Nun-process outsourcing

30 March 2010
A good procurement professional can negotiate a better price on just about anything – even the body of Christ. The religious authorities at Lourdes probably felt the warm glow of a job well done when they discovered that buying communion wafers from a Polish manufacturer would save the Church money. Unfortunately for their immortal souls, they also managed to upset the original suppliers: French nuns. And, as it turned out, nuns are not big fans of either outsourcing or procurement departments. “Before, it was easier, you just had a word with the priest. But today material matters are often dealt with by lay people,” said Carmelite nun Sister Marcelline, lamenting the power of “people in purchasing” and foreign producers’ willingness to undercut the market. Rather than asking their boss to smite their Polish competitor, the nuns played fair by launching a publicity campaign. The campaign, which included creating a video entitled God’s Bakers and telling newspaper reporters that the income they earned from making 140 million symbols of Christian grace was vital to the survival of more than 50 religious communities, worked: they won the deal back. But it could also be argued that the procurement team won, too, as the nuns were only restored to commercial grace after agreeing to cut their price.
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