Inspired by the works of John Singer Sargent, you decide to learn how to paint watercolor. Towards this goal, you enroll in an art school called the Boston Watercolor Academy. Tuition is about $2000 per year, you learn. This includes all the sketching and watercolor supplies that you will need during the school year.
Learning that the Academy has approximately three hundred students in the Greater Boston area leads you to the realization that this art school must be buying a whole lot of art supplies for the students. After asking around, you identify the person in charge of procurement for the Boston Watercolor Academy.
She agrees to meet with you face to face to discuss the Academy's purchasing practices. She explains that every student enrolled in the Academy receives sketching supplies, a porcelain palette, three brushes, watercolor paper and watercolor paints, both in tubes and in pans. As she describes this, she asks for your advise.
Because watercolor students use sketching only as a preliminary step to painting a watercolors, they do not require much in terms of sketching supplies. You learn that the students receive the very basic: a few HB and B pencils (worth less than $1 each), a pencil sharpener (worth about $2), a few soft plastic erasers (also worth less than $1 a piece), and a ream of regular bond paper for sketching (worth about $3 to $5). As a whole, the sketching supplies provided to the students cost less than $15.
In relative terms, the total spend in sketching supplies is low because, even though they are good quality, these sketching supplies are very inexpensive. Also, because they are standard commodities, many suppliers can provide them. Suppliers typically have excess capacity, and there is a wide assortment of alternatives: a pencil (or eraser, or sharpener, or paper) from one brand can be easily substituted by any number of alternatives without affecting the quality of the student's experience.
According to the framework discussed in the Lesson, what type of purchase better describes the sketching supplies?
Which of the following recommendations would you make to the purchasing person at the Boston Watercolor Academy regarding sketching supplies?
A. The Academy should try to minimize the number of transactions related to sketching supplies.
B.The Academy should take the time to organize an auction where suppliers submit sealed bids for selling sketching supplies.
C.The Academy could consider using VMI or consignment inventory for sketching supplies.
D.The Academy should create relationships with other buyers of pencils in Boston, so that they can buy together as a consortium and consolidate volume.
E. none of above
A very important supply for the Boston Watercolor Academy is watercolor paper. Watercolor is a notoriously difficult medium to master, because it can be somewhat unpredictable and mistakes are very hard to correct. To learn properly, students will have to make a lot of mistakes, and this requires access to a continuous supply of watercolor paper.
It has to be good watercolor paper, too. Watercolor performs poorly in the cheaper type of paper, so usually using top quality paper is recommended for serious students, so that they can experience how the pigments behave on the good quality surface of professional grade watercolor. However, professional quality paper is expensive. Also, due to the large size of the sheets of watercolor paper, its shipping costs are not trivial.
The good news is that there are several suppliers of high quality watercolor paper, and they have excess capacity. There is a standard specification for the type of paper used, and it is easy to substitute one of the top brands by another: there are alternatives. For each student, the Academy spends hundreds of dollars in watercolor paper every year, which makes it an important component of the spend.
According to the framework discussed in the Lesson, what type of purchase better describes the watercolor paper?
Which of the following recommendations would you make to the purchasing person at the Boston Watercolor Academy regarding watercolor paper?
A. When comparing alternatives, the Academy should consider the paper's landed cost, i.e. including shipping cost.
B.The Academy should assure supply continuity for watercolor paper.
C.The Academy should retain flexibility in supply, monitor alternatives and be ready to switch suppliers.
D.The Academy should consider developing a long-term exclusivity contract with manufacturers of watercolor paper.
E. none of above
The paintbrush is for a watercolorist what the magic wand is for a wizard. A good watercolor brush will have the ability to retain water until it touches the paper, to spring back and to maintain a pointy shape. Historically, the best watercolor brushes have been made from the tail hair of the winter coat of the male Mustela sibirica, a species of weasel (often confused with a sable) from the Kolinsky region of northern Siberia.
Kolinsky brushes are very expensive: a good one may cost several hundred dollars. However, given that – with proper care – a good brush will last a lifetime, brushes represent a relatively small part of the spend at the Academy. Another advantage is that a relatively small number of brushes will suffice: a 1″ flat brush, a No. 8 round brush and a liner are all a student needs.
The brushes used in the Boston Watercolor Academy are engraved with the Academy's logo. Because they are custom engraved, they are a considered a specialty item that is not readily available in the market. There are only a few suppliers that manufacture top-end Kolinsky brushes who also offer engraving services, and they have a limited supply capacity for engraving. Since the Boston Academy is not a big customer for them, usually orders are faced with a long waiting time.
According to the framework discussed in the Lesson, what type of purchase better describes the watercolor brushes?
Which of the following recommendations would you make to the purchasing person at the Boston Watercolor Academy regarding the watercolor brushes?
A. They should consider using brushes without the logo of the Academy. These will perform just as well, cost less money and make the Academy less dependent on a few suppliers.
B.The Academy may want to keep healthy level of safety stock of brushes, to ensure continuity of supply in case of disruption.
C.The Academy may want to look into new synthetic alternatives to the Kolinsky brushes, which perform almost equally well, and have better availability and lower cost.
D.The Academy may want to increase the number and variety of brushes that its students use in the lessons.
E. none of above