Market Intelligence

Editor’s note:

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.

 

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Last week I spoke with Donna Wilczek, Coupa’s VP of Strategy and Product Marketing, about the mid-January announcement that Coupa had acquired Contractually, described in the press release as “a cloud innovator based in Vancouver, Canada that helps reduce businesses’ reliance on antiquated processes or inadequate technology tools to version control or redline contracts.”

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Last week, Jon Hansen and I did the second in what will be an ongoing series of ‘Point – Counterpoint’ Blog Talk Radio sessions. Here is how these sessions work: we agree on a topic in advance and then I do my darndest to disagree with Jon for 30 minutes, after which he declares us in agreement. Trust me – the conversations are as entertaining as they are informative.

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In May I covered the first chapter of Xchanging’s 2015 Global Procurement Study. (You can read my notes here). The primary take aways were that capacity is more of a constraint than capabilities, KPIs are very diverse, and that practitioners may be getting the wrong idea about the field from media coverage that steers them one way when they need to take another.

The new chapter: External Threats Plaguing Procurement (available for download here after a brief registration) looks into global risk factors. The report couldn’t have been more timely, given how much coverage the Greek banking crisis has been getting.

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Last week, Coupa ran a three part blog series based on a conversation I had with their marketing team about the role social media plays in supply market intelligence creation. You can read them here, here, and here. This is a subject that Jeanette Jones and I touched upon in our book, Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals, but it was certainly not our focus.

While social media is a great tool for news gathering and intelligence creation, it isn’t something that was ever part of my formal training – either in procurement or otherwise. I learned how to leverage the power of social media purely ‘in the wild,’ driven by the need to grow the footprint and brand recognition for Buyers Meeting Point. I am so glad that I did, both because we have seen clear benefits in our traffic, and because now I am in a position to apply what I have learned to the work that must be carried out by practitioners.

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This week’s webinar notes are from an April 16th webinar hosted and presented by Supply Chain Insights. The webinar is already (!!!) available on demand.

Boy, did I pick a winner in this event. I originally attended to learn more about inventory management in the face of uncertain demand and fragile extended supply chains. What I came away with were some brilliant observations that will absolutely make their way into the book that Jon and I are writing on Procurement at a Crossroads in the form of quotes pulled from Lora Cecere’s Supply Chain Shaman blog.

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On April 13, Joe Payne, Vice President of Professional Services at Source One Management Services, published his review of Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals on the Strategic Sou...
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Last month, my co-author Jeanette and I had a conference call scheduled with Jon Hansen for an introductory conversation about our book, Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals (shameless plug here). For some reason, Jon’s Canadian location prevented him from using my conference call account and we ended up in the virtual green room of his Blog Talk Radio studio. What that means is that, for better or worse, the call was recorded. (You can listen to it here.)

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This week’s webinar notes are from an October 28th webinar hosted by Sourcing Interests Group and presented by Sherri Barnes, Director of Intelligence at Denali Group.

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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.

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Buying and Selling Information, by career salesperson Michael L. Gruenberg, is a guide to help buyers of information services (think subscription-based online databases). Beyond this very specific case, Gruenberg has good advice to offer buyers and sellers of any product or service. He is a salesperson who ‘gets it’ – or understands the need for buyers and sellers to work together for their mutual benefit, and for the benefit of their organizations. In his own words, “It’s all about equal footing, momentum, and success” (xviii).

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 Despite the fact that Marcy Phelps’ Research on Main Street is not necessarily written for a procurement audience, it offers invaluable advice as well as links to the resources required to carry that advice out. The idea of ‘local’ is not limited to the location of the researcher, but rather the information being sought. Another way of looking at it is point-point information, highly specific to a business need and detailed enough to motivate a decision.

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“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

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Gypsum was the first category I was asked to do research for – truthfully, it was very early in my career and I think my manager was trying to productively keep me busy. But the process was a good learning experience and I think I added real value to the team. For lack of a reason to pick any other product or service, I’ll start with gypsum here too.

Gypsum is used to make plaster and plasterboard – basically drywall. So if you are sourcing in the construction category, and your General Contractor is not responsible for materials costs/purchases, you might find yourself bidding this out.

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This week I attended a webinar by Genpact, a business process management, operations, and analytics firm that was formerly part of GE Capital Finance. The webinar was on managing the volatility of the inputs to the products and services your company may produce.

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Effective this month, Buyers Meeting Point will start covering the release of the ISM Non-Manufacturing Report on Business. The report is released the first week of every month for the previous month. This month’s report can be found here.

If you have never read the report, it can take some adjustment. We are going to boil each report down to the basic and most useable components. I also recommend reading the ISM Report on Business Brochure.

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