Lessons of Pokémon Go for Procurement by Megan Nicol

playing pokemon go

First, let me be upfront with you.  I have not played the game and I really don’t know much about Pokémon other than Pikachu.  That being said I, like most of you, have been surrounded by those playing it just about everywhere I go.

And, it got me thinking – as we do here at the NLPA – is there anything that Procurement can glean from Pokémon Go?

So I did a little reading up on the game and the answer is (maybe surprisingly)… Yes!

“Gotta Catch ‘Em All”

So while playing, trainers (players) visit “Pokestops” to pick up items that can then be used to help lure wild Pokémon so they can catch them. (The goal being to “Catch ‘Em All!)

In Procurement, the Request for Proposal (RFP) can be used to lure as many potential suppliers for a given need as possible. During a recent NLPA webinar: “Tips For Writing Better RFP’s,” Charles Dominick, SPSM3 discussed how poorly written, confusing, and/or overwhelming RFPs can lead many suppliers to not even bother responding. Without adequate response there’s little competition. And that means your chances of securing the best supplier at the best pricing are pretty slim. Pretty bad lure, huh?

So, now is the time to make a “Procurement Stop” and review your RFP templates.  They are a great tool if you write them well and use them appropriately.  You need to ensure that they are attracting as many qualified respondents as possible, otherwise – why bother?

Not sure what you should be including in your RFP template? Charles shared the 10 critical ingredients of good RFPs in the webinar.  Both the replay and a sample RFP template are available in the NLPA Library.6.

Developing the Right Skills for Success 

According to Wikipedia, when trying to capture Pokémon: “Factors in the success rate of capture include the right force, the right time and the type of Poké Ball used.”

One particular area that comes right to mind for me is procurement negotiation. Isn’t the success rate affected by the amount of force you use, the timing of your negotiation, and which tactics you use? Sure, previous experience will help you to learn which tactics result in success, just like in the game.

However, if you don’t have experience to draw on what can you do? In the game you’ll miss out on catching a Pokémon, no big deal. (Okay, it’s probably a big deal to most players.)  In a procurement negotiation, however, you could be missing out on negotiating the best deals possible.  So, that’s where training comes in to play. In the NLPA’s course “Powerful Negotiation for Successful Buying” you’ll learn when and how much pressure to exert in negotiations (force), how to prepare for negotiations (timing), and exactly what to say in 18 common negotiation situations (tactics).  That training will set you up to catch the best deals possible from your suppliers.

Read and subscribe to catch them all!



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