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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 Editor's note: on July 24th, I wrote a post 'On Storytelling and Procurement' in response to an executive leadership and communication post by Chip Scholz. Dr. Tom DePaoli, an author and management consultant, offered up some comments based on his own experience that were far too good to leave buried in a comments string. They are as follows:

One of the oldest methods of passing down knowledge is oral storytelling. Usually an ancient sage would be the keeper of the stories and pass them down to other tribe members. I highly recommend this method for supply chain professionals.

Posted by on in Blog Picks

One of my favorite movies is Camelot. I love the story and the music. One of the songs is the Seven deadly Virtues which mocks all the good things in someone's character such as honest, courage, humility and so on.

This week’s webinar notes are from a July 23 webinar hosted by ISM Vermont and presented by Verian Vice President Tommy Benston on ‘Five Steps To Eliminate Maverick Spending.’ Although an on demand version was not available as of the posting of my notes, it will be available on Verian’s site shortly.

On July 22, Chip Scholz, Head Coach of Scholz and Associates, Inc. posted ‘Executive Presence: Stronger with Leadership Storytelling’ on his site.

I am not a fan of the term best practices. I mean who says it is really ‘best’ and there is always room for something better. I feel it is a little presumptuous to think YOUR way is the BEST way. I also think others can be offended by being told how to implement a best practice. However, there are ‘better’ practices that could improve your current situation. Some like to call it a process for continuous improvement.

Supplier diversity programs have been a hot topic for some time now. While the need for minority-owned and diverse supplier programs at most companies has only recently begun to take shape, the growth has been astronomical. In fact, a study done by CAPS Research states that 71.79% of organizations expect their total supplier diversity program spend to increase greatly within the next two years. ('Measuring Supplier Diversity Program Performance', March 2012)

Even though support for diversity programs has been rising, there is still some hesitancy from businesses to develop them. This reluctance is often due to inaccurate perceptions regarding the value they can offer a company, but these myths are often easy to debunk.

In a July 14th article on NewsDay, NYASHA CHIZU asked ‘Is Procurement an Art or a Science?

In the article, he makes the following statement:

“There is definitely an art to good procurement but on the other hand, taking a scientific approach to options analysis, requirements development and the procurement evaluation process can facilitate a more successful procurement project.”

Tagged in: Savings Technology

Posted by on in Blog Picks

Years ago, my husband and I decide to wallpaper the dining room. The first and last time we made that decision!! Thankfully the trends are now to paint and not wallpaper. Whew! The roles we took were for me to measure and cut and for my husband to paste and hang. Neither one of us had the right role. I cut backwards from what we needed and he would cause more wrinkles than you can imagine. So we switched and it was like magic! It was a life’s lesson that we refer to now many years later. Know what you are good at and get others to join the team that can cover your weaknesses.

This week’s webinar notes are from a recent Procurement Leaders webinar on ‘Turning Data into a Business Case for Procurement.’ The webinar is available on demand here thanks to Rosslyn Analytics, and you can hear an excerpt of the webinar in my July 14th Blog Talk Radio update here.

I am not a shopper (which is an extreme understatement). I would pretty much like to spend my time doing almost anything else. Much to my teenage daughter’s chagrin, we went to the mall only once or twice a year. It was usually to get back-to-school clothes and to do Christmas shopping. When my mother took me shopping for clothes as a youngster, she claims that she could tell when my eye color turned from green to ‘grey’ that she was done and we had to leave and come back another time. While we may have been tempted to just grab anything and go, most of the time we did not.

Recently I had a great customer experience when someone who said they would call me back that afternoon actually did. Why did that surprise me? Because it is so rare.

Posted by on in Book Reviews

 

Supply Chain Risk, by John Manners-Bell, provides a structured look at risk by establishing a series of intersecting dimensions. First the author outlines external risk categories: Environmental, Economic, Societal, Security, and Technological. Each has several sub categories that provide additional detail and clarity. Then he delves into a number of industry sectors to consider their resiliency factors and concerns: Automotive, High tech, Consumer goods/retail, Food, Fashion, and Pharma/healthcare.

The coverage from both perspectives is equally detailed and illustrated with numerous case studies. In their intersection, for instance where Economic risks intersect with the Automotive industry, any supply chain professional will find the information they need to quickly come up to speed on key areas of concern as well as strategies for assessment and mitigation.

 

When we are planning our vacation, there are so many options to choose from. What activities are available, what is the cost, when should we go, for how long, and what should we pack? It is exciting and can be overwhelming as well. How do we narrow it down to the best trip for us this year?

Posted by on in Procurement

The World Cup in Brazil has everyone cheering for their country and their team. Football (or soccer in the US) is the globe’s transcendent sport. This year, for the first time, many of the United States televisions were tuned into the various matches. It has gained popularity for Americans in a big way. Obviously we are lagging behind the passion that this sport has carried for many others for decades, but in 2014 the U.S. was rising and falling as one with every touch of the ball.

As we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July in the United States, we have a lot to be grateful for. We are grateful for the simple things like peak of summer traditions: fireworks, grilling, and parades. We are also grateful that in the 238 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed our relationship with Britain has improved. We’d be awfully sorry not to be able to work with our British colleagues and partners.

All that being said, is the 4th of July a reason to be grateful for procurement? Absolutely. Procurement played more of a role in the American Revolutionary War than most people probably realize.

In September 2011, Wal-Mart announced a plan to spend $20B with woman-owned businesses by 2016. More recently, they expanded their Women’s Economic Empowerment program to include a ‘women-owned’ labeling program. Products that meet company ownership requirements will start appearing on Wal-Mart shelves this September1. Qualified companies can apply to be a part of the program through WBENC and WEConnect International.

Despite the company’s apparent good intentions, the program has not been warmly received by all, including some critics who feel calling additional attention to these products simply because of female company ownership does little to advance equality. As one commenter posted in response to a BusinessWeek article on the program, “The path to gender equality does not involve stickers pointing out that a product has been made by a female entrepreneur.”2

Posted by on in Procurement

There are a lot of options available to organizations for a req-to-check system. A common mistake with many software selection processes is not taking the time to define the requirements. That is a critical step in order to ensure a successful implementation. It is not just about the technology, it is mostly about the business process.

In the fall of 2013, Stephen Ashcroft, a specialist in procurement risk at Brian Farrington, wrote a post for Supply Management about the fact that procurement practitioners have been hesitant to embrace social media in general, and twitter more specifically.

Posted by on in Blog Picks

We have all had the experience when we asked someone for something or a call back and it did not happen. It always is a surprise and feels good when a person actually does follow through on what they said they were going to do. We certainly set that expectation on others so if you turn that around to yourself, how do YOU do with the follow through?

 

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!

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