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Making Best Practice Purchasing Decisions Step By Step

We prefer to "buy" more than "be sold", and this puts the responsibility for implementing best practices on the purchaser. This purchasing process can help you define your purchasing process.

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You and your customers like to BUY, not be SOLD. That means today's buyers take more responsibility for stepping through the "best practice" steps on significant purchases.

At Solutions For Green, we construct our "solutions" information to match this buying process to help our readers who are sometimes buyers, and sometimes sellers. We know you always need the right information at the right time... and this stairstep approach helps you get what you need, when you need it.

Buyers -- shoppers -- identify their unique problem. And it's almost always the NEXT problem or challenge they want to solve. One at a time. Especially when times are "normal"... but like the current President, sometimes you get caught making numerous decisions concurrently when times are stressful or challenging. That's when knowing how to find the RIGHT information at the RIGHT time is really valuable!

After identifying the realistic problem that is theirs to solve, buyers evaluate options, strategies, their budget, the potential. This step can be short in the case of a package of paperclips, or require an extensive research, review, analysis process for a new car or an HVAC system! General solutions are compared and contrasted. This is often when green and sustainable features and benefits are added to high-performance criteria to achieve several goals at once -- goals such as better working conditions, lower environmental footprint, compliance with regulations, and keeping pace with the new green economy. Once you decide on the preferred approach or technology of the solution -- you look for solutions: products, services and processes to implement their strategy to strive for the desired outcome.

Solutions exist within SYSTEMS -- and after products are narrowed down or selected to fit into the system, a short list of vendors is identified, interviewed and asked to submit proposals. This becomes a very quiet, reflective time when internal evaluation among departments takes place, and the entire system is surveyed for compatibility for extensive or complex purchases. By this time the key metrics, criteria, prices, maintenance costs and compliance factors have been identified and prioritized. The goal of this stage is to cement good relations with major vendors and make initial purchase of equipment and systems that will probably affect the organization for some time to come. This is complete system design process when technologies are involved.

Once purchases have been made, the rubber hits the road and buyer-seller teams implement the products, services and/or processes in operations with change management, risk management and installation techniques. Training, implementation, testing, and production to scale is the high tide mark of the buying process.

Full production of the solution can mean improved production, new marketing opportunities, or improved working conditions and relief from compliance regulations. Many purchases are made in stages, and once the solution is commissioned for high performance, it's time to replicate, market and share the new solution -- share the new capacity and results with customers, employees, investors, and stakeholders through marketing promotion, communications, reporting and ventures that can grow the organization's value.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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