I’ve been outsourced.  I’ve contracted out all of my eating arrangements to Marks and Spencer.  Everything, the whole nine yards, lock stock and two smoked haddocks.  I did consider other providers, I carried out some soft market testing but Marks and Spencer were closest to meeting my defined requirements, my specification.  There was no detailed document or pre-qualification but their offering came closest to what I wanted, to fulfilling my needs.

I’ve outsourced the lot, cereal for breakfast, sandwiches in a plastic wrapper for lunch and chicken ding for tea, perhaps a pizza and then a steak on Saturday night with potatoes in a box.  I’m eating from around the world, China, India, South America, I can visit the places on holiday on long haul and then taste the flavours when I get home, nothing is too exotic or too far away.   I’m dining in for two with a main, a side and a free bottle of wine, all at a price point I couldn’t hope to match.

All I have to do is unwrap, un-box, unpack.  It goes in the microwave for four minutes (I’ve got an 800 watt) or thirty minutes at 160 degrees (fan assisted oven), it is that easy.  I stir after cooking and check it is hot before serving and that’s it, no pans, no clutter, no mess just good food and packaging (recyclable at your nearest waste reclamation centre).

I’ve offset the cost of pre-prepared food against the labour cost of production and the capital write down of the kitchen facilities.  I’ve de-cluttered and de-skilled, I don’t think I can cook any longer, I’ve lost all of my ability, forgotten my experience and got rid of all of the essential tools and equipment.  I’ve outsourced it all to Marks and Spencer.

It’s all going swimmingly, all going to plan, or is it?  I’ve done my sums, balanced the books and I’ve made the cost reductions but I’m not realising the savings.  My cost benefit analysis just isn’t squaring up.  The choice is wide and is meeting my invitation to tender but I can’t go off list, I can’t deviate from my original request, I can’t just try something different.  My ability to obtain an alternative eating model has been severely debilitated, I can’t think what to cook and I’ve lost all my supply side capability.  I feel trapped, caught in a service level agreement of my own making, entered into in good faith but caught with nowhere to go.  I never meant it to be this way.

I need to review my decision, re-evaluate my requirements, perform a test to see what else is out there, what the supply position is like and question how viable the market is.  I think I was wrong to outsource, at least wrong to choose a single supplier agreement.  This time I think I’ll enter into a framework with multiple suppliers, multiple opportunities to purchase with as wide a choice as possible.  Alternatively, when I feel hungry I might just nip down to the nearest shops.

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