Procurement of Materials and Resources

Introduction

The practice of project management has undergone a sea change in the way it is conceptualized and executed. Gone are the days when the project manager operated in silos without and larger picture focus and without any concern for the environmental and the social costs of the projects he or she was executing. In recent times, with the advent of CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility and the increased awareness of environmental concerns, project managers have to balance the economic costs of the project along with the impact of the project on the environment and the social impact of the project (East, 2009, 8). This has led to the Project Manager’s job being redefined as both an entrepreneur and a manager combining to provide synergies resulting in leadership that would be beneficial to the team and the organization. It is often said that Project Management is simultaneously an art and a science because it needs to be precise as a scientific method would entail and it needs to be qualitative especially as project management has to deal with the human resource management (team building, team management) aspects of leadership.

Intelligent Procurement

The next aspect of project management that we are discussing is the practice of intelligent procurement of materials and resources needed for the project. Every project manager is tasked with the selection of resources and people for the project. In the context of a low carbon business project, the project manager has to ensure that he or she intelligently goes about procurement of materials. What intelligent procurement means is that the project manager has to ensure that the contractors and vendors selected to supply resources are compliant with international environmental norms and that they meet the specifications laid down by the organization for its procurement practices (Lientz & Rea, 2002, 9).

Every organization needs to institute a set of guidelines for procurement and in the case of a low carbon project; the project manager would have to raise the bar as far as environmental norms for procurement are concerned. The project manager has to convince the sourcing department to make exceptions to his or her project since it is a project that is highly specific in its objectives. Next, the selection of vendors and contractors for supplying resources must not only meet the cost benefit criteria but also the enhanced environmental norms that are needed for the project.

The process of intelligent procurement uses a combination of existing procedures for procurement combined with one off exceptions for the project in relation to the sourcing of resources and material for the project. When projects are deemed to be “green” in nature and hence need specific and tailored goods and services, the project manager may have to cast his net wide to reach out to the vendors and contractors who are not traditional suppliers for the organization. Hence, there is a need for smart procurement practices as well as a nimble and efficient process in place to select the vendors and contractors for the procurement of supplies. A low carbon business project needs to have a carbon check at every stage of the project in terms of the carbon footprint that it is generating and hence, the project manager of a low carbon business project has to keep auditing the same for carbon throughput (Meredith & Mantel, 2009, 64).

Conclusion

As explained in previous sections, the project manager would do well to publish a project charter that enunciates the vision and mission for the project. In addition, the PMP or the Project Management Plan must include all the details of the project not limited to the three aspects. These aspects must be complemented with human resource management, costing and project tracking activities.


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