January 28 2022 00:00
Why we need to change course in procurement
Procurement has more than ever before an important role to play in the major transitions lying ahead for our societies and mankind.
We are only able to cope with scarcity in our societies if consumers, companies and governments change the way they spend their money. Nothing else will do the job here (think about it for a while...!). Good intentions will not help. Sound research and studies will not do the job. Planning and developing scenario's for the future will not be sufficient. Political debates will not make the change either. Only ACTION will make the change happen. It is here where professional procurement hits the road. Only if we change the way we buy ie the way we spend our money will allow us to make the necessary transition!
The major energy transition cannot be left only to companies and governments. Consumers, you and I, need to do our share. We need to rethink the way we spend our holidays, the way we commute and the way we consume. This all has to to with the way in which we as consumers spend our money!
The energy transition cannot be made if companies continue to buy at wehere they find the lowest possible price. If they continue to strive for profit maximization and shareholder value. And are allowed by our societies and politicians to do so! Rather private enterprise should strive for maximizing stakeholder value and they should be forced by careful and caring international legislation to do so. Therefore cost driven purchasing should change into value driven procurement that continuously seeks the best solutions from suppliers rather than making them conform to strict specifications and playing them off in digital auctions. We need to engage to our supplier communities to help us develop the best solutions for the challenges lying ahead! If we do so we will soon find out that it will make our work as procurement professionals so much more interesting and valuable!
The transitions that need to be made in our societies cannot be made if governments continue their ruthless and irresponsible spending behavior. Ruthless as they seem not interested in keeping their household finances in order, moving the financial burden to future generations. Irresponsible because they repeatedly are not interested in the outcomes of their spending, do not keep control in the way money is spend, resulting in corruption, failure and enormous waste of taxpayers' money!This notwithstanding the legal environment (ie. EU Procurement Guidelines and Laws) in which they operate.
This is why I invested, together with my co-authors and friends, in a total update i.e. complete review of my major textbooks. New editions were published in November 2021 (Dutch textbook with co-authors Jordie van Berkel and Gert Walhof)) and February 2022 (English/American textbook with co-author prof dr Frank Rozemeijer). I will keep you posted on these books. I may also mention the Swedish edition here which thanks to my co-author Dr. Katarina Arbin, was completely updated in 2019. All our books convey a dramatic change from traditional cost driven purchasing to advanced, value driven procurement practices with a strong emphasis on sustainable and circular sourcing. Fortunately we have sufficient best practices on our side, that are reflected in the books, to present in every chapter convincing stories.
All my life I have believed in the strong interplay between science and business practice. This will not change. Which is why I have continued and will continue my work as Chairman of the Nevi Research Committee, which endeavours to stimulate both academic research and education at major polytechnic schools and universities in The Netherlands. This allows me to keep and maintain my network in both the academic and business world and in the Dutch Procurement Association which is so dear to me. It also allows me to bring the best of the academic world to you, the world of business and procurement practitioners.