Put “problems with procurement” into Google and you will quickly find that too many companies are not getting what they want because their procurement solution is failing them. Common problems include poor planning, inaccurate needs analysis, inadequate vendor management and sourcing, and an underdeveloped contract management process.

The problem isn’t procurement per se. Having a dedicated team to ensure a business is supplied with everything it needs makes a lot of sense. The problem comes when there is a disconnect between the person doing the procuring and the people who actually need the service. If they don’t really understand what is needed and why, then they are likely to procure a solution that is inadequate.

A friend on LinkedIn put it very well: “they want the moon on a stick … for tuppence ha’penny.”

I recognise the story he tells of a procurement specialist for a big brand who wants a quality service (no problem, that’s what we do), but then also wants to add in weekly update meetings, free proofing work, free surveys for new sites, etc. 

Now, there is nothing wrong with the client coming to you with a list of requirements, but every add-on takes time and costs money. Inevitably, if your job is to procure maximum service for minimal cost, something will have to give – and that will be quality.

I’ve asked the question before, “are you getting what you pay for?” In that case, I was referring to clients who engaged a contractor but then received an inferior service.

However, it isn’t always because the service provider is at fault. If the contract is too restrictive in terms of expectations versus recompense, the contractor will be forced to make cuts in order to make the contract financially viable. This will ultimately result in poor work, unhappy technicians and dissatisfied clients. Both parties in the contract will be left with a bad taste in their mouths, but really the issue wasn’t the operational staff working for the client, nor the technicians trying to do a good job. It was the fact the procurement process had delivered a solution that was unworkable.

In my experience, only one group of people win in this scenario – procurement specialists. They get rewarded for delivering a cheap solution, but they don’t have to deal with the consequences.

I must stress this is not every procurement specialist. We work with plenty of companies who have excellent procurement departments. What makes them different is their focus is on getting the job done properly.

Cleankill is proud of the way it works with other businesses. We’ve taken the time to build strong relationships with businesses of all sizes and across a wide range of industries. We will walk away from an ‘opportunity’ to work with a company if it is apparent they will not give us the necessary time, support and recompense to do the job to our high standards.

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