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  • Webinar Notes: Supply Chain Risk Management: How to Turn Worst Practices into Best Practices

    While the presenters delivered on their promise to contrast worst (or poor) risk management practices with best practices, the greater value in their message was around perspective. In order to root out and address risk where it lurks, we need to adopt a supply chain risk management state of mind. What does this mean? It means that in order to understand our risk, we can not just go about previous activities and add risk to list of things we consider. We have to look at our suppliers, supply chains, and the greater environment in an altogether different way. The best examples of this from the event are: We can’t trust suppliers or logistics experts to manage risk in the supply chain on our behalf, because disruptions may be associated with locations or materials rather than companies. Each person’s view of the supply chain is limited by their perspective of it and which is closely tied to their role. Procurement needs to break free from this constraint by taking in as much data ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 09 October 2015
  • Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 10/5 – 10/9: Getting out ahead of challenges and opportunities

      Unlock Working Capital with Predictive Analytics ( October 6, 2pm EDT I’ve long believed that mastering analytics skills and systems are the key for procurement moving forward – especially when predictive analytics is the goal. This webinar combines analytics with the objectives of CFOs to allow them to better manage cash flows and inventory management by studying the inflows and outflows of payments and receivables. Since procurement is in the position to estimate demand and put contracts (with payment terms) in place, we have a strategic role to play if predictive analytics catches on in Finance. According to Aberdeen Group research that will be explored during the webinar, best in class finance organizations are 78% more likely to implement predictive analytics.   What Procurement Doesn’t Know About Accounts Payable (and May be Afraid to Ask) (SAP/Ariba, SIG) October 6, 2pm EDT In another Finance related topic, Ariba takes on accounts payable from procur ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Monday, 05 October 2015
  • Lessons from the Ultramarathon Trail to Prepare for the Category Management Journey

    Hopefully that sets the stage for just how challenging it can be to put an effective category management program in place. Of course, it just easily proves that you can do anything you set your mind to – and more importantly – that you plan and train for. One of the comments offered almost as an aside in the webinar is the notion that Denali has made significant investments in their category management capabilities and training offerings because it is one of the questions they frequently field from CPOs. If I were still a practitioner, that fact would be enough to make me sit up and take notice. I would also fight to be part of any program to roll-out category management, whether purely internal or involving third party support. The main bridge between category management as a theory and category management in practice seems to be having a plan. Since it is often not a well defined concept, organizations have difficulty getting their category management efforts off the ground. Acco ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 02 October 2015
  • Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 9/28–10/2: Unique Perspectives on Familiar Topics

      What Your P2P Vital Signs Are Telling You (Hackett Group, Zycus) September 29, 2pm EDT In this event, Hackett Group and Zycus have taken a cool concept – the biometrics information we gain access to through wearable technology such as the iWatch – and applied it to procurement’s performance metrics. The best take away is that while we likely compare our performance on KPIs against market leaders and overall best practices, the most important improvement to show is over the baseline. Calculating a solid baseline can be just as hard as generating the results themselves, as we often see in sourcing projects. This webinar will provide an in-depth look at an exhaustive list of 50+ metrics and ways to excel against them.   Margin, Risk, and Prices, Oh My! Price Optimization: How Best-in-Class Sales Organizations Win (Aberdeen) October 1, 1pm EDT I have a soft spot (and a strong curiosity) for sales events, and the combination of margin and optimization makes this an easy ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Monday, 28 September 2015
  • Guest Post on the Social Contracting Blog: P is for Procurement... except when it isn't

    It used to be that every company had buyers; they were the people managing contracts and placing supply orders. Then strategic sourcing was introduced and dedicated buyers suddenly became a thing of the past, especially as eProcurement systems allowed supplies to be ordered by approved users through online catalogs. Being able to provide people in the organization with a convenient way to buy the right items from approved suppliers at contracted prices was a huge improvement. It also reinforced the notion that procurement could be managed more effectively through technology. If more is more, then getting the entire procurement process into a closed loop must be the ideal. This led to a desire for solutions that could handle full end-to-end integration. This vision connected spend analysis to sourcing to contracts to eProcurement through to Accounts Payable and back to spend analysis again. Now that P2P systems—meaning either purchase to pay or procure to pay—are more common, organi ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Thursday, 24 September 2015
  • Book Review: Category Management in Purchasing (3rd Edition)

    Far from this 3rd being a simple re-run of the same old information, O’Brien has added some significant sections to the book that make it relevant for a larger audience. A considerable new section is dedicated to governance via the 5 P’s of people, proficiency, promote, payoff, and programme. Part of how the governance model plays out organizationally is through a steering committee that reports to the C-suite and facilitates all category management projects in the organization. O’Brien also specifically addresses category management for small and medium sized enterprises, making the point that while they may not be able to achieve the same level of leverage and scalability through category management that larger companies can, there is still significant opportunity for improvement. Like anything O’Brien has published, the case studies and visuals are key. Of particular value are the detailed competency charts for those in category management positions. In addition to the new are ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Wednesday, 05 August 2015
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“When you are open to share what you know with other people, good things will happen for you.” –Soheila Lunney 

Throughout the month of May, Buyers Meeting Point is covering ‘The Procurement Game Plan’ through a series of interviews with Charles Dominick and Soheila Lunney – both about our questions in response to the book and the trends they observe in supply management as a whole. Our original intent was to interview them about the book, but as we got further into conversation, we found that it was impossible to separate the content of The Procurement Game Plan from their ‘day jobs’. This book is not a retrospective look back or an encapsulation of their careers, but a snapshot from two very dynamic contributors to the procurement community. I highly recommend it as an addition to your professional library.

Our review of the book is available, and last week we shared a Q&A with both authors specifically related to our questions about the book. This week we’ll share the first half of our interview with Soheila Lunney.

SLunneyIn addition to being an author, Soheila is president of the Lunney Advisory Group, a provider of coaching and mentoring for procurement professionals in various industries to improve their processes and practices, to significantly reduce the cost of acquiring products and services, and to contribute to the bottom line profitability of their organizations.

Buyers Meeting Point: As a procurement educator and coach, what is your perspective on the typical character or personality of purchasing/procurement professionals and how well that is suited to the future requirements of the role?

Soheila Lunney: As more and more universities are offering Procurement and Supply Management courses and degrees, I see the character of procurement professionals is changing with much higher caliber individuals in various industries.  Procurement employees are truly becoming a group of professionals who are gaining the respect of top-level management.  Leaders of the organizations must support creating an environment that their procurement staff can grow, learn new and emerging best practices, and expand their horizon.  As economy is improving allocating funds to provide training for procurement staff should become a high priority for management.


BMP: How did a background in the pharmaceuticals industry prepare you to help procurement professionals in other industries learn to manage supply chain risk?

Soheila Lunney: While it is true that pharma may be ahead of other industries in their assessment and handling of risk potential (due in part to government regulation), industry does not matter. What matters is interaction with the outside world, while includes the health and safety of customers and associates as well as the reputation of the organization.  Whenever possible, tap into tax, legal, and treasury (for example) for their guidance. Come up with approaches that bring safety, security, and contingency plans to the organization. Keep abreast of what other organizations are doing, benchmark against them, and implement practices that can safeguard your organization against unexpected events.


BMP: It seems that one of the barriers to procurement having an established seat at the executive table stems from a lack of financial knowledge. Do you see that in the companies that you work with?

SL: Yes – I do see groups and individuals struggling with their lack of comfort with finance. I think it breaks down to two issues: the first is a genuine weakness with financial topics. If this is your situation, you need to acknowledge the weakness and take a class that  can satisfy your needs. The other issue looks at negotiating cost savings v. reporting those savings to the rest of the organization. The most common mistake procurement makes is reporting project savings in one big number. It is critical to itemize results as much as possible to establish procurement’s credibility by creating opportunities for explanation and demonstrating knowledge of the product/service in question.

It is also important to understand the methodologies that your finance group or controller will buy into and structure results reporting to match them. Each company or industry is different, and contract results may change over time due to M&A activity or leadership’s decisions. It is also important to make sure that multi-year contract savings hit the budget for all applicable years. This will require a joint internal effort, but will bolster procurement’s relationships with other departments.

Next Thursday we will share the rest of our interview with Soheila, and on May 31st we will finish up our series on ‘The Procurement Game Plan’ with our interview of Charles Dominick.

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