Douglas Macbeth

Douglas Macbeth

Lead Educator
Professor of Purchasing and Supply Management. Using theory and practice to make business better is what excites me.

Location University of Southampton Business School


  • It might just be the form of the words but 'kept in the loop' suggests communication of what others are deciding rather than inclusion and empowerment of those affected by the change. Sometimes decisions have to be made by external parties but change is easy to implement if all involved have participated and agreed the future direction.

  • As a teacher I often thought I was talking to the wrong people and would have more impact if their bosses were in the room as well.

  • It would be good if you would explain why the issues you mention work against the leasing option.

  • As a general point it is worth explaining and expanding acronyms the first time they are used. Remember that this group of participants is from all over the world and terms that are common in some places will not be in others. The point is important however. @MiriamDouglas

  • It will be free to our participants.

  • This is a superb presentation. Good examples and challenges.

  • You make good points ut would add it is not just about risk sharing but about mitigation and recovery when the risk happens.

  • The need for self protection only diminishes with good experiences over time it never disappears.

  • You highlight an important point that if power is used against you that over time you will find a way to walk away from the abuser or alternatively find a way to fight back.

  • However we need to recognise that all parties need to want to work collaboratively or it cannot happen.

  • Or maybe how to not use their power?

  • Part of the problem is that what is crucial can change quite quickly. For example it is clear that health systems around the world did not consider personal protective equipment (PPE) to be strategically important until COVID struck and the the procurement and supply chain systems could not cope.

  • You make a very important point. Well done.

  • Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. World Commerce and Contracting (co academic leaders of this MOOC). Kraljic first proposed the 2x2 matrix of relationships.

  • Have a look at the WCC website. They have done a lot of work on visual contracting where diagrams etc avoid worries about language difficulties.

  • @EricNeisse also remember that innovators also often recognise a need that is not being satisfied currently and then design a solution to satisfy the need.

  • The problem with the 'aint broke thinking is that if your competitors are continuously improving they will be so far ahead of you you will never catch up.

  • Assumptions are all the things we think are correct without even thinking about them. These are often culturally influenced but because we have always done something a certain way does not mean that there might not be a better way.

  • I believe that you should not outsource your complete capability in anything since the world can change and if you need to bring it back you need capability to do that and keep operating until more capacity is created. For that reason retaining a core team monitoring developments in the outsourced capability provides risk mitigation.

  • Thanks for the explanation

  • Thanks for this. Good to know that profitability and social care can work.

  • I suppose part of the problem is how we believe that profits will be achieved. Pursuit of profit above all else benefits some but might damage others in society and it is consideration of these others that is driving discussions about how best to manage capitalism amid concerns about climate and fairness of treatment and opportunity. Even some of the most...

  • Can you explain VUCA please?

  • There a few comments about lack of clarity in objectives.

    My best example of an organisation which has this well executed is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution ( which operates as a charity to save people in trouble in seas and inland waters across the UK and Ireland ( and increasingly as disaster responders overseas. They operate with 95%...

  • What powerful companies need to remember is that sometimes market conditions change and the power can switch. In addition if the supplier thinks that their legitimate concerns are not being properly considered do you think they give their best efforts for that customer? Customers need to recognise that there are risks at some stage in using their market power.

  • Thank you very much. My email is

  • As a general point it is better to spell out all all acronyms for those newer to the subject matter.

  • Daryl
    This sounds really interesting and a valued link for the participants. Unfortunately I am struggling to get to it. I have registered for the site but cannot yet get to your highlighted feature. I shall persevere a little more but if you have a more direct link it would be great.

  • Important that you mention both sides. A good contract management process is when both sides are empowered to check and challenge each other to do better in performing against the agreed deliverables and in some cases improving on them

  • The key is who makes the law - the lawyers applying precedents and expertise following directions and wishes from legislatures or legislatures setting standards that are not easy to modify and can only be applied. Kind of depends what kind of society you live in and of course this can also change as leaderships change.

  • Thanks for this reminder to us all Nikolay.

  • This is a good suggestion and also emphasises the need to discuss and agree these aspects at the beginning of the overall process.

  • I would argue that many of the principles of relationships apply even more so in not for profit organisations but it is sometime more difficult to find the best measures of actions and successes.

  • Teams are always important but essential in multi-faceted decisions like the ones we are discussing.

  • I also have a background in CIPS so maybe no surprise here but lately I see CIPS as being too focused on the buying processes and not enough on the contract aspects that WCC is strong on. The Kraljic matrix (adapted) will be covered later in our relationship discussions.

  • I worry about the phrase 'dictate terms'! This course has emphasised understanding, communication and agreement rather than dictation. There is of course a role for all of the varieties depending on circumstances.

  • Douglas Macbeth replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    Perhaps this example is a good one for the 'create a common purpose' argument plus it is also about support for family and community by individual actions being considerate. All relevant to our discussions about contract and change?

  • Conversely a potential crisis can focus minds on the need for change but often too late to make the change effectively.

  • I guess a lot of us have been in your situation. Maybe we can adapt the advice to sales people (since you are trying to sell yourself) and that is to research how the (buyer/employer) business works, how they define success and how we as sellers can contribute through all of our capabilities and experience (across all of our life experience) to helping...

  • There remains a huge risk around getting a usable evaluation of possible future changes and how they impact the cost benefit calculation.

  • Henry The business case is the justification for suggesting a particular decision. A business model is 'the way we do things', how the big systems work and who it interacts with.

  • Please remember that both sides should do the measuring of each other for fairness.

  • Good point about the margin as the focus instead of joint benefits. The quality people argue that good quality reduces costs of getting things wrong so should not cost more Please see Bookboon publisher, Quality by Design by D K Macbeth.

  • See an earlier post about the difference between equal and equitable.

  • Just a general point for everyone, can you explain what acronyms mean the first time you uses them. Often the non expert can guess but it aids understanding to make that initial effort.

  • Two interesting examples. Thank you. Irina's in particular I will communicate with my son who lives in Abu Dhabi.

  • I argue that equality is not always justified or sensible but equity between the parties is actually more important.

  • This is very significant and is to be welcomed. Maybe more o f the project managers should be interacting with the contract ones?

  • WC&C have done a lot of work on making contracts easier to understand and less dependent on the language used, by making them more visually based including diagrams to replace complicated word descriptions.

  • We will argue later that not every relationship needs high levels of collaboration but all need good communication.

  • Douglas Macbeth replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    Maybe it is key to all good interactions in business and life?

  • Let us hope it is because some of them have been previous participants on this MOOC.

  • I would argue that the most important suppliers and customers are the one with whom you are most involved and communicative. These are the ones on whom your future depends so take care of them and allow them to prosper with mutual support. This i the essence of the relationship portfolio discussion.

  • Not just the language but the graphics. IACCM have done a lot of work on contracts that are understandable by diagrams and pictures and are not language dependent.

  • As long as you think about them and manage your external communications carefully I am happy.

  • You make valid points. For me the most important aspect is what is actually done. A partner will agree with your win-win words but will not commit until they see your considerate and collaborative behaviour.

  • I agree about governments not being willing to invest in low likelihood events even when the impacts are high but companies do the same too often.

  • Clearly competitors are not the same as someone who is directly involved but the reason to include them is that while they are not interested in our success they still have a stake in our processes to learn what they can so as to compete more effectively. If we do not have them in our consideration set we might allow communications to other stakeholders to...

  • In the UK it will be interesting to see what changes in public procurement happen without EU Procurement Guidelines to follow.

  • Most management decisions and strategies need to be reviewed on appropriate frequencies and as external circumstances change.

  • With a monopoly supplier all you can do is try to influence them to treat you well and maybe look to develop an alternative supplier if possible and legal.

  • One problem is what is likely to become core in the future. Remember that IBM thought they made machines and outsourced the operating system design and control for the PC to Microsoft and then see what happened.

  • Vertical integration is where an organisation owns all of the stages of production rather than buying them from the supplier market. It is the Make rather than the Buy option.

  • Fundamentally all operational systems can be considered to be somewhat similar. OK the driving forces are social service driven rather than for profit but many of the managerial processes will be somewhat similar.

  • A joint venture is a new legal entity and is not what we are focused on in this course. However the best inter-company relationships behave as if they were in a joint venture with co-destiny and consideration across the boundaries.

  • For more information about these issues in general my latest book might help, although it would be better to get it from a library than buy it as you will see from the pricing!

    Supply Ecosystems

    Interconnected, Interdependent and Cooperative Operations, Supply and Contract Management.

    It is published by World Scientific. ISBN: 978-981-3223-08-0

  • Starting off a new line of thought and research is a great result for us as educators. Thanks for sharing.

  • There are some similar provisions under the EU Procurement Regulations but who knows what will happen in the UK after Brexit.

  • You need to explain this more.