Working Together


Collaboration is still very much in the spotlight in the oil and gas industry and for good reason.

Will always remember a previous student from Ireland during the credit crunch when things were really tough.

The general community interfaced with each other more; sharing information with job prospects, supporting each other, even going round to the neighbours and asking them for a cup of sugar. Similar to the old days when there wasn't so much to go around. Simply, they worked together a lot more during the tough times.

The Oil and Gas Industry isn't to dissimilar at the moment. There's less to go around; jobs, revenue etc. An organisation has to first collaborate internally before it attempts to fully collaborate with their Supply Chain, working well together and understanding the whole chain is vitally important at this current time. 

The story I usually use to show the faults of not collaborating is straight out the the CIPS text books. There are two little girls arguing that each of them should have both oranges. The mother intervened and observed the first girl peeled her orange, ate the orange and threw the peel away. The second girl peeled her orange, used the peel to make marmalade and thew the orange away!

Be innovative, be brave and work with those in a way you haven't before!




The Top 10 common problem areas of untrained Procurement and Supply Chain personnel

The Top 10 common problem areas of untrained Procurement and Supply Chain personnel within an organisation are:

•    Lack of knowledge how to obtain best value during the quotation process
•    Failure to obtain vital information in preparation for an important negotiation
•    Insufficient market research and missing out on opportunities in the marketplace
•    Lack of knowledge of the supply risks and importance of contingency plans
•    Not ascertaining the specification before going out to market
•    Misunderstanding suppliers and their own terms and conditions
•    Communicating ineffectively to stakeholders internally and externally
•    Minimal awareness of the purchasing process from cradle to grave
•    Having the mindset that their activities are a process rather than an opportunity to
      create value
•    Failing to acknowledge that there are legal, industry and internal compliances

If at least three of the above problems exist within your company and costing you money let Lean Procurement get your personnel up to speed!

Why learning can be very useful in a difficult situation

When do people learn the most and when? Is it from a want or a need, given the situation they are presently in? Some enjoy learning and see it as a happy journey to acquire new knowledge, skills and abilities, while others see it as a painful hurdle that has been forced upon them by others or a necessary inconvenience they have to go through to achieve their goals; be it grades for to get into University, obtain a higher salary or gain better job prospects.

From my own experiences I've always learned more when I had to, thrown in at the deep end and had to swim. Going out of the comfort zone rather than being on autopilot most of the time.


However, what can be scary at first often becomes enjoyable as you adapt and practice your new knowledge and skills for returns that weren't experienced before. Many times I've encountered students starting their professional procurement examinations (CIPS) who, very often, hadn't sat an exam for more than ten, sometimes twenty years. It's not really surprising that those were the students that gained the most satisfaction when they passed their first exam!

Now I'm in a similar situation of unfamiliarity after losing my job in the Oil and Gas Industry along with tens of thousands of others. This is a learning experience in itself but learning new and doing things different things can greatly help a difficult situation.  This was the catalyst why I started my MBA in Energy Management at Aberdeen University in January and formed Lean Procurement Ltd very soon after. Each involving learning; being learned and learning others.

I initially started my MBA to improve my job prospects, studying towards a recognised qualification. What I actually received was a lot more, this included:-

Boosting my confidence greatly after losing my job

Meeting and networking with individuals I wouldn't previously have met

Giving me an insight into many other opportunities in my career

Igniting the potential and energy of what I can achieve


The first module in the MBA revolved around leadership which involved individual profiling, it was then that I realised that my character and personality fitted extremely well into the ability to learn others. This would explain why there are so many teachers in my family! I also learned that the stage I was in can be explained as a journey (second module!), as outlined in my post here

It was a difficult decision financially to commit to the course but fortunately the course was flexible enough to only require funding per module. Moreover, I also received financial assistance from the University to help me get started because of my situation. From my experience starting my MBA I've seen first hand how valuable just starting out on the qualification has been for myself, this is the rationale why I offer the same structure for my own courses with assistance given to those that are keen to develop themselves.

However, for those who are partaking any recognised qualification to re-enter the job market (which is a very valid reason) will definitely get out a whole lot more.


Colin McIntyre, Lean Procurement Ltd

CIPS Contexts of Procurement and Supply

The CIPS Diploma focuses on those who have had a few years experience under their belt and are keen to progress their careers with the MCIPS qualification. The Diploma (previously called Level 4) is the entry level for the majority working in a Buying, Contracting or Supply Chain role.

The Contexts module (starting this August) is the first module in the five part series in the Diploma stage. However, candidates can pick up at any point throughout the course.

The focus on this module is understanding the value that procurement and S.C.M (Supply Chain Management) can bring to an organisation, understanding the sourcing process (which the other four modules focus on), understanding the inter-dependencies (context) between the organisation and Procurement/ Supply Chain function along with the compliance requirements when undertaking Procurement activities.

Creating value from Procurement and S.C.M is now currently more important than ever in the Oil and Gas industry and it's important to determine the approach used. Value can be gained differently depending on what is being procured. Using various tools, all an organisations materials and services can be categorised and different value strategies formed. Many see 'value' as merely requesting discounts from suppliers, this may work for certain areas such as consumables but will this strategy work for more complex purchases where the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) needs to be more fully assessed? Probably not as many further costs have not been identified, as shown in the 'Price Iceberg'  below.  For example, the seemingly cheapest option could well have other costs such as transport, replacement from poor quality and disposal thrown in which may well add up to be the least competitive of all the options..


Think of the online pricing of budget airways and other transport where the advertised price seems too good to be true. This certainly grabs your attention at first only to see other costs added during the online process, dramatically increasing the price. Fortunately these costs are visible before committing to purchase, unlike receiving a supplier invoice with 'hidden' costs thrown in. A knowledgeable buyer will address these risks at the outset and accurately compare quotations to deliver the best value for the organisation.

Outcome 1 explores the value concept much further than this very brief overview, gaining just a small insight into the theory will enable the learner to look at things differently and give suggestions to initiate improvements within their own workplace.

Further insights will be posted over the coming weeks for Purchasing Contexts along with the Advanced Diploma and Professional Diploma modules, also starting in August.