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  • What’s good for the goose… Why NIGP’s ownership is not just a public sector issue

    Anything that is considered a standard (NIGP in this case) should exist apart from competing solution providers. Imagine what it would be like if Periscope Holdings owned UNSPSC, the taxonomy commonly used in the private sector. If you run a bid to select a new eProcurement solution provider, and they don’t get the contract, are they going to pull the license from whoever did? The result is an artificial constraint to competition that does not benefit either procurement or the solution providers who serve us. In one of his posts, Jon asked the question about whether all this (presumably the negative press associated with his merciless coverage of the Periscope Holdings/BidSync story and the NIGP leadership’s reaction to it) was going to hurt customers of the combined solution. While I don’t know if there are any major downsides for those agencies/companies in the short term, there sure will be in the long term. The reason is because this goes against every guiding principle procu ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 24 April 2015
  • Social Media Intelligence for Real Procurement Professionals

      I highly encourage you to read all of the posts in their entirety, but here is a highlight from each one: Part 1: Social Media Research Essential for Supply Market Intelligence There is no question that we live in a multi-dimensional, multi-channel world. If you're doing research on a topic, should you consult YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn? Absolutely. One of the ways I do this is to think in hashtags, or keywords. Let’s say you are a procurement person, and you've had a meeting with your stakeholders. The next step is for you to go off and start either expanding or building your knowledge of a market. Where on earth do you start? That is an opportunity to think in hashtags. You have to be able to look at your notes and see the few words that are relevant. It's a way of condensing a full page of notes down to the three or four critical elements to use in a search, and to then go off and find the associations, or the suppliers, or the regulations, or the raw materials assoc ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Thursday, 23 April 2015
  • Go Ahead - It won't hurt to network

    Earlier in my career I was quite shy and not comfortable networking at various conferences and seminars. Everyone else seemed to be talking to someone and having a good time I did not know where to begin. It is still not like breathing but it is a bit easier. I learned to ask questions about their jobs, families and vacations. It was interesting to hear their stories and learn a few things along the way. Networking seems forced, self-serving and artificial to me. Instead I approach these opportunities more along the line of meeting others in my industry. This week we chose the Strategic Sourceror, Why YOU should be networking. It outlines 3 reasons to network: Open communication – share ideas and get feedback as well as hear other ideas Best Practices – learn what and how others are doing the same thing you are Opportunities - for new business leads or a new career opportunity Another article by Amazing Business, Top 9 reasons of Business Networking, has additional benefits wo ...

    by Cindy Allen-Murphy
    Wednesday, 22 April 2015
  • Webinar Notes: Inventory Management in a Market-Driven World

    Unsurprisingly, forecasting is getting harder and harder to get right. Specifically, the error rates and percentages associated with demand forecasting are growing. Traditionally, there were less items being sold in higher volumes with more regular, more predictable demand. Products were also being supplied and sourced closer to the point of purchase or consumption. Cecere talked about helping companies and leaders move from demand driven supply chains and networks to market driven. So much change has taken place elsewhere in supply chain practice that inventory has been overlooked as an area for improvement. Technological innovations have improved productivity or output per employee but have done little to improve operating margin because they have not effectively tied in inventory management. And there is a correlation between inventory turns and market cap that easily justify the time and investment. She also discussed the concept of the ‘Buy Make Deliver’ team – in other words ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 17 April 2015
  • Procurement and Taxes

    Today is April 15 and also TAX DAY in the United States. It is the deadline for citizens to file their income tax returns for both the Federal and States taxes. Yes you can get an extension but only if you fill out the forms needed. Plus if you owe taxes, then you have to pay them anyway by April 15 and the paper work just follows. Sometimes you have overpaid and get a refund. Then it seems really worth doing all the forms and filing early! With that in mind, I came across this book, “Death, Taxes and Procurement, An Effective guide for Small Businesses”. The author, Robert D. Horesjh, takes a fictitious company through the steps necessary to do business with the US Federal Government. They are the one of the largest consumer of goods and services for businesses to sell to. Of course they are – they have just finished collecting everyone’s taxes so there is money to be spent!! The marketplace extends to include schools, towns and local agencies. Full disclosure, I did not read the bo ...

    by Cindy Allen-Murphy
    Wednesday, 15 April 2015
  • Strategic Sourceror: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement’ book is “spot on”

    On April 13, Joe Payne, Vice President of Professional Services at Source One Management Services, published his review of Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals on the Strategic Sourceror blog. You can read his full review here. The book, which I co-wrote with Cottrill Research Founder Jeanette Jones, was published by J. Ross in late 2014 and can be purchased directly from them or on Amazon. Payne, the co-author of Managing Indirect Spend with Source One’s Bill Dorn, described the take on market intelligence for procurement as “spot on,” saying, ““Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals” tackles one of the most important, yet least tangible aspects of the sourcing profession – how to get access to good, relevant information about supply markets quickly, and then maintain that information so that you have it when you need it.” You can read the other reviews of Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals, including reactions from Susan ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Tuesday, 14 April 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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