Wouldn’t it be nice to know the future for certain? There are few fail-proof ways to see shifts in the business landscape before they occur, but there are ways to ensure your goals stay on the correct path regardless of what direction the future takes. Procurement departments, for instance, have objectives that require analysis of factors beyond historic trends—considerations like supply market volatility, supply chain disruption, regulatory changes, and a whole slew of other unpredictable situations. Unless corporations start adding fortune tellers to the payroll, successful procurement groups will continue to optimize their function from the insight gained through predictive analytics.
It’s no secret that when a company is looking to solicit bids for a project, opening up a Request for Proposal (RFP) offers a simplified, standardized, and centralized means to compare diverse bidders. A well-crafted RFP separates the best-fit from the less qualified. A poorly executed request, on the other hand, will shut out even the most qualified providers before they have a chance to shine.
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?
The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed. This is a cute analogy about the engagement difference of the two animals. It usually makes me smile as I think about it.
Sustainability is a word you seem to hear everywhere today, as consumers become more conscious of the environment. As you would expect, sustainability plays a significant role in the food supply chain. As an example, the commercial fishing industry has ramped up their focus on providing a more sustainable product. Sustainable seafood suppliers employ methods that simultaneously reduce bycatch, promote both small and large business distribution, and improve seafood quality. All seafood harvested within the United States is, in fact, sustainable, as the U.S. has developed a comprehensive process to ensure quality as well as monitor and improve the programs fisheries have in place.
There are approximately 80 million people in the United States between the age of 18 and 30, a group known as the millennials. Many believe that millennials bring a unique perspective to business as compared to other generations because of their tech savviness. Technology is one of the biggest drivers for globalization, but it also allows disparate locations to connect and communicate on various topics such as current events, special causes, and marketplace trends. Millennials have already started to drive major changes in the sourcing and procurement industry, such as green purchasing, the push for free and collaborative information, and updated workplace abilities.
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.
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.
This guest post is a team effort from Source One Management Services. If you would like to comment, you can do so by posting below, contacting them on Twitter @GetSavings, or contacting them directly here.
The outlets for procurement and supply chain news have no shortage of recommendations for improved business processes, new ideas, and technologies your department should implement to “modernize” or “optimize” or any number of other “-izes”. If you have read any of Source One’s contributions – here, on other publications, or on our own blog – we make just as many recommendations.
There has been a lot of focus in the past year on Supplier Relationship Management, and rightfully so. As the efforts of Strategic Sourcing initiatives begin producing diminishing returns, SRM is heralded by most to be the next step: focusing more on delivering value to the organization and developing relationships that can produce competitive advantages in the market. However, an SRM policy is only effective if the proper suppliers are in place, which is why it is routinely classified as the next step after strategic sourcing. There is little value in curating and managing relationships with suppliers that are not firmly aligned with your organization’s strategic goals.
This week’s webinar notes are from the Next Level Purchasing Association’s January webinar on IT and Procurement. Bill Dorn, the VP of Operations from Source One Management Services was the main presenter. You may also know Bill as the co-author of Managing Indirect Spend with Source One’s Joe Payne. Although the full event and presentation are only available to NLPA Premium members, I will share an exclusive excerpt of the audio in my weekly procurement update on Blog Talk Radio update on Monday, February 10th.
I’ve reviewed quite a few books – most of which are on spend management or negotiation. Some have made me laugh, like Negotiation Mastery and Profitable Buying Strategies. A few have made me cry, and those will remain unnamed here. But I don’t think I’ve ever felt compelled to review a single chapter from a book until now.
No matter how many years it has been since you graduated from school, the 'back to school' time period brings a renewal and a fresh start to the coming year. So much to do and to learn and people to meet - it is all quite exciting.
“What pressures are coming to bear now, or in the foreseeable future, that may impact your supply chain and the ultimate sale of your products or services? Gathering market intelligence should include an understanding of what is happening in the economies of both your consumer’s as well as your supplier’s locations. This market intelligence can be used to both react to conditions and to take advantage of potential cost savings opportunities.”
--‘Understanding Market Pressures’ Managing Indirect Spend, Joe Payne and Bill Dorn
This year for the first time, it is not on the top 10 list! Progress! So what does that have to do with Blackberry's that were invented in 1999 - well after the poor Panda Bear was already endangered?
This week’s featured webinar was presented by the Next Level Purchasing Association and featured Joe Payne and Bill Dorn from Source One Management Services as the main speakers. You may also know them as the co-authors of ‘Managing Indirect Spend’, a relatively new publication that walks through the challenges and opportunities associated with indirect spend as well as a few category-based case studies.
Like their book, the guys from Source One kept their speaking points to the practical learnings from their extensive combined procurement consulting experience.
This week’s eSourcing Wiki-Wednesday topic is Metrics for the Rest of Us – an article that breaks metrics down into Cost Avoidance and Reduction, Process Improvement, Operations, Customer Service, and Asset Utilization.
The last of the Cost reduction and avoidance metrics, “Spend Under Management” is defined as:
Total Spend Under Management / Total Spend.
As noted in the eSourcing Wiki, this is a straightforward calculation. The problem is not with our ability to divide one number by another, but in defining the inputs to the equation. Total spend should be easy, although your department may use either total annual spend or total addressable spend (which is likely to exclude taxes and salaries). The real question is to decide what spend is designated as being ‘under management’.