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E-procurement doesn’t improve purchasing; it just means you purchase badly more efficiently

MSoft, a small family run software company with limited partnership liability status had created one of the UK’s most exciting inventory management, tracking and application products for the National Health Service. A best-kept secret, the business had fought long and hard to establish a foothold in a business community where central government recommendations often over-road best product availability.

Whilst understanding that any commodity for any industry could be managed, purchased in or tracked going to use through traditional e-procurement and warehouse tracking technology, MSoft had decided to focus solely upon the extended services sector for the National Health Service.

This area involved public service provision, the management through health service bodies and the local authority to assist in the welfare of the infirm, elderly and or those long-term sick.

As a business, MSoft had seen the sector suffer from chronic bureaucracy and more recently a tendency for ‘joint project’ management across a number of regions or health provision services which compounded this ailment further - services becoming stretched and in some cases deteriorating as logistics fell into transitory voids where few people could take direct ownership for the performance of the services, or waste associated with meeting the needs of a growing elderly population.

MSoft approached Anderson Baillie to help them break into the health sector. This market was known to Anderson Baillie as a semi-closed sector as much of the software procured to meet the challenges of the patients had to go through Government committee or preference product selections. MSoft were not known at present on either, therefore the strategy had to be able to out-manoeuvre such restrictions, educate the disparate audiences as to why they should abandon central government doctrine and risk investing in technology that was not recommended by the health service or public sector.

Anderson Baillie presented MSoft with an argument that e-procurement, their current description of service or value, was not strong enough.

The proposition presented to MSoft by Anderson Baillie focused less upon the efficient buying behaviour possible through e-procurement and more on the need to consume in the first place. The argument presented by Anderson Baillie was significantly stronger and would cause greater reflection within the audience - if an authority understood why they would consume, waste would be more easily eradicated and real savings would be made regardless of the e-procurement technology that was applied.


In creating the thought leadership concept of Consumption Management, Anderson Baillie established the ‘Pillars of Consumption’ - where and how waste, regardless of procurement technique applied, still occurred.

These were simple arguments that every business could relate to – misuse, over-use, excessive contingency, stock theft, etc. These were then applied to a selling and consultancy model which enables MSoft to engage the customer, not on simply procurement issues, but on a matter of acute commercial and business intelligence - ‘did they know why they purchased at the levels they did and how consumables were used? Did this result in excessive procurement activity? How much liquidity could be returned to the public service balance sheet if consumption behaviour was understood? Could procurement be tightened further if consumption behaviour was more clear?

This proposition enabled differential from e-procurement, closer affinity with those managing the health service and above all it presented their customers and prospects with innovation to health service provision problems, long believed to be uncontrollable or if they were controlled it would be to the detriment of the patient.

Through the proposition created by Anderson Baillie and the go-to-market strategy suggested to sales and marketing teams, MSoft could clearly demonstrate that service was not directly prepositional to procurement or the availability of consumables to meet patient need. They simply proved that beyond doubt a poor understanding of consumption was the route cause to poor service provision.

Put this right, use only where effective and in the quantities required for a ’fit-for-purpose-activity’ and there were immediate and direct effects in improved service provision which in the long-term improve authority financial flexibility through cost management and not cost cutting.

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