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Buyers Meeting Point is home to two blogs: The Point is written by BMP's Kelly Barner and a diverse group of guest contributors. MyPurchasingCenter was acquired by BMP in 2020 we now showcase their content archive on BMP.

Recommended Procurement Webinars Oct 12-16: Igniting Transformation through Touchless AP and Business Partnerships

Before I move into my event recommendations for this week, I want to look back at last week – Art of Procurement Mastermind LIVE was amazing, and it would not have been possible without the energy and expertise of many speakers and organizers. Thank you to everyone who joined us!

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Recommended Procurement Webinars Oct 5-9: Sourcing Maturity, Risk, and More Risk

There are two very exciting ‘live’ events taking place this week – both of which I am proud to be involved in,,,

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Can Appreciative Inquiry Work for Purchasing?

Most purchasing professionals have never heard of appreciative inquiry. It is a systematic discovery process to search for what is best or positive in an organization or its strengths. These strengths are then improved upon to create an even stronger and more dynamic organization. Implementing change remains positive and thus springs from an organization’s strengths, not its weaknesses, or deficiencies.

Author: Dr. Tom DePaoliAuthor & CEO at Apollo Solutions

Editor’s note: This article is part of the MyPurchasingCenter content archive. It was originally published in 2015 and appears here without revision.

All too often in my purchasing career, I have experienced a new purchasing leader or consultant, who comes from an outside company, then sweeps into a purchasing department and castigates purchasing professionals for, “doing everything wrong, unlike their former company, that did everything right.” This negative reactive approach to change often results in people becoming even more resistant to change. Traditional reactive methods to implementing change emphasize fixing what is broken or weak in an organization. This approach almost never works and causes even more fear.

One of the tools of appreciative inquiry is the sharing of stories about an organization. Employees are asked to describe a time when they were really engaged and excited about their work. Employees are asked to list what was great or memorable about the time. The themes or actions that the organization used are carefully studied and grouped. Common themes of these stories may evolve or confirm a major strength of an organization. These strengths then become skill springboards from which the organization needs to use and embellish.

I previously discussed the storytelling techniques in a Buyers Meeting Point blog.

As a review, here are some of the advantages of storytelling:

  • The brain stores information by stories.
  • Stories are humanizing and stimulate creativity.
  • Storytelling improves listening skills.
  • Storytelling builds a team culture.
  • It encourages collaboration.

Appreciative inquiry takes storytelling to the next level. The memorable stories and positive results become the dynamic building blocks of an organization’s competitive edge. It makes the vision or mission become actualized or reach their full potential!

Here is an example: One of the strengths of a purchasing organization that I led was sourcing and the use of cross-functional teams. The vast majority of the team members felt good about the sourcing decision and the transition plan to the selected supplier. A systematic methodology was used and modified as needed. Team members were well equipped to defend the selection and present the reasoning to other non-team members. Most members could defend and justify the selection and did it consistently and with enthusiasm. To my surprise the non-purchasing team members were even better at justifying the selection. The metrics almost always supported the supplier selection.

I, like many purchasing professionals, was initially very skeptical of the appreciative inquiry approach. Who has the time for it? Purchasing spends an inordinate amount of time fixing what is broken like expediting orders, handling bad quality parts, fixing bad suppliers, chasing down supply chain interruptions and overall upsets. These are all in the realm of fixing what is broke. The fact is that purchasing spends too much time as a firefighters putting out fires. Living in this type of hectic atmosphere or culture does not encourage a different positive approach to change. In fact, it encourages skepticism and the avoiding of risk.

In conclusion, appreciative inquiry can be a useful approach for positive change in purchasing. The challenge to purchasing is to make the time to discover the strengths of the purchasing organization.  It requires patience and the gathering of memorable stories. Purchasing should build on its strengths rather than tear down its image by constantly fixing what is “broke.” In purchasing you are what you are perceived. Too often purchasing is viewed, as the harried firefighter who can never put out all the fires. Appreciative inquiry is a good approach to start to change this negative traditional image.

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NESCON 2020: A Reimagined Conference for a Restructured World

Like nearly all other in person industry events, the organizers of the New England Supply Chain Conference and Exposition (NESCON) were faced with a challenge this year. An inability to hold large, in person gatherings would force the event online, but also present an opportunity to reimagine topics and delivery for a post-COVID world.

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Guest — KG
Excellent summary - thanks Kelly!
Tuesday, 29 September 2020 23:40
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Recommended Procurement Webinars Sept 28 – Oct 2: Driving Risk Culture and Building Resilience to Catastrophe

As another month comes to an end, we can expect the schedule of events to pick up. There are 8 webinars and 1 virtual event taking place this week, including our next AOP Live session on Tuesday, featuring Source Day CEO Tom Kieley and Go Kamiyama from NetSuite. Join us if you’d like to ask questions about how procurement can help build supply chain resilience.

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A Tough Talk: Identifying Dysfunction to Clear the Way for New Ideas

In 2015, MyPurchasingCenter talked to William Moore, Senior Vice President, Sales and Channel Development at SKF USA. Moore sees value in frank discussions between procurement and suppliers, especially of the practices procurement has in place to implement and measure results of new ideas submitted by suppliers.

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Recommended Procurement Webinars September 21-25: The New Reality, Industry 4.0, Efficient Supplier Performance Evaluations

Last week, I ‘worked the switchboard’ for an AOP Live session with Christopher Sawchuk from The Hackett Group and Vishal Patel at Ivalua. EPSNews did a fantastic write up on the event, and they captured the essence of the challenge procurement faces today in their very first sentence: “Disasters have a way of elevating procurement operations to saviors of the day, week or month. But once a crisis has passed, purchasing reverts back to its identity as a corporate cost center.” (Click here to read the rest of the article.)

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What Is This Job Really?

Go on. Be honest. You’ve read the slickly worded job description and sat through an interview listening to animated energetic, buzz words and you‘re very interested. But at the same time, haven’t you heard your wise inner voice asking, “Do I really know what this job is going to be like? Have I been given a good picture of what it is going to be like reporting to this executive or working with this team?”

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Recommended Webinars September 14-18: Post-Crisis Procurement, Customer-Driven Digitalization, Food Supply Chains

I’m continuing to add new events to the calendar, both webinars and virtual conferences. While a virtual conference might not typically be your ‘thing,’ keep in mind that most of them are free to attend – meaning that 2020 is actually presenting us with opportunities to ‘attend’ events and hear from speakers that we wouldn’t have access to in a ‘normal’ year!

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Bad Buying – Organizational Competence is Key to Avoiding It

Since I stepped back from running Spend Matters Europe at the end of 2018, I have had more time for cycling and my bass guitar (although if you heard me, you might not be convinced that I’ve improved …) But I have been busy with more business-like activities too, and on October 8th, one of the results will become obvious when Penguin Business publishes “Bad Buying – how organizations waste billions through failures, frauds and f*ck-ups” (available to pre-order), 

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Guest — Dr. Tom DePaoli
Cross-functional team sourcing does help. https://drtombooks.com/my-blog-posts/sourcing-cross-functional-teams-challenges-leadersh... Read More
Thursday, 10 September 2020 09:39
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Recommended Webinars September 7-11: AI for Contract Analytics and Chasing Tail Spend

Now that it is September, the fall conference season is upon us. Even though few will have the opportunity to gather in person, we can still make the most of these virtual chances to connect and learn. There are two upcoming virtual conferences I want to call particular attention to:

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Book Review: The Technology Procurement Handbook

“Naturally, Industry 4.0 requires a new procurement. The factors driving the change are the hyper-competition, globalization, supply chain risks, resource scarcity and many more. But the most important one is the technology - big data, digital processes, and automation.”

 - Sergii Dovgalenko., p. 4

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The August 2020 ISM-New York Report on Business: Not July, But Still an Improvement

The August ISM-New York Report on Business was released on September 2nd at 9:45am Eastern and is available for download here: pdf2020_ISM-New_York_August_ROB_v02.pdf. Please see the end of this commentary for additional information about the ISM-New York Report on Business.

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Hail to XaaS!

Many years ago, our telecom operator outsourced customer bill printing. That was an example of the basic outsourcing, as the business process still stayed fragmented between the external provider, our company owing customer data and managing billing cycles, and the government post service collecting and sending envelopes. Of course, no SLAs, service credits, or else. Our benefit was only not to invest in the acquisition and maintenance of the expensive printing and enveloping machine.

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Recommended Webinars August 31-Sept 4: Automated S2C, Procurement 2020, Unexpected Joy

Although we don’t necessarily have much more of a visibility horizon than we’ve had for months, things at least seem to be stabilizing. Events are starting to focus on next year, and they provide a sense of what is within our control. That is far more productive and positive than continuing to focus on everything that is out of control.

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Book Review: Digital Supply Networks

Customers are the key to any business, the prime reason for a company to exist! In the current digital era, customers are no longer passive buyers of products at the end of the value chain, but active partners throughout the lifecycle of the products and associated services.” - Amit Sinha, p. 205

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Exceptional Leadership Traits for Procurement and Supply Chain

Running a procurement or supply chain organization poses unique leadership challenges. These organizations are constantly “fighting fires,” handling unique crises, and influencing a broad network of people - internally and externally.

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Pandemic Impact on Prices – Chemicals & Plastics

The current public health crisis due to COVID-19 has impacted not only people’s lives but also businesses around the globe. The demand in most sectors has shrunk, and with supply and demand unbalanced, the price of most products has been affected. With less demand, most products have seen price decreases, but there are exceptions.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Lorenzo MArin Rodriguez
Very interesting article.
Tuesday, 25 August 2020 08:12
Guest — Ricardo Guimaraes
Well done analysis with insights on procurement contracts. Worth the reading.
Tuesday, 25 August 2020 09:13
Guest — Abel de Oliveira
Paulo, excellent article. An expressive chemical market evolution snapshot, for this very critical and unusual period. You keep ge... Read More
Wednesday, 26 August 2020 11:26
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Recommended Procurement Webinars August 24-28: Agile Networks, Lost Transformation, Rebooting the Enterprise

August hasn’t been as busy as June and July were, but the pace of new events is already picking up for September. There are already 12 events on the calendar for next month, half of which I added this week. If you are also a fan of Art of Procurement, run by my colleague Philip Ideson, you’ll want to SAVE THE DATE for AOP Mastermind Live: October 6-7.

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Case Study: Chrysler Purchasing Changes the Supplier Diversity Landscape

Back in 2012, Chrysler Group allowed a modest-sized company to manage all of the chemicals and related supplies on a trial basis for one of its North American assembly plants. Like any Chrysler supplier, ChemicoMays had to prove itself on cost, quality and its capacity to deliver.

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