About the Author

Ken Cole
SPS Consultancy

Ken Cole has worked in senior positions in both the public and private sectors and was one of the founding Directors of SPS in 2001. He recently completed a three year secondment as Director of the London Centre of Excellence. Ken has thrilled many public and private audiences with his incisive analysis, robust delivery and his belief in 'telling it as it is'. His blog is a regular commentary of the improvement and efficiency agenda.

Make sure you pay a frequent visit to find out Ken's latest thoughts on the workings of government, the latest policy initiatives and much more...

Recent Blog Posts...

Hijacking Procurement
Ken Cole
Mar 25, 2013
Mr Pickles uses the 'P word'.
Ken Cole
Mar 07, 2013
Haringey Leads London
Ken Cole
Feb 14, 2013
Time to rethink Supplier Evaluation
Ken Cole
Aug 30, 2012
Smoke and Mirrors in Whitehall!
Ken Cole
Jul 12, 2012
Collaboration at its best
Ken Cole
May 25, 2012
Latest Procurement Card Scare
Ken Cole
Mar 21, 2012
iESE - a model for a Big Society?
Ken Cole
Mar 06, 2012
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
Ken Cole
Feb 03, 2012

Building your own cost increases

Jun 10, 2008


In the public sector the search for cash savinngs and other efficiency gains marches relentlessly on. With the possibility of an economic downturn on the horizon, it looks as if the private sector may be forced to follow suit and seriously review its cost base too. Sadly, this usually means reducing headcount, as people account for about 60 -70% of the totals costs in a service based organisation. It will also mean getting tough with suppliers - well at least some of them!

But - Who are the real creators of cost? Yes, in some cases it is the supplier, particularly the large monopolies and cartel- like providers ( not that they are supposed to exist!). However in many instances cost generation is found inside the buying organisation itself. No, it is not the paperwork and forms - this cost gets passed onto the final end user.

The main sources of cost increase are:

  1. the inability of many organisations to accept a standard product / service, or change its processes and ways so that it can use a standard offering
  2. the absence of internal planning to allow enough time for the initiation of procurement activity and coordination with other organisations to maximise commercial leverage
  3. market conditioning by the supplier

If organsiations invested a fraction of the time and effort in the early stages of the 'upstream' procurement cycle as they do in the later 'downstream' activity (e.g. Invoice processing / checking), they would soon be able to make a difference to their cost base. We can always hope...........


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