Create : Creative Supply Management

Published on 2014-10-20 04:56:09, author Kenneth G. Sullivan

This piece is entitled "create" with full intention. It is the word that epitomizes everything best about the profession of Supply Management. Let me explain..

A large majority of the people employed or contracted within the function conduct what is called "purchasing" - that is, they buy thing. And they buy more and more and more things... everyday. They arrive at the office each morning, open the list of new requisitions, prepare the tenders, find the lowest price and make the award. That's the extent of their professional work life. Many unskilled end-users throroughly enjoy this work type because they don't rock their world. In fact, this type doesn't rock anyones world! Oh, and they can recite a bit of the jargon... TCO here, a Supplier Pre-qualification there, a bit of ESi thrown for good measure,... but they have limited understanding of the Supply Management function's real purpose, intent and value.

Conversely, there exist a select group or impassioned people that take everything further. These are the real, selfless professionals of Supply Management. They are in a continuous search to find and create value, not for themselves, but for their company or institution. They make things happen, for them, there are no barriers or contraints - the sky is the limit.

If you listen very closely you will even hear it in the conversation. Non-value searching Purchasing personnel will often use the word "No". While, on the other hand, Supply Management professionals respond often with an affirmativ. The word "yes" conjures visions of openness, change, transformation and creativity. The word "no" is a show-stopper, a barrier. Phil Teague, former Editor-in-Chief of Purchasing Magazine, summed it up nicely when speaking about Supply Management Professionals:

A mere shifting of direction or re-ordering of priorities won't get you where you need to be to succeed. Instead, you need a total refocus, a radically different strategy, a re-orienting that begins within yourself and your staff, and then extends to every facet of what you do.

Supply Management professionals search endlessly for the latest tools and methods that will assist them with their value obsession. They aren't stifled by the day-to-day tactical part or the work. They escape from it. This doesn't imply that they do not do it but only that they do not let it weigh them down. They transcend the tactical work. They are on a mission and nothing will stop them.

Some obscure academician coined the phrase that Supply Management is 50% science and 50% art. They were right on the mark. Half of Supply Management is a science (TCO, ESI, Supplier Capability, Quality Improvement, etc) but the rest is creativity (and what you do with the science).

Tomorrow, as you enter your "Supply Managemnt" office, do you company or institution a big favor and be something unexpected... be professional... go CREATE (or find someone who can assist you to do it!)