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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 March 19-23: The Corporate Cash Environment and De-risking International M&A

As we officially enter spring, my recommended webinar topics are taking a fresh new focus. The birds are signing, plants are pushing their way into the sun, and procurement is thinking big – digital transformation, the financial supply chain, and innovation. If you like to plan further ahead, I recommend “How Artificial Intelligence will (and won’t) change Procurement and Contracting” from Determine and Forrester on March 27th. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars March 12-16: Selecting RPA, Surviving Tech Hype, and Blockchain War Stories

After a slow couple of weeks, the calendar is once again buzzing with activities. In addition to the webinars recommended below, ProcureCon Pharma is happening in Zurich on the 13th through the 15th and Procurement Leaders’ World Procurement Congress is happening in London on March 15-16. If you like to plan further ahead, I recommend “Applying B2C Strategies to Corporate Procurement” from BuyerQuest on March 28th. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

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Establishing Trust in Transformation

When working with transformation advisory clients, we often talk about the role of procurement and the need to change how they are perceived within the organization. Changing stakeholder perceptions is not an easy task, nor does it happen overnight.

So where do we begin? Stakeholder relationship management.

To effectively and efficiently run a business, you need two simple elements – someone to spend the money and something to spend the money on. In other words, your stakeholders and your suppliers. There are many other complexities to be ironed out, like where the money comes from (revenue) and who assigns the authority to spend it (governance). Procurement acts as the liaison in this process, serving as the key intermediary between stakeholders and the suppliers.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars March 5-9: Optimizing Performance and Value, Digital Transformation, AI for Due Diligence

Just like last week, this week is light and webinars – and all of the events we have to chose from are on the same day! Next week the pace picks back up, with a number of webinars and two live events already scheduled. If you are interested in a ‘long shot’ webinar worth considering, I recommend “The New Corporate Cash Environment: Understanding Impacts On Financial Supply Chain & Cash Management” from SAPAriba on March 20th at 11am ET. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

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Which came first – the chicken or the data?

I recently covered a fascinating story of present-day industry intrigue… centering around allegations by food distributors Sysco and USFoods that chicken producers (including Tyson and Perdue) have been colluding to raise the prices of chicken for a decade. This story has everything that makes supply chain an exciting place to work: razor thin margins, collusion, and federal intervention.

But an easily overlooked component of this case is that industry data sources were (allegedly) manipulated by the producers.

The Sysco and USFoods lawsuits accuse chicken producers of justifying increased prices by constraining supply (i.e. ensuring less available chickens) and inflating market rates through the manipulation of industry benchmarks. The Georgia Bench pricing system had to be shut down and replaced in 2017 because of questions about the reliability of their data.

Agri Stats (a subsidiary of Eli Lilly & Co.) is actually mentioned in the lawsuits because the subscription-based data they make available to chicken producers allows the producers to determine the breeding potential (i.e. production potential) of their competitors and change their own volume in response.

Since many of procurement’s efforts – and contracts for that matter – are heavily tied to industry data sources and benchmarks, Jeanette Jones (my Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals co-author) and I decided to offer our independent advice (written in parallel and without discussion) about how to apply a critical eye to industry data.

Keep in mind that you can always get our insight on industry data at ProcureSearch - a free, online resource based on our book.

Jeanette Jones’ Perspective: Finding a Trusted Source

Two chicken pricing benchmark providers have been mired in recent events that have highlighted, in a profound way, the critical need for using trusted, credible resources. It should be noted our focus here is on one aspect and that these stories are complex as there are many factors involved with determining truthful pricing benchmarks for not only poultry, but for all agriculture commodities.

Agri Stats (a subsidiary of Eli Lilly & Co) is connected with the Sysco and US Foods lawsuits because its data made available information about chicken production that provided competitive advantage to a select few. The Georgia Premium Poultry Price Index (GPPPI), which replaced Georgia Department of Agriculture’s (GDA) Georgia Dock chicken price index in January 2017, is in the news once again as it ceased to operate this past week due to a lack of available data. The GPPPI, in response to inflated price reporting concerns, considered evolving production techniques and buying practices in the poultry industry, and included changes that measure the aggregate change in the price of poultry sold on contract over three periods of time, in addition to reporting that indicates the weekly change in demand (GDA website).

In the past year, a number of valuable articles on how to detect misleading and false data have been published. One of the emerging strategies in detecting false information is to track the leading data claim directly to the primary source. In these two stories, the primary source appears to be about as credible as you can get: self-reported data by chicken producers. The challenge presented is how do you know if the primary data is being reported and presented correctly? The damage caused by the use of misleading information is felt by the businesses that rely on the data the most. This is hard to grasp if the provider of the primary data is considered a trusted source. This is especially so if you believe, like some, that the most valuable business commodity is trust.

The answer to the trust dilemma can be solved by the implementation of transparency measures by both the provider of the resource and the primary data provider (in this case self-reported chicken producers). The provider of the resource becomes 100% transparent about where the primary data originates and how it is being used. Getting back to GPPPI, an interesting aspect of the new index is its statement on verification: All data provided will be subject to verification through a random review, done through a prescribed process that will confirm submitted prices and quantities with the buyers. All formulas and forms utilized in the calculation of the price indexes will be open source and available to all parties to allow for the opportunity for any individual or company to track their own price indexes in relation to the industry aggregate index. Company specific proprietary information will not be available to the public. Regardless of what happens with GPPPI, the GDA is on the right track in regards to transparency of methodology and data origination, which is the direct path to regaining trust of past users.

Kelly Barner’s Perspective: Putting the Fox in Charge of the Hen House

In an age where real-time data is the difference between leading an industry and lagging it, procurement would be wise to understand the connections between the sources of data and the companies that profit or not based upon what it indicates. In this case, chicken producers provided data on the price per pound they earned during the current period. That data would then govern the prices paid to producers by distributors. 10 chicken producers constitute 80% of the market – so it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that they had an incentive to provide either good news or no news. And while not all of those 10 producers are based in Georgia (where the Georgia Dock pulls its data from), Georgia is the #1 producer of chicken in the U.S. The temptation was just too great to put a finger on the scale for their own benefit. Unfortunately, they grew too bold or too greedy and the Georgia Dock was ‘indefinitely suspended’ in 2016. The final death of the Georgia Dock was when, in response to concerns, the Georgia Department of Agriculture required producers to sign affidavits that their data was accurate. That quickly led to such a drop in data that the index had to be discontinued… draw your own conclusion.

The lesson for procurement in this is to consider which contracts you will use the data to govern, where the data comes from, and how much control or leverage  those parties have over their costs, profit margins, and the data they provide.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Feb 26 – March 2: Automated Contracts and Supplier Financial Health

This is a sleepy week after last week’s flurry of webinars and conferences. If you are interested in a ‘long shot’ webinar worth considering, I recommend “Artificial Intelligence - Changing the Landscape of Due Diligence and Monitoring” from ISM and LexisNexis on March 8th at 2pm ET. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Feb 19-23: Supply Chain Visibility, Global Risk Review, Improving Business Spend Management

In addition to the virtual procurement and supply chain events taking place this week, ProcureCon Indirect East is running in Amelia Island, FL from the 20th through the 22nd. If you are interested in a ‘long shot’ webinar worth considering, I recommend “De-risking the international back-office during an acquisition” from SIG and TMF Group being offered on March 22nd at 1pm ET. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Feb 12-16: AP Automation for the Cannabis Industry, 3rd Party Risk Management, and Procuring with a Purpose

Love is in the air this week… or is that the smell of something else ‘sweet’? If you are interested in a ‘long shot’ event worth considering, I (humbly) recommend the event I am presenting on March 13th as part of BravoSolution’s 2018 Real World Procurement series: Breaking Through the Tech Hype. You can read a preview of what I’ll discuss here… DO NOT EAT!. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Feb 5 - 9: Disrupting workplace apathy, Proactive risk management, Defending supply chain innovation

In addition to this week’s webinars - and it is a busy week with 10 to choose from! - Odesma is hosting GDPR ‘Open Houses’ on Feb. 6th and 8th at their offices in London. If you are interested in a ‘long shot’ event worth considering, I recommend ‘What is Intelligent Automation and Why Should You Care?’ from IRPA on February 20th. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Jan 29 – Feb 2: Contract Management, 2018 Trends, and Supply Chain Visibility

My recommendations for this week are below, but if you’d like a ‘long shot’ event worth considering, I recommend ‘Insights on Improving Business Spend Management in 2018’ from Coupa and CFO.com on February 23rd at 12n ET. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Jan 22-26: Cognitive Supply Chain, Mindmapping, and an Efficiency/Customer Sat Paradox

In addition to the virtual events being held this week, ProcureCon Facilities is meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, FL (how nice for them…) on Monday and Tuesday. My recommendations for this week are below, but if you’d like a ‘long shot’ event worth considering, I recommend ‘How to Drive High Performance’ from SIG and Mike Staver on February 6th. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

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What would you do? Increasing the alignment of multi-functional negotiations

Picture this: your organization needs to create a multi-year contract covering critical components for its manufacturing process. Because of the technical nature of those components, management requests that the team creating the contract be led by procurement but also include engineering, R&D, and finance. Each of the people involved will have different priorities, even though all agree on what they want the end result to be. How do you present a united front at the negotiation table?

What would you do?

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Jan 15-19: Translating Cutting-edge Technologies into Measurable Value

Another week, and another ten new webinars are added to our calendar for January and February. My recommendations for this week are below, but if you’d like a ‘long shot’ event worth considering, I recommend ‘How Much Data Accuracy is Enough?’ from S&DCE, Oliver Wight, and the SAS Institute on January 31st. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

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Book Review: Expensive Sentences

“We can spot an Expensive Sentence by its impact. Expensive Sentences limit information. They end conversations. They create urgency and isolation. They reduce options. They steal choice.” (p. xviii)

Expensive Sentences: Debunking the Common Myths that Derail Decisions and Sabotage Success by Jack Quarles (Ideapress, 2017) accomplishes two amazing things in one highly readable book:

  1. It provides procurement with an approach to managing ‘creep-in’ costs that has the potential to become viral on its own, as long as procurement is ready to lead the way, and
  2. It serves as a benchmark (in my opinion) that procurement’s brand image has made huge strides – and that we are being rewarded with a book that is both savvy and cool.

Expensive Sentences is about the power of spoken language. You may not be aware of it, but some of the most common sentences aired in your company on a daily basis are costing you money.

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The True Cost of Noncompliance

Have you ever wondered why your savings projections supersede the realized savings? Have you ever been challenged by your finance department to validate the projected cost savings one year into an agreement? Has your C-suite ever complained that procurement’s estimates and projections go unrealized? If you have faced any of these or similar situations, you are not alone. Savings projections often fall short of reality, but why? For many procurement organizations, their sourcing efforts aren’t felt due to noncompliance.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Jan 8-12: An ‘Ardent’ Start to the New Year

Happy New Year! We’re off and running – I added 11 new webinars to the calendar in January and February this weekend. Of all the new year’s resolutions, Ardent Partners’ were apparently the most resolute! They aren’t missing a beat, and as a result they dominate this week’s recommendations. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

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5 Ways a Purely Vendor-Neutral, Integrated Contingent Workforce Model Helps Companies Get Peak Value

Companies today are spending significant amounts of money on contingent workers, with businesses allocating hundreds of billions of dollars for these engagements. As a result, the C-suite is increasingly interested in whether they’re getting peak value from their contingent workforce program. And they are right to be concerned - inefficient management, laggard technologies, and disaggregated solutions can thwart efforts to maximize value.

A purely vendor-neutral, integrated MSP and VMS solution provides an innovative way for companies to manage their contingent workforce. Pure vendor neutrality means the MSP or VMS has no affiliation with a staffing agency. Because no one staffing firm is unfairly prioritized, this creates a highly competitive playing field for the staffing firms sourcing talent for organizations that demand a higher caliber of talent.

Since suppliers are focused on providing clients with the best value — which may not be the case when the MSP can compete to fill requisitions — businesses receive the highest-performing talent at the most competitive cost.

Additionally, with an integrated model, the technology and human aspects are intertwined, making it easier for companies to achieve optimal results. Here are five key ways this approach will help businesses get peak value from their contingent workforce program.

 

1) Risk Management

Worker misclassification enforcement has never been greater than it is today. Between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. federal budget allocated $113 million to detecting and deterring worker misclassification issues. Continuing this trend, the 2017 budget “... expands funding for efforts to ensure that workers receive back wages they are owed and cracks down on the illegal misclassification of some employees as independent contractors …”

Given this uptick in enforcement, having an MSP team well-versed in the complexities of managing worker classification and co-employment risk management can make a huge difference in eliminating issues. To further enhance the MSP team’s efforts in managing business validation, co-employment risk, third-party payrolling of self-sourced contractors and more, organizations need to have access to an integrated, best-in-class VMS platform.

With an integrated platform, the MSP and VMS work in lockstep throughout the entire contingent workforce management process to ensure proper worker classification, onboarding, and worker management. And by pulling all workforce spend into one platform, clients reduce the risk of rogue managers spending randomly and managing contingent workers in an uncontrolled environment.

In addition, businesses with contingent workforces typically have hundreds if not thousands of workers utilizing proprietary corporate networks and systems while accessing their ideas and protocols. A proven MSP team helps ensure the proper nondisclosure agreements are in place to protect a company’s intellectual property.

 

2) Cost Savings

An integrated solution helps companies generate cost savings in a myriad of ways.

Consolidated invoicing through a VMS reduces instances of billing error, while the aforementioned MSP risk mitigation helps ensure clients avoid costly litigation and misclassification penalties.

Self-sourcing talent is another key way for clients to generate significant hard dollar savings in a large contingent workforce program — especially in more mature programs. A leading-edge joint MSP/VMS offering makes it easy. An expert MSP team can offer a breadth of experience across different industry segments, while an integrated, top-tier VMS will provide self-sourcing capabilities that give businesses the opportunity to avoid traditional supplier-sourced mark-ups and generate cost savings.

In my experience, a company that places 10 self-sourced workers over the course of a year will save, on average, a quarter of a million dollars.

 

3) Process Efficiency

A fully integrated MSP and VMS solution enables organizations to extract as much value as possible from the latter. With a joint offering, the on-site MSP team of recruitment and employment experts oversees the automation of contingent workforce management processes via the VMS. Users can then tap into the power of automation to reduce the average requisition process from weeks to days. Better still, users can do so knowing they’re getting superior talent at a lower price while managing risk. This efficiency extends through the entire contingent workforce management process, as it enables users to handle sourcing, onboarding, time/project approvals, e-invoicing, offboarding and more in a single application.

This effectiveness provides immediate relief across the entire organization. Human resources, finance, procurement, IT and legal have one system they can go into and extract relevant data to help them work smarter in their area of expertise. In addition, a more sophisticated VMS will be built on open architecture, offer integrations with every major ERP, HRIS and PPM, and have a framework in place for quickly creating custom integrations. As a result, integrations with security, IT, facilities and any other tech systems are simple to implement.

Since workplace efficiency today often involves mobile access, the best VMS solutions enable users to manage the full contingent workforce lifecycle from anywhere they are, powering total freedom of mobility and a seamless omnichannel experience. Top-tier platforms will also bubble up the new action items required to manage a user’s contingent workforce. This helps managers avoid overlooking critical tasks and get more done with fewer swipes and taps.

 

4) Complete Workforce Visibility

Capturing and harnessing data across each stage in the worker lifecycle is critical, and properly leveraging true business intelligence requires a combination of cutting-edge technology and human expertise. A VMS with real-time visibility into a myriad of dashboards provides executives and other power users with invaluable metrics around worker population, usage, billing, performance and more. With historical data pulled through a single system and presented in a visually friendly, intuitive fashion, clients can make smarter workforce decisions, anticipating and planning for future usage.

Another area that’s vital to managers is Total Talent Management reporting. With the most sophisticated VMS providers, clients gain total visibility into both contingent AND full-time resources across the entire organization. By importing specific types of ‘sanitized’ full-time data and viewing it right next to contingent data, managers can determine the best way to engage resources across all categories from a cost, quality and risk perspective.

With a leading-edge joint MSP/VMS solution, users with specific needs can work with the MSP team to create any executive dashboard desired. These customized dashboards can visually reflect the data points requested and enable the ability to interact with this data in a seemingly endless number of ways.

 

5) Talent Quality

In today’s business world there’s a war for talent. Taking a vendor-neutral approach through an integrated model is helping companies win every day.

Within a leading-edge VMS, built-in tools deliver additional supplier management assistance. For example, supplier scorecarding offers a mechanism for ranking suppliers, which not only provides valuable feedback but can also help inform future sourcing decisions. In addition, clients can work with their MSP to create a suppler-tiering system, so that new job requisitions are initially routed to first-level suppliers that have historically delivered superior talent.

 

Conclusion

Superior talent quality, cost efficiency, greater agility, and pure simplicity from a combined solution start at implementation and increase over time. These are wins that cannot be achieved when an MSP and VMS are used separately. A truly integrated and purely vendor-neutral provider offers a one-stop shop for users and enables businesses to realize peak value from their contingent workforce program.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Dec 11-22: Thinking Big and Living Large to Wrap up the Year


This is my final set of event recommendations of the year, but because the events push into early next week, I’m doing a 2-week post. Believe it or not, there are already some events on the calendar for January 2018 and beyond. I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season! Click on the title of each recommended 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.

 

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Dec 4-8: Digital Transformation, the Future of Work, Real-time eProcurement

Another busy week on the Buyers Meeting Point events calendar. As an FYI: I will be recommending events this week and next and then breaking until the events pick back up again the week of January 8. In addition to this week’s webinars, Market Dojo is hosting an eAuction Strategy Masterclass at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

 

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Recommended Webinars for Nov 27 – Dec 1: Spend Analysis Tell All, Deconstructing AI, Supply Chain Performance

This week is really busy – there are no signs of a year-end slowdown yet! In addition to the webinars taking place, ProcureCon Marketing is happening in New Orleans, LA and Procurement Leaders DITX is happening in London. Click on the title of each recommended 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.

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