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Are Close Competitors ‘Playing Chicken’ With the Food Supply Chain? (All Things Supply Chain)

Posted on All Things Supply Chain on February 19, 2018

The expression ‘supply chain’ usually implies a string of single business ‘nodes’, one after the other, that extends from the end consumer all the way back to the raw or source materials. In the case of the chicken supply chain, however, there seems to be a ladder effect taking shape as multiple parties at each tier come into close contact while they strive to deal with the same competitive pressures.

This story recently started to gain increased attention when distributors Sysco and US Foods sued Tyson and other chicken producers, alleging over a decade of collusion and price fixing. These lawsuits are in addition to similar ones brought by fellow distributor Maplevale Farms and supermarket chains Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie (now a subsidiary of Bi-Lo).

The suits accuse chicken producers of increasing prices by constraining supply and inflating market rates through the manipulation of industry benchmarks – leading to the dissolution of the Georgia Bench pricing system in 2017 amid transparency concerns. Producers defend their actions, saying that they are just responding to competitive pressures. They have vowed to fight the suits in court.

These cases will work their way through the legal system, but in the meantime, there are multiple tiers of observations we can make about the dynamics in this supply chain.

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Mitigating the Cost of Expensive Sentences: An Interview with Author Jack Quarles (Art of Procurement Podcast)

Posted on the Art of Procurement on February 15, 2018

Today I am joined on BMP Radio by Jack Quarles. Jack is the author of Expensive Sentences, a fascinating new book that shines a spotlight on the casual remarks made day in and day out at companies that are costing them money.

“The old phrase is that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’, that’s attributed to Peter Drucker. We repeat that a lot, and of course, a lot of us understand what that means, because if something is going against the culture, it’s not going to succeed because your culture is so important. My only issue with that phrase is that, breakfast ends at 8:00 and culture is hungry all day. And culture will eat your tactics, and your tools, and your software, and your consultants and everything.” – Jack Quarles

In the podcast, you’ll learn:

  • Jack explains how to identify and respond to expensive sentences – and how to make it an internal movement that changes things for the better.
  • There is a great deal of frustration internally with traditional procurement and sourcing processes – by executives, stakeholders, and procurement alike. How can procurement get to the root of the issue and improve the situation?
  • A passive aggressive approach to resource efficiency (intentional or otherwise) can be as dangerous as a flat out refusal to work with procurement.

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Breaking Through the Hysteria of Tech Hype: DO NOT EAT! (BravoSolution)

Posted on the BravoSolution blog on February 9, 2018

Over the last few months, have you – like me – found yourself at a complete loss that teens all over the U.S. are making videos of themselves eating laundry detergent tablets? Some are pressured by peers and others are driven forward by the desire to ‘go viral’, but all of them are taking a terrible risk with their health. This awful trend is so hyped from a peer to peer perspective that Rob Gronkowski, a tight end for the New England Patriots, recently made a 20 second video targeted at teens where he says “NO” over and over and finishes on a very clear note: “Do not eat.”

Hype, no matter what kind, allows actual or perceived peer pressure to come between otherwise rational people and their judgement. Hype can lead to euphoria or madness (or both) and is always accompanied by nearly irresistible momentum. Resisting hype can feel like defying gravity – even when doing so is in our best interests.

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Increasing Procurement’s Risk Agility with a Silver Lining Strategy (SynerTrade)

Posted on the SynerTrade blog on January 30, 2018

Being the good process stewards that we are, procurement never just focuses on one topic. Instead we dynamically map how that topic interacts with the rest of the operation. Enterprise risk provides the perfect example. We don’t talk about risk, but rather risk management, risk assessment, or risk mitigation. Procurement is a function in motion – always driving forward towards the next objective.

When you look at the three verbs most commonly associated with risk – management, assessment, and mitigation – it is clear that risk is perceived as something to be avoided. Procurement’s primary objectives are to minimize the cost and operational impact associated with risks that materialize, and to put plans in place for risks on the horizon. Risk is bad, and we’re going to do our best to keep an eye on it.

What if, however, procurement was able to look at risk with a neutral eye? In reality, risks are things that we think might happen, or that are completely unexpected. We have to respond to these events and circumstances in the most optimal fashion possible. A risk is anything that causes us to deviate from ‘the plan’ and that can be unpleasant. Traditional risk management is aimed at increasing predictability and certainty because it is easier and more comfortable to make business decisions in known circumstances.

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