Considering that we just passed Halloween, I feel it is never too late to share more short horror stories related to procurement. Not only from dealing with stakeholders, but also some extremely unscrupulous buyers, I hope this never happens to you

The Friendly Buyer:

Imagine you are working hard to develop saving strategies across your categories, working hand in hand with your stakeholders to find different approaches, looking at alternatives, slicing and dicing proposals to find opportunities  he decided to try in again with another vendor, resulting in no real savings, but a pity 1 percent discount. The worst part is that he believed he was doing a great job and deserved a promotion…

. . .  engaging vendors and proposing changes, running events, etc. in other words actually doing your job. It is most likely you and all your fellow procurement colleagues are involved in similar business, proud of all the effort you are putting, bringing in savings, meeting targets and creating value for your company. Suddenly you hear a muffled conversation from one of your team members, it is a casual conversation, but you can’t avoid listening in as you register the following words coming out of the buyer: “I need a favor”. These words are quickly followed by “I need to reach my savings targets for my bonus”; you are in shock, but it doesn’t end there, he continues to argue that he is short, that he needs a specific percentage to meet the goal, and that he trusts that the vendor will give them those points because they are friends. To add insult to injury, he also asks the vendor to invite him to lunch in an upscale restaurant to have a good time and celebrate the friendship. After a couple of minutes of trying to convince the specific vendor and realizing that there were no positive results with his strategy

The Delusional Pseudo-Lawyers:

Part of dealing with vendors include negotiation agreements, statements of work and other legal documents. Of course we depend on lawyers to have our backs on language, standard legal clauses and sound advice. Sometimes it is not easy to work with legal, if you are lucky enough to work with the same lawyers on all your agreements, they learn to trust you and your criteria; you are also confident that your lawyer has a decent understanding of your subject matter expertise, making things flow much smoother than trying to explain from zero. The renewal of a supplier contract came around the corner and we were collecting all agreements related to that supplier across a newly acquired company to leverage the consolidation of goods and services; as we moved forward and started reviewing some statements of work and addendums we started noticing that none of those agreements had the approval of the legal department. We knew from other documents that legal from the acquired company was required to stamp and approve all signed documents, so flags were raised when we found so many of them without it. Looking at all these documents we noticed that they had all been reviewed, negotiated, and signed by a former junior buyer as well as a mid-level maintenance stakeholder, both without signature authority…

The Surrogate Stakeholder:

When engaged on a particular position, you have to put the interest of the Company in front of other interests and make decisions on unbiased criteria and information to help accomplish Company goals. Avoiding going deeper into this, the idea is simple, you know better than anyone the best way to approach your job and get the results you are looking for. Companies are comprised of multiple roles and expertise, but one thing should be clear, everyone should row in the same direction when doing their jobs; unfortunately it is a fact that a portion of people don’t like their jobs, some are lazy, and others take shortcuts in their work. For a company that deals with technology, engineers are a critical part of their innovation and staying ahead of the curve effort. Many times those engineers are bombarded by vendors that are trying to sell more of their products, and the majority have a critical eye and really focus on things that will benefit the Company instead of their “likes”. One of these engineers had other views, they had a deep liking for a particular vendor, which it’s not rare, but this one went a little too far; the vendor would do the engineers work, presenting him designs and other deliverables that benefited the vendor, additionally he would ask the vendor for help on matters that exposed internal and confidential information, all of which he passed as his own work without changes, inputs or questioning…

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Jose Schneider

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