Why is it important for buyers to know work norming principles?

No, not that simple norming from team development model. The other one – which is also called predetermined time standards, automated microelements projecting and work norming, estimates, stop motion analysis and similar. Yes, buyers have to be a little bit of everything – operations or manufacturing specialists including. And yes, this is how you bring benefits to your company. 

Time, cost and quality are three primary factors to determine overall budget. The number, that procurement specialists aim to reduce. Very frequently, when you are dealing with low cost tasks (cleaning, maintenance), hourly cost is protected by laws and there is not much you can do. So where do we find benefits?

Option 1. Challenge “quality”. If you are looking into cleaning contract – you will most likely review areas to be cleaned, frequency of works, potentially – procedures, which are offered to you by the supplier. And that is a very strong tool to be used. I have seen contracts, where simple management staff chairs are beeing “deep-cleaned” off staines three times a week. Would you not have doubts about such assumptions? 

Option 2. Challenge “time”. How many times have you checked all seventeen (or however many) pages of the contract and analysed it line by line? And I cannot blame you – especially if those contracts are worth £100k a year while you have other things burning which are multimillion deals. However, there are differences. Some suppliers will tell you very precisely all the numbers. Area to clean; norm of area, cleanable in one hour; and a calculation of manhours needed to do full cleaning according to the agreed SLA’s. Others will not. Others will just give you the round number of FTE’s (full time equivalents), that you “need”. Do not take it for granted, challenge, if you can. This is where understanding about work norming comes to help. Many times it is not difficult to do a common sense check to understand, that “desk wiping” takes 1 minute instead of 15. 

This post is not here to make you think that you now need a sophisticated system to check your  contracts. Companies are different. A solution, which is good for company A, will be completely useless for company B. And it is our call to choose the right tool. 

If you are in services based area, you might want to google ANABES, MTM-1, MTW-1, MODAPTS PLUS. Especially, if you are looking to acquire a lot of repetitive, low value work. Think about IT systems, where a “small” part of testing can be valued in several millions. If you are not – expert judgement will always be good enough. 

And don’t get me wrong – option 3 is always there: If you notice, that you are being charged unreasonable fees or prices – that is the first and fastest thing to go for. 

Again – thanks for reading! Please do comment if you have different views or find this useful! 

Why is it important for buyers to know work norming principles?

The strenght of habits. Or: the unexpected cost of change at any price

Do you know how easy it is to preach various truths to others? And how hard it is to actually live according to them when no-one is watching? That is one part of the story. Another is expert judgement. To be wise enough to know, which habits are there for a reason and which could or should be changed. To be wise enough to distinguish, which rules are there to avoid bigger problems and which are there purely because “it was always like this”.

As a procurement specialist, I always say, that the most expensive words are “we have always done it that way”. I did not invent them and this is no news for any professional. And yes, that was the trigger for me yesterday. 

I came for a regular visit to my hairdresser’s. You know – root touch up, some trimming. She was asking me about colours and tones and I asked for my normal blonde. When she asked the magic “why?”, I said – “because I always have it this way”. The difference was, that this time I actually heard myself saying it. And, of course, at that moment my principles made the decision for me: CHANGE! Whatever happens, you cannot have it the old way. To cut the story short – from now I have purple hair. And no, no photos attached.

Thankfully, it is just hair and I’ll get over it. But take a moment to think how many samples like this you can find in your business:

  • Implementing new purchasing system for the sake of simply implementing it (because your pride does not allow you to not implement something. Because everyone is implementing something – why would not you?).
  • Buying new piece of equipment because “sales said so. And it have always been like that”. Or on the contrary – not buying it, because your principles suggest you to break the closed circle. 
  • Extending contract only because “the supplier has been here for ages”. Or… Not extending the contract purely because of the same reason.

A lot of decisions are based on feelings, emotions, principles. And that is normal. We are humans. As humans, we also have brain. Therefore, thinking is (should be) human. Thinking before acting, that is. Unless you are ready to face the consequences – whatever they are. Purple hair, for instance!!!

Have a nice friday!

The strenght of habits. Or: the unexpected cost of change at any price