Yesterday, 09/09/09, a big fuss was made over numbers. But, for many of us, it was no different than any other day in which the majority of our decision-making and daily activities revolve around numbers. Pricing structures, discounts, rebates, payment terms, contract years, a projected savings percentage with a new supplier, part numbers, quantities purchased, purchase order numbers and so on are all aspects of Procurement in which numbers play a significant role.

When performing research on a certain commodity, we are normally on the lookout for significant trends, which usually come in number form. When selecting a new supplier, we typically factor in a company’s pricing structure before analyzing the servicing aspects.

After reflecting on how numbers make Procurement go round, I decided to think outside of our niche and reflect on how numbers impact our everyday lives. Just think of all the aspects of your life that depend on numbers: your social security number, credit card number, cell phone number (and landline number), bank account number, income, age, zip code…the list goes on and on. It is difficult to think of aspects of our lives where numbers do not come into play at all. A good conversation? A walk in the park? Listening to some tunes? Reading a novel? Enjoying your favorite meal? If you want to nitpick, numbers have some sort of impact on all of the above, but some nitpicking may be a bit of a stretch. A good conversation could last hours and we could be talking up to 4 hours or 240 minutes or 14,400 seconds. A walk in the park could eventually become a 3-mile walk if you have a pedometer to count. If you’re listening to music, you could be doing so in your car by tuning into Froggy 101. If you’re reading a novel, you may be concentrating on the number of pages you have left until you can move on to the sequel or you picked the book up at the library and used the Dewey Decimal System. And when swallowing that last bite of your favorite meal, you may be thinking about the number of calories you just consumed. It is difficult to escape the existence of numbers because their origins trace back thousands of years.

The world of sports and casinos are where numbers are really all that matters. I won’t dive into specifics here because there are endless examples. Yesterday, Major League Baseball celebrated the number the game revolves around. Video tributes were played to honor two players that wore the number nine, Ted Williams and Roger Maris. Also, select items on were reduced to $9.99 to celebrate the date (the special may still be going on). Many individuals may have found themselves at the Roulette table placing their chips on the number nine rather than cheering on their favorite team in the bottom of the ninth inning. Others may have checked out what was playing at the movies, I’ve heard “District 9” is a must-see, and Tim Burton also released his newest animated movie, “9,” to coincide with the special date. As for me, I watched America’s favorite pastime as number 2 tied number 4’s record for 2,721 hits in a Yankees uniform.
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Kathleen Jordan

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