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"The Point" is written by BMP Editor Kelly Barner as well as a diverse group of guest contributors.

Recommended Procurement Webinars June 17-21: Supply Chain Resilience, Digital Disruption, and Socially Responsible Automation

This is one of those weeks – clearly everyone waited for the exact same week to set up events. There are two live events: ProcureCon IT Sourcing in Denver, CO Tuesday through Thursday and the inaugural Supply Chain, Innovation, Technology 2019 (SCIT19) event in New York City. In addition to that, we have 8 webinars.

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.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars May 27-31: International Trade Uncertainty and Transformation Success

With the Memorial Day holiday on Monday in the US, this is typically a quiet week. I’m actually surprised at how many events are going on… There are already 10 webinars on the calendar for June and I added the first two to July this week, so maybe we’ll have an active summer this year!

If you are planning your webinar schedule beyond this week, I recommend ‘Socially Responsible Intelligent Automation (AI) thru AI-Payables’ from SIG and Global Sourcing Optimization Services (GSOS) on June 20th at 1pm ET.

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.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars April 1-5: Procurement’s Digital Imperative and Disruptive Evolution

If you look at the April events calendar, we have a funny dynamic shaping up this month. Nearly all of the webinars are on Thursdays! In fact, there is even one more event I’ll be adding to an April Thursday shortly. If you happen to be an event host or organizer, how about showing Tuesdays and Wednesdays a little love? You’ll have less competition, that’s for sure!

If you are planning your webinar schedule beyond this week, I recommend ‘Your Contracts Are A Goldmine’ from IACCM and ContractPodAi on April 9th at 11am ET.

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.

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Transforming the Perception of Procurement in your Organization

While the strategic vision of an organization is usually consistent across departments, each function’s strategies to achieve that vision do not always align.  Just as legal and HR are there to ensure that all actions and hires are made in the best interest of the organization and its people, procurement exists to ensure that all purchasing decisions are made in the best interest of the organization. 

As a strategic sourcing consultant, one of the biggest challenges I face on a daily basis is convincing the stakeholders in a particular category that we are not there to be an unnecessary roadblock to them securing goods and services.  As more and more companies are transforming the way they purchase, it is critical that internal perception of procurement shifts for the better.  It is time for procurement to become its own PR department. 

Below are some common perceptions of procurement and the truths we need to communicate to unite everyone in pursuit of overall organizational goals.

 

The Perception: Procurement is a necessary evil that delays the purchase of goods and services

The Spin: Procurement is a help desk function, similar to IT

The most common reason stakeholders avoid working with procurement is because they want to avoid a long, drawn out sourcing process that requires them to do a lot of heavy lifting. Procurement provides purchasing expertise to support the decision making process in any scenario. Stakeholders should feel comfortable reaching out for ad-hoc advice on supplier searches, negotiation tactics, service level agreement development, and supplier management. If stakeholders are able to tailor the level of involvement that procurement has, they are more likely to reach out and ask for advice and support.  This is a win/win for the organization as the stakeholders are less constricted and decisions are made in line with a strategic procurement mindset.

 

The Perception: Procurement only goes after lowest cost and does not know enough about the product or service to identify quality

The Spin: Procurement is a stakeholder liaison with expertise in negotiation and relationship building.  All final decisions are based on collaboration with and acceptance from the stakeholder team.

Procurement should not be positioned as an absolute expert in all areas of operation or categories of spend.  Engineering and quality departments often distrust procurement as they seem to exist just to cut costs. Procurement should emphasize their expertise in building mutually beneficial supplier relationships and best-in-class contracts. While the sourcing process does (and must) evaluate cost, it also looks at qualitative aspects of supplier capabilities and aims to align those with stakeholder needs.  Quality and competitive pricing can coexist.

 

The Perception: Procurement still runs lengthy RFPs when I already know which vendor I want

The Spin: Procurement can ensure best in class pricing with any vendor, and can assist in building a business case to warrant an award or a switch

There are plenty of justifications for switching and selecting suppliers that go beyond price, from increased service levels to superior reporting capabilities and product mix. Procurement is actually focused on the total cost of ownership within each category. When a stakeholder receives a proposal from a prospective supplier and does not engage procurement, the result may be an increase in cost beyond the unit price of the product.  By bringing procurement into the conversation, they can evaluate soft cost savings and value adds outside of price, and assist in building a business case to justify the transition. If the total cost of ownership is above market, procurement can take the lead in negotiating better pricing, leading to a win for the stakeholder and the organization’s bottom line.

 

The Perception:  Engaging procurement will only hurt my future budget allocation

The Spin: Procurement exists to stretch your budget dollars

The final perception needs to be tackled by procurement, stakeholders, the finance team, and enterprise leadership. Reducing costs should allow for the creation of emergency funds to be used throughout the year, and reinvested back into the department.  Procurement should be engaged in the annual budget planning process and optimize all spending.

The key to addressing all of these perceptions is exposure, consistency and familiarity.  Procurement needs to be proactive in establishing their value proposition and communicating it to other departments.  Once traction is gained, success stories should be communicated via newsletters and case studies to further drive engagement and reinforce improved perceptions. Alignment across all teams is critical to organizational success, and procurement can play a huge role in increasing the bottom line.

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Recommended Webinars December 10-14: A Transformation Framework, Sleep Number’s Negotiation Advice, Looking Back at 2018

So… this is it. This is the last week of webinar recommendations for 2018. There are no less than 12 events taking place this week (and one on the calendar for next week). My official events coverage will start again for the week of January 7th, but I’ve already started adding events to January, so feel free to peek ahead. If you are planning your webinar schedule beyond this week (or year!), I recommend ‘5 Steps to Reach AP Excellence in 2019’ from basware and Ardent Partners on January 15th.

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.

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Recommended Webinars Nov 12-16: Digital Risk Management, Digital Procurement Transformation, and Linking to Business Value

This week, ProcureCon Marketing is taking place in San Diego, CA Monday through Wednesday. You may also notice that this week gets off to a slow start, as many companies observe Veterans’ Day on Monday. If you are planning your webinar schedule beyond this week, I recommend ‘Improving Supplier Diversity Outcomes: How innovative tech can uncover the diversity spend you already have’ from tealbook on December 5th.

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.

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Recommended Webinars October 1-5: The Widening Digital Talent Gap and Industrialized Machine Learning

While we don’t have as many events to choose from this week as we did last week, the topics are fantastic. In fact, neither of the webinars I’m recommending is a straight on procurement-directed event. Taking in information on leading general business topics not only helps us come up with progressive ideas, it also keeps our eyes focused on the big picture of enterprise performance.

If you’re looking to plan your webinar schedule beyond this week, I recommend “Risk is on the Rise, But Your Head Count is Not — How to Build a Business Case” from Lexis Nexis and Spend Matters’ Pierre Mitchell on October 25th at 2pm ET.

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.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars September 10-14: Taking Action as a Catalyst, in Supplier Relationships, and through a Better User Experience

Although webinars are primarily a ‘sit back and listen’ format, this week’s recommended webinars are all designed to SPUR you into action! There’s only so much talking procurement can do before the conversation turns to measurable results, and there is a lot of work to do if we are going to deliver in line with procurement’s full potential.

If you’re planning a little further out, I recommend “Putting Data at the Center of Digital Procurement” with ISM and Zycus on September 18th at 2pm ET.

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.

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Recommended Webinars July 23-27: Enterprise Drivers for Digital Transformation and Controlled Risk Management

We’re slowly chugging through the summer – in fact, next week’s recommendations will move into August. Actually, we’re already there in a way, because my long term recommendation for this week is just before Labor Day weekend: “Supply Chain and Safety: The Imperative of Partnering to Effectively Manage Contractor Performance and Risk” from ISM and Veriforce on August 29th.

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.

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Recommended Webinars April 23-27: Transforming Finance, Digital Procurement, Trade Wars and Supply Chains

This is a busy week on the calendar, with 13 webinars taking place. And if you were hoping to make it to an event in the near term, this is the week to do it – next week is back to almost nothing: famine after the feast.

If you like to plan further ahead, I invite you to join me on May 8th for a webinar titled “Managing Your Metrics: Making Sure Your Measurements Deliver the Desired Results” hosted by Supply Chain Radio and TalentStream. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

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.

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Establishing Trust in Transformation

When working with transformation advisory clients, we often talk about the role of procurement and the need to change how they are perceived within the organization. Changing stakeholder perceptions is not an easy task, nor does it happen overnight.

So where do we begin? Stakeholder relationship management.

To effectively and efficiently run a business, you need two simple elements – someone to spend the money and something to spend the money on. In other words, your stakeholders and your suppliers. There are many other complexities to be ironed out, like where the money comes from (revenue) and who assigns the authority to spend it (governance). Procurement acts as the liaison in this process, serving as the key intermediary between stakeholders and the suppliers.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars for July 24-28: Value Management, Risk Monitoring, Digital Transformation

This week’s webinars don’t necessarily cover new or out of the ordinary topics, but they do bring us some new voices. See Tuesday’s event to hear from David Atkinson (Four Pillars) and Thursday’s to hear from Linda Chuan (Salesforce). Click on the title of each webinar below to view the full description and register.

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.

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Achieving World-Class Procurement Part 2: Taking a Deep Look at Your Current Operations

As I mentioned in Achieving World-Class Procurement Part 1, today’s increasingly competitive market landscape is driving organizations to reinvest in their procurement and strategic sourcing departments like never before. Beyond establishing centralized purchasing operations, best-in-class companies are elevating their procurement organizations by taking a deeper look at people, processes, technology, and metrics and optimizing them in ways that support enterprise-wide goals – through procurement transformation.  Transformation initiatives allow companies to gain more value from their procurement operations, moving from a reactionary model focused on reducing costs to a more proactive approach to managing spend that streamlines purchasing practices and enhances supplier relationships.

 

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Achieving World-Class Procurement: The Steps Leading Companies are Taking to Optimize their Procurement Teams

In today’s competitive market landscape, simply having a centralized procurement organization is only the first step to better managed supplier relationships and spend. Leading organizations are quickly realizing that procurement and sourcing groups can offer far more value than tactical support. World-class procurement groups aren’t focused on processing POs and fulfilling orders. Rather, they’re focused on supporting each business unit at a strategic level.

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Transcript: Radical Business Model Transformation with Dr. Carsten Linz

This content is also available as a podcast on BMP Radio.

Kelly: Hello, and thank you for joining us today. This is Kelly Barner, Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point. Today I welcome Dr. Carsten Linz as my guest. Carsten is an entrepreneurial leader and expert on innovation-led business transformation that I met in the process of reviewing his recently co-authored book, "Radical Business Model Transformation: Gaining Competitive Edge in a Disruptive World." I will make sure there is a link to my review on today's BlogTalkRadio episode page so that you can learn more about the book. And if you're interested in more of Carsten's writings, I will also share a link to his blog where he further explains and explores some of the themes from the book.

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Book Review: Building Digital Culture

This should be a very sobering thought for anyone in business. The company that you toil and work so hard to make succeed is statistically unlikely to exist in a decade.” (p. 5)

Building Digital Culture: A Practical Guide to Successful Digital Transformation by Daniel Rowles (@DanielRowles) and Thomas Brown (@ThinkStuff) (Kogan Page, 2017) is the reason I review books. While I was reading this book, I was interrupting everyone I know to share ideas and quotes. If you are looking for an engaging, readable text that moves at the same speed as the digital world it describes, buy this book.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars for Jan 16 -20: Transformational Leadership, Global Contracts, and Supplier Risk

If last week was the official start to a new year of webinars, this week the industry hits its stride! All three of the events listed below are well worth your time – and if you register and attend, be sure to let me know what you thought! Click on the title of each webinar below to view the full description and register.

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.

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Book Review: Radical Business Model Transformation

“Companies that dominated the national market for decades are suddenly confronted with new competitors that are redefining entire industries and hence restricting the incumbents’ strategic freedom to shape their future.” (p. 6)

Radical Business Model Transformation: Gaining the competitive edge in a disruptive world by Carsten Linz, Günter Müller-Stewens, and Alexander Zimmermann (Kogan Page, 2017) presents readers with the same challenge question the authors asked each other during the writing process: ‘Are we being radical enough?’

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Our Recommended Procurement Webinars for October 17-21

This week our recommended procurement webinars bring us three ideas: supplier prequalification, the bullwhip effect, and finance transformation. Click on the title of each event 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.

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Are You Ready for The Revolution?

It seems like only a few weeks ago that Phil Ideson (Art of Procurement) and I first resolved to lead a global, virtual, multimedia, interactive event designed to help professionals the world over make a change - but we’ve actually been hard at work since late winter. As we work our way through the last two weeks before The Procurement Revolution becomes a reality, the time has come for everyone else to start getting ready too.

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