Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Guest Post On Supply Excellence

I was given the great opportunity to contribute another guest post on Supply Excellence. This time, the topic was the so-called "Talent Crunch" and why it is such an avoidable situation.

Check it out.

Thanks to Tim Minahan for the opportunity.

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, February 22, 2007

Are You The "Economic" Buyer?

I touched on the topic of how salespeople treat buyers when they are not the ultimate decision maker in the podcast that accompanied the article "Suppliers' Secrets For Negotiating With Purchasing."

Yesterday, I came across an article entitled "Buyer Spotting" by the infamous Allan Weiss. Allan takes a more coarse approach to dealing with buyers who aren't the ultimate decision makers.

In particular, I recommend checking out the questions Allan suggests that salespeople ask. It could help you prepare for an interaction with an aggressive salesperson.

Even if you're not the decision maker, the fact that it is your job to interface with the salesperson makes your role valuable. So I hope that both buyers and salespeople can learn a little more about each other's perspectives so the interaction doesn't have to be hostile and borderline degrading.

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

Oooh...Supplier Ratings For Small Business Buyers

I was working in QuickBooks today. QuickBooks, for those that don't know, is the leading accounting package for small and mid-size enterprises.

While working, I noticed in the "Vendor Center" a link that said "Rate This Vendor Online."

So what did I do?

Of course, I clicked it!

And it allowed me to rate one of Next Level Purchasing's vendors, including comments and a 1-5 star rating. This feature was integrated into QuickBooks, but managed through zipingo.com.

After rating my vendor, I went to zipingo.com and found a pretty interesting site where local suppliers are categorized and rated somewhat eBay style.

I believe that this type of business model has a lot of promise for not only small and mid-size businesses but large businesses as well. Though, as it is today, zipingo.com is very local- and somewhat B2C-oriented, the fact that they are aiming for the B2B market is exciting.

I think that I'm going to have the Next Level Purchasing team use zipingo.com on a testing basis for our revised supplier performance evaluation program. We can drill in to see our reviews only, which makes a nice way of seeing which of our suppliers are standing out either for being good performers or poor ones!

This could be the start of the type of supplier rating community that Supply Excellence's Tim Minahan and I discussed in the article "Supply Chain Technology: What's Next?" and the accompanying podcast.

Keep an eye on this!

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, February 21, 2007

The Ethics of Buying From An Employee

A common question is: "Is it OK to be a supplier to the company I work for?"

It can be ethical to be a supplier of your own organization if:

a. Someone else makes the purchase decision

b. The decision is made objectively, giving no favorable treatment to your organization

c. You do not access or try to access confidential information about other suppliers that aren't available to all competitors

That said, it probably isn't the best idea to be a supplier to your own organization or your organization's competitors. Totally ethical practices are those where there is no real or perceived conflict of interest. While you may avoid a real conflict of interest, it is likely that others will perceive that something unethical is happening. And that is an unhealthy situation for an organization, its employees, and its management.

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, February 15, 2007

Global Sourcing Strategy

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "A Global Sourcing Strategy: What's Different?"

If you're in the thick of executing a global sourcing strategy for the first time, I also recommend revisiting a couple of previous editions of PurchTips, "Cultural Aspects of International Sourcing" and "Guide To International Negotiation Planning."

In our recent survey, global sourcing came in second only to negotiation for purchasing articles that subscribers want to see in PurchTips. So the release of this article is just another example of how we listen to the voice of the customer!

Got a suggestion for Next Level Purchasing? I want to hear from you, so leave a comment!

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, February 14, 2007

Media Guidelines For Purchasing Professionals

One of the things that I would love to do more of is include more interviews with purchasing professionals in PurchTips. But a historical barrier to this is that, when it comes to providing good interview material, purchasing professionals as a group generally leave a lot to be desired.

Being a career purchasing professional myself, this is difficult to say. But it's true.

So I can either complain about the problem or I can do something about it. I'll do the latter by introducing a few guidelines to media interviews here. So, if you're asked to do an interview with a trade publication, newspaper, purchasing blog, or even me, I recommend reading these guidelines first.

1. Understand Your Organization's Rules. Most organizations will want to review, edit, and approve any interview before it is published. And some organizations want you to get permission from a corporate communications group before you even agree to participate in an article. Know what the rules are and communicate them to your media contact as early as possible.

2. Know The Timeline. All publications - online or offline - have deadlines. An article that is due to go to press on March 10 needs your final input far before March 9. So know when the deadline is, how long an internal review will take, and leave a little breathing room for yourself so you know how fast you need to do your part. If the publisher's deadline is March 10 and your internal review will take a week, you may want to have your part done around February 21st.

3. Never Copy And Paste From A Manual. When you're relaxing in bed at night, do you read your purchasing department manual. Of course not! Why not? Because it is booo-oooring! Writers depend on their interview subjects to make their articles come alive. If you paste your boring manual text into an email interview, the writer will likely not want to use quotes from you because it will bore the reader (i.e., their customer).

4. Use Bullet Points Sparingly. For some reason, us purchasing professionals love bullet points. And they can be helpful in certain documents. But if you're answering every question with bullet points, it is an indication that you're not giving a good interview. You don't talk in bullet points, so don't respond to an interview in all bullet points. Use them only to answer questions like "Can you tell me five keys to achieving this type of success?"

5. Write In Full Sentences. Writers love to use quotes. Having your quotes used is a testament to your talent. But if you don't write in full sentences either your quotes won't get used or, if they do get used, you won't sound very smart. If asked something like "What are your goals for the year?" "Our goals are focused on achieving more savings than last year, improving supplier performance, and implementing a new Procure To Pay system" is better than "save more money, improve supplier performance, implement system."

6. Don't Use Abbreviations. If you're responding to an email interview, write how you talk don't write how you write. For example, you may write "managing the SC" and one of your co-workers may know that you meant managing the supply chain. But in an email interview, if you mean managing the supply chain, write "managing the supply chain!"

7. Don't Be Curt. If all of your answers are shorter than the questions, it is a red flag that you're not doing a good job as an interviewee.

8. Write Conversationally. Quotes come off best when the reader can imagine hearing your voice saying the words. Use colorful words. "When we presented our savings to management, their jaws practically hit the floor!" is so much more useful than "Our savings exceeded the expectations set forth by management."

9. Always Be Ready For The Typical Last Question. Many reporters close the interview with a question like "What else might someone need to know about this topic?" This is your chance to totally control the direction of the interview. Have the perfect response scripted as the answer to this question will often get quoted word-for-word.

I hope that these help you.

If you are a purchasing practitioner and have an interesting story to tell, contact me. I am always looking for interview subjects for the Purchasing & Supply Management Podcast Series.

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, February 13, 2007

The SPSM Continues Its Global Reach

I'm a little tardy on the SPSM summary for January, but better late than never, right?

Last month saw the first SPSM's certified in Russia and Belgium which was pretty cool. And we certified lots of people from all areas of the world with a particularly large number from the USA and Mexico.

Although Mexico doesn't get a lot of headlines, the country is quietly becoming a business powerhouse. There are quite a lot of SPSM's in Mexico and the number is growing. We've already issued many new SPSM Certifications to Mexican students this month.

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, February 10, 2007

BBB Membership

In the past few weeks, Next Level Purchasing has become a member of the Better Business Bureau and its OnLine Reliability Program. This involved passing a screening by the BBB.

With all of the spammers out there, it is critical for people to know what is a legitimate online education program and what is not. So BBB membership is one of the many steps we'll be taking in the early part of this year to separate ourselves from the "degree based on your life experience" online education providers that give online education a bad name.

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, February 09, 2007

Supply Management Contract Writing Reviewed

In addition to the massive improvements that I mentioned earlier in the week, we are also working on a new online class to be available later this month. So those things have left me with little time for blogging.

Fortunately, Michael Lamoureux over at the Sourcing Innovation Blog has reviewed our class "Supply Management Contract Writing" in two parts this week. You can check out his reviews here and here.

There is a lot of Next Level Purchasing news to bring you up to date on, so I hope to be a better blogger next week. Stay tuned!

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, February 07, 2007

Improvements

Whew!

Here at Next Level Purchasing, we've been tremendously busy with our annual content improvement process. While we make improvements throughout the entire year, once a year we go bananas and improve a ton of things at once!

Here are a few things we've done as part of this process...

1. To enhance your learning experience, we've teamed up with Purchasing Magazine to present several "Extra Resources" to students enrolled in each of our full-length online classes. Within each class, we'll link you to five articles that expand on the subject matter covered in that class! Each full-length class includes different Extra Resources.

2. We've reviewed all of the classes and made improvements. Many of these improvements were driven from the suggestions of our students, so...thank you!

3. We've made "Microsoft Project For Purchasing Professionals" compatible with Microsoft's recently released version of Project, Project 2007. If you're already enrolled in this purchasing class, look for the new instructions on the first page after you log in.

We have a lot more going on. I'll save more for blog posts later in the week!

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, February 01, 2007

Should Purchasing Manage The Warehouse?

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "Should Purchasing Manage The Warehouse?"

If you did, be sure to download the FREE podcast that accompanies it. Art Avery and I really covered so much in the interview that I couldn't fit within the confines of PurchTips, from RFID to problem detection to the things that might surprise a purchasing professional who is put in charge of the warehouse. I think it's well worth a listen.

The release of this podcast also marked the first time we've made transcripts to our podcasts available. The list price is $19.99, but we're offering them for an introductory price of just $5 (US) for a limited time.

My advice: buy the transcripts to all six podcasts now. It's a $120 value for just $30. You can't beat it.

Click here to download the podcasts for FREE or purchase transcripts.

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

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