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

Book Review: The Ultimate Showdown Sales vs. Procurement

“The only time they don’t say ‘Drop your pants’  now is at the Christmas party.” (p. 10, Epstein on sales' common interations with procurement))


The Ultimate Showdown Sales vs Procurement: The Secrets Unveiled at the Negotiation Table by Elliot Epstein and Paul Rogers (2018) is an absolutely fantastic book. In addition to getting two open and unapologetic perspectives on business, I was also left with the feeling that I had made two new friends.

The format of this book is unique, written entirely like a play (one paragraph at a time with the ‘speaker’ identified in the left margin), but it is fitting for the message and experience the authors want to deliver. We don’t need another buttoned-up, polite analysis of how sales and procurement have different approaches, challenges, and incentives – and the authors haven’t given us that. Instead, we get sales (represented by Epstein) and procurement (Rogers) having a debate. If the angel on your shoulder could have a sarcastic exchange with the devil on your other, I imagine it would read much like this. I won’t suggest which function (sales or procurement) is on which shoulder.

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Recommended Webinars August 20-24: Unlocking Digital Value, Collaborative Center of Excellence, Fundamental Negotiation Philosophies

It was really hard selecting just three events to recommend this week – even the webinars that I’m not highlighting below sound fantastic. They include a Supply Chain Now Radio event on attracting top supply chain talent and an ISM/LexisNexis event on applying the PESTLE framework. We also have ProcureCon Direct taking place in San Diego, CA on Tuesday and Wednesday.

If you’re planning a little further out, I recommend “How a Leading Wine Producer Is Making Digital Order Management a Reality” from HfS Research on September 6th at 11am ET. Come for the wine, stay for the digitalization.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Tips for Effective Light Fleet Sourcing

Fleet operations can absolutely be an overwhelming category to manage. Between deciding on the right vehicle manufacturer, understanding the ever-changing vehicle features, selecting the appropriate maintenance plans, managing fluctuating fuel costs, and more – the active time required is substantial. However, rather than looking at this category as a mountainous challenge, Fleet should be seen as a major cost saving opportunity.

There are multiple triggers for evaluating the fleet category from the top down beyond just due diligence:

  • Evaluating internal versus external management of the fleet.
  • Mergers and acquisitions will prompt the evaluation and consolidation of fleet operations.
  • A new company strategy may mandate the need for a new fleet policy.
  • Maybe the organization lacks a concrete fleet policy or management structure and has outgrown a passive management phase.

In all of these hypothetical situations, a few best practices can be used for an effective category evaluation that enables both cost savings and process optimization.

For any of the reasons listed above, the fleet evaluation/optimization process benefits from taking a two-pronged approach that includes both a comprehensive OEM evaluation and a Fleet Management Services (FMS) provider evaluation. If the fleet administration and management function is housed internally, this two-pronged approach still applies in terms of analyzing the internally managed program (reactive and preventative maintenance programs, acquisition and resale processes, etc.).


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Making the Case for Self-Sourced Talent Pools

As organizations continue to expand the use of contingent talent to supplement their full-time workforce, they are also seeking ways to optimize their contingent workforce programs to generate additional cost-savings. Historically, this was done through supplier rate rationalization, improvements in workflow and cycle time, and engaging a Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Vendor Management System (VMS) to drive efficiencies. While all of these measures generate cost-savings (particularly in first generation and early stage programs), more mature programs require the identification of other strategies like self-sourcing.

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Procurement’s (Not so?) Finest Hour

Procurement is undergoing a transformation, moving away from process and price and towards undertaking initiatives that demonstrate value for the business. Therefore, when the opportunity arises for procurement to demonstrate its value, you would expect them to seize it in both hands… or maybe not!

We want to share with you a real life situation undertaken this month. We have removed the names of those involved to limit embarrassment; both company names are fictitious, but the scenario is real.


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Best Webinars 1/11-15: Challenging Fundamentals

Happy New Year! This week marks the start of a new year of webinars – and based on the first events out of the gate, 2016 is clearly going to be a year where it pays off to challenge the fundamentals. 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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Reaping What You Sow in Contract Management

The eSourcing wiki series this week is about the Benefits of Contract management. There is a very positive story with statistics to back it up on why organizations should choose and implement a process for managing contracts. 

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Blog Pick of the Week: Top 10 mistakes when outsourcing your China sourcing

Whenever you do business in a culture different from your own, there is so much to learn. There are many nuances that can make or break the deal. This blog from Smart China Sourcing outlines some of the common mistakes.

Most organizations do not have the time or resources to work directly with the manufacturers in China so they must rely on a third party to be their 'eyes and ears on the street'. Because of that, the process of selecting that agent becomes a serious selection process that requires serious attention.

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Project management - Critical and Underrated

When a sourcing professional is being reviewed or considered for a new position, we often look at their negotiation skills, analytical abilities and sometimes their communication style. However, it is rare when we review their project management expertise. This is critical and often overlooked and underrated. Without it, timelines get stretched and deadlines missed if projects are not managed properly. I myself have been frustrated by others when it becomes apparent they are not capable of developing a plan and following the process to completion. I would imagine you have been too. 

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Blog Pick of the Week: Ten Morning Habits that Promote Greater Success

Are you a morning person? I happen to be someone who requires very little sleep so I am a morning, noon and night person. Lucky for my family right? They have benefitted from it since I have more hours to get things done or to plan our next adventure! However, there have been some frustrations as I make too much noise while everyone else is trying to sleep in on a Saturday morning!!

One of the events this week that you might have attended was Gartner's webinar about the search for talented leaders to take sourcing and procurement to the next level. Well that is YOU regardless if you are leading one project, a small team or an entire organization.

So what does all that have to do whether you are a morning person or not?


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