Julie S. Roberts
Though there are many similarities between private sector and public sector purchasing and supply management functions, at least one large difference remains. Public sector supply managers are often required to work with a governing board of elected officials. Regardless of the board members' knowledge of and experience with the purchasing and supply management function, the board is ultimately responsible for the approval of the purchasing department's recommendation to appropriate and spend public funds.
Sometimes these relationships are easy to maintain and work with, but there are times when the relationship of a supply manager with his or her board may be strained. What can be done to create and maintain a good working relationship?
First, it is important to identify some of the "hot buttons" that might lead to questioning and concern from the board. A few of these "hot buttons" are:
One way to avoid and/or overcome a few of these "hot buttons" is to be clear and concise when making board presentations. Ideally, the board agenda items should present obvious, non-controversial choices.
Participants in this workshop had opportunity to review short cases to best discern what should be presented at a board meeting. Of course, depending on the type of board a supply manager is working with — such as a board who ratifies the purchasing department's recommendation versus a board who wants to be involved in making the procurement decisions — will largely determine the depth to which the issue is discussed. However, there are points that will consistently produce a good presentation for the governing board. When preparing a presentation, supply managers should:
By Julie S. Roberts, Writer for Purchasing Today®.