Friday, August 15, 2014

Career Advancement in Procurement – Light at the End of the Tunnel

Do you sometimes feel like no matter hard you try to negotiate the best terms possible with a supplier you still don’t get the deal you are looking for?  Sure, you may get some sort of “discount” but is it really beneficial to your organization?  Are there terms somewhere else that need to be addressed that would make it a much better deal for your business?

Well, let me tell you, there is hope…a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak to becoming the savvy purchasing professional that earns the respect of suppliers and colleagues.

At the Next Level Purchasing Association, we speak with students and potential students every day regarding the challenges they face as procurement professionals.  While our knowledgeable, experienced team of professionals can answer any questions you may have about purchasing certification, sometimes it is better to hear from someone who, like you, decided they need to improve their procurement skills.

When Catherine Shaw SPSM3 first enrolled in the Next Level Purchasing Association’s SPSM® program, she characterized her skills in regards to procurement as “weak” and that her results from negotiating were typically unpredictable.

As a result of earning her SPSM® Certification, Ms. Shaw has mastered essential procurement skills, global procurement management and enterprise-wide procurement influence.  Today, Ms. Shaw, who resides in Los Angeles, CA, holds the role of purchasing manager.  Ms. Shaw's ability to get the best terms possible for her organization in negotiations has led to greater responsibilities, including negotiating a particular deal that has been extremely beneficial to her co-workers.

Read Ms. Shaw’s in-depth, compelling procurement case study and find out how the SPSM Certification can transform you into a trusted, world-class procurement executive just like Ms. Shaw.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Sharks Are Swimming Around Procurify – And That’s a Good Thing!

Dallas Mavericks owner and notorious start-up investor Mark Cuban has placed his hands into the “shark tank” so to speak that is the treacherous waters of the procurement solution field.  This high-risk, high-reward field for software and cloud solution developers is right up Mr. Cuban’s alley, especially when it comes to start-up investing. Mr. Cuban’s target in this area is Procurify; a relatively new entry into procurement software industry that offers its customers a cloud-based purchasing management software system.

The sweet spot for Procurify currently is companies with 50 to 1000 employees with 10% to 20% of those employees having user accounts.  However, if you are a smaller shop with a single procurement employee, the system works great for you as well.

Procurify is a role-based procurement system that comes with many pre-configured roles for a wide-variety of users.  Examples of roles that come pre-configured with Procurify include approver and buyer. Thus, specific buyers in your organization can be set up to approve, for instance, up to X amount of dollars.  If the threshold is exceeded, a higher-level of approval is required (approver, manager, director, etc). If you are unable to find the exact role-set you are looking for, the system offers the ability to customize your own roles on-demand.

One of the slicker features Procurify offers is the ability to create bundle orders.  Say, for instance, you purchase the same setup when a new employee is hired.  You can go into the Procurify system, pull up the “new employee” bundle you previously created and instantly you have items you need to order already picked out.  Kurtis Warren, of Procurify’s business development team pointed out this capability, “works great especially for contractors working on new homes”, where the base specifications for particular models are often the same.

Another impressive feature of Procurify is the ease of adding new departments, budgets and approvers.  Within a couple clicks and by adding specific allotments for approvers, it can be completed with ease.

A critical upgrade to the Procurify system going forward is the ability to integrate with other ERP systems.  I think this could be a serious game-changer for the organization.  The ability to utilize a cloud-based and app-controlled system such as Procurify will save considerable money, time and resources for organization’s that are already overburdened with maintaining servers in-house.

In the Procurify business model, suppliers do not have to pay to add their catalog to the Procurify buyer / supplier portal.  Suppliers are able to login into their specific buyer’s portals to upload their catalogs.  Currently, Procurify does not offer Procurement PunchOut capabilities.

According to Warren, one area of Procurify that is currently being revamped for improvements is the reporting system.  At this time, the systems reporting abilities are somewhat basic, but this is an area where the scheduled improvements would make a notable difference.

Procurify is not ready for the Fortune 500 “yet” as a be-all, end-all eProcurement solution (although they do have several Fortune 500 clients utilizing their services), however they are taking small, but aggressive, steps, listening to the needs of their current customers and growing the product.  

Procurify is an attractive solution for small to mid-sized organizations that are behind the curve when it comes to integrating technology into the procurement department or for organizations that don’t need a full-blown eProcurement solution.

From my e-mails and conversations with the sales and marketing team, they are very hungry and are on their way to becoming a disruptive force in the cloud-based procurement services market. 

Besides Mr. Cuban, other investors in Procurify include Nexus Venture Partners and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). Procurify is also approaching their Series A funding (preferred stock) in the 4th quarter of 2014.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Increasing Procurement's Credibility With Stakeholders

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "How To Increase Procurement's Credibility."

In the article, I shared three ways that leading procurement departments have increased their credibility with stakeholders.  In this post, I will share a fourth.

4.  Dispel the “Procurement only cares about price” myth.  Many stakeholders hate dealing with Procurement because they believe the stereotype that procurement professionals only care about getting the lowest price.  And if you don’t tell them otherwise, who will?  Leading procurement departments dispel that myth by clearly communicating the factors that Procurement considers in its decision-making, emphasizing the factors that are important to stakeholders and giving them the opportunity to participate in decisions involving supplier selection criteria and weightings.

To return to the article (including the Spotlight On Professional Development and Free Offer sections), click here.

To Your Career Success,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Co-Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Getting the Lead Right Out of the Gate

On the first play after the kickoff in Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seattle Seahawks scored a safety just 12 seconds into the game and never gave up the lead on their way to winning their first NFL championship.  The importance of scoring early and often in sports and in the business the world is critical to the success of your team.

“Getting the Lead Right Out of the Gate: The Decisions to Make and Pitfalls to Avoid in the First 6 Months of a Procurement Transformation” addresses the importance making the right procurement changes within your organization.  This business-changing presentation will be conducted by Michael DeWitt - Vice President of Procurement for a large healthcare insurance provider.

Procurement organizations are, or should be, in some state of transformation in order to prepare for the changing future.  Procurement transformation skills are becoming more important, but pulling off a transformation is not easy. 

  •        In the first 3 months of a transformation you need to be noticed. 
  •        In the first 6 months you need to have tangible progress. 

Mr. DeWitt’s presentation supplies you with the tips on where to focus your time (and where not to) during those critical first 6 months to improve your chances for transformation success.

Join us at the 2014 Next Level Purchasing Association Conference, “Where Procurement MVPs are Made!”. Learn about 10 additional skill-building workshops and more by downloading the conference agenda.  Seats for the conference are limited socall us at 412-262-1334 for exclusive pricing information using the special blog code “Getting the Lead” and ensure that you get access to this career-changing event!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Negotiating For Pennies (When Pennies Can Become Millions of Dollars)

I hope that you have enjoyed the article, "Smart Negotiation For Small Purchases."

I had put off writing this article for some time.  I was afraid.

Afraid of what, you ask?

Afraid of coming off as too simple.  Afraid of people saying, "You call yourself an advanced negotiation trainer?  Those are the most basic negotiation tips I've ever read!"

Well, you know what?

I decided to write the article.

You know why?

Because the tips work!

Will they work in a complex, multimillion dollar negotiation for custom-engineered equipment to be delivered over a 10 year period?

Probably not.  But they're not advertised to work in that situation.

But in negotiations as well as other things in life, it's important to use the right size tool for the job at hand.  The negotiation tips you'd use in a complex, multimillion negotiation for custom-engineered equipment to be delivered over a 10 year period would not be the same tips you'd use for buying, say, an office printer.

So, it's important to use the appropriate approach for each situation.  And I've seen too many small deals go unnegotiated, leaving money on the table, to feel that tips for these types of negotiating situations should be left unsaid.

There you have it.  Do you feel the tips are too simple?  Try them the next time you have a small purchase to make.

I feel confident in saying that they'll probably get you more of a discount than doing nothing, which is what most buyers do.

To Your Career Success,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Co-Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At

Friday, August 01, 2014

Playing To Win vs. Playing To Not Lose: Take the Offensive With Strategic Supplier Relationships

Successful baseball managers are always thinking multiple moves ahead to gain a competitive advantage against their opponents.  Are you using long-term strategic planning to get the most out of your supplier relationships? 

By popular demand the Vice President of Clinical Sourcing for a large healthcare provider, David Hargraves returns as a guest speaker for the 2014 Next Level Purchasing Association Conference, “Where Procurement MVPs are Made!”.  Mr. Hargraves topic, “Playing to Win vs. Playing to not Lose: Take the Offensive with Strategic Supplier Relationships” will give you the tools necessary to develop stronger bonds with the “right” suppliers for your business.  Features of this exciting presentation include:

  •  How to pick the categories where strategic supplier relationships are appropriate
  • How to choose which supplier, within a category, to deepen the relationship
  • How to make a 10-year commitment when you can’t forecast technology changes or even the supplier landscape

Mr. Hargraves promises to share a wealth of experience with you and show you how to stay on the offensive while playing to win!

To find out more about the 2014 Next Level Purchasing Association Conference, “Where Procurement MVPs are Made!”, download the conference agenda or call me at 412-262-1334 for exclusive pricing information using the special blog code “play to win”.

Teambuilding Through Storytelling

Often times, procurement professionals are the real “unsung heroes” in their organization.  They work in the trenches, get banged up and abused (literally), are only noticed when mistakes are made, and receive little glory for their crucial contributions to the organization.  While leadership (aka the Quarterback) receives all the accolades, the men and women in the trenches nurse their wounds to prepare for another round of battle in relative obscurity.  Yet, the procurement team is the glue that holds the organization together!

Thus, it is quite appropriate that our one of the 2014 NLPA Conference’s keynote speakers is a man who readily identifies with all of these same traits.  For 12 years Craig Wolfley played Offensive Line for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings and readily identifies with the importance of being a supporting player within an organization.

Promising to be one of the highlights of the 2014 Next Level Purchasing Association Conference, “Where Procurement MVPs are Made!”, Mr. Wolfley’s presentation “Teambuilding Through Storytelling” promises to be a humorous and inspirational journey providing insight as to how procurement can learn from the realm of professional athletics in developing stronger, more successful teams.  For those unfamiliar with Mr. Wolfley, you will be delighted with his often times self-deprecating sense of humor and his ability to tie stories of his life as a professional athlete to modern business practices. 

Now, it is time for you to get off the sidelines and join us for the 2014 Next Level Purchasing Association Conference, “Where Procurement MVPs are Made!”

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Coaching to Win: How to Get Your Users to Drive Your Procurement System to Victory

Procurement systems can provide excellent process improvements and great financial return on investment, yet over 40% of software implementations fail to deliver expected benefits.

Learn the strategies you can put in place to ensure that your company gets the most out of your current and future systems while making you a valuable key to that success.

At the 2014 Next Level Purchasing Association Conference, “Where Procurement MVPs are Made!”, we will feature Ron Nawojczyk, Principal Solution Consultant for Oracle, for a workshop focused on the value of procurement systems to your organization.

Mr. Nawojczyk’s presentation promises to be one where collaboration between procurement and IT is discussed and how commodity teams can be beneficial to the software purchasing and implementation process.

Don’t miss out on this and other high-caliber presentations which will expand your procurement tool box.  Register now before the last seat is taken for the 2014 Next Level Purchasing Association Conference, “Where Procurement MVPs are Made!”