This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Beware the buyer on the run

14 March 2012

I spent several pleasant hours in the company of Noel Clancy earlier this week. Noel is CEO of Shepherd FM and is one of a breed who cares passionately about training his employees to do a job well, and this was the general topic that formed the basis of our conversation.

However, among the many tangents that the conversation disappeared down was the role of procurement and the common perception that buyers don't value quality service. This is a fashionable topic, ‘procurement’ now being the perceived industry villain who can be blamed for all ills.

Procurement has become an easy target. In many cases it has become a lazy excuse for poor service. The truth is that procurement professionals are only working in the best interests of their employers. It was pointed out at a recent conference I was at that if procurement doesn’t understand the services, or the way that they are being measured, then that at least in part is the fault of the service providers who are not supplying the right information.

Noel Clancy clearly believes that the role of procurement is often to seek best price in the short term, and not necessarily long-term value. This will adversely effect the quality of service provided and also the clients core output. There is a small, but growing, segment of the procurement world that is inhabited by transient consultants. Buyers are often in a very difficult space. Buy cheap and they can become the fall guys - think long term and they won't always be around to see the merits of their forward thinking, claims Clancy. He goes on, the quality of the resulting service, which you could view as the consequences of 'shorting', are sometimes of no concern to the procurement consultant as his behaviour is being driven a different way from above. Why can't procurement teams bonuses be index linked to output? Silo procurement is the worst offender where buyers do the deal and run.

Clancy used the following example to demonstrate this – ‘How to negotiate with a dentist’. For all that this clip was undoubtedly created as no more than a joke and not as a management training tool, it does make the point pretty well if used in a FM context.

Before I get complaints from procurement consultants, my opinion is not that they are all bad. It is that if all parties are to benefit from the arrangement then it is far more likely to happen if ‘Procurement’ has some responsibility for the outcomes.

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page


View more articles
Article image

Why the Law Says You Need a Nappy Bin Disposal Service

At home, parents are used to disposing of their babies’ used nappies the same way they do any other domestic waste - bagging it up and sticking it in the r...
Article image

Major role of outsourced services in saving Whaley Bridge homes

Last week saw prolonged national media coverage of the plight of residents of Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire, due to the Toddbrook Reservoir becoming unsafe....
Article image

Appreciating the bigger picture of maintaining facilities

One of the most popular topics of discussion within meetings of the PFM Editorial Advisory Board is the applicatio...
Article image

50% FM subsidy announced for GPs in NHS facilities

GP practices based in NHS facilities have been told they will receive a minimum 50% subsidy for their FM and service charges following an announcement by a...
Article image

More, more, more. Are you ready?

Healthcare Estates 2019 is just a few short weeks away, with preparations really ramping up now for the biggest event yet; more exhibitors, more speakers, ...
Article image

Calls for better electricity supply as Ofgem investigates National Grid

Concerns have been expressed over the National Grid and its operating policies following last week's widespread power cuts....