This Old In-house: Everyone Needs a J-O-B


James O’Brien is a colorful character. A Jersey boy to the core, he wasn’t a person one would characterize as a Boy Scout in his youth, but time and a good wife got him on the straight and narrow. As a cigar aficionado, heavy metal addict and former muscle car maven, Jim is not your typical paper-pushing procurement colleague.



But a procurement professional he is, and he’s surely one of the best you’ll ever find. “What does any of this have to do with in-house design?” you may be asking yourself. The answer is – quite a bit. Not to get too hyperbolic here, but the very success of your team could be resting on your particular JOB’s shoulders.

Jim is pretty unique in the world of procurement, sourcing, purchasing (whatever moniker your company uses). He did not move into it by way of buying paper clips and copier paper. Starting as a pressman and later as a print manager, Jim worked for a several commercial printers before moving in-house as a print buyer in the pharmaceutical industry.

Over time, Jim became immersed in the world of in-house and purchasing and saw first-hand the value proposition that in-house teams offer their companies. He became a valuable liaison between the in-house teams where he worked and the procurement department as well as a consultant of sorts to clients trying to make sense of contracts and invoices they would receive from outside marketing services vendors.

Jim is an advocate for in-house design with the financial chops and business rationales to back up his defense of in-house groups. If you have a JOB in your company, make friends with him and partner with him on crafting your specific value proposition. If you don’t have a JOB, find a procurement peer with the potential to become a JOB, befriend him and school him up on the design side of marketing services and then set him loose. It may be the best thing you ever did for your team.

James O’Brien, Procurement Maven