The Point

One of the interesting things about consistently reading and hearing content from quality sources is that you start to notice trends. It is amazing how often the same topics arise at the same time in different places. We use this blog as a way to help you stay on top of the major themes in procurement and supply chain management.

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Posted by on in Procurement

The World Cup in Brazil has everyone cheering for their country and their team. Football (or soccer in the US) is the globe’s transcendent sport. This year, for the first time, many of the United States televisions were tuned into the various matches. It has gained popularity for Americans in a big way. Obviously we are lagging behind the passion that this sport has carried for many others for decades, but in 2014 the U.S. was rising and falling as one with every touch of the ball.

In September 2011, Wal-Mart announced a plan to spend $20B with woman-owned businesses by 2016. More recently, they expanded their Women’s Economic Empowerment program to include a ‘women-owned’ labeling program. Products that meet company ownership requirements will start appearing on Wal-Mart shelves this September1. Qualified companies can apply to be a part of the program through WBENC and WEConnect International.

Despite the company’s apparent good intentions, the program has not been warmly received by all, including some critics who feel calling additional attention to these products simply because of female company ownership does little to advance equality. As one commenter posted in response to a BusinessWeek article on the program, “The path to gender equality does not involve stickers pointing out that a product has been made by a female entrepreneur.”2

Posted by on in Procurement

There are a lot of options available to organizations for a req-to-check system. A common mistake with many software selection processes is not taking the time to define the requirements. That is a critical step in order to ensure a successful implementation. It is not just about the technology, it is mostly about the business process.

In the fall of 2013, Stephen Ashcroft, a specialist in procurement risk at Brian Farrington, wrote a post for Supply Management about the fact that procurement practitioners have been hesitant to embrace social media in general, and twitter more specifically.

Posted by on in Blog Picks

We have all had the experience when we asked someone for something or a call back and it did not happen. It always is a surprise and feels good when a person actually does follow through on what they said they were going to do. We certainly set that expectation on others so if you turn that around to yourself, how do YOU do with the follow through?

 

When we were first married, we would occasionally make a purchase without measuring. For example, we bought a beautiful cherry wall unit for our television only to find out the opening for the TV was too small for the set we had. Another time, we purchased a couch and could not get it in the apartment no matter what we did. I would say our procurement cycle had gone astray!

There was a fantastic fourth grade teacher that emphasized two areas throughout the year. The first was current events and public speaking. Every week, each student had to speak in front of the class about something that had happened in the world. It could be about a sporting event, a weather report, it really did not matter. The key was to get them comfortable with sharing their ideas in a public forum and to become aware of a world beyond their home, school and community.

 

On September 3rd of last year, Jeanette Jones, Owner and Founder of Cottrill Research, suggested (out of the blue!) that she and I co-author a book. There was never any question of whether or not I would do it. I’ve always wanted to write a book. I enjoy doing research and I have been fascinated with procurement ever since I ‘fell into’ the profession in 2003. Jeanette’s suggestion that we write a book to help procurement professionals create their own supply market intelligence combined all three.

Over 900 years ago, Marco Polo, his father and uncle began their 24 year journey from Europe to Asia and back. It was very much an unknown and they were often learning as they went. Communicating back home was impossible. The languages are all different along the way as well.

All hotels provide you with toiletries such as bar soap, shampoo, etc. For business travel, we are often only there for one or two nights. One area that has always bothered me is the waste for a basically brand new bar of soap which will be thrown out after just a few uses. It’s just a little thing but multiplied across many hotels, it exponentially becomes a huge issue. So how can we change that? What can we do to increase sustainability, one bar of soap at a time?

This week’s webinar notes are based on a May 29th panel webinar hosted by Proxima. The event is available on demand for free after an email registration here. In addition, anyone interested in the webinar should also read a recent HBR.com article discussing the four fundamental reasons why ‘Leaders Can No Longer Afford to Downplay Procurement,’ by Matthew Eatough, Proxima’s CEO.

It is often challenging, sometimes nearly impossible, to gain access to real time market intelligence that can provide you with insight into your industry or supplier relationships. Without access to this information or knowledge of best practices, it can be difficult to ensure your company has a competitive advantage. When delving into benchmarks it is important to understand the components of benchmarking, its benefits, and how the involvement of the spend owner is critical for the benchmark to provide the most value.

I am sure many of you have heard the shoe salesman story which is classic in having a positive attitude and a determined spirit. Two shoe salesmen are in an undeveloped area. The first one calls home and says “Let me come home, no one here is wearing shoes”. The second one calls home and says “Send more shoes, no one here is wearing them!” Clearly the second one is primed for an export business!

We spent a good deal of our last weekend planting our gardens. We had some plants and some bulbs. We watered, weeded and fertilized. We really tended to what hopefully will make them grow and become a beautiful back yard retreat.

This week’s webinar notes are from a May 21st event presented by ISM and Zycus, with main speaker Rob Handfield, a Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at North Carolina State University and Director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative. The event is available on demand on the ISM website.

We were on vacation a few years ago in San Francisco. As we sat on the beach, we could not get over how many container ships were arriving and passing under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was certainly a testimony to our global economy and how the business world is getting smaller all the time.

Editor's Note: On May 1st, Buyers Meeting Point issued an Open Call for predictions about the future of procurement as part of the #FutreBuy project I am working on with Jon Hansen (Procurement Insights, PI Window on the World). We welcome all predictions, either as comments to our posts on the subject, guest submissions, or posts on Twitter flagged with our #FutureBuy hashtag.

Posted by on in Blog Picks

When we are expecting guests, we pay attention to putting away the surface clutter and cleaning the general area that our guests would be in. If they are coming for an overnight, there is a greater area involved. However, we often are not focusing on the extra areas such as closets or under the beds. That would the last 20 percent which is most often skipped.

Posted by on in Book Reviews

Can China Lead?

Reaching the Limits of Power and Growth

 

Can China Lead?, by Regina M. Abrami, William Kirby, and F. Warren McFarlan, asks a question that can not be definitively answered but is well worth asking. The authors seamlessly combine their knowledge of China’s history, people, and politics to advise companies looking to engage in commercial interactions with one the world’s second largest economy (As ranked by GDP by the United Nations, 2012). As the authors state in their Introduction, “Chinese businesses compete globally, now going head-to-head with North American and European corporations in telecommunications, heavy machinery, and renewable forms of energy.” (p. x)

 

Posted by on in Procurement

We have a local farm stand nearby and we frequent them in the summer. They sell local eggs, produce and flowers. One unique aspect is that people will return their egg cartons to them and the farm refills them for the next customer. It is a great system and in a small way, they are practicing their own version of CSR.

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