Jan 18-20: Top Finance Issues, Supplier Management Trends, Spend Category Outlook

Hello everyone – long time no speak! There have been very few events since mid-December, so I’m only now getting the weekly procurement event recommendations up and running. If you look at the calenda...
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Sourcing Connectivity: Managing Wireless Spend

Connectivity is at the core of the modern business. Whether your organization is comprised of one small office with 10 people or a large multinational employing thousands, it is key to find the correct connectivity mix to support your business needs. 

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Recommended Webinars June 8-12: Outlook 2000, Resilient Companies, and Aligned Procurement

Last Tuesday I announced that Buyers Meeting Point has acquired MyPurchasingCenter, a website and online community much like BMP. This step increases our reach, audience, and – most importantly – our content base. Some of the best known writers in procurement and supply chain were authors for MPC, including Jon Hansen, Bill Michels, Dr. Tom DePaoli, Rich Weissman, and Elaine Porteous. Look for more on that front starting this week!

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Recommended Procurement Webinars March 4-8: After Due Diligence and Total Talent Management

This week is much slower than last week with only two events currently on the calendar. As of right now it looks like the reverse of the proverbial saying about March: on our calendar it is coming in like a lamb but shaping up to go out like a lion. If you are planning your webinar schedule further in advance, there are two different events I recommend looking at.

The first is an Ivalua sponsored event focused on The Hackett Group’s Procurement Key Issues 2019 CPO Report on March 26th at 11am. Philip Ideson (Art of Procurement) and I discussed some of the most interesting findings of the report re: procurement’s capability needs v. investment on last week’s This Month in Procurement podcast.

The other event you may want to check out is from ProcureAbility and SIG – also on March 26th. The webinar is titled ‘Category Management in Only 30 Days!’ (their exclamation point). It will help you anticipate the gaps and minefields that might otherwise prevent you from rolling out a category management program… yes, in only 30 days.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Forget Behavior: It’s all About Mindset

In a new Art of Procurement podcast series, Philip Ideson and I will  stop each month and take a look back at the podcasts, news, and topics of the previous four weeks. You can hear the January episode here:  Leveraging Storytelling To Better Connect With Your Stakeholders.

It’s interesting how different an idea can look when you consider it in the context of other information. Most of us read a few articles and posts and listen to a podcast of two during the month. When you have to look back at them, two things quickly become apparent:

  1. Even the best ideas fade from your memory much faster than you might expect. Something you read four weeks ago will practically seem new if you read it again.
  2. The best ideas live in the space between pieces of content. When you compare, contrast and summarize, you end up with an independent point of view that is much more valuable than any one source piece.

The links to this month’s podcasts are below, but here are some of the insights I found ‘in between’…

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Recommended Webinars June 25-29: Dashboard analytics, CPO Rising 2018, AI Category Management

If you’re thinking of attending a webinar any time soon, this is the week. Next week’s calendar is completely empty, likely due to the Fourth of July holiday in the U.S. Even the week after only has one event as of right now, so we may finally be entering the summer slowdown.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Webinars June 11-15: BIC Category Management, Emerging Markets, and Optimized Public Procurement

This week’s webinars provide us with a broad range of topics – process trends, global supply chain crises, optimizing public procurement, and direct access programs for hiring independent talent – demonstrating just how expansive the knowledge base for procurement professionals has become.  

If you like to plan further ahead, I recommend “Get Smart About Your Digital Underbelly Or You'll Fail To Scale” from HfS Research and a panel of experts on June 21st.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Webinars for November 6-10: AI for CLM, Design Thinking, Advanced Category Management

Whether it is by bringing in new technology, taking processes to the next level, or adopting a new approach to thinking through solutions, leading procurement professionals and teams are always pushing the envelope. This week’s webinars offer guidance and applied examples on all three. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars for September 11-15: Digital buyers, Category management, State of AP

After a one-week hiatus (presumably due to the Labor Day holiday in the U.S.), procurement events are back – with a vengeance! With Procurement Leaders in Boston on Wednesday and Thursday and 10 webinars, there is a lot of choose from. Click on the title of each webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Sourcing Custom and Secondary Packaging: Considerations for Optimal Results

Each purchasing category, whether indirect or direct, has a unique set of parameters that can be optimized to take full advantage the savings opportunities in the market. The packaging category is no exception, offering major opportunities for cost savings beyond the basic volume leverage approach.

Packaging, which may be considered either a direct or indirect product depending on the use and company, can be particularly complex to take to market. Many organizations strive to find a supply base that can support the company’s needs while generating value. Taking into consideration the upfront investment of time and resources (without a guaranteed ROI), running a competitive bid process can be an intimidating endeavor for many companies. However, with the proper expertise, packaging is an area of spend with major cost reduction and value added opportunities.


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Recommended Procurement Webinars for October 10-14

This week, my recommended procurement webinars are all about doing MORE. More categories managed, more results, and more visibility into the supply chain. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description and register or visit the BMP events calendar to see what’s on tap for the rest of the month.


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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 8/29 – 9/2

We’re officially making the transition to September this week, although most of the events take place before we’ll need to turn the page on our calendars. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.

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Being a leader doesn't mean everything comes easy - it means not expecting them to be easy

I recently interviewed Magnus Carlsson, the author of Strategic Sourcing and Category Management: Lessons Learned at IKEA. You can listen to our conversation on demand on BMP Radio.

Although the book centers around the how and why of IKEA’s approach to procurement and supply chain, its content is not limited to large multi-national corporations or companies in the furniture and home goods industries. IKEA is a company that competes on brand and low costs, which makes its approaches to spend and supplier management absolutely critical to its ability to operate.

IKEA has been able to accomplish many things that other companies have not because it is necessary for them to remain competitive. As a result, their team members – and former team members, for the sake of including Carlsson – approach complex and strategic procurement with a striking clarity of purpose. There is no other way for IKEA to work, and therefore there is no reason to resist or bemoan the uphill strategic path.

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Lessons from the Ultramarathon Trail to Prepare for the Category Management Journey

These webinar notes are from a September 24th webinar hosted by SIG and presented by Chris Eyerman and Alan Veeck at Denali Sourcing Services. The webinar is available on demand and can be viewed after a quick registration here.

In case you’re wondering, an ultramarathon is an INSANELY challenging combination of long distance running and trail running. Technically, they include any marathon over the traditional 26.2 mile run, but from the sounds of Eyerman’s description, they are also usually off road excursions that can be as long as 100 miles. And he should know – he has run them.

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Guest — Anya McKenna
I love (yes... love) this article. Elite sports and procurement definitely have a lot of similarities in terms of mindset, opport... Read More
Thursday, 15 October 2015 12:05
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Best Procurement and Supply Chain Webinars 9/21–25: Pushing the Envelope to Elevate Results

This week, each of my picks is pushing a boundary in some way – whether through more advanced approaches to risk, the collaborative frontier, or… well… running an ultramarathon to prepare for better category management. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in the events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.

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Book Review: Category Management in Purchasing (3rd Edition)

Just over 18 months ago I reviewed the second edition of Category Management in Purchasing by Jonathan O’Brien. (You can read my original review here). When I recently learned there was to be a third edition, I was unsure what I would be able to say in a new review that would add to my earlier observations.

I found it interesting to read O’Brien’s commentary, not only on the progression of this title, but on how he sees it fitting in with his other work. I don’t personally know of anyone who has written more substantial procurement books than O’Brien, and knowing that he sees a subset of them as being connected is an interesting idea. Category Management in Purchasing, along with SRM and Negotiation for Purchasing are seen by the author as his ‘trilogy’. Knowing that changes how I would approach any of the books in the group.

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Book Review: Strategic Sourcing and Category Management: Lessons Learned at IKEA

Strategic Sourcing and Category Management: Lessons Learned at IKEA by Magnus Carlsson (KoganPage, August 2015) is not a case study, although I didn’t need the note from the author in the introduction to know that. The author may have spent 25 years at IKEA, working in strategic sourcing, but this is less a story of one company and more the learnings gained by one professional over 2.5 decades in a competitive environment.

Like any other book I review or event I attend, my focus in reading this book was to cull out the important ideas: what are the few take aways that really stand out as unique? There are quite a few in this book, any of which will improve the maturity and results of your procurement organization. I think this book is fantastic – full of great new ideas and ways to implement them.

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Webinar Notes: Defining Procurement’s Story to Inspire, Motivate, and Lead Change

This week’s webinar notes are from an April 30th event hosted by Sourcing Interests Group and presented by Denali’s Alan Veeck and special guest Paul Smith from ‘Lead with A Story’, a coach, speaker, and author.

The webinar explored how professionals can leverage the techniques of storytelling to build influence and communicate an important message in an effective way. In Smith’s terms, storytelling is simple, timeless, contagious, and memorable, and it works across demographics.

Within the context of procurement, Denali has been incorporating storytelling into the training they provide to category managers. With the wide range of responsibilities being handled by category managers today, they have to function within an operating model that allows for proper division of labor. Coaching them is like cross training, bringing together a range of diverse skills that will help them become more strategic.

The lessons from this webinar combine to create something like ‘communication theatre’ that you can leverage to get your message through – as long as you are willing to put in the effort up front. What the speakers did not directly address in this event, but that should not be underestimated, is the time and planning required to apply storytelling. You have to know your audience, craft a story in such a way that it has the desired effect, and choreograph the execution carefully.

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Book Review: Negotiation for Purchasing Professionals

Negotiation for Purchasing Professionals is the second book by Jonathan O’Brien that we have reviewed. Earlier this year we reviewed Category Management in Purchasing. While each of the books has a different focus, they have more in common than just an intended audience. The most striking similarity is a clear desire to improve the knowledge and capabilities of purchasing professionals by capturing O’Brien’s considerable experience and communicating it in a straightforward manner.


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Book Review: Category Management in Purchasing


“Very few organizations manage sourcing so well that there is no room for big gains. Category management is about changing sourcing in a radical way or a way that gives radical improvements.” (p. 33)

This quote from Jonathan O’Brien’s Category Management in Purchasing neatly sums up not only the idea of category management as he defines it, but also the full use of the content in his book, which is to support purchasing or procurement teams with a desire to significantly improve the way they manage sources of supply. The book provides all the background, strategy and tactics to stage a successful procurement transformation along category lines.

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