A moment of clarity

29 September 2010
Lindsay Clark, international news editor, Supply Management“Procurement needs to evolve its value proposition. Outsourcing has a new platform. COEs are increasingly serving as the delivery model.” Sometimes I’m not sure I actually learnt English at school, given the way it is spoken now. It’s me that’s wrong though, financially speaking at least. People spewing garbled jargon certainly do earn more than I do. But maybe this is important. One buyer leaving a perplexing presentation at this week’s eWorld Purchasing & Supply conference agreed with me that the higher stratosphere of consultancy littered their talk with unintelligible terminology. Procurement is about saving money, getting more for what you do spend, and influencing the firms you buy from. It comes into sharp focus if you look at buying for charity – every penny saved allows you to help more people, or help people more. But it’s true everywhere. In government the challenge is obvious – to help reduce the deficit so your kids don‘t need to pay so much of it. In companies, cash is still king as bank lending remains restrictive – saving and getting more from spending keeps your workforce in jobs. Any field is bound to attract its fair share of jargon. And I’m not having a pop at consultants per se. If you’re going to do procurement better, you need to study it. But the real challenge for the profession is reaching out to those outside – colleagues in other departments and the people you buy from. The danger of too much jargon is that they stop listening as soon as you start talking. So here’s a challenge. What’s a better word for a ‘value proposition’?
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