So how did I come to acknowledge my problem? In two words, “procurement education”.
I assumed I was saving my previous employers time and money, in the long run, I was causing greater problems for the organizations as a whole.
I worked for a gentleman for many years whose goal was for our department to do things “under the radar”. He himself was somewhat of a maverick and instilled such qualities into our team. Admittedly, it made us a stronger group utilizing the “us against the world” mentality which is so often seen in professional sports. Purchasing wise, it wasn’t beneficial for our company. We had no accountability and were able to purchase items that on occasion became huge assets to the business, but more often than not became paper weights in our offices. Purchase Order reviews were done by the Human Resources department who “rubber stamped” just about everything because they didn’t know our business function and didn’t want to be bothered. Talk about a lost opportunity for measuring ROI, cost savings and containment!
In one of my previous positions, I was told by one of the owners of the company to, “skip the procurement manager on hardware purchases”. Since I reported directly to him, I took it as a great opportunity to make my life easier. However, there was a caveat to this directive. I had to use a particular “buyers group” for all hardware purchases. As I quickly learned, this “buyers group” was no bargain, purchases of desktop PC’s alone were 25% higher than buying online straight from the manufacturer! Even though I reported my findings back to my boss, I was told to keep purchasing hardware in this way. You can draw your own conclusions from this story, however it did keep me away from the purchasing manager’s office.
There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch:
In my first senior level position, I was suddenly overwhelmed with all the attention I received from vendors, consulting organizations, etc. Somebody always wanted to take me out to lunch to discuss their latest and greatest offering. In the past, I’d never had a problem saying no to people. But let’s face it, regardless of how ethical one tries to be, such perks eventually wear you down and your judgment becomes a bit clouded. Purchasing SaaS or technical support services is easier to do when someone is schmoozing you and talking up their product line constantly than when you have to dig really deep into the nuances of a product or service you truly know little about. Hence, you make buying decisions based on the words of convenient acquaintances rather than sound judgment.
4 Realizations of a Buying Maverick:
- Maverick buying is harmful to all levels of your organization. Just say no.
- Maintaining a standard of ethics at all times in crucial to your employer.
- While your input is important, leave purchasing decisions to the purchasing department – that’s their specialty!
- Businesses need to have an educated purchasing professional; no longer should purchasing be cast upon someone with no procurement experience.
To your career success,
Next Level Purchasing Association