In works procurement we need to start putting the horse back in front of the cart….

Several incidents recently have driven home to us one of the most common mistakes made in the course of procuring works.

Too often there is a desire (and often a commercial pressure within businesses) to get in place (or make improvements to) a procurement system quickly – if a need is identified, there is a corresponding pressure to meet that need swiftly and cost effectively.

What this can (and often does) result in, is something which does not actually address the needs of the business in question particularly well. Amendments and adjustments are required. Exceptions and exclusions need to be introduced and alternative “under the radar” processes spring up in the fertile breeding ground of a lack of confidence in the official mechanisms.

Too rarely, the procuring entity takes a step back and invests in the time and cost involved in identifying precisely what its procurement requirement is. What is the range, complexity and value of works to be procured? What different disciplines are involved? What are the factors which would distinguish between suppliers to ensure the right ones are selected? How does workflow operate and what processes will meet and match these requirements? And there are many other equally important issues to address.

That level of of investigation provides a business with a fighting chance of coming up with a procurement process which actually assists it in meeting its overall commercial goals and achieves the objectives of appropriate risk management and allocation and of procuring the relevant work, goods of services at appropriate cost.

Lets work out what sort of horse we have and then hook up the right cart to it….

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