If implementing an eProcurement solution could save the government significant money but in the process cost you or others their job as a buyer what would you do?

Posted on June 30, 2011


There were a number of other disputes in the public services during the year with several pay disputes across the UK decentralized civil service pay bargaining arrangements.  However, the largest industrial action there involved workers in the Department of Works and Pensions protesting at the planned 30,000 job cuts imposed as part of the Gershon efficiency review.”

from the May 9th, 2009 Procurement Insights post Wayne Wouters, Gershon and the PS Union Suit = Shared Services


In the above referenced article I had made the observation that the majority of targeted savings for any eProcurement initiative whether in the public or for that matter private sector, is largely based on job reduction.

Citing the Gershon review as just one example of how this elephant (or gorilla if that is your preference) in the room, is often soft soaped or overlooked in its entirety, I found the Canadian Government’s zero sum approach to the likely layoffs associated with their shared services strategy a masterpiece in creative PR.

Specifically, Treasury Board President Reg Alcock’s assertion that in reality the strategy would be implemented without layoffs because (get ready for it), “of the massive wave of baby boomers who will be retiring over the next five to seven years.”

Unfortunately the intrepid Mr. Alcock failed to actually disclose how the government arrived at the conclusion that attrition and retirement alone will maintain a zero job-loss ratio or balance.

From the standpoint of a first-hand experience, I can vividly remember the comment by a buyer associated with our management of the DND contract in Canada who upon seeing our web-based solution in action said (and I quote), you can get a monkey to do my job, why would I support its use?

He was of course right, as the number of departmental buyers was reduced over an 18 month period from 23 down to 3, while Indirect Material delivery performance went from a non-compliant 51% next day to 97.3%.  The added ouch factor here was that the DND realized a 23% year-over-year reduction in the cost of goods during the next 7 year period.

So here is the question . . . what if your organization, was going to implement a web-based eProcurement solution that would result in a likely layoff? How would you respond?

Remember to take a few seconds to respond to our poll and let us know what you think: