The Logistics and Supply Chain Toolkit by Gwynne Richards and Susan Grinsted is an instructional book based in reality, free from assumptions and pretense but full of real world applications. The toolkit concept, one that is continued throughout the book, spotlights process and analytical assets that are described by the authors as including “guides, frameworks, models, quick calculations, and practical ideas.” The topics covered in the book range from an essential review of Incoterms to a more advanced discussion of Decision Matrix Analysis.
Procurement professionals are traditionally known for being more reserved than our colleagues in other disciplines (ahem… sales and marketing). And while there is nothing wrong with that, it does mean that we let opportunities to celebrate our colleagues and accomplishments go unrecognized.
Procurify recently announced the launch of the Global Procurement Awards (GPAs). As they say in their official press release, “The GPAs were created to recognize and celebrate those committed to excellence in the procurement profession.”
There are several awards categories and candidates can nominate themselves or another. The application is mercifully brief – leaving no reason not to throw your hat in the ring for a little recognition and an opportunity to share with colleagues.
Some of you may be aware of smart contracts. They are a new approach to contracting which uses technology to execute and enforce the negotiated terms. In this article we explore what the future of contracting may look like with smart contracts.
What is a Smart Contract?
In essence it is the creation of a contract using computer code rather than the written word. The computer software is then used to enforce and manage the contract, enabling both parties to utilise the contract as a living breathing document.
“’Smart contract’ can refer to any contract which is capable of
executing and/or enforcing itself.”
Now this is a busy week… 8 webinars in three days and not a softball topic among them. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
“…more than 70% of the top 1,000 companies around the world will have adopted supply chain finance programmes within the next couple of years.” (p. xiii)
Financing the End-to-End Supply Chain, by Simon Templar, Erik Hofmann, Charles Findlay, is an educational investment that many procurement and supply chain professionals will benefit from. Despite being one of the top ‘up and coming’ professional topics, there is still a lack of solid understanding in the professions that will be required to see supply chain finance programs through.
I came to this review with just enough knowledge to be dangerous – and enthusiastic. In my opinion, supply chain finance is the ‘Robotic Process Automation’ (RPA) of 2016. BY 2017, SCF will be a regular part of corporate conversations across industries and geographies.
And… we’re back! After a week (mostly) without events due to the holiday weekend, we once again have a slate of webinars to recommend. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
When you think of outsourcing manufacturing operations, what country do you typically think of? China? Vietnam? Philippines? Yes, Asia is typically the go-to region for companies looking to cut costs by outsourcing production processes - and for good reason. Asia possesses both the labor and raw material resources to make the region an effective substitute to higher cost labor in the U.S. and the limited availability of certain raw materials in North America.
While outsourcing to low-cost countries such as China has its benefits (i.e. labor/overhead costs, raw material costs, scalability, freeing up the business’ time to focus on other critical functions, etc.) it comes with challenges as well. Lead times, language barriers, time zone differences, IP integrity, and a general lack of physical presence make outsourcing certain functions a constant struggle for US-based manufacturers and can outweigh the initial savings gained over the long-term. Companies oftentimes look at the price-tag of outsourcing functions such as IT support or manufacturing assembly work, figuring the decision is obvious. However, to minimize risk and to optimize/streamline domestic manufacturing operations it is important to weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing, especially in deciding which low-cost region to outsource to, which processes to outsource, and which partner(s) to use.
The term supplier is banded around with such ease, yet has it devalued the relationship and removed the individual, resulting in generic and stale business relationships?
The associated business activity of a supplier is simple enough: the supplier delivers goods/services to the buyer in order to fulfil a contractual requirement. However, the challenge is that the term can also be used in many other ways. For example:
It can be used as an excuse to blame poorly structured contracts. “The supplier didn’t agree”
It can be used to justify the buyer not doing something they don’t want to do “the supplier didn’t support it”
In essence the word “supplier” is used as a generic label to cover all and any activity between the buyer and their supply chain.
Society has a habit of labelling many areas of the world we live in, ranging from how one’s spouse might be identified “The wife/husband” through to labelling social, economic, political, regional, and religious groups.
When a label is used it can de-humanise the individual. Sometimes this is a deliberate approach to make it easier to talk about a wider group, however when used incorrectly it can also have a detrimental effect on how the individual identifies their value and how others evaluate their contribution.
Human relationships are behind all commercial contracts, and so de-humanising the relationship may feel like a convenient model for addressing multiple aspects but one needs to question if it will really drive the best out of the relationship.
When we look at the relationship between the buying organisation and their supply chain, we see a trend. Suppliers who are valued are rarely labelled as “the supplier” but are identified by either the company name or account team members. When this supplier is discussed internally, the ability to name the company/account team demonstrates to the business the value placed upon the relationship. This has a knock on effect within both organisations, a greater focus placed on the human relationships creates a stronger desire to accommodate and collaborate.
With more and more automation being introduced into the procurement processes, it has the capability to remove the human relationship aspect of doing business. Now more than ever one needs to focus on how labels are applied within business.
Collaboration remains an undeveloped area of business opportunity, with few organisations able to say they collaborate with their entire supply base. Collaboration can take many forms but they all require a human desire to want to engage. The level of support buying organisations can generate from their supply chain may be directly influenced by how the supply chain has been labelled.
The next time you discuss “the supplier” you may want to reflect if it is being used to truly reflect the larger community or to cover up other underlying issues. It is human nature to blame a faceless entity when convenient such as “The Business believes XXXX,” however to get the most out of others you need to respect who they are and what they bring to the relationship.
This week – which is a little slow because some lucky people have Friday off in advance of the July 4th holiday on Monday – is a unique assortment of webinars taking place ‘anyway.’ Two events on direct spend and one that looks at one of the weaknesses in the procurement customer service program. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
This week’s event schedule is a little crazy – one on Tuesday, one of Wednesday, and then EIGHT on Thursday! With that many events, there is bound to be one that you’ll benefit from. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
Here are my recommendations for the best way to spend 1 hour of thought provoking professional development time this week. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
As a procurement professional, I am frequently tasked with conducting a spend analysis on behalf of current and potential clients, but for those outside of the industry, this may be an unfamiliar exercise. In this post, I will attempt to provide a crash course on spend analysis, answering some of the most commonly asked questions about the topic: What is a spend analysis? Why should I do one? And finally, how do I do it?
A spend analysis is a very broad term that refers to… you guessed it! Analyzing the spend of an organization with the objective of understanding where money is being spent and where there may be opportunity for cost savings or process efficiencies. Spend analyses are conducted by procurement professionals in an attempt to get a comprehensive view of all of an organization’s expenditures and they are frequently the starting point for beginning the strategic sourcing process. There are a number of benefits to conducting a spend analysis, but the most important is transparency. A spend analysis provides a holistic view of all spend (indirect and/or direct) in a given time period, typically during a fiscal or calendar year. By doing this, you are able to gain visibility into where spend is being allocated, who the top suppliers are, how many suppliers you use for certain services, and areas of opportunity. For decentralized organizations, a spend analysis may reveal potential service redundancies across departments/brands and provide insights into areas of consolidation across supply bases. Along the same lines, a spend analysis provides organizations with the information needed to increase spend control by showing where and how spend/budgets are being allocated. Although there are many reasons why an organization would conduct a spend analysis, the benefits are consistent.
The events count is back up as we return to a full five day workweek, and the calendar looking forward shows no evidence of a quiet summer! Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
This week’s webinar notes are from an event presented by Bertrand Maltaverne, Senior Business Consultant at Pool4Tool, and hosted by Procurify. You can view the webinar on demand here. In the meantime, you may enjoy listening to a recent BMP Radio podcast with Bertrand and “Sourcing Doctor” Michael Lamoureax. Bertrand also has a great blog on Medium: check it out here.
It is not uncommon for procurement to receive a bonus payment based on the savings the department has achieved. In this post we discuss if procurement would benefit more from being on a salary plus commission payment structure.
AFTER READING, TAKE OUR TWITTER POLL: Should procurement be paid commission?
The traditional approach for calculating pre-contract savings is to obtain a minimum of three supplier quotes, select the mean as the base point then count the additional savings achieved above the base point. The challenge for the CFO is because the savings are subjective, they are unable to truly identify tangible and quantifiable savings from procurement’s impact, therefore the level of bonus they might apportion directly to procurement is limited.
Assessing bid submissions based not just on initial costs but total forecasted end to end costs is becoming more prevalent as businesses take a wider view of the true cost of ownership. However, since the model for encouraging procurement to strive for savings remains focused on the bid submission, applying this approach to determine bonus compensation has a high likelihood of conflict. The bonus payment approach could arguably be stated as outdated, thereby creating an opportunity for procurement. An alternative approach might be to replace the bonus model with a commission structure, based on the end to end total contract savings.
Procurement benefits would include:
- Ability to be recognised for the full business value a team/individual delivers.
- Encourages and rewards end to end contract ownership and relationship management.
- Encourages post-contract collaboration, ultimately leading to the possibility of generating post-contract savings within the same contract term.
The potential benefits for the business include:
- Maximises pre and post-contract savings. Post-contract savings is an area currently underdeveloped as the main focus remains on pre-contract savings, which is understandable given it is the main area for bonus achievement.
- Creates a catalyst for procurement cultural change, focused on supplier collaboration and successful implementation. This unlocks the supply chain and drives innovation and collaboration across the business to increase bottom line profits.
- Ensures operational costs are kept to a minimum.
- Encourages and rewards end to end contract, maximising contract savings
There are many people within procurement who have “fallen” into the role rather than pro-actively sought to become procurement professionals. Even those who have deliberately sought after the role, few may still believe it was a good career choice. The change to commission based compensation has the potential to raise procurement salaries to new levels, provide a catalyst for change, and enable procurement to reflect their full business value, which could in turn could attract new talent and retain experience that is sorely needed.
Like all new ideas, there is an upside but also a downside. Moving onto a commission structure based on the overall savings from successfully managing the contract could quickly lead to some personnel being identified as under delivering. The key to gaining business support in this initiative is by demonstrating greater profitability for the CFO in undertaking this route. The central question is: does procurement want to undertake this direction?
Even with the holiday Monday in the U.S. this week, there are still a couple of events worth catching. In fact, one is a ‘don’t miss’ webinar. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
“Supply chain legal disputes don’t start out as legal disputes. They typically start out as badly written contracts, poor communication with supply chain partners, and an inability to resolve conflicts.” (Authors’ Foreward)
Legal Blacksmith, by Rosemary Coates and Sarah Rathke, is an interesting mix of two perspectives the procurement community is all too familiar with: supply chain and legal. They combine their experience – Coates on the supply chain side and Rathke on the legal side – to provide a view that seems better suited to supply chain professionals looking for an improved legal understanding than vice versa. Interestingly, they met during a court case where a manufacturer was sued by a customer.
There are a full dozen events taking place this week – with no repeats in the mix. If the three events below don’t catch your interest, there are plenty more in the calendar. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
In a new effort, announced this week at ISM2016, ThomasNet is looking to put their considerable weight behind one of the trickiest cross-products in all of supply management – the attempt to align demand from corporate procurement and with the innovation and agility of small suppliers. In advance of their announcement, I interviewed Ed Edwards, Manager of Audience Outreach, and Travis Sherbine, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, from ThomasNet about the realities of making a formal SMB program work.
Let’s face it, there is something unnatural about the fit between big (or even medium sized) corporate procurement and small businesses (hence my labradoodle reference above). But, just like lovable, low-shed labradoodles, there is huge upside for procurement AND small suppliers if they can invest the additional effort required to make their interaction a success.
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.