An introduction to procurement

14 January 2011
As I sit here, slightly nervous at the prospect of writing my first blog for Supply Management, it dawns on me that the art of procurement might not actually be quite as foreign as I originally thought. Wikipedia defines procurement as “the acquisition of appropriate goods and/or services at the best possible total cost of ownership to meet the needs of the purchaser in terms of quality and quantity, time, and location”. Now, I’m obviously cutting corners here, but this sounds a bit like the definition of my weekly food shop - and seeing how vicious some people get around the ‘reduced to clear’ section, I guess I’m not exactly alone on that one. I’m not suggesting that actual and effective procurement is easily done. Rather, I’m observing that as businesses and government bodies resort to drastic cost-saving strategies, the general public are picking up some valuable buying skills along the way and the profile of purchasing is rising. We are fully soaked in tales of recession, rising inflation and tough economic times. Cost-efficiency is now a defining feature of our buying habits. However, I don’t believe this is caused only by sheer necessity. Buying well has grown to be a social thing too. We share our best tips and killer deals with friends and it makes us feel like we belong - look how popular group-buying websites have become. People want to get the best value for money, in the shortest amount of time, and preferably in a way that doesn’t cost the environment too much. Buying expensive things at an expensive price without consideration for your carbon footprint is not ‘flash’, it is just tacky and inconsiderate, and a thing of the past for sure.
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