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  • No Decision is a Decision

    The Northeastern area of the United States has had a very harsh winter with heavy snow and very cold temperatures. Buildings and homes have been in danger of roof collapses due to the weight of the snow. There was a lot of communication about the issue for over a week about protecting your property and prevention activities. Two schools about 100 miles apart were in danger of the roof collapsing. The official policy is to get three bids to select a contractor. One school followed that procedure and by the time that happened, another storm had occurred and the roof collapsed. The second school knew they did not have time to waste on the bidding process and used volunteers to get the job done. Obviously no decision became decision. Now there is a much larger, more complex and expensive problem to solve in renovating the school. In our professions we are often required to make difficult decisions, sometimes stretching the rules for the better good of the company. This article from Grea ...

    by Cindy Allen-Murphy
    Wednesday, 04 March 2015
  • Webinar Notes: Collaborative Contract Management: Procurement’s Role in Enhancing Compliance and Mitigating Risk

    When you combine the speaking points of Bartolini and Selectca’s VP of Strategy Bill DeMartino, you get a full how and why on collaborative contract management. The first part of the webinar, presented by Bartolini, aimed at putting new approaches to contract management in the context of leading CPO’s plans for 2015. Savings targets have not diminished as a focus of procurement’s attention, but the pressure may be ebbing somewhat as overall effectiveness – namely better decision-making and execution – increases in importance. Procurement needs to collaborate well with the CFO, the C-suite, and suppliers. And as Bartolini pointed out, in many cases, companies are now competing with each other throughout their entire supply or value chain rather than just as a single entity. When you drill down and look at the expected trends in 2015, contract management looms large as a representation of the commercial commitments made by supply partners. Contracts are at the center of where procu ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 27 February 2015
  • Strategic Sourcing in Higher Education

    Everyone knows that cost of college education is escalating and becoming quite a burden for families and students. Determining how to get that piece of parchment can be an economic challenge that many are finding it difficult to achieve. Several years ago I had the opportunity to speak with someone in the procurement area at a large university. They were putting a strategic sourcing team together and implementing the supporting technology. It was refreshing to hear that the goal was to reduce overall costs and try to mitigate some of the tuition increases for students. When I did a search on “strategic sourcing in universities “, it was encouraging to see how many had teams and processes in place. For example, Boston University has posted almost $6M in savings since 2012. They have information publicly available on who are the current suppliers, what are the procedures used in procurement and who to contact on their procurement team. The blog this week is from Strategic Sourceror ...

    by Cindy Allen-Murphy
    Wednesday, 25 February 2015
  • Webinar Notes: Driving Excellence - Global Auction Trends & Best Practices

    In all the webinars I have attended (over 200, but who’s counting?), I have never heard a provider describe themselves as ‘fanatical’ about anything. And yet the Scanmarket team – represented in this event by SVP Ed Mathews and Director Henrik Balslev – introduced the company as being “fanatical about measuring customer results for the sake of benchmarking.” The array of data they have collected is amazing and is no doubt invaluable to their customer base and other followers. I was most impressed by the fact that their 2014 data crunching is already done. According to Mathews, they provide quarterly updates to their auction stats in the Scanmarket LinkedIn group and on their Blog. The information they are collecting and analyzing covers over 20K auctions in 47 countries. The root purpose of their analysis is to find a correlation between the type of auction used, number of suppliers, region, timing, and results. At a very high level, you will get the best results from an auction run ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 20 February 2015
  • Global warming and your supply chain

    I think my neighborhood is beginning to look like this! The Boston area has had two blizzards and two major snow storms in 3 weeks. The snow accumulation is record breaking and reached over 100 inches (254 cm). That was followed by high winds and bitter cold. And we still have a lot of winter to go. Weather like this causes all kinds of delays in the supply chain. Flights are cancelled, businesses are closed, and governors declare states of emergencies. There was a multi-car accident that included a FedEx truck and packages ended up all over the roadway. Not sure if those will get to their final destination! Some people are commenting that global warming is not happening. However, this is exactly what global warming looks like. Since the oceans are warmer, there is more moisture available to become snow with cold temperatures. This article from Climate Central, What A Warming World Means for Major Snowstorms explains in layman’s terms what we are experiencing. It also discusses that ...

    by Cindy Allen-Murphy
    Wednesday, 18 February 2015
  • Webinar Notes: ePayments: Big Trends & Predictions for 2015

    There is far more exciting change going on in Accounts Payable than most procurement professionals probably know. We’re so used to dealing with them that AP has become like a cousin to procurement – but based on this week’s webinar, it is time that we give them a fresh look. There is a lot of evolution taking place, including automation and more. In fact, I don’t think Bartolini stopped to take more than two breaths during the entire 30 minute presentation. I’m amazed he didn’t lose consciousness during the Q&A. Use of ePayments is on the rise in AP, which is not a surprise once you learn that it costs the average organization $14 to process each invoice. (Quick math: $14 x the total number of invoices processed = way too much to continue that mode of operation.) There is still a significant amount of paper being used in AP, both incoming (invoices) and outgoing (checks). Sometimes, for reasons that have more to do with supplier capabilities than their own, poor AP gets a bad r ...

    by Kelly Barner
    Friday, 13 February 2015
  • A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

    That statement could also be a mission statement for most procurement organizations. Cost containment has been the main focus for many years. Performance measures such as cost savings are consistently used to demonstrate effectiveness of the procurement team. However, many executives are now looking for additional value from that area of their organization. The blog pick of the week is from the Supply Chain Brain, “Why Procurement is No longer Just a Numbers Game”. The article reviews a survey that IBM performed with over 1000 respondents from companies with revenues over $1B. It discusses that in order for things to move beyond numbers, the procurement department would ideally report to someone other than the CFO. While some are reporting to the COO, the majority still report up to the financial executives. For those that are making a shift, innovation is an aspect that procurement can provide to their team. Through relationships with their supplier community, they have access to ...

    by Cindy Allen-Murphy
    Wednesday, 11 February 2015
  • Predictive Analytics in Procurement: The Logic Behind The Hype

    Without channeling the fearful Ben Stiller risk assessor character in Along Came Polly, predictive analytics facilitate risk judgments that are quick and favorable towards a full-picture view of the best-case scenario. As organizations face off in increasingly competitive environments, this provides the active approach necessary to form strategy around multiple potential outcomes. Patricia Dreghorn summed up the overall impact predictive analytics can have in an article on Supply Management: “Procurement no longer requires someone to bang their fists on the table and demand a better deal from suppliers. It can now be founded on intelligent forecasting, understanding the market trends and knowing when is the right time to take risks and seize opportunities. This ability to make better decisions is made possible by a combination of very insightful data and the ability to interrogate it.” To clarify things in terms of hard numbers, according to a 2011 article on SAPInsider, “benchm ...

    by Heather Grossmuller
    Tuesday, 10 February 2015
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