Making A Case for Maverick Spend and A Maverick Mindset

Posted on October 18, 2022


“Maverick spend is usually a symptom of poor procurement . . . And maverick spend can cost you unbelievable amounts of cash.” – Daniel Barnes (LinkedIn, October 18th, 2022)

Leave it to Daniel Barnes to take up the mantle of a potentially controversial topic like “maverick spend.” I enjoy the fact that he represents the next generation of procurement militants who are not concerned with challenging the status quo. Challenging the norm as he is prone to do – such as he did with his dinosaur reference- helps keep our industry fresh and energized.

Daniel Barnes

That said, the objective of putting your opinion out there is not to get consensus but to create a meaningful dialogue. In other words, you should always be willing to challenge a challenge as part of the process of refining an idea or concept. When it comes to Maverick spend, here is my refinement by way of a comment on Daniel’s LinkedIn post:

In 2013 I wrote the following: “Maverick spend, which I contend is an “artificially created problem that was the unintended consequence of poorly designed ERP procurement platforms” that limited supplier engagement, reflected the fact that buyers were being forced to go against what they knew from experience was a better route to achieving savings.”

Throw in a dash of vendor rationalization while ignoring the inherent dangers of a “Pull-Through” contract strategy; it makes you wonder if maverick spend costs “unbelievable amounts of cash.”

Case Studies such as the one with a major electronics chain in the US suggest that off-contract buying will save you a considerable amount of money depending on the products you buy.

Other examples include the Department of National Defence and the New York City Transit Authority.

Here is a link that explains the basis for the above assertions and to which categories of spend it applies:

Hint: Tail Spend and, in particular, Indirect MRO Materials benefit from a Maverick Mindset.

In the context of challenging a challenge, in many cases, those “accused” of circumventing the system these past many years by purchasing certain products outside of a contract can take credit for the evolution of procurement technology. Without their willingness to go against the flow of common thinking and practices, I doubt that our SaaS solutions would have been developed into what we have today.

So, where do you stand on maverick spend? Is there even such a thing as maverick spend in today’s digitally driven AI world?

Once again, check out Daniel’s original LinkedIn post and share your comments there:


Posted in: Commentary