Supply spooks

7 December 2010
Even though chief procurement officer Ebenezer Scrooge said he wouldn’t accept cold calls – especially from ghosts – the spirit of Jacob Marley told him he would soon be receiving three visits; from the ghost of suppliers past, the ghost of suppliers present and the ghost of suppliers yet to come. The spectre of suppliers past took Scrooge back to happier times, laughing and joking on a day of corporate hospitality, followed by a slap-up meal at a Berni Inn. Those days were long gone. The ghost of suppliers present was a wretched-looking creature, squeezed and beaten to within an inch of his margin. “Bah, humbug!” said Scrooge, as the spirit prattled on about “supplier relationship management”. But the ghost of suppliers yet to come showed Scrooge a fate worse than death – being hauled up in front of the CFO to explain why the savings he claimed from his renegotiations did not appear on the bottom line. Shaken by the experience, Scrooge awoke. Opening the window and spotting a small boy he cried out: “You boy, have you seen the prize turkey in the poulterer’s window?” “Yes sir,” replied the urchin. Scrooge smiled. “Then write me an RFP for one just like it. I want to put the three cheapest vendors through a reverse auction.” Some buyers, it seems, never learn from their mistakes.
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