Earlier this week I attended a Southern Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce (SSCCI) breakfast meeting. There were alot of new faces there, which made it all the more interesting. Despite the gloom in the media, the mood in the meeting was optimistic and upbeat

For a change we had a speaker, who talked very informatively about a subject I’d never really thought much about – where businesses source their products from. Lawrie Elwell from Product Sourcing Services gave us some very well thought through tips on how to source items. Some of these struck me as also very appropriate in other business situations.

His first point was that the “specification must be tight” – one of the most common problems I see when I’m facilitating is that ideas have not been properly thought through, the thinking has been missed out and actions taken too soon. We’ve all seen the frequent reports on Government IT failures and delays, which also stem from a lack of clarity. Lawrie’s 3rd point was to choose safe and not to be a guinea pig – very wise words!

I was also pleased to hear Lawrie stress that you should be “in it for the long term”, “be practical to your incumbent” and “don’t stop buying from your existing supplier”. To me, listening to how some businesses operate, they don’t lift their eyes from the current deal to think about the longer term picture and can get into serious difficulties, leading to a fire fighting culture.

All in all, it was a thought provoking and experience filled talk, all before 9am in the morning!

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