I recently contracted with a local company for a service at my home. The team that did the work was excellent and I was very happy with the result, but interactions with the support staff in the field and office made it “hard to be their customer”.

As I work with clients, I seldom find a procurement group that sees production or maintenance as a customer. They are seldom team players and sometimes take actions that are not in the best interest of value stream production because of how they are measured. If they are centralized, they take on a life of their own as a power center. They may not collaborate with production and maintenance departments to make the management team strong. Sometimes it seems that the departments directly responsible for producing the product or service exist to serve procurement. If your  procurement/warehouse group behaves like this, 1) it is not possible for you to maximize production or the use of your personnel, 2) significant financial losses are occurring (probably not measured) and 3) production and maintenance superintendents have changed the way they manage these departments to compensate for this weak relationship.

The impacts of this poor service to production groups falls back into the laps of superintendents who are already strained to make production goals. If you are dealing with this problem on a daily basis, have you attempted to communicate what you really need to procurement? If so, did anything change?