Buyers Meeting Point procurement by Kelly Barner

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Point Counterpoint: Has Procurement Caught the Social Media Virus?

Point Counterpoint: Has Procurement Caught the Social Media Virus?

Earlier this week, I joined Jon Hansen on Blog Talk Radio for the next installment in our series of ‘Point Counterpoint’ discussions. You can listen to it on demand here.

This month our topic was social media and how procurement is – or isn’t – incorporating it in our work. Professionally, I look at the potential of social media in two ways:

 

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Book Review: Aviation Logistics

Book Review: Aviation Logistics

“The benefits of the global connectivity achieved by both ocean and air transport reach practically every type of modern industry and business and are an essential ingredient of the global supply chain.” (Aviation Logistics, p. 1)

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Book Review: Avoiding a Supply Chain Apocalypse

Book Review: Avoiding a Supply Chain Apocalypse

Dr. Tom DePaoli recently released Avoiding a Supply Chain Apocalypse. It is a collection of the best advice he has to give on topics ranging from relationships to negotiation to Kaizens and storytelling. Since I’ve read all of Dr. Tom’s books, I consider it something of a personal challenge to uncover the material he has added – either because the focus of the book is different or because professional priorities continue to change over time.

 

Like Dr. Tom’s other books, this is for professionals that don’t have the time (or desire) to lose themselves in a 300-400 page book of polished academic theory. His sections are short and to the point and draw in material from third party sites as well as his other writing. You can read one or two sections as time allows and not have any trouble picking up in a different place the next time you sit down.

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Making the Case for a More Diverse Supply Chain

Making the Case for a More Diverse Supply Chain

Supplier diversity is a concept with multiple definitions.  Most commonly, a supplier diversity program focuses on the utilization of women owned, minority owned, and else certified diverse businesses within your supply base.  There is, however, another interpretation of supplier diversity – a diversity of geographical location, sourcing practices, and overall organizational structure.  Evaluating these factors in a meaningful way when evaluating suppliers can be an important factor in managing supply chain resiliency, sustainability, and adaptability.

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Webinar Notes: How Smart Connected Products Are Transforming Companies

Webinar Notes: How Smart Connected Products Are Transforming Companies

This week’s webinar notes are from a December 1st event hosted by the Harvard Business Review. The speakers/presenters were Michael Porter (yes, that Michael Porter) and PTC CEO James Heppelmann. The event is available on demand here.

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Book Review: Strategic Sourcing in the New Economy

Book Review: Strategic Sourcing in the New Economy

Organizations themselves present a major problem; they are stuck in an outdated approach to value creation that has emerged over the past few decades. They continue to view value creation narrowly, optimizing short-term financial performance in a bubble while missing the most important customer needs and ignoring the broader influences that determine their longer-term success.” (p. 24)

 

In November, Kate Vitasek and a team of co-authors released Strategic Sourcing in the New Economy: Harnessing the Potential of Sourcing Business Models for Modern Procurement. Vitasek is best known for her Vested Outsourcing series a books, which are responsible for helping professionals in all functions see the potential of outsourcing relationships aimed at accomplishing a new, more value-oriented type of result. While the Vested books naturally appeal to a procurement audience, you would hardly say that procurement is the main character. We appear in little more than an occasional walk on role – not central to the plot and not particularly memorable.

 

The contrast between procurement’s role in the Vested series and the fact that we now have a book dedicated to our perspective and objectives is striking. While the Vested Way is open to all, clearly we seized an opportunity that has now led to a book all our own.

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What do procurement pros really want in their industry news coverage?

What do procurement pros really want in their industry news coverage?

Last week, Jon Hansen and I did the second in what will be an ongoing series of ‘Point – Counterpoint’ Blog Talk Radio sessions. Here is how these sessions work: we agree on a topic in advance and then I do my darndest to disagree with Jon for 30 minutes, after which he declares us in agreement. Trust me – the conversations are as entertaining as they are informative.

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Who’s Who of Procurement and Supply Chain Literature in 2015: Setting the Bar High

Who’s Who of Procurement and Supply Chain Literature in 2015: Setting the Bar High

Another year done, another 11 book reviews added to the Buyers Meeting Point cache. When I reflect back on this year’s new titles it is the authors rather than the books themselves that really stand out. This is particularly important as procurement is well into a time of significant evolution. In that context, the authors we read are more important than just the content they share. Their experiences and their qualifications set the bar for the rest of us – and the higher that bar is, the better.

Sure, procurement is in the midst of a change that may render the function unrecognizable over the next few years. If we can continue to attract the minds and engage the imagination of people as bright and visionary as the ones spotlighted here, we’re going to be okay on the other side – no matter what.

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Standing Tall Beside Amazon in Electronic Component Distribution

Standing Tall Beside Amazon in Electronic Component Distribution

Note: This post originally ran on Design News.

There’s an 800-pound gorilla in the room. It’s called Amazon. Yet not everyone sees it as inevitable that the e-commerce and distribution giant will dominate electronic component distribution.

In a recent interview with Tom Galligani, global vice president of supply chain for distributor Future Electronics, I asked for his views on Amazon’s invasion of the B2B space. Given the size and power of Amazon, you might expect distributors like Future Electronics to be prepared to be put out of business, but that is not the case. In fact, Amazon’s entry into the B2B marketplace creates a unique set of opportunities for buyers as well as suppliers or distributors.

Nevertheless, like others in the electronic components distribution industry and beyond, Galligani and his team are keeping a close eye on Jeff Bezos’ $90 billion e-commerce behemoth. Amazon may have gotten its start with an unbeatable B2C experience, but it has made inroads -- both organically and through acquisition -- into the B2B market.

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Webinar Notes: 10 Steps to Unlock the Power of Procurement

Webinar Notes: 10 Steps to Unlock the Power of Procurement

This week’s webinar notes are from a November 19th event hosted by BravoSolution and presented by Mickey North Rizza, their VP of Strategic Services and former AMR Research/Gartner analyst. As of December 2nd, the event was not yet available on demand on their website. In the meantime, BravoSolution does have a whitepaper with the same title written by North Rizza if you are interested in more. Click here to download it.

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How to Successfully Break-Up With Your Incumbent Supplier

How to Successfully Break-Up With Your Incumbent Supplier

Anyone who has ever completed a Request for Proposal (RFP) has had the unfortunate experience of informing all but one or two suppliers they have not been awarded the business.  It may be difficult and at times uncomfortable, but when the unchosen supplier is the incumbent, there is more to manage than just this conversation.  How this transition process is handled can either help or hinder the success of moving to a new supplier relationship. There are a few steps you can take to smooth the transition and ensure all parties are as satisfied as possible.

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An Annual Tradition of Giving Thanks at BMP

An Annual Tradition of Giving Thanks at BMP

Every year at this time we stop and give thanks for all of the people and organizations that have made a difference to Buyers Meeting Point and our community.

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A Personal Look at the Resiliency of Tesco and Their Supply Chain

A Personal Look at the Resiliency of Tesco and Their Supply Chain

I recently had the opportunity to interview Robert Mason and Barry Evans, co-authors of the book ‘The Lean Supply Chain: Managing the Challenge at Tesco.’ It was published in September 2015 and you can read my review here.

Barry Evans worked as a Lean Process Manager at Tesco, developing ways for lean thinking to be applied to Tesco’s supply chain. He has also joined the Lean Enterprise Research Centre at Cardiff Business School as a Senior Research Associate. Robert Mason is a Senior Lecturer in Logistics and Operations Management at Cardiff Business School and has led many business research projects with Tesco as a partner. To read their ongoing blog posts, click here.

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Webinar Notes: Three Foundations for Best Practice Procurement

Webinar Notes: Three Foundations for Best Practice Procurement

These webinar notes are from a November 5th event co-presented by Peter Smith from Spend Matters UK/EU and Daniel Ball from Wax Digital. The webinar is available on demand on Wax Digital’s site.

Peter Smith opened this event by offering up a powerful statistic from Wax Digital's own research: when asked, 44% of procurement teams said they have a close working relationship with the business. Unfortunately, only 18% of those business stakeholders agree. This amounts to a 25% ‘relationship leakage’ – or as Smith said in the event, self delusional procurement organizations. And that doesn't even touch on the 56% of procurement teams that DON'T think they have good relationships with stakeholders...

The idea of this event was to look at multiple kinds of integration that procurement has responsibility for. When Smith talked about the three models for procurement (see below), the focus was decidedly on information and communications flows rather than data and technology. In my opinion, that is fantastic because it expands the role and potential impact of procurement through our understanding of our own way of working.

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Book Review: Fashion Logistics: Insights into the Fashion Retail Supply Chain

Book Review: Fashion Logistics: Insights into the Fashion Retail Supply Chain

I went into my review of Fashion Logistics: Insights into the Fashion Retail Supply Chain by John Fernie and David Grant (Kogan Page, November 2015) with pragmatic acceptance of the fact that it would contain more logistics than fashion. I could not have been more wrong. Far from being a dry, flat examination of the global garment industry, this book is a well rounded representation of an industry that is facing not only challenges but an increasing pace of change. The case studies and historical context are as indulgent as many of the brands the authors cover.

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Best Practices to “Futureproof” Telecom Services

Best Practices to “Futureproof” Telecom Services

With the increased pressure to offer viable advantages over their competition, telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon have recently placed greater emphasis on how well equipped their networks are for the rapid increases in data consumption by consumers. While carriers show promising advances in “future proofing” their networks’ ability to accommodate such changes, it ultimately depends on how well their new network is designed to adapt to the rapidly changing technology available to meet increased demands. 

The way we do business is changing rapidly. Workplaces are virtual – with employees working flexibly: at any time, from any location, and using many different devices.  In the face of such continuous change, it is important to ask if your network infrastructure truly “futureproof.”  Whether your organization is national or global in scale, it is imperative to execute any infrastructure related improvements based on both immediate and future goals.

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Being a leader doesn't mean everything comes easy - it means not expecting them to be easy

Being a leader doesn't mean everything comes easy - it means not expecting them to be easy

I recently interviewed Magnus Carlsson, the author of Strategic Sourcing and Category Management: Lessons Learned at IKEA. You can listen to our conversation on demand on BMP Radio.

Although the book centers around the how and why of IKEA’s approach to procurement and supply chain, its content is not limited to large multi-national corporations or companies in the furniture and home goods industries. IKEA is a company that competes on brand and low costs, which makes its approaches to spend and supplier management absolutely critical to its ability to operate.

IKEA has been able to accomplish many things that other companies have not because it is necessary for them to remain competitive. As a result, their team members – and former team members, for the sake of including Carlsson – approach complex and strategic procurement with a striking clarity of purpose. There is no other way for IKEA to work, and therefore there is no reason to resist or bemoan the uphill strategic path.

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Techniques for Accurately and Efficiently Forecasting Demand

Techniques for Accurately and Efficiently Forecasting Demand

This post was written by Michael Hinkley, an intern at Source One Management Services. If you are interesting in hearing his perspective on procurement as a career and as a part of the larger business, click here to listen to our conversation on BMP Radio.

Whether you’re preparing for a sourcing engagement or looking to improve supplier relationships, effective forecasting and planning is key to staying ahead of your supply chain and formulating a procurement blueprint. When buyers and sellers aren’t on the same page about expected volumes, usage schedules, and run sizes, both may experience surpluses or shortages. This, in turn, can lead to dire consequences for operational efficiency and the bottom line – yours and your suppliers’. For instance, the over unitization of warehouse space, as a result of a constant excess of inventory, will lead to increased effective unit prices. However, with accurate forecasting and improved supplier communication, you not only optimize your internal processes but allow your suppliers to run a more efficient operation with better turnover rates and proper resource allocation.

 

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Should Procurement Fear or Embrace Procurement-as-a-Service?

Should Procurement Fear or Embrace Procurement-as-a-Service?

I recently had the opportunity to interview Phillip Ideson, the founder of ProcureChange, a new Procurement-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider. You can listen to the entire interview on BMP Radio.

My first reaction to PaaS – one that I think is quite natural – is concern about what it will mean for today’s procurement practitioners if it catches on. Will we be outsourced the same way we have outsourced so many other formerly in-house capabilities?

As it turns out, however, the news is better than I expected. PaaS, far from being a threat to procurement, may be one way for us to achieve the strategic status we crave.

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The Power Triangle in Electronic Component Specifying and Purchasing

The Power Triangle in Electronic Component Specifying and Purchasing

This post was originally run on Design News.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Mark Larson, the vice chairman of electronic component distributor Digi-Key Electronics. The company was founded in 1972, and Larson joined only four years later to what is now one of the largest such companies not only in North America but the world. He led the company as president for an astounding 39 years, just recently stepping down in July.

In the four decades during which Larson ran Digi-Key, there was considerable change -- in the electronics being sold, in whom the products were sold to, and in the supply chains the products traveled through. The other thing that has changed is the way Digi-Key interacts with different points of contact at each customer. Although it has always aimed its marketing efforts at design engineers -- and continues to do so -- it has had to adapt to the growing role of centralized procurement in managing purchases.

Since the interactions between engineering and procurement have not always been naturally easy, the insertion of a third party into the electronic component purchasing process has brought some benefits. When looked at from an outsider’s point of view, the two teams may have more in common than they realize.

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