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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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Recent blog posts
Webinar Notes: Securing the Future of Procurement

This week’s webinar notes are from a February 4th event hosted by Zycus and presented by Peter Smith (Spend Matters EU/UK) and Richard Waugh (Zycus). Once it is available on demand (assuming it will be) it should be listed on Zycus' website.

Keelvar’s Ability to Handle Complexity Based on Clarity and Simplicity of Purpose

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Alan Holland, CEO of Keelvar. Based in Ireland, this relatively small company reminds me of the way CombineNet used to fit into the overall solution space – before they were acquired by SciQuest that is. CombineNet was never intended to be the solution that addressed 80-90% of categories, but rather to be high performance enough to handle the requirements and scale of the largest or most complex 10-20%. But I think, to be fair to both companies, that is where the comparison must end.

Holland and I spoke about the Keelvar solution, not in terms of the number of line items it can handle, or the combined data points it can analyze as a result of the umpteen suppliers, items, and bid fields of a large event. We mostly talked about how it might change the way procurement thinks about optimization. After all, there are many more opportunities than just freight or location-based retail that would benefit.

I am Late, I am Late, For a Very Important Date

Alice in Wonderland is a classic story, written in 1865. The Rabbit is very late and is in a hurry, as seen in this short video.  Similar to the rabbit, some individuals are chronically late. Others seem to have an internal clock and they just know how long things take and walk in the door at the exact moment, or even a few minutes early. It can be frustrating when two opposites are working together, or living together.

An Unplugged Conversation with the Authors of Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals

Last month, my co-author Jeanette and I had a conference call scheduled with Jon Hansen for an introductory conversation about our book, Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals (shameless plug here). For some reason, Jon’s Canadian location prevented him from using my conference call account and we ended up in the virtual green room of his Blog Talk Radio studio. What that means is that, for better or worse, the call was recorded. (You can listen to it here.)

Webinar Notes: 5 Unexpected Benefits from Your Source-to-Pay Solution

This week’s webinar notes are from a January 28th event run by Ivalua and presented by Corey Roberts, Project Director at CACI International, and Michael Lamoureux of Sourcing Innovation. The full replay is already available on demand after a quick registration on Ivalua’s site.

Dealing with Supply Chain Peaks and Valleys

Online shopping was made for me. I do not like anything about traditional shopping (the time, the money, the effort). Therefore, online shopping is a dream: with just a few clicks, it is done! The delivery method is often by UPS and occasionally FedEx. That is how I did 90% of my holiday shopping this past year. I was in heaven!

CPP’s Purchasing Assessment Does a Difficult Thing Well

Purchasing Assessments, a new offering from Purchasing Practice, is a procurement skills assessment for procurement professionals and organizations with a strategic focus.

While many assessments just measure a practitioner’s familiarity with tactics, this assessment was designed to measure strategic strengths and weaknesses across a broad range of capability areas. That is what is so difficult about what the assessment intends to do – it takes a set of context sensitive subjective capabilities and puts standards in place that make it possible to differentiate a right response from a wrong response. And while the assessment isn’t perfect, because no assessment of this type ever could be, it comes really close and will only get better as more organizations and individuals take it.

Webinar Notes: Big Data, Big Impact on Procurement

This week’s webinar notes are from a January 13th event run by ISM and presented by IBM. It is available on demand on ISM’s website. The presenter was Steve Peterson from the IBM Institute for Business Value, and he spoke about the findings of their 2014 CPO Study, the results of which were released by IBM in December. The focus of the study was on procurement role models – or leaders – and what they are doing differently than the rest of the pack. There were three ideas that appealed to me as new ‘angles’ on familiar problems presented in this event.

Tagged in: Big Data CPO IBM ISM Webinars
Book Review: Supply Chain Metrics That Matter

“The best operating strategies and metrics portfolios are built when companies translate business strategy into tactical plans.” (p. 47)

Supply Chain Metrics That Matter (Wiley, 2015) was written by Lora Cecere, founder of Supply Chain Insights and author of the Supply Chain Shaman blog. I am familiar with her work from the many webinars she has spoken on, as well as through the Supply Chain Index developed by her research firm.

Posted by on in Blog Picks
You find out who your friends are

There is a country song by Tracy Lawrence, “Find out who Your Friends Are” and it describes that a real friend shows up when things are not going well. They drop everything and come to help with no questions asked.

Posted by on in Guest Posts
Spend Under Management in Business Travel

“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle

We believe we have good data… but is it complete?

I’ve had many conversations with Travel and Procurement managers about how much addressable travel spend the company has. This is a critical number as it validates a company’s volume, and dictates the sourcing strategy and execution. In most cases, I’m immediately presented with the Travel Management Company’s report of phone and online bookings. While this data is helpful and telling, there is an average of another 55% of travel spend that is not being accounted for in those data sources*.

Manufacturing & Millennial Barometer Reading: High and Rising

Right at the end of 2014, I received a copy of report based on ThomasNet’s Industry Market Barometer (IMB) survey. As you might expect, given ThomasNet’s long-standing relationship with the manufacturing community, a large focus of the report was the recent trend towards reshoring. In some cases it is for the sake of moving final production closer to the source of demand, in others to shorten supply chains, trading cheap labor for reliability and agility.

The party is over, now let's get down to business

A new year is upon us and many use that as a time to revitalize their goals and establish resolutions. Very common themes are losing weight, exercising more, paying off those bills and on it goes. As a procurement professional, another resolution could be to advance your career through strengthening your skill set.

Many organizations use the calendar year as their fiscal year so that would include a new budget to be measured against. In order to meet those demands, companies often evaluate if they have the right talent and resources to accomplish those goals.

When I was reading “The Implications of 2015’s Talent Vortex” by CPO Rising, it was during a big cold snap in our region. The wind chill was up to -50F or -45C. That is cold! Certainly not conducive to keeping that resolution about exercising more!

The article discusses three areas that will assist in closing the talent gap for procurement.

  • Improved collaboration between procurement and human resources
  • Focus on analytics to help understand the complexity of information
  • Blending of the technology tools available to best get to an answer

Organizations will state “Our employees are our most important asset” and that is still the case for 2015.

What are you doing in 2015 for a resolution? Are you caught in the Talent Vortex? How is your organization working collaboratively to select and retain their “most important assets?”

 Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.

Four Keys to A Successful RFP That Too Many Firms Ignore

It’s no secret that when a company is looking to solicit bids for a project, opening up a Request for Proposal (RFP) offers a simplified, standardized, and centralized means to compare diverse bidders. A well-crafted RFP separates the best-fit from the less qualified. A poorly executed request, on the other hand, will shut out even the most qualified providers before they have a chance to shine.

Happy Holidays from Buyers Meeting Point

As another year comes to a close, and we are looking at the start of a new one, we wanted to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a healthy and happy holiday season. We have enjoyed working together on your behalf to present information that we hope you have found useful and interesting this year.

Which of my 2014 Procurement Webinar Notes got the Most Traffic?

Some days I think I eat, sleep, and breathe procurement and supply chain webinars. On a weekly basis I update the calendar. I consider the topics, the speakers, the hosts, the likelihood of promotional content versus thought leadership. I make my recommendations every Monday (on Blog Talk Radio) and share my notes on Fridays.

In 2014 I covered 29 webinars by sharing my notes on Buyers Meeting Point and through social media. They covered a broad range of subjects, including risk, talent, organizational issues, negotiation, and global supply chains. When I look back at the hits per post over the course of the year, there are 5 that stand out for getting over 1K hits each. You might think it was a simple matter of time, and there is something to that – some of our oldest event notes have over 50K hits – but these five events were pretty evenly distributed over the course of the year. They also all have unique hosts, presenters, and topics.

Book Review: Logistics and Supply Chain in Emerging Markets

Logistics and Supply Chain in Emerging Markets (Kogan Page, 2014) by John Manners-Bell, Thomas Cullen, and Cathy Roberson adeptly captures the interconnectedness of global economies and commercial activity while also studying a number of countries and industries independently.

Who is not being honest in your supply chain?

There is a famous children’s story about Pinocchio. Whenever he would lie, his nose would grow longer.

Posted by on in Blog Picks
How to have happy customers

As another year comes to a close, we are often reflective of where we are and where we should be. We tend to do that both professionally and personally.

Webinar Notes: The Ongoing Evolution of Sourcing and Supplier Management

This week’s webinar notes are from a December 10th webinar hosted by Directworks. The event will be available on demand in case you were unable to attend – we’ll add the link here once it becomes available.

The event took on an ambitious list of topics in quick dive rapid succession. In addition to Greg Anderson and Michael Cross of Directworks, the speakers included Spend Matters’ Pierre Mitchell, Steve Rogers of Havi Global Solutions, and – oh yes – yours truly.

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