Friday, 3 July 2009

The Engineer's view of Purchasing - Dave Hannon BizConnect

The link here illustrates some of the tensions between Purchasing and their clients. The key part is;

"Dave: "So what do you think of purchasing professionals in general?"

Engineer Friend (EF): "I haven't met one yet I didn't try to get fired."

Dave: "Really? Why so bitter?"

EF: "Well, imagine this. I've been working closely with a supplier on narrowing down a spec, spending a lot of phone and face time with the supplier, figuring out exactly what I want to work in my design. And then I submit it to purchasing and they come back and tell me they have a different supplier that can save us $1. And then the design fails and I get the heat.""
Dave Hannon on BizConnect

I have worked with both Engineers and Purchasing people for years, and the mistrust can be mutual. Purchasing people are rightly suspicious of Engineers who specify requirements so tightly that only one supplier can do the job - who just happens to be the one that the Engineer always uses. Why is that? Are they the best, or do they just have the best salesman, or the best Golf day?

As so often, these are best issues are best resolved by communication - and the best way to do that is to get the Engineers and Buyers together regularly, formally and informally so that they can get a feel for the role that other plays. I am a great believer in short term (3 to 6 month) secondments as a way of raising awareness and co-operation across the business. You might think your business cannot afford that, but how else are you going to get people trusting each other?

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