Buyers Meeting Point procurement by Kelly Barner

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Kelly is the Managing Editor of Buyers Meeting Point. She has a unique perspective on procurement from her experience on both sides of the negotiation desk. She has led projects involving members of procurement, supplier and purchasing teams. She has practical skills in strategic sourcing program design and management, opportunity assessment, knowledge management, and custom taxonomy design and implementation. She also has direct sourcing experience in a number of product and service categories including: inventory fuel, location-based services, corrugated, and corporate purchasing cards. Kelly has her MBA as well as an MS in Library and Information Science.

Webinar notes: Taking Charge of Your Career

Webinar notes: Taking Charge of Your Career

These event notes are based on a webinar presented by Supply Chain Insights on June 25, 2015. The webinar can be viewed on demand without any registration requirements here. I advocate seeing it for a look into some of Supply Chain Insights’ research on trends in supply chain talent development as well as to hear the stories shared by the panelists.

Along with moderator (Supply Chain Insights founder and CEO) Lora Cecere, the event panelists were Andrew Byer, P&G’s Associate Director of Supply Network, and Fran O’Sullivan, IBM’s General Manager of Systems, Strategy, and Operations.

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Book Review: Strategic Sourcing and Category Management: Lessons Learned at IKEA

Book Review: Strategic Sourcing and Category Management: Lessons Learned at IKEA

Strategic Sourcing and Category Management: Lessons Learned at IKEA by Magnus Carlsson (KoganPage, August 2015) is not a case study, although I didn’t need the note from the author in the introduction to know that. The author may have spent 25 years at IKEA, working in strategic sourcing, but this is less a story of one company and more the learnings gained by one professional over 2.5 decades in a competitive environment.

Like any other book I review or event I attend, my focus in reading this book was to cull out the important ideas: what are the few take aways that really stand out as unique? There are quite a few in this book, any of which will improve the maturity and results of your procurement organization. I think this book is fantastic – full of great new ideas and ways to implement them.

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Webinar Recommendations for July 27 - 31, 2015: Digital marketing spend, Selecting a spend analysis solution, and Early engagement in sourcing projects

Webinar Recommendations for July 27 - 31, 2015: Digital marketing spend, Selecting a spend analysis solution, and Early engagement in sourcing projects

With eight events in three days, webinar hosts must see this as a week that most people are back in the office from early July vacations. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and connect to their registration pages.

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Guest Post on Design News: Your Supplier is Not Your Friend

Guest Post on Design News: Your Supplier is Not Your Friend

Companies should never confuse a supply relationship with friendship. In fact, part of the role of any good provider is to challenge its clients in a productive way. Many times, companies outsource in order to transfer the majority of risk to suppliers.

In June, Design News hosted a webcast on product lifecycle management presented by team members at Sparton, a firm that handles the both design and manufacturing efforts for low/medium-volume, high-complexity components. Their presentation, “Why Product Lifecycle Management Is an Emerging Trend,” included all of the cost, timing, and supply chain implications of PLM.  

During the webcast, Sparton presenters spoke about the importance of building relationships with key suppliers. That emphasis makes sense because, in Sparton’s role as an outsourcing provider to manufacturing companies, the company sees advantages realized with those that they are able to partner with versus those that hold them at arm’s length or push back on project recommendations.

Good suppliers will bring their interests into alignment with those of their clients and make sure that the risks they are being asked to bear do not come back to bite their clients in the end. They understand that there are costs associated with each risk and, in order to service their customers efficiently, suppliers need to help them root out the causes of those risks.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS POST ON DESIGN NEWS

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Keeping Procurement Moving at the Speed of Modern Communications

Keeping Procurement Moving at the Speed of Modern Communications

Many thanks to the Market Dojo team for their cooperation and collaboration on this post - proof that they have attention spans longer than goldfish. 

 

Everywhere you look, there is evidence that the pace of the world is picking up. We share our status instantly in 140 characters or less. Meetings are routinely scheduled for 30 minutes rather than an hour. We check email, make phone calls, catch up on the news, etc. while walking from one place to another so we are fully informed when we arrive. Saying, “Oh, I hadn’t seen that yet...” is likely to be received with skeptical looks and rolled eyes.

 

As an active part of this constantly updating, clipped environment, procurement professionals need to be aware of the general pace of interaction between people and organizations. We have to be both purposeful and accurate if we are going to hold people’s attention long enough to get from them what we need.

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How much should a procurement process vary by company or category?

How much should a procurement process vary by company or category?

Last week I shared six B2B buying processes being compared by Wake Forest University in North Carolina. You can learn more about their research here.

I looked at the processes, and can see where each of them would have a place in the right scenario. You would expect processes to be different by company or industry, but do you ever vary your process by category? Feel free to share you comments below or join the conversation on Twitter: @BuyersMeetPoint.

I think (E) Robinson, Faris, and Wind most closely resembles the standard strategic sourcing process that most organizations follow. A typical process usually 6-8 steps, starting with internal and historical data collection and leading to either supplier performance management or a hand-off to the internal stakeholders who will manage the relationship for the duration of the contract.

That being said, the other models match different (and maybe less typical but no less common in the grand scheme of things) procurement situations...

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Guest Post on the Social Contracting Blog: Contract Management: Yours, Mine, and Ours

Guest Post on the Social Contracting Blog: Contract Management: Yours, Mine, and Ours

In his recent book Global Supply Chain Ecosystems, Mark Millar wrote, "…today's supply chains encompass complex webs of interdependencies, frequently spanning the globe, designed and deployed to optimize critical attributes – such as speed, agility, and resilience – that drive competitive advantage."

His point plays out on a daily basis through the contract management strategies and practices in many organizations. Because our supply chains are no longer linear or consecutive, we may be buying from and selling to the same company at the same time. This puts our organization in the role of being simultaneously both buyer and supplier.

While there is no problem with this, it does raise complexities for the procurement and sales teams if one or the other is unaware of something going on. I can honestly say I have seen this happen firsthand.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS POST ON THE SOCIAL CONTRACTING BLOG

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Webinar Recommendations for July 20 - 24, 2015: Best cost through right cost, P2P security loops, and preventing P2P from becoming an unhappiness sandwich

Webinar Recommendations for July 20 - 24, 2015: Best cost through right cost, P2P security loops, and preventing P2P from becoming an unhappiness sandwich

Dragging through the dog days of summer? Find refreshment in this week’s event recommendations – three webinars that take an interesting look at the challenges procurement faces all year round. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and connect to their registration pages.

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Guest Post on the Ivalua Blog: Can Technology Cure Procurement’s Budget Blues?

Guest Post on the Ivalua Blog: Can Technology Cure Procurement’s Budget Blues?

Budgets are concrete things, based in fixed numbers. But it’s amazing how much time is spent discussing budgets subjectively. Much like the spend procurement brings under management, finalizing a budget can be managed with the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the time should be dedicated to discussing 20 percent of the spend. The trick is to discuss the right 20 percent!

Procurement technology can play a bigger role in budgeting than it does today. When spend categorization aligns with projects and line items in a budget, the whole process becomes more fact-based. Past budgets can be compared to actual spending for an improved understanding of where forecasting was the most (or the least) accurate. Projects that never took place will be easier to spot, as will overages by cost center or supply requirement.

Predictable categories of spend shouldn’t be the main focus. Assuming the need was properly anticipated, only minimal changes (if any) are likely to be required from one year to the next. Instead, more benefits come when discussion centers on investment opportunities with upside, or those that carry specific risks.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS POST ON THE IVALUA BLOG

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Which sequence best represents your buying process?

Which sequence best represents your buying process?

Professors Michelle Steward and Jim Narus at Wake Forest University in North Carolina are learning about the B2B buying process. In particular, they are interested in the buying process that you find fits your current job. Please select one of the six models (below) that best fits your buying process. Feel free to note any differences or customized aspects if what you see does not match your job exactly. The collective findings from the study will be used for academic journal articles that are aimed at explaining how the buying process has changed over time. All participants will be sent a copy of the final paper. No names (personal nor company) will be used in the publication, only general findings will be reported.

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Procurement as a ‘Worldly’ Profession: What are your news habits?

Procurement as a ‘Worldly’ Profession: What are your news habits?

In May I covered the first chapter of Xchanging’s 2015 Global Procurement Study. (You can read my notes here). The primary take aways were that capacity is more of a constraint than capabilities, KPIs are very diverse, and that practitioners may be getting the wrong idea about the field from media coverage that steers them one way when they need to take another.

The new chapter: External Threats Plaguing Procurement (available for download here after a brief registration) looks into global risk factors. The report couldn’t have been more timely, given how much coverage the Greek banking crisis has been getting.

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Webinar Recommendations for July 13 – 17, 2015: Spend as a Service, Attacking Capital Wasters, and the Global Organization

Webinar Recommendations for July 13 – 17, 2015: Spend as a Service, Attacking Capital Wasters, and the Global Organization

There are three events taking place this week, and they are all worth attending. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and connect to their registration pages.

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Blog Pick: Procurement ROI vs Relevance and Influence

Blog Pick: Procurement ROI vs Relevance and Influence

Back in April, Greg Anderson, President of Directworks, wrote a post for their blog that contained a classic good news / bad news scenario: Making the business case for sourcing automation is more about executive relevance than ROI.

First, the good news: because of the cost reductions associated with cloud delivery models, delivering an amazing ROI shortly after implementing a sourcing solution is pretty much a slam dunk. This is especially true if you put direct as well as indirect spend through the solution.

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Webinar Recommendations for July 6 - 10, 2015: Townhall on Risk, the End of SAP’s eSoD, and Contract Playbooks

Webinar Recommendations for July 6 - 10, 2015: Townhall on Risk, the End of SAP’s eSoD, and Contract Playbooks

As we start the first full week of July, events are continuing – albeit at a slower summer pace. The upside of that is that anyone presenting a webinar knows the topic has to be really compelling to get people to attend. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and connect to their registration pages.

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Guest Post on the Social Contracting Blog: Is there “Tough Love” Embedded in Your Budget Process?

Guest Post on the Social Contracting Blog: Is there “Tough Love” Embedded in Your Budget Process?

It is the worst question Procurement ever faces. C'mon – you know what question I'm talking about. That horrible, terrible question from Finance for which there is no good answer…

If Procurement worked so hard and saved all of this money, WHERE IS IT?

Ugh.

The problem is that the space between negotiated and realized savings is full of pitfalls: unexpected requirements, inaccurate demand, and budget holders who see an opportunity to unofficially reallocate savings elsewhere. Even when additional value is created, many times by the end of the year the savings have all but evaporated.

This is a problem that has to be handled by the top level of the organization. If the strategic vision of the leadership team requires that all uncommitted funds be returned to a central account, they have to be willing to support Procurement by issuing a mandate. Declaring that all funds saved by Procurement are to be removed from line of business budgets is a tough love decision. But all that really matters is whether or not it is the right decision for the company as a whole.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS POST ON THE SOCIAL CONTRACTING BLOG

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Procurement Perspectives Podcast: Hear from the 30 Under 30 Supply Chain Stars

Procurement Perspectives Podcast: Hear from the 30 Under 30 Supply Chain Stars

This week our audio comes from the ThomasNet and ISM 30 Under 30 Supply Chain Rising Stars program. They hosted a panel-style interview and discussion with some of the 2014 award recipients at this year’s ISM conference. The full hour-long conversation is available on Sound Cloud if you want to hear it.

The podcast starts with each of the participating recipients and program mentors introducing themselves and then moves on to a press-conference style question and answer session with some of the most recognizable names in procurement media – including the Hackett Group, Manufacturing Talk Radio, and Spend Matters.

The excerpt I selected to share starts with a question from Supply Chain Management Review’s Editorial Director, Bob Trebilcock, as he asks how these rising stars ended up in supply chain.

You can listen to the podcast on the PI Window on Business Blog Talk Radio channel or on our Sound Cloud page.

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Webinar Recommendations for June 29 – July 3, 2015: Outsourcing Health Checks, Risk Management, and eInvoicing

Webinar Recommendations for June 29 – July 3, 2015: Outsourcing Health Checks, Risk Management, and eInvoicing

This week is shortened for many companies in the US because of the July 4th holiday, but there is plenty going on in the first part of the week. I happen to think the three events taking place on Tuesday are the picks of the week. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and connect to their registration pages.

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Webinar Notes: Collaborative Procurement: Using Relationships to Drive Influence and Results

Webinar Notes: Collaborative Procurement: Using Relationships to Drive Influence and Results

These webinar notes are based on a June 17th event hosted by Puridiom and presented by Andrew Bartolini from Ardent Partners. If you are interested in viewing the full event on demand, you can do so here after a quick registration.

Based on Ardent Partners’ CPO Rising 2015 Report (which you can read more about here) this event focused in on the CPO’s agenda around collaboration, which is arguably one of the highest priorities for everyone in procurement. Even more interesting are the observations we can make when you look at the relationship between collaboration and influence.

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Guest Post on Design News: Understanding the Differences between Strategic Sourcing Goals, Objectives, and Requirements

Guest Post on Design News: Understanding the Differences between Strategic Sourcing Goals, Objectives, and Requirements

Early in the course of a product design and manufacturing organization’s strategic sourcing project it is common to have a kickoff meeting that includes the engineering team. It is the opportunity for the sourcing project team to lay the groundwork for the rest of the effort. One of the most critical discussions that should be a part of the kickoff is around the goals, objectives, and requirements for the project.

This is an effort to be taken seriously by both procurement, which should facilitate the discussion, and engineering, which provides critical inputs. Unlike a mission statement, which is often dismissed as being an overly soft (and largely meaningless) feel-good expression of early-stage enthusiasm, goals, objectives, and requirements are tools that will be used actively in the sourcing project once it reaches the decision-making stage.

When I worked as a consultant at a procurement solutions provider, I held workshops on kickoffs for the procurement teams I coached, as part of their project management skills development. There are two tricky lessons to be learned about goals, objectives, and requirements: how to formulate them and how to tell in which category an idea belongs.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS POST ON DESIGN NEWS

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eBook Review: Introduction to Robotic Process Automation – A Primer

eBook Review: Introduction to Robotic Process Automation – A Primer

On June 5th, I covered a webinar on Robotic Process Automation (see my notes here). At the time, they announced the planned release of an eBook on the topic. It is now available for free as a download after joining the Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA) - which is also free - or on Amazon for $9.99.

Unless you are a hard-core Kindle user, I’d recommend the free download, but that’s just me. The eBook is 35 very readable PDF pages that make the case for RPA equally to audiences in IT, procurement, and service providers. The best thing about the eBook is the prevalence of discipline agnostic case studies. Although the basic RPA concept is not too complex, its application may seem a little abstract. The frequent examples in the eBook make the idea easy to embrace.

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