Welcome back to another installment of Whitepaper Wednesday here on the Purchasing Certification Blog. This week, I will be reviewing a whitepaper entitled “Asymmetric Procurement Mechanisms” from BNET.

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Wow! Asymmetric Procurement Mechanisms? Could I possibly learn something groundbreaking by reading a whitepaper with a title like that?

Unfortunately, no. Though, in conversations with prospective clients, I often contrast Next Level Purchasing’s real-world-based training with our competitors’ academic training, this paper may be the most academically written document that I’ve ever read on procurement.

And not only is it academic in style – it contains lots of passages like “Our results hold for classes of distributions of types restricted by increasing hazard rate and technical assumptions on the curvature of the density function” – it is just plain bad!

The point of this three-page whitepaper was to discuss differences in two approaches to procurement of repetitively ordered goods:

  • The “Competitive Mechanism” where a buyer makes a price offer to the incumbent supplier after “learning his option through an auction amongst the entrants,” and
  • The “Protective Mechanism” where a buyer makes an offer to the incumbent supplier and “a posted price offer to the incumbent and refrains from an auction, if the incumbent accepts the offer.”

Obviously, the authors have never spent a day in a real procurement department because they left out the option where all suppliers, including the incumbent, compete at the same time on a level playing field. Plus, they also do not offer any guidance as to which of these two suboptimal approaches is better because they write that the “goal of the paper is to compare two types of mechanisms rather than to determine the optimal procurement mechanism.” Well, they certainly don’t come close to determining the optimal procurement mechanism!

If you want a good laugh – or to get lulled to sleep by academic writing that makes no real, actionable point – you can download this whitepaper from BNET’s Web site. At least registration is not required!

Categories: Procurement


Published On: December 16th, 2009Comments Off on Whitepaper Wednesday – What Are Asymmetric Procurement Mechanisms?
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