Ensure Your Legacy: Be a Braggart
When you retire or leave your current purchasing job, what legacy will you leave behind? Or, after the budget cutters come knocking on your door, will you even have a legacy?
One recent Purchasing LISTSERV email from a fellow Purchasing Manager, who is retiring, reported that the Custodial Manager would soon fill his position due to budget cuts. Another LISTSERV email reported a department losing one buyer and one buyer’s assistant, again due to budget cuts.
Does that retiring Purchasing Manager have a legacy, considering his job would soon be filled by a non-purchasing employee? Does a Purchasing Department that just hit a budget-cut iceberg have a legacy? The legacy should not be “We do the best we can to provide good service, but no one in senior management really appreciates our department.”
How do you create a lasting purchasing legacy? How do you navigate the purchasing department through the budget-cutting storm? If you are waiting on senior management to appreciate your department on their own, good luck.
Instead of relying on luck, try becoming a PPB, a Professional Purchasing Braggart. You have to be willing to “toot your horn” and brag about your department. Here are some things PPBs can brag about to senior management:
Bid savings achieved. We use the difference between the average bid price and the winning bid, but we also look at last price paid and what the customer planned to pay for something, whatever fits the situation.
Cost avoidance actions. We track negotiated discounts, rebates and any cost avoidance related to our customer’s personnel costs.
Purchase orders processed. We also track turn-around time.
Contracts managed. We track numbers, types, extensions and renewals
Pcard program. We track number of transactions to show cost avoidance (no purchase order needed). We also track program rebates achieved.
Other things managed by your department (warehouse, asset management, etc.). We track the prices charged by our “competition” in a “market basket” of our top-selling warehouse items, which lets us show the average savings produced by our volume purchasing power. We also track the deployment of new assets and asset inventory results
How do PPBs get started? Our department turned achieving savings into a team goal. We have fun with it. Every year our PPBs (purchasing buyers) set a goal of “saving” their total salaries as early in the year as possible. This year, we did it in one month, mostly because of the savings achieved on three bids. We continuously report these savings to the Chief Financial Officer. He has actually started factoring our savings goals into the annual budget. Basically, we have convinced him that to cut the Purchasing Department would actually cost the organization more than it saved.
PPBs get so good at bragging that there is no doubt about a legacy. When it comes to budget cuts, PPBs are driving the train, not getting run over by it.
Become a PPB for your purchasing organization and start your own legacy.
About the author
Steve Demel, CPPO, is contracts, purchasing and warehouse manager for Tacoma (Wash.) Public Schools.