Thursday, September 27, 2012

Last Chance To Get Your Procurement Training At 2007 Prices!

On this coming Monday - October 1, 2012 - Next Level Purchasing will be raising its prices for some of its online procurement training offerings.  Specifically, enrollment in our full-length online purchasing courses will cost $229 per person per course (up from $209).  This is our first price increase since 2007.

If you'd like to beat this price increase, simply sign up before October 1, 2012 and you'll get the lower price!

I am happy to report that prices will remain the same for our online Express Courses; SPSM®, SPSM2®, and SPSM3TM Certification Programs; Premium Memberships; and All-Access Corporate Subscriptions.

As procurement professionals, we all like to save money or avoid spending more than we have to.  I hope that you will make the effort to get the most value out of your organization's procurement training budget by taking advantage of this advance notice and enrolling in the courses you want before Monday.

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, September 26, 2012

The Procurement Funnel: A Groundbreaking Model For Leading Procurement To Improved Results

In yesterday's NLPA members-only webinar, I introduced the groundbreaking model of "The Procurement FunnelTM."  Here's a little background on how I came up with the model.

The sales profession has a very well-defined set of key performance indicators (KPI's) that are used across many, many sophisticated organizations.  They also have a widely-used model called "the sales funnel."

The principle of the sales funnel is that you start out with your potential for sales for a year.  There are many steps in the sales cycle that reduce the amount of potential sales until the sales organization is left with its actual sales.  The concept is like a funnel - big at the top (potential) and small at the bottom (actual). 

High-performing sales organizations use a handful of KPI's that help their leaders increase the amount of actual sales can come out of the funnel.  When sales leaders focus on improving performance as measured by these KPI's, they get better overall, bottom-line results.  It's sounds simple, but it works extremely well!

Sadly, the procurement profession had no similar model...until now!

Let me show you what "The Procurement FunnelTM" looks like...



There is a full description of how to implement "The Procurement FunnelTM," including the four KPI's that help to maximize realized savings in our archived webinar "Procurement KPI's For Maximum Cost Savings."  Right now, this webinar is available only to individuals who have a Premium Membership to the NLPA or organizations who have an All-Access Corporate Subscription with the NLPA.

Premium Membership starts at just $15.99 (US) per month.  I guarantee you that access to this webinar and the explanation of "The Procurement FunnelTM" alone are well worth that meager fee, not to mention all the other great educational components and templates that come with a Premium Membership.  To learn more about getting a Premium Membership to the NLPA (and access to the webinar that introduces "The Procurement FunnelTM"), please visit http://nextlevelpurchasing.com/procurement-membership.php.

Also, if you would like the NLPA to provide an on-site presentation of "Procurement KPI's For Maximum Cost Savings" at your next procurement meeting or conference, please feel free to call us at 1-412-294-1991 for a quote.

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, September 25, 2012

Attacking Procurement Non-Compliance From One of Many Angles

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "'Outbuying' Your Internal Customers, Part I."

In the article, I mentioned that getting compliance with procurement directives is difficult because many internal customers "feel they do a better job of buying than the procurement department."  Another reason is that internal customers sometimes want to buy from friends or relatives and have no clue that being responsible for a decision that can financially benefit a friend or relative is a slippery ethical slope.

How do you combat this particular reason for non-compliance?

Here are a few key ingredients of ensuring that procurement ethics are not unwittingly breached, leading to less than optimal compliance:
  • Get senior management to understand the negative financial impact of unethical procurement practices
  • Get senior management to sponsor a company policy (not a procurement policy, a company policy) that dictates what ethical buying is and what procurement practices are prohibited
  • Provide procurement ethics training for everyone who interacts with suppliers, not just procurement staff
If you haven't done all three of these things, achieving 100% procurement compliance is a mere fantasy for you.

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, September 24, 2012

Is a 2,000-Employee Supplier Brawl a Supply Risk You've Identified?

Supply risk management is all about identifying all of the things that can go wrong in the supply chain and coming up with a plan to ensure that operations aren't disrupted in the event that one of the things that can go wrong, does.  Great supply risk management is when you can recover when something goes wrong in the supply chain that you didn't anticipate, despite your best efforts to identify all possible risks.

I have a feeling that Apple is finding itself trying to recover from such a situation right now.

After launching the iPhone 5 just last week - and surely seeing increased demand patterns in its supply chain - Apple is dealing with a rather unusual cause of a supply disruption:  a 2,000-employee brawl at one of its major suppliers.  An article on xfinity Finance revealed that Foxconn, an iPhone supplier, was forced to suspend production today after the brawl, which lasted about four hours.  The article indicated that "several people were arrested [and] 40 people were taken to hospitals for treatment."

 Is a 2,000-employee supplier brawl one of the causes of a supply disruption that you have planned for?

If not, that might be OK as long as you've prepared for the possibility of a major supplier being shut down for any reason.  It just goes to show that even if a supplier is not unionized, not located on a earthquake fault line, not financially unstable, etc., that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be prepared for them to shut down for a day or more without notice.

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



Friday, September 21, 2012

Leadership & Your Legacy: One Type of Mistake Can Outweigh All Business Successes

I know that many of my readers are either current or aspiring business leaders.  Having a leadership position comes with many benefits:  self-satisfaction, higher pay, the opportunity to make more of an impact in business and the world, and the opportunity to leave a meaningful legacy.

Like just about anything with attractive advantages, there are disadvantages.  One such disadvantage is the vulnerability of your reputation and legacy.

There is a lot of professional and personal scrutiny that leaders have to endure.  A leadership position brings with it certain standards of behavior.  And if those standards aren't met by a leader, the public will be far less forgiving compared to how they may react if a non-leader behaved identically.  As the saying goes, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall."

A leader certainly can make - and survive - business mistakes.  When you take business risks and break new ground over the course of a career, you can earn a veritable pass when some risks don't pay off and your reputation will remain largely intact.

History's best leaders have made major business mistakes.  That's because they didn't play it safe.  Because playing it safe never results in game-changing breakthroughs.  Middle management in companies everywhere is filled with people who are scared to make decisions, always play it safe, and will never be a household name.  So, as a leader or aspiring leader, expect to make business mistakes if you have any desire to be remembered as a great leader.

But, if you want to be a great leader and leave a great legacy, there is one type of mistake that you should never make.  If you make such a mistake, you will have a hard (or, more likely, impossible) time overcoming it.

No self-respecting subordinate would want to follow you.

No self-respecting board of directors would want to hire you.

No client would want to be associated with putting money in your pocket.

What type of mistake am I talking about?

A moral mistake.

Though many people think moral mistakes are easy to avoid because there is a clear distinction of right and wrong, by the volume of celebrities, sports stars, politicians, government officials, and, yes, business leaders who make them, it is clear that there is not nearly enough guidance for avoiding moral mistakes.  The following are some examples of moral mistakes to avoid at all costs if you wish to be, and leave the legacy of being, a great leader.  Some of the examples are also illegal activities but are included because they too represent mistakes that are almost impossible to overcome:

  • Making comments that can be construed as racist
  • Making comments that can be construed as sexist
  • Making insensitive comments about a physical disability or someone with that disability
  • Making insensitive comments about a mental disability or someone with that disability
  • Making insensitive comments about a religion or someone who practices that religion
  • Making insensitive comments about a sexual orientation or someone with that sexual orientation (inluding using the word "gay" as an adjective in a negative context)
  • Making insensitive comments about an ethnicity or someone who is of that ethnicity
  • Making insensitive comments about individuals in less prosperous financial situations
  • Engaging in any activity that is egregiously wasteful (including the waste of money, food, etc.)
  • Engaging in any activity that harms animals or promotes the harm to animals
  • Engaging in any activity that is environmentally irresponsible
  • Engaging in sexual harassment
  • Participating in an act of prostitution
  • Engaging in adulterous activity
  • Embezzling money or otherwise obtaining financial benefit through fraudulent actions
  • Initiating any type of unwanted, aggressive physical contact with others, ranging from pushing to spitting to hitting, etc.
  • Making fun of or downplaying the seriousness of sensitive topics like rape, molestation, death,  domestic violence, etc.
  • Using sexual, profane or other inappropriate words or gestures in an environment where children could hear those words or see those gestures, either in person or via a media broadcast
It is important to remember that today's world is very technology-driven.  Any thing you say or do can be recorded and shared with anyone in the world via ubiquitous smart phones and the Internet. And by its very nature, that "evidence" might never go away, possibly eternally inhibiting your ability to leave a positive legacy no matter what you've done in the past or what you will do in the future.

Just this week, I encountered a video that was being passed around on a social network.  This video was of a sporting event where a spectator was, over the period of more than 10 minutes, repeatedly making obscene gestures that were caught by the television network's camera.  I was horrified to realize that I had met the offender as he is also an entrepreneur who has attended some of the same events I have. 

There is a risk that this guy could essentially have all of his clients decide to not be associated with such behavior and pull their business from his successful company which, heretofore, has built a very respectable reputation.  He could literally lose everything.  He should feel fortunate that neither the video nor the accompanying article mentioned him by name and the activity was probably too obscene for some people to share with their friends and some news sources to share with their readers/viewers, limiting how widely seen it becomes.  He may have dodged a bullet that could have destroyed everything he had worked for in his entrepreneurial career.  It still could - remember that once a photo or video is on the Internet, it may never go away. 

Let's hope that he learned from this close call and will never make such a stupid moral mistake again.

So, as you climb the ladder of leadership in your career, remember that there are some mistakes you can make and get away with.  Those are the mistakes that are just part of business. 

But if you want to leave an impressive and untarnished legacy of leadership, don't let yourself ever make a moral mistake.

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


      Thursday, September 20, 2012

      Free Procurement KPI Webinar on Tuesday!


      Every procurement department that is at least somewhat reasonably managed wants to increase its cost savings.  

      Yours probably does, too.  But how are you going to increase your cost savings?  Negotiating better?  Sure, better negotiation can help. 

      But will better negotiation alone maximize your cost savings?

      Probably not.

      To truly maximize cost savings, you don't have to do just one thing well.  You have to do many things well.  And if you're not measuring how well you do those things, there is a high probability that you are far from reaching your cost savings potential.

      There are a set of key performance indicators (KPI's) that can help a procurement department focus on the several aspects of performance that have the greatest impact on the amount of cost savings achievable.  In the live webinar, "Procurement KPI's For Maximum Cost Savings," you will learn what these aspects are and how to measure them so that you can truly maximize the cost savings that your procurement department achieves.

      The webinar will be held on Tuesday September 25, 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?pcb. 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, September 18, 2012

      Free Negotiation Webinar This Thursday!

      Myself and my co-author of "The Procurement Game Plan," Dr. Soheila Lunney, will be presenting a free webinar entitled "Championship-Caliber Negotiation" this Thursday at 11:00AM Eastern US time.  This webinar will be hosted by our friends over at MyPurchasingCenter.com.

      Here's a description of the webinar...

      Successful negotiators approach supplier negotiations as an opportunity to create value, rather than simple battle over price concessions.  They consider cost as one factor in supply relationships, and recognize that price is rarely an indicator of true total cost.  By developing robust negotiation strategies and applying proven techniques, they find that a collaborative approach to negotiations can build a foundation for longer-term competitive success.

      You can sign up for this free webinar at http://www.mediasolvewebcast.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=EB50D786804A

      I hope you'll join us 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, September 11, 2012

      Why Buyers Should Care About How Suppliers Set Pricing

      I hope that you have enjoyed the article "How Supplier Pricing Is Determined."

      In the article, I covered five of the ways that suppliers arrive at the pricing they charge your organization.  Some buyers may question "Why should I care about how suppliers set their pricing?"

      The answer is simple:  because understanding the psychology behind the pricing will help you determine the best negotiation strategy.


      For example, if a supplier uses "Input Cost & Markup/Margin Strategies," you will only have so much room to negotiate because you are digging into the supplier's margin and, at some point, it may be more advantageous for the supplier to walk away from the business than to concede to your lower pricing demands.  In such a case, it may be a better strategy to augment your approach with collaborating with the supplier to identify input costs that can be reduced so that the supplier can maintain its same margin percentage, but still be able to offer a lower price to you.

      In a contrasting example, if a supplier uses "Sales Goals/Quotas" to determine its pricing, the supplier may have a lot of flexibility with its pricing so you should ask probing questions and listen to the supplier's response to get clues on how hard you can push for a better deal.  This type of questioning-listening-acting approach is detailed in Chapter 7 of my book, The Procurement Game Plan.

      So, back to that question:  why should buyers care about how suppliers set pricing?

      Because it helps them be better negotiators!

      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, September 05, 2012

      NLPA Launches New Personal Productivity Online Course


      Do you feel that you spend a lot of time working, but don't get as much accomplished as you should?  Do your performance evaluations indicate that you get the job done, but don't mention that you've accomplished anything spectacular?  Do you wish you could achieve bigger and better things, but just don't have the time to work longer or the energy to work any harder than you already work?

      When you first start a job, you learn a lot early on and get better and faster at what you do but, after a while, your pace of productivity improvement naturally slows down.  And you can't just decide that you want to be more productive and it will happen magically, right?  Things just don't work like that.  No one was born with the innate knowledge of how to instantly improve their productivity.

      But there is good news! There are several minor changes that you can make that will result in a major impact on your productivity.  And you can learn how to get started with implementing these productivity-boosting changes by taking the newest online Express Course from the Next Level Purchasing Association (NLPA), "Increasing Your Personal Productivity, Part I."

      You will learn how to be prepared for inevitable business changes that often kill others' productivity, plus:

      *  How to increase your motivation level, even when you are in an environment that lacks stimulation

      *  How to set goals that can help you get things done

      *  How to analyze yourself so that you can focus on the things that will help you get the most out of your
         career and your life

      *  And much more!

      Sign up for "Increasing Your Personal Productivity, Part I" today for immediate access to the keys to easier services procurement. You can take this single-lesson Express Course in about 30 to 60 minutes, whenever you want and as many times as you want to over a 60-day period.   "IncreasingYour Personal Productivity, Part II" will be available in October 2012.

      There are two different ways that you can gain access to "Increasing Your Personal Productivity, Part I:"

      *  The first way is by having a Premium Membership for the Next Level Purchasing Association. Currently active Premium Members automatically have access to every Express Course available as part of their premium benefits.  For as little as $15.99 (US) per month, you can access all of the available Express Courses as well as the NLPA Library which includes templates, checklists, slides and on-demand replays of the NLPA members-only webinars, and more.   Visit http://www.nextlevelpurchasing.com/procurement-membership.php to learn more about Premium Membership and to get started.

      *  The second way is by enrolling in the Express Course directly. If you enroll by Friday, September 7, 2012, you can have access to this Express Course for the discounted price of $9.99 (normally $14.99).  Simply add the Express Course to your cart and use the coupon code: 2012SEPT when you enroll online to take advantage of this time-limited discount.

      To enroll, visit: http://www.nextlevelpurchasing.com/registration.php or login to your NLPA account and click on the "Enroll Now"button next to "Increasing Your Personal Productivity, Part I.”

      You can also print a registration form from: http://www.nextlevelpurchasing.com/registration.pdf.

      This is a limited time offer - use the coupon code provided above to enroll in "Increasing Your Personal Productivity, Part 1” for $9.99 by September 7, 2012.  


      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

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