Procurement Perspective – Sweeping Water Uphill

Procurement Perspective – Sweeping Water Uphill

How quickly does time fly by? It is amazing to think that we are heading towards yet another Xmas! In the past years, I did not get too many opportunities to share updates with my contacts, clients and friends. However, it is a good time to take a moment and share some procurement perspective with you.

Procurement perspective and Xmas – a real contradiction

Procurement perspective and Xmas – it does create a real contradiction, does it not? I have to smile as I am putting down my thoughts. For many suppliers who have to deal with procurement, it may not feel as if Xmas and procurement can be mentioned in the same sentence.

My good friend Jimmy, has a really wise way of looking at life. Jimmy says that he never sweeps water going upstream. It is a waste of time. Jimmy is the ripe age of 90 plus. He should know better than most of us what a waste of time it is to try and sweep the waters of life and business upstream.

This has been a really busy time and for many of my clients, friends and contacts, it has been a year that required more and delivered less. Hard work to get on top of the challenges of business and making ends meet.

It is times such as these that the small things really matter.

Small gestures. Random acts of kindness.

The small wisdoms of wise old friends.

It is the small things that keep us taking that next step.

And what does this all have to do with any procurement perspective?

Well, I think us lot in procurement, can certainly work harder at some of the small gestures.

Recently, I was talking to a supplier about a tendering process. I gave feedback on what this supplier did well and did not do so well in terms of the supplier’s tender response. Although they did not win the tender, they spend a lot of time to complete a detailed response. And all they want to know, was what they could do to do better next time. And the five minutes of feedback, was all it took to show them the respect they deserved.

I work on both sides of the procurement fence. Thus, I often share the frustration with many of my clients when they are not shown the respect they deserve or given the time of day.

So, my procurement perspective is quite straightforward.

Let us take a few minutes to pay respect to suppliers, clients, friends and contacts for the time taken to do their best.

Not everyone will be a winner every time, but everyone deserves to know what they can do better next time.

If you are in procurement or if you have a procurement team – I have a challenge for you.

Do you really like sweeping water upstream?

Why not stop and ask yourself or your procurement team what you can do to avoid suppliers and internal stakeholders having to sweep water upstream all the time?

And if you really cannot come up with an answer, feel free to contact me – I will ask Jimmy for his recipe.

I hope you have a wonderful time with your family and loved ones. Enjoy the opportunity to catch your breath, put away the broom and just go with the flow.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Albert Einstein

Look forward to seeing you in the new year for more procurement perspective!

Celia Jordaan

About the Author:

Celia Jordaan has more than 30 years international and corporate experience and worked in the areas of procurement, tenders, supply chain, contract management, law and risk. She works with business of all sizes and industries, procurement leaders and teams to develop and implement strategies to boost business performance, make tendering easy and improve bottom line performance.

To learn more about Celia Jordaan, please click here.

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