Buyers Meeting Point procurement by Kelly Barner

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Vetting Procurement Talent

Vetting Procurement Talent

Special thanks to longtime BMP friend Charles Dominick, SPSM3 of the Next Level Purchasing Association for this guest post.

Welcome back to this series on improving procurement capability.  In the previous post of this series, I covered how to find candidates for your procurement jobs.  But finding procurement talent is easier than whittling the talent pool down to that one, perfect candidate.  Let’s talk about how you do that.

Behavioral interviewing has become a classic interviewing technique.  According to Virginia Tech University, behavioral interviewing is “a technique used by employers to learn about your past behavior in particular situations…Past behavior is a better predictor of future behavior than is speculation” about how a candidate would act in a hypothetical future situation.

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Sourcing Procurement Talent

Sourcing Procurement Talent

Special thanks to longtime BMP friend Charles Dominick, SPSM3 of theNext Level Purchasing Association for this guest post.

As a procurement professional, you need to be good at finding suppliers who work out as good or better than you predict.  As a procurement leader, you need to be good at finding employees who work out as good or better than you predict.  In this post, I’ll share some traditional and not so-traditional ways to find high-potential procurement talent.

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Webinar Notes: Procurement career paths: Lessons from the latest talent research

Webinar Notes: Procurement career paths: Lessons from the latest talent research

This week’s notes are from an October 16th Procurement Leaders webinar featuring the results of their latest research into procurement talent. It is not yet available on demand, but it should eventually be listed here.

This absolutely fantastic webinar was presented by PL Research Director Maggie Slowik. We all know talent is an ongoing issue for procurement contributors, managers, and executive leaders. In my recommendation of the event on Blog Talk Radio, I shared two sadly common views of procurement talent taken from the books I have reviewed:

“Some executives used to think of procurement as the place you send staff away in order to never see them again.”Leading Procurement Strategy, Carlos Mena, Remko van Hoek, and Martin Christopher

“You see, many procurement departments have been staffed in the same manner as the Island of Misfit Toys; when an employee did not perform elsewhere in the organization and the management didn't have the heart to dire him or her, that employee was sent to work in the procurement department”The Procurement Game Plan, Charles Dominick, Dr. Soehila Lunney

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Webinar Notes: The Leading Influence

Webinar Notes: The Leading Influence

This week’s webinar notes are from an August 27th webinar hosted by the Next Level Purchasing Association and featuring Steve Burns from the Maxwell Team. Although only premium members of the NLPA have access to the event on demand, you can hear an exclusive audio excerpt in my September 8th weekly update on Blog Talk Radio.

The focus of the webinar was how to build influence for the purpose of becoming a more effective leader. Since leadership affects so many people, you might expect it to be a collective sort of topic, but it was the exact opposite.

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Webinar Notes: The Future of Procurement Technology: Portable, Powerful, Pivotal

Webinar Notes: The Future of Procurement Technology:  Portable, Powerful, Pivotal

This week’s webinar notes are from a July 25th webinar hosted by the Next Level Purchasing Association and presented by Santosh Nair, GEP’s Vice President of Client Services and Innovation. Although the on demand version is only available to NLPA premium members, you can read what they had to say about SMART by GEP in this recent blog post.

Despite the changes being seen in the consumer technology marketplace, enterprise solutions have been slow to take advantage of the growing availability of mobile technology. As demand increases for Smartphone and tablet solution accessibility, enterprise solutions in general, and procurement solutions in specific, will need to change at a rate faster than they have in the past.

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Webinar Notes: Top-Notch Negotiations – Anyone Can Cook!

Webinar Notes: Top-Notch Negotiations – Anyone Can Cook!

This week’s webinar notes are from an April 9th event presented by Puridiom and Lunney Advisory group. Dr. Soheila Lunney, the president of Lunney Advisory Group and the primary presenter, addressed a number of topics related to a professional environment that increasingly emphasizes collaboration and partnership over the aggressive winner take all approach.

Dr. Lunney is also the co-author of The Procurement Game Plan with Charles Dominick of the Next Level Purchasing Association. You can read my review of the book here, as well as Part 1 and Part 2 of our interview with Dr. Lunney.

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Is the Should Cost Model Obsolete?

Is the Should Cost Model Obsolete?

Q: Does anybody still use the “should-cost” model?

A: Yes, and if they don’t, they should start.

 

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Webinar Notes: Herding of Cats: A Strategic Approach to Enterprise-wide Procurement

Webinar Notes: Herding of Cats: A Strategic Approach to Enterprise-wide Procurement

 

This week’s webinar notes are from the October Next Level Purchasing Association members-only webinar, and featured Donald Jean, CEO of Focused Buyer, a purchasing and trading website that also provides payment services and financial records support. If you are not already a member of NLPA, we highly recommend that you sign up. Membership is free and includes benefits such as their monthly webinars.

 

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Webinar Notes: 20 Ways To Create The Perfect Negotiation First Impression

Webinar Notes: 20 Ways To Create The Perfect Negotiation First Impression

This week’s featured webinar was the monthly event run by the Next Level Purchasing Association on 20 Ways To Create The Perfect Negotiation First Impression. If you missed the event, you can read a related blog post by Association President and CPO Charles Dominick.

You can also learn more about negotiation (among other topics) at the first Next Level Purchasing Association Conference in Pittsburgh, PA September 12-13, 2013.

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Webinar Notes: NLPA Conference Preview

Webinar Notes: NLPA Conference Preview

This week’s featured webinar was presented by the Next Level Purchasing Association. Each of the three speakers gave a preview of the sessions they will presenting at NLPA’s first conference, which is being held in Pittsburgh, PA this September.

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Blog Pick of the Week: What questions do you ask of your Suppliers?

Blog Pick of the Week: What questions do you ask of your Suppliers?

Children ask a lot of questions. It is a great way to learn. Often they are ‘why’ questions. When my daughter talked to her grandfather, she almost always started the conversation with “Guess What?”. After a while, that became his nick name for her. 

Many organizations are using some situational interview questions in the process. This helps to determine the fit of the candidate, specifically in how they communicate, problem solve and make decisions. Consulting houses have been using this approach for a long time. A classic question was “How much does a 747 airplane weigh?” It was not the answer that mattered but the process and method of communicating that response that was the key.

Similarly, when in your procurement role and working with suppliers, asking questions of them can really help differentiate their capabilities. Charles Dominick of Next Level Purchasing has a blog “Three Supplier Interview Questions that should be included in your discussions with them.

  • How will doing business with your company instead of your competitor(s) make my organization more profitable?"
  • "What have been the biggest operational challenges that you have faced recently?"
  • "What changes do you see in your industry in the next few years and how are you preparing for them?"

One question that I use and find extremely helpful, both in my profession and in personal interactions is “What have I not asked you that I have missed, based on your experiences?” That is always an eye opener and a great way to wrap up the meeting.

Have you used any of these approaches? What technique and questions do you find helpful?

 

 

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Procurement Decision Making - Who Empowers Who?

Procurement Decision Making - Who Empowers Who?

This week’s Wiki-Wednesday article is part of the series on Next Generation Sourcing: Empowerment. As a strategy in procurement, empowerment has the potential to change the course of a project at many points:

Which suppliers are invited?

How will we structure the RFP or RFQ?

What negotiation strategy will be the most effective?

But no other decision in a project has more of an impact than the supplier award. Which suppliers will be awarded contracts, for how much, and what will the terms be?

Depending upon the organizational structure in place, and the model of the procurement organization, their role in that decision can vary from decision maker to observer. The model may also vary from project to project, and between direct and indirect spend.

Procurement as Decision Maker

In categories where cost is the primary factor affecting a decision, the project is to get a specified good or service for the total lowest cost, procurement will work the sourcing process and notify the business which supplier(s) offered the lowest pricing. Procurement is positioned to suppliers as the process owner and the ultimate authority for the category. If there is an executive approval process for this award, it is usually an administrative sign off on the decision before a contract is signed.

Procurement as Facilitator

In direct categories where there is an active business owner, procurement manages the sourcing process (with frequent involvement of the business owner) and then presents all qualified options so the owner can make an award decision. Procurement can present themselves to suppliers as an objective party, open to their ideas, taking care not to appear as though they have no influence and allow suppliers to bypass them. Executive approval for the award will ensure that the business owner does not give inappropriate advantage to the incumbent or miss out on opportunities to innovate based on aversion to change.

Procurement as Collaborator

In strategic categories of spend, procurement and business owners may take equal roles in the sourcing process. Procurement owns the sourcing process and technology use in the project and the business owner is responsible for category knowledge. Each party is able to leverage their strengths, collaborating on the structure of the RFP, negotiation strategy, and execution. Both will have input on the award decision, with executive approval of the recommended award made by the combined team.

If you are interested in reading more about decision making in procurement, Charles Dominick of the Next Level Purchasing Association published a three part blog series on the topic on the eSourcing Forum in 2008 that still holds true. In these three posts, he looks at basic, advanced, and expert decision making capabilities across cost, support performance, and innovation.

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Reverse Differentiation: Achieving Most Favored Customer Status

Reverse Differentiation: Achieving Most Favored Customer Status

“The skills for becoming a champion caliber negotiator are acquired skills. Nobody is born with great negotiating skills. You are born with the skills of crying and breathing, all other skills you acquire throughout your life.” – Soheila Lunney

 

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Making Small Talk with Sales: Far Beyond Discussing the Weather

Making Small Talk with Sales: Far Beyond Discussing the Weather

“The skills for becoming a champion caliber negotiator are acquired skills. Nobody is born with great negotiating skills. You are born with the skills of crying and breathing, all other skills you acquire throughout your life.” – Soheila Lunney

 

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Webinar Notes: Introduction to Quality Management in Procurement

qualityProcesses will always have some variations in output despite the best controls. Constant measurement is the best approach, tracking variations on a sampling of product. The key measurement technique is sigma, a measurement of standard deviation. A small sigma (or deviation) is most desirable, with the expectation that supplier quality will be within six sigmas (or 2 parts per billion) of the center.

 

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Book Review: The Procurement Game Plan

The preface to The Procurement Game Plan by Charles Dominick and Soheila Lunney starts with the question, “Why another procurement/supply management book?”

Good question.

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Weekend Extra: BMP’s Webinar Notes on 'A Case Study for Proactive Supply Chain Management' by Next Level Purchasing

Before I even begin my notes, let me just point out that if you are not a member of the Next Level Purchasing Association, you are missing out. Next Level Purchasing offers the SPSM (Senior Professional in Supply Management) certification program. Joining the association is absolutely free and comes with a number of benefits, such as members-only webinars, newsletters, and networking opportunities. If you want to get your feet wet with the kind of programs they offer, there are several mini-courses they offer, completely online and for less than $20! Interested? Good for you! Click here to learn more by clicking on the NLP logo on our partner page. That way Buyers Meeting Point gets credit for your purchase and a portion of the proceeds go to charity.

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