Buyers Meeting Point procurement by Kelly Barner

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Recommended Procurement Webinars for April 3 - 7: A ‘Rendezvous’, Demystifying AI, Digital Workforce

Recommended Procurement Webinars for April 3 - 7: A ‘Rendezvous’, Demystifying AI, Digital Workforce

If you’re in the London area this week, reach out to MarketDojo and save your spot at their first ever ‘rendezvous’ - Creating real value from eSourcing on Thursday. If you’re not spending the week at a gorgeous 17th century manor house, make yourself a cup of tea before sitting down to one of the following webinars. Click on the title of each webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Is underdog Deem ready for a Cinderella story?

Is underdog Deem ready for a Cinderella story?

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).

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Obstacles to adoption of esourcing tools and how to overcome them

Obstacles to adoption of esourcing tools and how to overcome them

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. This is a very common phrase often used to describe a ‘change management’ situation. You can give someone all the resources but you can’t make them use them.

 

In procurement, we often have processes and technology to help complete our tasks effectively and efficiently. However, some of the staff may not be utilizing it as best they could to get the most out of it.

With new technology, people fall into four buckets. There are early adopters who wait in line for hours for the next generation of the iPhone. Then there are the early majority who probably get the new phone within the first month or two, the late majority and the laggards who may not even have a smart phone yet. As a procurement professional, your goal is to get your team through this curve quickly and have the organization reaping the benefits of the esourcing technology.

In the Tejari Blog, With best practice tools comes best practice use, they review the reasons that some are lagging behind in adopting the technology and give suggestions on ways to overcome it.

The first one has to do with change management. In many organizations, the staff is quite content doing their work the same way it always has been done. The author recommends gaining some internal ‘experts’ to help all the others understand the benefits and value. Offer a great deal of support so that over time, the new system becomes the ‘comfort zone’.

Another difficulty is when the staff waits until the last minute to load the Rfx into the tool. There is frustration and they give up. The recommendation is to create drafts a week or two before and put them in. Then you can always modify it as the time gets closer.

What have you experienced for obstacles and how did you resolve them? Do you have your 'team of horses' feeling refreshed after having reached the oasis and utilizing the new technology?

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint

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Blog Pick of the Week: Hints for implementing change

Blog Pick of the Week: Hints for implementing change

Change makes people anxious and frustrated. When a grocery store decides to move their aisles around, the consumer can’t find things easily until they get accustomed to the new system in place. Sometimes, the marketing team also changes the packaging. That favorite cookie or cereal is now hiding on the shelf, similar to the game of “Where’s Waldo”.   

waldo

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Blog Pick of the Week: Sourcing Solutions NOT for Rube Goldberg

Blog Pick of the Week: Sourcing Solutions NOT for Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting complex gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. My father was a do-it-yourselfer to the max. Many times he would fix something. It may not be pretty but it worked. He would often say “Rube Goldberg would be proud of this!”.

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Webinar Notes: 2013 E-Sourcing Resolution: Create Win-Win Solutions with Suppliers

Webinar Notes: 2013 E-Sourcing Resolution: Create Win-Win Solutions with Suppliers

This week’s featured webinar was hosted by CombineNet: ‘2013 E-Sourcing Resolution: Create Win-Win Solutions with Suppliers’. The event is already available on demand on their website.

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Webinar Notes: Is Your E-Sourcing Process a Trick or Treat?

Webinar Notes: Is Your E-Sourcing Process a Trick or Treat?

In the spirit of this week being Halloween, CombineNet hosted an event that absolutely wins the award for creativity so far this year. In “Is Your E-Sourcing Process a Trick or Treat?” they walked through best practices for avoiding “rotten pumpkins” (the feeling you get when using an inefficient approach), “spreadsheet zombies” (created when you spend too much time staring at Excel-based bids), and “pitchfork-wielding mobs” (frustrated stakeholders – need I elaborate further?)

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Working Smarter not Harder

Working Smarter not Harder

This week's eSourcing Wiki article is about Guided Sourcing. We have all heard the phrase: "Work Smarter not Harder". With the proper tools and processes, that is certainly the goal and is achievable.

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Optimization: Playing the What If Game

Most of us ask the 'what if' question to ourselves about many of our personal decisions. "What if I eat another piece of cake?" "What if I take this job?" "What if I say yes to.....". For such a small word, "if" carries a lot of weight.

In the use of optimization for your analysis of a procurement bid, using "what if" scenarios also carries a lot of weight. In this week's featured eSourcing Wiki article, we introduced the idea of Optimization. 

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The Underutilized Request for Information (RFI)

For anyone that has ever run an eSourcing project, there is a typical flow that most processes follow. The project kicks off, and everyone’s focus is split between costs and known issues with the incumbent suppliers(s). Procurement uses historical spend to put together a list of line items with quantity and specification data. The company’s standard list of supplier questions is loaded into the eRFX system, along with any additional questions for suppliers that relate to the category of spend in question or new developments in the industry being sourced from. Everyone works frantically until the day the RFP opens and then – you wait. The project comes to a complete standstill for the two weeks (e.g.) that the RFP is open. Then the mad dash begins again as you wade through and evaluate supplier responses, pricing, and attachments.

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Blog Pick of the Week: Purchasing Do's and Don'ts

pathofleastresistanceEveryone loves the path of least resistance. How can we get to that restaurant easier, without crowds or lines?  Is it possible to get my 2-year old to bed at a reasonable hour with or without a bath? Can I publish this RFP today - but it is Friday and I want to start my weekend. 

If any of these are too difficult, we will avoid them all together. Stay home, order pizza to be delivered, delay the baby's bedtime routine and wait until Monday for the RFP. So why does this week's blog pick help you out?   

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Back to Basics: Strategic Sourcing Success Factors

Whenever I see something that is titled "Back to Basics" I almost groan. That is like the latest secret to loosing 20 pounds. Here it is - Fewer calories in and more calories out. Really? Like diet and exercise are anything new?

We are so swept up in the immediate, we often can't step back and refresh to look at the whole picture. So that is why it is important from time to time to return to the basics.

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Webinar Notes: Taking Strategic Sourcing to the Next Level at A.P. Moller-Maersk with Procurement Leaders and CombineNet

 

The featured speaker on this event was Jacob Gorm Larsen, head of eSourcing at Maersk procurement. I’m almost always impressed by the key speakers on these webinars, but Jacob is the first speaker that I would absolutely want to work with. You can watch the on-demand version of the webinar by clicking here. If you are interested in doing some additional reading, you can check out our Wiki-Wednesday page on Mathematical Optimization or our blog post on Optimization in the Real World.

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Optimization in the Real World

This week’s Wiki-Wednesday topic is Mathematic Optimization, and that article is the source of all quoted text below. We are covering it because of the CombineNet/Procurement Leaders/A.P. Moller – Maersk event on taking strategic sourcing to the “next level”. For many companies, whether they have implemented a strategic sourcing solution or not, optimization functionality may take a little longer to make use of, both because it is a more complex part of the software but also because the categories that can truly make use of optimization are not low-hanging fruit.

You can read an excerpt from the Wikipedia page on mathematical optimization here, but I am going to take this opportunity to break it down and use examples from procurement/sourcing.  The article starts with a straightforward definition of optimization as “the selection of a best element from some set of available alternatives”.

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