Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Supply Chain Management Research

Part of my supply chain management research involves reading sales books and literature.

I actually love to see how salespeople study us supply chain managers and teach others the secrets of getting us to do business with them. I've recently purchased a new sales training book for such a research project: Jill Konrath's "Selling To Big Companies."

I've spoken to Jill personally once and have exchanged a few emails with her. She is a sharp individual. I even based the PurchTips article "What Salespeople Learn To Say To You" on one of her blog posts.

In "Selling To Big Companies," it was refreshing to see Jill discuss some of the more current developments in purchasing like supply chain improvements and reverse auctions. Most sales books are far behind in this regard.

In this blog, I'll post from time to time some of my observations about the book as I make my way through it. One observation that I kind of don't like, though, is the depiction of a fishing scene on the front cover. I feel like this makes the statement that supply chain managers and purchasers are dumb fish ready to be tricked into making a bad decision.

Unfortunately, this doesn't represent one of the main concepts that Jill really teaches: that today's purchasers and supply chain managers demand that sellers bring value to the table or they will be quickly dismissed.

As my research (usually conducted at 10:00PM in my jammies) continues, I'll share some additional observations. Stay tuned!

Respectfully,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM Certification Online At
http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Group Purchasing Organizations

I just read Jason Busch's post on Spend Matters about Group Purchasing Organizations. One of my favorite war stories stems from an indirect bad experience with a Group Purchasing Organization.

In one of the companies I worked for, one of our purchasing teams was having all kinds of problems with our office supplies vendor. It seemed like the employees of that vendor had a personal vendetta against our company: our employees got terrible service, orders would go unfulfilled, and we even had several instances when packages of office supplies would arrive and in the box was garbage (e.g., dirty Corn Flakes) and dust swept off of a floor!

Well, needless to say, that vendor (we'll call them ABC Company) was replaced with another vendor who was awarded a one-year contract after a swift sourcing process.

During the year we were working with the new vendor, top management decided that the company should use a Group Purchasing Organization for the sourcing of our office supplies. One particular Group Purchasing Organization was going to be going out to bid right around the time that our office supplies contract expired.

For some reason, the purchasing group from our company was not involved in the selection of the successful bidder. We just had to go along with the result.

Can you guess who the Group Purchasing Organization selected as our office supplies vendor?

Yup. ABC Company!!!

Although I was not in the office supplies purchasing group, as an arm-chair quarterback, I think that these were the lessons learned:

1. Always work with a Group Purchasing Organization that uses performance as a criterion, not just price, in making its selections.

2. If you can, always ensure that you have input into the decision. My company was a Fortune 500 Company whose spend comprised a significant portion of the award in this story. There was no reason they should have not been involved in the decision.

The moral of the story is *not* that Group Purchasing Organizations are bad. Rather, it is to make sure that using a Group Purchasing Organization doesn't mean sacrificing control of your destiny.

Respectfully,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM Certification Online At
http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Supply Chain Expert?

I've been getting quoted by the media more and more, which I embrace. The media represents just one more vehicle that enables me to help supply chain professionals achieve their goals.

The latest use of me as a "supply chain expert" was in Construction Purchasing Magazine's article "Does your eProcurement process present paper problems?" I invite you to check it out.

And if you're a member of the media looking for a supply chain expert, I welcome you to contact me.

Respectfully,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM Certification Online At
http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Procurement Certification Questions

We have recently updated our FAQ page to answer all of your procurement certification questions.

It was a long time coming, but I think that we were able to accurately nail down what you need to know to decide to pursue your procurement certification. Please check out the new page.

And, of course, if you still have questions about earning your procurement certification, you can contact me.

Thank you for your interest in letting Next Level Purchasing help you have a rewarding career.

Respectfully,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM Certification Online At
http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

Friday, March 17, 2006

Time and Materials Contract

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "Negotiating a Time and Materials Contract."

What I like about the advice in this article is that it can be applied in a variety of industries - virtually any time you use a time and materials contract. Examples of the type of services you can apply this advice to include:

  • Construction services
  • Aircraft component repair services
  • Landscaping services
  • Computer programming services
  • Janitorial services
  • And many more!

I hope that "Negotiating a Time and Materials Contract" helps you save money for your company and helps you compel your suppliers to be efficient performers.

Respectfully,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM Certification Online At
http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sourcing - Favorite & Least Favorite Categories

I've been fortunate to have sourced such a wide variety of categories of goods and services throughout my career. I've just been reflecting about the categories I've enjoyed and despised the most.

First, for the category I've enjoyed the most...

I absolutely love sourcing enterprise software. Each vendor's offering is usually at least somewhat different.

I love to see and challenge the logic of how everything works, especially when I come up with the most customized what-if scenarios.

I can program in five different languages, so I like to ensure that every condition is considered by the programmers. It is also very exciting to speculate on efficiencies and productivity improvements and estimate the measurable financial results.

But there's also the fundamental principles of supplier selection that someone sourcing software must apply. Making sure that the supplier is stable is equally fun, important, and challenging, particularly when you're an early adopter of a new technology.

Now, for the category I've despised the most. Drum roll, please...

The category I've always hated sourcing is printing services. Ugh.

Despite the fact that there are oodles and oodles of vendors out there and the compressed pricing in the market has makde printing services a veritable commodity, it seems like reliable printing service vendors are few and far between. Even the good ones seem to have their quirks.

Vendors who are good at one type of printing seem to be poor at other types of printing. Pricing can vary by 200% or more between vendors with absolutely, positively no relationship to quality. Print brokers and distributors who are in business to use their expert knowledge to find the best deal for you seldom can beat the pricing that any old hack can find by surfing a few Web sites. And they usually have no visibility into the production status of your projects.

Overall, a very, very challenging category to consolidate.

I can't help but think of a recent meeting I had with the Senior Manager of Corporate Purchasing from a large retailer. He brought me the navy blue business cards of his staff members.

He commented that Marketing had been on his case since the shade of navy was inconsistent from order to order. He pointed out how evident that was by comparing the cards of his employees. He wasn't pleased about having to deal with a printing problem with so much else on his plate.

I feel his pain. I've been there early in my career.

And, as a guy in a pretty high-powered position, he shouldn't have to worry about something as relatively trivial as business cards. But sourcing in the print services category is walking into a hornet's nest.

If you are, or know anyone who is, an expert at sourcing complete print services, contact me. I'd love to put an interview on the category together for a future edition of PurchTips.

Respectfully,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM Certification Online At
http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

Friday, March 03, 2006

Starting A Supplier Diversity Program

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "Starting A Supplier Diversity Program."

Though I am excited about this article in particular, I am even more excited about a follow-up article I'm working on. That article will talk about the challenges of starting a supplier diversity program, such as finding qualified suppliers, tracking spend with those suppliers, getting internal buy-in, and more.

Watch for in in the coming months!

Respectfully,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM Certification Online At
http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

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