The Point

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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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Supplier Management

Editor's note: Buyers Meeting Point would like to thank partner and colleague Jeanette Jones of Cottrill Research for this week's webinar notes. The original posting can be viewed on the Cottrill blog. For our readers without a background in etymology or taxonomies, an ontology is the study of categories of bring as well as their interrelations. In a procurement context, this can most clearly be seen in spend analysis through the category structure and hierarchy used by the company to group and organize transactions.

 

There are many articles and reports about using Big Data for supplier risk, but there is still confusion about what Big Data is and how exactly one moves forward. Tom Fishburne at marketcartoonist.com succinctly sums it up with this gem, “many companies struggle with small data, let alone big data.”

 

“Risk management is not a purchasing initiative. It’s an initiative and philosophy that has to be embraced by the entire organization.”

-- Rose Kelly-Falls Senior VP Supply Chain Risk, Rapid Ratings and event panelist

This week’s webinar notes are from a February 13th webinar hosted by IASTA and featuring a panel of speakers. An on demand version of the event is available on their website.

This week’s webinar notes are from a January 9th event hosted by Procurement Leaders and sponsored by iValua, with a case study presented by Whirlpool. The event is available for replay on iValua's site. If you are interested in more on the topics covered in the webinar, you can also download a free report (no registration required) that shares the results of iValua’s first Procurement Executives survey.

 

Everyone loves a good surprise. Maybe is it an unexpected birthday present. Or perhaps it is a visit from a dear friend that you have not seen in quite some time. An unforeseen professional opportunity is offered to you that would open up new growth and financial rewards. There are so many events that pleasantly surprise us and we do look forward to those.

 

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!”.

Posted by on in Procurement

A few years ago we did not have a technology tool to help track sourcing initiatives for 60+ customers. We utilized an excel spreadsheet with a tab for each customer all linked to a summary tab. There were 8 of us updating it from several remote locations. The sheet got corrupted, links got broken and it was an overall nightmare. Sound familiar?

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?

 

 

Small businesses begin when we are very young, selling homemade crafts at a yard sale or perhaps a road side lemonade stand. I know we ended up drinking most of our product and making very little profit.

You are creating a supplier scorecard. Where do you get the data from and what questions do you ask?

Posted by on in Procurement

How is your vision? Is it 20-20 or do you need lenses or a magnifying glass? How about your supplier and spend visibility?

“Reverse auctions are loved by corporate purchasing managers, loathed by suppliers, and rarely discussed publicly by anyone involved.”

– Max Chafkin, Inc. Magazine

Posted by on in The Flip Side

This week’s trip to The Flip Side is based on a post written by Reed Holden on his blog Pricing With Confidence: ‘Procurement: Kings or Jokers’. Holden has written a number of books on pricing and negotiation. His primary focus is helping Fortune 1000 B2B companies in a number of industries maximize their growth through setting optimal go-to-market strategies.

This week’s featured webinar was hosted by Emptoris and Procurement Leaders, with a supplier lifecycle management (SLM) case study from The ABB Group. You can view an on demand version of the event by clicking here. ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. In 2010 they had $32B in revenue. As a 120 year old organization, they were decentralized with five divisions.

 

In this week’s Flip Side coverage, I want to take you through a sales-oriented post from a blog called The Pipeline on ‘Selling to Procurement’. The Pipeline is written by Tibor Shanto, Founder and President of Renbor Sales Solutions Inc., and creator of Objective Based Selling.

Posted by on in The Flip Side

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”
John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury (1834 - 1913)

This week's trip to the Flip Side is a humorous - and visual - look at the many perceptions of sales people. We came across an image last week that represents how sales people are perceived by their friends, customers, and society as a whole as well as the way they see themselves versus what their job is really like. We also had our undercover sales advisor, “The Sales Guy” interpret the reality of the situation. Visuals are a great way to communicate subtle differences, and this will allow you to laugh as well as to gain some additional insight into the complex, multi-faceted world of being a sales account rep.

Without further ado, here is the picture:

 

This week’s featured webinar was presented by Supply and Demand Chain Executive. The approach that was emphasized in this webinar got back to old-fashioned data quality. Having a solid dataset to work from is the first line of defense against risk – or at least against missing and mis-information.

Joining Supply & Demand Chain Exec was Jon Bovit, VP of Enterprise Solutions and Chief Marketing Officer for CVM Solutions, a provider of supplier management solutions that enable clients to achieve operational excellence, drive cost savings and mitigate supplier risk.

Last week, MyPurchasingCenter hosted a webinar called, ‘Innovating With Suppliers To Cut Costs, Support Growth, And Navigate An Uncertain Economy’. The main speaker was from Vantage Partners, a Boston-based management consulting firm specializing in negotiation skills development. We don’t usually cover events presented to a buy-side audience on The Flip Side, but this particular event shared a significant amount of supplier perspective on innovation between buyer and supplier.

You can view/listen to the event on demand on MyPurchasingCenter's site.

Thanks to the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, one of today’s largest procurement/sales challenges is easy to put into words. We talk about the need for partnerships and collaboration, but how often do we successfully take the effort beyond talk so that it includes open and productive conversation with our reps and supplier account managers?

Other than a brief introduction of each panelist at the beginning of the event moderated by ES Research, this was an entirely unrehearsed, unscripted discussion among four industry experts in the area of selling and negotiating with the corporate procurement function. Live questions were taken from the audience via telephone.  There were no slides. One of the speakers on the call described procurement and our processes as being "like trying to get a peek behind the curtain of Oz".

“Do not arouse the wrath of the great and powerful Oz. I said come back tomorrow.”

-- The Wizard of Oz, 1939

Last week’s featured event notes were focused on the challenges specific to the procurement of complex services. As a continuation of that, I did some reading on the differences in SELLING professional services.

One of my favorite places to go for sales white papers is Huthwaite’s resource library. If you are interested in more, you can download their whitepapers and read them yourself – no registration process required.

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