Procurement Terminology is a Mess!

From one Procurement organization to the next, Procurement language and terminology differs.

Of course, it’s impossible to expect that every company would work within the exact same framework of understanding and messaging, but the lack of being able to communicate can sometimes be the difference between success and failure.

Procurement is a function, that is undergoing transformation; technologically and ideologically.

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Why Your Business Needs a Category Management Plan!

Businesses must be aware of several factors to remain competitive in today’s volatile market. A solid procurement strategy can help streamline and refine purchase decisions, ultimately improving the bottom line. A sound procurement strategy includes category management and a category management plan.

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Sourcing Priorities: Low Cost Geography or Domestic On-shoring?

For many years the predominant priority in sourcing has been finding the lowest cost possible. This paradigm has driven an incredible the movement of a tremendous amount of production to lowest cost regions such as Asia.

However the continuity of supply issues caused by the pandemic has created a call to repatriate much of this manufacturing into domestic, albeit higher cost, regions.

What is the appropriate sourcing strategy going forward?

Should you keep work in low cost geographies, establish sources in multiple geographies, or on-shore work into high cost domestic countries?

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What is Procurement’s Place in the Value Chain?

Where does Procurement stand in your organization’s Value Chain?

Hopefully, you’ll be able to formulate an answer to that question after reading this post.

I speak with Procurement, Sourcing and Purchasing professionals every day, from various globally functioning organizations, and there’s a resounding similarity in every one of those conversations…

Procurement is — still — largely viewed as a secondary activity in most organizations’ value chains.

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Total Cost of Ownership Procurement Model Failure – What’s Missing?

Many businesses use some form of Total Cost of Ownership model to support their Procurement and sourcing decisions. In fact these models are not just used casually, but they often are designed to inform and make optimal sourcing choices.

But many dynamics that we have experienced in the last few years suggest that these models are less than optimal. From chronic global Supply Chain breakdowns during the pandemic through to disruptions caused by outsourcing and single points of failure, sourcing decisions have been exposed as being less than ideal.

What is the current nature of these Total Cost of Ownership models, and what needs to change to make their use more robust and responsive?

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What is the Best Supplier Vetting Process?

Does your business rely on at least one supplier? Or do you need multiple suppliers in order to perform your daily operations? Either way the quality, reliability, and value for cost of your suppliers and supplier vetting is crucial to your organization’s success.

On the other side, if your suppliers don’t live up to the standards you require, your organization can be damaged. 

Suppliers can tarnish your reputation by causing you to deliver unsatisfactory products to your customers.  A supplier with internal problems can delay your orders, making you miss deadlines and break promises.  Late or low-quality products could cause you to lose major customers or be forced to process refunds.

It’s vital, then, to use a consistent Supplier Management system to vet excellent suppliers and secure the ones that will help your brand to stay strong.

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Suppliers are Friends, not Food!

“Fish are friends, not food.” Similarly Suppliers are friends and not food.


Bruce, a great white shark, and his two shark friends gather alongside Dory and Marlin, taking a sacred oath, swearing off eating fish. This scene became an instant classic in the homes of the hundreds of millions that have seen Pixar’s mega-success, Finding Nemo.


If you’ve never seen the film, treat yourself by watching this clip below, and directly after you finish this blog, do yourself a favor and stream the entire film.

Now…
Is there something to be learned from this quote in Finding Nemo, that we can apply to procurement and sourcing? As buyer and suppliers aren’t we all living in the same ocean, existing in the same ecosystem, and working towards the same value creation?

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Strategic Supplier Relationship Management – Do’s and Don’ts

Shortly after I joined the Commodity/Category Management Procurement organization I was invited to attend the annual Strategic Supplier Awards event. It was all about Strategic Supplier Relationship management.

There were Executives from dozens of Suppliers in attendance. The event concluded with award recognition given to Suppliers based on their scoring and standing as being of Strategic value to the company.

Prior to joining the Procurement team I had neither understood nor appreciated the importance of Supplier Relationship management. But having seen how motivated and inspired these Suppliers were I started to understand.

But in the weeks, months and years to come I also became much more informed about the good and bad aspects of Supplier Relationship Management.

From company to company I came to develop a list of Strategic Supplier Relationship Management “Do’s” and “Don’ts”.

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Enable Spend Aggregation in Procurement!

Aggregating your procurement spend for the purpose of delivering greater value is a sound objective.  Theoretically you should be able to generate better service, better terms and conditions, and better cost.  Therefore you should enable spend aggregation.

Yet there can be many obstacles in your way to achieving this seemingly simple goal.  Loss of control, fear of job loss, questionable benefits, and a perceived loss of margin are some of the obstacles you may run across.  We discussed these in greater detail in our post Procurement (Part 1!) – The Spend Aggregation Obstacle Course!

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Differentiate With Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)!

Democratic institutions around the world promote the core doctrine that all people are created equally. This is clearly not the case in the world of supplier management. All suppliers are not created equally and they should all be managed with this distinction in mind. As such you can differentiate with Supplier Relationship Management.

This article on how to differentiate with Supplier Relationship Management will look at a model for stratifying and segmenting your supply base within the confines of a structured and formal supplier relationship program (SRP).

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Digital Procurement Ecosystem Creation in 8 Minutes!

I was in Paris last week, touring around as people do in Paris, and visited Fondation Louis Vuitton. What does that have to do with a Digital Procurement ecosystem?

If you’ve never been before and are a fan of art, architecture, and culture, I can highly recommend adding it to any future itineraries.

The museum’s collections are magnificent, and the building itself is a true masterpiece. Beyond the artwork, Fondation Louis Vuitton offers an experience to tour the multiple levels of decks that interweave themselves between the inside and the outside of the building’s structure.

On one of the decks sits a piece of artwork named “Where the Slaves Live”. It is a living organism, composed of inorganic and organic materials, forming a ‘living sculpture’ that is a small scale ecosystem- an ever-changing work of art.

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What is MRO and Why is it Important?

In the world of Procurement and Operations one of the phrases that you will frequently come across is “MRO”.

But many people throw around the term without truly understanding what it means, and how important it truly is for the ongoing, and successful, operation of any company. Maintenance, repair, and operation is the process of MRO. From Content Rally, you will see how the industry is depending on this process.

If your production line stops dead because you are out of stock of an MRO item you will immediately develop an understanding and appreciation for this area.

So let’s try and provide some clarification.

What is MRO? And why is it important?

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Confessions of a High Priced Expediter!

The CEO called.  “We’re out of Parts … I need your help!”  And so it began.  These are my confessions as a high priced expediter.

Every Supply Chain is going to have supply disruption and raw material shortages at some point.  So if you work in Supply Chain you are going to get involved in some fashion.  Maybe you are calling suppliers, qualifying new,  replacement parts, or maybe you are arranging for fast delivery of the shortages.

I have been involved directly or indirectly in resolving part shortages throughout my career.  Even as an Executive I still got pulled in to these situations and asked to personally get them fixed.   Once an Expediter, always an Expediter.

Here are my Confessions!

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Responsible Sourcing! Making Sustainability Happen for Real!

Sustainability and responsible sourcing.

The word with so much focus and buzz surrounding it, it has almost become difficult to speak or write about.

It’s become the keyword that you see in article titles and hit like or share when scrolling by — so your friends and professional network see you care about the future of the earth — but seldom click on the link to read.

Unfortunately, sustainability and sustainable development are beginning to turn from green to grey, considering its ever-increasingly washed-out idealistic applications in business and society at large.

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Business Practices Disrupting Procurement!

When I was a kid, my mom had a ’93 Ford Escort.

I remember that car as clearly as I remember banging with my fist on it’s ceiling singing Tom Petty’s Makin’ Some Noise.

Days and years went by, and eventually, the ’93 Ford Escort was living in the hybrid-dominated world of the year 2004. My mom decided that the Escort had seen better days, and started a new/used car hunt. She soon selected the Prius as her car of choice for its environmentally friendly features. The Escort joined its fellow junk metal comrades in an automotive-parts junkyard a few miles away from my childhood home.

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