The common Orange ideology in today’s organizations has led to creating different expenditure limits for purchasing, depending on the persons rank in the hierarchy. A bartender might be allowed to purchase produce from a grocery store for under 50 euros, a line manager might have permission to purchase goods up to 500euros but beyond that they would need a permission from a manager above for purchases higher than that and so on. After a certain limit, the purchase orders must go through a centralized department where someone approves the request, or not, and negotiates with the suppliers and partners before sealing the deal.
As often in Teal, the answer to purchasing and investment questions is trust. In a self-managed bar, the staff can purchase pretty much any new equipment or product they need, as long as they use the advice process in their decision making (see Decision making part one and two). If a shaker brakes during a shift, the bartender doesn’t have to file a request for a manager or a department and wait for a green light from their manager and finally wait for the shaker to arrive one day. The bartender can simply log into their partners (or a recommended suppliers) website and place an order right after the shift ends. They can then write a simple note in an all access log book mentioning they placed an order and when it should arrive. Now, everyone is informed that a new shaker is on it’s way and no time has been wasted in unnecessary bureaucratics and wondering, whether or not a new one has been ordered.
If the purchase or investment needs a bit more attention, a bartender can evaluate the need for it, write down the right specifications and then negotiate with suppliers. This gives the team a say in what models or brands they want to use at work, which can help with efficiency, especially when it’s a matter of changing into a new process, preparation technique or a way of operating in the venue. If it comes down to two similarly priced equipment and the team is more familiar with one of them, choose that one. On the other hand, attention to detail can mean something as simple as buying the right jigger that everyone uses already. In self-managed bars, workers rather than specific managers are in charge of purchasing the produce, equipment and machinery they use. Of course it comes quite naturally, that someone who is known to have a great whiskey knowledge could be the one who primarily places the bars whiskey orders.
In some occasions, volume discounts can be a more economical choice in the long run. Perhaps, before hitting the “Order Now” button, the decision maker can double check if someone else is thinking about ordering an item from the same company. One simply has to trust that when there is value in coordination, people will start to coordinate.
Standardization trusts the advice process. If a new shaker, plate set or laptop (that works with the existing IT environment) has to be bought, it is only natural to ask advice from people who have more knowledge of the matter, which again, leads to the standards being followed automatically. Don’t go and buy a PC for the bar if everything is set up for a Mac environment (duh..). In the more complex cases a person will step up and gather a meeting/group to look into the matter and specify and define the new standard equipment.
All in all, the point is to get rid of those unnecessary and slow bureaucratic steps that are oftentimes slowing down the process, rather than making it faster. Take this with a grain of salt, I’m not saying you should give your bank details to a trainee on their first day, but check yourself before you wreck yourself. Trusting your team and their judgement can actually save time, energy and money.