Buyers Meeting Point procurement by Kelly Barner

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The Secret of the Procurement Director

The Secret of the Procurement Director

It had been a particularly hard week for the whole team. Factory audits had been going on with the accuracy of a Swiss watch (plane, factory, hotel, plane, factory, hotel...). That Friday night we were isolated by a storm that had canceled our flight home and left us stuck in an airport hotel, not knowing what day it was or when we would get back. Our ‘batteries’ were very low.

Only Avi, our expert sales agent, strengthened by a thousand negotiations, seemed to be fresh as a lettuce.

Around the crackling of the chimney, while the storm whipped outside, we all tried to shelter ourselves in hot cups of coffee, seeking the strength to recover our spirits.

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Book Review: Mastering High Stakes Negotiations

AdobeStock_HSNegotiation

I cannot guarantee whether you will be successful after a well-prepared negotiation, but I can 100 percent guarantee failure or finding yourself outsmarted and in a concessionary position if you choose not to do a thorough prep prior to a negotiation.” (p. 38)

 

Mastering High Stakes Negotiations: Both Sides of the Table by Mark M. Bilgin, Ph. D. (BookLocker.com, 2017) is true to its title in that it lays out all of the considerations associated with the most critical, highest dollar value negotiations conducted. In an odd way, however, even meeting that high bar is still selling the book short.

If you are a people watcher, or a student of human behavior, you will absolutely love this book. I was immediately drawn in by the author’s use of case studies, both his own and the ‘outside’ experiences of others to illustrate in colorful but honest fashion the incentives and pitfalls associated with negotiation prep. Negotiation is, at its simplest level, the use of leverage, exchange, and (somewhat) predictable human behavior to bring parties together for their perceived benefit. As a result, you can not be a master negotiator without being aware of and interested in what people say and do. That may come as a great relief to anyone that still thinks negotiation is about aggressively dominating ‘them’ to get what is best for yourself at any cost.

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The Importance of Vision, Messaging, and Alignment

The Importance of Vision, Messaging, and Alignment

Editor’s note: Scott Jancy is a multi-faceted professional, with experience as a historian, an architect, a Naval Officer, a planner, and a consultant. He blogs often on innovation, leadership, and design thinking. In his first guest post for Buyers Meeting Point, Scott takes on the topic of leadership through times of change. For procurement teams this might mean greater contact with procurement, a new organizational mandate, or the role out of different technology. Regardless of the source of the change, procurement must have a vision for the desired outcome and the messaging to build support and spread understanding.

Change of state is the physical process where matter moves from one state to another. Examples of such changes are melting, freezing, evaporation/boiling, condensation, sublimation, and deposition. Shifting temperatures and increased pressure are the usual causes of this kind of phase change in matter.

People and organizations can also change their state when subjected to stress. Typical causes include, but are not limited to, poor leadership, low employee morale, an ineffective or excessive office management, and possible job uncertainty. A team of people can either break apart or fuse together depending on how they react to the stress.

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The Great North/South Divide

The Great North/South Divide

The principle of a North/South divide has been around for as long as mankind has organized itself into societies. It is a term often used within politics to define the ‘North of the country from the South’. It doesn’t matter if you are referening to the USA, UK, or India, the statement is still applicable. It works on the principle things may be considered different between two groups, thereby creating a barrier to collaboration.

The key to the model is achieving the right perspective. For example, we may embrace a North/South divide within our countries yet still passionate about being part of the same country. Overcoming the divide requires a common agenda, one that everyone can get behind regardless of which side of the divide they are from.

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Would You Buy From You?

Would You Buy From You?

If you were to review your own procurement team’s achievements and capabilities from the perspective of a customer, would you buy from you?

The principle of using an internal business function which is currently a cost centre, and turning it into an revenue generating business proposition, is not new. Examples can be found in most areas ranging from IT through to Finance. The principle is based on creating such a leading business function others will pay to use.

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Book Review: Avoiding a Supply Chain Apocalypse

Book Review: Avoiding a Supply Chain Apocalypse

Dr. Tom DePaoli recently released Avoiding a Supply Chain Apocalypse. It is a collection of the best advice he has to give on topics ranging from relationships to negotiation to Kaizens and storytelling. Since I’ve read all of Dr. Tom’s books, I consider it something of a personal challenge to uncover the material he has added – either because the focus of the book is different or because professional priorities continue to change over time.

 

Like Dr. Tom’s other books, this is for professionals that don’t have the time (or desire) to lose themselves in a 300-400 page book of polished academic theory. His sections are short and to the point and draw in material from third party sites as well as his other writing. You can read one or two sections as time allows and not have any trouble picking up in a different place the next time you sit down.

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How to Successfully Break-Up With Your Incumbent Supplier

How to Successfully Break-Up With Your Incumbent Supplier

Anyone who has ever completed a Request for Proposal (RFP) has had the unfortunate experience of informing all but one or two suppliers they have not been awarded the business.  It may be difficult and at times uncomfortable, but when the unchosen supplier is the incumbent, there is more to manage than just this conversation.  How this transition process is handled can either help or hinder the success of moving to a new supplier relationship. There are a few steps you can take to smooth the transition and ensure all parties are as satisfied as possible.

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Three Things ‘Rock Star’ CPOs Know About Procurement Influence

Three Things ‘Rock Star’ CPOs Know About Procurement Influence

Last month I had the opportunity to speak with Dave Bowen, Xchanging’s US Country Manager and CEO of MM4. Xchanging has now released two parts of the research they conducted into procurement and supply chain. You can read my coverage of the first two parts here and here.

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Procurement Perspectives Podcast: Panel Discussion on The Politics of Procurement

Procurement Perspectives Podcast: Panel Discussion on The Politics of Procurement

This week's guest audio comes from a panel discussion moderated by Code for America. They create open source solutions and facilitate a collaborative community around their use. Code for America also hosts an annual summit that brings together public sector innovators and the organizations that collaborate with them – and that is where this particular recording was made: at a 2014 summit panel on public sector procurement.

In this exchange, the panel responds to an audience question about the politics of procurement and facilitating cross-functional communication for the sake of gaining buy in.

The full video – Procurement for the 21st Century - is available on their YouTube channel. You can listen to the podcast on Blog Talk Radio or on our Sound Cloud page.

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Webinar Notes: The Digital Disconnect

Webinar Notes: The Digital Disconnect

These notes are from an event that originally ran on July 28th. If you are interested in viewing the entire webinar on demand, it is available on the Proxima Group’s site here. The panelists were Mark Simester, Marketing Director at Warburtons, Charles Ping, Chief Executive at Fuel, and John Butcher, Marketing Specialist at Proxima and the moderator was Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall, Proxima’s Commercial Director.

While the focus of this event was how procurement can play a role in better managing digital marketing spend, the insights shared during the panel discussion provided plenty of insight about how procurement can improve our dealings with marketing in general. Since marketing is often one of the last hold out functions, we can use all the advice we can get.

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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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Webinar Notes: Defining Procurement’s Story to Inspire, Motivate, and Lead Change

Webinar Notes: Defining Procurement’s Story to Inspire, Motivate, and Lead Change

This week’s webinar notes are from an April 30th event hosted by Sourcing Interests Group and presented by Denali’s Alan Veeck and special guest Paul Smith from ‘Lead with A Story’, a coach, speaker, and author.

The webinar explored how professionals can leverage the techniques of storytelling to build influence and communicate an important message in an effective way. In Smith’s terms, storytelling is simple, timeless, contagious, and memorable, and it works across demographics.

Within the context of procurement, Denali has been incorporating storytelling into the training they provide to category managers. With the wide range of responsibilities being handled by category managers today, they have to function within an operating model that allows for proper division of labor. Coaching them is like cross training, bringing together a range of diverse skills that will help them become more strategic.

The lessons from this webinar combine to create something like ‘communication theatre’ that you can leverage to get your message through – as long as you are willing to put in the effort up front. What the speakers did not directly address in this event, but that should not be underestimated, is the time and planning required to apply storytelling. You have to know your audience, craft a story in such a way that it has the desired effect, and choreograph the execution carefully.

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Gaining Procurement Esteem Through A “Softer” View

Gaining Procurement Esteem Through A “Softer” View

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?

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Proving Procurement’s Strategic Value, Part 2

Proving Procurement’s Strategic Value, Part 2

This is second in a two-part series. Part 1 can be found here.

Purchasing leaders must not only be great at managing the complex functions of their department, but they must also become savvy communicators who know how to demonstrate the strategic value that the department lends to their organization. In a world of competing budgets and the struggle to hang on to resources, knowing how to market your purchasing organization to power stakeholders is a skill that you must have.

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On Procurement and Storytelling: Overcoming the Storyteller’s Fatal Flaw

On Procurement and Storytelling: Overcoming the Storyteller’s Fatal Flaw

This is (probably) the last in what became an impromptu three-part series on The Point about the value of storytelling for procurement. Part 1 considered applications of the idea in general. In part 2, Dr. Tom DePaoli provided a real world example and some further guidance. The post that started it all, on Executive Presence by Chip Scholz, can be found here.

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On Procurement and Storytelling: Putting the Method into Practice

On Procurement and Storytelling: Putting the Method into Practice

 Editor's note: on July 24th, I wrote a post 'On Storytelling and Procurement' in response to an executive leadership and communication post by Chip Scholz. Dr. Tom DePaoli, an author and management consultant, offered up some comments based on his own experience that were far too good to leave buried in a comments string. They are as follows:

One of the oldest methods of passing down knowledge is oral storytelling. Usually an ancient sage would be the keeper of the stories and pass them down to other tribe members. I highly recommend this method for supply chain professionals.

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It was a dark and stormy night... On Procurement and Storytelling

It was a dark and stormy night... On Procurement and Storytelling

On July 22, Chip Scholz, Head Coach of Scholz and Associates, Inc. posted ‘Executive Presence: Stronger with Leadership Storytelling’ on his site.

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Planting seeds with good customer service

Planting seeds with good customer service

We spent a good deal of our last weekend planting our gardens. We had some plants and some bulbs. We watered, weeded and fertilized. We really tended to what hopefully will make them grow and become a beautiful back yard retreat.

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Tips for Improving Procurement Relationships

Tips for Improving Procurement Relationships

Trust Is not easily come by and once lost, very hard to earn back. We gain trust by having good experiences with others and showing them we will do what we say we are going to do, when we said we would do it.

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Book Review: Buying and Selling Information

Book Review: Buying and Selling Information

Buying and Selling Information, by career salesperson Michael L. Gruenberg, is a guide to help buyers of information services (think subscription-based online databases). Beyond this very specific case, Gruenberg has good advice to offer buyers and sellers of any product or service. He is a salesperson who ‘gets it’ – or understands the need for buyers and sellers to work together for their mutual benefit, and for the benefit of their organizations. In his own words, “It’s all about equal footing, momentum, and success” (xviii).

 

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