12 days of procurement


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The Twelve Days of Christmas is a carol listing gifts given on each of the 12 days of the festive season. With Christmas around the corner, procurement professionals must ensure they source their products fast and efficiently so that celebrations do not delay the sourcing process.

Here are the 12 days of procurement for CPOs and other procurement professionals to follow:

The first day

With many varieties of partridges and pear trees, the first gift is ambiguous as it doesn’t describe the type of bird or tree given. The lesson here is that it is important to be precise. Output is based on input, so let suppliers and vendors know exactly what you need to prevent misunderstandings.

The second, third and fourth days

The carol states that the person received two turtle doves, three French hens, and four calling birds. For procurement, the focus should be on aggregation of spend volume, standardisation to prevent variation in the goods, and buying only what is needed to manage demand.

The fifth day

The singer received five gold rings. Gold is a commodity and affects the price of products. As a procurement professional, you should be aware of how commodity pricing affects different spend areas, and what steps to take to mitigate the rise in raw materials and other goods you buy.

The sixth day

The singer received six geese a-laying. The geese symbolise production, while their eggs denote material, which can be raw or processed. You need to decide whether you want to make products or buy them at a reasonable price and then sell.

The seventh day

The seventh day was swans a-singing. With the Queen the rightful owner of swans on the Thames, it would be a risk to catch them. In procurement, you need to assess and manage risk so that it does not affect the production and revenue generation of your organisation.

The eighth day

The eighth day saw the singer receive eight maids a-milking. You need to be clear whether the input or the output is important. This will streamline the procurement process and help you decide whether you need interims or full-time employees.

The ninth day

The ladies dancing can be compared with bribery. Does your organisation comply with the Bribery Act, ensuring there is no scope for unfair procurement practices?

The tenth day

The tenth-day gift was ten lords a-leaping. You should decide whether you have the right systems and procedures, so that if even one staff member is absent, procurement carries on seamlessly. What systems do you have to measure how high your team members can leap?

The eleventh and twelfth day

In the carol, there are 11 pipers piping, and 12 drummers drumming. You should be aware of the rights for products or services you buy. Ensure you know who owns the rights so that you don’t get sued for infringement of IP or copyrights.

Final words

Procurement professionals need to be aware of many things to ensure a seamless and hassle-free process.

Ed Cross

Ed founded Odesma in 2014 with the explicit intent of creating a new kind of procurement consultancy founded entirely on cloud principles. Deploying best-of-breed subject matter experts alongside the best on demand technology to deliver rapid and effective change for customers.

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