It was a good question and one I know many people must think, if not ask. I thought it would be useful for me to share my thoughts with you as indeed I did in my meeting.
Overall it is a case of objectives and outcomes.
The objective is always to make sure your are buying the right ‘thing’ with the right supplier and support package. Once you know that bit is spot on, you can then concentrate on buying it as cost effectively as possible.
The outcome is often a saving, but most importantly what you have bought meets the business need on an ongoing basis.
I often say to a client, there’s no point buying a pencil because its cheaper, if in fact what is needed is a pen.
To understand the ‘client need’, you first have to understand the client. Everything from their sector, the service they provide and their location, through to the culture of the business and the personalities involved. In addition you need to understand their business in terms of its current status, its history and their plan for the future.
Once you have this information you can use it as a lens through which to approach all your work for that client. It really is the best way to deliver first class results (financially, operationally and administratively) that last the test of time.
My bugbear are cost consultants (in their various guises) as they invariably tend to focus on cost and then on cost and then on cost again. This is because most of the time their income is a percentage of the saving. And most of the time the person ‘delivering’ the saving has no operational knowledge of the subject matter they are consulting on.
There is no point is saving money if all you are focusing on is cheap.