Tuesday, July 31, 2012

True Vendor Collaboration Takes Effort, But It's Worth It

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "4 Essential Vendor Collaboration Questions."

Today, I just conducted the monthly NLPA members-only webinar on the topic of vendor communication and how you have to be careful in your communications with vendors to ensure that your organization gets what it wants and avoids disputes.  Doing that webinar made me think of how communication is done and, specifically, how true vendor collaboration as specified in the article needs to be done.

Sometimes, I shudder when I teach certain procurement tactics that can be misused or at least suboptimally used.  Negotiation is one example.  If you say something verbally to a supplier - especially in a face-to-face setting - it is usually much more effective than writing it in an email.  Same words, different medium, different result.

Now, don't get me wrong, I've had students come to me, say they simply copied and pasted my suggested negotiation verbiage into an email and actually got suppliers to reply with serious cost saving proposal revisions.  But, still, it is usually more persuasive to communicate face-to-face with someone who has your complete attention as opposed to someone who does what we all do with emails - try to get through them as soon as possible so they can get to "real work."

That same face-to-face recommendation applies to the vendor collaboration techniques that I mentioned in the article.  If you want maximum vendor collaboration, communicate in person with your key vendors, don't just treat the four questions like a survey, although that is better than nothing and can lead to some incremental results.

True vendor collaboration is time consuming.  It involves personal communication. It's based on back-and-forth conversation.  But, done right, it can produce massive results.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
www.NextLevelPurchasing.com


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Free Supplier Communication Webinar This Tuesday!

If you’ve been in procurement long enough, you’ve encountered situations where orders don’t come in when you need them to, or where products don’t work out the way you had hoped, or you reach an impasse in a dispute with your supplier over how a contract should be interpreted.  In many cases, right or wrong, the supplier gets blamed.

But could some of these problems be caused by poor communication on your part?

You bet they can.

However, there are some tips that, if remembered and implemented, can help avoid communication disasters that lead to those consequences.  In this month's NLPA members webinar, “Tips For Regret-Free Supplier Communication,” you will learn some common, yet often unanticipated, pitfalls in dealing with suppliers and how to avoid those pitfalls.  Considering the time and money that can be lost when supplier interactions fail to go smoothly, it is well worth your time to attend this valuable webinar.


The webinar will be held on Tuesday July 31, 2012 at 11:30AM Eastern US time.  This webinar is free to all members of the Next Level Purchasing Association (NLPA) and membership in the NLPA itself is free and instant.

Here's how to register for the webinar:

If you're already an NLPA member: Log in to the members' area at
http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/login.html and navigate to the "Webinars" tab. There you'll find a registration link, be sure to enter a valid email address as attendance details will be sent to you by email.

If you're not yet an NLPA member: Sign up for your free membership in the Next Level Purchasing Association at http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/procurement-association.php. After doing so, you'll receive an email with information about how to log in. After logging in, navigate to the "Webinars" tab. There you'll find a registration link, be sure to enter a valid email address as attendance details will be sent to you by email.

Registration is free but may be limited, so sign up soon to ensure access to this event. I hope that you will join me for this exciting webinar!

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
www.NextLevelPurchasing.com


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Supplier Quality Checklist

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "A 12-Point Supplier Quality Checklist."

These checklist points were summarized from our comprehensive new online course "Improving Quality in the Supply Chain."  One of my favorite items from the checklist is "The supplier has quality performance goals."

Just like typical procurement KPI's, the quality function has a variety of KPI's to choose from - and some are better than others.  I did a quick Google search and found a variety of quality KPI's at all ends of the spectrum.  Just look at these few examples adapted from smartkpis.com to see how wide-ranging quality KPI's can be:
  • Rework cost as % of total manufacturing cost
  • Cost of rejected materials
  • Administrative error cost as % of revenue
With the wealth of examples out there, it is almost unfathomable that you won't be able to "check the box" for the checklist item mentioned.  Sadly, it is true.

However, if you increasingly ask about quality KPI's when doing RFP's, make having them a requirement of doing business, and encourage your existing suppliers to track and report their quality KPI's, fewer suppliers will ignore this key element of being a continuously improving business.  And, the best part is that your organization will benefit from better supplier quality.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Bring Solutions, Not Problems" Is Incomplete

 The business world is full of axioms - phrases or expressions recognized by their repeated utterances.  They become so common that business people accept them as law or, at the very least, don't scrutinize them for improvement opportunities.

One such axiom is "bring solutions, not problems."  This axiom is designed to prevent employees from simply dumping problems on their managers and leaving those problems for managers to figure out.

Managers rightly expect their employees to not just identify problems, but to have the initiative to figure out how to solve those problems.  Perhaps the employee may need some managerial assistance or resources or approval but, still, the employee should have the intellect to think through the issue and come up with a proposed solution, set of options, or some recommendations instead of just dumping the problem like a pile of trash on the manager's desk.

That's all great, right?

Sure.

However, "bring solutions, not problems" is incomplete.  Let me elaborate...

The constantly changing nature of business - especially in procurement situations - means that not every problem should be an immediate priority.  Not every opportunity for improvement should be seized right now, bumping other opportunities aside.

So, even if an employee brings solutions instead of problems, that doesn't mean that the manager is going to (or should) let the employee loose to implement those solutions.  One of the major challenges for managers today is the ubiquitous "competing priorities."  Sometimes, the last thing a manager needs is yet another priority to compete for the limited resources of his or her staff.

So, yes, bring solutions.  But also bring the cost, risk, and/or urgency of the problem.

How much is the problem costing the company?  Or how much time is the problem wasting?  Or what risks does the problem pose?  Or why would waiting to solve the problem be a bad idea?

Managers have the delicate job of juggling multiple tasks with a fixed number of resources.  Adding one more task isn't going to help the manager complete the tasks already in progress.

So, to accept more work for his/her team, the manager needs to know that it is worth spreading the resources a little thinner.  Without knowing the cost, risk, and/or urgency of the problem, the manager cannot make an informed decision regarding whether the solution should be implemented and, if it should, when.

So even though "bring solutions, including the cost, risk, and or urgency of the problem, not just the problem" probably is too wordy of a phrase to become a popular axiom, it certainly is a practice that should be a part of the way every procurement department tackles emerging challenges.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
www.NextLevelPurchasing.com



Monday, July 16, 2012

NEW ONLINE COURSE HELPS PROCUREMENT DEPARTMENTS IMPROVE SUPPLY QUALITY

Quality is vitally important to every organization, regardless of whether it provides services or manufactures a physical product. However, many organizations fail to actively involve procurement in their quality assurance initiatives. And, until now, procurement departments have never had access to a procurement-centric guide for quality assurance.



Today, Next Level Purchasing addressed this problem by launching a new online course, “Improving Quality In The Supply Chain.” “Improving Quality In The Supply Chain” enables procurement departments to learn about the intricacies of quality assurance and how to positively influence the quality that they can achieve from the supply chain. The course teaches the quality assurance practices necessary for an organization to gain the quality advantage that it needs to succeed. Topics of the course material include: critical requirements for starting a supply chain quality improvement program, how to measure supply chain quality performance, benchmarks for leading-edge quality, and how quality improvement programs like Lean, Six Sigma, and Lean Six Sigma can be used in the supply chain.


“An organization’s ability to compete is highly dependent on the quality of its goods and services, which itself is dependent on the quality of the goods and services that the organization gets from its supply base,” said Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2 President and founder of Next Level Purchasing. “’Improving Quality In The Supply Chain’ finally gives procurement departments the education they need to positively and profoundly influence the quality of their organizations’ goods and services."


“Improving Quality In The Supply Chain” is the newest full-length online course available from http://www.nextlevelpurchasing.com/. The enrollment fee for the course is currently $209 US.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

GROUND-BREAKING NEW PROCUREMENT CERTIFICATION ENABLES ENTERPRISE-WIDE SYNERGY

 The overall success of an organization is highly dependent on all of its departments working closely together towards strategic goals.  Recognizing procurement as a common element for driving this enterprise-wide success, the SPSM3 Certification, released today, encourages procurement professionals to look beyond the four walls of the procurement department and learn how to influence and interact with other key areas of the organization

The SPSM3 Certification provides four online courses which enable procurement professionals to achieve a synergy between departments.  That synergy, historically, has not been easy to achieve.  But by pursuing and earning the SPSM3 Certification, students will gain an understanding of other enterprise functions such as finance, inventory, and quality and how procurement relates to them.  This will enable those students to elevate the procurement department and bring even more value to their role.

The SPSM3 Certification is the third and highest level of the Senior Professional in Supply Management Family of Certifications, which are available entirely online. Recipients of the original SPSM Certification demonstrate a mastery of the core skills of procurement, and those having continued on to earn the SPSM2 Certification have proven an additional mastery of global procurement management skills. The SPSM Family of Certifications ensures procurement professionals that the content they are mastering is the most modern and up-to-date material available. The multiple level structure of the SPSM Family of Certifications also guarantees that qualifications for procurement roles will evolve and grow with the recipient and the procurement profession. 

“The procurement profession has been in a constant state of growth, with more and more strategic responsibilities falling under the procurement umbrella,” said Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, President and Chief Procurement Officer of Next Level Purchasing.  “The launch of the SPSM3 Certification demonstrates Next Level Purchasing’s commitment to ensuring that the profession has a scalable family of qualifications that properly represents the steps in procurement professionals’ path to excellence.”

For more information about the SPSM3 Certification, please visit http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/spsm3.html

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