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Kelly Barner is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point. She has a unique perspective on procurement from the numerous roles she has held during her 15 years in procurement. Kelly worked for Ahold USA (parent company of grocery chains Stop & Shop, Hannaford, Giant Landover, and more) on their not for resale sourcing team, specia...lizing in systems implementation and hired services category sourcing. She spent three years as the Associate Director of consulting services at Emptoris before it was acquired by IBM in 2011.Since 2009 she has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point. Buyers Meeting Point provides the procurement industry with an events calendar, blog, active social media network, and podcast, all of which are trusted sources of information for practitioners and solution providers alike. Kelly has several regular columns throughout the industry, and in the summer of 2016 was appointed to become the Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business.Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College. Kelly has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals: Research, Process, and Resources’ (2014), ‘Procurement at a Crossroads: Career Impacting Insights into a Rapidly Changing Industry’ (2016), and 'Finance Unleashed: Leveraging the CFO for Innovation' (2017). In 2017, Kelly co-founded Palambridge with Phil Ideson (Art of Procurement). More

Recommended Procurement Webinars March 5-9: Optimizing Performance and Value, Digital Transformation, AI for Due Diligence

Just like last week, this week is light and webinars – and all of the events we have to chose from are on the same day! Next week the pace picks back up, with a number of webinars and two live events already scheduled. If you are interested in a ‘long shot’ webinar worth considering, I recommend “The New Corporate Cash Environment: Understanding Impacts On Financial Supply Chain & Cash Management” from SAPAriba on March 20th at 11am ET. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Which came first – the chicken or the data?

I recently covered a fascinating story of present-day industry intrigue… centering around allegations by food distributors Sysco and USFoods that chicken producers (including Tyson and Perdue) have been colluding to raise the prices of chicken for a decade. This story has everything that makes supply chain an exciting place to work: razor thin margins, collusion, and federal intervention.

But an easily overlooked component of this case is that industry data sources were (allegedly) manipulated by the producers.

The Sysco and USFoods lawsuits accuse chicken producers of justifying increased prices by constraining supply (i.e. ensuring less available chickens) and inflating market rates through the manipulation of industry benchmarks. The Georgia Bench pricing system had to be shut down and replaced in 2017 because of questions about the reliability of their data.

Agri Stats (a subsidiary of Eli Lilly & Co.) is actually mentioned in the lawsuits because the subscription-based data they make available to chicken producers allows the producers to determine the breeding potential (i.e. production potential) of their competitors and change their own volume in response.

Since many of procurement’s efforts – and contracts for that matter – are heavily tied to industry data sources and benchmarks, Jeanette Jones (my Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals co-author) and I decided to offer our independent advice (written in parallel and without discussion) about how to apply a critical eye to industry data.

Keep in mind that you can always get our insight on industry data at ProcureSearch - a free, online resource based on our book.

Jeanette Jones’ Perspective: Finding a Trusted Source

Two chicken pricing benchmark providers have been mired in recent events that have highlighted, in a profound way, the critical need for using trusted, credible resources. It should be noted our focus here is on one aspect and that these stories are complex as there are many factors involved with determining truthful pricing benchmarks for not only poultry, but for all agriculture commodities.

Agri Stats (a subsidiary of Eli Lilly & Co) is connected with the Sysco and US Foods lawsuits because its data made available information about chicken production that provided competitive advantage to a select few. The Georgia Premium Poultry Price Index (GPPPI), which replaced Georgia Department of Agriculture’s (GDA) Georgia Dock chicken price index in January 2017, is in the news once again as it ceased to operate this past week due to a lack of available data. The GPPPI, in response to inflated price reporting concerns, considered evolving production techniques and buying practices in the poultry industry, and included changes that measure the aggregate change in the price of poultry sold on contract over three periods of time, in addition to reporting that indicates the weekly change in demand (GDA website).

In the past year, a number of valuable articles on how to detect misleading and false data have been published. One of the emerging strategies in detecting false information is to track the leading data claim directly to the primary source. In these two stories, the primary source appears to be about as credible as you can get: self-reported data by chicken producers. The challenge presented is how do you know if the primary data is being reported and presented correctly? The damage caused by the use of misleading information is felt by the businesses that rely on the data the most. This is hard to grasp if the provider of the primary data is considered a trusted source. This is especially so if you believe, like some, that the most valuable business commodity is trust.

The answer to the trust dilemma can be solved by the implementation of transparency measures by both the provider of the resource and the primary data provider (in this case self-reported chicken producers). The provider of the resource becomes 100% transparent about where the primary data originates and how it is being used. Getting back to GPPPI, an interesting aspect of the new index is its statement on verification: All data provided will be subject to verification through a random review, done through a prescribed process that will confirm submitted prices and quantities with the buyers. All formulas and forms utilized in the calculation of the price indexes will be open source and available to all parties to allow for the opportunity for any individual or company to track their own price indexes in relation to the industry aggregate index. Company specific proprietary information will not be available to the public. Regardless of what happens with GPPPI, the GDA is on the right track in regards to transparency of methodology and data origination, which is the direct path to regaining trust of past users.

Kelly Barner’s Perspective: Putting the Fox in Charge of the Hen House

In an age where real-time data is the difference between leading an industry and lagging it, procurement would be wise to understand the connections between the sources of data and the companies that profit or not based upon what it indicates. In this case, chicken producers provided data on the price per pound they earned during the current period. That data would then govern the prices paid to producers by distributors. 10 chicken producers constitute 80% of the market – so it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that they had an incentive to provide either good news or no news. And while not all of those 10 producers are based in Georgia (where the Georgia Dock pulls its data from), Georgia is the #1 producer of chicken in the U.S. The temptation was just too great to put a finger on the scale for their own benefit. Unfortunately, they grew too bold or too greedy and the Georgia Dock was ‘indefinitely suspended’ in 2016. The final death of the Georgia Dock was when, in response to concerns, the Georgia Department of Agriculture required producers to sign affidavits that their data was accurate. That quickly led to such a drop in data that the index had to be discontinued… draw your own conclusion.

The lesson for procurement in this is to consider which contracts you will use the data to govern, where the data comes from, and how much control or leverage  those parties have over their costs, profit margins, and the data they provide.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Feb 26 – March 2: Automated Contracts and Supplier Financial Health

This is a sleepy week after last week’s flurry of webinars and conferences. If you are interested in a ‘long shot’ webinar worth considering, I recommend “Artificial Intelligence - Changing the Landscape of Due Diligence and Monitoring” from ISM and LexisNexis on March 8th at 2pm ET. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Feb 19-23: Supply Chain Visibility, Global Risk Review, Improving Business Spend Management

In addition to the virtual procurement and supply chain events taking place this week, ProcureCon Indirect East is running in Amelia Island, FL from the 20th through the 22nd. If you are interested in a ‘long shot’ webinar worth considering, I recommend “De-risking the international back-office during an acquisition” from SIG and TMF Group being offered on March 22nd at 1pm ET. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Feb 12-16: AP Automation for the Cannabis Industry, 3rd Party Risk Management, and Procuring with a Purpose

Love is in the air this week… or is that the smell of something else ‘sweet’? If you are interested in a ‘long shot’ event worth considering, I (humbly) recommend the event I am presenting on March 13th as part of BravoSolution’s 2018 Real World Procurement series: Breaking Through the Tech Hype. You can read a preview of what I’ll discuss here… DO NOT EAT!. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Feb 5 - 9: Disrupting workplace apathy, Proactive risk management, Defending supply chain innovation

In addition to this week’s webinars - and it is a busy week with 10 to choose from! - Odesma is hosting GDPR ‘Open Houses’ on Feb. 6th and 8th at their offices in London. If you are interested in a ‘long shot’ event worth considering, I recommend ‘What is Intelligent Automation and Why Should You Care?’ from IRPA on February 20th. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Jan 29 – Feb 2: Contract Management, 2018 Trends, and Supply Chain Visibility

My recommendations for this week are below, but if you’d like a ‘long shot’ event worth considering, I recommend ‘Insights on Improving Business Spend Management in 2018’ from Coupa and CFO.com on February 23rd at 12n ET. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Jan 22-26: Cognitive Supply Chain, Mindmapping, and an Efficiency/Customer Sat Paradox

In addition to the virtual events being held this week, ProcureCon Facilities is meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, FL (how nice for them…) on Monday and Tuesday. My recommendations for this week are below, but if you’d like a ‘long shot’ event worth considering, I recommend ‘How to Drive High Performance’ from SIG and Mike Staver on February 6th. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Jan 15-19: Translating Cutting-edge Technologies into Measurable Value

Another week, and another ten new webinars are added to our calendar for January and February. My recommendations for this week are below, but if you’d like a ‘long shot’ event worth considering, I recommend ‘How Much Data Accuracy is Enough?’ from S&DCE, Oliver Wight, and the SAS Institute on January 31st. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Book Review: Expensive Sentences

“We can spot an Expensive Sentence by its impact. Expensive Sentences limit information. They end conversations. They create urgency and isolation. They reduce options. They steal choice.” (p. xviii)

Expensive Sentences: Debunking the Common Myths that Derail Decisions and Sabotage Success by Jack Quarles (Ideapress, 2017) accomplishes two amazing things in one highly readable book:

  1. It provides procurement with an approach to managing ‘creep-in’ costs that has the potential to become viral on its own, as long as procurement is ready to lead the way, and
  2. It serves as a benchmark (in my opinion) that procurement’s brand image has made huge strides – and that we are being rewarded with a book that is both savvy and cool.

Expensive Sentences is about the power of spoken language. You may not be aware of it, but some of the most common sentences aired in your company on a daily basis are costing you money.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Jan 8-12: An ‘Ardent’ Start to the New Year

Happy New Year! We’re off and running – I added 11 new webinars to the calendar in January and February this weekend. Of all the new year’s resolutions, Ardent Partners’ were apparently the most resolute! They aren’t missing a beat, and as a result they dominate this week’s recommendations. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Dec 11-22: Thinking Big and Living Large to Wrap up the Year


This is my final set of event recommendations of the year, but because the events push into early next week, I’m doing a 2-week post. Believe it or not, there are already some events on the calendar for January 2018 and beyond. I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season! Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

 

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

 

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Dec 4-8: Digital Transformation, the Future of Work, Real-time eProcurement

Another busy week on the Buyers Meeting Point events calendar. As an FYI: I will be recommending events this week and next and then breaking until the events pick back up again the week of January 8. In addition to this week’s webinars, Market Dojo is hosting an eAuction Strategy Masterclass at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

 

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Recommended Webinars for Nov 27 – Dec 1: Spend Analysis Tell All, Deconstructing AI, Supply Chain Performance

This week is really busy – there are no signs of a year-end slowdown yet! In addition to the webinars taking place, ProcureCon Marketing is happening in New Orleans, LA and Procurement Leaders DITX is happening in London. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

 

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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2017 is a Year for Big #Gratitude

Five years ago, I started a tradition here at BMP – stopping to say thanks to all of the people and organizations that make it possible for me to live out my dream as a writer and procurement professional. This year is no different, although I can’t help but feel exceptional gratitude for the amazing year we are about to put into the books.

I am grateful beyond words (quite a feat given how much time I spend writing and talking) to all the people I crossed paths with this year – everyone I met in person and those of you that I will never meet but regularly engage with through the miracle of modern communications.

I wish you and your families a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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Recommended Procurement Webinars November 20-24: Digital Labor, AI, CPOs Rising

I have a bit of a ‘bone’ to pick with this week’s webinar hosts. Usually the week of Thanksgiving in the U.S. is a sleepy time – at least professionally. We all wind down Monday and Tuesday so that on Wednesday we are ready to load up the car and head for Grandma’s house. I was assuming that this year would be the same – including a quiet week for me. Not so much! This week's hosts may be 'turkeys' but their topics and speakers certainly aren't. Not only are there four events taking place on Tuesday, they all look fantastic! Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

 

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Webinars for November 13-17: 2018 Prepping, the Supplier Experience, the BIG Finance Procurement Panel

We may be approaching the end of the year (scary!!) but the webinar topics and speakers in our calendar show no signs of losing steam. This week we have three very forward-looking topics, one that literally looks at the year to come, one that considers the supplier experience, and one that may finally break the ice between procurement and finance. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

 

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Webinars for November 6-10: AI for CLM, Design Thinking, Advanced Category Management

Whether it is by bringing in new technology, taking processes to the next level, or adopting a new approach to thinking through solutions, leading procurement professionals and teams are always pushing the envelope. This week’s webinars offer guidance and applied examples on all three. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Webinars for October 30-November 3: Procurement Apps, 2018 Risk Strategy, RPA

This week is a little slower than the last two, but the topics are fantastic! The three webinars I’ve recommended below are forward looking different ways. From getting smarter through the use of procurement apps, planning our your 3rd party risk management strategy for 2018, and getting a realistic grasp on RPA adoption success, the future looks bright indeed! Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

 

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars for October 23-27: Bots, Branding, and things that go Bump in the Night

Another busy week of events! 11 webinars and ProcureCon Pharma in Philadelphia Oct. 24-26. I’m also presenting a webinar this week, along with Jaggaer and WNS Denali: How can you control rogue marketing spend? We will have an honest (and humorous) conversation about the challenges procurement commonly faces with Marketing and make some recommendations to address them. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

 

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

 

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