If you have heard a lot about blockchain but don't really know what it is, you're not alone. The success of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has given blockchain a major leap forward. But cryptocurrencies aren't the only place where blockchain technology makes itself useful. It can completely disrupt procurement and supply chain operations. First, however, it's important to have a bird's eye view of blockchain.
“In the new global era, speed and velocity are more important than everything else!” (p. 12)
The LIVING Supply Chain: The Evolving Imperative of Operating in Real Time by Rob Handfield and Tom Linton (Wiley, 2017) takes everything you know about ecosystems and Darwinian principles and applies it to supply chain management.
One of the most telling sections in the book is in the Preface where Handfield shares three major shifts affecting the digital economy (paraphrased here by me):
- Data is a natural resource (think raw material)
- Converting data into decisions is the key refinement process of the digital era
- Cognitive computing (human/machine interaction) will be a critical ‘relationship’
To me, these points are significant because they are NOT followed by something along the lines of “… and here is what all this means for supply chain.” Like the authors, we need to stop thinking of the supply chain as somehow separate or downstream from economic/digital trends. The supply chain is a fully integrated piece of the ecosystem – or should be – and must be managed as such. Every time we feel compelled to translate trends, priorities, forces into a supply chain-centric version, we obscure their meaning and slow the movement of information.
Have you ever wondered what other company’s fleets look like? How other companies source their fleet units, parts, and services? What information is needed to begin? The first thing to know, is that no two fleet profiles are the same. The second thing to understand, is that there is no right place to start; it all depends on your corporate procurement goals. Are you trying to maximize upfront funds? Is your goal to streamline services and optimize vehicle performance? Are you attempting to marry two fleets after a merger or acquisition? There are endless scenarios that will benefit from strategic procurement thinking.
“I cannot guarantee whether you will be successful after a well-prepared negotiation, but I can 100 percent guarantee failure or finding yourself outsmarted and in a concessionary position if you choose not to do a thorough prep prior to a negotiation.” (p. 38)
Mastering High Stakes Negotiations: Both Sides of the Table by Mark M. Bilgin, Ph. D. (BookLocker.com, 2017) is true to its title in that it lays out all of the considerations associated with the most critical, highest dollar value negotiations conducted. In an odd way, however, even meeting that high bar is still selling the book short.
If you are a people watcher, or a student of human behavior, you will absolutely love this book. I was immediately drawn in by the author’s use of case studies, both his own and the ‘outside’ experiences of others to illustrate in colorful but honest fashion the incentives and pitfalls associated with negotiation prep. Negotiation is, at its simplest level, the use of leverage, exchange, and (somewhat) predictable human behavior to bring parties together for their perceived benefit. As a result, you can not be a master negotiator without being aware of and interested in what people say and do. That may come as a great relief to anyone that still thinks negotiation is about aggressively dominating ‘them’ to get what is best for yourself at any cost.
Sourcing managers with a Microsoft enterprise agreement (EA) that is about to expire face an important decision and may have many questions. Should they renew their next EA along the same lines as they did three years ago? Expand it to embrace Microsoft’s new cloud-based services, including the Office 365 suite? Scale it back significantly to save money?
Fundamental changes in Microsoft’s product and licensing strategies mean drastic changes to its software assurance’s (SA) value. Your decision criteria will be very different from when you last evaluated your EA, and any related decision involves placing bets on your organization’s future deployment of Microsoft products.
Where should you place your bet?
The ‘app boom’ is widely recognized to be slowing as we approach the half way mark of 2017. Success stories such as Snapchat and Uber remain (in terms of continued, steep growth), but the aggregate growth in the app market has started to decline for the first time Apple introduced the App Store in 2008. The truth is, most people have already downloaded all the apps they need. The market is already saturated with apps that satisfy our basic needs: travel/directions, calendars, messaging, social media, gaming, news, weather, etc. This fact is well known by tech giants such as Facebook and their eyes are already on the next opportunity: bot technology.
3D printing and its applications are evolving rapidly, although most manufacturing businesses are at least five years away from mainstream adoption of the technology. It has a long way to go before becoming a routine aspect of many production environments. Market leaders, however, are gradually embracing 3D printing to take advantage of the technology and stay ahead of the competition. The advantages are numerous – speed, lower cost, time and effort, cheaper manufacturing, ability to customize products, etc.
Contingent Workforce Management: Advantages of an Integrated Managed Services Program and Vendor Management Software Model
Organizations that are not leveraging a managed service provider (MSP) and vendor management system (VMS) may be paying too much for contingent talent and are at risk of noncompliance with various labor and benefit laws. They are also likely to have challenges involving time to source quality talent.
I had the opportunity to speak with representatives from both Jaggaer and Pool4Tool last week in anticipation of this week’s ‘official’ merger announcement. We talked about geography, market share, and functionality and customer overlap.
By far, the most interesting part of our conversation was about the plans for their new combined go-to-market strategy. And while it demonstrates how thoughtfully this new entity is approaching the market as a whole, it also provides an excellent opportunity for procurement to reflect upon the increasing granularity of spend management.
“We take a buck, we shoot it full of steroids and we call it leverage.” -Gordon Gecko (Wall Street 2)
Leverage - a word that has such meaning it could be used to define itself. When it comes to negotiating, leverage is king. Whether you’re trying to negotiate a multimillion dollar contract or figuring out how to get an extra quart of strawberries included with your purchase at the local farmer’s market, people are always searching for it, and without it you have nothing. Having no ground to stand on when attempting to ask for a compromise from another party is not an ideal position.
This week’s webinar notes are from a May 23rd event hosted by BravoSolution (part of their 2017 Real World Procurement Series) and presented by Dr. Rob Handfield, Executive Director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative, and the co-author of The Procurement Value Proposition and a new title being released in June, The LIVING Supply Chain: The Evolving Imperative of Operating in Real Time. The webinar is already available on demand here.
Each purchasing category, whether indirect or direct, has a unique set of parameters that can be optimized to take full advantage the savings opportunities in the market. The packaging category is no exception, offering major opportunities for cost savings beyond the basic volume leverage approach.
Packaging, which may be considered either a direct or indirect product depending on the use and company, can be particularly complex to take to market. Many organizations strive to find a supply base that can support the company’s needs while generating value. Taking into consideration the upfront investment of time and resources (without a guaranteed ROI), running a competitive bid process can be an intimidating endeavor for many companies. However, with the proper expertise, packaging is an area of spend with major cost reduction and value added opportunities.
Design – a term that dates back to the 14th century - has become mainstream over the last decade. Design has done well operating on the fringes of organizations and people are now seeing the value that it can create and provide. It has emerged as an important tool to help people see and guide change. How far will it spread and what will be the extent of its impact on business?
Let's start by taking a broad view of the word in order to understand it's origin and meaning.
As I mentioned in Achieving World-Class Procurement Part 1, today’s increasingly competitive market landscape is driving organizations to reinvest in their procurement and strategic sourcing departments like never before. Beyond establishing centralized purchasing operations, best-in-class companies are elevating their procurement organizations by taking a deeper look at people, processes, technology, and metrics and optimizing them in ways that support enterprise-wide goals – through procurement transformation. Transformation initiatives allow companies to gain more value from their procurement operations, moving from a reactionary model focused on reducing costs to a more proactive approach to managing spend that streamlines purchasing practices and enhances supplier relationships.
Mobile devices are now part of the modern business uniform. Mobile phones created a culture of always available, but mobile devices enable constant connectivity. What telecom companies don’t want CPOs to know is that bundling voice, data, and devices with them is no longer the most effective way to manage telecoms spend.
“This supply chain is the bridge between the customer needs of a market segment and the value-added of a product. If we can’t connect the two, then we have a show stopper.” (p. 4)
Supply Chain Construction: The Basics for Networking the Flow of Material, Information, and Cash by William Walker (CRC Press, 2016) is an impressive work that combines exhaustive supply chain planning considerations, processes, and figures with a narrative that keeps all of the information provided firmly rooted in reality.
I met the author in person at the February 2017 ISM Economic Forum in NYC where he participated in a panel discussion I moderated. Although Bill is an adjunct professor of supply chain engineering at NYU, the book is far from academic. It illustrates critical business principles through plausible real life examples that make their lessons easy to understand and recall long after reading them.
Editor’s note: March 8, 2017 has been designated International Women’s Day. This year’s theme: #BeBoldforChange is a call to women in all walks of life to push boundaries and recognize the inspiring women in their lives. In honor of this day, Buyers Meeting Point welcomes Odesma Marketing Executive Ashley Brennan and UK Marketing expert Annie Spilsbury to celebrate the accomplishments - and discuss the opportunities still to be seized – in the following post.
To celebrate this years International women’s day campaign, #beboldforchange, Annie Spilsbury talks about why it is important to her and what women have inspired her to become who she is today and strive to achieve in the male dominated industry of Procurement.
Annie Spilsbury is a leading UK based expert in the procurement of Marketing services, and has a long association with Odesma, and with Odesma’s founders. She has extensive above and below the line procurement experience in the acquisition of marketing services and has provided support most recently to Odesma’s client Brambles across the World.
Annie is mum to two young children (under 5), who more than significantly keep her on her toes! When she has some spare time Annie loves horse riding, the gym, swimming, yacht racing, gardening, socialising and having family fun. This year Annie plans to test the tribe on music festivals so as life grows, so do their experiences.
Odesma offer a new breed of procurement advisory which ensures you stay ahead of the market and improve more than just your bottom line. With nearly 100 years in the procurement business and experience in every industry imaginable, Odesma offers procurement as a service by bringing together leading subject matter expertise, technology, governance and leadership in a way that is tailored to the needs of any organisation.
Achieving World-Class Procurement: The Steps Leading Companies are Taking to Optimize their Procurement Teams
In today’s competitive market landscape, simply having a centralized procurement organization is only the first step to better managed supplier relationships and spend. Leading organizations are quickly realizing that procurement and sourcing groups can offer far more value than tactical support. World-class procurement groups aren’t focused on processing POs and fulfilling orders. Rather, they’re focused on supporting each business unit at a strategic level.
Kelly: Hello, and thank you for joining us today. This is Kelly Barner, Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point. Today I welcome Dr. Carsten Linz as my guest. Carsten is an entrepreneurial leader and expert on innovation-led business transformation that I met in the process of reviewing his recently co-authored book, "Radical Business Model Transformation: Gaining Competitive Edge in a Disruptive World." I will make sure there is a link to my review on today's BlogTalkRadio episode page so that you can learn more about the book. And if you're interested in more of Carsten's writings, I will also share a link to his blog where he further explains and explores some of the themes from the book.
Look out – Wednesday of this week is coming at us fast! There are 6 webinars taking place in a four-hour period. There are also two in person events you’ll want to look into on Wednesday. The first is being put together by Bertrand Maltaverne and Simona Pop in London (click here) and the second is an economic forum at NYU being hosted by ISM-New York (click here). I’ll be participating in the panel at that event – come say hi if you are in New York! Click on the title of each webinar below to view the full description and register.
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.