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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When we were first married, we would occasionally make a purchase without measuring. For example, we bought a beautiful cherry wall unit for our television only to find out the opening for the TV was too small for the set we had. Another time, we purchased a couch and could not get it in the apartment no matter what we did. I would say our procurement cycle had gone astray!

There was a fantastic fourth grade teacher that emphasized two areas throughout the year. The first was current events and public speaking. Every week, each student had to speak in front of the class about something that had happened in the world. It could be about a sporting event, a weather report, it really did not matter. The key was to get them comfortable with sharing their ideas in a public forum and to become aware of a world beyond their home, school and community.

 

On September 3rd of last year, Jeanette Jones, Owner and Founder of Cottrill Research, suggested (out of the blue!) that she and I co-author a book. There was never any question of whether or not I would do it. I’ve always wanted to write a book. I enjoy doing research and I have been fascinated with procurement ever since I ‘fell into’ the profession in 2003. Jeanette’s suggestion that we write a book to help procurement professionals create their own supply market intelligence combined all three.

Over 900 years ago, Marco Polo, his father and uncle began their 24 year journey from Europe to Asia and back. It was very much an unknown and they were often learning as they went. Communicating back home was impossible. The languages are all different along the way as well.

All hotels provide you with toiletries such as bar soap, shampoo, etc. For business travel, we are often only there for one or two nights. One area that has always bothered me is the waste for a basically brand new bar of soap which will be thrown out after just a few uses. It’s just a little thing but multiplied across many hotels, it exponentially becomes a huge issue. So how can we change that? What can we do to increase sustainability, one bar of soap at a time?

This week’s webinar notes are based on a May 29th panel webinar hosted by Proxima. The event is available on demand for free after an email registration here. In addition, anyone interested in the webinar should also read a recent HBR.com article discussing the four fundamental reasons why ‘Leaders Can No Longer Afford to Downplay Procurement,’ by Matthew Eatough, Proxima’s CEO.

It is often challenging, sometimes nearly impossible, to gain access to real time market intelligence that can provide you with insight into your industry or supplier relationships. Without access to this information or knowledge of best practices, it can be difficult to ensure your company has a competitive advantage. When delving into benchmarks it is important to understand the components of benchmarking, its benefits, and how the involvement of the spend owner is critical for the benchmark to provide the most value.

I am sure many of you have heard the shoe salesman story which is classic in having a positive attitude and a determined spirit. Two shoe salesmen are in an undeveloped area. The first one calls home and says “Let me come home, no one here is wearing shoes”. The second one calls home and says “Send more shoes, no one here is wearing them!” Clearly the second one is primed for an export business!

We spent a good deal of our last weekend planting our gardens. We had some plants and some bulbs. We watered, weeded and fertilized. We really tended to what hopefully will make them grow and become a beautiful back yard retreat.

This week’s webinar notes are from a May 21st event presented by ISM and Zycus, with main speaker Rob Handfield, a Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at North Carolina State University and Director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative. The event is available on demand on the ISM website.

We were on vacation a few years ago in San Francisco. As we sat on the beach, we could not get over how many container ships were arriving and passing under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was certainly a testimony to our global economy and how the business world is getting smaller all the time.

Editor's Note: On May 1st, Buyers Meeting Point issued an Open Call for predictions about the future of procurement as part of the #FutreBuy project I am working on with Jon Hansen (Procurement Insights, PI Window on the World). We welcome all predictions, either as comments to our posts on the subject, guest submissions, or posts on Twitter flagged with our #FutureBuy hashtag.

Posted by on in Blog Picks

When we are expecting guests, we pay attention to putting away the surface clutter and cleaning the general area that our guests would be in. If they are coming for an overnight, there is a greater area involved. However, we often are not focusing on the extra areas such as closets or under the beds. That would the last 20 percent which is most often skipped.

Posted by on in Book Reviews

Can China Lead?

Reaching the Limits of Power and Growth

 

Can China Lead?, by Regina M. Abrami, William Kirby, and F. Warren McFarlan, asks a question that can not be definitively answered but is well worth asking. The authors seamlessly combine their knowledge of China’s history, people, and politics to advise companies looking to engage in commercial interactions with one the world’s second largest economy (As ranked by GDP by the United Nations, 2012). As the authors state in their Introduction, “Chinese businesses compete globally, now going head-to-head with North American and European corporations in telecommunications, heavy machinery, and renewable forms of energy.” (p. x)

 

Posted by on in Procurement

We have a local farm stand nearby and we frequent them in the summer. They sell local eggs, produce and flowers. One unique aspect is that people will return their egg cartons to them and the farm refills them for the next customer. It is a great system and in a small way, they are practicing their own version of CSR.

Posted by on in Blog Picks

As a young child, you think nothing of jumping off of something like the high dive or riding your bike really fast down a bumpy slope. My daughter took a risk one day of walking the dog and riding her bike at the same time. Risky decision making for sure. Unfortunately she wrapped the leash around her handle bars. When the dog found something to chase, she went one way, the bike went another way. A few cuts and bruises resulted but it sure could have been more serious.

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.

It is not unusual for me to get an email from a colleague asking me to read an article or post and then share my two cents. It is unusual that following through on such a request would take me on the wild ride that it did this week.

Let me retrace the steps – starting at the very beginning…

Posted by on in Procurement

I remember this childhood saying “Good, Better, Best. Never let it rest. Until the good is better and the better best”.

Do you get nervous when you have to make a presentation? I know I do. I can’t decide what to say,

how much to say, and of course what to wear!!

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