Monday, December 31, 2012

Year In Review For The NLPA, 2012

On this last day of 2012, it is a great time to reflect on what may have been our most productive year ever here at the Next Level Purchasing Association (NLPA). As I look back at 2012, here are the ways that we helped procurement professionals improve their workplace performance and enhance their careers:

In January, "The Procurement Game Plan:  Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals" - a book that I cowrote with my friend Dr. Soheila Lunney - was published by J. Ross Publishing.  I've heard a lot of great feedback from readers and am happy that I could reach procurement professionals in a new format this year!

In February, we further bridged the procurement and supply chain disciplines by launching our new online course, "Profitable Inventory Management and Control."  This course was designed to give procurement and supply chain professionals like you the skills you need to use inventory as a strategic weapon for boosting profitability and giving your organization a competitive advantage. 

In March, we launched our annual Purchasing &Supply Management Career & Skills Report.  One of the big shockers of this report was that, according to a survey of over 2,500 purchasing and supply management professionals, negotiation was no longer considered the most important purchasing and supply management skill.   After holding the top spot for the last four years, negotiation placed second to sourcing and supplier selection.

In April, we launched our "All-Access Corporate Subscription."  This option allows qualifying organizations to pay one flat fee for all of their procurement employees to access all of our full-length online procurement courses, all of our Express Courses, and the NLPA Library, which consists of a variety of procurement templates, transcripts of interviews with procurement thought leaders, slide decks, and archived webinars.

Also in April, we launched our annual Purchasing & Supply Management Salary Report.  One of the most interesting findings of this report was that the average purchasing salary in North America had increased by 11%.

On July 1st - the eighth anniversary of the SPSM® Certification and the third anniversary of the SPSM2® Certification - we launched the SPSM3TM Certification.  This new certification became the highest level purchasing certification available, requiring the SPSM2® Certification as a prerequisite, which itself requires the SPSM® Certification as a prerequisite.  All told, earning the SPSM3TM Certification requires 108 hours of study from the beginning of one's certification pursuits - giving those who will earn it a designation that shows a true capability of succeeding in a rigorous program of study.

Also in July, we launched the Premium Membership to the NLPA, complementing the already available free basic membership.  Premium Members get all the benefits of a basic membership, plus access to all of our Express Courses and the NLPA Library.  At $15.99 (US) per month or $99.99 per year, the NLPA Premium Membership represents the cost-conscious procurement professional's best choice for a procurement association membership that delivers real value, not just a membership card.

Also in July - wow, what a busy month! - we launched another new full-length online course entitled "Improving Quality in the Supply Chain."  Like the launch of "Profitable Inventory Management and Control," the launch of this supply chain quality course demonstrates our recognition of the need among procurement professionals for more advanced learning opportunities as well as opportunities to learn how to integrate their work into other functions within their organizations.

In September, we began a continuing effort to boost our portfolio of online Express Courses with the launch of "Increasing Your Personal Productivity, Part I."  This Express Course focused on aspects of improving productivity by sharing ways to prepare for business changes, set goals effectively, and analyze one's self, among other things. 

In October, we launched the online Express Course, "Increasing Your Personal Productivity, Part II."  Going beyond what was covered in Part I, this course teaches how to overcome obstacles to goal achievement, prioritizing work, and managing time, plus more.

In November, we launched yet another online Express Course, "Preventing and Managing Backdoor Selling."  This Express Course covered how salespeople disguise their backdoor selling techniques, what to do when you encounted backdoor selling in progress, and how to negotiate with a supplier who has already gotten an internal customer to commit to a purchase, and much more.

In December, we announced that we will be hosting our first ever procurement conference!  The First Annual NLPA International Conference will be held in Pittsburgh on September 12 & 13, 2013.  More information will be released in a continuing stream in 2013. 

Also in December, in response to popular demand by procurement professionals who had liked the SPSM Certification & Enhanced Results Program and the SPSM2 Certification & Enhanced Results Program, we launched the SPSM3 Certification & Enhanced Results Program.  This program provides all of the elements of the SPSM3 Certification Program plus two additional study components:  a 30-minute telephone consultation with our instructor and the SPSM3 Multimedia Study & Implementation Guide - an iPad preloaded with 40 audio and video clips!

This year, the NLPA was also named to the Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100 for the sixth consecutive year.  The SDCE100 is a list of the top 100 service providers in the supply chain space.  The NLPA was the only certification provider that made the list in each one of those years.  Additionally, I personally was recognized as one of Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine's "Pro's To Know" for the sixth consecutive year.

Other than that, we really haven't done much here this year (LOL)!  We promise to work even harder at helping procurement professionals succeed in 2013, so expect another exciting year!

All of us here at Next Level Purchasing want to wish you and your family a Happy New Year and as much success as you can handle in 2013. We'll be there to help you have a rewarding career.

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, December 27, 2012

How Procurement Professionals Can Win Over Reluctant Internal Customers, Part I

It's a common scenario: a procurement department seeks to take or expand its control over an area of spend but is thwarted by internal customers' refusal to cooperate.

Your management knows that the procurement department should manage that spend. You know that you should manage that spend. Consultants tell you that you should manage that spend.

But all of that collective wisdom is defeated by the internal customer. They have no desire to work with you and, without that desire, you don't stand a snowball's chance in you-know-where of influencing that spend.

You: "But trade journal articles say that this area of spend should be managed by the procurement department."

Them: "So what?"

You: "Our competition's procurement department manages this spend for them."

Them: "I don't care."

You: "The procurement department has been charged with saving the company ten million dollars this year and we won't reach our goal without managing this spend."

Them: "Too bad."

What do you do? How can you win over reluctant (read: stubborn) internal customers?

Well, it takes at least two very important things to convince these people to let the procurement department get involved...

BENEFITS

and

PROOF

 Let me address these one-by-one. First, benefits.

Now, I know there's a chance you may be thinking - or perhaps even screaming aloud in your office - "This is easy! We will save the company two million dollars!"

That's common procurement thinking.

And that's the thinking that will get you absolutely nowhere with reluctant internal customers.

Really?

Yes, really.

Why?

Well, saving money may be a benefit to the company. And it may be a benefit to you as it is among your goals.

But it doesn't mean diddly-squat to your internal customers.

They care about themselves. Their goals. Their problems. Their work. Their days.

And there is a chance that a little bit of money saved for the company will not impact them or their goals one bit. It won't solve their biggest operational problems. It won't make their work any more pleasant. And it won't make their days any easier.

So, when you think about using "benefits" to win over reluctant internal customers, you have to think about "benefits to them."

How is the procurement department's involvement going to benefit them? Will it make them happier or more successful? Will it move them closer towards their goals? Will it solve their problems? Will it make their work more efficient? Will it make their days easier?

Being able to answer these questions involves some assumptions. It assumes that you actually know them and their interests. That you know their goals actually are. That you know what their problems are, etc.

Do you?

If not, learn these things first. Only then, can you offer suggestions on how procurement involvement can benefit them. It may benefit them by giving them more time to focus on core competencies. It may benefit them by switching business to suppliers whose performance will cause fewer interruptions to their workday. It may benefit them in a number of ways but you can only know what the benefits to your internal customers are if you've done your homework to understand your internal customers and their situations.

I'll talk about "proof" in Part II next month!

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, December 21, 2012

Video: A Few More Details About The 1st Annual NLPA Conference

As the end to 2012 draws near, all of us at the Next Level Purchasing Association (NLPA) are getting excited about 2013 because it will be the year that we launch our 1st annual international conference.  Many of you have messaged us privately for details about the conference, so here is a short video with an overview of the conference.


I hope that you can make it!

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, December 20, 2012

How Do Procurement Executives Manage Career Development For Themselves & Their Teams?

ProcureCon & the Next Level Purchasing Association have teamed up to study how procurement executives manage the career development for themselves and their teams.  If you are a procurement executive and want to know how your efforts compare to your peers, you can find out by taking a survey and then receiving a whitepaper with the results.  The whitepaper will be distributed to all participants after the data has been analyzed.

To take the survey, please visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RZPNCLD.

NOTE:  I will also be presenting the results at ProcureCon's Indirect East conference on February 11, 2013.  To learn more about that conference, feel free to visit http://www.wbresearch.com/procureconindirectusa/. 



 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, December 17, 2012

The Best of PurchTips 2012

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "The Best of PurchTips 2012."

This edition was our third annual "Best Of" edition.  Yes, even though we've been publishing PurchTips for over 10 years, it took us awhile to think of having a "Best Of" edition each year!

We have some self-imposed size requirements for PurchTips, so we limited the number of articles we linked to to just eight.  However, as I often do with this blog, I am using it to expand on the latest PurchTips by giving you two more links to articles that I think were among the most kickbutt of 2012...

7 RFP Planning Tips, Part I

7 RFP Planning Tips, Part II

And, while this edition of PurchTips is our last for the year, I'll have a few interesting blog posts coming your way before the ball drops on New Years Eve, so stay tuned!!!

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, December 14, 2012

Want To Showcase Yourself As A Speaker At A Procurement Conference?

The Next Level Purchasing Association (NLPA) is holding its first annual international conference on September 12 & 13, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Because this is our first conference, we want to make it amazingly good!  We want this conference to be so much better than the other conferences of its kind and, to accomplish this goal, we need to have the best procurement speakers on the planet conducting our workshops.

That's where you may come in!

Yes, we have already carefully hand-picked some of our favorite speakers for the event.  But we want to do something that the other associations don't do...we want to recruit speakers from outside of our network, too.

The associations that I am referencing are content to rely on their "good ole boys" network to rehash the same presentations by the same speakers year after year after year.  The NLPA, on the other hand, welcomes diversity of thought and we want to complement our personal choices of speakers with other great speakers, including perhaps some "rising stars" who haven't yet made a name for themselves in the procurement space but are sure to do so in the near future.

So, if you are interested in showcasing yourself in front of our membership and delivering a one-hour workshop on a procurement topic at our conference, please email me at cdominick (at) nextlevelpurchasing (dot) com and use the subject line "Procurement Conference Speaker."  Just include your name, your title, your company (optional), and the topic you'd like to present.  If you sound like a fit, I'll be in touch.

Please note:  to minimize security clearances and to best ensure speaker availability, I have to request that only US citizens apply.

I look forward to hearing from you and, hopefully, showcasing you at the first NLPA conference!

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, December 13, 2012

Free Procurement & Corporate Culture Webinar This Monday!


Why do the best planned and most well intentioned of purchasing initiatives fail to execute? What are the root causes behind the veneer of unsuccessful procurement plans?

In the webinar "Aligning Procurement Initiatives to Company Culture," you will learn that the culture of the department or business as a whole plays a significant role in determining the fate of your purchasing strategies. You will learn:

1. The different types of cultures
2. How to distinguish between various corporate priorities 
3. How to align purchasing objectives to the culture 
4. How to troubleshoot for success.

The presenter for this webinar will be Tim Reis, SPSM, a procurement manager with 10 years of experience and a regular columnist for Leading-Edge Supply Management magazine.

This webinar will be held on Monday December 17 at 11:30AM Eastern US time.  This webinar is free to all members of the 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: Go to http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/login.html, log into the members' area, 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

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