Spend Management

“No industry or country is immune from bad buying; it exists in every nation in the world, and in almost every organization.” - Peter Smith, p. xi Bad Buying: How organisations waste billions through ...
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This content was made possible through a collaboration with SAP Procurement “Direct and indirect spend management are not the same thing, nor should they be treated as such. Anyone who ...
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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.

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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.

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That’s the question Attorney Mark Grieco asked procurement and supply management professionals attending a member meeting of ISM-Greater Rhode Island at Banneker Industries in North Smithfield.

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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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In part 1 of this series, we explained SOW management and described the common challenges currently face with it. In this post, we will describe the benefits of outsourcing SOW management to the organization as a whole and to the many individual stakeholder groups.

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Billions of dollars are spent annually on Statement of Work (SOW) projects. Yet, despite this considerable financial investment, many organizations are attempting to manage this area through overburdened internal resources and/or ill-fitting ERP, SMS or HRM systems – if they’re capturing the details of SOW spend at all. 

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“Because however brilliant our category strategies or engagement roadmaps, relationships still do matter, and nowhere more so than in how we interact with our critical internal stakeholders.”

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From buyers to suppliers, everyone knows that the Request for Proposal (RFP) process is… less than ideal. At the same time, it is often central to the procurement process, so sales teams everywhere should be prepared to put their best foot forward when responding.

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Between the new technologies available and the tidal wave of talented individuals with people analytics experience, companies can now see their entire workforce in new and exciting ways. But while most organizations recognize the benefits of full workforce visibility, their efforts stall when those that need it can’t clearly articulate the benefits to company leaders and decision-makers.

While there are a number of ancillary benefits of full workforce visibility (e.g. worker quality improvements, access to talent, vendor performance comparisons) this article focuses on the different ways an organization can leverage new levels of visibility to drive cost savings.

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Metrics are a critical aspect of measuring the success of any business function. The importance of quantifying progress against goals and objectives cannot be overstated. Without a metrics program, underperforming organizations are unable to target functional areas that require improvement, and growing organizations are unable to set goals or scale resources to align with the changing state.

Because procurement organizations are often challenged by stakeholder resistance and a lack of executive-level sponsorship, metrics are key to demonstrating value. Sourcing efficiencies, cost savings, stakeholder satisfaction, and overall procurement ROI are just the starting point for capturing bottom line impact. While these are often viewed as the foundation for a metrics program, the final structure can’t be established without being certain of data quality and availability.

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Last week I presented a webinar (hosted by Supply Chain Now Radio, APICS Atlanta, and Talent Stream) on Managing Your Metrics: Making Sure Your Metrics Deliver the Desired Results. The webinar is now available on demand, and you can access it here.

The core idea behind my presentation is that metrics – as important as they are – can not be implicitly trusted to achieve an enterprise’s stated objectives. Procurement and supply chain are quantitatively driven functions. Metrics just feel right… which is why we need to be all the more vigilant to be sure we don’t follow a number down a rabbit hole.

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Earlier this month we ran a collaborative piece by Jeanette Jones (Cottrill Research) and I on the alleged manipulation of agricultural data in the chicken supply chain. You can read that post here.

Right after I started researching for the chicken story, I came across yet another great example of why we all have to be so cautious when we cite the source of a piece of information – only this time the main culprit is: PEPPA PIG.

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Picture this: your organization needs to create a multi-year contract covering critical components for its manufacturing process. Because of the technical nature of those components, management requests that the team creating the contract be led by procurement but also include engineering, R&D, and finance. Each of the people involved will have different priorities, even though all agree on what they want the end result to be. How do you present a united front at the negotiation table?

What would you do?

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“We can spot an Expensive Sentence by its impact. Expensive Sentences limit information. They end conversations. They create urgency and isolation. They reduce options. They steal choice.” (p. xviii)

Expensive Sentences: Debunking the Common Myths that Derail Decisions and Sabotage Success by Jack Quarles (Ideapress, 2017) accomplishes two amazing things in one highly readable book:

  1. It provides procurement with an approach to managing ‘creep-in’ costs that has the potential to become viral on its own, as long as procurement is ready to lead the way, and
  2. It serves as a benchmark (in my opinion) that procurement’s brand image has made huge strides – and that we are being rewarded with a book that is both savvy and cool.

Expensive Sentences is about the power of spoken language. You may not be aware of it, but some of the most common sentences aired in your company on a daily basis are costing you money.

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Have you ever wondered why your savings projections supersede the realized savings? Have you ever been challenged by your finance department to validate the projected cost savings one year into an agreement? Has your C-suite ever complained that procurement’s estimates and projections go unrealized? If you have faced any of these or similar situations, you are not alone. Savings projections often fall short of reality, but why? For many procurement organizations, their sourcing efforts aren’t felt due to noncompliance.

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In Part I of this series, Managed Print Services Models Part I: Lease vs Buy?, we looked at the key business considerations when making the lease vs. buy decision for acquiring copiers/printers. The other decision point within an MPS program is determining the service/maintenance agreement structure.

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In a world where everything seems to be moving to ‘digital’, many people may assume printing is going the way of the dodo. And yet, managed print programs and the costs associated with copiers, printers, and maintenance of these devices are still quite common - and even necessary - for many organizations. While this may be driven by specific industry needs or be the result of an organization’s comfort level with printing, managed print services (MPS) are evolving and continue to be an area of opportunity for procurement to review and help optimize.

Whether your organization is just now making the move to MPS, looking to consolidate your MPS supply base, or trying to better manage your current MPS supplier(s), there are two main cost drivers to focus on within the category: 1. obtaining the device and the associated financing model and 2. The cost per click (CPC) (or the maintenance/service component). [As a side note, the maintenance component goes by a variety of names (cost per page, cost per copy, service cost, maintenance cost, click rate, etc.) and may have slight variations depending on what is actually included in your service agreement. I will refer to all of the above examples as ‘CPC’ throughout this post for simplicity’s sake.]

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Services Procurement remains a point of significant pain to procurement departments as well as business managers due to the high volume of projects and the substantial number of vendor partners involved. There are typically multiple systems at play without a centralized repository for all elements of a project engagement. Catalog e-procurement solutions, ‘blanket purchase orders’, and A/P automation all offer limited visibility, governance, or compliance support. Procurement teams are often short-staffed and ill-equipped to manage all of the projects coming through the pipeline. This can result in all attention (not to mention compliance and savings) being focused on large projects while smaller/non-strategic projects go unmanaged or receive minimal oversight. This partial visibility extends to vendor performance as well as the benchmarking of project rates, milestones and deliverables, and even estimated project completion time. Project owners are often left to their own devices where they single-source with one vendor (bypassing the competitive bid process entirely), or selecting project vendors at high rates where staff augmentation work could be utilized at a much lower cost.

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