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  • Three Things ‘Rock Star’ CPOs Know About Procurement Influence

    In Procurement at a Crossroads, the book I co-authored with Jon Hansen (coming out this fall), we took a hard look at procurement’s longstanding desire for a greater presence in the C-suite. For many ambitious procurement professionals, the fact that CPO is not a standard executive level position is an indication that we have not ‘made it’ yet. For me, it is proof that we have been seeking the wrong thing. Rather than chasing status, something awarded by others and affected by a number of factors outside of our control, procurement should invest in influence – and no, the two are not synonymous. It is possible to be influential without rank. There is always room for strategic movers and shakers between the traditional lines of a corporate org chart. Since Xchanging’s research was based on responses from over 800 CPOs, I took the opportunity to ask Bowen about influence. How are the leaders Xchanging spoke with, building it and maintaining it? Here are some things that procurement ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Wednesday, 02 September 2015
  • Procurement Perspectives Podcast: Where should procurement report?

      It comes as no surprise that there is not one definitive answer to where procurement and supply chain should report relative to each other. What I find interesting are the variables and criteria Franca shared that help an organization make sure they have the proper reporting alignment and hierarchy. The three variables I came away with after listening to Franca’s response are: The role of cost cutting in enterprise strategy The role of suppliers in the core business The line between internal operations and external services/supply The role of cost cutting is not necessarily consistent. While in small margin businesses and industries, cost cutting is procurement’s bread and butter, for other companies or industries this approach only comes up in the face of external downturns such as the ones we saw in 2008. When cost cutting is key in the long term, procurement is likely to have a higher visibility position in the enterprise. The close tie between the need to aggress ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Tuesday, 01 September 2015
  • My Recommendations for Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars August 31 – September 4

      Key Trends of Advanced Analytics (Gartner) September 2, 8:00am EDT and 11am EDT You have two shots at this week’s first recommended event as Gartner looks at current and expected future trends in analytics. Since knowledge – or as we more commonly call it today, data – is power, procurement should be prepared to do anything we get the opportunity to with analytics. In this webinar, Gartner will take us beyond the basics of analytics to look at advanced capabilities in technology and skill sets. I actually think it is an advantage that this is not a procurement analytics event – the more generalist the better. Looking at analytics as a broad approach will help widen our horizons about what is possible and what we need to know to harness the power.   Enhanced supplier due diligence: the implications for supplier risk management (Supply Management) September 3, 8:00am EDT While we don’t have a lot of information on this webinar, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Sunday, 30 August 2015
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the CEO Pay Ratio

      The Good The CEO pay ratio is being touted as a source of valuable information to investors as well as consumers. In a time when the minimum wage is a regular part of the public discourse, there is interest in having a single figure that represents the difference in compensation at the highest and median levels. When procurement represents a company that is B2C, they have to be very careful about the risk of negative public sentiment. Companies may be held responsible for the negative reputation of their suppliers, especially when the partnership is high visibility. In cases such as these, procurement may want to look at the CEO pay ratio as a way of staving off potential sources of negative publicity or reputational risk.   The Bad Although there is a lot of interest in the new ratio, it is not without its detractors. Some claim that at best the ratio misrepresents how companies feels about employees, and at worst creates negative press without actually offering any ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Wednesday, 26 August 2015
  • Procurement Perspectives Podcast: Panel Discussion on The Politics of Procurement

      One of the points that was made earlier in the discussion was the idea that public sector procurement is not about cutting costs or building competitive advantage. It is about solving social problems, and the first step to solving problems is identifying them. The fact that these teams start by bringing everyone together around a problem – something we heard in the audio excerpt just now – strikes me as really smart. There is no shying away from the fact that there is a problem or concern that defining the problem up front starts the project in a negative place. The group captures the problem and then works together to become part of the solution. I think this is an approach more private sector procurement organizations can get behind as well. And in particular, we should put a methodology in place for finding problems. Although private sector procurement often feels chained to savings and spend under management metrics, when we start to feel pressure to create greater val ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Monday, 24 August 2015
  • Webinar Notes: The End of Outsourcing? RPA is Here to Stay

    Low cost labor, such as is provided in the ‘BRIC’ nations of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, is more likely to be affected by RPA than high-margin knowledge based economies. And yet, those countries, and India in particular, have been seeing non-linear growth, meaning that profits and revenues are growing while headcount is not. Many of the positions that will be affected by RPA have been problematic for years because they are tactical, low satisfaction roles naturally resulting in high attrition and turnover. The cost to keep those positions filled, and to compete for available labor, is significant enough to change the value equation for companies looking to outsourcing there. For teams that are looking to augment their own in house capacity or capabilities, RPA presents an opportunity to continue completing tactical responsibilities without any additional headcount. It also creates new opportunities as process automation leads to increased data for analytics and complex decis ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 21 August 2015
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