Buyers & Suppliers Working Together


Author: PASA

Caveat emptor! Let the buyer beware. So said our commerce teachers back in school.

The onus is on you the buyer to check your change, because those shopkeepers —suppliers, as procurement would call them— are out to get you.

This us-versus-them attitude can get inherited into the world of business. Negotiation is seen as a win/lose game. “Win/win” is just slick sales talk.

When procurement is seen as the enemy of suppliers, or vice versa, it is very likely to end in tears.

Yes, both buyers and suppliers need to beware; but that doesn’t mean they can’t work together.

But is it possible to have buyers and suppliers working together?  Of course, it is, as is evident from many strong, long-term procurements.

Partners in procurement

At the PASA ProcureTECH conference this year, Margaret Gilbert from Corporate Contracts Management Ltd was one of many speakers who expressed the need for buyers and suppliers to work together.

Margaret met Anthony English—an IT supplier, and another speaker at the conference—and she proposed they write a book together on procurement. Specifically, procurement and risk.

Anthony came from outside the procurement world, and was invited to contribute the perspective of a supplier.

Risky Business
Risk, of course, is the subject of every single buying decision. But how did procurement and suppliers go about assessing risk and managing it?

This was the topic of the new book in Margaret Gilbert’s Contract Matters series:

Contract Matters: Procurement and Risk: A Practical Guide for Buyers and Suppliers.

The book itself covers key topics around risk and procurement:

  1. What is risk – for both buyer and supplier
  2. Risk applying to procurement
  3. Risk management plan
  4. Risk and procurement strategy
  5. Risk in relation to contracts
  6. Risk in relation to contract management
  7. A better alternative: buyers and suppliers sharing the risk
  8. Supplier risks across the procurement cycle
  9. Organisational risk

The book is subtitled “A practical guide for buyers and suppliers”, because the authors didn’t want it to be a theoretical text book.

At 200 pages, the book itself may appear daunting. However, Margaret’s clear and succinct style makes this accessible… even for people new to procurement!

“At first, it was a bit of a push to get Anthony to be more than a proof reader”, says Margaret. “I think he may have felt out of his depth, coming from outside the world of procurement.”

Anthony agrees. “Yes, it was daunting, initially, but I was able to bring a lot of experience of how business do—or don’t—manage risk. It’s a very common theme, especially for the world of technology.”

The book is available on Amazon Kindle from here and in its first few days of publication has already ranked on page one in the “procurement” category.

“Unlocking Value through Collaboration” is of course the theme for the 5th Annual PASA Premier ConfeX on 11th & 12th October 2017 at Crown Promenade Melbourne. The programme has just been released and is pack with case studies and practical advice on how to work more collaboratively. Check out the programme here.


Margaret Gilbert is a New Zealand consultant assisting buyers and suppliers in the complex contract world by looking at the ‘whole of life’ contract world and working with both one on one and larger groups. She runs training courses, workshops. She assists her clients with being able to be ready for the contractual process.

Margaret writes books in the Contract Matters series. She is asked to speak at international procurement conferences.

Corporate Contracts Management Ltd operates internationally i.e. Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, UK, Africa and elsewhere.  Her website is and you can contact her via email

Anthony English advises professional services businesses on how to attract more profitable clients. Contact him via

About Author

Leave A Reply