The Twelve Days of Procurement Christmas


On the first day of Christmas, I was asked by my FD…
To buy a Partridge in a Pear Tree

However, as the end user did not have a suitable business case approved by three organisational signatories, the request was denied.

On the second day of Christmas, I was asked by my FD…
To buy Two Turtle Doves

After much negotiation with our avian supplier, I was able to secure a discount for buying in bulk, and even got the partridge thrown in for free (since the end user had now obtained approval to purchase). Still trying to source that pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas, I was asked by my FD…
To buy Three French Hens

Talk about short notice, it’s going to take a miracle to get these delivered by Christmas, never mind the complicated export rules. Better brush up on my INCO terms. Finally secured a pear tree, however when it arrived it turned out to be a tiny sapling that will not bear fruit for at least three years. Lesson learned – always specify your requirements carefully.

On the fourth day of Christmas, I was asked by my FD…
To buy Four Calling Birds

More birds?! By now I was sensing that there was some disaggregation going on, but luckily when I totted up the costs, they did not exceed the EU threshold. I returned to my avian supplier for a quote, but he was struggling to source four. Advised business user to see if the need could be met with only three, which they decided it could, securing us a sizeable cost saving.

On the fifth day of Christmas, I was asked by my FD…
To buy Five Gold Rings

Finally, something to get my teeth into. I’m assured that these items are fully business critical. The gold market is looking pretty good for buyers at the moment, so I was able to secure a fantastic deal. Still waiting for the end user to confirm sizes, though. By the time we’re ready to place an order, gold prices will likely be going up again.

On the sixth day of Christmas, I was asked by my FD…
To buy Six Geese a Laying

Now this sounds more straightforward! I got on the phone and sourced six geese, expertly balancing price and quality to achieve best value for money. However, the end user was not very happy when they arrived. When she said “laying”, she meant laying eggs…not laying cooked on a bed of roast potatoes.

On the seventh day of Christmas, I was asked by my FD…
To buy Seven Swans a Swimming

At this point, I began to look for a new job. I mean, is the company moving into the farming industry?! What’s with all the birds?! Also, given that our office is in the middle of the city, I’m not convinced there will be much space for them to swim. The Estates Manager is measuring up the HR office for a pool as we speak.

I was interrupted mid-purchase by the turtle doves, which had been delivered loose and were now nesting in the eaves of the procurement office. Note to self – always be sure to specify clear carriage terms. It’s going to be a long week.

On the eighth day of Christmas, I was asked by my FD…
To buy Eight Maids a Milking

Ok, I’m fairly sure there are some equality and diversity issues to be considered here. We can’t just specify maids, can we?! No, I’m advised that we can’t. However, keen to meet the business need, I was able to acquire the services of a dairy company who outsourced the milking process to achieve a substantial saving, plus faster-than-expected delivery. Winner!

On the ninth day of Christmas, I was asked by my FD…
To buy Nine Ladies Dancing

Wait, didn’t we just cover the equality issue? Oh OK, this is apparently for our annual Christmas party. Given the short notice left to book, we were left with just two options – the Tiverton Tap Troupe or an experimental Black Sabbath interpretive dance act. I’m waiting for my end users to confirm their preference before ordering.

On the tenth day of Christmas, I was asked by my FD…
To buy Ten Lords a Leaping

I urged the team to consider whole-life cost here. I mean, Lords have expensive tastes, they could be pricey to maintain. Would standard members of parliament do? Also, wouldn’t this technically be considered people trafficking? The FD assured me that the company’s Modern Slavery Policy would not be breached, so I set off to London immediately.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, I was asked by my FD…
To buy Eleven Pipers Piping

Right, Ok. Does the FD know how long it took me to get those Lords back from London? They’re now leaping around the meeting room in a serious breach of health and safety policy. Plus, I’m still trying to clear all the birds out of the office in time for the Christmas party. Which these pipers are supposed to perform at. I hope they go well with the Black Sabbath dance act. Next year we should plan ahead and aggregate our purchasing requirements.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, I was asked by my FD…
To buy Twelve Drummers Drumming

I actually despair. Why couldn’t they have told me about this when I was buying the pipers?! Nevertheless, procurement to the rescue again. Using our cleverly-written conditions of contract, I returned the dancers and pipers, secured a full refund, and hired an all-in-one song and dance act to perform better services at a fraction of the cost. Now we’re all set for the Christmas party (minus a few pears, but with enough birds to easily go around). I’m looking forward to tendering for a clean-up service in the new year.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Tenet Education Services!

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