“I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways……Take a look at yourself and make a change”.
One of the interesting things about consistently reading and hearing content from quality sources is that you start to notice trends. It is amazing how often the same topics arise at the same time in different places. We use this blog as a way to help you stay on top of the major themes in procurement and supply chain management.
I recently read an op-ed piece on the Sourcing Journal by Sigi Osagie that stood apart from other procurement perspectives I’ve come across recently. It observed that soft issues — issues based upon the fundamental mindset of employees — are holding businesses back from realizing their full potential. Although procurement practitioners often have a desire to better their effectiveness, they do not always recognize that these soft issues are the answer to their desire for increased influence and prominence. So how can procurement improve in line with existing performance metrics without loosing perspective of the larger organizational perspective?
The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed. This is a cute analogy about the engagement difference of the two animals. It usually makes me smile as I think about it.
When we were preparing for last week’s annual Thanksgiving post (which you can read here), we pulled all of the titles and authors that included me in their launches this year. I actually managed to review 18 books this year (although I still have two to go before the clock runs down).
As always, there are a few that really stand out as being worthy of a professional’s extremely scarce reading time. I’m going to make a wild assumption that most of you don’t have time to read 20 books on top of your other responsibilities just to get your creative juices flowing.
If you, like me, have been ‘awful good’ this year, here are a few titles that you might want Santa to slip into your stocking.
As a child at the dinner table, we were expected to try at least a bite of something. Like anyone, we often did not want to try something new. It was not comfortable and it was easier to skip it or default to what we knew we liked. There is an old commercial for Life cereal where Mikey tries it and the famous tag line – Try it, You'll Like It.
A few years ago we were hosting a holiday gathering for 7 family members. As the holiday got closer, more and more of the family had their plans change. The four days before the holiday we were expecting 7 and then it became 30 by the day before the event. Needless to say, we had to be flexible and resilient in order to make it work.
Mother Nature has shown her fury with the 7 feet of snow that has fallen on Buffalo, NY this past week. It is an epic storm that just kept dumping snow on the region. At one point there was 130 miles of highway shutdown for several days. There were tractor trailers stranded and many deliveries that did not occur. You can bet that many supply chains were impacted. Even when the roads did open up again, it was for essential vehicles only. Something tells me that your shipment was probably not considered essential to the National Guard.
This week’s webinar coverage is based on a November 11th panel event hosted by Proxima Group, featuring Jon Hansen (Procurement Insights), Tim Cummins (CEO of IACCM), Robin Shahani (Managing Director and CPO at TD Ameritrade), and Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall (Head of Commercial Strategy at Proxima Group). The event is available on demand on Proxima’s website.
“As supply chain complexity increases, so do the services which logistics providers are asked to perform. No longer is logistics seen as a tactical activity, where the gains made are purely measured in terms of transport or warehousing cost savings. Instead, customers become more engaged in the transformational impact on supply chain competitiveness which a logistics provider can achieve.” –Manners-Bell, p. 23
Global Logistics Strategies provides the characteristically thorough and thought-provoking coverage we have become accustomed to from author John Manners-Bell. In his acknowledgements, he mentions that his father set up a transport company in the 1970s. Logistics is clearly in his blood.
We have a small closet at home in a spare bedroom that acts as our overflow pantry. It is not anywhere near as organized as the picture above. In some ways it is our ‘just in case’ inventory. Usually it is stocked with staples that were on sale so we got two. Some of it however is ‘just in case’ we want to bake a cake or cookies or had an urge for some salsa and chips. This past Halloween we bought candy for 200 and only had 30 visitors. Oops!! I am sure it will get consumed somehow!
Most organizations review their associates every year. Formal feedback is given to the associate and often tied to a merit increase of some kind. Good managers are giving feedback throughout the year so there really should not be any surprises at the annual review time.
“To succeed in business is more complex than it used to be - it is no longer economically desirable to control all the components of your customer value proposition.” (p. 6)
Strategic Procurement by Caroline Booth (Kogan Page, November 2014) is a second edition, updated from its original release in 2010. Before I even get into the book’s content, I think it is worth reflecting upon the pace at which the procurement profession is changing. In the four years since Booth first released this book, there have indeed been significant changes in economies and business dynamics, requiring equally significant adjustments in procurement. In the preface, Booth calls out her increased focus on risk and the improved position of procurement, as well as enough changes in M&A involvement to add a whole chapter on it.
I do love a good story – and fortunately, in the case of Deem, I get to enjoy the ride knowing in advance that it has a happy ending.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Deem’s VP of Product Management Roger Blumberg. He took me back through the journey Deem has been on and where they plan to go from here. They started as Reardon Commerce in 2000, acquired Ketera in 2010 and rebranded as Deem in 2013.
I feel fortunate that I was not asked to predict the outcome of this story back in 2010, when a legal injunction prevented Deem from doing anything more than maintaining their current customers. I am sure I would have made the wrong call. Four years is a very long time to survive without customer base growth. The fact that Deem is still around to tell their tale demonstrates not only perseverance, but validates their value proposition. They announced their re-launch yesterday (read the press release here).
Halloween was a few days ago. We have quite a bit of candy around the house due to that holiday. In our weekly blog, Protect your supply chain like it is your last piece of chocolate, we spoke about the supply chain risk for the candy industry involving cocoa.
“Although procurement has certainly evolved from its early roots, it still faces challenges in terms of executive recognition, talent management and organizational challenges. Modern enterprises are faced with a massive set of new challenges, including the forces of globalization, increased risk, complex supply chains, and the spread of government regulation on decision making, not to mention the tremendous strain of man’s presence on the earth’s natural resources.” (p. 1)
The Procurement Value Proposition (Kogan Page, December 2014) takes on some of the most pressing challenges facing procurement today and makes them seem both more comprehensible and realistically addressable. As acknowledged in the quote above, taken from the book’s introduction, procurement has evolved significantly since the early days when we got our start in the railroad industry. The problem we must own today is that the organizations we support have evolved faster and more dramatically than we have. What procurement needs is a better understanding of how to fuel our development.