Buyers Meeting Point procurement by Kelly Barner

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"The Point" is written by BMP Editor Kelly Barner as well as a diverse group of guest contributors.

Book Review: Building Effective Value Chains

Book Review: Building Effective Value Chains

A value chain is the overall set of internal and external resources – human, physical, financial and informational – that require to be marshalled and managed in order to achieve the objectives of any organization. (p. 2)

Building Effective Value Chains: Value and Its Management by Tom McGuffog provides an almost completely unexpected perspective on the meaning of value and value chains as well as how they should be nurtured in a variety of contexts. I chose the word ‘nurtured’ deliberately; McGuffog makes the point that this book is for “students” in a wide range of disciplines extending far beyond a corporate setting. The attention he pays to humanity and the “value of human life” in his discussions of value and values is so compassionate that I found myself wondering if McGuffog had switched places with Gyöngyi Kovács, Karen Spens, and Ira Haavisto who edited Supply Chain Management for Humanitarians how the two books might have turned out differently.

 

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 8/15 - 19

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 8/15 - 19

Clearly webinar hosts see the end of the summer vacation season on the horizon – this week’s investment in topics and speakers communicates to me that they expect engaged audiences. Don’t miss out! Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.

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Nearshoring: Why Now? - Warnings

Nearshoring: Why Now? - Warnings

As we covered in Nearshoring: Why Now?, outsourcing production operations to Mexico (or nearshoring) offers a number of tangible and intangible benefits over traditional “low-cost” country sourcing. Take China as a prime example: with labor rates in China, on average, exceeding those in Mexico since approximately 2013 and holding an advantage in productivity per worker, Mexico is increasingly becoming a hub for U.S.-based companies looking to transplant their supply chain operations. In moving operations closer to home, many companies are either fully or partially outsourcing manufacturing to suppliers in Mexico and in some cases, even placing full production facilities in that country. Sourcing suppliers in Mexico, however, is not without its obstacles: challenges that can quickly halt nearshoring operations for unprepared companies.

 

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The Great North/South Divide

The Great North/South Divide

The principle of a North/South divide has been around for as long as mankind has organized itself into societies. It is a term often used within politics to define the ‘North of the country from the South’. It doesn’t matter if you are referening to the USA, UK, or India, the statement is still applicable. It works on the principle things may be considered different between two groups, thereby creating a barrier to collaboration.

The key to the model is achieving the right perspective. For example, we may embrace a North/South divide within our countries yet still passionate about being part of the same country. Overcoming the divide requires a common agenda, one that everyone can get behind regardless of which side of the divide they are from.

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 8/8 - 12

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 8/8 - 12

Although there are only a few webinars taking place (again) this week, they are all high quality and on a compelling range of topics. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.

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Vetting Procurement Talent

Vetting Procurement Talent

Special thanks to longtime BMP friend Charles Dominick, SPSM3 of the Next Level Purchasing Association for this guest post.

Welcome back to this series on improving procurement capability.  In the previous post of this series, I covered how to find candidates for your procurement jobs.  But finding procurement talent is easier than whittling the talent pool down to that one, perfect candidate.  Let’s talk about how you do that.

Behavioral interviewing has become a classic interviewing technique.  According to Virginia Tech University, behavioral interviewing is “a technique used by employers to learn about your past behavior in particular situations…Past behavior is a better predictor of future behavior than is speculation” about how a candidate would act in a hypothetical future situation.

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 8/1 - 5

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 8/1 - 5

Don’t look now, but it’s officially August! There are exactly 5 weeks until Labor Day, which means you’re either trying to hold onto summer as long as you can or you’re counting the days until the first day of school because your three small children are so loud and active they make it very hard to objectively stay on top of the comings and goings in procurement and Wait! Don’t color on my podcast interview notes with crayon – I NEED those!! (But enough about me…) Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.

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Book review: Supply Chain Management for Humanitarians

Book review: Supply Chain Management for Humanitarians

“The essence of supply chains is to match supply and demand. But what happens with supply chains and, particularly, what can supply chain performance be, in the context where the demand is neither dictated by nor is the performance of the supply chain directly evaluated by the end users?” (p. 7)

Supply Chain Management for Humanitarians, a multi-contributor book edited by Gyöngyi Kovács, Karen Spens, and Ira Haavisto takes a very serious look at a topic that many people may regard in a casual or ‘soft’ manner.

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Sourcing Procurement Talent

Sourcing Procurement Talent

Special thanks to longtime BMP friend Charles Dominick, SPSM3 of theNext Level Purchasing Association for this guest post.

As a procurement professional, you need to be good at finding suppliers who work out as good or better than you predict.  As a procurement leader, you need to be good at finding employees who work out as good or better than you predict.  In this post, I’ll share some traditional and not so-traditional ways to find high-potential procurement talent.

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 7/25 - 29

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 7/25 - 29

If you’re looking for something new to get you through the dog days of summer, check out this week’s schedule of procurement and supply chain webinars. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.

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Book Review: The Logistics and Supply Chain Toolkit 2nd Ed

Book Review: The Logistics and Supply Chain Toolkit 2nd Ed

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.

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Celebrating Procurement Excellence on a Global Scale

Celebrating Procurement Excellence on a Global Scale

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.

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Are Smart Contracts the Future of Contracting?

Are Smart Contracts the Future of Contracting?

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.”

 

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 7/18 - 22

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 7/18 - 22

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.

 

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Book Review: Financing the End-to-End Supply Chain

Book Review: Financing the End-to-End Supply Chain

“…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.

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 7/11 - 15

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 7/11 - 15

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.

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Nearshoring: Why now?

Nearshoring: Why now?

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.

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Are Suppliers Faceless Entities?

Are Suppliers Faceless Entities?

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 supplier

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.

Labels

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.

Who Cares?

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

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 future

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.

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 6/27 – 7/1

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 6/27 – 7/1

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.

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 6/20 - 24

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 6/20 - 24

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.

 

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