This author generally begins discussing this subject with our customers and prospects during the discovery phase of our engagements. It helps to get us all on the same page and as such we get a lot of different definitions. Quite frankly we get almost as many as the number of people we discuss the subject with. Surprisingly the process which is quite simple as a definition is not any different from when I first learned it over 40 years ago in the U.S. Air Force other than its automation provided by modern procurement tools.
Typically procurement consists of seven (7) steps. Where the confusion generally enters is that each step can have a process of its own or be interrelated with another step in the process. An example would be the contract lifecycle that easily fits within the negotiation cycle and the renewal cycle. Another might be that information gathering which is the generally accepted first step in the process can apply to multiple issues such as information gathering for the related product or services such as specifications as well as the information gathering of prospective supplier data.
As such, the simple steps to the procurement lifecycle that most individuals generally agree upon are as follows.
1. Information gathering
2. Supplier contact
3. Background review
Most times keeping this simple model in mind will allow retail procurement professionals to answer the question where are we in the process when a project gets stalled or off track.
We look forward to and appreciate your comments.