Like a big screen action thriller, all that was missing from Barner’s ThomasNet article was popcorn . . . by Jon Hansen

Posted on September 3, 2014


From a penny wise, pound foolish acquisition to a misdirected NPM reference involving Walmart, Kelly Barner’s recent ThomasNet News article “Three False Assumptions About Strategic Sourcing” had it all.  The only thing missing for me with this roller-coaster ride of sheer procurement enjoyment, was hot buttered popcorn and a big box of Mike and Ike.

To start, I have often considered Barner’s writing style as being similar to my own in that there is a sharp – albeit not as cutting as mine – edge to her text.  In other words, she is smart and well informed, which to those who are less prepared, is a deadly combination.

Take for example the comments referenced by Barner from senior counsel of the House Committee on Small Business Emily Murphy in a recent article.

In her lamentation that current strategic sourcing practices in the federal government hurt small business, the sadly ill-informed Murphy cited Walmart as having the ideal model to emulate in terms of building mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers.   Talk about NPM gone wild!  This is the same has suggesting that the Westboro folks are moderates who are the epitome of tolerance and understanding.  Pass the soda please.

Murphy's Law?

Murphy’s Law?

In a related sub-plot, Barner then goes on to write about the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission’s misdirected award of a contract based on the apparent compliance with the state’s diversity policy.  Even though I don’t want to ruin the ending for you, suffice to say what was intended to be a win for small business turned out to be anything but for all parties concerned.  I guess I did ruin the ending after all.

There are of course other great moments to be found in the article.  However, and like the famous Far Side cartoon in which a bespectacled kid is pushing on a pull to open door that grants access to a school for the gifted Barner has, in her own immutable way, demonstrated what happens when soundbite informed bureaucrats like Murphy offer anecdotal insights on complex issues.

I can hardly wait for the sequel.


Posted in: Commentary