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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Supplier diversity programs have been a hot topic for some time now. While the need for minority-owned and diverse supplier programs at most companies has only recently begun to take shape, the growth has been astronomical. In fact, a study done by CAPS Research states that 71.79% of organizations expect their total supplier diversity program spend to increase greatly within the next two years. ('Measuring Supplier Diversity Program Performance', March 2012)

Even though support for diversity programs has been rising, there is still some hesitancy from businesses to develop them. This reluctance is often due to inaccurate perceptions regarding the value they can offer a company, but these myths are often easy to debunk.

In a July 14th article on NewsDay, NYASHA CHIZU asked ‘Is Procurement an Art or a Science?

In the article, he makes the following statement:

“There is definitely an art to good procurement but on the other hand, taking a scientific approach to options analysis, requirements development and the procurement evaluation process can facilitate a more successful procurement project.”

Tagged in: Savings Technology

Posted by on in Blog Picks

Years ago, my husband and I decide to wallpaper the dining room. The first and last time we made that decision!! Thankfully the trends are now to paint and not wallpaper. Whew! The roles we took were for me to measure and cut and for my husband to paste and hang. Neither one of us had the right role. I cut backwards from what we needed and he would cause more wrinkles than you can imagine. So we switched and it was like magic! It was a life’s lesson that we refer to now many years later. Know what you are good at and get others to join the team that can cover your weaknesses.

This week’s webinar notes are from a recent Procurement Leaders webinar on ‘Turning Data into a Business Case for Procurement.’ The webinar is available on demand here thanks to Rosslyn Analytics, and you can hear an excerpt of the webinar in my July 14th Blog Talk Radio update here.

I am not a shopper (which is an extreme understatement). I would pretty much like to spend my time doing almost anything else. Much to my teenage daughter’s chagrin, we went to the mall only once or twice a year. It was usually to get back-to-school clothes and to do Christmas shopping. When my mother took me shopping for clothes as a youngster, she claims that she could tell when my eye color turned from green to ‘grey’ that she was done and we had to leave and come back another time. While we may have been tempted to just grab anything and go, most of the time we did not.

Recently I had a great customer experience when someone who said they would call me back that afternoon actually did. Why did that surprise me? Because it is so rare.

Posted by on in Book Reviews

 

Supply Chain Risk, by John Manners-Bell, provides a structured look at risk by establishing a series of intersecting dimensions. First the author outlines external risk categories: Environmental, Economic, Societal, Security, and Technological. Each has several sub categories that provide additional detail and clarity. Then he delves into a number of industry sectors to consider their resiliency factors and concerns: Automotive, High tech, Consumer goods/retail, Food, Fashion, and Pharma/healthcare.

The coverage from both perspectives is equally detailed and illustrated with numerous case studies. In their intersection, for instance where Economic risks intersect with the Automotive industry, any supply chain professional will find the information they need to quickly come up to speed on key areas of concern as well as strategies for assessment and mitigation.

 

When we are planning our vacation, there are so many options to choose from. What activities are available, what is the cost, when should we go, for how long, and what should we pack? It is exciting and can be overwhelming as well. How do we narrow it down to the best trip for us this year?

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.

As we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July in the United States, we have a lot to be grateful for. We are grateful for the simple things like peak of summer traditions: fireworks, grilling, and parades. We are also grateful that in the 238 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed our relationship with Britain has improved. We’d be awfully sorry not to be able to work with our British colleagues and partners.

All that being said, is the 4th of July a reason to be grateful for procurement? Absolutely. Procurement played more of a role in the American Revolutionary War than most people probably realize.

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.

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