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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Antidote to impulse shopping

We have all been impulsive shoppers. You are bombarded every day every where to increase your reflexivity to impulsive shopping ads and opportunities. The reflex is so often repeated that it becomes habit. Impulsive shopping is habit forming. And the marketing people with a bunch of stuff to move know that and love you for it.

If there is an opposite word for "impulsive shopping", it is procurement. If you engaged in procurement rather than impulsive shopping, your retirement stash would be a whole lot bigger than it is. And if governments diligently, objectively, fairly, transparently and professionally paid heed, our taxes would go a long way further. And, perhaps even, decrease the rot of influence that corrupts governance, if that's not too much to hope for.

Procurement is a process, not a whim, an antidote to impulse shopping disease.

That is my take-away from reading an excellent skeletal outline of the procurement process. Note that this article discusses US federal procurement, so specifics will vary with jurisdictions. But it illustrates the essential road markers.

The article is actually a blog post by Lindley Ashline, and one of many similar posts shes done: lindleyashline's blog. I've provided the skeleton. Click the link and read her post for the meat.

Note, this article is about the "source selection" process. That is, it is focused on the buying process. One thing impulse buying marketers do is rush you past the antecedent decision making process: do I really need this? What exactly do I need? Given multiple and alternative needs, what priority do I give this with respect to other demands for my money (and time)?

A hallmark of impulsive buying is the untested assumption you have a need, and more to the point, a need for this particular item, right now, above all others. Before you ever even begin to consider the "how" question, engage in a rigorous discussion with yourself about "why" and "what" and "when" questions.

First Year in Contracting: The Procurement Process
1. Determine the Required Resources.
2. Assign a Program Manager and Contracting Officer.
3. Develop an Acquisition Strategy.
4. Develop an Acquisition Plan.
5. Develop a Plan of Action and Milestones.
6. Obtain Approval and Funding.
7. Establish the Source Selection Authority.
8. Develop the Final Statement of Work.
9. Conduct Market Research.
10. Finalize the RFP.
11. Send Out Draft Documents.
12. Conduct Bidders' Conference.
13. Review Requested SOW Changes.
14. Review and Approve Final RFP
15. Release RFP
16. Finalize the Source Selection Plan.
17. Answer Contractor Questions.
18. Finalize Source Selection Approach.
19. Receive Company Proposals and Begin Evaluation.
20. Receive Company Responses to Clarifications and Deficiencies.
21. Evaluate Companies’ Price Proposals.
22. Initiate Audits.
23. Make Competitive Range Determination.
24. Conduct Live Test Demonstrations.
26. Prepare for Discussions with Companies.
27. Call for Best and Final Offers.
28. Negotiate Final Contract.
29. Make Contract Award.
30. Ramp up Contract.
31. Perform Contract.
32. Close out Contract.

Can you cut corners, you ask, or make exceptions?

Sure, unless someone has a gun to your head.

But let me ask, at what point did your last diet fail?

And now, something new for this blog, and likely not to be repeated. Bound to offend someone, probably someone who hates a bad joke, but others as well, maybe. I was led to this by an odd "search" result on my blog that searched for "procurement act jokes". I tried the search myself, not expecting much there, and found exactly that.

But, in the spirit of the (intended) message this post, I did find the following procurement joke(s) here:
4. Why is it better to have a woman as the buyer? Because a male buyer will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.

5. Why is it better to have a man as the buyer? Because a female buyer will pay $1 for a $2 item she doesn’t need but is on sale.

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