Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Supplier Experiment With Case Studies

One of the nice things about being the president of an organization is that it allows me to conduct real-life experiments to test my hypotheses about purchasing. Obviously, that is not something I wanted to do with someone else's money when I held purchasing positions for my previous employers!

Way back in 2005, I wrote an article entitled "Supplier Size: It Matters." Having different strategies for suppliers of different sizes is actually an issue that I have a particular passion about.

So this year, I've done some experimenting with Next Level Purchasing's supplier selections to illustrate what works and what doesn't when working with suppliers of various sizes. So, over the next couple of weeks, I am going to be posting some case studies of how various supplier selections worked out.

In particular, I'll be blogging about some experiences with very big suppliers and very small suppliers. I'll be sharing some success stories and some horror stories. And I'll be tying it all together with a series of tips on how to consider supplier size when making a supplier selection and what you have to focus on to make a supplier relationship work when dealing with suppliers of polar opposite sizes.

So check back over the next couple of days for the first case study in the 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

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Requisition Template Addition

I hope that you enjoyed the article "Your Requisition Template Isn't Enough."

In this blog post, you'll get the link to the sample questionnaire that I described in the article. But for those of you who are PurchTips subscribers who have not yet visited this blog, please let me tell you a little more about it.

PurchTips is designed to share well-thought out educational articles that present immediately implementable ideas. Each edition of PurchTips is a specific length and comes out every other Tuesday.

If you like PurchTips and would love even more ideas and insights into purchasing, then this blog is for you.

Here, I post new blurbs about three times per week. My posts here differ from what I share in PurchTips in that:
  • There is not a standard length to my posts. They might be one sentence or several pages.
  • While I incorporate the same educational approach as I do with PurchTips, I also use this blog to share my opinions and do mention vendors by name
  • I encourage dialogue among readers who use the comments link at the end of each post

So if you like PurchTips and would like more food for purchasing thought, be sure to check back at this blog a few times a week: http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/blog

Now, here's that sample questionnaire: click here.

I hope that you come back to visit this blog more often!

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, October 26, 2007

Purchasing Podcasts Now On iTunes!

Yes, Next Level Purchasing's "Purchasing & Supply Management Podcast Series" is now available on iTunes.

You can subscribe and download all of our podcasts for FREE! There's over 4 hours worth of free training audios and videos there now and the number will be growing.

I personally love free podcast subscriptions through iTunes. Once you sign up, new editions of the podcasts that you've subscribed to get downloaded automatically every time you open iTunes. No more searching for the content you want - it comes to you with no effort on your part! And, of course, if you have an iPod, those podcasts get downloaded to your iPod automatically every time you charge it!

Kudos go out to Megan, our External Relations Coordinator, for setting this up!

Oh, you don't have an iPod but were thinking about getting one? You may want to consider enrolling in the SPSM Certification & Enhanced Results Program. An iPod is included and it is loaded with the SPSM Multimedia Study & Implementation Guide.

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, October 22, 2007

Purchasing People on Facebook

I just set up my profile on Facebook. So, if you're on it (or were thinking about joining), please send me a friend request.

MySpace seems like it has its trashy elements and LinkedIn seems boring, so Facebook appears to be the best social network for purchasing professionals at this point.

I'd love to connect with PurchTips subscribers and put faces with some names.

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

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Purchasing-Related Scam

I just read in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that there is a new scam that has affected the Supervalu grocery chain.

Apparently, someone pretended to be an employee of a couple of its suppliers and asked it to redirect its payments to new bank accounts. Of course, the bank accounts belonged to the scammer(s) and not the real suppliers.

So there's some new stuff for purchasing professionals to address in their contracts, policies, and procedures, preferably sooner rather than later:

1. How suppliers are required to notify your company of changes to remittance instructions

2. Who verifies and/or authorizes changes to remittance information in your system

3. How access to changes to remittance information will be restricted

4. What the clerk making remittance information changes has to have in order to process changes

When I think of the companies I worked for and how easy it would have been to fall prey to this time of scam, I find it pretty scary.

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, October 19, 2007

Purchasing Certification Map


If you haven't visited our Web page describing the SPSM Certification Program this month, you've missed a whole host of updates. One of my favorites, originated by Kara (our Manager of Administration & Special Projects), is the image above.

So when I tell you our purchasing education is globally recognized, now you'll have a better idea exactly what I mean!

Have a great weekend!

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, October 18, 2007

Boeing Supply Chain

Yesterday morning, I had one of the more perplexing moments in front of my RSS reader.

Purchasing Magazine published a story in which they named Steven Schaffer, Boeing's Vice President of Global Partners, its Supply Chain Manager of the Year.

That itself wasn't perplexing. But what was perplexing was the content of the story.

It started off going into how a supply problem forced a significant delay of the the much-anticipated first flight of Boeing's new aircraft. Then, it quoted Shaffer's solution to the problem as "We trust our suppliers."

I don't know about you, but I started to wonder if it was April Fools Day with the way the article started. Was this an underhanded rip on Boeing?

It turned out to be serious.

Now I am not doubting Schaffer's capabilities one bit. You don't get to his position in a company like Boeing without being one of the best, if not the best, at what you do.

And I definitely won't pretend for one second that I could do a better job than Schaffer. He may just have the most challenging purchasing job in the world and, throughout my career, I certainly have made mistakes along the way.

But isn't it a bit strange to provide an award to someone in the midst of an unresolved, high-profile performance problem?

To be clear, I'm not saying that the problem was even Schaffer's fault.

But could it have been? Sure. Here are potential sources of the problem - total speculation:

  1. Boeing's purchasing provided unreliable supply market data to the planning team that ultimately scheduled the first flight
  2. Boeing's purchasing wasn't viewed as important enough to be involved in the development or scheduling
  3. Boeing's purchasing didn't investigate the potential of a supply market shortage
  4. Boeing didn't act quickly enough to assure supply
  5. Countless other potential sources

I would have liked to see Purchasing address whether these items could have contributed to the program delay. I also think that the timing would have been better if the award was given after a problem had been solved, rather than in the midst of it.

What do you think?

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, October 17, 2007

Purchasing Technology Layoffs

Uh oh...things are sounding like 2001 again.

Today, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that CombineNet laid off a number of people and I just saw a Spend Matters post with similar news about Emptoris.

What's next?

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, October 15, 2007

The Negotiation Technique

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "A Negotiation Technique With A New Name."

Using the "reverse differentiation" negotiation technique is a great first step towards becoming an effective win-win negotiator.

Experts say that traditional negotiation focuses on "dividing the pie" so that you get a bigger piece of the pie and that win-win negotiation focuses on "expanding the pie" so that both parties benefit moreso by collaborating rather than competing. This is true, but it is also an advanced approach to procurement negotiation.

If you're just getting started as a negotiator, expanding the pie is a quantum leap. Using the reverse differentiation negotiation technique is a great intermediate step between being an adversarial negotiator and a seasoned expand-the-pie negotiator. It inspires you to "sell" the supplier on the benefits of working with you rather than beating the supplier up and stating the consequences of not agreeing to your every desire.

So if you're not quite prepared for expanding the pie, using the reverse differentiation negotiation technique can really help you become more of a collaborative negotiator.

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, October 12, 2007

Purchasing Thoughts For The Weekend

Here are just some random things bouncing around my head on this busy Friday...

  • I just read this sales article called "What Buyers Want You to Know." I'm not convinced it's entirely accurate, but it may give you a chuckle (especially the part about no one talking to a buyer at a tailgate party).
  • One thing I hate about making annual purchasing predictions is that sometimes my predictions outpace reality. In other words, I predict things for a certain year that actually don't happen until a few years later. At the end of the year, I look like a doofus for making predictions that don't come to fruition. Such was the case when I published my annual predictions in the January 13, 2004 edition of PurchTips and predicted that purchasing with wireless handhelds would be a hot topic. Not so much in 2004. But Jason over at Spend Matters reported that Emptoris this week unveiled its eProcurement software that works on an iPhone. 'bout time!!!
  • The China sourcing furor isn't dying. Just this week, I've encountered new mentions of China-related recalls on The Tonight Show, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and (I even get to do my first hat tip here) Tony Poshek. While every one is talking about evaluating or reversing China sourcing strategies, I've not seen anyone talking about something that is, in my opinion, more important: evaluating specifications and contracts with Chinese suppliers. For all of these products, do the buying companies' specifications specify the paint to be used or do they leave it up to the supplier? What about the contract? Do the contracts require that all materials conform to US laws and standards? If they do, do they specifically mention lead paint? While everyone wants to point the fingers at China, these problems may be caused by poor purchasing practices.
  • My car rental experience with Thrifty in Atlanta was excellent - obviously much better than my Thrifty car rental in Chicago. The aberration in Chicago with Thrifty reminded me of some lessons learned early in my purchasing career: (a) even good suppliers have bad days; (b) just because one of a supplier's plants performs well doesn't mean that another one will - be cautious if a good supplier says that they are moving production of your products; and (c) a supplier's people make a difference - evaluate the people when you evaluate the supplier.

That's about all for now. Talk to ya next 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

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Live From Procuri Empower!

Spontaneity can be fun.

Earlier in the day here at Procuri's Empower conference, I had the chance to catch up with blogger extrordinaire, Jason Busch from Spend Matters.

Incidentally, I had some equipment with me here in Atlanta so I could work on some multimedia material for one of our customers. So I asked Jason if he would like to do a totally spur-of-the-moment podcast about things here at Empower.

Jason graciously obliged and also invited Doug Smock to join us. So the three of us passed around my microphone and shared our thoughts about the conference for your listening pleasure.

Use the link or controls below to listen to this podcast. Hopefully you'll think that it's the next best thing to being here (but you really missed out on the tasty quesadillas and the oh-so-naughty desert bar)!

Right click here and choose "Save Target As" to download the podcast or:



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

Procuri-Ariba-SciQuest

As I sit here in the Partner Pavillion at the Procuri Empower conference, I am staring at the SciQuest booth. And it made me think about a topic that hasn't been covered by the other bloggers in the field to my knowledge.

Because Procuri doesn't have an eProcurement product, it had partnered with SciQuest to fill this gap. Now that Ariba will swallow Procuri, SciQuest will lose a sales channel.

How much will this matter?

I don't know but, in supply chain technology, few providers can simply shrug off any sales channel loss even if it is minor.

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, October 05, 2007

Procuri Empower Next Week

It looks like ProcuRiba (as I like to refer to Procuri after their acquisition by Ariba had been announced) has a great conference planned next week: Procuri Empower.

If you're going, let me know at cdominick [at] nextlevelpurchasing [dot] com.

Have a great weekend!

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, October 04, 2007

This Week's Purchasing Controversy

Don't be fooled by the mostly supportive comments on my blog post from Tuesday. A lot of PurchTips subscribers railed at me for quoting a PETA representative in the article "Purchasing, Social Responsibility, & Animals."

I provided them with the same opportunity to share their comments on this blog, but they didn't. That leaves me with so many questions...

1. Why exactly do they hate PETA?

2. If they hate PETA, does this mean that they support animal cruelty? (My assumption is that it does mean this, but I'd love to definitively know if my assumption is right or wrong here.)

3. Why do they decline the opportunity to share their views in a public forum (even anonymously) if they feel so strongly?

4. Would they leave their jobs if they were asked to implement more animal-friendly purchasing practices?

As I stated in my own comment to Tuesday's post, I was NOT making any type of statement that you should not eat meat, you should not hunt, etc. I personally am not a vegetarian nor an animal rights activist. What I hope was clear about the article was that animal-friendly purchasing is a topic that will escalate in visibility so, for your own career success, you should learn what you can do to support this aspect of socially responsible purchasing.

If you're interested in getting a non-PETA perspective on animals and corporate social responsibility, you may want to check out the book "Diet For A New America" by John Robbins.

Mr. Robbins was the heir apparent to the Baskin-Robbins ice cream empire, but he declined it because he knew too well what goes on "behind the scenes" in the food industry. As a purchasing professional interested in cost savings, you might read with interest how he describes some of the things that happen in the food industry in the name of cost savings.

I must warn you, however. This book is very graphic in its descriptions. My wife read 1/3 of it seven years ago and hasn't eaten meat since.

In closing, let me say that this will probably be the last blog post on this topic for some time. I have a backlog of things I want to cover here and in PurchTips and I feel that a week's worth of blogging on any single topic is enough.

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, October 03, 2007

Random Purchasing Tidbits

...A decent number of comments have popped up on yesterday's post about the reactions I got to the article "Purchasing, Social Responsibility, & Animals." This is obviously a "hot button topic," so let's keep the discussion going to see what views will impact the purchasing profession going forward.

...I found it interesting that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette yesterday published an article citing that the Director of Corporate Sourcing at Mellon Financial has been dismissed as a result of the merger with Bank of New York. It's sad news for purchasing in Pittsburgh, but almost good news in that a purchasing executive made the front page of the business section. You always hear about the departure of CEO's and CFO's in mergers, so it is almost like purchasing executives' departures are not newsworthy. I guess that this means that the Talent Crunch is now just a little bit lighter with one more person available for the many open strategic purchasing jobs.

...After last week's post "Who The H*ck Is Tony Poshek?" I was fortunate enough to have Tony introduce himself by email. It turns out that he was a short-time resident here in Pittsburgh. He has generously offered to tip me off to some of the more quirky purchasing-related stories that he comes across, so don't be surprised if you see one more blogger giving "hat tips to Tony Poshek."

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, October 02, 2007

Today's Provocative Article

Wow! My inbox was filled today with responses to today's article "Purchasing, Social Responsibility, & Animals."

It appears that purchasing professionals have some very strong opinions on the topic. Some felt that this type of article is very much needed. Some felt that it was akin to left-wing activism.

I am encouraging everyone who wrote me to share their thoughts by commenting on this blog. I think that there is a conversation to be had and I think that keeping your thoughts just to me doesn't help advance purchasing as much as it would if it were shared with the community.

Don't worry, you can remain anonymous. But I think that, whatever your opinion, your voice should be heard.

Click the comment link below.

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, October 01, 2007

Purchasing Social Responsibility: What's Next?

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "Purchasing, Social Responsibility, & Animals." In my opinion, this is one of the more groundbreaking topics I've introduced in PurchTips.

This article was based on the interview I recorded with PETA's Director of Corporate Affairs for the Purchasing & Supply Management Podcast Series. I highly recommend that you give it a listen because it covers so much more than I had space to summarize in the article.

With all of the hullabaloo about social responsibility, it's kind of sad that animal welfare has been blatantly ignored by the organizations who claim to champion socially responsible purchasing, but fall woefully short. Oh, well, I've personally taken their other shortcomings upon my shoulders before, so I am more than happy to assume responsibility for taking this purchasing and supply management concept to the level it should be as well.

You probably know that one of those organizations has copied from me before, so they'll likely follow my path on this concept years later, too. But, with animal welfare, at least it will be supporting a positive impact on our world and not just an attempt at self-preservation.

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

The Purchasing Certification Breakthrough!

Improved Purchasing Certification Offers Portable
Audio & Video Training on Free iPod

Next Level Purchasing Expands Their SPSM Certification Programs

Pittsburgh - October 1, 2007 – A newly expanded certification program for senior level purchasing professionals from Next Level Purchasing is now offering the latest technology, including a free iPod loaded with audios and videos, to help students in the program implement what they learn and maximize their testing score. The Senior Professional in Supply Management® (SPSM) Certification and Enhanced Results Program provides managers and other professionals in the purchasing field an opportunity to obtain certification in their industry while gaining advanced knowledge in easily accessible formats.

“Most professionals know that obtaining the globally-recognized SPSM Certification demonstrates their qualifications and abilities in the purchasing field,” says Charles Dominick, SPSM, president of Next Level Purchasing. “But we wanted also wanted to give tools to help the practitioner grow. By using state-of-the-art technology, we’re able to provide a certification program that’s meaningful to both the professional and his or her company.”

Certified SPSMs are purchasers from industries including health care, manufacturing, financial services, information technology, tourism, aerospace, government, oil, agriculture, and many more. “Earning your SPSM Certification ensures that you won't be falling behind your peers or competitors,” he says.

As part of the SPSM Certification and Enhanced Results Program, participants will receive six personal and interactive online classes, with Certified Instructor Charles Dominick, SPSM, president of Next Level Purchasing, plus these additional study components:

  • A 30-minute implementation consultation by phone with the instructor
  • An eBook called “Supply Management in the Real World” featuring transcribed interviews with purchasing and supply management experts
  • Next Level Purchasing’s exclusive SPSM Multimedia Study & Implementation Guide. This guide is a collection of over 50 audio and video clips, all loaded onto an iPod that the student gets to keep forever. It is designed to further help the student implement the techniques they learn during the program and to maximize their score on the SPSM Exam.

“We think providing these additional services, including the SPSM Multimedia Study & Implementation Guide, allows for greater success for those seeking a certification,” says Dominick. “It is a true performance improvement, career advancement system.”

An official Education Partner of the National Contract Management Association and member of the Better Business Bureau's Online Reliability Program, Next Level Purchasing’s SPSM Certification and Enhanced Results Program is completely self-paced, allowing the participant to take up to two years to complete the study and exam.

Enrollment in the SPSM Certification and Enhanced Results Program is $1,749 per student. The price includes six online classes, testing fees, application fees, creation and worldwide delivery of the award and certificate, the additional study components and iPod.

Purchasing professionals may also register for basic SPSM Certification Program for $1,149. This program does not include the additional study components or the iPod.

For more information, go to http://www.nextlevelpurchasing.com/spsm.html or email inquiries to spsm1@nextlevelpurchasing.com.

About Next Level Purchasing (www.nextlevelpurchasing.com)

Next Level Purchasing was founded in 2000 by Charles Dominick, SPSM, a former purchasing executive for more than 10 years. The company’s mission is to help purchasing professionals learn techniques to help them save money for their employers while increasing their own earnings.

Next Level Purchasing is a virtual company that uses state-of-the-art technology to help teach purchasing professionals using self-directed online classes and mini courses, so students can learn new ideas at their own pace. In 2004, Next Level Purchasing launched the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) Certification Program, the first purchasing certification designed to be both a globally recognized certification as well as the most modern certification available.

The company is an official Educational Partner of the National Contract Management Association. The American Production and Inventory Control Society, the State of Texas, and many other organizations accept its continuing education hours towards their program requirements.

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