Friday, January 29, 2010

Is ISM No Longer A True Procurement Association?

Earlier this week, Purchasing Magazine reported the results of ISM's controversial membership vote regarding whether or not salespeople were allowed to join ISM and attend ISM events. The results were that about 75% of voters voted to allow salespeople to join.

I admit to being surprised by the outcome of this vote. Nearly every person I had spoken to was vehemently against allowing salespeople to join. And other professional associations (e.g., the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Medical Association, etc.) strictly limit their membership to those in a specific role and exclude salespeople.

So, with this change, what has ISM become?

Can it really be considered a true procurement association going forward?

Can ISM now be considered more of a "chamber of commerce" - connecting buyers and sellers - than a professional association?

Will it lose the 23% of members who voted against it?

What proportion of the membership will be comprised of salespeople?

Will it recruit enough new sales members to offset the loss of procurement members in order to help the organization return to financial health?

Will ISM change its name (again) to reflect this change in audience? Long-time procurement professionals know that the organization has changed its name multiple times in its history.

What do you think?

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
Next Level Purchasing . com

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Purchasing Is Important In Small Business, Too! Part I

I love short business books. There's something rewarding about tearing through a good business book in a week and learning something or being inspired.

I felt that rewarding feeling recently when I received as a gift the book "Treat Your Customers" by Bob Migliani - a book about service lessons a Fortune 500 executive learned while working at his family's Dairy Queen store. While I expected to enjoy the book's tips on service, I didn't expect to read purchasing advice aimed at small business owners.

In this post and future parts of this series, I will share some purchasing-related excerpts. And I encourage you to keep an eye out for the book - I think my wife saw it at the Dollar Tree - so that you can enjoy the other inspirational business lessons.

In Chapter 22, the author recounts a time when he first became responsible for purchasing, inventory management, and payment. He recalls an incident where he "must have put [a certain supplier's] invoices in a folder and simply forgotten about them." The result was a deterioration in supplier performance: being put on hold for a long time, late deliveries, and curt treatment from a customer service representative.

It didn't occur to the author that the root cause of this service decline was his failure to pay the supplier on time. That is, it didn't occur to him until he received a "very firm collection notice."

Having never experienced this type of supplier treatment, the author discussed the matter with another supplier. According to that supplier, "the relationship between companies and their suppliers was about respect." The supplier went on to say that companies that fail to pay on time, get a bad reputation in the supplier community and that suppliers "react by not giving them good customer service or a fast response to their orders if the company didn't have enough respect to pay the supplier on time."

This incident helped the author learn an important lesson that he passes along to business owners: "A good relationship between you and your suppliers is invaluable for your business in terms of better customer service, more favorable finance terms, or just plain faster deliveries. For obvious reasons, a customer who pays on time is valued. And a valued customer can demand many favorable terms - which include not paying during the tough times.

"Since that incident, we've never neglected to pay our bills on time and have benefited greatly in terms of better discounts and faster and more frequent delivery times. Always pay your bills on time. It's the fair thing to do and can lead to enormous rewards for your business in the long run."

You probably work for a company much larger than an independently owned Dairy Queen shop and you probably know that on-time payment is important. But have you followed through to make sure that on-time payment happens for your suppliers?

When it comes to helping your company, it never hurts to have a gentle reminder.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
Next Level Purchasing . com

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Whitepaper Wednesday - Breakdowns in the Source-To-Pay Process

Welcome back to another installment of Whitepaper Wednesday here on the Purchasing Certification Blog. This week, I'll be reviewing a whitepaper entitled "Source To Pay 2.0" from Genpact and Purchasing Magazine.

This whitepaper focuses mostly on the problems found in processes leading from a sourcing project to the actual payment to the supplier rather than the solutions to those problems. Nonetheless, it does a good job of directing attention to some issues that deserve it, especially common errors such that happen when "treating [an organization's] source-to-pay subprocesses as discrete rather than interrelated parts of a connected whole."

One of those common errors is negotiating payment terms at a strategic level that are not actually implemented at the tactical level. This happens when "inadequate vendor-master data controls result in incorrect terms being set up in transactional systems." The whitepaper also reveals that non-PO invoices are often paid without ever referencing the contract and that "payment terms are often simply overridden in accounts payable functions where there is pressure to clear backlogs" and suggests that payment analytics can reveal disparities.

The whitepaper also reminds the reader that on-time payment can help sourcing organizations negotiate payment term extensions and early payment can result in price discounts, both resulting in a reduction of working capital requirements - something many organizations have homed in on since the credit crisis began in 2008.

The whitepaper offers another example of processes ripe for improvement by discussing eProcurement and eSourcing before building the case for Genpact's services. If you'd like your own copy of this whitepaper, you can obtain one from Purchasing Magazine's Web site (registration required).

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Find More Good Resources For Procurement Leaders?
Check Out Our Web Site's New Whitepaper Section At
http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/WPcharles

Monday, January 25, 2010

When The Going Gets Tough, Use Cost Savings Ratios!

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "How To Use Cost Savings Ratios & When."

This article is actually the second one that originated from a podcast I did with Jim Nelles. And it may not be the last - the podcast was that good!

Though the article explained the reasons behind using cost savings ratios as opposed to straight monetary figures, I thought that this blog post could add value by including more examples of cost savings ratios, so here are a few more...
  • Cost of shop supplies per manufacturing employee per year
  • Cost of health benefits per employee per year
  • Cost of maintenance per company vehicle per year
  • Cost of operating an engine per hour (I used this in the airline industry)

Which ratios do you use? Post a comment to share!

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
Next Level Purchasing . com

Friday, January 22, 2010

What Are The Benefits of NOT Being Certified?

One of the most common questions procurement professionals ask once they start thinking about earning a purchasing certification like the SPSM® is: "What are the benefits of being certified?"

That's a fair question. And one that's easy to answer.

First, procurement professionals who have the SPSM® Certification earn more money than those who don't. Our research indicates it. Purchasing Magazine's research indicates it. And we're talking over $10,000 per year more.

Second, procurement professionals who have the SPSM® Certification save their employers more money than those who don't. And what happens when you perform like that for your employer? Naturally, your career tends to be more successful.

Occasionally, someone will still not "get it." They may say something like "I've been in procurement for x years. There's no substitute for real-world experience."

Yes, real-world experience is valuable. But why should having experience dissuade you from earning a certification?

What is the benefit of NOT being certified?

Is there a benefit to not being certified? Or is fear of failure guiding decisions to keep one's qualifications status quo?

When it comes to certification, procurement professionals need to realize that coming up short on a certification exam should be viewed as a "temporary defeat" not a "failure." I learned the concept of temporary defeat vs. failure by reading the book "Think & Grow Rich." Here are some excerpts from that book that I've found inspirational and you might, too:

"Remember when your plans fail, that temporary defeat is not permanent failure...Thomas A. Edison 'failed' ten thousand times before he perfected the incandescent light bulb. That is -- he met with temporary defeat ten thousand times, before his efforts were crowned with success...No man is ever whipped, until he QUITS -- in his own mind...If you give up before your goal is reached, you are a 'quitter.' A QUITTER NEVER WINS -- AND -- A WINNER NEVER QUITS."

So, whether it is pursuing a certification or anything else, do not fear failure. And also think about this - if you fail the SPSM® Exam, it's only $75 to retake it.

Back to the question asked in the subject of this post...There is no benefit to NOT being certified. No one ever hired someone and said "You got the job because you were the only candidate WITHOUT a certification." No one ever got a pay increase accompanied by a note that said "Congratulations on another year that you resisted getting a certification."

So, if you know the benefits of being certified but are still hesitant to pursue a certification, you may want to ask yourself if there is a hidden fear lurking in your head that is separating you from greater success.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
Next Level Purchasing . com

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shouldn't A Supplier Eat Its Own Cooking?

Imagine a supplier trying to sell you a product or service. And that supplier certainly engages in the type of activity involving the use of that product or service.

Would you feel uncomfortable if that supplier didn't use the very product or service that it is trying to sell (i.e., "eat its own cooking")?

I understand that Ariba uses its own software in its procurement department. Makes sense, right?

And you gotta believe that a company like Boise Cascade would use its own paper in its offices.

But what about a certification organization? If its leaders don't possess the certification, should you trust in it?

Do you believe that it is unthinkable for a certification organization to be led by those without the very certification they promote? Well, you may be shocked.

Two days ago, one of the certification organizations in the purchasing and supply management field announced its board of directors. Of the 15 directors, a measly three possessed that organization's current certification. And the chairman isn't even one of those three!

Yet, with regard to its current certification, one of this organization's promotional pieces reads: "The designation is a sign that I'm serious enough to find the time away from my family, my job to study for this and take this. So I think, as a leader, you have to lead by example."

Well, I don't know what you read into this, but it seems to me that the example clearly says that the organization's own leaders aren't serious enough about the certification and that it's not worth the bother.

Is it unreasonable to expect the board of a certification organization to be 100% certified? Well, just look at the board of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and you have a benchmark that says that a board should be fully certified.

You wouldn't buy a product or service from a supplier that didn't use that product or service itself, would you? So why pursue certification from an organization whose leadership doesn't value the very certification that it promotes?

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
Next Level Purchasing . com

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Whitepaper Wednesday - Avoiding Supply Chain Risks

Welcome back to another installment of Whitepaper Wednesday here on the Purchasing Certification Blog. Today, I'll be reviewing a whitepaper entitled "The Five Most Common Supply Chain Risks and What You Can Do To Avoid Them" from Aravo and Purchasing Magazine.

What a great title! And when I first downloaded the PDF and saw that it was only three pages long, I said to myself "This is my type of whitepaper!"

Unfortunately, though the whitepaper touched on some good points, three pages - actually two because one was a cover page - didn't seem like enough for covering the topic of avoiding five supply chain risks. Nonetheless, there are some excerpts worth repeating here.

For example, the first supply chain risk mentioned is "Trusting historical trends." With regard to this "risk," the whitepaper advises the reader to "utilize processes and solutions that can automatically update information from suppliers, allowing you to track against current data that will be meaningful to supplier performance in the next year...such as credit rating, delivery performance for the past six months, insurance certifications, product quality for the past six months, etc."

Yes, that is indeed advisable. But the whitepaper fails to go into depth about what exactly the reader should be looking for in such data and what actions should be taken upon identifying red flags.

Another excerpt I'll cite is from the last "risk" listed, "Limiting risk assessment by relying on too few factors." The advice given in this section of the whitepaper is "collect and analyze multiple metrics on suppliers. Be sure to include insurance certificates, supplier delivery performance, product quality, factory audit results, etc."

Again, good, if not too general, advice. A little redundant with the first "risk," also.

If you're looking for quick, high-level bullet points on supply risk avoidance, maybe this is the whitepaper for you. You can download your own copy from Purchasing Magazine's Web site (registration required). But I tend to be more of a fan of Aravo's blog, @Risk, which explores supply chain risk in more detail and is actually quite a thought provoking read. I recommend that you check that out as well.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Find More Good Resources For Procurement Leaders?
Check Out Our Web Site's New Whitepaper Section At
http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/WPcharles

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Does Strict Sourcing Actually Increase Backdoor Selling?

Earlier this month, I presented strategic sourcing principles to a sales team. Needless to say, we had some interesting conversations!

One of the topics that was heavily discussed is backdoor selling. The team asked me if I thought that they should refrain from contacting someone within the organization who is not on the sourcing team when they are instructed in the RFP not to do so.

Of course, I suggested that they refrain from deviating from the procedures established by the sourcing team. After all, I've personally disqualified suppliers who were unwilling to play by the RFP rules.

When I said this, the executive VP stood up and reminded the team that my opinion was that of a sourcing professional and not of a sales person. He then stated that when they are "frozen out" from communicating with the buying organization - in other words, they are told to simply submit their proposals and are not given the opportunity to meet with the sourcing team - they always lose. But when they find a "white knight" within the buying organization, they are able to overcome being frozen out and often win.

This VP summed it up by saying: when there is a strict, arms-length RFP process and they are prevented from speaking with a person of influence within the organization, there is a nearly 100% chance that they will lose. When they speak with a white knight, they have a better chance of winning. In other words, they would rather lose because they violated the rules than lose without having had the opportunity to communicate with the buying organization.

Now, obviously, most of us know why procurement departments restrict communications within the organization: so that a fair sourcing process can be conducted and to protect confidential information. But has that led sourcing teams to go overboard in how they prevent dialogue? Personally, I've been on the sales side of sourcing initiatives where the seller is held at arms-length to such a degree that suppliers can't even learn what the buying organization is really seeking.

In my opinion, strict sourcing does increase backdoor selling. That's because some sourcing teams do not allow people of influence to be accessible through the front door. Then, if one supplier does break through the veritable communication fort that the buyer has erected, that supplier may have an advantage over those that have failed to do so.

I am not saying that we should go back to a free-for-all. But I do think sourcing teams should carefully consider facilitating access with influencers to all suppliers, of course ensuring that the procurement leader is present.

What do you think the solution is?

Be more strict? Or be more creative while also being fair?

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
Next Level Purchasing . com

Monday, January 18, 2010

Video: What Does It Take To Become A CPO?



To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
Next Level Purchasing . com

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shouldn't Decentralized Sourcing Prudence Exist In A Good Economy, Too?

Last week, I traveled to New Jersey to deliver a seminar for a client. While the seminar itself produced some blogworthy nuggets that you'll be hearing about soon, today I'm going to share a little story about my limo ride from the hotel back to the airport.

(And, if you're curious, the client was the one who insisted on getting me and paying for a limo. If it was up to me and my sense of thriftiness, a cab would have done just fine.)

As an entrepreneur, I can't help but to engage in dialog with small business owners when the opportunity arises. As someone who has dedicated the last decade-and-a-half or so to the procurement profession, I can't help but see the procurement implications in most business discussions.

Such was the case on this ride. I started asking the limo driver - who also happened to be the owner of the limo company - about how business was going. He confirmed my stated belief that a recession is a time when luxury services suffer.

In a very interesting portion of our conversation, he said "Things are so bad, even my corporate clients ask my price before booking me now!"

Think about that for a second...for a luxury-priced service, some employees - stewards of their companies' money, if you will - were not in the habit of even asking a price before agreeing to spend money that isn't theirs.

A little ridiculous, eh?

I think so. And I think that it is a procurement department's duty to instill some sort of evaluation process for decentralized purchases, even if the particular category or transaction is not part of Procurement's responsibility.

That doesn't mean having every decentralized buyer be educated in advanced negotiation tactics. It may just mean distributing instructions like: always ask for a price, always compare at least two available prices, and determine whether there is an acceptable probability of the supplier performing satisfactorily.

The basic premise of asking for a price shouldn't be something that is just done during difficult economic times. It, and other basic buying skills, should be ingrained in the process used by every individual who spends company money.

It is up to Procurement to drive that education through the organization.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
Next Level Purchasing . com

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Does Poor Supplier Performance Foreshadow Bankruptcy?

It is popular opinion to think that "the worst is behind us" with regard to the economic recession we've been in.

Do I agree? I'm not so sure.

I personally think that there is a risk - but not a certainty - of a "double-dip" recession. Why? Because there are a lot of companies that are hanging by the proverbial thread financially. Sure, a return to booming economic growth will take them off the edge but, if the economy ramps up more slowly than anticipated, these companies will not be able to make it.

Are some of these companies that are on the bubble (darn, I'm using a lot of cliches today) your suppliers? If so, don't get too comfortable that we're back to a healthy economy just yet.

A piece that Tim Minahan wrote for Supply Excellence a year ago is still as valuable today as it was then. In that post, Tim gives some tips for assessing the health of your supply base, writing "Look for early warning signs. Drops in quality or shipment delays can be indications that the supplier has cut too deep into its operations. More frequent requests for early payment or changes in sales and support personnel should also raise a red flag. While these symptoms may not necessarily belay supplier troubles, they should warrant further investigation."

So true. And I firmly believe that poor supplier performance does foreshadow bankruptcy.

Around the same time, Jason Busch at Spend Matters posted a "Supplier Bankruptcy Checklist" that also is still relevant today. One of the items in that checklist was "Aggressively monitor supplier performance (e.g., quality, on-time delivery, etc.). Performance related signals are often the most telling before a bankruptcy."

What got me thinking about this was the bankruptcy of a local moving company that bills itself as the official or preferred mover of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. You may remember from an earlier post of mine that I personally disqualified this mover from my own personal moving supplier selection because of publicly known performance issues in the form of bad reviews on the Internet and a whopping 41 complaints against them filed with the Better Business Bureau (actually, in the one month between my original post and this one, that company had seven more compliants filed).

Performance decline was definitely a leading indicator of this company's impending bankruptcy. Performance declines can be the procurement professional's best friend because they can alert you to a situation before it becomes a crisis so that you have time to address it and maintain continuity of supply.

Are your suppliers making you believe that a crisis is imminent?

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
Next Level Purchasing . com

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Whitepaper Wednesday - Choosing Categories For Sourcing

Welcome back to another installment of Whitepaper Wednesday here on the Purchasing Certification Blog.

I must apologize for not producing a Whitepaper Wednesday last week. I was in New Jersey delivering a seminar to a client. A couple of fascinating things came out of that trip and you'll be reading about them here soon.

Today, I'll be reviewing a whitepaper entitled "Choosing Spend Categories: Generate More Savings with this Simple Analysis" from K2 Sourcing.

This whitepaper is designed to help procurement departments select which categories of goods and services to select, in which order, when rolling out a strategic sourcing initiative. While spend analysis software is touted as the launching point for strategic sourcing, the whitepaper correctly points out that "Spend analysis in and of itself does not generate cost savings. One must act on the information. Because there is not enough time to work on every spend category simultaneously, it becomes critical to apply resources to the best opportunities. The best opportunities are those that will have the greatest and quickest favorable impact on your organization."

One of the first recommendations that the whitepaper makes is to assess a category's potential for savings and time required to source. It includes some well-thought-out criteria that can indicate that a category is "ripe" for savings, such as categories that:
  • Are in markets with excess capacity
  • That have been purchased from multiple sources
  • Haven't undergone a strategic review in at least two years
  • And more

Similar criteria is presented for determining the relative time required to source. The whitepaper closes with a recommended means of prioritizing those categories once the analysis is complete.

Because the whitepaper is short and sweet - only 3 pages - I am going to keep my review of it short and sweet as well. If you'd like your own copy of the whitepaper, you may obtain it from K2 Sourcing's Web site (registration required).

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Find More Good Resources For Procurement Leaders?
Check Out Our Web Site's New Whitepaper Section At
http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/WPcharles

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Art of Recommending a Sourcing Decision

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "Sourcing Decisions: How To Support Them."

There is one very important thing that I really want you to take from this article.

Year-over-year cost savings is often the "selling point" that sourcing professionals use to convince executives to accept their recommendations. While this is, and will always be, important, it is a somewhat overly myopic metric.

For it is not just the comparison against past performance that makes a sourcing decision a good one. It is also the comparison between alternatives going forward. Unfortunately, that is a point often missed.

While price and ability to perform are critical to executives, so are total cost, value, and risk. Address those items numerically in your recommendation and you're well on your way to successfully selling your superiors on a sourcing decision.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
Next Level Purchasing . com

Friday, January 08, 2010

Lifetime Purchasing Skills Retention? Yep!

This week, Next Level Purchasing announced that we are adding more value to the experiences that purchasing professionals have when they become our students. A lifetime of value. At no additional cost!

On Monday, we launched our new Lifetime Purchasing Skills Retention Package. Recognizing the need for purchasing professionals to access and utilize the tools and processes which they learn through Next Level Purchasing’s training not only today but into the future, this free package has been created and offered to all past, current and future students. No other purchasing training provider offers a lifetime skills retention program.

The Lifetime Purchasing Skills Retention Package enhances Next Level Purchasing’s mission of helping purchasing professionals have more rewarding careers. Students often learn some purchasing practices that are not required for their current day-to-day work duties, but may find these same practices are vital as they further their careers. When students do not have the opportunity to apply these processes, it is easy to forget what they’ve learned. The aim of the Lifetime Purchasing Skills Retention Package is to encourage a continual review of the course material a little at a time so that when purchasing challenges arise the student is prepared to handle them with confidence and be successful.

The three-pronged knowledge retention program from Next Level Purchasing is designed to provide students with several opportunities to review their course material after they have completed a Next Level Purchasing online course. Effective immediately, students who have completed an online course can access a four- to eight-page Quick Reference Guide for the course, giving them a review of key points on demand. Beginning in the first full week of January 2010, students will receive monthly emails that focus on important course learning objectives from the course. And, beginning in April 2010, students will have access to quarterly review webinars. These tools are provided for each individual online course that a student has completed and are included in the standard cost of the course, which has not changed with the addition of the Lifetime Purchasing Skills Retention Package.

Our goal is not just to provide training, but to give purchasing professionals what it takes to deliver measurable results in the workplace throughout their entire careers. The Lifetime Purchasing Skills Retention Package is designed to help companies continue to get value out of their training investment years, or even decades, after the actual training has concluded.

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

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Is Now The Time To Get HR To Update Procurement Job Descriptions?

Judging by the jobs page on the Next Level Purchasing site and other job posting media, hiring seems to be slowly picking up. So, in your organization, you may find yourself in the relieving circumstance of being able to advertise for a vacant procurement position.

Due to the recession, many positions that have become vacant in the past 12 to 15 months were simply not backfilled. And it may have been years since the previous incumbent was hired. This has implications for job descriptions.

Many job descriptions now require or prefer candidates with a purchasing certification. If the job description you have on file was created in 2004 or earlier, there is a good chance that it may reference the C.P.M. certification, available through ISM.

Well, this past Thursday (December 31, 2009) was the last day someone could take a C.P.M. exam. So, if someone has not yet taken the exam, they will never become a C.P.M.

Because of this deadline, one has to asks: if someone cannot get the C.P.M. certification, should it even be in a job description?

Personally, I feel that, from this point forward, the C.P.M. should not be in any job description used to fill an open position. More modern certifications like the SPSM® Certification, available through Next Level Purchasing, are out there, so why not update the job descriptions and requirements now?

An argument may be that there are many sharp people who have earned the C.P.M. Actually, I agree that many sharp people have earned the C.P.M. But many of those people have also kept up-to-date and earned the SPSM and/or newer credentials from ISM. If a purchasing professional stops at the C.P.M. when there are newer alternatives that are still earnable (as opposed to being phased out), what does that say about the purchasing professional's commitment to his or her profession?

For those readers that are C.P.M.'s, I want to be clear that I'm not saying that it is not honorable to have earned the C.P.M. It is honorable. What I am saying is that stopping there may have the appearance to employers that there is unfinished business.

Yep, it's time to talk with HR about those job descriptions. As the economy improves and you get ready to advertise purchasing jobs, be sure that the certifications you are preferring or requiring are the ones that represent procurement today and tomorrow, not yesterday.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
http://www.nextlevelpurchasing.com/

Monday, January 04, 2010

Business Predictions For 2010 & Beyond

The first blogging day of the new year brings...the predictions for the year. Honestly, predictions seem like a waste of time. If you're wrong, you look like an idiot. If you're right, you get to say "Hey everybody! Look at me! I was right!"

Big deal.

But, any blogger could use a reason to write a post with a different theme now and then, so here are my predictions. And, oh, since this is not just a new year but a new decade, I'll make these predictions for the decade from 2010 - 2019 (that way, if I'm wrong, no one will remember in 2020 that I made these predictions). Call me risk-averse if you will...

1. The End of Device Dependency. In the last 10 years or so, we have depended less on media. You can buy music without getting a CD. You can send a document without paper (e.g., as a PDF) or even a floppy disk. You can rent a movie without getting a VHS tape or DVD at Blockbuster. But you need devices. You need an iPod to play the music. A computer to read that document. A TV to watch the movie. I predict that, just as media went the way of the dinosaur, the devices will either be reduced to one or will go away all together by the end of the decade.

2. The Airline Industry Will Bear Little Resemblance To Its Current Form. Airlines, in general, have not been successful for about a decade. Fuel cost, terrorism threats, inconvenience of security (that still doesn't seem to work as well as it should), and alternatives such as video conferencing are all getting stronger and conspiring to drag this industry into oblivion. I believe that one airline will realize that it is not in the business of moving people on and off planes, but that it is in the business of facilitating communication between people. I'm not sure if this means that commercial travel and video conferencing will be offered by the same company or something much more advanced and unimaginable at this point in time, but someone will get it right. And competitors will play "monkey-see-monkey-do." I just don't think that the airline industry can withstand another decade without reinventing itself.

3. The Professional Purchasing Association Will Have A Whole New Meaning. As long-time readers of this blog know, traditional professional purchasing associations have been hurting. The business model that allowed not-for-profit institutions to survive for nearly 100 years has outlasted its useful life. By 2019, I believe that at least one such major institution will face such financial and business challenges that it will have no choice but to close its doors. In fact, I think that you are going to see a dramatic change in the space this year.

So beam yourself up to my office in 10 years and let me know how accurate these were...

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
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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