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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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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Supplier Management
Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 10/19 – 10/23: Social Media, the Digital Pivot, and Supplier Centricity

This week is ridiculously busy – there are 15 webinars taking place: five on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, and NINE on Thursday. Given the wide range of choices, it wasn’t easy to pick the best ones, but my recommendations are below. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.

Guest Post on Design News: Should Approved Vendor Lists Be More in Line with Design Cycles?

According to joint research done by Design News and Exploration and Insights in 2014, 67% of companies have design cycles of 3-12 months. The remaining 33% of survey participants are almost evenly divided between design cycles requiring longer than a year and those taking less than three months. Regardless of their length, we can be sure all of those teams are looking for ways to shorten them, without sacrificing quality or functionality, so that they can be first to market and get the greater share of customers.


While the need to speed up design cycles is top of mind today, it is not a new initiative. In fact, 20 years ago, Design News published what you might call a “multi-generational design engineering retrospective.” As stated in “Engineering Megatrends,” published on Aug. 28, 1995, “Since the first caveman decided to capitalize on his best idea for a new club, businesses have operated on the principle that the first to get to market owns the market — at least for awhile.” With increased competition from all corners of the globe, and the nearly universal consumer fascination with having the latest, most innovative products, cutting time to market is now a critical element of competitive advantage.”

Despite this pervasive emphasis on “faster, sooner, better,” the same organizations that have multiple design cycles a year only update their approved vendor lists (AVLs) on an annual basis.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the CEO Pay Ratio

In August the SEC adopted a measure that will require public companies to publish a CEO pay ratio in their financial statements. The ratio, which compares median worker pay to the CEO’s salary, is a provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank act and it takes effect in January 2017.

Some of the early, albeit unofficial, CEO pay ratios seem to demonstrate an enormous pay disparity between the leadership and workers in a company. In other cases, it calls attention to CEOs with strikingly low compensation for the position they hold. For instance, Apple’s Tim Cook has a CEO pay ratio of 43:1, Ford’s Alan Mulally has a 113:1, and Goodyear’s Richard Kramer has a whopping 323:1 ratio. IBM and Intel have ratios of 25:1 and 30:1 respectively.

Any time procurement is evaluating a publicly traded company, we naturally make use of their financial statements and annual reports, which are valuable sources of information. But is this new ratio relevant to the evaluation of a supplier for financial stability, risk, and collaborative potential? Should procurement take this information into consideration when ranking and selecting suppliers?

Procurement Perspectives Podcast: Trusting Internal Team Members and What That Should Teach Us About Supplier Partnerships

This week our audio comes from Acquire Procurement Services, a consultancy based in Australia specializing in establishing and re-negotiating contracts across sectors. Their video is titled 'Why do we treat employees and suppliers differently?' and is available on their YouTube channel. In it, they draw a contrast between the information companies share with their employees and how they handle sharing with suppliers who might perform the same or similar functions on their behalf.

You can listen to the podcast on the PI Window on Business Blog Talk Radio channel or on our Sound Cloud page.


Guest Post on the Social Contracting Blog: Contract Management: Yours, Mine, and Ours

In his recent book Global Supply Chain Ecosystems, Mark Millar wrote, "…today's supply chains encompass complex webs of interdependencies, frequently spanning the globe, designed and deployed to optimize critical attributes – such as speed, agility, and resilience – that drive competitive advantage."

His point plays out on a daily basis through the contract management strategies and practices in many organizations. Because our supply chains are no longer linear or consecutive, we may be buying from and selling to the same company at the same time. This puts our organization in the role of being simultaneously both buyer and supplier.

While there is no problem with this, it does raise complexities for the procurement and sales teams if one or the other is unaware of something going on. I can honestly say I have seen this happen firsthand.


New Research Reveals Consumer Expectations for Supplier Management

Late last week, Proxima Group revealed the initial findings of research they commissioned into how consumers – American consumers specifically, feel about companies that find themselves on the wrong end of a supplier scandal.

According to the release, “The study of typical American consumers, commissioned by sourcing and procurement specialist Proxima, reveals that 74% of respondents stated they would be unlikely to buy products or services from a company involved in controversial supplier practices. Furthermore, nearly 66% would stop giving such a company their business even if that company was the most convenient and cheapest option.”

Webinar Notes: Why Vendor Management Must Change: 3 Most Common Dysfunctional Aspects of the Current Model

This week’s webinar notes are from a March 25th webinar presented by the Outsourcing Institute and Alsbridge. This is too soon to expect the on demand version to be available (assuming it will be) but here is the link to the page where OI posts their on demand events. There was also talk of a whitepaper related to the webinar content, and I will post the link to that’s as soon as I am sure which one it is.

Town Hall Notes: Designing a Meaningful Set of Performance Metrics for Every Contract

This week’s event notes are from the September SIG Town Hall Teleconference. In this open mic event, Dawn Evans, SIG’s President and CEO, led a discussion about the metrics procurement can put in place to drive meaningful results from suppliers. These events, held monthly, are open to buy side members. SIG also welcomes first time buy-side non-members so they can experience the open nature of a SIG Town Hall Teleconference. These events are unsponsored and are never recorded in order to encourage open participation. For more information on SIG Town Halls, click here.

Webinar Notes: Become a Procurement Change Agent

This week’s webinar notes are based on a May 13th webinar presented by IASTA and Efficio, their European consulting partner. The event was recorded, and the on demand version is available on Slideshare. You can also download the presentation itself, which included quite a bit of data, directly from IASTA’s website.

Webinar Notes: RAGE Frameworks Real Time Intelligence for Supplier Risk

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 succinctly sums it up with this gem, “many companies struggle with small data, let alone big data.”


Webinar Notes: Improving Supplier Risk Management in the Age of 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.

Webinar Notes: Enhanced Supplier Repository – A Real Asset for Procurement

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.

Blog Pick of the Week: Good Surprises are Wonderful


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.


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!”.

Posted by on in Procurement
Have the right tool

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?

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?



Small Businesses making a Big impact

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.

Developing a Supplier Scorecard

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

Posted by on in Procurement
Use the Magnifying Glass

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

So, You Want to Win a Reverse Auction?

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

– Max Chafkin, Inc. Magazine

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