Over the years, AIQ has found that there are three essential elements of procurement that result in the best outcomes for our clients. We call these the Three C’s: Clarity, Competition, and Control.

ClarityThe first of the C’s is Clarity, and it concerns prerequisites that lay important groundwork for the overall project. It is important for you to be clear in the following ways:

Building clarity also helps in another way. The demand set of services that you put out to bid needs to look like something that you’re going to buy, and moreover that you are prepared to move on crisply. Clarity also helps avoid putting service providers in the position of building in “wiggle room” into their quotes to account for unknown costs they suspect that they might have to incur.

To obtain optimal pricing and services, once you have built clarity around the services you use and need, the next critical C is competition. Building a competitive landscape around your procurement project is vital to achieving best-in-class pricing and business terms.

Some factors influence the degree of competition that you can build. Some of the biggest are:

Like any project, procurement projects need to be well-managed, and part of the effective management of the project involves controlling various aspects of the project.

With a large procurement project, communication is the first thing around which to set up controls. Large projects involve many details and many incumbent and non-incumbent service providers. Failing to set up good communications control will add unnecessary chaos to the procurement, and ultimately will reduce the quality of information available at the end with which to make the best decision. This means that all information relating to the procurement project should pass through a single point of contact, who then is responsible for communicating information to the team and the participating service providers, as appropriate.

Another facet of controlling communication is ensuring that the information about your consumption does not give the incumbent an unfair advantage. To help ensure that, it’s important during the procurement project that everyone within the organization, including executive, operational and procurement professionals, observe the lines of communication, even for otherwise routine communications. Material adds, moves, and changes, while necessary to maintain the services for the organization, should be echoed to the procurement project team and ultimately to the bidders. This helps ensure that the bids you receive are as relevant as possible, and also that you will be able to compare them intelligently to one another. It can be a real procurement nightmare to try to select among competing bidders when they are all bidding on somewhat different things.


An effective procurement can yield large dividends to your organization. For larger companies, you can produce tens of millions of dollars a year in savings. Even smaller companies can typically achieve anywhere from 30%-60% savings on their existing spend rate. These savings flow right to the bottom line of your company and can be used to expand the company or fund other investments that are key to the company’s strategic goals.

Because of the large impact, it is critical that the procurement project is well-managed, from start to finish. The three C’s discussed here are essential components to achieving a memorable success from the effort.

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