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

Conversation with the Author: Jonathan O'Brien on Why His Revised Editions Add but Don't Remove Information

Conversation with the Author: Jonathan O'Brien on Why His Revised Editions Add but Don't Remove Information

Jonathan O’Brien, CEO at Positive Purchasing, has written a number of weighty books for procurement and supply chain professionals: Category Management in Purchasing, Negotiating for Purchasing Professionals, and Supplier Relationship Management make up the ‘big three.’ Not only has he written these books, he regularly revises them – I know because I’ve reviewed all of the originals and many of the revisions.

I write all the time (including two books of my own), and yet the sheer volume of content O’Brien has pulled together in these books makes my head spin. In fact, I once asked someone at his publisher Kogan Page if they had him locked in a room somewhere hunched over a laptop.

What that suggests to me, is that there is something about the process of writing, and his relationship to the content, that is important for him as a practitioner and thought leader. Somehow, O’Brien inexplicably maintains a successful consulting practice in addition to his writing habit.

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 10/12 – 10/16: Data, Intelligence, and Insights

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 10/12 – 10/16: Data, Intelligence, and Insights

This week’s event picks come from a fresh variety of hosts – all looking at data, intelligence, and insights that procurement can use to improve decision making and results. 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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Webinar Notes: Supply Chain Risk Management: How to Turn Worst Practices into Best Practices

Webinar Notes: Supply Chain Risk Management: How to Turn Worst Practices into Best Practices

These webinar notes are from an October 8th webinar on ‘Supply Chain Risk Management: How to Turn Worst Practices into Best Practices’ hosted by SIG and presented by Rolf Zimmer and Laura Enny at riskmethods. The webinar can be viewed on demand here.

The event opened with a look at what riskmethods considered to be the top megatrends: globalization, outsourcing, digitization, and climate change. Running through all of these trends is the changing role that suppliers, and therefore the supply chain as a whole, plays in our ability to understand complexity and the elevated risk levels and additional risk types it leads to.

Procurement has a tendency to think of supply chain complexity as improving the flow of goods, services, funds, and information between suppliers or tiers of the supply base. Although this expanded perspective is an improvement over where we have been in the past, it is still too simplistic. As Zimmer pointed out in the webinar, supply chains are not just lines from point A to point B, but complex networked structures where half of all disruptions take place beyond the first tier of the supply base.

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 10/5 – 10/9: Getting out ahead of challenges and opportunities

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 10/5 – 10/9: Getting out ahead of challenges and opportunities

This week I’ve picked two Finance-oriented events and one on supply chain risk. All three of them allow procurement to look outside the box of their own environment for ways to positively impact the enterprise as a whole. 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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Lessons from the Ultramarathon Trail to Prepare for the Category Management Journey

Lessons from the Ultramarathon Trail to Prepare for the Category Management Journey

These webinar notes are from a September 24th webinar hosted by SIG and presented by Chris Eyerman and Alan Veeck at Denali Sourcing Services. The webinar is available on demand and can be viewed after a quick registration here.

In case you’re wondering, an ultramarathon is an INSANELY challenging combination of long distance running and trail running. Technically, they include any marathon over the traditional 26.2 mile run, but from the sounds of Eyerman’s description, they are also usually off road excursions that can be as long as 100 miles. And he should know – he has run them.

Recent comment in this post
Guest — Anya McKenna
I love (yes... love) this article.Elite sports and procurement definitely have a lot of similarities in terms of mindset, opportun... Read More
Thursday, 15 October 2015 4:04 PM
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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 9/28–10/2: Unique Perspectives on Familiar Topics

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 9/28–10/2: Unique Perspectives on Familiar Topics

There are so many events this week that it was hard to pick which ones to recommend. The ones that I did actually pick offer something unique in terms of perspective or ‘angle’. 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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Guest Post on the Social Contracting Blog: P is for Procurement... except when it isn't

Guest Post on the Social Contracting Blog: P is for Procurement... except when it isn't

Click here to read this post on the Social Contracting blog.

The Finance team manages the finances of the enterprise. Marketing people market services and solutions to the purchaser (or customer). Human resources manages… well humans.

Given those examples, you would think that Procurement handled procurement. In an ironic twist, this is becoming less and less true—especially as technology evolves and blurs the line between Procurement as an entity and procurement as a process.

 

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Would Sales Describe Your Procurement Approach as ‘Peter Price’ or ‘Valerie Value’?

Would Sales Describe Your Procurement Approach as ‘Peter Price’ or ‘Valerie Value’?

Elliot Epstein, CEO of Salient Communications, has partnered with organizations such as CIPS in the past to help sales and procurement professionals better understand each other. He has also done a series of podcasts on Sales vs Procurement with Paul Rogers – a three decade procurement professional that Epstein describes as the leading procurement coach in Australia.

He talked about the podcast series as well as the sales procurement divide in a YouTube interview titled Dealing with the Rising Power of Procurement.

For my podcast on the topic, including guest audio from YouTube, visit Blog Talk Radio or Sound Cloud.

The sales vs procurement divide has always been an interesting one. Who is really in the power position? How accurate is each side’s understanding of the actions and motives of the other?

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 9/21–25: Pushing the Envelope to Elevate Results

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 9/21–25: Pushing the Envelope to Elevate Results

This week, each of my picks is pushing a boundary in some way – whether through more advanced approaches to risk, the collaborative frontier, or… well… running an ultramarathon to prepare for better category management. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in the events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.

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Three Unexpected Topics That Should Make You Think of Contract Management

Three Unexpected Topics That Should Make You Think of Contract Management

Last week I attended the IACCM/Exari webinar on ‘Converting Your CEO into a Contract Management Champion in 3 Simple Steps.’ I came away with three topics, but they weren’t the ones I was expecting to get. Rather than ways to sell the CEO on contract management, I was surprised by the broad range of connections back to contract management that were offered up by Exari’s Founder and Chief Product Officer Jamie Wodetzki.

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The Suzuki Volkswagen ‘Divorce’ – What Not to Do or a Case Against Partnerships Altogether?

The Suzuki Volkswagen ‘Divorce’ – What Not to Do or a Case Against Partnerships Altogether?

Suzuki and Volkswagen have finally completed their ‘divorce’ or the breakup of their 2009 partnership that was supposed to bring market, manufacturing, and technical expertise together for the benefit of both parties. This true story sadly illustrates the dark side of collaborative business relationships – and that is the fallout for all parties if and when they fail.

For my podcast on the topic, including guest audio on the story from Reuters, visit Blog Talk Radio or Sound Cloud.

As sad as the state of the relations between these two companies is today, the partnership started with high expectations on both sides. In 2010, VW purchased a 20% stake in Suzuki, worth approximately $2B US, indicating that this deal was no informal initiative.

Unfortunately, it also started with ulterior – or at least secondary motives – that may have doomed the effort from the outset.

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 9/14–18: BYOI – Bring Your Own Imagination

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 9/14–18: BYOI – Bring Your Own Imagination

This week’s events represent a wide range of topics as well as some of the companies we don’t hear from quite as often. Interestingly enough, I’m starting to see the old players of Ariba (now SAP) and Emptoris (as IBM) making a comeback in events and marketing. One thing all these topics have in common is the idea that imagination is a key component to a sustainable vision for the future. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in the events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.

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Webinar Notes: Key Trends of Advanced Analytics

Webinar Notes: Key Trends of Advanced Analytics

These notes are from a September 2nd webinar presented by Alexander Linden, Research Director at Gartner. The event is available on demand and can be viewed here. You don’t have to be a hard core analyst to benefit from this event – the take aways were interesting and applicable to procurement even though it wasn’t a procurement-specific event.

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

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.

CLICK HERE TO READ THIS POST ON DESIGN NEWS

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.

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 9/7–11: Can the CEO be a Contract Management Champion?

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 9/7–11: Can the CEO be a Contract Management Champion?

Webinars are back with a vengeance now that the summer vacation season has officially ended. There are over thirty events already listed on the calendar for this month, which has just barely begun. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in the events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.

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Webinar Notes: The Pulse of Procurement 2015

Webinar Notes: The Pulse of Procurement 2015

These notes are from an August 25th webinar hosted by Sourcing Industry Group and presented by Zycus. The two speakers were Ian Hinke, Vice President of Sourcing and Vendor Management at PHH Mortgage, and Richard Waugh, Vice President of Corporate Development at Zycus.

This event showcased the results of Zycus’ annual Pulse of Procurement study. This year, the participants included 400 respondents, 80% of which were from large companies (<$500M in annual revenue) in North America (68%). Three quarters of the respondents were in procurement management positions.

Although most of the questions were the standard ones about performance metrics, maturity, and technology adoption, there were some very interesting findings between the lines…

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A Deep Dive into the Cost Drivers of a Direct Mail Program – Part 2

A Deep Dive into the Cost Drivers of a Direct Mail Program – Part 2

Direct marketing is not a new advertising strategy, but the associated tactics often change with the latest trends and technologies. Direct mail is one tactic under the direct marketing umbrella that has stood the test of time despite the shift to digital in most other areas of the advertising space. This post is the second in a series of two that discusses direct mail as a tactic and the cost drivers that impact the cost of executing one of these programs. You can read part 1 here.

As we described previously, there are four main cost components of a direct mail program: mail lists, creative and design, print and lettershop, and postage. There are different strategies for each of these and managing the costs of some are more complicated than others. Mail lists and postage are the two components that require more than a standard sourcing process in order to identify areas of cost reduction.

Previously, we took an in-depth look at gaining access to mail lists as a cost driver for direct mail campaigns and the strategies that can be executed to manage those costs. This post will take a deep dive into postage as a cost driver and the different postage optimization strategies that can be implemented to reduce costs.

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Three Things ‘Rock Star’ CPOs Know About Procurement Influence

Three Things ‘Rock Star’ CPOs Know About Procurement Influence

Last month I had the opportunity to speak with Dave Bowen, Xchanging’s US Country Manager and CEO of MM4. Xchanging has now released two parts of the research they conducted into procurement and supply chain. You can read my coverage of the first two parts here and here.

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Procurement Perspectives Podcast: Where should procurement report?

Procurement Perspectives Podcast: Where should procurement report?

This week's guest audio comes from Dustin Mattison. His Future of Supply Chain podcast series offers weekly interviews with leading supply chain thought leaders. The podcasts can be seen on YouTube and his blog is part of the Kinaxis Supply Chain Expert Community.

In this podcast Mattison interviews Julio Franca, a Director at the global, boutique management consulting firm Spin Consulting. The excerpt we are about to hear is the first question of the podcast and in it Franca addresses where procurement should report in the organization relative to supply chain. The full interview can be heard on YouTube.

You can hear the full podcast on Blog Talk Radio or on Sound Cloud.

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My Recommendations for Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars August 31 – September 4

My Recommendations for Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars August 31 – September 4

As we round the corner to Labor Day weekend, the number of weekly events is picking up. My recommendations for this week are below, but be sure to look at the rest of the month of September as it is already completely packed with great procurement and supply chain webinars. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and connect to their registration pages.

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