BMPweblogo2015

Keep current with BMP linkedin twitter scribd btn red 24x24blogtalkradio 24x24youtube24x24soundcloud 24x24

"The Point" is written by BMP Editor Kelly Barner as well as a diverse group of guest contributors.

Green is good

Green is good

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, we are enjoying warming temperatures, Spring is on the way and everything is turning green. You can hear a collective cheer as another winter season has passed. A few weeks ago it was St. Patrick’s day and the color of attire everywhere was green. In the US, the currency is green, and obviously a focus for the procurement teams. Everywhere, their focus is on the financial impact (green or otherwise) that they bring to their organizations.

Another form of green is sustainable procurement practices. While it is beneficial for the planet and future generations, it is difficult for businesses to practice when the focus is on financial. This is especially true when it is more expensive to procure “green” products and services.

Procurement Insights article by Nick Ford, Sustainable Impact: Converting Environmental Impact into Financial Impact, shares some interesting perspectives.

One of the topics covered is for your procurement organization to set up rules on who to do business with. Similar to how suppliers have to have financial stability, business practices can be put in place with KPI’s on how their sustainability rating is. Based on that scorecard, procurement can decide who to award the business to. The ratings should take into account not only how green the actual product or service is but also how environmentally friendly the supplier’s manufacturing process is. For example, back in the 1960’s and 70’s, a manufacturing facility near my home was utilizing a nearby lake for their waste. While every other lake in the area froze solid in the winter, this one was steaming. Thankfully that practice has not been done in a very long time and the lake is quite clean at this point. What if one of your suppliers was treating the environment in this fashion today? Would you know it and could allocate your purchasing decisions elsewhere and influencing suppliers to make a change?

What has your team done with sustainability? Have you put a scorecard together for suppliers?

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.

Continue reading
1395 Hits
0 Comments

Death of a Software Salesman

Death of a Software Salesman

Arthur Miller’s 1949 play ‘Death of a Salesman’ is often listed as one of America’s finest and most influential stage dramas of the twentieth century. It was a tale that conveyed the American Dream but was interlaced with flashbacks that betrayed the contrast between illusion and reality. The Enterprise software sector echoes this drama in numerous ways and shares its inevitable ending.

Recent Comments
Guest — Kelly Barner
For anyone that isn't familiar with keelvar and what they offer, read my notes from a conversation I had with Alan Holland back in... Read More
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 2:02 PM
Guest — Anya@MarketDojo
We can certainly class ourselves at Market Dojo as niche players in the market. (See the link below to our resources where you can... Read More
Thursday, 09 April 2015 12:12 PM
Continue reading
2730 Hits
2 Comments

Webinar Notes: CPO Rising 2015: The Agility Agenda

Webinar Notes: CPO Rising 2015: The Agility Agenda

This week’s webinar notes are from a March 31st event sponsored by SAP/Ariba and presented by Andrew Bartolini of Ardent Partners. I assume it will be made available on demand on Ariba’s Resource Page – you can click Show Search Options and Search by Type to focus on webinar replays.

This is Ardent Partners’ 10th annual CPO Rising research and report. This year’s participant group included 318 CPOs (and similarly positioned procurement leaders) in the survey and a group of 26 who were interviewed for additional information and context.

Continue reading
1422 Hits
0 Comments

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Dual Sourcing Your Product Or Service

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Dual Sourcing Your Product Or Service

We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.” Choosing to dual source a category means using two (or more) suppliers to provide identical copies of a product or service. Many companies choose to dual source a product to maintain quality levels of service to their customers and mitigate potential supply chain issues.

Recent Comments
Guest — Alan Holland
Some excellent points are made in this article. Procurement has long overlooked how critical it is to have dual sourcing. The seco... Read More
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 8:08 AM
Guest — Elizabeth Skipor
Agreed, it is a challenge to find 2 suppliers who can provide identical outputs. It creates a lot of up front work and headache, b... Read More
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 3:03 PM
Continue reading
1959 Hits
2 Comments

When is the Joke on YOU

When is the Joke on YOU

Today is April Fools Day. This day of practical jokes goes back to the 1300’s. Everyone has a story to tell about the joke that they pulled off. If you look at Google Maps today, the image is turning into a Pacman game that you are trying to win instead of following the directions.

It is more fun to deliver the joke than receive it. We can be good sports and laugh it off but in reality, we may not have appreciated it at all. This can be the same in your professional life if you are not prepared when dealing with your suppliers or your customers.

This week’s article is from the salesman’s perspective. The account manager that comes in to visit the procurement lead does not want to appear a fool. Sales About has an overview of the five elements of sales. As a procurement professional, you can spot them in the good salesman and appreciate that they have come prepared.

History: Know the company that you are visiting. Taking the time to do this research will be worth it.

Expertise: Know your products line and what it can do for the customer.

Appearance: Look professional, organized and confident.

Readiness: Have the tools, listen and understand your customer’s needs.

Teachable: Be willing to learn and keep an open mind.

The article discusses using these approaches to increase your profits and your business.Have you utilized this in working with your customers? Have you been able to avoid feeling like a fool?

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.

Continue reading
989 Hits
0 Comments

What negotiation skills does procurement need TODAY?

What negotiation skills does procurement need TODAY?

Listen daaahlings, let me tell you a little something about negotiating. Talking about money is so… GAUCHE. No no no, that won’t do at all. Today, enlightened procurement professionals collaborate. We innovate. We partner. We strategize. I do for you… you do for me… we have a relationship. No ugliness, no shoving. After all, there is no need to stoop to talking about dollars and cents. We have people for that. Right? Yes, well, have your people call my people: we’ll do lunch.

Oh please!

We can’t say that procurement no longer needs strong negotiating skills just because many spend categories are now being managed in a more relational way. Making that assertion demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding about what it means to negotiate. Negotiation is a phase, not an action. There are a myriad of skills required to be an effective negotiator, and they are different for each set of circumstances.

Recent comment in this post
Guest — Phil in Boston
I would imagine underneath each commercial agreement is "math". Both buyer and seller seeking commercial opportunity of some sort ... Read More
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 6:06 PM
Continue reading
3149 Hits
1 Comment

Webinar Notes: Why Vendor Management Must Change: 3 Most Common Dysfunctional Aspects of the Current Model

Webinar Notes: Why Vendor Management Must Change: 3 Most Common Dysfunctional Aspects of the Current Model

This week’s webinar notes are from a March 25th webinar presented by the Outsourcing Institute and Alsbridge. This is too soon to expect the on demand version to be available (assuming it will be) but here is the link to the page where OI posts their on demand events. There was also talk of a whitepaper related to the webinar content, and I will post the link to that’s as soon as I am sure which one it is.

Continue reading
2178 Hits
0 Comments

Benefits of a Supply Chain in China

Benefits of a Supply Chain in China

The world is getting smaller every day. We have so many ways to connect at a moment’s notice. We can reach thousands and millions of people using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and so on. Look at the firestorm that took place in 2014 with the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness and funds for ALS.

Over the past twenty or so years, the desire to utilize the labor force and factories in China has grown significantly. With the better communication methods, it has been easier and provides an option for cost savings. It became quite attractive to move a significant component of your supply chain to China. However, that has come with some issues such as lead time and maintaining the expected level of quality.

This week’s article, Is Sourcing in China still Competitive covers several interesting aspects to consider while looking at sourcing trends in China.

Labor costs are rising in China but they are still lower relative to labor in other areas. When you look at the exports from China, the growth is still quite strong year over year. That is a clear indication that global organizations are finding it beneficial to have some of their production and supply chain in China.

This article gives some good advice on how to achieve the savings and maintain a quality product. The first thing is to find a reputable supplier and build a strong, long term partnership. This can take time. Some successful organizations have found it beneficial to help their supplier become stronger and producing goods at the level that is required.

When evaluating a potential supplier, they suggest taking your time to look deeper at the supplier. Take an audit, research their history and their workforce. This is similar to the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Don’t select a supplier on first or surface impressions.  

What has your company done to extend the supply chain into China? Do you have any pointers for others trying to do the same?

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.

Recent comment in this post
Guest — Lauren
Thanks for sharing this article about the benefits of a supply chain in China. Very interesting information!
Monday, 13 April 2015 5:05 PM
Continue reading
1000 Hits
1 Comment

Continuous Improvement for Procurement Leaders

Continuous Improvement for Procurement Leaders

As parents, we make sure our children have regular visits to the doctor and dentist. This is a routine checkup to ensure everything is on the right track and progressing as expected. In our professional lives, it is good for an organization to have a ‘healthy checkup’ as well.

This week’s article is highlighted by Pymnts. It is a study by IBM after surveying over 1000 CPO’s across 41 countries. This highlights the behaviors of strong procurement teams. New Study separates the World's Procurement Leaders from the Followers outlines 4 differentiators. Reviewing material such as this regularly is akin to having those checkups at the doctor’s office.

One of the differentiators is working closely with the stakeholder. If procurement works in a vacuum or with little interaction, there is less of an opportunity to get it right or improve. In the example below, this is a classic example of the customer wanting a simple tire swing, did not explain it very well and it was designed completely wrong. If there are iterations and fine tuning through the process, the result is most often what the stakeholder requested.

tire swing cartoon

Another differentiator is technology and data. That seems hard to believe in today’s world of being totally plugged in at all times. However, many organizations are still operating with decades old systems and processes. For the world class procurement team to flourish, the resources have to be available in staff, processes and technology.

How would you have responded to this type of survey? Would your CPO have indicated your team has worked towards being leaders? Or would you say that you have some catching up to do? What type of swing would you have built for your stakeholders?

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.

Continue reading
2583 Hits
0 Comments

Why it is Not Worth Preventing Every Disruption in Your Supply Chain

Why it is Not Worth Preventing Every Disruption in Your Supply Chain

Supply chains are similar to humans—imperfect. Their successes within business plans are a product of accurately forecasting how to survive crises and minimize damage in high-risk scenarios. Balance is the key to surviving most situations. In a supply chain, the accord between supply chain efficiency and risk mitigation can be difficult to achieve.

Continue reading
1693 Hits
0 Comments

Webinar Notes: Women Networking Group Webinar - Marketing Yourself through Social Media

Webinar Notes: Women Networking Group Webinar - Marketing Yourself through Social Media

This week’s webinar notes are from a March 9th webinar hosted by IACCM and presented by IACCM Resourcing CEO Susanne Birch. Before I share any of my notes from the event, I have a confession to make. It may not seem related, but bear with me.

I despise pink rollerblades.

Continue reading
2858 Hits
0 Comments

Negotiation is child's play - or maybe not

Negotiation is child's play - or maybe not

When our daughter was in elementary school, she was a tough negotiator. She wanted her independence at a very early age. When it came time for bedtime, we came up with a plan. She could go to bed anytime she wanted up until 8PM. It was her choice. She loved that freedom and the rest fell into place. From our perspective, we wanted her in bed by 8PM anyway but it was all in how it was presented.

Negotiation is something we do every day – sometimes with ourselves and sometimes with others. Should I have dessert, that cookie, that extra glass of wine? Who on the team should do the analysis, the presentation, make that sales call?

In procurement, this is a key skill that constantly needs to be sharp and at the ready. In this article from Harvard, 10 Hard Ball Tactics in Negotiation, it goes through scenarios and areas to avoid.

One that I found interesting was “Trying to make you flinch”. In this case, the other party keeps making harder and harder demands, waiting for you to break. I remember one negotiation I was in, the other party kept trying a variety of tactics and behaviors to make me move or waiver. I stayed the course and eventually they became more reasonable.

Personal insults and feather ruffling” is another one that makes me wonder what are they thinking? We were buying a new car and the salesman insulted us about not being able to make a decision and needing to run home to Daddy. At the time we were married with children and certainly making our own decisions. Needless to say, we did not buy the car at that dealership. I wonder how often that works? It must or they would not do it.

Everything I read about negotiation says to do your homework and be prepared. Know what your BATNA is and stick to it.

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.

Continue reading
2059 Hits
0 Comments

Webinar Notes: Use Predictive Analytics to Help You Capitalize on Business Moments

Webinar Notes: Use Predictive Analytics to Help You Capitalize on Business Moments

This week’s webinar notes are from a March 5th webinar hosted by Gartner. Douglas Laney, a Gartner Research VP, who made the presentation, was a strictly no-nonsense guy. He opened the webinar by introducing himself as not being either a tech/tools or Magic Quadrant guy.

That combination definitely benefitted the audience, as the following presentation on analytics, data, and information, was application or function agnostic and offered real insight for any team in an organization attempting to harness the power of data for competitive advantage. Not all companies display the same attitude towards information and its potential perhaps because, as Laney pointed out, information is not yet a balance sheet asset.

Continue reading
1400 Hits
0 Comments

No Decision is a Decision

No Decision is a Decision

The Northeastern area of the United States has had a very harsh winter with heavy snow and very cold temperatures. Buildings and homes have been in danger of roof collapses due to the weight of the snow. There was a lot of communication about the issue for over a week about protecting your property and prevention activities.

Two schools about 100 miles apart were in danger of the roof collapsing. The official policy is to get three bids to select a contractor. One school followed that procedure and by the time that happened, another storm had occurred and the roof collapsed. The second school knew they did not have time to waste on the bidding process and used volunteers to get the job done.

Obviously no decision became decision. Now there is a much larger, more complex and expensive problem to solve in renovating the school.

In our professions we are often required to make difficult decisions, sometimes stretching the rules for the better good of the company. This article from Great Leadership, 8 Ways to Decisively End Indecision, gives great suggestions.

One that I have used before is “Step back and evaluate the impact of a wrong decision”. In this case, the impact was severe with damage to a public school. Other times, it won’t really matter so that is a good barometer to use.

A second pointer is “Set time bound parameters for making the call”. If you know another storm is coming, make a decision in time to get some of that snow off the roof!!

A great piece of advice I once received was “If you don’t know what to do, do something “. You can always make a course correction but you can’t do anything if you are stuck in park.

What do you utilize to make decisions? Have you found some things more effective than others?

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.

Continue reading
1187 Hits
0 Comments

Webinar Notes: Collaborative Contract Management: Procurement’s Role in Enhancing Compliance and Mitigating Risk

Webinar Notes: Collaborative Contract Management: Procurement’s Role in Enhancing Compliance and Mitigating Risk

This week’s webinar notes are from a February 18th event presented by Selectica and featuring Ardent Partners‘ Andrew Bartolini. The event is available on demand on Selectica’s site.

Continue reading
2330 Hits
0 Comments

Strategic Sourcing in Higher Education

Strategic Sourcing in Higher Education

Everyone knows that cost of college education is escalating and becoming quite a burden for families and students. Determining how to get that piece of parchment can be an economic challenge that many are finding it difficult to achieve.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to speak with someone in the procurement area at a large university. They were putting a strategic sourcing team together and implementing the supporting technology. It was refreshing to hear that the goal was to reduce overall costs and try to mitigate some of the tuition increases for students.

When I did a search on “strategic sourcing in universities “, it was encouraging to see how many had teams and processes in place. For example, Boston University has posted almost $6M in savings since 2012. They have information publicly available on who are the current suppliers, what are the procedures used in procurement and who to contact on their procurement team.

The blog this week is from Strategic Sourceror, “How are Universities using Spend Management Assets”. It begins by acknowledging the challenges faced by the colleges and universities and then reviews some of the areas benefiting them and the students through spend management.

The article highlights the importance of putting a process in place that can be used across the disciplines and departments whether it is for meal planning, housing, or the research labs. There is also the use of technology to support the process. Many of the universities have SciQuest to fill that requirement.

Do you have any exposure to procurement in the educational field, either as a student, employee or suppler? What have you found for trends in this area? How does it apply to other businesses you are involved with?

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.

Continue reading
1159 Hits
0 Comments

Webinar Notes: Driving Excellence - Global Auction Trends & Best Practices

Webinar Notes: Driving Excellence - Global Auction Trends & Best Practices

This week’s webinar notes are from a February 18th event presented by Scanmarket. The event is available on demand (click here).

It has been a long time since I attended an event that even mentioned auctions. Trends in procurement today are so focused on collaboration and value creation that talking about straight leveraged price reductions seems somewhat gauche by comparison. But the fact remains that auctions are a valid negotiation method for a number of spend categories and competitive markets.

Continue reading
1605 Hits
0 Comments

Global warming and your supply chain

Global warming and your supply chain

I think my neighborhood is beginning to look like this! The Boston area has had two blizzards and two major snow storms in 3 weeks. The snow accumulation is record breaking and reached over 100 inches (254 cm). That was followed by high winds and bitter cold. And we still have a lot of winter to go.

Weather like this causes all kinds of delays in the supply chain. Flights are cancelled, businesses are closed, and governors declare states of emergencies. There was a multi-car accident that included a FedEx truck and packages ended up all over the roadway. Not sure if those will get to their final destination!

Some people are commenting that global warming is not happening. However, this is exactly what global warming looks like. Since the oceans are warmer, there is more moisture available to become snow with cold temperatures. This article from Climate Central, What A Warming World Means for Major Snowstorms explains in layman’s terms what we are experiencing. It also discusses that once the land temperature gets warmer, the snow will become more rain which will cause different issues. Even now, coastal flooding is a more significant threat as the ocean levels continue to rise.

As a procurement professional, events like these can wreak havoc as you plan your deliveries and production lines. This blog, written by Jim Fulcher, Blizzards, forecasting and the supply chain is only a few weeks old and discusses the disruption in New York City for the first blizzard. Little did he know this was just beginning!

What is your company doing about supply chain delays due to global warming? What is your company doing to reduce those risks and also reduce your own carbon footprint? Have you thought about a new pet?polar bear

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.

Continue reading
1933 Hits
0 Comments

Webinar Notes: ePayments: Big Trends & Predictions for 2015

Webinar Notes: ePayments: Big Trends & Predictions for 2015

This week’s webinar notes are from a February 12th event hosted by Bottomline Technologies and presented by Andrew Bartolini of Ardent Partners. Once it is available on demand (assuming it will be) it should be listed on Bottomline’s website.

Continue reading
1346 Hits
0 Comments

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

One summer, I saved up all my earnings in order to buy a special bike. It was something I had wanted for a very long time and meant that most of that summer, I focused on the prize and did not spend anything without serious consideration of the consequences. I have taken very good care of that bike and still have it many years later. Certainly I was saving every earned penny!

Continue reading
1026 Hits
0 Comments