• Michael Otis

Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Get Smarter about Your Spend - Through the (Golden)Eyes of James Bond

Updated: May 19

Photo Credit: The 007 Dossier

Skyfall: It’s Time to Adapt


So the world is changing around us as we speak. Margins are thinning and we’re all trying to figure out how to do more with less. Less time, less money, fewer resources. We have no choice but to adapt to a new reality.

The impact is already felt throughout organizations of all sizes and across industries ranging from education to banking to film. As our movie theaters shut their doors last month, one of the first wide-release victims was the newest entry into the James Bond franchise – No Time to Die.

As an equally avid procurement professional and 007 fan, I’m left with just one conceivable way to reflect upon how we can use this time to change our approach to spend and purchasing – through the lens of the world’s foremost secret agent. It’s the procurement-themed spinoff none of you asked for. So grab your popcorn and strap in. The big action set pieces are sure to disappoint.


For Your Eyes Only: The Impossible Search for Key Information


I have this theory. I don’t know, let’s call it ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ That has a nice ring to it. So ‘The Big Bang Theory’… When a fledgling company is in its early stages and it’s a ball of condensed energy, there are infinite things to do with very finite resources. Nearly always, establishing standardized formats and SOPs around tracking critical procurement information (contracts, vendors, pricing, etc.) is an afterthought. Why wouldn’t it be? You have only a handful of customers and vendors. It won’t take you long to dig up the right file from within a binder or a folder.

But flash forward a handful of years, and the business has expanded significantly. You’ve grown beyond your first location or two. You now have dozens of vendors and partners. The previous hunter-gatherer approach to pulling key information has now become an impossible, time-consuming task. Every time you need to look up a contract cancellation window, it’s like M handing you the worst assignment of your career.


Photo Credit: New York Post

And although you’re aware of the problem, how are you supposed to solve it? You don’t have the headcount or the bandwidth to organize the mess, especially not right now.


The World Is Not Enough: Decentralized Procurement


Another telltale symptom of the ‘Big Bang’ is independent purchasing functions existing at each of your locations. Back when your business had just one or two sites, it was only natural for a single person or small team to manage the ongoing procurement activities and vendor relationships. As you expanded, it became unrealistic for the same group to manage all the locations without a specialized tool (like a bagpipe flamethrower or radioactive lint).

Instead, that procurement process was replicated time and time again as you took on more sites. Regional or location managers became responsible for fielding bids and building vendor relationships in addition to their seemingly endless other responsibilities.


You Only Live Twice: Enter Group Intelligence & Purchasing Power


Aside from the headache, think of the lost potential here. You’re relinquishing a tremendous amount of purchasing power and negotiating leverage by asking locations to source rates and procure vendors in a vacuum.

By consolidating pricing intel and vendor relationships at a regional or national level, you receive much more favorable proposals and contract terms. Plus, you’re now dedicating significantly less time and energy to repeating similar sourcing events across locations.

Maybe most importantly, senior management is currently forced to make critical strategic decisions without a true holistic view into either organizational spend or vendor performance.

Don’t let Blofeld wreak havoc on your strategic decision-making.


License to Kill: Streamline Procurement and Reduce Vendor Spend


So make your move. Now’s the time. Use that double-O license to streamline your procurement organization, consolidate purchasing power, transform your data, and drive down your vendor spend by 15%-25%.

Sure, an international pandemic was an unexpected villain in our story, but it’s No Time to Die. It’s time to adapt. It’s time to get better. After all, tomorrow never dies. We best get ready for it.

So head down to Q Branch and ask for the latest gadget. I hear they’ve got something you might like.


Photo Credit: RadioTimes

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