Procurement professionals are instrumental to the success of organizations. They are accountable for innumerable initiatives ranging from solicitation to evaluation of suppliers plus everything that falls in between. Procurement has a significant impact on the organization as a whole – congealing its spot at the management roundtable.
If you are planning your event schedule beyond this week – especially if you live or work in the Boston area – I encourage you to check out NESCON 2019: The New England Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition taking place on October 7th. If you have any questions or if you make the decision to attend, please let me know. I’m always happy to connect in person!
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.
This week’s webinars are an unofficial panel-palooza celebration. From the CFO CPO relationship to the evolving role of robotic process automation at the management level to risk intelligence, this will be a great week for forming or redefining your position on critical topics. Click on the title of each webinar 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.
If you’re looking for something new to get you through the dog days of summer, check out this week’s schedule of procurement and supply chain webinars. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
This week combines virtual and in person events. Monday through Thursday is #ProcureTech2016 hosted by Spend Matters. If you’re there, go see BuyerQuest at booth #13 and enter to win a copy of Procurement at a Crossroads. I’ll be serving as the virtual facilitator for ISM-New York’s annual meeting on Wednesday. If you’re looking for something a bit more virtual… we have you covered there, too. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
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.
Last month I had the opportunity to speak with Dave Bowen, Xchanging’s US Country Manager and CEO of MM4. Xchanging has now released two parts of the research they conducted into procurement and supply chain. You can read my coverage of the first two parts here and here.
This week’s calendar filled up last week with some new additions. I’m leaning towards the first three as this week’s best bets for thought leadership and professional development. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and connect to their registration pages.
If there was any doubt that managing the supply chain is also an exercise in managing risk, just ask someone who works in procurement – particularly the world of direct procurement. These professionals patrol the front lines of the manufacturer-supplier relationship, overseeing their company’s purchasing activity, executing purchase orders, and working with multiple stakeholders to ensure the right materials make it to the right place at an optimal cost.
It would seem procurement leaders thrive on a steady diet of pressure and caffeine. But even the most experienced professionals have their limits. Several experts weighed in on the topic this spring at the University of Tennessee Supply Chain Forum.
The funny thing about podcasts, or any content based on creative interaction, is that there is always more good content than you get to use. Sometimes the most interesting detail or insight ends up buried deep in a less-consequential part of the dialogue. I had exactly that experience with Diego. There was a lot of back and forth in preparation for the podcast. In one revision of the notes we were all working from, a single statement jumped out at me:
“Although it may seem obvious, it is not until recently that many companies realized that their supplier base can propel them to the next level (strategically speaking) or be their demise. The reality is that more frequently than not, suppliers are given a lot of power by their customers, and unfortunately many times companies’ simply don’t know it, or they don’t understand how much they rely on some suppliers, who may or may not be looking after their best interests.”
This week’s webinar notes are from a January 13th event run by ISM and presented by IBM. It is available on demand on ISM’s website. The presenter was Steve Peterson from the IBM Institute for Business Value, and he spoke about the findings of their 2014 CPO Study, the results of which were released by IBM in December. The focus of the study was on procurement role models – or leaders – and what they are doing differently than the rest of the pack. There were three ideas that appealed to me as new ‘angles’ on familiar problems presented in this event.
This week’s notes are from an October 16th Procurement Leaders webinar featuring the results of their latest research into procurement talent. It is not yet available on demand, but it should eventually be listed here.
This absolutely fantastic webinar was presented by PL Research Director Maggie Slowik. We all know talent is an ongoing issue for procurement contributors, managers, and executive leaders. In my recommendation of the event on Blog Talk Radio, I shared two sadly common views of procurement talent taken from the books I have reviewed:
“Some executives used to think of procurement as the place you send staff away in order to never see them again.” – Leading Procurement Strategy, Carlos Mena, Remko van Hoek, and Martin Christopher
“You see, many procurement departments have been staffed in the same manner as the Island of Misfit Toys; when an employee did not perform elsewhere in the organization and the management didn't have the heart to dire him or her, that employee was sent to work in the procurement department” – The Procurement Game Plan, Charles Dominick, Dr. Soehila Lunney
I have read and reviewed a number of business publications, most of them directly related to supply management, but The CPO is truly a unique creation. This book captures the adventure of procurement by outlining principles and concepts for success – not through dry or prescriptive chapters – but through the very engaging story of a fictional CPO and the challenges he faces on the job and at home. Thomas Sutter, the main character (dare I say hero?), captured my attention immediately and held it right through the final pages. I’ll even admit (my apologies to the authors for cheating) that at one point I was so wrapped up in the interpersonal dynamics of the story that I peeked ahead to read the end so that I might relax and absorb the full message of the book as I went.
This week’s featured webinar was presented by Ardent Partners: ‘Game of Thrones: How a Strong CFO-CPO Alliance Can Command Top Performance’. I’ve only seen one episode of the HBO series Game of Thrones – I didn’t have the nerves or the stomach to watch another – but luckily for me there was no violence or bloodshed involved in this webinar.
This week’s featured event was hosted by Sourcing Interests Group and presented by IBM's Institute for Business Value or IBV. IBM just released the largest, most comprehensive Chief Procurement Officer Study ever conducted, with participation from 1,128 CPOs from organizations with annual revenue in excess of US$1 billion.
This week’s featured webinar was hosted by Sourcing Interests Group and was a special offering based on what they learned this fall by hosting a series of executive roundtables. This week’s ‘Special Report Webinar’ gave four round table facilitators an opportunity to share what they heard CPOs discussing on a number of current topics including talent retention, sourcing pressure points, risk and sustainability. I encourage you to read the highlights below and to view the event on demand on SIG’s site, as well as to read my own editorializing at the end of this post.
Simon Woodcock, Xchanging
Collaboration will take the place of negotiation as procurement looks to fully leverage the capabilities of the supply chain. Building relationships with suppliers and further integrating networks will move us away from a focus on component cost and towards outcome based compensation models. Be sure to question and restate the true purpose of procurement in the organization, adjusting the model and goals of the group as needed.
John Evans, Denali Group
The items on the forward-looking CPO’s agenda include supplier relationship management, reassessing skills requirements and finding new ways to add value for the business. From a talent management standpoint, many CPOs are starting to embrace the skills traditionally found in sales or business development professionals. This strengthens the relationship building capabilities of the organization but introduces challenges around compensation levels and models.
Colleen Tiner, Beeline
In order to build reputations, respect and recognition within the organization, many procurement teams have found that the best approach is to do a favor – managing “The Big Ugly” as she called it. The Big Ugly is any project or problem facing the organization that procurement can address, in many cases because no other group wants to make the attempt. The effort to influence business units is most effective when played as a long term strategy: “relentless pressure, gently applied.” Her take on the talent challenge required creativity and flexibility as professionals are moved in and out of the organization. Look for skills sets in unexpected places and be open to moving team members to other functions in the organization.
My own read on the roundtable findings…
When I think about the observations of each facilitator, the point that is clear to me is that procurement is changing. This is not a new idea by any means. Outsourcing of the function is gaining increased acceptance across industries and companies. While some CPOs still hold significance within their organization, many others find their positions downgraded or merged into the responsibilities of others. Procurement ACTIVITY is alive and well, and will be as long as companies remain in business.
But… as tactical purchasing work is outsourced, the use of automation becomes more widespread, skill sets in procurement become more broad, and organizations prepare to handle the increased turnover of Millenial employees, the future of the procurement DEPARTMENT is coming into question. Many of the discussions that took place at the roundtables seem to indicate that procurement is looking to evolve for defensive reasons rather than to increase our influence from a position of strength.
This week’s featured webinar was hosted by BravoSolution with main speaker Andrew Bartolini of Ardent Partners. In addition to being the Managing Partner and Chief Research Officer at Ardent Partners, Andrew also does most of the writing for their blog, CPO Rising. If you are interested in the movement of major corporate CPOs in and out of their roles, that is a great place to track them.