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Whether you're in the market for a new position or hunting for a new hire, the job search is rarely low-stress. Unemployed candidates are scrambling to pay their bills, unhappy professionals are looking for greener pastures, and employers of all types are trying to stand out in a candidate's market.

Both sides could benefit from some extra help in the form of a dedicated recruiter. Acting as an advocate for candidates and employers alike, recruiters work to staff organizations with best-fit talent.

Well, that's what they do in theory.

Unfortunately, not every recruiter is an asset to Procurement. Discouraged by misconceptions, rumors, and past experiences of their own, many organizations neglect to work with them altogether. What is it about recruiters that some hiring managers find so off-putting?

1. Costs
There's no getting around this one. Oftentimes, conversations with recruiters begin on the subject of price and end before any other topics are addressed. Sticker shock is sometimes warranted, but it's always important to weigh the costs of employing a third-party recruiter against the potential costs of a mismatched hire. According to a CareerBuilder CFO survey, 40% of organizations lose at least $25,000 a year due to such staffing decisions. Not every recruiting and hiring effort requires a recruiter's support. That being said, just about every organization could benefit from broadening their definition of 'costs.' 

2. Inconsistency
Shifting schedules and spotty communication are sometimes inevitable. When they become the norm, however, you are right to feel concerned. It's (ostensibly) a recruiter's job to take an interest in their candidates. Consistent follow-up is an easy way for them to show that they're dedicated and invested even when placing a candidate becomes a protracted process. There's no reason that, "I'll get back to you on Monday" should mean anything other than just that. Any recruiter worth their fee - or interested in preserving their reputation - will make a point to maintain constant contact. They won't waste your time with courtesy calls, but they'll ensure all relevant parties are informed throughout the life of the engagement.

3. Ghosting
Even worse than dragging things out, a recruiter might disappear altogether. Vanishing without a trace like this is just as unpleasant in the professional world as it is on dating sites. It's especially harmful during the high-stress hiring process. Like everyone else, recruiters have round-the-clock access to email and instant messaging. There's no excuse for irregular communication let alone total radio silence. Dependability is one of the first qualities organizations are looking for when they pursue new hires. It should figure just as heavily into their vetting process for third-party recruiters.

4. Lack of Research
When you leverage a recruiter's services, you're paying for their subject matter expertise. Even if your industry is totally foreign to them, they should take pains to quickly develop their understanding. Otherwise, they can't be expected to identify truly excellent candidates. A good recruiter will also make a point to learn the ins and outs of your organization. Assessing your common pain points and the unique nature of your workplace culture, they'll better identify the type of applicants that you would consider a fit.

Have recruiters burned you in the past? Don't let a few bad experiences keep you from collaborating with a supply chain staffing expert. Source One's staffing and recruiting team has the experience and expertise necessary to pair your organization with world-class talent. Reach out to learn more about how we're redefining Procurement recruiting
Several industries (medical and manufacturing, for example) are being impacted by the newly implemented tariffs, and many companies across the country are fearful of the potential impact. Those industries who have not been impacted yet, will be affected with time. To begin the trade war earlier in March of this year, the US announced tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum imports, drastically hindering the manufacturing industry as material costs have concurrently been on the rise for the better half of 2018. Not only have these particular tariffs impacted the manufacturing sector, they impact a significant amount of companies who rely on manufacturers for products and services for their own business, such as automotive or medical device companies.

There are many types of companies that are being influenced by the trade war, and the tariffs appear to be implemented in waves. Tariffs on metals appeared first at approximately 25% on imports, and continue to be placed on thousands of other core commodity groups. It is difficult to say what commodities will be impacted as the coming waves of tariffs that are put into effect, however it is possible to develop strategies in an effort to be proactive as the trade war progresses.

The trade war can present several challenges when it comes to developing strategies to mitigate risk and save business operations. Being proactive and thinking ahead is going to be a large component in identifying a feasible strategy to manage the impact of the tariffs. Performing quick, yet comprehensive research on areas such as if and how the business is potentially going to be impacted by the tariffs and identifying and qualifying alternate suppliers in other countries is going to be a crucial starting point for American companies. This will allow the company to gain a strong basic understanding of how the tariffs impact them and be able to piece together components for a suitable go-forward strategy.

Identifying alternate suppliers in other lower-cost countries and transitioning manufacturing operations away from China is a viable strategy that many companies are exploring as a result of the trade war. In order to maintain current costs and product quality, extensive supplier identification and qualification is going to be required as part of this strategy. Determining suitable countries that can businesses can migrate operations to, comprehending supplier capabilities in relation to the business needs, and analyzing costs associated with transitioning the business are going to play an important role in this primary strategy to operate around the tariffs. Additionally, it is important to maintain a level of diversity and refrain from putting all operations in one country, as it allows for more risk associated with having all Procurement's eggs in one basket.

Though there has not been one strategy that fits all scenarios regarding the tariffs, there are common elements to keep in mind as companies develop the strategy that best suits their company’s changing needs. The trade war has certainly become a challenge to work around, however it is important to identify the challenge it may pose on your company, and take action to develop a strategic plan to implement in order to limit the excess costs during this time.

ICYMIM: November 19, 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.

Focus on Supply Risk Management Can Aid Supplier Relationships, State of Flux Reports
Jonathan Messinger, Spend Matters, 11/15/18
Drawing from a recent State of Flux report, Messinger suggests that organizations are missing out on a valuable opportunity to emphasize risk mitigation in their Supplier Relationship Management programs. The report reads, "Having a management model in place to ensure compliance with minimum standards is not the same as risk management." Messinger suggests that training and technology will hopefully enable organizations to evolve their risk management efforts. Only a slim 7% or organizations, he writes, are completely satisfied with their current solutions. 

Michael Lamoureux, Sourcing Innovation, 11/14/18
"Just about every vendor," Lamoureux writes, "is claiming they have AI, even if all they have is RPA." Procurement's favorite buzz acronym is still only partially understood by many professionals. This is perhaps why so many are bamboozled by providers. Lamoureux attempts to clear up some confusion by walking readers up the ladder of available solution. Most of what passes for AI, he suggests, is really a semi-intelligent mix of RPA and Machine Learning. Cognitive AI, however, does not yet exist. For now, this final wrung is still purely theoretical.

The Forest for the Trees: Understanding Sustainable Forestry 
ThomasNet, Kristen Manganello, 11/16/2018
Though they're important to the health and continued existence of our planet, trees are constantly under attack. Both legal and illegal deforestation pose a threat to the global ecosystem and build the need for sustainable forestry practices. Manganello a number of supply chain best practices that could potentially make a positive impact. For example ,she encouraged readers to engage directly with suppliers to ensure all timber is ethically sourced and identifying opportunities to use alrernate materials like composites or recycled wood. 
There can be a use for the Magic Quadrant, but make sure you use it correctly.

This series has discussed flaws with the Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ). Part One looked at how Gartner unnecessarily limits those who can appear on the MQ. Part Two demonstrated how Gartner clients can use their analyst time to gain a better position on the Quadrant. Part three investigated one company that scored high on the Quadrant and compared this ranking to its low user scores.

Part 4: Understanding How the Magic Quadrant Can Be Useful

The Magic Quadrant does several things:
  1. It provides an overview of the big players in an industry. Gartner’s requirements for revenue, number of billion-dollar clients, and global presence help determine who the largest players are.
  2. It helps provide some analyst context into how they think these companies perform now (Ability to Execute axis) and  how they'll perform in the future (Completeness of Vision axis)
  3. The Strengths and Cautions (Euphemisms for Pros and Cons) for each product give a very high-level overview of what the company does well and where it needs to improve.
Where the GMQ comes up short is when it is used to find the best solution for a specific company. To illustrate this, we created our own Strategic Sourceror ‘Mystical Square’. If you want to find an entertaining movie released last year, look no further:

This chart has only one qualifier: The movie had to have been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in the most recent Academy Awards.

We have more details at the bottom as to our thoughts on each and why they placed as they did, but you can see how this is flawed. All of these movies are good, even great, but if your goal is to find the movie from 2017 that will entertain you the most, the answer might not be on this chart. Someone who loves superhero movies might prefer Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wonder Woman, or Justice League. Fans of the Star Wars and Fast and the Furious series might feel similarly underserved. In fact, fans of 2017’s thirteen biggest box office hits will likely wonder where their favorite is.

Again, that’s not to say the chart is useless.

In the days leading up to the 90th Academy Awards, the Los Angeles Times responded to the usual anti-Oscar grumbling by publishing an essay from Kenneth Turan. In the persuasive piece, Turan argues in favor of the annual ceremony. His words sum up why the Oscars (and the Magic Quadrant) are at once highly flawed and undeniably valuable.
The awards don’t represent any absolute standard of excellence or quality and they never have. Rather, they demonstrate the particular taste of a finite group of people at a specific point in time... although the group’s taste is not always mine, what it has to say matters because it’s speaking from a place of knowledge and experience, that continuum is part of what keeps the award relevant.

He goes on to suggest that the Oscars couldn’t possibly qualify as completely meaningless. If that were the case, we wouldn’t bother to question their relevance at all. You can easily apply his argument to Gartner’s Quadrants.

The Magic Quadrant and the Academy Awards have a lot in common and need to be used similarly. They can get you a list of products that are least likely to disappoint, but they simply cannot be used to determine the best product for your organization or to gain a comprehensive view of what’s available. Just as genre films and tiny indies miss out on Oscar night, there are organizations left off the Magic Quadrant because they didn’t meet revenue, global presence requirements, or because they service a specific industry. The one-size-fits-all approach favored by both Gartner and the Academy mean that unique needs and tastes are rarely accounted for. They’re both far from useless, but they’re equally far from serving as a true gold standard.

Source One’s Procurement Technology advisers know there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for an organization’s concerns. That’s why we embed ourselves within a client’s Procurement department to assess their needs and work directly with them to develop roadmaps for successful implementation. Reach out today to discover the world of solutions that so-called ‘definitive’ rankings might ignore.

Mystical Square: Analysis of Entertaining 2017 Movies

  • Shape of Water
Situated in a unique region between Hollywood tradition and auteur-driven experimentation, Guillermo Del Toro’s Best Picture winner had something for everyone. Not only were audiences and critics impressed, but the film earned a heap (13!) of both major and below-the-line nominations. The film’s runaway success makes it a perfect fit in the top-right of our chart.
  • Dunkirk
Like Shape of Water, Dunkirk blended the familiar with the far-out and experienced a heartening level of success. Despite featuring about a paragraph of dialogue, an anxiety-inducing approach to sound, and very few recognizable faces, the film still enjoyed months of prominence at the box office. It even managed to defy the odds and carry its summer momentum all the way to February. Though it came up short in the major categories, Christopher Nolan’s film certainly earned its spot on the Mystical Square.
  • Get Out
Despite its tiny budget and relative lack of star power, Get Out became a box office hit and a zeitgeist sensation. Even more impressive, the film was released a full calendar year before the Oscar ceremony. Writer-director Jordan Peele’s vision was so complete, his cast’s execution so excellent, that Get Out remained a fixture of the cultural discourse for month-after-month. It even lent itself to a couple of memes! Thanks to its success, Peele has become one of Hollywood’s most in-demand artists and the horror genre has managed to shed some of its negative reputation.

  • 3 Billboards
It happens every year. An Oscar front-runner emerges from festival season only to suffer through backlash, reappraisal, and another backlash. In 2017, 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was that film. Coming out of Toronto as the Best Picture favorite, the film’s controversial politics soon threw doubt on its Oscar chances. Though the film ultimately executed by picking up the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor trophies, its inability to maintain public affection and take home the big prize speaks to a lack of long-term vision.
  • Darkest Hour
Darkest Hour faced many of the same complaints that dogged The Post. Labeled stodgy, old-fashioned, and even retrograde, the film nevertheless earned Gary Oldman the first Oscar of his storied career. Though it’s no more visionary than Spielberg’s film, it certainly executed more effectively on Oscar night.

Critic's Picks:
  • Phantom Thread
Visionary director Paul Thomas Anderson added another feather to his cap with this psychosexual masterpiece. A critical favorite, Phantom Thread provided a fitting coda to Daniel Day Lewis’ career and introduced the world to the considerable talent that is Vicky Krieps. Though it earned a surprising 6 nominations, the film still came up short on Oscar night with just one win. Had it managed to take home some more hardware, Anderson’s film might have earned itself a spot amongst the ‘Leaders.’
  • Call Me By Your Name
A darling of the festival circuit, Luca Guadagnino’s romance rode its early momentum to four Oscar nominations. Though the film inspired memes, controversy, and nationwide affection for its young star, it failed to connect at the box office and missed out on key nominations for its director and supporting cast. For that reason, it’s a textbook example of vision over execution.

Niche Players:
  • The Post
Speilberg’s film had a lot going for it. Meryl Streep turns in a predictably excellent performance, the supporting cast is wonderful, and the film’s historical narrative resonated with our current political climate. That being said, the film could hardly be called visionary. When The Post’s unremarkable trailer dropped, the question on many lips was, “Really, another historical drama from Spielberg?” In a lineup featuring films like Phantom Thread and The Shape of Water, Spielberg’s straight-laced drama couldn’t help but look a little boring. That’s why it went home empty-handed and finds itself in the bottom-left of our chart.
  • Lady Bird
It pains me to place my favorite film of 2017 among the niche players, but our methodology is what it is. Though it scored with critics and audiences, Lady Bird couldn’t connect at the Oscars. Greta Gerwig’s debut feature ran into much the same trouble that Spielberg’s film did. As easy as it was for voters to dismiss The Post as ‘just another historical drama,’ it was even easier to dismiss Lady Bird as ‘just another coming of age movie.’ Those sentiments, however small-minded, secure both films the niche player label.

November 16, 2018

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

New Whitepaper:
MRO Demystified Part IV: Long-Term Spend Management 
In the concluding installment of their series on MRO spend management, Source One's team share a number of best practices for addressing the category in the long-term. Addressing punch-outs, vendor managed inventory programs, and more, they provide readers with valuable insights for keeping a complicated category in check.

New Podcast:
Are Your Supplier Reference Checks Worth the Effort? 
Employed effectively, supplier reference checks are the perfect way to cut through the smoke and mirrors that bid presentations and RFP responses offer up. Ineffective checks, however, don't bring Procurement any closer to the facts. At best, they're a waste of time. At worst, they can leave Procurement even further from an objective perspective than when they began. Subscribe today to learn how you can make the most of your reference checks.

New Blogs:
Best Practices for Evaluating MRO Supply Agreements
Jennifer Engel, ThomasNet, 11/15/2018
MRO suppliers often try to sweeten the deal during negotiations. Creative contract terms and value-adds, they hope, will help them stand apart from the pack and ultimately win business. Engel cautions readers against taking any of these promises at face value. She offers up a number of evaluation best practices to ensure Procurement navigates around spin and assesses the true value of category discounts and iterative savings programs.

Stop Paying for More Analysis Than You Need 
Brian Seipel, Sourcing Innovation, 11/12/2018
"We live in an age where analytics reign supreme," Seipel writes. That does not, however, mean that every analysis is worth the effort. In his years as a Consultant, Seipel has seen countless organizations devote time and resources to low-impact analyses. He offers a number of questions that Procurement teams should ask themselves before committing to any initiative. With these, they can ensure they only conduct analyses that fit into their strategic goals.

This week, Amazon finally brought its search for a second North American headquarters to a close. The fourteen-month hunt - which began with a thoroughly unorthodox RFP - ended with a surprising twist. Rather than selecting a single new home, Jeff Bezos and company have elected to split HQ2 between Long Island City, Queens and Northern Virginia.

Now, the eCommerce giant begins the hard work of staffing 50,000 new positions. LinkedIn's George Anders points out that Amazon's newest hires will outnumber the total headcount for "Fortune 500 giants such Kellogg, U.S. Steel, or Facebook." As America's second largest private sector employer, Amazon is well prepared for this incoming hiring spree.

What does Amazon look for in a candidate? While they rarely discuss the specifics of their hiring process, Amazon is very up-front about the Leadership Principles it values. Beginning life as an informal, six-item list, Amazon's 14 Leadership Principles have grown into an essential component of the company's day-to-day operations.

You don't need Amazon-sized ambitions to benefit from these principles. Procurement groups of any size should keep them in mind as they look to recruit new talent, delegate roles, and drive organizational change. They're definitely not easy to come by, but they'll provide Procurement with the fuel it needs to accept a seat at the executive table and distinguish itself as a valued business partner.

1. Customer Obsession 
Supply Chains are built on trusting, transparent relationships. An effective Procurement leader makes every decision with a mind toward the goals, needs, and concerns of key stakeholders. Whether the 'customer' is a supplier, a prospective partner, or a peer within the business, leaders are positively obsessed with reaching collaborative solutions.

2. Ownership
Procurement leaders don't pass the buck. They willingly take ownership of strategic initiatives and look for new opportunities to guide decision making processes. When things go wrong, they don't look for someone to blame. Rather, they look for opportunities to learn from disappointment and spearhead any efforts to turn things around. At the department level, ownership is everything to Procurement. It's how the function bolsters its reputation and evolves into a more strategic entity.

3. Invent and Simplify 
World-class Supply Chain Managers are tireless innovators. At all times, they seek out chances to make processes more efficient and provide for more effective operations. In leadership roles, they insist their team do the same. Department's that successfully advocate for Procurement's value will even find themselves innovating and simplifying on behalf of other business units.

4. Are Right, A Lot
It's important to recognize that while good leaders are intuitive, informed, and often correct - they're not infallible. There's a reason Amazon doesn't list "Are Right, Every Time" as a Leadership Principle. The best Procurement leaders acknowledge that they've still got things to learn. They work round the clock to refine their skills, develop more market intelligence, and fill in gaps in their understanding.

5. Hire and Develop the Best
A great leader will recognize another great leader. In addition to setting a high standard of excellence, they'll serve as a distinct asset to your Procurement team's recruiting and hiring processes. By seeking out and training to the skills that really matter, they'll lay the groundwork for a best-in-class function.

6. Insist on the Highest Standards 
Truly excellent leaders never settle for good enough. In a rapidly evolving function like Procurement, they cannot afford to. Striving for excellence, they expect themselves and their teams to deliver consistent, high quality results.

7. Think Big
"Thinking small," Amazon writes, "is a self-fulfilling prophecy." When Procurement leaders fail to act with the big picture in mind, they cannot help but produce disappointing results. Leveraging disruptive technologies, weathering supply chain disruptions, and realizing Procurement's full potential is all about big ideas.

8. Bias for Action 
Though Procurement is often tasked with mitigating risk, the function's true innovators aren't afraid of a little calculated risk taking. Within leading organizations, the days of safe, boring Procurement are over. These businesses are already realizing the benefit of a Procurement team that can balance thought and action.

9. Frugality
This one should sound familiar to everyone in Procurement. Though the function is capable of producing far more than cost savings, effective spending is still its primary concern within most organizations. Being frugal, however, does not opting for the run-of-the-mill choice. For leading Procurement professionals, frugality fuels innovation and inspires out-of-the-box thinking.

10. Vocally Self Critical 
Leaders don't shy away from uncomfortable conversations or self reflection. When there's a problem, they speak their mind and take the necessary actions to ensure a fix is made. There's a reason so many interviews feature questions aimed at 'worst qualities' and past failures. The ability to reflect on weaknesses and turn them into strengths is a must-have for anyone looking to excel in Supply Chain Management.

11. Earn Trust of Others
Procurement's leaders quickly and definitively win the confidence and affection of the entire organization. In addition to driving results and taking decisive action, they'll build trust by encouraging an open exchange of ideas and establishing a collaborative culture.

12. Dive Deep 
Supply Chain leadership is about digging below the surface to uncover hidden opportunity. Top-notch professionals keep their eyes and ears open at all times to identify what less expert professionals might miss.

13. Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
When a leader disagrees with something, Amazon believes they're obligated to speak up. High-performing Procurement leaders know that achieving the best possible results is worth ruffling a few feathers. With confidence in their convictions, they'll build a compelling case for the right strategic decisions.

14. Deliver Results
It all comes down to this. A leader is no good at all if they can't consistently maximize Procurement's ROI and produce savings for the organization.

Leadership isn't just for CPOs and other Procurement executives. Whatever stage you're in, consider taking a page out of Amazon's book and working to internalize these essential Leadership Principles.

Why not start today?

The procurement process isn't simple for the health care industry. While technology and scientific advancements are helping people live longer and overcome serious diseases, certain cancers, rare disorders, Alzheimer's and other conditions remain incurable.

However, federal officials are aiming to provide patients with more treatment options, in consultation with their primary care physicians, through an updated expanded access program.
Installed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Expanded Access is an initiative optimized by the Right To Try Law (RTT), which Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law earlier this year. As its title implies, EA is designed to give consumers more control over their health care by enabling them to take advantage of investigational drugs and biologics for life-threatening conditions despite no clinical trials being done on them to determine their safety or efficacy.
"EA has helped bring about 9,000 health service applications in the last five years."
Scott Gottlieb, MD, commissioner of the FDA, said the program has authorized more than 9,000 health services applications, the likes of which include drugs and medical devices, over the last five years.
"FDA staff is deeply committed to this program and ensuring that it works quickly and effectively for patients and their physicians," Gottlieb said in a statement recently issued by the agency. "Emergency requests for individual patients are usually granted immediately by phone. Non-emergency requests are generally processed within a few days."

RTT, EA aren't one and the same
Although RTT and EA have a number of similarities, they're different in function and practice. As noted in the journal Health Affairs by Alison Bateman-House, an assistant professor at the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University Langone Health, EA is slightly more expansive. For instance, while RTT provides individuals with access to investigational drugs, EA applies to these and other medical services, such as technologies, devices and products. Additionally, while the Right To Try program provides certain legal protections for pharmaceutical firms and medical facilities when treatments don't work, EA has no such defenses.

It's in light of this that the FDA has sought to more assiduously structure the EA program to optimize health care facilities supply chain and simplify it so patients aren't hamstrung by red tape.
"One improvement FDA made was streamlining the required supporting documentation for expanded access requests submitted by a physician for access to a drug or biological for the treatment of an individual patient," FDA Commissioner Gottlieb said. " These changes reduced the administrative burden for these physicians. Following these changes, we estimate that it takes about 45 minutes, on average, to complete a patient application form. That form typically requires just one attachment."

More EA oversight now in place
The FDA has also tightened up the program to assuage the concerns of organizations opposed to the RTT. The American Lung Association, American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation were a few of the groups that signed a petition in March, which urged lawmakers to modify RTT so it provided patients with more assurances as to their well-being. The missive warned that because the agency approves the overwhelming majority of investigational therapies - 99 percent, by some estimates - expanded access could wind up doing more harm than good.

"We welcome the opportunity to continue constructive dialogue on ways to improve the ability of patients to genuinely and safely access both approved and unapproved lifesaving therapies," the letter read.
"The FDA itself has implemented some internal restructuring."
In an effort to compromise without causing one too many obstacles for doctors and their patients, the FDA has since made some revisions by shoring up additional oversight through the help of the Institutional Review Board, Gottlieb referenced. The FDA itself has also implemented some internal restructuring through the establishment of a patient affairs staff and health care provider affairs program.

"The patient affairs staff is already in place and charged with serving as the 'home base' and primary point of entry for patients and physicians starting the EA process and navigating them through the steps," Gottlieb noted.

He went on to mention that the agency has installed an EA coordinating committee. Gottlieb said he's both hopeful and optimistic that opening the doors to investigational medicines will lead to greater understanding of life-threatening diseases, which can inform the manner in which health care manage their supply chain of treatments.

Conducted effectively, reference checks are a great way to do away with the smoke and mirrors that often accompany RFP responses and pitch presentations. Ineffective reference checks, however, won't pay off. They'll waste time and serve as an unnecessary roadblock between your organization and its strategic objectives.

On this week's episode of the Source One Podcast, Brian Seipel offers his tips for carrying out effective supplier reference checks.

Seipel opens with a helpful reminder. "Not every reference," he says, "needs to be checked." He suggests that Procurement vet references the way they would a supplier to ensure they focus their efforts effectively and engage in productive conversations. While new clients will have a lot to say about implementation, they won't provide much insight into the costs and benefits of a long-term relationship with the supplier. An effective reference check will see Procurement identify stakeholders who've truly spent time in the trenches with the supplier.

Finding the right references is only part of the battle. Seipel goes on to offer best practices for conducting conversations with these key stakeholders. Right off the bat, he cautions Procurement against looping suppliers into these discussions. Though it seems like a no-brainer, Seipel remarks that suppliers will often try to work their way in. This intrusion eliminates the possibility of a candid, objective exchange.

It's essential, Seipel reminds listeners, for Procurement to guide its conversations with supplier references. By asking for specific examples and employing 'gut check' questions (what does the reference wish the supplier did better, for example) organizations can ensure they exit conversations with actionable insights.

Seipel concludes by urging listeners not to conduct reference checks in a vacuum. "Don't forget to apply what you've learned," he says. A reference check is only truly effective if Procurement leverages its findings to address concerns and establish stronger, more strategic supplier relationships.

Subscribe to the Source One Podcast today to hear the rest of Seipel's tips for ensuring supplier reference checks aren't a waste of time.
Optimizing spend in the small parcel category is no small task. eCommerce has given many consumers the sense that shipping a package is as easy as clicking 'Confirm.' Any Procurement professional with category experience, however, knows it's never nearly so simple.

Looking to drive cost reduction in this complicated category? Check out the infographic below for some quick tips from the Strategic Sourcing experts at Source One.

Source One's Supply Chain specialists are well-versed in all areas of Freight & Logistics spend. Whatever your organization's particular needs, trust our dedicated team to provide for cost savings and renewed efficiency. Reach out to the Procurement leaders to learn more.

For Marketing professionals, budgets are often a moving target. With Source One's new Marketing Infrastructure & Network Diagram solution, long-terms goals and strategic roadmaps don't have to be.

Source One designed MIND to supplement the standard spend analysis and category planning processes with a Marketing-specific solution tailored to the category's unique nuances. It provides Marketing sourcing professionals with increased visibility into their agency relationships and enables them to optimize budgets and drive efficiency across the organization.

"Marketing is more than just a cost center" says Megan Connell, a Senior Marketing Consultant at Source One. "That's why we approach the category as an investment and strive to take pains to maximize the value of our clients' agency relationships."

Historically, organizations have established a dichotomy between Procurement and Marketing. Source One's expert consultants excel at bridging this gap and encouraging productive collaboration. Like other areas of their service offering, the MIND solution is applied through a hands-on, multi-step process:

  • Source One conducts an in-depth data collection process to build their understanding of Marketing's current and future state. 
  • Leveraging a customized spend taxonomy, Source One conducts a Marketing-specific spend analysis exercise. 
  • Following the analysis, the Marketing Procurement consultants develop a visual representation of the marketing agency network. Where necessary, they work to re-engineer the client's agency roster. 
  • Armed with their results, Source One collaborates with the client's Marketing unit to build a roadmap for delivering on their goals and objectives in the category. 
Organizations that leverage Source One's MIND solution enjoy greater visibility, develop more actionable strategic roadmaps, and quickly identify emerging risk factors. Contact Source One's Marketing Procurement specialists to learn more about this innovative new service offering today. 

Ask any organization where they want to be. Though specific terminology will differ, their answers will all point toward one particular goal. Whatever their size, their industry, or their short and long-term goals they're hoping to attain world-class status.

Even in a business world that's increasingly tech-enabled, organizations know this means investing in talent. Those with mature Procurement organizations are looking to identify the next generation of professionals. Others are in search of executive-level talent, leaders who'll advocate for Procurement and pave the way for function that's more attractive to applicants and internal stakeholders alike.

Achieving world-class status takes time, money, and effort. This is particularly true where talent is concerned. With the number of open positions outstripping unemployment, wooing promising candidates is perhaps more challenging than at any point in recent years.

What's more, accepting a more strategic role has empowered Procurement professionals to demand higher and higher salaries in recent years. Hays, a UK-based recruiting firm, found that 69% of Procurement and Supply Chain practitioners saw their pay increase during 2017. This affected professionals from the Analyst-level all the way up to executives like the Chief Procurement Officer. Hays expects this trend to continue. Their Salary and Recruiting Trends Guide for 2018 also found that over half (56%) of employees are unhappy with their current compensation. Growing discontent could mean growing salaries as more organizations look to invest in their spend management function.

What should companies expect to pay an experienced Sourcing Professional?

According to Source One's Supply Chain Staffing specialist, Andy Jones, the answer will vary slightly based on factors including location and spend category. Staffing for Procurement jobs across a wide geography, Jones' has seen the impact cost of living can have on salaries. "Someone headquartered in Philadelphia," he suggests, "will almost always command a higher salary than a similarly-qualified resource based in Central Pennsylvania. In either case, however, companies should expect to break out the checkbook."

Sourcing professionals with five years of experience, the sort capable of overseeing numerous spend categories, can command around $80,000 a year. Jones is quick to point out that this figure does not include a potential bonus or any additional benefits. A contractor or full-time hire to manage this Sourcing Specialist can easily collect more than double that. In Philadelphia, Jones has seen such professionals - tasked with managing all direct or indirect spend - consistently earn over $180,000 a year.

In addition to bonuses, organizations need to consider a wealth of additional costs when they go to market for new Supply Chain hires. Whether you're leveraging the services of an external hiring organization or your own HR staff, posting to job boards, conducting background checks, and (eventually) on-boarding a new hire.

The latter process can prove especially costly. MIT's Sloane Review has found that employees take anywhere between 8 and 26 weeks to reach full productivity. More senior hires will - predictably - take longer to develop than their junior peers. However long this period takes, the organization is effectively losing money until it concludes.

The Society for Human Resource Management has found that the average cost-per-hire is over $4,100 and that it takes organizations an average of 42 days to fill open positions. No average can accurately reflect the rigors of identifying world-class Procurement talent, but these figures should give organizations an idea of what to expect. They cannot afford to enter the market for Procurement talent without thoroughly assessing both their resources and their particular requirements.

When in doubt, Jones suggests leveraging the budget optimization and decision support services of a supply chain recruiter. Bringing Procurement talent on-board is a nuanced, multi-stage process. Even world-class organizations can benefit from additional support. Want to learn more? Reach out to Source One and ask about their end-to-end staffing support.

The term logistics has its origins in military strategy. According to Supply Chain Dive, readers can learn the virtues of effective Supply Chain Management in texts published as far back as Sun Tzu's The Art of War.

It's clear that America's military personnel are more than warriors. They are also superlative logisticians. In the highest of high-pressure situations, they work to ensure that troops, weapons, ammunition, and life-saving equipment dependably reach their destination. As such, veterans are perfectly equipped to fill just about any position along the supply chain. From inventory management to decision planning, these are positions that organizations are increasingly eager to fill.

Abe Eshkenazi, the CEO of the Association for Supply Chain Management suggests that demand for Supply Chain leaders is far outstripping supply. "It's estimated," he remarks, "that demand for supply chain professionals exceeds supply by 6-1." He adds that demand is only expected to grow in the coming years. "The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of jobs in logistics will grow by 26% between 2016 and 2020."

In spite of high demand, many organizations still neglect to actively recruit military veterans. Citing findings from Deloitte and The Drive Project, Procurious writes that 30% of businesses have never even considered employing a veteran. Though the other 70% appear more open-minded on paper, the majority will not hire someone without explicit industry experience. Companies like SAP and institutions like Pennsylvania State University are offering veterans the chance to gain the experience, but far too many organizations are ruling out this valuable class of professionals.

Obviously, veterans boast hands-on experience with a unique brand of Supply Chain Management. In honor of Veteran's Day, let's take a closer look at the impact they could make on your Procurement team.

1. They Understand the Importance of Trust and Teamwork
Veterans are the ultimate team players. From the moment they join the Armed Forces, they are compelled to plan every action and make every decision with their team's well-being in mind. They should have no trouble applying these principles to help foster mutually beneficial relationships across the supply chain. Their facility for instilling trust could prove especially valuable in the Procurement consulting space. Suppliers and stakeholders will feel confident following the lead of an individual who has tailored their collaborative skills in the heat of combat.

2. They Can Both Lead and Follow
This is another unique skill that veterans begin developing from the moment they enlist. Our country counts on its servicemen and women to both follow orders and - where necessary - confidently take on a leadership role. While veterans understand the importance of carrying out their own tasks, they are willing and able to take the reins at a moment's notice. A veteran promises to gift your organization with a uniquely flexible and adaptable approach to Supply Chain Management. They'll happily embrace the chain of command, but they won't hesitate when new and unexpected responsibilities come their way.

3. They Embrace Diversity 
There's no place for biases or prejudice on the battlefield. Veterans are used to working alongside and placing their trust in a diverse group of people. They have experience leading and following people from a variety of backgrounds and they've likely internalized the value that diverse perspectives can bring an organization. As businesses look to place a greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion, the disciplined, goal-focused mentality of military veterans could also prove useful. Veterans can speak to diversity's tangible value in high-pressure situations and leverage their experiences to enforce compliance.

4. They are Comfortable with Ownership and Accountability
More than any group of people, perhaps, veterans understand that responsibilities matter and actions have consequences. Given a task, they see it through to the best of their ability whatever the personal cost. What's more, they'll actively seek out new opportunities to optimize Procurement's procedures and processes. They will not, however, make an excuse, attempt to hide, or look for a chance to pass the buck. Veterans cannot help but hold themselves to a high standard during their military service. Procurement groups who hire veterans can expect them to do the same once they've entered the workforce.

Eshkenazi acknowledges that, however eager and accomplished, every veteran will take to time to re-adjust as they enter the workforce. "One of the biggest challenges when employing veterans," he says, "can be chalked up to a simple translation problem . . . human resources specialists often don't understand the crossover between military and civilian experience."

As they look to fill a record number of open positions, these hiring professionals need to undergo an adjustment of their own. They need to begin retooling their processes and rethinking their methodology to better serve the pool of highly-qualified military veterans. The perfect hire could be out there waiting to report for duty.