Monday, October 11, 2010


I read today that Sir Philip Green has concluded that the Government is failing to make full use of its buying power when dealing with suppliers. Resisting the urge simply to say duh! and close the file, I did read on a bit, he says that centralisation is the key so that departments avoid buying the same things for different amounts of money, I can almost hear the groans pulsating up and down Victoria street as I write this.

This all sounds reasonable but if you've ever had to sell things to Governments you will know that its normally a horrific process with many layers of redundant and repeated "hoop-jumping", authorisation and approval; selling things to Governments is typically much more expensive than to anyone else. The only buying entities that come close to this are large faceless corporations like Mr Green's, then you usually face another equally expensive problem, delusional over-simplification.

I wonder how many billions have been wasted over the years flip-flopping between centralised and de-centralised models and I wonder how many more control-freak business moguls will conclude that if only the Government were run like *their* company was then everything would be fine. Mind you I bet the myriad terrorist organisations around the world will love rummaging through our armed forces "bargain basement bins" at the end of the season, buy one stinger missile, get one free anyone?

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