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With Implementations, it is Location, Location, Location. (Determine)

This content was published on the Determine blog on August 13, 2019

I’ve participated in many procurement technology implementations – and not always in the same role. Like most people, my experience began on the receiving end of new technology for which I had no say in the selection or configuration. From there I moved to a leadership role on a team tasked with selecting and implementing a sourcing suite for the first time. A few years later, I was part of a consulting team at a solution provider where I regularly assisted in or led implementations as part of procurement program (re)design projects.

There are as many tales of resounding implementation successes as there is evidence that Bigfoot is real and living in your Aunt Lydia’s backyard. All we ever seem to hear about are failures and slip-ups. Do we secretly want our implementations to fail? No. Unfortunately, until now, we’ve mostly addressed the symptoms rather than the root cause of implementation problems.

And what is that root cause? Conference rooms.

If you’re going to hold an implementation meeting or planning session, the natural first step is to book a room (or set up a conference line). Then the central team members go to that room at the appointed time along with a representative of the solution provider…and…close the door. Did you hear that click or swoosh or bang? That was the sound of your implementation success hopes dying.

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The Amazing Back-to-School Supply Chain (ATSC blog)

This content was published on the ATSC blog on August 5, 2019

The minute we’ve all finally settled into the slower pace of the summer months, the signs go up: Back to School! Whether you have children who are getting ready to go back or whether you are thinking wistfully of your own school days, the back-to-school supply chain is an amazing feat that affects most of the retail industry. It is actually the second biggest shopping season of the year – second only to the holidays, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) releases an annual report highlighting the figures and trends associated with back to school shopping. According to the 2019 NRF report, this year’s back-to-school spending levels will be the highest ever per household, $696.70, but not the highest overall as less families are expected to participate. Total projected spending for 2019 is $80.7B, down 2.5% from $82.8B in 2018. The major categories of spending they define include school supplies, clothing and accessories, shoes and electronics.

While we can all appreciate the magic of new pencils and notebooks, looking at this shopping season as a supply chain professional requires a different perspective – and offers a few surprises about buyer preferences and retail industry impact.

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Buyers Meeting Point Owner Kelly Barner Ranked Top Influencer in Procurement by CPOstrategy Magazine

CPOstrategy Magazine has ranked Buyers Meeting Point Owner and Managing Director Kelly Barner the top influencer in procurement based on a listing published by ProcurementIQ.

The opening of the article, available in the July 2019 issue, reads as follows:

"With direct access to audiences across a global stage, social media has redefined the idea of influencers. Looking to tap into and explore this ever expanding resource, industry giants have their very own influencers steering and engaging the conversation. CPOstrategy looks at 5 leading procurement influencers as ranked by ProcurementIQ." - Dale Benton

The other influencers included in the ranking are Lora Cecere, Founder of Supply Chain Insights; Tom Derry, CEO of the Institute for Supply Management; Omid Ghamami, CEO and Chairman of the Board at the Center for Purchasing and Supply Chain Management Excellence; and Dawn Tiura, CEO and President of the Sourcing Industry Group (SIG).

Zoinks! Why do Cloud myths persist? (Determine)

This content was published on the Determine blog on July 11, 2019

I recently completed a thorough study of myths by examining one of the most scientifically significant examples available — Scooby-Doo and the gang: Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy. You may laugh, but studying the adventures of Mystery, Inc. sheds a great deal of light on all kinds of myths, cloud procure-to-pay (P2P) included.

Myths and mysteries usually play on some combination of the following:
- Deep-seated, preexisting anxieties
- Lack of understanding or clarity
- A desire on the part of believers to accept the myth
- A touch of theatrics

In the Scooby-Doo TV series, the above factors typically drove the plot through the protagonist’s dark backstory or lingering guilt, the gang being stuck in the dark, and ridiculous costumes and special effects. Details are scarce, someone is chasing you, and your imagination takes over. Next thing you know, no one questions the reality that Uncle Jesse’s wonderful old theatre can’t be saved because it is haunted by a headless phantom stagehand.

P2P myths may be less dramatic, but they are no less dangerous because they prevent procurement from getting an accurate view of the situation at hand and selecting the best, most logical, path forward.

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