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While supply chain transformation and modernization are commonly stated goals for companies of all kinds, those organizations may hesitate to put in the time and money necessary to enforce real change. This is natural, as it can be tough to envision the concrete effects of any true high-level change to corporate practices. Leaders outside of logistics may need to see a huge potential impact in terms of the bottom line before they give the go-ahead to change procurement, sourcing, transportation or other core functions.

Culture refuses to change
According to a recent Janeiro Digital survey of management personnel, industry culture is a prominent roadblock keeping organizations from changing the way they handle their supply chains. This reluctance to embrace digital ways of operating has deep roots and takes several forms. Over 23 percent of respondents stated they haven't been given enough support to change their operations. The same number said they're being held back by existing legacy systems. More than 27 percent stated they'd been given a budget that couldn't get the job done.

When organizations are mired in old-fashioned technology, with leaders not seeing the potential for upgrades or failing to give the transformation process a fair share of the budget, change can seem far off. Supply chain professionals falling behind the modernization curve are likely looking for positive examples of the effects transformation can have when firms forge ahead with revisions. Fortunately, some brands have taken these steps, and their pioneering examples can be instructive.

A signpost pointing to the past and the future.Supply chain leaders are at a crossroads.
Learning from positive examples
A recent Supply Chain Digital report exposed the many internal changes that have gone on since Sprint decided to digitize its logistics process. The telecom company decided to take a twofold approach to enforcing change. Part of the strategy will involve an efficiency focus, which is meant to ease the strain of getting new devices from the drawing board into consumers' hands. The other half of the approach is based on resilience. When the marketplace suffers a shake-up or other disruption, Sprint will theoretically be able to mount an effective response.

The first few years after setting these objectives have been positive. The company reported massive reductions in both operating expenses and existing inventory levels. Sprint has struck up a series of partnerships that allow its own operations to be relatively resource-light. Data has become more central to the decision-making process as well. With faster and more accurate data flowing in, the organization has made its consumer-facing logistics offerings more user-friendly and proactive. The result is a renewed focus on securing loyalty and enhancing the overall experience.

Organizations can make the leap
Often, the forces keeping companies from making their own supply chain operations more effective are artificial restrictions imposed on themselves. When leaders discover the ways in which businesses are becoming more digitally savvy - and turning that new focus into relatively quick bottom-line boosts - they may have less trouble giving logistics managers the money, support and strategic responsibility they need to create positive experiences. Depending on the organization's present status and future goals, the effects may be felt in a variety of different functional areas.
The Institute for Supply Management's annual Conference only just ended, but it's never too early to start planning for next year. After reflecting on this year's discussions and expert-led sessions, Source One's team share their predictions for ISM2019.

1. The Talent Conversation Continues
This year's conference once again featured Source One's ExecIn Forum. Day 1 of this exclusive subconference culminated in a panel discussion on the issue of talent in Procurement. Sharing their concerns and solutions, supply management leaders examined the crowded and candidate-driven market for Procurement hires.  Nearly everyone agreed that there are more promising applicants out there than ever before. Volume, however, doesn't always make things easier.

Even the leaders at ExecIn acknowledged that name-brand organizations are increasingly poaching top talent. As competition intensifies and Procurement continues to grow more essential, passive recruitment methods grow less and less useful. Aggression has become the name of the game. Companies of all sizes are taking a more active role in identifying Procurement hires and ensuring they build the diverse skillset they'll need. Many are pairing with universities and veteran placement organizations to develop talent pipelines. Others are developing programs to train employees from other departments on the ins and outs of Procurement.

This conversation was far from unique at ISM. Nearly a dozen agenda items focused on Procurement's ever-growing talent concerns. It's clear that the conversation isn't stopping any time soon. Expect ISM2018 attendees to take what they've learned, enact changes within their organization, and bring new questions and concerns to Houston next year.

2. Retention, Retention, Retention 
Even organizations who've optimized their recruitment processes still run into trouble when it comes to retention. Today's young professionals expect a lot. They want challenge, compensation, and recognition. They want to align themselves with organizations that pride Procurement and have allowed it to build a strong, impactful brand. Small and mid-sized organizations often struggle to provide these. Even Fortune 500 companies sometimes put retention on the back-burner as they dedicate themselves to recruitment. As a result, they're forced to contend with a disengaged workforce and a high rate of turnover.

Throughout the conference, presenters and attendees alike asked how Procurement departments can better engage and incentivize their teams. Keynote speaker Arianna Huffington suggested taking a more empathetic and humane approach to talent management. She suggested that so-called "brilliant jerks" have no place in modern supply management. These individuals, however savvy, will only lead to poor morale and performance. Under their watch, Procurement's veterans will grow disengaged and young professionals will look for the nearest exit.

A year is a long time. You can expect many ISM2018 attendees to rethink and refine their talent management efforts before ISM2019. It's clear, however, that retention is an evolving issue. Whatever new policies are enacted, no one can expect to  fully answer the question of employee retention alone. Count on them to bring new questions and concerns to next year's conference.

3. Responsible Sourcing is No Longer an Option
Human, animal, and environmental issues are a fixture of our cultural conversation. Social media not only provides a forum to take these discussions online, but offers real-time insights to consumers. At a moment's notice, they can familiarize themselves with an organization's stance and critical issues. They can also easily dig deeper to learn who's really walking the walk.

Today's consumers aren't just engaged. They're also highly passionate. They are eager for opportunities to align themselves with ethical organizations and distance themselves from less ethical ones. A number of ISM2018's presenters discussed their efforts to promote sustainable and responsible sourcing practices. Each expert seemed to agree that sustainable and ethical sourcing have far-reaching benefits for the company, the consumer, and the world at large. They also suggested that Procurement is perfectly equipped to encourage these practices and ensure they're adopted company-wide.

It's hard to imagine that ethics won't figure into ISM2019's agenda. Nearly every day companies earn praise for their responsibility while others attract derision for suspect behavior. By the time ISM2019 comes around, presenters will have a whole list of success (and horror) stories to use as examples.

4. An Even Bigger Seat at the Table
Predictably, Procurement's evolving role within organizations was a popular topic at ISM2018. Diego De la Garza's presentation Overcoming Procurement's Internal Image Problem, for example, opened with a discussion of Procurement's reputation. While Procurement is no longer the scorned cost-cutter of decades past, few organizations have seen the department reach its full potential. 80% of CPOs, De la Garza noted, still consider cost reduction their primary objective. Procurement needs to take a more active role in encouraging their organization to ask for more.

De la Garza was not alone in calling for a new definition of Procurement. The department's evolving role - and the lingering barriers to this evolution - were among the conference's most popular topics. While numerous solutions were proposed, all attendees seemed to acknowledge that Procurement still has a long way to go.

Procurement Transformation means something different to every organization. Many still aren't sure what it means to them, or what a 'transformed' Procurement department should look like. Presumably, many professionals left ISM2018 with as many questions as answers. The most proactive among them have already set about answering these questions. Right now they're assessing their operations, developing action plans, and working to construct a more mature function. With any luck, they'll have accepted a more essential role by next year. They know, however, that their efforts can never stop. They'll come to ISM2019 prepared to discuss the next big step for their organization.

We've still got another year to go before we head to Houston. In the meantime, check in with the Strategic Sourceror every day to read what Source One's spend management team have to say about Procurement's emerging trends and topics.

ICYMIM: May 21, 2018

Source One's series for keeping up with the most recent highlights in procurement, strategic sourcing, and supply chain news week-to-week.  Check in with us every Monday to stay up to date with the latest supply management news.

Sean Harley, Spend Matters, 5/16/2018
Procurement professionals understand the importance of supplier relationship management. Many organizations are discussing the potential benefit of investing in enhanced programs. Few, however, follow through on these discussions. The readily apparent ROI of chasing annual savings targets tends to take precedence. In the first installment of an upcoming series, Harley outlines a number of challenges facing today's Procurement departments. He then describes the way a more nuanced approach to SRM could provide the answer. For example, he suggests that closer, more strategic collaboration with suppliers can provide the innovative technologies and process improvements Procurement is eager for. 

Should Procurement Leaders Apologize? 
Charles Dominick, Next Level Purchasing Association, 5/16/2018
It's no secret that authority figures often struggle with apologies. To many, Dominick suggests, they're perceived as a sign of weakness. He challenges this idea. "If you even think that apologizing might be a sign of weakness," he writes, "then you are already a weak human being." Apologies are invalid and insincere when they're not supported by a desire to actually fix the problem in question. Equivocating and casting blame tend to only make matters worse. The best Procurement leaders are courageous people. They're not afraid to innovate, and they're not afraid to fail trying. They shouldn't be afraid to admit when they're wrong.

Companies are Investing in AI and Automation to Boost Talent Recruitment and Retention
Sydney Lazarus, Spend Matters, 5/16/2018
Randstad Sourceright recently conducted a survey of over 800 talent management professionals. Over half, they found, believe that AI will soon make their hiring processes more efficient and consistent. One hope is that artificial intelligence will help make the hiring and recruiting process seem less impersonal. A well-designed chatbot can engage the applicant directly while freeing up time for hiring managers to reach out to the most promising candidates. It might sound ironic to suggest that AI could make a process feel more personal, but 43% of respondents suggested they had already begun to feel this effect. 

Last week, Nasvhille welcomed over 2500 supply chain professionals for ISM's Annual Conference. The year's premier supply chain event featured over 100 sessions hosted by industry innovators and thought leaders. While discussions centered on a diverse range of relevant topics and trends, a few issues loomed particularly large. Cybersecurity was one such issue.

In their joint keynote address, General Keith Alexander (former Director of the NSA) and John Brennan (former Director of the CIA) provided their expert insights on the topic that's become an everyday concern for organization of all sizes.

Alexander opened by suggesting that companies develop a new approach to cybersecurity. It's imperative, he said, that the private and public sector begin working together to address the threat of data breaches and intellectual property theft. "Everybody's getting hacked," remarked Alexander. Whether they like to admit it or not, even the most powerful organizations are vulnerable to digital attacks. Many suffer through them without even knowing it.

To reduce uncertainty, Alexander urged companies to begin sharing information more freely. Looping in the NSA, he hopes, will help companies develop more effective plans for assessing and addressing cyber risks. Brennan noted, "the digital domain is 85% operated by the private sector, and there's currently no consensus on the government's role in that environment." Both agreed that it's time for the government's role to grow more concrete. Working alongside business, they can protect their mutual interests and create a more secure digital sphere for everyone.

Naturally, the discussion touched on the twin issues of privacy and civil liberties. Alexander maintained that - with the appropriate amount of transparency, it's possible to promote cybersecurity and protect personal privacy. He's optimistic that migrating to cloud storage will provide enhanced security for both data and private information.

"Lots of privacy and civil liberties have been given up already," acknowledged Brennan. He ensured ISM2018 attendees that increased transparency and collaboration is the best way to ensure things don't get worse.

How can things get better? Brennan and Alexander not only advocated for stronger alliances between the public and private sector, but encouraged companies to amend their hiring and training practices accordingly. It's up to businesses to ensure they're properly vetting employees to reduce the chances of breaches from within. Developing clear policies and processes, too, can ensure that each member of a breach response team is adequately prepared to address concerns.

Following their keynote address, Brennan and Alexander provided additional insights at the ExecIn Forum. Speaking to supply chain leaders, they emphasized the critical role Procurement plays in mitigating digital risk factors. Procurement's presence across the supply chain means its perfectly positioned to take a leading role in promoting more secure practices. The department can also easily align itself with IT to develop the appropriate strategies.

Want some help building a strong, secure Procurement department? Reach out Source One's Procurement Transformation experts today.

Once again, the Institute for Supply Management's Annual Conference provided thousands of Supply Management professionals with the opportunity to network and attend sessions hosted by industry thought leaders. This year's agenda featured two sessions hosted by Source One's cost reduction experts and the third iteration of our ExecIn Forum for supply chain executives. Couldn't make it to Nashville? Check out our recap of this year's conference.

ISM's Annual Conference only comes once a year, but Source One's team shares insights and thought leadership every day on the Strategic Sourceror. Want to learn more? Reach out to our spend management specialists today.                                  

May 18, 2018

Here's a look at where Source One's cost reduction experts have been featured this week!

Corcentric, a leading provider of Procurement and Finance automation solutions, has acquired Source One Management Services. Founded in 1996, Corcentric has helped thousands of companies unlock hidden value and optimize the ways they pay, purchase, and get paid. As a Corcentric company, Source One will continue to pursue its mission of driving the Procurement function forward.

New Whitepaper:
Procurement Transformation: Industry Perspectives 
Source One's Strategic Sourcing experts are proud to announce a new whitepaper series. Publishes in five parts, Procurement Transformation: Industry Perspectives will provide reflections and insights from a collection of Supply Management thought leaders. Jim Baehr kicks off the series with "Procurement Transformation: Then & Now." Throughout his contribution, Baehr looks back on the history of supply chain management, charts the evolution of Procurement, and offers transformation best practices for organizations at any maturity level.

Recent Blogs:
Finding Decentralized Solutions for MRO Spend Management
Michael Croasdale, Thomas Net, 5/14/2018
The MRO category is an intimidating one for many Procurement professionals. Considering the spend area too labor intensive and complicated, many organizations leave it un-reviewed for extended periods. When they finally get around to reviewing their MRO, many organizations find themselves faced with rampant inconsistency and lost savings. Typically, these leads them to hunt for quick-win solutions like consolidating spend to "catch-all" suppliers. Croasdale offers his suggestions for more effectively managing decentralized MRO spend. Simple solutions, he reminds readers, are almost never effective.

Recent Podcasts:
Procurement Transformation: Then & Now 
Sourcing Strategies Group's Jim Baehr joins the Source One podcast to discuss his contribution to Procurement Transformation: Industry Perspectives and provide additional insights. Beahr discusses the ongoing evolution of the Procurement function, suggests some must-read texts, and offers his predictions for the future of Procurement Transformation.

Navigating Supply Management Conferences
ISM2018 has come and gone, but supply chain conference season is just getting started. Jennifer Ulrich - Source One's Associate Director and Procurement Transformation Practice Lead - shares some tips for professionals looking to make the most of this year's supply management events. Calling on her experience as both an attendee and a presenter, she presenting a collection of networking best (and worst) practices. 

Truly understanding every link of a supply chain and each process that goes into moving goods is a complicated matter for managers, and it's not getting any easier. The expansive and global nature of today's networks of suppliers and manufacturers has left organizations in charge of sprawling connections between companies of all kinds, potentially across national borders. Micromanaging this kind of complex and involved environment is tough to consider and even harder to put into practice.

So what should supply chain professionals do? One answer is to give up on visibility and tighten their focus. This would entail trusting that things are proceeding as efficiently as possible, or at least accepting that there isn't much they can do to affect their operations. This approach certainly has its appeal in a world where complexity is sprawling out of control. However, the less control leader exert, the more opportunities for value they're turning down.

Missing chances to excel
As BluJay Solutions' Doug Surrett recently indicated, contributing to Quality Digest, a lack of attention to granular detail can have serious implications for a supply chain. For instance, companies often pay little attention to the way goods are delivered to locations such as factories or retail stores. Leaders who decline to look into their suppliers' practices may not realize when sub-optimal processes are in place. Inefficient transport strategies or high handling fees can affect this step of the supply chain, meaning it's worth paying closer attention to related operations.

Assumptions are responsible for some of the most common visibility and oversight slip-ups. Companies may not look at certain activities because managers believe they are proceeding at peak effectiveness. Surrett noted that in the absence of industry-wide benchmarking, it's hard to say whether the practices in place are really optimized. Firms that extend their visibility to encompass market research may realize their current rates are higher than industry standards.

Some relatively difficult and complex parts of the supply chain can improve drastically with a little extra attention. According to Surrett, repositioning of empty storage and shipping containers is one such operation. When leaders collaborate with colleagues at partner organizations and get a more timely look at the location of unused storage and shipping assets, they may cut inefficiency out of their repositioning efforts.

A digital conveyor belt moves packages into a representation of a computer.Digital solutions may be key to attaining supply chain visibility.
Looking to tech for answers
When processes become too complex for employees to master on their own, adding new technological solutions is often the best way forward. Supply chain visibility is an issue that has received digital attention, and the latest innovations may further transform companies' capabilities. Blockchain technology, the distributed ledger system that powers cryptocurrencies, may be a popular option as an internal visibility enhancer in the years ahead.

According to Bloomberg, FedEx CEO Fred Smith sees the potential for blockchain solutions to revolutionize the way supply chains operate. Smith isn't just speculating idly, either - FedEx has a pilot program in place to track high-value shipments around the world. The ledgers created by the new system are designed to make data both accessible and consistent, as they permanently track changes and must be changed by all parties agreeing. This will potentially help supply chain managers verify the many items moving through their facilities.

What is a Spend Analysis?
A Spend Analysis is used to derive insights about a company’s spending practices, and is performed according to the following logical structure: Spend data is aggregated from multiple sources, cleansed to fix duplicate or messy supplier names, and categorized. This categorization will ideally utilize a Procurement-Specific taxonomy, although many organizations opt to use a standard system, such as NAIC/SIC or UNSPSC.

Historically, Spend Analyses have been done manually. Modern Spend Analyses harness the technological efficiency of data science tools in order to reduce their time consuming nature. Recent strides in AI tech, for example, have considerably improved the potential forfully-automated spend classification and analysis solutions. There is also a number of Spend Analysis software tools currently on the market that allow large companies to dig deeply in to their supply chain.

Why Does Procurement Need It?
Thorough Spend Analyses provide companies with a big-picture perspective of their procurement practices. A Spend Analysis improves a company’s visibility in to its spend by illuminating supplier-base characteristics, purchase histories, sourcing trends, and overall procurement needs. With enough data, this information can be organized and viewed in a variety of ways. For example spend can be broken down by department, vendor location, or suppliers can be ordered by spend within each category.

Coupled with decades of sourcing expertise, this supply-chain intelligence becomes the foundation on which strategic sourcing practices are built. Spend Analyses allow companies to identify procurement practice inefficiencies and develop actionable solutions for cost-reduction. A robust spend analysis might shed light on opportunities for supplier consolidation and price negotiation, or enhance a firm’s capacity to ensure contract compliance. In short, Spend Analytics is the data-informed fix to a sub-optimal supply chain.

How Can Source One Help?
At Source One, our Spend Analytics team has developed a fast-paced, targeted approach to assessing opportunities and strategies for supply chain improvements. All you have to do is provide us with your disaggregated spend data, and we will clean, categorize, and load it in to our Spend Consultant tool. Our procurement-specific taxonomy organizes suppliers in to categories that are tied to straightforward, market tested sourcing strategies. Once spend has been classified, we are able to provide accurate cost savings estimates for each category.

Procurement Professionals are faced with a lot of questions that don’t have easy answers. “How much did we spend on wireless services for June 2017, and who were our top suppliers? How frequently do we make payments to our top chemicals suppliers?” Our Spend Consultant tool is a straightforward solution to finding the answers to these questions.

In, clients are able to visualize their spend data at a high level, or in more granular detail, for example, you can view your spend data by location, Business Unit, over time, or by category. What differentiates us from other Spend Analysis tools is our Opportunity Assessment Explorer. provides estimates for spend savings, speed to savings, and ease of implementation as well as category specific details of cost savings levers and market intelligence.

Our Spend Analytics practice not only allows you to develop detailed, specific insights about your company’s spending practices, but it also sets the groundwork for implementing supply chain management strategies. As soon as we complete a Spend Analysis, our subject matter experts are ready to execute cost-saving initiatives on your behalf.
Click on these links to learn more about Spend Analysis and Spend Consultant at Source One.

The following blog - the third in a series of four- is brought to us by Jim Baehr

If you believe business is built on relationships, make building them your business 
 Scott Straten

On the supplier side of relationship management there’s a conviction that a successful salesperson doesn’t sell, she or he builds relationships.  It’s a matter of fact that even an average sales organization puts a lot of effort and investment into relationship management, more than a supply organization does.  It’s very important for Procurement professionals to understand that both sides have game plans for a relationship.

Yes, there’s some overlap and some similarities in the terms that define both processes.  But, the differences are significant. Suppliers prefer to think about relationships as a long game whereas buyers approach relationships as defined by the life of a contract.  Suppliers are incentivized to execute.  Buyers, in general, don’t have the bandwidth and aren’t as motivated.

Sales has been working with Key Account Management (KAM) models since the 1950s.  In the late 1980s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) emerged to capture and organize contact data and related selling information.  CRM covers the sales process and its use continues after the sale to enable the implementation process. By comparison Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) emerged in the 1980s with Supplier Performance Management (SPM) as a support tool arriving in the 1990s.

KAM on the Sales side applies the 80/20 principal.  Basically, eighty percent of the spend is generated by the top customers. Rather than thinking of clients simply as “opportunities”, KAM solutions take a holistic approach concentrating on building and sustaining solid relationships with existing high-priority clients.  It’s noteworthy that KAM involves all the seller’s internal stakeholders including their supply management group.  Category Management uses the same 80/20 principle focusing on structuring categories for leverage that make for high-quality strategic procurement decisions.  In fairness Category Management, done right, builds supplier relationships that provide solid value for the buying organization.  So, what’s the difference between KAM and CM.  KAM is relationship driven.  CRM is about leverage.

Much like Strategic Sourcing, Sales as a process, can vary with the number of steps taken. But the Sales process doesn’t really change much. To follow a process is merely to proceed on a pre-established course.  Sales teachers and coaches have fashioned innovative methodologies (i.e. Challenger, SPIN, Sandler, etc.) to enhance the selling process.  The word “method” in Latin means to pursue knowledge. Sales groups invest heavily in training their professionals on these methods.
Selling methods are all about learning more about the customer and the customer needs. Sales processes and methodologies are combined to maximize the opportunity for building relationships.  There’s a measure of intuition applied.  Research validates that this ability to combine the deliberative and intuitive is what makes a seller effective.

On the flip side, SRM is still maturing.  And, it’s been a struggle.  The process is somewhat understood.  SPM, Scorecarding, Supplier Engagement and Contract Management are practiced independently and billed as relationship management.  When compartmentalized these practices don’t roll-up into a clearly defined, and therefore not clearly understood.  There are no innovative methodologies being introduced to pursue knowledge.  It’s more a collection of data presented to suppliers as “just the facts”.  Intuitiveness may or may not be applied.
Ponder a scenario where Sales and Procurement professionals come together to discuss relationship management.  It will quickly become painfully apparent that the Sales contingent won’t buy into Procurement’s position that SRM is working.  Comments from the Sales contingent will range from a polite “it doesn’t work” and “well, it’s not something that Procurement is good at”. Harsher statements might include “Procurement people are out of touch” and “they don’t get it.  The most cutting critique comes as “Purchasing says one thing and then does another”.  To be sure there are many good examples where SRM works and works well.  But, obviously from the Sales point of view there’s room for improvement – a lot of room.

When it comes to SRM, Procurement needs to accept that SRM is underdeveloped, fragmented and sub optimized.  SRM needs to be positioned as an end-to-end framework for developing relationships.  SRM needs to be considered before the contract, even before the bid.  SRM is not a one size fits all.   It’s different for utilities (relying on contractors and MRO), for Consumer-Packaged Goods (relying on contract manufactures), for financial institutions (relying on IT goods and services), and so on.  Above all, Procurement must leave its comfort zone and work on developing the same intuitiveness that works so well for Sales.

SRM must start when sourcing research is conducted or with construction and issuance of a Request for Information (RFI). Applying Porter’s Five Forces to analyze the market will help to understand the types of relationships that might be encountered.  As Glenda tells Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz "It's always best that you start at the beginning”.  The first meeting between the buyer and seller sets the stage for the relationship. It’s the opportunity to communicate, build understanding, and proactively share information to achieve mutual benefit.

Next week, the technology . . . 

This blog is brought to us by MRA Global Sourcing

The advent of social media has added a number of new dimensions to the hiring process. In the (fairly recent) old days, candidate screening was limited to formal background and credit checks. A more involved on-boarding process might include a drug test, but things rarely got more complicated. Today, things are different. It's time for employers to decide what policies they'll put in place to introduce social media into their recruiting and hiring processes.

Candidates are aware that their social media presence can affect their job prospects. According to an MRINetwork study, nearly half of job seekers believe their digital footprint is "important" or "very important" to prospective employers. MRINetwork's Marketing Manager, Patrick Convery remarks, "They are aware that employers can now learn a lot about them prior to meeting with them, or even before contacting them, as they seek out candidates who have the skills and personalities that will be beneficial to their organizations." He continues, "Consequently, many jobs seekers are putting more of their social media profiles on private, or even setting up separate professional profiles, so their information can't be shared with the public."

Many employers casually review the social media profiles of their candidates, but a growing percentage are beginning to formalize the process. According to the same MRINetwork survey, 18% have already done so, and additional 17% are considering doing the same in the future.

What are they looking for?

Ideally, they'd like to learn something about the candidate that they can't determine from a resume. Social media is - obviously - an effective window into someone's social life. It can prove especially illuminating about questionable decisions. 39% of hiring managers say this kind of content is the number one thing they look for.

They're also interested in confirming that a resume is accurate. In Convery's words, "LinkedIn and Facebook users typically add their place of work, the college they graduated from, their hometown, and where they're currently living. Prospective employers can check this information to be sure that the candidate's resume is lining up correctly with their profile information."

Not everyone, however, updates their social media profiles regularly. In many cases, a LinkedIn profile provides an incomplete picture of an applicant's current situation. Some don't have any social media presence to speak of. As employers look to vet their candidates, they might ignore someone promising simply because the individual isn't on social media. Convery adds, "If social network users have their profiles set to private, as is becoming more common after recent breaches in security, this means they don't want the world seeing what they post, which results in the absence of the kind of data employers are looking for to screen job applicants."

Employers can also run into legal troubles as they assess social media. Hiring managers need to remain cognizant of the particular types of information they're using to assess candidates. According to the Chicago Tribune, a candidate's race and gender are protected legally. These can't be taken into account during the hiring process. It's essential that organizations not let conscious or unconscious bias come into play as a result of social media. If a hiring manager discovers any of a candidate's protected characteristics through social media, it is not advised they share this information with their team.

If your company reviews social media, it's important to establish a policy that clearly outlines when online searches should and should not factor into hiring decisions. "By identifying positions for which searches are an important element of the process, you can develop a standard approach for how these searches will be conducted and how the information will be used," says Anne Hayden, MRINetwork's VP of Human Resources.

Hayden suggests incorporating a policy that includes the following components:

  • Clarity - The rationale for these searches should be clear.
  • Transparency - Both employees and applicants should know how and why these searches are conducted. 
  • Consistency - Searches should be conducted in the same way by the same individuals.
  • Openness  - All relevant parties should understand the impact these findings could have.
Hayden concludes, "When done correctly - and legally - looking at a candidate's personal profile can be a great hiring tool, but you will still gather the best insights from a personal interview. Asking the right questions and encouraging an honest dialogue can help you get to know a candidate better than their latest post on Instagram and prevent you from passing up a great new employee." 

Undergoing a full procurement transformation initiative is a major undertaking for any organization.  When performed holistically, a full transformation assesses, benchmarks, and redesigns procurement processes, resources and organizational structures, tools and technology, and metrics and reporting structures to move the current state of the department towards becoming a best in class purchasing organization.  The upfront investment for this type of engagement can be significant, and lacking departments often face challenges in convincing executive sponsors to support a full transformation.  Typically the compromise is to target the weakest areas first, and purchase “a la carte” transformation services in one or two of the focus areas.  While this is certainly a step above remaining stagnant, there are risks associated with isolating certain transformation areas.

Prioritizing Metrics and Reporting

Metrics and reporting is an area we frequently see clients push for first when beginning to undergo a transformation initiative.  It is an area that makes it easy to gain executive sponsorship as the results are concrete and measurable, and can be seen as a tool to support future decision making.  The issue with metrics at the forefront of the transformation is that the result is going to be a resource-intensive, convoluted way of tracking organizational performance.  Without the processes in place to produce the outputs, whether cost savings, supplier performance, or other measurements of success, the numbers reported on are going to be questionable at best.  Without the organizational resources available to support the metric formulation, the frequency and consistency of each report will not be up to the standards needed to support the organization.  Finally, without the available tools, templates, and technology to support data management, each report is going to be a highly manual process, thus risking a lack of data integrity.  Unless there are processes in place, available resources to carry out those process, and supporting tools and technology, metrics should be placed on the backburner.

Prioritizing Resources and Organizational Structure

Putting staffing levels and the structure of the organization at the forefront of a transformation initiative runs the risk of incorrectly forecasting resource needs and having to make adjustments later in the process.  Shifting employee titles, reporting structures, or having to downsize staff due to gained process or technology efficiencies will lead to employee anxiety and loss of trust.  If starting with the organizational aspect is non-negotiable, the best approach is to start with the realigning organizational structure with current resources and ensure it is scalable during periods of expansion or contraction.  Adding or removing staff should come once the department has identified and stabilized procurement policies, processes, and the technology that will be supporting those processes.

Prioritizing Tools and Technology

Starting with tools and technology prior to understanding the processes in place and the human resources that require support can lead to purchasing a Cadillac when a Camry is sufficient.  Investment in technology can be one of the largest upfront costs during a procurement transformation initiative.  Prior to engaging potential providers, a mapping of current module needs and future integrations will ensure the platform selected is aligned with the current state of the organization and can support future growth.

These aforementioned risks are most apparent when an organization is starting in a laggard position in all four transformation areas.  Prior to making the decision to target one area, evaluate the pillar that would typically precede it in a full transformation to ensure that bad habits will not remain in an effort to create a shortcut.  A typical guideline for the order of operations in a transformation is as follows:

1.     Process – Establish the workflows and governing policies that will support day to day procurement tasks.

2.     Resources and Organizational Structure – Align the resources necessary to support those tasks.

3.    Tools and Technology – Streamline processes through templates, tools, and automation software.

4.     Metrics and Reporting – Report on current performance and utilize results to drive improvements.

Overall, the best course of action is to not silo a transformation initiative into conquering one pillar.  There is always opportunity for iterative improvement in any transformation area, and isolating the process can lead to continuation of bad habits and unrealized efficiency gains.  Source One has extensive expertise in conducting transformations of any magnitude.  Visit our Procurement Advisory Services page to learn more.
Polypropylene in surgical implants: Material problems lead to lawsuits

Sourcing correct materials for implanted medical devices is an absolutely essential process, and when something goes wrong, the results can be devastating for patients. Complex reactions between surgical devices and the human body demand deep study and absolute attention to the discoveries that have gone before. Recent reports indicate that Boston Scientific made mistakes in its acquisition of material for gynecological implants, ending up with counterfeit polymers. The resulting side effects experienced by patients have led to lawsuits against the manufacturer.

A medical supply chain descends into the murk
As 60 Minutes explained, Boston Scientific set out to make gynecological mesh implants with a material called Marlex, a kind of polypropylene made by a Chevron Phillips subsidiary based in Texas. Due to concerns about the effect of oxygen on the material, Chevron Phillips told Boston Scientific it wouldn't sell any more of the substance. This was in 2005. What followed was a scramble to find more of the plastic. Boston Scientific tried 20 or more potential suppliers, and its stockpile would run out.

The next step involved a Chinese broker claiming to have a stockpile of the chemical. One of the communications revealed by 60 Minutes indicated that leaders at Boston Scientific intentionally told negotiators not to ask whether the polypropylene for sale was medically implantable, as it might cause the deal to fall through.

The Food and Drug Administration released a report critical of gynecological mesh implants around this time. That just increased Boston Scientific's desperation to keep using the same material, according to 60 Minutes, as changing might have required them to subject the implants to FDA tests - and maybe fail them. It pushed ahead with the China deal, despite warning signs.
Tests performed on the Chinese plastic and authentic Marlex came back with very different results, but the company pushed ahead. Documentation was scant, and the comparison showed little similarity, but facing time pressure, Boston Scientific still made the purchase - the company acquired 30 years' worth of polypropylene.

Doctors perform surgery.Medical devices need to be sourced with extreme attention to detail.
Poor sourcing practices yield patient lawsuits
Problems with gynecological mesh can lead to severe, life-altering amounts of pain for patients. These issues have led to over 100,000 suits directed at manufacturers of the medical devices. As one of the major manufacturers of the mesh, Boston Scientific is the target of 48,000 such suits, according to 60 Minutes.

Despite the news program's reporting, Boston Scientific has denied wrongdoing. According to a statement the company gave to The Boston Globe, it called claims of smuggled or counterfeit material use "completely false." The FDA also released a statement to the newspaper to attempt to absolve itself of negligence, claiming it has tested the meshes and found no difference between the two material sources. The agency also said it had asked for data from 60 Minutes' tests but hadn't received it.

The reports show the ways theoretically monitored or regulated supply chains can end up filled with improperly procured materials. Facing pressure to save time or avoid scrutiny, companies may cut corners. In the world of medical implants, it's the patients who may suffer the consequences of these choices.