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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.

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I am not a shopper (which is an extreme understatement). I would pretty much like to spend my time doing almost anything else. Much to my teenage daughter’s chagrin, we went to the mall only once or twice a year. It was usually to get back-to-school clothes and to do Christmas shopping. When my mother took me shopping for clothes as a youngster, she claims that she could tell when my eye color turned from green to ‘grey’ that she was done and we had to leave and come back another time. While we may have been tempted to just grab anything and go, most of the time we did not.

Posted by on in Blog Picks

There are many ways to value your worth. The important aspects of life that include health, family, and happiness far outweigh money. However, we do need to earn a living to support ourselves and our families.

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.

This week’s webinar notes are from the Next Level Purchasing Association’s January webinar on IT and Procurement. Bill Dorn, the VP of Operations from Source One Management Services was the main presenter. You may also know Bill as the co-author of Managing Indirect Spend with Source One’s Joe Payne. Although the full event and presentation are only available to NLPA Premium members, I will share an exclusive excerpt of the audio in my weekly procurement update on Blog Talk Radio update on Monday, February 10th.

 

Like many people, I had too many sweets and treats over the holiday. It's a new year and I shouldn't even be thinking about cookies. However, I just finished making a batch of oatmeal chocolate cookies for a party tomorrow. Nothing like fresh cookies out of the oven!

Many times my children would want more than the two cookies I was offering. I would offer two , they would want three or four. After a few times back and forth, I would change my offer to ZERO cookies. Then all of a sudden they felt that two cookies was a great option!

In procurement, we are sometimes in situations where we want more cookies than are being offered. Or we want to include cold milk at the same time but that is not available at the price point we are interested in.

Posted by on in Procurement

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

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

 

 

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.

 


This week’s webinar notes are from a September 4th event run by IACCM in advance of their Americas Conference to be held in Phoenix, AZ from October 8-10. To incorporate the buyer and seller perspectives in one event, they invited Todd Snelgrove, Global Value Manager, SKF Group (procurement) and Lisa McLeod, author, business coach, and President of McLeod & More (sales). The event is available on demand, although a paid or trial membership to IACCM is required.

 

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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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.

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?

 

 

This week’s featured event was hosted by the Next Level Purchasing Association and was presented by Tim Reis, a procurement manager with 10 years of experience, a regular columnist for Next Level Purchasing’s online magazine and a holder of the SPSM certification. Most importantly, he is an active practitioner.

Many cultures celebrate the harvest and offer thanks for a bountiful season. As the United States enjoys their Thanksgiving, we felt it was appropriate to thank those who walked along with us this year on our journey. No one succeeds alone and we are certainly aware of that!

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.

I sometimes ask people how they ended up where they are in their profession. Usually it is a random series of events and not often actually planned. But the really interesting question is how did they get in the door to begin with?

“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

 

“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

 

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.

 

This week’s featured webinar was presented by the Next Level Purchasing Association and featured Joe Payne and Bill Dorn from Source One Management Services as the main speakers. You may also know them as the co-authors of ‘Managing Indirect Spend’, a relatively new publication that walks through the challenges and opportunities associated with indirect spend as well as a few category-based case studies.

Like their book, the guys from Source One kept their speaking points to the practical learnings from their extensive combined procurement consulting experience.

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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