Friday, 2 August 2013

Execution bottlenecks in procurement

I have always been surprised at how difficult it is for workshop delegates to populate the 'Bottleneck' quadrant of a Kraljic matrix - those procurements which although potentially low price have such an strategic impact on the organisation that they can 'stop the line'.

There appears to be something built into the DNA of those who discuss procurement to focus on managing big sums of money as opposed to managing risks - low value is the unglamorous side of procurement. Yet, delivering great procurement is about identifying the right strategy for all sorts of procurements, including those which are low value but high risk.

You may recall my previous post on the strategic significance of a $10 hinge on laptops - that was an example of a 'Bottleneck' item.

Today (2 August 2013) we have learnt of a somewhat dark procurement example, the dilemma facing the state of Texas as it faces a potential shortage of drugs used for lethal injections for those who it seeks to speed on their journey to the next life through execution. Whether or not you think such a shortage is a good thing is not the point - the issue is a change in the external environment which led to a shortage of supply, in this case relocation of a key supplier to a country which does not want to be associated with execution. I feel it would be totally inappropriate for me to suggest alternative options for the state of Texas but they will need to have some solutions before the end of September [2013].

One of the problems with 'bottleneck' items is that because they are low value they are rarely picked up through a spend analysis which is an over simplification of where to focus attention.

So now you have two examples of 'Bottleneck' items but how specific can you be in identifying your own organisation's or is that a risk not yet managed?

PS: 30 April 2014 As if Texas wasn't bad enough, Oklahoma ended up with botched executions and calls to reveal their suppliers of legal injections.

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