own, that’s a splash play.

If there’s procurement “blocking and tackling,” what would a “splash play” in procurement be? How about these ideas?:

  • Integrating a socially-responsible procurement practice with major impact. An example would be McDonald’s 2016 decision to increasingly purchase cage-free eggs with the goal to purchase only cage-free eggs within 10 years.
  • Consolidating fragmented spend with one or a limited number of partner-level suppliers. Using too many suppliers can lead to inefficient use of resources and inconsistent business results. Find opportunities to direct more business to suppliers who can improve performance metrics across the board while reducing cost.
  • Implementing a new procurement technology. For example, maybe you can implement a category intelligence software that enables you to monitor published statistics, internal data, and third-party expert intelligence in a single computer interface.

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