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

Robots, Warehouses, and Fulfillment

Robots, Warehouses, and Fulfillment

According to TechInsider, there are warehouse robots currently in place that could potentially boost productivity up to 800%. Yes, you read that correctly: eight hundred percent. With huge boosts in productivity, it comes as no surprise that companies such as Amazon are taking automation to the next level, but what impact will it have on their employees? If the numbers stack up, the robot takeover could be imminent, but that does not necessarily mean human warehouse employees will become obsolete.

As with most technological advances, employees must adapt.  Remember when basic computers were introduced to the workplace? Let’s take a look at some of the robots being used today, how they’re being utilized, and most importantly, what it means already or is going to mean for their human ‘coworkers.’

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The Contract as Catalyst for Cultural Change in Procurement

The Contract as Catalyst for Cultural Change in Procurement

Scenario 1: The supplier contacts you in writing to state they have submitted the wrong pricing in the bid…what is your first response?

 - Tough luck you submitted it

 - That’s typical of suppliers, always trying to trick you

  - Expect the price is going to increase

 - Interested to see if they are submitting a lower price

Scenario 2: The supplier approaches you and states they think they have a solution to deliver the contract more efficiently...what is your first feeling?

 - They are looking to upsell

  - I don’t believe them

  - They are trying to make me look bad

  - Want to discuss in a supportive and engaging manner

Scenario 3: The business reduces its requirements 2% in the contract and understandably do not want to pay for what is not required. Do you;

 - Tell the supplier to “suck it up” and not re-negotiate the contract

 - Re-negotiate the contract to ensure they are fairly compensated

 

Unfortunately we all know the responses because it is an attitude that is the default towards suppliers; confrontation & mistrust. For many within procurement it is a justified attitude because in the past any leniency has been abused by suppliers.

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 4/11 - 15

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 4/11 - 15

All three of this week’s webinar picks are extremely interesting – if I had the time (or if I could be in two places at once) I would attend all three.  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 4/4 – 4/8

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 4/4 – 4/8

This week’s events all come down to a single day – Thursday. On top of that, they run back to back starting at 11am Eastern. 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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The CPOs Are Rising Indeed

The CPOs Are Rising Indeed

This week I had an extraordinary opportunity to learn from and network with some of the brightest minds in procurement. At the first annual CPO Rising Summit, hosted in Boston, MA by Ardent Partners, over 150 attendees saw and heard a remarkable amount of thought leadership in just two days. The speakers – all accomplished executives from world class companies – shared the lessons they learned on their journey to this point as well as their vision for the future of procurement.

If you missed this year’s event, you can get a glimpse of what was shared in the recap webinar being hosted by Ardent Partners on April 12 (click here to register).

 

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How Millennials will Influence a Shift in Procurement Technology

How Millennials will Influence a Shift in Procurement Technology

Millennials are known for many things, and while there is no one ‘Millennial profile”, they are unquestionably natural with technology. Business technology is changing because providers are seeing demand trends from these digital natives. Since Millennials will make up 40% of the workforce by 2020, they are a group that will improve our current solutions because they have high expectations for technology. The challenge is to meet their expectations and bring more experienced users along with them.

 

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 3/28-4/1

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 3/28-4/1

In addition to the webinars recommended below, CPO Rising is taking place in Boston, MA on Tuesday and Wednesday. Buyers Meeting Point will be covering the event live as an official media partner. Follow the event live on Twitter using hashtag #CPORising2016 for the latest insights from leading CPOs and industry thought leaders. 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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Q and A with Michael Raezler, a 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Star

Q and A with Michael Raezler, a 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Star

I recently got the opportunity to have access to the 2016 class of ThomasNet / ISM 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain stars. I looked through the whole list of impressive young professionals, and one individual really stood out to me. Michael Raezler is a Purchasing and Supply Management Specialist with U.S. Postal Service.

I specifically requested his insight (as captured in the following Q&A) partly because he has accomplished amazing things in his short professional tenure and partly because he is a living example of excellence in a segment of the public sector that all too often goes unrecognized and under-estimated. The procurement profession – and the U.S. Postal Service – are lucky to have him as part of our community.

If you are interested in the entire class of 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain stars, click here to read more.

 

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 3/21-25

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 3/21-25

There are a lot of webinars – 11 – taking place this week. The best of them address the most timely topics in procurement as you will see below. 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 POD Model

Book Review: The POD Model

Buyers and suppliers, they make the commercial world go round.

-        The POD Model, p. 1

 

The POD Model: The mutually-beneficial model for buyers and suppliers which enables an increase in profit through commercial collaboration by Michael Robertson strives to do something that we need a whole lot more of in procurement. It provides a framework for combining our philosophical objectives as collaborators and innovators with the inescapable need to measure our results.

Robertson looks at the messy reality of buyer supplier relations and breaks them down to a few major issues: cost, risk, flexibility, and incentives for mutual gain. He then looks to find a way to factor those into contracts in such a way that no one party benefits at the cost or loss of the other.

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ISM-New York Takes on Procurement2020 with their Annual Conference

ISM-New York Takes on Procurement2020 with their Annual Conference

I had a unique opportunity yesterday to serve as the Q&A facilitator for ISM-New York’s annual meeting. What is so unique about that? I did it from Central Massachusetts! Through the magic of Google Hangouts (and with a little help from an eight hour phone call) I saw, heard, and interacted with the speakers and attendees in a meeting room overlooking Times Square.

Kudos to ISM-New York President Nancy Murray, Executive Director Julienne Ryan, and former Vice President Jim Martin for their adventurous, virtual approach to collaboration and networking.

 

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 3/14-18

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 3/14-18

This week combines virtual and in person events. Monday through Thursday is #ProcureTech2016 hosted by Spend Matters. If you’re there, go see BuyerQuest at booth #13 and enter to win a copy of Procurement at a Crossroads. I’ll be serving as the virtual facilitator for ISM-New York’s annual meeting on Wednesday. If you’re looking for something a bit more virtual… we have you covered there, too. 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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Continuous Cost Reduction for Direct Materials

Continuous Cost Reduction for Direct Materials

Continuous cost reduction in the manufacturing industry is a supply chain best practice, but all too often it is mistakenly seen as unsustainable by strategic sourcing and procurement departments. For many companies the question is, ‘how can I reduce costs while limiting the impact on quality?’ Before jumping right to substituting materials, there are other options for delivering cost savings - yes, even over time.

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 3/7-11

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 3/7-11

It’s a busy week in procurement with eight webinars on the calendar. I’m recommending two about intelligence and a third about the strategic positioning of suppliers. 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 2/29 – 3/4

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 2/29 – 3/4

There are two points worth noting in this week’s calendar. The first is the leap year giving us one last day in February. The other is that time is running out to secure a spot at the 2016 CPO Rising Summit being held in Boston on March 29th and 30th. Click here for more information and to get the Buyers Meeting Point discount code to save $250 on your registration fee.

 

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Book Review: The Industries of the Future

Book Review: The Industries of the Future

Editor’s note:

It is my distinct belief that as corporate objectives become more general, functional silos dissipate, and millennial professional habits lead to increased talent rotation, the information and skills required by successful individuals and organizations will be broad in nature. Most of the books I review on an annual basis are procurement or supply chain related. That being said, competitive advantage is not discipline specific. In that spirit, I am actively pursuing opportunities to bring general thought leadership to Buyers Meeting Point. Starting… now!

The Industries of the Future, by former State Department Senior Advisor Alec Ross, is a compelling exploration of the conditions businesses and countries need to optimize in order to be successful in the decades to come. It borrows extensively from his time traveling the world in the federal government’s service, which means that his examples are unexpectedly diverse and shared in such a way that is only possible when the author has experienced something first-hand.

 

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 2/22 - 26

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 2/22 - 26

We have another ProcureCon event running this week – this time in Orlando, FL. For anyone not traveling to the Sunshine State, there are a full DOZEN webinars being held, half of which are on Thursday. I’ve recommended four below and provided my reasoning. 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: e-Logistics: Managing Your Digital Supply Chains for Competitive Advantage

Book Review: e-Logistics: Managing Your Digital Supply Chains for Competitive Advantage

“In other words, an effective management of a firm’s digital supply chain will have a positive impact on productivity and growth; ignorance will very likely result in the loss of competitive advantage and have a detrimental effect on performance.” (e-Logistics, p. 4)

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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 2/15 - 19

Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 2/15 - 19

This week starts multiple weeks of ProcureCon events – in Toronto this week and in Orlando the week after that. Follow @ProcureCon on Twitter if you’re interested in the goings on. From a virtual standpoint, there are two worthwhile events taking place – see why I think so below. 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: The Future of Procurement – The Human Challenge

Webinar Notes: The Future of Procurement – The Human Challenge

This week’s webinar notes are from a February 3rd webinar hosted by SAP Ariba and presented by Ed Cone at Oxford Economics and James J. McDonald and Luisa Gonzalez at COACH. The event is available on demand here.

 

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