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Procurement At The Movies: RoboProc.

Category managementLeadership Talent and Leadership

Picture this...a movie about corporate procurement might be a rare thing, but imagine how purchasing could enhance the plot of a silver screen classic. Here's our guest contributor's pitch...


Omni Procurement Solutions (OPS) has won a contract to improve procurement controls at LeichtFuss Inc., and is guaranteed a massive outsourcing contract if it can cure acute over-spending.

OPS senior VP, Kurt Price, offers LeichtFuss a new spend management droid, XSF4C, that will monitor and control all spend; and starts from the annual business planning cycle. However it is not popular with internal clients and during a demonstration it accidentally wipes out the HR director's entire budget and fires the head of compliance.

The client's chairman, nicknamed 'Blatter' due to his cavalier approach to governance, decides to go with a new cyborg design from OPS, RoboProc, proposed by the younger Ed Byer. The cyborg will pretend to 'partner' with internal clients so that they do not notice that it has emptied their budgets. Price, meanwhile, is disgusted that his droid solution has been rejected in favour of the untested cyborg proposal from his upstart colleague, Byer. 


In order to create the cyborg, OPS must find a human purchasing manager and persuade them to undergo a radical implant. Kaufmann is a talented category manager who is seen as a maverick within procurement. He is given a project that causes him to be sacked for spectacularly missing his savings targets.

With no job and poor references, Kaufmann is persuaded to undergo the cyborg transformation and is programmed with three directives: to maximize savings; be trusted by internal clients; and follow rules that stop him perceiving any conflict between the first two.

He single-handedly drives spend down by 35% at LeichtFuss whose revenues and share-price plummet due to lack of new products. Kaufmann is unable to see the impact of what he is doing and believes that only more savings can save LeichtFuss from bankruptcy. He develops an angry psychosis, punctuated by tantalizing flash-backs to his previous life that indicate that he may somehow be the cause of LeichtFuss's problems, not its savior.

An expenses claim, submitted to the LeichtFuss in Byer's name, including various seedy discrepancies. Price informs LeichtFuss's corporate compliance department. Byer is sacked.

Kaufmann goes to see Price in OPS's HQ and Price brags that he bought those 'seedy discrepancies' in Byer's name. Price programs the droid, XSF4C, to remove the budget that maintains the cyborg that was Kaufmann.

Kaufmann attempts to reveal the truth about Price but is unable to because of a fourth directive that had been secretly programmed into him – to give unwavering support to OPS' management.

Meanwhile, the procurement department, fearing replacement by OPS cyborgs, go on a work-to-rule, following every governance directive ever issued and bringing LeichtFuss operations to a standstill. Price is sacked but not before LeichtFuss finds that the organisation works better without a Procurement function.


The end. 


Rating: PG (childish situations / language)

Genre: Classics, purchasing

Directed By: Peter Jalkrik

Runtime: Infinite loop


Contributed by: @BillKestrel

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