Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

Buyer Line Item Veto

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Although many organizations like to pretend they never stoop to performing any non-strategic, transactional work, let’s face it – they do. Ill-formed requests come in, and often times they’re important. Whether a price check or a complex buy, the question is how to involve a professional buyer (at the right time and in the right way) to maximize company efficiency and optimize for better outcomes.

My mind has been turning to the notion of a buyer “Line Item Veto.” The thinking is that buyers could use an increase in their authority and ability to help the company make better decisions. All too often they get involved way too late to help – and sometimes so late that they simply slow down a bad process en route to a bad outcome.

Systems don’t help with this issue. Those I’m familiar with direct buyer involvement to the “last hoop” in a queue of approvals and signoffs. Yet to review a problematic transaction at the end of the line is WAY TOO LATE in the approval cycle to be helpful.

The flaw in logic (in my opinion of course since I’m being controversial & anti-establishment here) is that by pushing the review to the last possible moment you can ensure the number of items requiring attention by the buyer is the least possible. But I doubt this happens, and it’s far more likely that each transaction, thoughtfully garbled by approvers as well as the requester, becomes much harder to unwind and correct, just like the strings of holiday lights I have to untangle each year.

So consider getting your buyers involved earlier, even if you fear a higher workload. You may find each transaction takes much less work “to fix”. And if you’re already working this way, drop me a line and let me know your experiences..



Written by Dave Stephens

02/26/07 10:52 PM at 10:52 pm

Posted in Procurement

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