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  • Savings from Tesla’s Powerwall? I don’t think so…at least not in the US

    For the average consumer utilizing solar panels, the Powerwall gives the owner the ability to store energy, allowing them to utilize the energy as needed. But does the Powerwall actually give you the opportunity to reduce your energy costs? Let’s first look at the total cost, remember the $3,500 or $3,000 is for the DC system only, meaning you still need the DC-AC inverter. The inverter cost alone adds an additional $1,000 to $2,000 to the total cost. SolarCity, the solar provider company where Musk is embedded as the company chairman, is quoting $7,140 for the 10 kilowatt-hour all-inclusive installed system, or “customers can prepay $5,000 for a nine-year lease, which also includes installation, a maintenance agreement, the electrical inverter, and control system.” All said and done the true cost to buy is $714/kWh, which is a very reasonable price when compared against competitive alternatives. For those of you thinking that you will be able to recoup the setup cost by selling ene ...

    by MichaelCroasdale
    Thursday, 28 May 2015
  • Procurement depends on the honey bee

    We have several very large rhododendron bushes in our yard. In the spring they are beautiful with pink and lavender flowers. There are thousands of blooms. What we have noticed over the years is that the honey bees are fewer and fewer. It seems impossible for what seems like less than a dozen to be able to hit all the areas they should be covering. Of course no one likes to get stung so fewer bees is a good thing right? WRONG! They are desperately needed to pollinate all the fruits and vegetables that we have in our food supply. The impact on the economy is in the billions of dollars. The article this week from The Strategic Sourceror is “What’s the Buzz? Honey Bees in serious danger”. It reveals in simple terms why we need to pay attention to this and solve the problem. We have created this issue with the increased use of pesticides and the planned crops instead of wildflowers. Apparently the wildflowers sustain the bee population better than other crops. Published in June 2014, th ...

    by Cindy Allen-Murphy
    Wednesday, 27 May 2015
  • Guest Post on Design News: Strategic Sourcing Processes are Designed to Ensure Good Decision Making

    While people may talk about the procurement process, the procurement discipline actually encompasses a number of different processes. They include spend analysis, supplier relationship management, and contract management, just to name a few. If you have ever worked with procurement, there is a good chance that it was during the strategic sourcing process. Strategic sourcing touches many other stakeholder groups in an organization, such as engineering, as well as supply partners -- both current and prospective. For engineers, if you are asked to be part of a strategic sourcing project team, you will probably learn early on that there is a standard, defined project management approach just like any other discipline would have, including product design and development. The process that guides this approach may include six steps or more, but it clearly divides the project effort into phases such as the identification of a need through the contract award as well as supplier performance man ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Tuesday, 26 May 2015
  • Webinar Recommendations for May 25 - 29, 2015: Robotic Process Automation, a Technology Business Case, and Supply Risk Maturity

      A Primer on Robotic Process Automation (Outsourcing Institute) 5/28, 12pm EDT I don’t know much about robotic process automation, but I know enough to know that I need to know more. I first heard about it in an Outsourcing Institute webinar a couple of months ago. We’ve heard a lot of about outsourcing under a variety of new labels, and it makes sense that this would be an extension of that. Robotic process automation certainly sounds promising… whatever it is. Since I can’t explain it better than that, this is the event I will attend this week.   Building a Holistic Business Case for Procurement Technology (Selectica, Forrester) 5/28, 12pm EDT If procurement struggles to demonstrate ROI based on shaky realized savings calculations and estimates, the challenge is that much more pressing to demonstrate ROI for the technologies we employ. In this event, Forrester Research Vice President Duncan Jones will talk through how to handle budgetary discussions as well as how ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Monday, 25 May 2015
  • Book Review: Food Supply Chain Management and Logistics

    The food supply chain is, in actuality, multiple chains: produce, grains, meat/protein. Producers are in a difficult spot as ‘input suppliers’ (e.g. equipment providers) have significant power, uncertainty lurks in weather patterns and growing conditions, and the need for controls leads to complex regulation affecting both costs and prices. Ripple effects in these chains vary, with increased demand for processed foods leading to spending on and innovation in packaging, and increased demand for protein resulting in more demand for farming output. Food Supply Chain Management is a balance of in-depth food management specific concerns and more general supply chain content that undoubtedly has applications in the field (collaboration, supply chain risk, lead methodologies). The author’s knowledge reflects an understanding of the many perspectives that must align for optimal execution: Procurement: Inventory management is a critical effort (such as through the limitation of SKUs), track ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 22 May 2015
  • Perception vs Reality: The Real Root Cause of Procurement’s Challenges (UPDATED)

      Procurement’s Capacity Problem One of the key take-aways is that capacity, not talent capabilities, is the greatest obstacle to value creation. This is drawn from the finding that “80% of procurement decision makers identify ‘procurement team time pressures’ as a challenge, and 20% as a major challenge – implying that the majority of procurement departments are facing major capacity issues.” What is not immediately clear is if capacity is an issue because demand is so high, because (as it seems at first glance) that procurement headcount is too low, or because the in place team is so inefficient. A Diverse Set of KPIs My favorite finding is that when all the participants’ KPIs are compared, not one is shared as the top (highest priority) KPI by more than 47% of the departments. Realized savings is (expectedly) the most common top KPI but revenue impact (19%) beat out identified/negotiated savings (16%). Only 1% of procurement departments reported that CSR or Sustainability ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Thursday, 21 May 2015
  • Book Review: Business Operations Models: Becoming a Disruptive Competitor

    Carrying out such a change requires a single coherent value proposition for everyone in the organization – those who touch customers or finished product and otherwise. According to Braithwaite and Christopher, the power of operational excellence has been underestimated in practice and from the perspective of shareholders and the board. I struggled with this idea a bit (because how could leadership not recognize the importance of an effective operational model to their success?) until I read their observations of corporate strategy statements. “Strategy statements are most usually expressed in goal-driven terms based on market size estimates, competitive structures, price points in the market and high-level views of potential; their development is normally anchored in economic or competition theory. Practical operational capabilities are often taken as read, or not seen as a source for step-change performance.” (p. 3) This latent potential exists for organizations who see the struc ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 15 May 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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