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  • Webinar notes: Taking Charge of Your Career

    The idea expressed in the event’s title – that each of us should take control of our own career – was prevalent throughout the webinar. This included the idea that the best way to break down functional silos is through individual cross-functional development. So rather than attacking the silo itself, or its walls, provide opportunities for managers and leaders to expand their own range of understanding and experience and the silo will dissolve on its own. So what are we supposed to do if we want to take charge and advance our career?   Be open to possibilities you haven’t considered before. Many of us are working jobs today that hadn’t been invented or defined when we were in college and setting an early career path. Rather than focusing on the progression of job titles you want to hold, aspire to something more goal oriented and prepare your skills for that. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, even if (or especially if?) it isn’t on your ‘plan.’ In a ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 31 July 2015
  • A Deep Dive into the Cost Drivers of a Direct Mail Program – Part 1

    Overall, there is evidence that direct mail is still holding strong as a marketing tactic and this is reflected in companies’ marketing strategies. However, before you begin executing a direct mail campaign, it is important to understand the components and factors that influence this marketing strategy’s cost. There are four main cost drivers to any direct mail program: Mail lists (who and where the mailer is being sent to), Creative and design (the messaging and layout), Print and lettershop (producing the mailer), and Postage (mailing the mailer). While the costs of creative/design, print, and lettershop can be managed through a standard sourcing process, mail lists and postage are a bit more complex. While mails lists and postage are commonly overlooked when it comes to identifying cost saving opportunities, there are options available for navigating the cost drivers of these two components. In this first post of a two-part series, we will cover some basics on mail lists ...

    by Megan Connell
    Wednesday, 29 July 2015
  • Book Review: Strategic Sourcing and Category Management: Lessons Learned at IKEA

      Category Management The first question that might come to mind is ‘how does the author suggest we segment our spend or supply base to get the best results from category management?’ He advocates segmentation by manufacturing process – and yet he introduces the idea that the processes he is accustomed to are different than the ones most commonly seen. The steps in any process must be allowed to influence each other – not just downstream, but back and forth. This philosophy brings the entire process to life and pushes those managing it to emphasize agility and flexibility. Several of the take-aways I detail below provide examples of where learning something or changing a requirement must be allowed to affect the trajectory of the project no matter how far through the process it is. That being said, Carlsson does not suggest that processes should be ‘loose’. In fact, he explains that the difference is in the details – the difference between mostly getting a process right and ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Monday, 27 July 2015
  • Webinar Recommendations for July 27 - 31, 2015: Digital marketing spend, Selecting a spend analysis solution, and Early engagement in sourcing projects

      The digital disconnect (Proxima Group) 7/28, 11am EDT If there is a category of spend that has only most completely evaded procurement management it is legal. If there is ANOTHER category of spend that has eluded us it is marketing. In this week’s event. Proxima Group and a panel including members form Warburtons and Transform UK will take on digital marketing spend. According to Proxima, digital marketing budgets are on the rise, and yet, companies have had difficulty pinning down the return on that investment – just ask Twitter and Facebook. The combination of rising budget and minimal governance is good news for procurement teams looking to break into marketing spend.   Spend Analysis Solution Selection: What to Look for in Software and Services (NLPA) 7/28, 11:30am EDT Although I don’t usually think of the Next Level Purchasing Association hosting technology-analyst style webinars, this event promises to be a line drive out of the park. As they point out in the ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Saturday, 25 July 2015
  • Guest Post on Design News: Your Supplier is Not Your Friend

    Companies should never confuse a supply relationship with friendship. In fact, part of the role of any good provider is to challenge its clients in a productive way. Many times, companies outsource in order to transfer the majority of risk to suppliers. In June, Design News hosted a webcast on product lifecycle management presented by team members at Sparton, a firm that handles the both design and manufacturing efforts for low/medium-volume, high-complexity components. Their presentation, “Why Product Lifecycle Management Is an Emerging Trend,” included all of the cost, timing, and supply chain implications of PLM.   During the webcast, Sparton presenters spoke about the importance of building relationships with key suppliers. That emphasis makes sense because, in Sparton’s role as an outsourcing provider to manufacturing companies, the company sees advantages realized with those that they are able to partner with versus those that hold them at arm’s length or push back on ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Thursday, 23 July 2015
  • Keeping Procurement Moving at the Speed of Modern Communications

      In fact, recent research found that instant communication channels are both feeding our need for ‘in the moment’ action and also making the problem worse. As reported in the Telegraph, “Researchers surveyed 2,000 participants in Canada and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms. The results showed the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds.”   Now, whether or not you know what an electroencephalogram is, the message is clear. In 15 years, we’ve lost a third of the length of our attention span. To put today’s available focus period in perspective, the Telegraph also offered up that “goldfish .... are believed to have an attention span of nine seconds.” Unless you are in the business of buying goods and services from goldfish, it is wise to consider the speed of the overall sourcing process and all of the activities that are a part of it.   The ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Wednesday, 22 July 2015
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Recently we had a discussion with Brian Daniels, CEO at Spend Radar. This is the continuation of an conversation we had with Rod True, COO, in February 2010, giving us an update on the direction of their organization and elaborating on new offerings.

This was an energetic and informative interview. We would like to thank Brian for taking the time to speak with us. Spend Radar is a growing organization with comprehensive capabilities in their product line. They are a company to put on your ‘watch list’ and invest the time to determine if their offering can fit a need in your organization.

A few years ago, Spend Radar’s client base was predominantly comprised of global organizations in excess of $5B in sales with multiple systems. Now they are finding that smaller companies with the same issues are part of their target market. Spend Radar’s smallest client is a $4M regional bank and the largest is a fortune 100 company. Their clients are in many industries such as life sciences, financial services, health and technology.

Brian outlined the progress with full ‘Spend Execution’. He is very excited about this offering and feels it is taking spend analysis many steps forward. It is in the beta stage and will be able to help companies make decisions looking forward instead of the classic approach of reviewing historical data. The plan is to roll out on a limited basis in the Summer of 2011. There are many reporting features and alerts that will frame areas of non-compliance and track savings and spend.

Spend Radar has successfully implemented Project Excellence: a formal implementation methodology that is structured and consistent. The Spend Radar staff goes through a certification process leveraging internal and external training and that focuses on delivery methodology, quality, meeting expectations and problem solving.

SpendZen Spend Radar’s blog and has generated a great deal of excitement and activity. They utilize it to showcase both clients and associates. The blog following continues to grow and enhances interaction with current and potential clients. 

We asked Brian if he noticed any change in their clients’ behavior due to the events in Libya and Japan. He has found many are looking for alternative methods and sources for products and freight costs.  Companies are trying to continue their businesses utilizing alternative suppliers if necessary.

Spend Radar is continuing to expand globally with clients in 15 countries. In the coming year they will be focusing on the domestic and international opportunities including those in Europe and Asia

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