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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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Posted by on in Procurement

How do you start a journey of a 1000 miles, - one step at a time!

I was at several airports this month and everyone is recycling. On the plane, they are separating the waste to improve the recycling opportunity. Clearly they have taken steps to do something to sustain the environment!

So how does that translate to your organization? This week’s eSourcing wiki is the first of several parts to discuss areas for going green.

IT – I know our town has certain days throughout the year to recycle IT equipment – old computers, cell phones and printers. However, the key is to think up front as your are doing the purchasing. Are they energy efficient, repairable as opposed to disposable, and highly recyclable?

This week we also discuss office supplies and office furniture as things to think about.

Has your organization conquered IT and office supplies as a way to be sustainable? Did you take a similar approach? What would you suggest? Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting @buyersmeetpoint

Posted by on in Blog Picks

As we are sitting here watching the Pairs Skating Competition, it is apparent that a lot of procurement was needed to put the Olympics together. The facilities, the food, the equipment, transportation and so on.

This week’s webinar notes are from the Next Level Purchasing Association’s January webinar on IT and Procurement. Bill Dorn, the VP of Operations from Source One Management Services was the main presenter. You may also know Bill as the co-author of Managing Indirect Spend with Source One’s Joe Payne. Although the full event and presentation are only available to NLPA Premium members, I will share an exclusive excerpt of the audio in my weekly procurement update on Blog Talk Radio update on Monday, February 10th.

 

This week's esourcing wiki is Benefits of Going Green. While researching that topic, I came across this article about the 7 Greenest Presidents in the History of America.

What I found facinating is that they are not all modern day Presidents. They go back to Thomas Jefferson's day. He was a great believer in nature, science and public education.

Conservation and preservation of public lands which makes up the US National Park System is attributed to both Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

This resource also has a buying guide with all types of information on how to buy green.   It lists a large array of consumer goods that are energy efficient, recyclable or have clean manufacturing practices.

There are so many reasons to be aware of our purchasing behaviors both as consumers and as procurement professionals.  Protection of our environment and resources is key. Many organizations will communicate their practices to their customers to gain their loyalty.

What has your organization done in buying green? Have they found it to be beneficial and cost competitive? Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting @buyersmeetpoint

We are about to have two weeks of winter Olympic Games. This is a rare opportunity to see the world’s elite athletes compete and understand the sacrifice and work it took them to get there.

This is the last in a series of posts on performance reviews and objective setting for the start of the New Year. Click here to read my recent posts on performance reviews from the manager’s and employee’s perspectives, as well as objective setting for procurement managers.

Posted by on in Procurement

Sustainable sourcing is a common theme in procurement today. Many organizations are looking to reduce their impact on the environment and shrink their carbon footprint.

This week’s webinar notes are from a January 14th webinar presented by Spend Matters’ Pierre Mitchell and KPMG’s Mani Mangalathumadam and sponsored by Hubwoo. The event can be viewed on demand here.

Posted by on in Guest Posts

Are you just joining us? We’re working our way through a series of posts on performance reviews and objective setting for the start of the New Year. Click here to read my recent posts on performance reviews from the manager’s and employee’s perspectives.

If your company works on a calendar year financial close schedule, your Annual Operating Plan (AOP) for 2014 is probably well-developed by now. While these AOP objectives will form a large part of your staff’s goals and objectives, a more comprehensive approach is required for achieving great things in 2014.

Developing and effectively communicating goals and objectives to your staff may be the most crucial thing you can do as a manager.  

Posted by on in Procurement

Boston is about to be clobbered with another major snowstorm. This is the second ‘blizzard’ of 2014. And it is still January!! The snow plowing services are thrilled as they can earn more with each additional inch of the while fluffy piles!

Posted by on in Procurement

Yesterday, Joe Payne of Source One Management Services posted a truly interesting post about the challenges faced by a fictional MRO category lead named John Q. Procurement. You can read the original post here.

 

“Very few organizations manage sourcing so well that there is no room for big gains. Category management is about changing sourcing in a radical way or a way that gives radical improvements.” (p. 33)

 

This quote from Jonathan O’Brien’s Category Management in Purchasing neatly sums up not only the idea of category management as he defines it, but also the full use of the content in his book, which is to support purchasing or procurement teams with a desire to significantly improve the way they manage sources of supply. The book provides all the background, strategy and tactics to stage a successful procurement transformation along category lines.

 

Like many people, I had too many sweets and treats over the holiday. It's a new year and I shouldn't even be thinking about cookies. However, I just finished making a batch of oatmeal chocolate cookies for a party tomorrow. Nothing like fresh cookies out of the oven!

Many times my children would want more than the two cookies I was offering. I would offer two , they would want three or four. After a few times back and forth, I would change my offer to ZERO cookies. Then all of a sudden they felt that two cookies was a great option!

In procurement, we are sometimes in situations where we want more cookies than are being offered. Or we want to include cold milk at the same time but that is not available at the price point we are interested in.

This week’s webinar notes are from a January 9th event hosted by Procurement Leaders and sponsored by iValua, with a case study presented by Whirlpool. The event is available for replay on iValua's site. If you are interested in more on the topics covered in the webinar, you can also download a free report (no registration required) that shares the results of iValua’s first Procurement Executives survey.

Just joining us? Last week we looked at performance reviews from a procurement manager’s perspective. This week we are looking at the same topic from the perspective of the person being reviewed.

You will likely have a performance review coming early in the New Year. Some people see performance reviews as “facing the music” while others see them as an opportunity to “toot their horn”. For the sake of your own career, I recommend thinking in terms of the latter.        

Review time is an opportunity to display your accomplishments, demonstrate your capabilities, and discuss potential opportunities with your manager.   At a higher level, this is also a good time for introspection to honestly access your future with the organization.  

Posted by on in Procurement

Many of us have played the telephone game as a child. You all sit in a circle. The first person whispers something into the next one’s ear. By the time it gets around the circle, the last person says what they heard. Almost always, it is completely different from the original statement.

Posted by on in Blog Picks

It's the beginning of a new year. Fresh starts and resolutions are all around. Typically it has to do with exercising more, eating less, going back to school, getting a better job, and so on.

This week’s webinar notes are from a December 2013 event presented by Coupa and CFO.com with featured speakers from Deloitte and Blackstone Group. The event is available on demand on CFO.com and if you are interested in the content, there are two Deloitte whitepapers you can download:

While the four trends defined by Deloitte’s John Mavriyannakis are new topics for procurement, he did offer some interesting updates, added to by practitioner commentary by Blackstone’s Scott Whitehill.

 

It’s that time of year.

Don’t shrink from the performance review process. It’s a time to reflect on the past year’s results, recognize accomplishments, and reset expectations with your staff for the upcoming year.

Purpose of the Performance Review

The primary purpose of performance reviews is to measure individual performance against the goals and objectives agreed to at the start of the previous year. I’ll dig deeper into this idea in a forthcoming post on Procurement Goals and Objectives.

Ask each employee to gather their final metrics and plot them next to their initial goals. This exercise reinforces the department’s goals and objectives to employees. Moreover, upon seeing their results, conscientious employees will honestly reflect about their performance before the actual performance review with their manager.    

Structure of the Performance Review

Companies use a variety of evaluation systems, but most follow the same basic format.

A rating is assigned to a small number of essential competencies such as “Accomplishments and Results”, “Planning and Organizing”, “Interpersonal Skills” etc. There’s often an area of the performance review reserved for Manager Comments (see Practical Tips below). Finally, an overall score or rating is assigned to each employee – often the most problematic part of the process for managers.

High-performers naturally want the highest scores. Anything less may lead to pouting or worse. But what if you are fortunate enough to have a whole staff of high-performers?   What if your company has implemented the controversial Forced Distribution or Bell Curve process for employee appraisals where you must assign 10% top score, 80% middle, and 10% bottom?

It comes down to judgment. If you’re hamstrung in the above situation, make it known jokingly to your staff that you can only award one ‘Exceeds Expectations” appraisal next year. Use it as an opportunity to introduce some good-natured competition among your staff, and make the metrics as transparent as possible along the way to avoid conflict later.  

Executing the Performance Review

Regardless of how warm your relations are with employees reviews should be formal; this is good time to remind both parties of the nature of the relationship and demonstrates how seriously you take their performance.

Allow sufficient time for each employee appraisal. This is the employee’s one on one time with the boss and it should never feel obligatory or rushed.  

Keep the conversation focused on the results. Methodically compare each metric or result vs. the objective. Make sure the employee understands your expectation for each measureable.  

Get Personal

The conversation need not be limited to cold metrics. It’s also an opportunity to have a personal discussion with the employee about their strengths, opportunities, and aspirations.

The good might be: “You’re excellent at managing a variety of personality types” or “I really like the way you break down complex information to cross-functional groups”.

The bad might be: “I’ve observed that you struggle to communicate with some Engineers” or “You have an opportunity to sharpen your presentation skills”.

For each improvement opportunity, have potential solutions as well as specific examples ready: “I think you would benefit from Extended DISC training so you are better prepared to deal with different personality types” or “ I want to review your next couple presentations with you in advance and show you how to keep slides / topics flowing smoothly”.

The best performance reviews are the ones where your employees leave fired up and motivated for the New Year; metrics alone rarely accomplish this outcome.

Practical Tips

  • Deploy a 360 or rounded feedback template to the employee’s key stakeholders; this is particularly useful for assessing interpersonal skills
  • Dump the essay format; use bullet points and semi-colons to string together short, sharp language when summarizing the employee’s performance; incorporate final metrics achieved in these comments
  • The performance review is not an occasion for “gotcha” moments. Like steering a ship, micro corrections are necessary throughout the year. Nothing shared in a performance review should ever come as a surprise.

 

Posted by on in Procurement

On Christmas Eve, we received three deliveries of Christmas presents. One came via US postal service, the second from FedEx and the third from UPS. The gift givers were relieved that the packages arrived in time for the holiday gathering.

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