Procurement and IT. Many a true word ….

Spoken in jest.

This particular jest is in Computing magazine’s humour column (1 Nov 2007). They’ve been running a series for a while now about a fictitious pub for IT folk. So far it’s got a name and a suitably grumpy landlord. In this week’s instalment they are working out who to bar from the pub.

You guessed it …. least welcome in IT pub are … Procurement Managers.

It’s not even internal IT staff who would prefer not to hang it with their colleagues in procurement. Well, perhaps it is. But on top of this it’s IT suppliers.

Here’s how Mark Rumsby from EDS puts it: “[A]ny procurement manager … would spend 15 months talking to you about the quality of [your] beers, only to buy a cheaper pint down the road.”

And the final sentence from the column: “[T]here is not enough beer in the world that would make us want to spend time with a procurement manager. You’re barred.”

Ouch. Very harsh.

But is there a grain of truth in the stereotype that buyers may talk a good talk about quality but are only really interested in short-term savings? And might this explain some of the apparent antipathy between IT Departments and Procurement Departments?

Ironically the main Strategy feature in that very issue of Computing is about Supply Chain Management technologies using RFID; and they also feature a news article about Royal Mail’s use of e-sourcing.



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