Your House Is On Fire!
Your house is on fire!
You need to get out alive, then put out the fire and then figure out how to get a new house built.
In that order.
The same is happening in the world of supply chain and procurement right now.
Right now the focus is on getting out alive. That is, keeping continuity of supply running. It is simply the only thing that matters right now, for essential categories at least.
Do not run out of stock or service capacity. Keep your business alive.
Only once you are out of the burning building can you think about putting out the fire. Develop new, possibly more robust supply chains. Ensure that in the future we have more of an ability to put out fires or better still make sure we are fire resistant in the first place. Procurement at this stage can get arrangements in place to let them react quickly to supply disruption. Dare I say it, even reconsider the global sourcing obsession in favour of more local responsive and sustainable options.
If you focus on putting the fire out when people are still inside, they might not get out in time.
And then, and only then, once the people are saved and the fire is out, does building the new house become something to think about. In the world of procurement this is equivalent to considerations of price.
Right now, price simply doesn’t matter.
It is hard to grasp for many of us - heresy even - but when the building is on fire you need to do what you need to do to survive first and foremost. You do not start applying for planning permission and commissioning architects when your current house is in flames.
The challenge for many people in the procurement profession right now is that the building has never been on fire before.
They have only ever focused on price.
It’s not their fault – it is all they have ever needed to do in many cases.
But amongst all the debate about right now being procurement’s moment to shine, be in no doubt, only those professionals who understand this will succeed. The value you can add right now is not through great pricing. It is through ensuring continuity of supply.
Focus on getting yourself and your business out of the burning building first.
You simply won’t get the chance to build a new house if you succumb to the flames.