Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Skills For Purchasing Positions

There have recently been some published opinions about the skills required for success in purchasing and supply management.

Some of these opinions I strongly disagree with, specifically those related to the polarization of general problem solving skills vs. industry-specific expertise. Some thought leaders have said that general problem solving skills should take priority over industry-specific expertise.

I think that it is necessary and not unreasonable to expect any good candidate to have both when recruiting for more strategic purchasing jobs. Plus, in my experience, I have seen real-world regret for filling a strategic position with people with excellent raw intelligence but no closely-related experience instead of people with industry-specific expertise.

As someone who has spent significant parts of his career recruiting purchasing professionals, I personally know the importance of hiring someone who can "hit the ground running." Yes, I agree, some purchasing skills can be taught and learned rather quickly. But what about more complex capabilities like understanding how to execute hedging strategies for fuel purchasing? Or leading a team responsible for multiple and diverse categories?

These skills aren't so easy to teach. And waiting two years for the high-EQ individual to learn the in's and out's isn't a luxury that a lot of purchasing executives have. Today's management wants results NOW!

So managers have to recruit people with both general problem solving skills/raw intelligence and industry-specific expertise. And, if there has to be a tie-breaker, these managers will prefer candidates whose ability to succeed in (not to mention enjoy) a particular industry or category is proven by their track record and not "theory" or "hope" that their bet that someone can learn quickly will pay off.

There is a huge amount of risk in ignoring lack of industry/category expertise.

I'd like to back up my position on this issue by recommending that you check out Purchasing Magazine's interview with Garry Berryman, the CPO of Sarah Lee Corp. In this interview, Berryman lists attracting new talent as one of his major accomplishments of the past year.

He says, "It's through that talent, who are category experts within the product streams that we're procuring goods and services through, that enable us to be effective with our business unit partners internal to Sarah Lee, as well as the supplier community and the key suppliers that we're going to be aligning with to deliver this kind of value over the course of time.

"It's one very fundamental truth that we are very respectful of and that's expertise is really an enabler to outcomes that you simply can't substitute with any other element. You've got to have strong people who understand the industry, who know where the experts are at, and are able to drive for performance levels that only the experts - technically as well as operationally - are able to do day in and day out. "

To Your Career,
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

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Purchasing Processes

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "Accountability In Purchasing Processes."

Like it or not, your work in purchasing is going to come under increased scrutiny. As a profession, we have done our part to highlight the value of a purchasing department to its organization.

And with that recognition, comes higher expectations.

Even if you do not have to demonstrate your accountability yet, it is a good idea to prepare to do so. Because when management starts asking questions about your purchasing processes, it is comforting to know that you can defend them from scrutiny.

So be ahead of the curve!

To Your Career,
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

Monday, November 20, 2006

Purchasing Pro Gets Recognized In Dubai

One of our recent graduates from the United Arab Emirates has gotten recognized on a Dubai-based Web site for his success in earning his SPSM Certification.

I love to see purchasing pro's get such well-deserved recognition!

To Your Career,
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, November 16, 2006

Attention Purchasing Magazines

We have gotten many requests to reprint our purchasing articles in various media outlets. In many cases, we do grant permission, but we haven't really invited it.

So I'd just like to use this blog post to make it clear that we do entertain opportunities to have our articles reprinted. So if you'd like to reuse our content, just contact us and we can discuss the opportunity further.

To Your Career,
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, November 15, 2006

Purchasing Best Practices Course

Michael Lamoureux, over at the Sourcing Innovation Blog, did a two-part review of our online course "14 Purchasing Best Practices." Here are links to his reviews:

14 Purchasing Best Practices Review, Part I

14 Purchasing Best Practices Review, Part II

To Your Career,
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, November 10, 2006

Article About Next Level Purchasing

Winning the Innovative Business of the Year Award has really gotten a lot of attention for us in the past month or so.

Just yesterday, the local newspaper, the Coraopolis-Moon Record, published this article about Next Level Purchasing and its history. And last week, the Pittsburgh Business Times featured an article about us winning the award.

Though these things have been very nice, our goal is not to win awards or get press coverage. Our goal is to help purchasing professionals who are struggling to have rewarding careers.

So it's off to work we go: we have some new purchasing articles, podcasts (both video and audio), and classes in the works. If we get press coverage for these, great. But what we really crave is hearing success stories of how these new things helped you in the workplace.

So if you have some good career news of your own to share, let us know!

To Your Career,
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, November 09, 2006

Office Supplies Sourcing

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "Office Supplies Sourcing Secrets" as well as the accompanying podcast.

That podcast really brought out a lot of not-so-common-knowledge type of information. I think that there are a lot of sourcing professionals who learned about the various pitfalls the hard way. I hope that I have saved you from those hard lessons!

One great piece of advice that didn't make it into the article was David Clevenger's suggestion that sourcing professionals work with suppliers collaboratively to improve the most important metric: spending less on office supplies on an aggregate, annual basis. There can be a lot of temptation to get caught up in the details, but with this focus and a cooperative supplier, I believe that a sourcing department can achieve significant and, more importantly, sustainable savings.

To Your Career,
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, November 08, 2006

Optimization Expert

I had the interesting opportunity to have lunch with Michael Lamoureaux, from the Sourcing Innovation Blog, yesterday. Michael was in Pittsburgh to attend a huge operations management conference here.

During our conversation, I learned a lot about Michael's very impressive combination of skills and interests. It turns out that he has a Ph.D in some advanced type of mathematics, has programming skills in various computer languages, is an expert on decision optimization, and has a keen interest in sourcing and supply chain.

At some point, I'd like to sit down again with him with the hopes of sharing some insights into decision optimization with the readers of PurchTips. He has an immense amount of knowledge and I think we could learn a lot from him.

Until then, be sure to check out his blog. He recently had a multi-part series on decision optimization that's worth reading.

To Your Career,
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, November 07, 2006

Attention Procurement Software Providers

Next Level Purchasing is looking for a couple procurement software providers to partner up with for an upcoming educational offering. We're looking for a provider for each major area of procurement technology (e.g., eProcurement, contract management, supplier management, etc.).

This could be a good opportunity to get your name in front of our students - powerful decision makers in the procurement field.

If you're interested please call me at 412-294-1990.

No pure eSourcing software providers, please.

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, November 03, 2006

Watch Spend Matters Next Week

I had the opportunity to briefly meet with Jason Busch, author of the Spend Matters blog, last night right before his flight out of Pittsburgh. We had a fun conversation that ranged from purchasing certification issues, to what a blog should be, to trying to get preschoolers to talk about their days at school!

When it comes to blogging-for-business, Jason really has done it right. His posts are filled with original material and he mixes in the right amount of both wit and provocative opinion. And he not only posts lots of content - he posts lots of high-quality content. That's why I feel that he has been able to monetize his blog so successfully through sponsorships, as opposed to collecting nickels through Google AdSense.

Jason attended Ariba's analyst day yesterday and told me he has a lot of great content from the day's discussions forthcoming. If you've watched their financials and their press releases, you know that Ariba is in a transitional time. They've always positioned themselves on the bleeding edge of procurement technology, so it will be interesting what new and exciting things they've got planned as they alter their business model.

So, if you aren't already, be sure to keep a close watch on Spend Matters over the next week. I know that I will be.

To Your Career,
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, November 01, 2006

Supplier Development Definition

I received an email yesterday from one of our site's visitors who had asked for the definition of supplier development. Most people who can use email use Google, so it made me curious as to whether there were any good definitions of supplier development out there in cyberspace.

Much to my surprise, there weren't.

So I responded with my own definition of supplier development. And, here, I'll share it with you, too...

Supplier development can be loosely defined as the process of working collaboratively with your suppliers to improve or expand their capabilities. An example may be teaching a supplier how to manufacture a type of item that they never manufactured before for the purposes of giving you the option to buy, rather than make, that item. In recent years, it is has become increasingly common for buying organizations to train their suppliers in Six Sigma and Lean techniques.

Nothing fancy, but at least it will contribute in some small way to the body of purchasing knowledge that's out there in cyberspace. Google, this post is waiting for you...

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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