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

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.

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How engaged are your stakeholders?

The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed. This is a cute analogy about the engagement difference of the two animals. It usually makes me smile as I think about it.

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Thanksgiving is a result of acts of kindness

When the Pilgrims first landed on the shores of what would become the United States of America, it was the kindness of the Native Americans that helped the newcomers survive.

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What do you do just in case?

 We have a small closet at home in a spare bedroom that acts as our overflow pantry. It is not anywhere near as organized as the picture above. In some ways it is our ‘just in case’ inventory. Usually it is stocked with staples that were on sale so we got two. Some of it however is ‘just in case’ we want to bake a cake or cookies or had an urge for some salsa and chips. This past Halloween we bought candy for 200 and only had 30 visitors. Oops!! I am sure it will get consumed somehow!

 

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Frequently asked questions for Procurement Leaders

Most organizations review their associates every year. Formal feedback is given to the associate and often tied to a merit increase of some kind. Good managers are giving feedback throughout the year so there really should not be any surprises at the annual review time.

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Building Stronger Supply Chain Relationships

The saying goes that you know who your friends are when the going gets tough. Those are the ones that show up when there is work to be done, visit when someone is sick, or to just be around for support. That is a test of a strong relationship.

 

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Have your suppliers found their way into your comfort zone?

Last year we were home during a snowstorm. We got a fire going in the wood burning stove, had a wonderful chicken dinner with all the fixings and watched a movie. We were definitely in our comfort zone and loving every minute of it.

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Guest — Omar Khan
It is absolutely true that when procurement professionals become too comfortable in their relationship with one or more suppliers,... Read More
Thursday, 13 November 2014 18:11
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Supply chain risks and chocolate

Halloween was a few days ago. We have quite a bit of candy around the house due to that holiday. In our weekly blog, Protect your supply chain like it is your last piece of chocolate, we spoke about the supply chain risk for the candy industry involving cocoa.

 

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Protect your supply chain as if it was the last piece of chocolate

It is Halloween and we had a fun day. We dressed in costumes at work, had a great luncheon and of course we consumed some candy. Sounds like the perfect day for anyone!

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Electronic regulations around the globe

We live in a technology age. That is not big news. In some areas, the electronic record is considered official and binding. For example, for the last 4 or 5 years we have filed our taxes electronically and that has been adequate and official. In other areas, they still want an original signature on a paper, with multiple copies. I know when we have gone to refinance our house, the banks require paper copies.

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Assigning chores and delegating as a manager

As our children grew, we gave them chores that were appropriate for their age and capabilities. As toddlers, they could put clothes in the hamper and their toys in the toy box or closet. As the years passed, they could take on dish duty, mowing the lawn, laundry and so on. The big projects, such a painting the house, was a full court press for everyone.

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Sarbanes-Oxley for Dummies

I love the “For Dummies” books. We have used them many times. What a wonderful way to simplify everything from travel to home improvements to technology. Obviously it has become quite successful along the way so they must be doing something right.

 

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Meetings, meetings and more meetings

I returned from a 3 day business trip to a day with back to back meetings. It can make anyone dizzy. Does that sound familiar to you? Thankfully, not every day is like that. Sometimes I actually have a full day with no meetings….shhhhh ….don’t tell anyone!

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Guest — Kelly Barner
I love these tips for improving meetings - mostly because I can't STAND meetings. I find that whether a meeting is in person or be... Read More
Saturday, 11 October 2014 09:12
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Rules and Regulations make the world go around

About 90% of goods are transported with ocean freight for global commerce. With all that activity, there has to be some way to control the comings and goings.

 

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Procurement is all about cost reduction right?

For a very long time, procurement has been challenged with keeping costs down, finding a quality product or service at the best possible price. The impact to the bottom line was the critical measurement. And it still is, but there is more we can do!

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Guest — Omar Khan
Procurement professionals can participate on the design teams and based on their market knowledge and with the involvement of thei... Read More
Sunday, 05 October 2014 00:54
Guest — Cindy Allen-Murphy
Great comment Omar. I agree with you. Procurement needs to be involved before the part is already produced in order to impact the ... Read More
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 12:58
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James Bond, The Living Daylights and Customs

In The Living Daylights movie, James Bond and his most recent female companion are escaping the “bad guys” by sliding down a snow covered mountain on a cello case. As they cross the border into Austria, the customs agent asks “Do you have anything to declare?” James Bond’s response is “Only this cello!”

 

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Online business changing the face of procurement

Alibaba launched on the NYSE Friday which was a much anticipated event. They hope to be larger than Amazon and eBay combined. It is quite a story about an English teacher starting this company in 1999 from his apartment. Now they employ over 25,000 people.

When you look at Alibaba, they are changing the face of procurement. They offer services around sourcing, supplier research, as well as negotiation and purchasing. The sourcing professional can reach a broader network for their supplier and market place knowledge. It also reveals options from additional geographic regions that may not have been available in the past. The pick of the week is a page from Alibaba's site where they describe all their services that sourcing and procurement professionals can utilize.

They are promoting themselves as a one-stop-shop. You can purchase an individual item or in bulk. It can be used for personal purchasing or B2B commerce. The flexibility of offerings is amazing.

It is the number one mobile app in China and growing throughout the European market. The ease of use and accessibility adds to their success.

As a procurement professional, have you used Alibaba for your market research? How about getting pricing and transacting purchase orders? What has been your experience and has it become a major part of your toolkit?

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

 

 

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The Buyers Side to Implement Supply Chain Finance

One of my father’s favorite sayings was “Less Jaw work and more Paw work”. In other words, enough talking, it is time to get moving!

 

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Obstacles to adoption of esourcing tools and how to overcome them

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. This is a very common phrase often used to describe a ‘change management’ situation. You can give someone all the resources but you can’t make them use them.

 

In procurement, we often have processes and technology to help complete our tasks effectively and efficiently. However, some of the staff may not be utilizing it as best they could to get the most out of it.

With new technology, people fall into four buckets. There are early adopters who wait in line for hours for the next generation of the iPhone. Then there are the early majority who probably get the new phone within the first month or two, the late majority and the laggards who may not even have a smart phone yet. As a procurement professional, your goal is to get your team through this curve quickly and have the organization reaping the benefits of the esourcing technology.

In the Tejari Blog, With best practice tools comes best practice use, they review the reasons that some are lagging behind in adopting the technology and give suggestions on ways to overcome it.

The first one has to do with change management. In many organizations, the staff is quite content doing their work the same way it always has been done. The author recommends gaining some internal ‘experts’ to help all the others understand the benefits and value. Offer a great deal of support so that over time, the new system becomes the ‘comfort zone’.

Another difficulty is when the staff waits until the last minute to load the Rfx into the tool. There is frustration and they give up. The recommendation is to create drafts a week or two before and put them in. Then you can always modify it as the time gets closer.

What have you experienced for obstacles and how did you resolve them? Do you have your 'team of horses' feeling refreshed after having reached the oasis and utilizing the new technology?

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint

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If at First you don't succeed at Supply Chain Finance?

As the Saying goes – Try, Try, Again. You learn from what you did wrong, make the necessary adjustments and try again. Of course, learning from others mistakes in the first place is even better and a highly recommended approach.

 

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