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.
Effective and efficient automation of Supply management and Procurement functions can yield fruitful results. Automation facilitates supply management and procurement professionals to make wise decisions through enhanced tools and visibility. It is definitely a reliable substitute for time consuming and costly manual tasks.
Procurement and sales are two vital business functions with varied processes that are often described as opposites. Some companies may find these two departments at odds with each other as they argue which one is more important for the vitality of the organization.
This week’s webinars present another interesting combinations that are likely to be top of mind for leading procurement professionals. If you’re looking for something really different, I invite you to join #TakeActionOctober – this is an initiative started by my colleague and good friend Phil Ideson (Art of Procurement). Every day he posts a 5 minute podcast that includes a great message and an “action challenge”. I did it all last week, and it really is an enjoyable way to spend a few minutes a day. If you’re interested, it isn’t too late to get caught up. The full list of #TakeAction micro-pods can be accessed here.
If you’re looking to plan your webinar schedule beyond this week, I recommend 'Integrating Supplier Risk Management into Your Procurement Processes' from SIG and SAPAriba on October 25th. In a rare webinar appearance, we’ll get to hear from Harold Good, Procurement Advisor, Futurist and Influencer for Procurement Pros Group LLC – although you probably know him better as @Hal_Good, Twitter influencer extraordinaire.
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.
Although there are only a few webinars taking place (again) this week, they are all high quality and on a compelling range of topics. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
Special thanks to longtime BMP friend Charles Dominick, SPSM3 of theNext Level Purchasing Association for this guest post.
As a procurement professional, you need to be good at finding suppliers who work out as good or better than you predict. As a procurement leader, you need to be good at finding employees who work out as good or better than you predict. In this post, I’ll share some traditional and not so-traditional ways to find high-potential procurement talent.
It is my distinct belief that as corporate objectives become more general, functional silos dissipate, and millennial professional habits lead to increased talent rotation, the information and skills required by successful individuals and organizations will be broad in nature. Most of the books I review on an annual basis are procurement or supply chain related. That being said, competitive advantage is not discipline specific. In that spirit, I am actively pursuing opportunities to bring general thought leadership to Buyers Meeting Point. Starting… now!
The Industries of the Future, by former State Department Senior Advisor Alec Ross, is a compelling exploration of the conditions businesses and countries need to optimize in order to be successful in the decades to come. It borrows extensively from his time traveling the world in the federal government’s service, which means that his examples are unexpectedly diverse and shared in such a way that is only possible when the author has experienced something first-hand.
Purchasing Assessments, a new offering from Purchasing Practice, is a procurement skills assessment for procurement professionals and organizations with a strategic focus.
While many assessments just measure a practitioner’s familiarity with tactics, this assessment was designed to measure strategic strengths and weaknesses across a broad range of capability areas. That is what is so difficult about what the assessment intends to do – it takes a set of context sensitive subjective capabilities and puts standards in place that make it possible to differentiate a right response from a wrong response. And while the assessment isn’t perfect, because no assessment of this type ever could be, it comes really close and will only get better as more organizations and individuals take it.
I recently read an op-ed piece on the Sourcing Journal by Sigi Osagie that stood apart from other procurement perspectives I’ve come across recently. It observed that soft issues — issues based upon the fundamental mindset of employees — are holding businesses back from realizing their full potential. Although procurement practitioners often have a desire to better their effectiveness, they do not always recognize that these soft issues are the answer to their desire for increased influence and prominence. So how can procurement improve in line with existing performance metrics without loosing perspective of the larger organizational perspective?
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.
Kaizen Kreativity is the fifth book by Dr. Tom DePaoli, and the third one I have reviewed. Like his other books, Kaizen Kreativity combines examples from his diverse professional past with easy to comprehend definitions and background. His lack of pretension is particularly appreciated since he often relates cases about Lean and Six Sigma. For anyone without experience using these methodologies, the terminology can be off-putting at best, and in the worst case scenario may deter people from realizing their benefits altogether.
Just joining us? Last week we looked at performance reviews from a procurement manager’s perspective. This week we are looking at the same topic from the perspective of the person being reviewed.
You will likely have a performance review coming early in the New Year. Some people see performance reviews as “facing the music” while others see them as an opportunity to “toot their horn”. For the sake of your own career, I recommend thinking in terms of the latter.
Review time is an opportunity to display your accomplishments, demonstrate your capabilities, and discuss potential opportunities with your manager. At a higher level, this is also a good time for introspection to honestly access your future with the organization.
This week’s webinar notes are from a December 2013 event presented by Coupa and CFO.com with featured speakers from Deloitte and Blackstone Group. The event is available on demand on CFO.com and if you are interested in the content, there are two Deloitte whitepapers you can download:
- Charting the course - Why procurement must transform itself by 2020
- The Deloitte Global CPO Survey 2013
While the four trends defined by Deloitte’s John Mavriyannakis are new topics for procurement, he did offer some interesting updates, added to by practitioner commentary by Blackstone’s Scott Whitehill.
It’s that time of year.
Don’t shrink from the performance review process. It’s a time to reflect on the past year’s results, recognize accomplishments, and reset expectations with your staff for the upcoming year.
Purpose of the Performance Review
The primary purpose of performance reviews is to measure individual performance against the goals and objectives agreed to at the start of the previous year. I’ll dig deeper into this idea in a forthcoming post on Procurement Goals and Objectives.
Ask each employee to gather their final metrics and plot them next to their initial goals. This exercise reinforces the department’s goals and objectives to employees. Moreover, upon seeing their results, conscientious employees will honestly reflect about their performance before the actual performance review with their manager.
Structure of the Performance Review
Companies use a variety of evaluation systems, but most follow the same basic format.
A rating is assigned to a small number of essential competencies such as “Accomplishments and Results”, “Planning and Organizing”, “Interpersonal Skills” etc. There’s often an area of the performance review reserved for Manager Comments (see Practical Tips below). Finally, an overall score or rating is assigned to each employee – often the most problematic part of the process for managers.
High-performers naturally want the highest scores. Anything less may lead to pouting or worse. But what if you are fortunate enough to have a whole staff of high-performers? What if your company has implemented the controversial Forced Distribution or Bell Curve process for employee appraisals where you must assign 10% top score, 80% middle, and 10% bottom?
It comes down to judgment. If you’re hamstrung in the above situation, make it known jokingly to your staff that you can only award one ‘Exceeds Expectations” appraisal next year. Use it as an opportunity to introduce some good-natured competition among your staff, and make the metrics as transparent as possible along the way to avoid conflict later.
Executing the Performance Review
Regardless of how warm your relations are with employees reviews should be formal; this is good time to remind both parties of the nature of the relationship and demonstrates how seriously you take their performance.
Allow sufficient time for each employee appraisal. This is the employee’s one on one time with the boss and it should never feel obligatory or rushed.
Keep the conversation focused on the results. Methodically compare each metric or result vs. the objective. Make sure the employee understands your expectation for each measureable.
The conversation need not be limited to cold metrics. It’s also an opportunity to have a personal discussion with the employee about their strengths, opportunities, and aspirations.
The good might be: “You’re excellent at managing a variety of personality types” or “I really like the way you break down complex information to cross-functional groups”.
The bad might be: “I’ve observed that you struggle to communicate with some Engineers” or “You have an opportunity to sharpen your presentation skills”.
For each improvement opportunity, have potential solutions as well as specific examples ready: “I think you would benefit from Extended DISC training so you are better prepared to deal with different personality types” or “ I want to review your next couple presentations with you in advance and show you how to keep slides / topics flowing smoothly”.
The best performance reviews are the ones where your employees leave fired up and motivated for the New Year; metrics alone rarely accomplish this outcome.
- Deploy a 360 or rounded feedback template to the employee’s key stakeholders; this is particularly useful for assessing interpersonal skills
- Dump the essay format; use bullet points and semi-colons to string together short, sharp language when summarizing the employee’s performance; incorporate final metrics achieved in these comments
- The performance review is not an occasion for “gotcha” moments. Like steering a ship, micro corrections are necessary throughout the year. Nothing shared in a performance review should ever come as a surprise.
What is your most important asset? Every organization will say it is their people, their team, their associates. What do you do if your assets are not as robust as they should be?
This week’s featured webinar notes are from a September 26th Sourcing Interests Group event presented by A.T. Kearney Procurement and Analytic Solutions. If you are a SIG member, both the slides and the event recording are available on-demand at SIG.org.
What types of skills will you need in three years? It seems like we just had to deal with Y2K and now we are looking at 2015 and 2020. How did that happen so fast?
This week’s featured webinar was hosted by the Institute for Supply Management and included speakers from CAPS Research, Forrester Research, and two members of the Northrop Grumman supply chain team. Although talent management initiatives have historically been driven by human resources departments, an increasing number of supply management organizations are taking over this critical task as a part of their long term success strategy. The webinar is available on demand on ISM’s website.
Earlier this week, we discussed the Many Hats a procurement professional wears. With that comes the many skills that are needed. I know the breadth of it can seem daunting. You need to be a good analyst, negotiator, influencer, presenter, and communicator. How does anyone fit all those talents into the same resource? And how do you begin to try to train existing staff as they want to develop in their career?
As part of Buyers Meeting Point's ‘Flip Side’ resource, we often read sales blogs and attend sales webinars to take the trends we see and apply them for the benefit of supply management and procurement professionals. A recent post by S. Anthony Iannarino, author of ‘The Sales Blog’ covered the foundational and secondary skill sets possessed by most successful sales people, then went on to describe the additional competencies that will be required for ‘The New Consultative Salesperson’.