The 16$ muffin and understanding B2G and B2B buying and payment processes

The 16$ muffin has outraged  Americans given that you can get a fairly decent muffin for about $2. In fact, Senator  Chuck Grassley has asked for "heads to roll"  and BBC has run a story of how impossible it is to come up with a$16 muffin.

Given the B2B and also B2G focus of this blog we  tried to find the  US-DOJ audit report. This is a PDF file and you can search the word "muffins" which appears 15 times and the $16 appears seven times in the report but is not really answered in the replies to the audit questions. Now with all the media attention some government buyers will have to face  what looks like a lot of trouble ,when the the real question is about the B2G  and B2B buying and payment process.

There are specific guidelines for refreshments including muffins on page 64 of the 2011 USDOJ financial guide. Forbes is quoting Hilton at Washington which hosted the 2009 conference  in saying:

" In Washington, the contracted breakfast included fresh fruit, coffee, juice, muffins, tax and gratuity, for an inclusive price of $16 per person," Hilton Worldwide said in a statement.

Dining receipts are often abbreviated and do not reflect the full pre-contracted menu and service provided, as is the case with recent media reports of breakfast items approved for some government meetings," Hilton Worldwide's statement added.

The auditors meanwhile are staying with their findings according to the same Forbes report

Here are three things to learn for both marketers and supply chain folks:

  1. Buyer: Make the contract terms clear at the point of signing. Mention all what is being bought,what is free etc.
  2. Marketer: You are setting up the contract but invoicing is important so your people must reference the contract, even if they are abbreviating the invoice.
  3. Buyer/Marketer: Insist on good payment documentation or at least proper references to the order.  Remember the accounts payable person is sometimes under a time deadline to ensure that payments reach vendors in time or as contracted. Sounds unglamorous but necessary because auditors go by documents and different people may be involved in documenting the delivery than those who contract. 

The 16$ muffin story will continue to develop  as  what the LA times calls the "joyful indignation"   of the public  shows no signs of abating.

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