Sometimes a procurement professional needs to take care of more than just getting the required item at the best possible price. Sometimes, we need to focus on every one of the five rights:
• Right product
• Right Quality
• Right quantity
• Right price
• Right time
And sometimes you have to trust your guts. Or supplier.
In this particular case, a light systems supplier approached me. They claimed they can reduce our electricity bill for the illumination of our company by half. I presented the same to my General Manager and got the green light for a pilot in the warehouse, to replace the old metal halide lamps for LED.
The supplier promised to do a comprehensive study of the place to ensure us. Then they will give us a full report on the number and position of lights that will provide the industry standards light levels. They came, did some measurements, asked about our operating hours, and left. After a couple of days, I got a report of about 20 pages. In short, they recommended replacing the current 24 lightbulbs with 12 LED lights of almost half the power. The math was too good to be true; only a quarter of the energy will be consumed.
The General Manager was not convinced, claiming that this was only a marketing trick to push us into replacement. As per him, once we buy them, we will see it is not enough and will need to buy more from them. Now, I am no engineer, and very far from an expert in illumination systems. And with no one around me able to give a second opinion, I turned to the internet. After a couple of days of research, I came to learn that this is a quite normal case study. When properly placed, LEDs could give the same light level using about a quarter of the electricity.
My General Manager was still not on board. So he proposed a bet: if the lights do the job, he pays a dinner. If not, I pay from my pocket for the extra light units to get to the level we require.
And, I called the vendor again. He confirmed that there was nothing to worry about. They will make it happen.
So I took the bet.
The lights were installed. And they were so good, we had a feeling we could reduce even a couple more, without loss of illumination level. From there within the next year, we replaced each light in the company using the same proportion.
And I got my dinner.
Occasionally procurement has to step up and “sell” to the internal stakeholders. Not being experts, we must do a lot of research to become the Subject matter expert. But in return, we get from the business trust in our knowledge and recommendations.