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How To Explain Procurement With Only One Tweet

Finnish Procurement Analytics Solutions provider Sievo generated an interesting discussion on Twitter late last week when it posed this question:  “What the heck is procurement? How would you explain procurement to a smart 11 year old?” 

The tweet prompted some interesting responses from some of the the industry’s well-known influencers. Here’s a summary:

@BuyersMeetingPoint: “You know those plastic bags at the supermarket that the apples go in? Where do you think those come from?” [Insert blank stare here.] #Procurement helps companies do a good job buying things and spending money so they can make money.

@SigiOsagie: Well, for an 11-year old, I’d probably say #procurement is buying/shopping for things an organisation/company needs to operate — somewhat like shopping for the things a family needs to live, but the family here is a ‘work family.’

@Pideson: We help companies buy the things they need to operate.
@bmaltaverne: 11 yr old… maybe, from the stakeholder mgmt side of things, it is a bit like: 1/ Listening to what you say/want now, 2/ Trying to make sense of it, 3/ While thinking about what is best for you, long term.
@mscategory: I tell my kids it’s like try to buy a pair of Jimmy Choos at a TJ Maxx price – you want the quality – but don’t want to pay full price!
@pilblogger1: Look at that smartphone in your hand; procurement was involved. See that car that just went buy; that’s right, procurement. “Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the earth.” Procurement is the lever.
@DustinKCochran: I would say, the last time we bought a car, we had to make sure we liked the style of the car, it was safe, it was reliable and that we got the best price for it. That’s what I do, but I do that for everything my company buys!
@PurchasingCoach: If it’s to explain to the 11 year old I know we’d have to find a way to get llamas into it. Hmmm … How to ensure your llama flourishes by ensuring what we buy for them doesn’t break the bank but meets their needs and takes into account innovative new ideas to keep it happy.
@andrewbartolini: I like, “Procurement is basically deciding what you need, finding who has it, what it costs, and where it’s at; comparing options to ensure you get the best deal; agreeing to buy and pay for it; ensuring you receive it and it works; planning ahead in case something goes wrong.”
@SaraWalshEvans: I usually say something like: spending the company’s money on stuff they need, in a way that doesn’t cause more problems.
@lpalokan: “When you buy stuff for yourself, you find a suitable shop, find the right product, haggle about the price to feel good about your purchase. Procurement is like that, just that people do it for living”.
@taniaseary: “It’s like shopping … for big stuff, for big companies”
@Gerardchick: It’s the key to successful business. Ensuring supply; forecasting problematic supply chain issues and informing the organisation regarding those issues; delivering what is needed, where it’s needed when it’s needed; this equates to value in both financial and service terms.


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