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

Recommended Procurement Webinars Jan 28 – Feb 1: 2019 Trends and Predictions, Leadership Lessons Learned from 2018

If you have a tendency to look ahead to Friday every week, just a warning: Friday is the start of February. (What?) On the bright side, industry webinar hosts seem to have gotten back into the swing of things after the holidays, as I added 7 new webinars to the calendar this week.

If you are planning further in advance, I recommend 'The Psychology & Business Case for Workplace Organization' on Feb. 15th from Supply Chain Now Radio, Talent Stream, APICS Atlanta, and Beau Groover, Founder & President of The Effective Syndicate.

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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Recommended Procurement Webinars January 21-25: Controlling Contingent Labor and Stand Out Sourcing

Although the two webinars I’ve recommended below are generally applicable, this week’s webinars also include a two specific applications of procurement process and technology in Higher Ed. Check out the full events calendar if you are interested. If you are planning beyond this week, take a peek at Tradeshift’s event on e-Invoicing and supply chain finance on January 31st or Coupa’s webinar about strategic sourcing optimization on February 19th. Both of those are good bets for expanding your knowledge.

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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Recommended Procurement Webinars January 14-18: AP Excellence and the Digital Transformation of SRM

Welcome back – and happy new year! We are officially kicking off 2019 with this week’s webinar recommendations. If you are looking for a longer term recommendation, check out ‘Hey Nineteen: Procurement’s Playbook for 2019’ from SIG and Zycus on January 29th at 1pm ET. It will feature the findings from The Hackett Group’s 2019 “Procurement Key Issues” survey, including key topics such as the acceleration of digital transformation in procurement and a look at the ongoing strategic initiatives and technology adoption trends that support it.

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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The December ISM-New York Report on Business: Downward Close to 2018

The December ISM-New York Report on Business was released on January 3rd at 9:45am Eastern and is available for download here. Please see the end of this commentary for additional information on the ISM-New York Report on Business.

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The Parallel Gifts of Hello and Goodbye

The end of the year is a happy/sad time. We say goodbye to another year while looking forward with great anticipation to a brand new unexplored one on the horizon. Year after year, hellos and goodbyes. The time seems to pass faster and faster, the seconds sometimes dragging while the months fly by.

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Data & Socially Responsible Procurement

CSR is No Longer an Option . . .

In an evolving landscape of regulations, social values, and consumer preferences, the Triple Bottom Line has become an essential framework of business design. The concept underpins Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by asserting that growth and profitability should not have negative social and environmental impacts. CSR is becoming an imperative for success, one that procurement plays a central role in. Socially responsible procurement aims to ensure that suppliers are adhering to quality practices in key areas such as diversity and inclusion, environmental protection, health and safety, and human rights.

Adherence to the Triple Bottom Line is more than just the right thing to do; it also comes with a number of competitive business advantages. In particular, it reduces the risk of both supply chain disruption and negative publicity.

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The Procurement Conundrum: Savings or PR?

These are tough times to be in business. Costs are rising but selling prices are not, mainly due to global competition. The arithmetic is simple: profits are being squeezed. Finding ways to drive down costs lower than your competition's has become more important than ever – but value and customer service can’t be ignored either.

I like to take an approach to supplier negotiations that I believe will help you gain an edge in these tough times. It starts by finding an answer to the ‘procurement conundrum’.

Many procurement pros are handicapped by having to wear two hats:

First there's the tough-negotiator hat. Driving down costs is a fundamental part of the job; that's why we spend so much time negotiating.

Then there's the good-relations hat. Production requirements and customer needs are constantly changing. Procurement needs suppliers to react quickly to fluctuating demands. As a result, we need to cultivate give-and-take relationships to make sure this happens.

It's easy to see how the two ‘hats’ conflict. Imagine phoning a parts supplier on Friday to coax him into running an unscheduled weekend shift, then on Monday asking for a better price. It’s hardly a recipe for long term success.

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Recommended Webinars December 10-14: A Transformation Framework, Sleep Number’s Negotiation Advice, Looking Back at 2018

So… this is it. This is the last week of webinar recommendations for 2018. There are no less than 12 events taking place this week (and one on the calendar for next week). My official events coverage will start again for the week of January 7th, but I’ve already started adding events to January, so feel free to peek ahead. If you are planning your webinar schedule beyond this week (or year!), I recommend ‘5 Steps to Reach AP Excellence in 2019’ from basware and Ardent Partners on January 15th.

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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The November ISM-New York Report on Business: Outlook Stands Alone

The November ISM-New York Report on Business was released on December 4th at 9:45am Eastern and is available for download here.

Like ISM’s national report, the ISM-New York Report on Business is compiled as diffusion indices –we add the percent of positive responses to one-half of those responding that conditions remained the same.  A reading of 50.0 means no change from the prior month, greater than 50.0 indicates a faster pace of activity, and less than 50.0 a slower rate. Each month is not so much a reading of the current level of activity as it is an indication of growth or contraction from the previous month.

A note specific to the New York Metro area, where all of this report’s respondants are located: they are predominantly in professional services industries. It is important to keep this in mind when we think about the context for the trends being reported by these particular purchasing managers.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars December 3-7: Intelligence, AI, Big Data, Diversity, and Supply Chain Finance

I can’t even believe it is December already. And if you thought your personal schedule was out of control, you should look at this weeks’ calendar!! The November ISM-New York Report on Business will be released on Tuesday, December 4th at 9:45am ET and Public Spend Forum is hosting a Happy Hour in Arlington, VA that same evening. If you are planning your webinar schedule beyond this week, I recommend ‘Understand the Risk Big Picture — It Doesn't Stop at Supplier Risk’ from riskmethods’ Bill DiMartino and Peter Smith on December 13th at 9am ET).

Right now it still looks like December 10-14 will be the last week of webinar recommendations for this year. I’ll know for sure next week, but I’ll absolutely start them again on January 7th.

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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Recommended Webinars Nov 26-30: Instant Impact S2P and The Issue of Trust

This week, Procurement Leaders’ Data, Intelligence, and Technology Forum is taking place in London on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you are planning your webinar schedule beyond this week, I recommend ‘Achieving Agility in Procurement Operations: Beam’s Transformation Journey’ from ISM, Scout RFP, and Beam Suntory on December 11th.

A quick note as the end of the year approaches: I’m watching the event listings for December, and as of right now it looks like December 10-14 will be the last week of the year. If the week after fills in, I’m game, but if it doesn’t, I’ll stop my event recommendations posts on December 17th and pick up again on January 7th.

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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Plenty to be Thankful For

We’re counting down the hours until turkeys hit tables across America, but there is no reason to postpone giving thanks until the gravy is at hand.

I’m keenly aware - on a daily basis – just how lucky I am to have a career in procurement at all, thanks to (a.) almost being laid off and getting re-assigned to “Not-for-Resale” and (b.) the magic of modern connectivity. I travel the world from my kitchen table all year long and I ‘meet’ the most amazing people along the way. I am thankful for this whole, crazy experience and everything it has taught me.

In 2019, I'll hit the 10-year milestone at Buyers Meeting Point. I had absolutely no idea I would ever reach this point.

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Recommended Webinars Nov 12-16: Digital Risk Management, Digital Procurement Transformation, and Linking to Business Value

This week, ProcureCon Marketing is taking place in San Diego, CA Monday through Wednesday. You may also notice that this week gets off to a slow start, as many companies observe Veterans’ Day on Monday. If you are planning your webinar schedule beyond this week, I recommend ‘Improving Supplier Diversity Outcomes: How innovative tech can uncover the diversity spend you already have’ from tealbook on December 5th.

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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Recommended Webinars Nov 5-9: Building a Great Workforce in a Tight Talent Market and Getting Ready for 2019

This week, Procurement Leaders’ Asia Pacific Congress is taking place in Singapore on Thursday and Friday. If you’re planning your webinar schedule beyond this week, I recommend “Why Procurement Needs Digital Risk Management—and How to Get Started” on November 14th from ISM, The Hackett Group, and riskmethods.

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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The October ISM-New York Report on Business: Hotter Jobs Under Cooler Conditions

The October ISM-New York Report on Business was released on November 2nd at 9:45am Eastern and is available for download here.

Like ISM’s national report, the ISM-New York Report on Business is compiled as diffusion indices –we add the percent of positive responses to one-half of those responding that conditions remained the same.  A reading of 50.0 means no change from the prior month, greater than 50.0 indicates a faster pace of activity, and less than 50.0 a slower rate. Each month is not so much a reading of the current level of activity as it is an indication of growth or contraction from the previous month.

A note specific to the New York Metro area, where all of this report’s respondants are located: they are predominantly in professional services industries. It is important to keep this in mind when we think about the context for the trends being reported by these particular purchasing managers.

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Recommended Webinars Oct 29 – Nov 2: Digital Transformation, Disruptive Innovation, ‘Steady Flow’ Risk Management

As we close the book on October, ProcureCon MRO is taking place in Fort Worth, TX this week on Monday and Tuesday. I’d also like to invite everyone to join me on Wednesday at 11am ET for a webinar I am presenting on a new way to approach talent development: a 3-Part Framework for Procurement Talent Transformation: Vision, Realism, and Accountability.

If you’re planning your webinar schedule beyond this week, I recommend "Understanding the Digital Procurement Transformation Journey" from SpendHQ and Bain & Co on November 15th at 2pm ET.

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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Recommended Webinars October 22-26: Actively managed procurement, Integrated risk management, Leveraging a contingent workforce

This week continued to fill up, with new events being added to the calendar as late as Friday. Make sure you take a look at the full listing of events, which include a couple of ‘Lunch & Learns’ from Public Spend Forum.

If you’re planning your webinar schedule beyond this week, I invite you to join me on October 31st for a webinar I’m presenting at Zycus’ invitation: “3-Part Framework for Procurement Talent Transformation: Vision, Realism, and Accountability”.

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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Recommended Webinars October 15-19: Common RFP Pitfalls and Connecting End-Customer Demand

This is a ‘sleepy’ week on the BMP events calendar, but don’t worry! If you had something else in mind, there are already 7 webinars on the calendar for next week.

If you’re looking to plan your webinar schedule beyond this week, I recommend ‘Are you really MANAGING Procurement? (Or Does Stuff Just Happen…)’ on October 23rd from Per Angusta, Peter Smith (Spend Matters UK/EU), and Glen Lovett, Head of Group Procurement at FirstGroup.

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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Broken Procurement Theory

I recently read about ‘Broken Windows Theory’ from a 1982 Atlantic article by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson. It is a criminological theory that suggests small but visible signs of public disarray, such as broken windows, abandoned vehicles, litter, and disorderly behavior, create an environment that encourages more serious crime and a systemic breakdown in orderly conduct. Kelling and Wilson note:

“This is as true in nice neighborhoods as in rundown ones. Window-breaking does not necessarily occur on a large scale because some areas are inhabited by determined window-breakers whereas others are populated by window-lovers; rather, one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing.”

This means that no matter how affluent or destitute the neighborhood, no matter who inhabits it, a non-compliant action will inevitably inspire further non-compliance.

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Recommended Webinars October 8-12: Ongoing Applied Learning and Cross-functional Contract Management

This week’s webinars present another interesting combinations that are likely to be top of mind for leading procurement professionals. If you’re looking for something really different, I invite you to join #TakeActionOctober – this is an initiative started by my colleague and good friend Phil Ideson (Art of Procurement). Every day he posts a 5 minute podcast that includes a great message and an “action challenge”. I did it all last week, and it really is an enjoyable way to spend a few minutes a day. If you’re interested, it isn’t too late to get caught up. The full list of #TakeAction micro-pods can be accessed here.

If you’re looking to plan your webinar schedule beyond this week, I recommend 'Integrating Supplier Risk Management into Your Procurement Processes' from SIG and SAPAriba on October 25th. In a rare webinar appearance, we’ll get to hear from Harold Good, Procurement Advisor, Futurist and Influencer for Procurement Pros Group LLC – although you probably know him better as @Hal_Good, Twitter influencer extraordinaire.

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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