Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As a business making daily purchasing decisions, we are sometimes overwhelmed with the systemic complexity of the products we acquire and the schedules we abide to provide good service to our customers.

Ill-planned project schedules as well as highly technical products we have no idea about but are tasked to purchase lead overall to more expensive or subpar purchases.  In those cases, we only have so little time to canvass for well-priced items, or we are unable to make good judgment about product specifications because we do not know what are defined good or even good enough.

To obtain better results at purchasing, we first must cover the basics, an honest pro-company Purchasing Unit.  Such would have a sense of ownership to the company and be accountable to purchasing decisions, so that choices are made to minimize cost and maximize value, while serving the company's requirements promptly and adequately, and all the while promoting a company's mission and values.

We have heard too often the stories of the dishonest purchasing officer who insists that the company they work for, the company that provides his salary, be overcharged to compensate for commissions.  Philippines is rife with such.  It may be for this matter that we do not strongly engage the government as a customer.  But it may come as a surprise that the graft and corruption we gripe about in our government are just as unavoidable in the private business industry.  So when we are designing our Purchasing Unit, we must take special care to foster honesty in our personnel, implement checks and balances, and do frequent attentive reviews.

Our purchaser must also be pro-company.  She has a sense of ownership of the company in that her choices must have the company's best interests at heart.  Purchases are qualified based on their contribution to the company's performance.  We do not shop impulsively for unnecessary toys or expensive gadgets that have marginal benefits.  This, even if the items considered are actually good values to companies with the right requirements.  If we are not qualified to make sound judgment on need purchases, we must consult with trustworthy people who are.

Resourcefulness is trait we cannot overlook, especially during canvassing.  For obscure or highly niche products, it takes more effort to find the best deals.  We might have to go through tens of entries from the yellow pages or do a lot of googling to get to the top of the chain.  And we shouldn't forget that, sometimes, we just need to ask our more knowledgeable colleagues.

Finding good purchasers is necessarily difficult.  This is true for most any jobs.  Resumes and tests are not indicators of the values we espouse.  But we start with the basics -- capable people working in a competitive company that values, practices, and trains integrity and professionalism.

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