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  • An Annual Tradition of Giving Thanks at BMP

    This year, I have an extra reason to give thanks as we mark a major milestone at Buyers Meeting Point. Cindy Allen-Murphy, who co-founded BMP with Harco Bouwman in 2008, made the decision earlier this year that her BMP journey had reached its natural end. She and I have worked together for many years (and at multiple companies) and we have both come away richer for each of those experiences. In fact, Cindy has been something of a procurement fairy godmother to me… she is the reason I got up the nerve to approach Emptoris’ consulting lead about a position there. She also brought me on at BMP to replace Harco in 2009. Twice she saw potential in me that I didn’t see in myself. I am incredibly grateful for her mentoring, guidance, and leadership and I wish her and her wonderful family nothing but the best. Speaking of family… I am grateful for every professional who ‘Liked’ my posts, gave my work an RT, or commented in response to something I’ve shared. Those moments of positive reinf ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Tuesday, 24 November 2015
  • Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 11/23 – 11/27: A Veritable Feast of Talent and Value

      Procurement Talent Management: How Today’s Procurement Leaders Build Their Teams (NLPA) November 24, 1:30pm EST Unlike the years in procurement’s past, bringing in new talent is no longer a matter of getting the best ‘leftovers.’ Strategic procurement leaders are actively building up the capabilities of their teams, both by bringing in the best recruits and adding to the skills of the current professionals. In this webinar, Charles Dominick, president of the Next Level Purchasing association, will discuss how to position your procurement organization for success – today and in the future.   The Rancorous Legacy of Managing Contracts (Zycus) November 24, 2:00pm EST Kudos to Zycus for the fancy vocabulary word they managed to incorporate in this event! I’ll admit I looked up rancorous for an exact definition: “characterized by bitterness or resentment.” I knew it didn’t mean happiness, but bitterness and resentment are strong words as well. In this webinar, Zycus wil ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Monday, 23 November 2015
  • A Personal Look at the Resiliency of Tesco and Their Supply Chain

    When I originally read ‘The Lean Supply Chain,’ I was struck with the balance the authors managed to achieve in their coverage of Tesco. On the one hand, Mason and Evans are clearly proud of what the large retailer has accomplished – through its supply chain and beyond. On the other hand, these have not been easy years for Tesco (horsemeat scandal 2013, accounting scandal 2014, and questions raised about how suppliers are treated). I risked distancing Mason and Evans from me by starting the interview with a series of questions about the negative coverage Tesco has gotten in the news over the last few years. Rather than responding defensively, they calmly explained – as I am sure they have done many times – their view of the decisions and events leading to those corporate missteps. I also got the impression from them that no one at Tesco expects an easy path. And while they may not have foreseen that they would be responsible for so many of their own difficulties, the priorities and ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 20 November 2015
  • Webinar Notes: Three Foundations for Best Practice Procurement

    Smith's three procurement models: Faithful servant (administrative) Gatekeeper (old school) 3-way integration (preferred) The differences between these three models are predominantly based on whether procurement serves as a ‘door’ or a ‘window’ to progress. Rather than being an actual goal, how procurement interacts wish stakeholders and suppliers (or stakeholders and suppliers) is symptomatic of their attitude towards collaboration and value creation and closely tied to the cap on their potential impact. Being sidelined or serving as a blocker between procurement’s two primary contacts points ultimately leads to a more administrative, weaker procurement function.  The ultimate goal is not to make significant changes to the procurement organization but for procurement to lead changes in the enterprise. As Ball put it, we don't need a procurement transformation - we need a procurement-led transformation of the business. After all, as Smith accurately pointed out, while ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 13 November 2015
  • Book Review: Fashion Logistics: Insights into the Fashion Retail Supply Chain

        A theme that repeatedly appears in the book is segmentation – and the first example occurs within the retail sector as a whole. The authors point out in the introduction that in their coverage of retail, they saw the emphasis and level of change transition from food to fashion. There are multiple sources of change, including regulation and corporate social responsibility. The expiration of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement (MFA) in 2005 led to an increase in global competition. The Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh (which claimed the lives of 1,129 people) only eight years later showed the dark side of trying to remain cost competitive.   My personal favorite is Chapter 2: ‘The Changing Nature of Fashion Retailing: Implications for Logistics’ in which the authors provide a rich history, not just of the global fashion industry, but of the role that fashion has played in social history and how it is an inextricable part of each culture. The current period of c ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 06 November 2015
  • Best Practices to “Futureproof” Telecom Services

    When analyzing new opportunities and future requirements, consider the following: (Network) Infrastructure—Analyze your current system in relation to the vision for your business and assess what features and benefits will be relevant in the future. This may require additional investigation to determine the main concerns with communication within your work environment and any pertinent outside factors. Systems and services today must be quickly scalable, easily manageable, and closely integrated with other business applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM). Technology upgrades—Take agile approach to upgrades, whether they involve equipment or software. Upgrades should be implemented in a way that encourages continuous improvement while allowing for rapid and flexible response to change. For instance, switching to a hosted voice solution may seem challenging, but it will offer convenient long term payoffs. Hosted voice is easier to scale when your organization need ...

    by Iyana Lester
    Thursday, 05 November 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 this week we’ll share the second half of our interview with Soheila Lunney. You can also read the first half of our interview, or a Q&A with both authors.

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: Risk management is an area where many supply management teams are seeing increased attention and responsibility. Is risk management (or assessment) a specialized skill set or is it something that any well trained procurement professional can learn with the right tools and processes?

Soheila Lunney: Any well-trained procurement professional can assess risks and take the necessary steps to mitigate them.  Additionally, procurement professionals need to team up with their counterparts in other functions such as Finance, Taxes, Treasury, Legal, … to address risk management. Procurement professionals often forget about their internal resources!

BMP: Obviously, procurement understands the rationale behind preserving their role as the gate-keeper to the organization, putting themselves between business users/stakeholders and suppliers. If a supplier sees procurement as more of a wall rather than a gate, they may be willing to bypass procurement in pursuit of a sale. Do you have any recommendations for getting (and keeping) internal stakeholders on board?

Soheila Lunney: Educating the stakeholders is the key.  Members of sales force are trained on “back door selling” concept.  This is a practice that hurts the buying organization if the end-users/stakeholders are not educated.  Procurement professionals need to raise awareness and educate their counterparts in various functions about this practice and the harms that it brings to the organization.  Speaking with one voice should be the motto of every employee.

BMP: With regard to consciously developing relationships in the organization to increase respect, much thought has been given recently to the need for better dynamics between procurement and finance. What other less covered functions benefit from procurement making an active relationship investment in?

Soheila Lunney: Legal dept, Taxes, Engineering, Treasury, HR, ………..

BMP: You have mentioned that procurement often forgets to leverage internal resources. Can you give us an example or illustration?

Soheila Lunney: This is a lesson that many procurement groups learn the hard way; they put a contract in place for the organization that represents good savings but still get criticized by of other stakeholders such as the controller. Usually the cause of this is bringing stakeholders into the process late or not at all. For example: one Lunney Advisory Group client negotiated a new contract for copiers. They negotiated savings for the organization but did not bring finance into the loop until after the contract was signed. When finance finally got involved, they questioned not only the cost analysis but also the negotiated results. Further consideration revealed that the contract offered a short-term impact but created longer-term issues. 

Procurement should try to address all projects in a cross functional manner from the earliest stages so other departments can provide input and have the opportunity to ask questions and provide solutions. As a result, the final contract will be accepted by larger part of organization, positively impacting implementation and compliance. Even when stakeholders in other departments are not interested in taking an active role in an ongoing project, it is important to keep communicating so they stay in the loop.

When I am working with a company, I always ask for other departments to be included in discussions. It is important to see the interaction between procurement and other departments in order to understand the culture of the company. If it is evident that they don’t get along, then a lot of additional work needs to be done. It is important for companies to act as one and speak with one voice in order to realize the full benefit. This requires not only top down communication and support, but also training for anyone who will come into contact with suppliers. This extends beyond the sourcing teams to top level management, administrative assistants, and even building security personnel.

On May 31st we will finish up our series on ‘The Procurement Game Plan’ with our interview of Charles Dominick.


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