The rise of mobile technology requires that procurement solution providers and practitioners be innovative about potential opportunities for improvement and problem solving. Through virtual team models and global supply chains, the applications and requirements of mobile technology are coming, whether procurement drives the implementation or not. In a July 2013 article on ThomasNet’s imt Procurement Journal, Pat Toensmeier referenced a study about the expected adoption rates for mobile technologies in procurement. “A study by AnyPresence Inc., a Reston, Va., company that specializes in mobile business processes, products, and services, finds that 31.5 percent of respondents have deployed or will deploy mobile apps for procurement, among other functions, in the next 12 months. An equal proportion will do the same with apps for supply chain partners and shipping and distribution.” As we approach the end of that 12-month period, no developments have surfaced that look likely to reverse the trend.
The Moment of Clarity was a joint effort by ReD Associates founding partners Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel B. Rasmussen. Their careers have focused on studying human behavior, problem solving, and innovation. In this book, they apply what they have learned and observed to the challenges faced by businesses today. It is apparent to the reader that they are avid readers in their own right, and their bookshelves clearly hold titles representing a wide array of fiction and non-fiction topics.
Kaizen Kreativity is the fifth book by Dr. Tom DePaoli, and the third one I have reviewed. Like his other books, Kaizen Kreativity combines examples from his diverse professional past with easy to comprehend definitions and background. His lack of pretension is particularly appreciated since he often relates cases about Lean and Six Sigma. For anyone without experience using these methodologies, the terminology can be off-putting at best, and in the worst case scenario may deter people from realizing their benefits altogether.
Despite the fact that Marcy Phelps’ Research on Main Street is not necessarily written for a procurement audience, it offers invaluable advice as well as links to the resources required to carry that advice out. The idea of ‘local’ is not limited to the location of the researcher, but rather the information being sought. Another way of looking at it is point-point information, highly specific to a business need and detailed enough to motivate a decision.
“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.
I have read and reviewed a number of business publications, most of them directly related to supply management, but The CPO is truly a unique creation. This book captures the adventure of procurement by outlining principles and concepts for success – not through dry or prescriptive chapters – but through the very engaging story of a fictional CPO and the challenges he faces on the job and at home. Thomas Sutter, the main character (dare I say hero?), captured my attention immediately and held it right through the final pages. I’ll even admit (my apologies to the authors for cheating) that at one point I was so wrapped up in the interpersonal dynamics of the story that I peeked ahead to read the end so that I might relax and absorb the full message of the book as I went.
When we think about the concept of branding from a corporate perspective, we think of the associations consumers and stakeholders have formed in response to our company, products, logo, etc. From a procurement perspective, brand or reputational risk is one of the most important things we are stewards of when we make decisions about the supply partners our company will form relationships with. But the value of building, having, and maintaining a brand extends far beyond the corporate level.
Sustain Your Gains, by Michael McCarthy, is ultimately a guide to human behavior in the face of change. Although the initial sections of the book serve as a primer to Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, hints of what is to come in later chapters pull the reader forward to see the application of Process Behavior Maintenance (PBM) in action.
Supplier Relationship Management in the Supply Chain by Stuart Emmett is accurately titled – it is in fact a book about the importance and execution of supplier relationship in the supply chain. But because so many organizations do not have SRM programs (or would benefit from being more supplier-centric) it is more importantly a book about change. In order to get different results, we must think and act differently. This is a simple enough idea, but bringing about such changes in an organization is complex enough that few of us have reached our desired level of SRM maturity.
For anyone who has read the other books in the Vested Outsourcing series, Getting to We (published in August 2013) is the logical next step in the pursuit of more collaborative, value-based relationships between supply partners. A better way to think of the book might actually be as a ‘prequel’ to the others, stepping back in time to explain how to reach the point where you are working in a Vested relationship. Getting to We is the connection between the vision of Vested Outsourcing and the negotiating tactics necessary to turn the vision into a reality.
The End of Competitive Advantage by Columbia Business School Professor Rita Gunther McGrath provides a perspective on the way businesses should develop and maintain their strategy to remain competitive. Gone are the days when companies could achieve a leadership position in a market and then continue to dominate for decades without significant changes. Innovative companies develop products across traditional sector lines, making the industry-based model of competition assessment obsolete. McGrath advises defining competitive strategies based on arenas, which she defines as smaller market segments defined by consumer behavior and geography as well as the product or service being sold.
I’ve reviewed quite a few books – most of which are on spend management or negotiation. Some have made me laugh, like Negotiation Mastery and Profitable Buying Strategies. A few have made me cry, and those will remain unnamed here. But I don’t think I’ve ever felt compelled to review a single chapter from a book until now.
Two years ago, we posted our review of ‘Common Sense Purchasing’ by Dr. Tom DePaoli. In September 2012 he published a new book that reflects a broader perspective on his experience and our profession. By taking a step up – or back – however you chose to see the difference between purchasing and supply management, Dr. Tom takes a new look at the challenges and opportunities in supply management and presents them by sharing many of his own experiences as an independent management consultant in 'Common Sense Supply Management'.
Earlier this year, we reviewed ‘Vested Outsourcing’, the first book in what has become a series of publications by Kate Vitasek and her colleagues on the evolving potential of mutually beneficial relationships between companies and their suppliers. ‘Vested Outsourcing’ was followed by ‘The Vested Way’, and ‘The Vested Outsourcing Manual’. Kate’s latest publication is ‘Vested: How P&G, McDonald's, and Microsoft are Redefining Winning in Business Relationships.’ I’ll include some background as well as an overview of the Vested philosophy at the end of this review. I encourage you to read my review of ‘Vested Outsourcing’ and to purchase one or all of the books in the series.
One idea plus one idea equals three ideas or more. You have a cow, I have a bull, together we have a business. When the output is greater than the sum of the inputs, this is value creation and it is this that has driven the whole progress of the human species.
-- Simon Horton, Negotiation Mastery
Negotiation Mastery by Simon Horton, an experienced negotiation teacher and consultant, is a practical and highly entertaining read whether you are a career negotiator or just wish your skills were a little stronger. In his decade-long career, he has helped hostage negotiators, law firms, financial institutions, and students from the graduate level through the boardroom improve their confidence and outcomes as they enter negotiations.
I can tell you that windsurfing is very easy – except for the wind. The wind makes it tricky, of course. It’s not particularly difficult to find and rent great equipment, and the techniques are fairly straightforward. What messes the whole plan up is that the wind is unpredictable. It’ll change exactly when you don’t want it to. The same thing is true about customer service (it would be a lot easier if it weren’t for the customers). In fact, every single function of an organization has a wind problem.
– Seth Godin, The Dip
We often talk about how procurement and supply management professionals need to focus less on negotiating savings and more on creating value. But the actually process we are supposed to follow to accomplish that can be unclear. The first challenge is how to go about creating value, and the second is how to make sure the value created is recognized by other departments in the organization – like finance or operations. ‘Lean TCO’, written by Tim O’Meara, presents an approach to facing both.
The preface to The Procurement Game Plan by Charles Dominick and Soheila Lunney starts with the question, “Why another procurement/supply management book?”
Written by the co-chairmen of the Deloitte Center for the Edge, an organization that helps senior executives make sense of and profit from emerging opportunities on the edge of business and technology. John Hagel the third, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison authored ‘The Power of Pull’ to talk about a shift in dynamics based on accurate forecasting and predictable market dynamics to transforming corporations from a leadership position on the edge.
At Buyers Meeting Point, we often have opportunities to recommend the publications we have read, reviewed and endorsed to our supply management colleagues. Vested Outsourcing by Kate Vitasek is one of the easiest books to recommend, not because it is excellently written – although it is, but because questions constantly arise in discussion groups and forums around strategic outsourcing relationships with suppliers and how to make them work.