April 2018

ICYMIM: April 30, 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.
Craig Laufer, Spend Matters, 4/25/2018
Has your organization's supplier relationship management program stalled? Laufer suggests investing more resources into the program and providing for its evolution into a Strategic Partnership Program. The long-term benefits of such a program are considerable. Among them, Laufer lists co-marketing, co-innovation, and co-development. Taking a collaborative approach to the various aspects of relationship management and strategic sourcing doubles the power of your organization. Armed with your suppliers' intelligence and expertise, your own efforts will undoubtedly go farther and produce more strategic value.

Of Course Catalogs Can't Be Trusted to Manage Low-Value Spend!
Michael Lamoureux, Sourcing Innovation, 4/17/2018
Catalogs, The Doctor writes, are only useful in the hands of highly skilled and well-equipped professionals. For many organizations, catalogs look like the solution for their tail spend woes. Most are quickly and definitively disappointed. Many assume that catalogs are something they can set and forget. As a result, they're often out-of-date and lead Procurement to miss out on savings opportunities again and again. In the hands of inexperienced or disengaged employees, they can also leave organizations vulnerable to a wealth of cybersecurity risks. Catalogs are undoubtedly valuable, he concludes. Even the best, however, are just one tool for managing tail spend.

Social Harmony is Becoming More of a Business Priority. Should it Be an International Procurement Priority? 
Charles Dominick, Next Level Purchasing 4/25/2018
Using Starbucks' recent PR nightmare as a jumping-off point, Dominick takes a closer look at social responsibility initiatives and their impact on supply chains. With its hand in so many buckets, Procurement is perfectly positioned, he suggests, to ensure ethical practices across the supply chain. As consumers continue to grow more discerning and socially active, Procurement will need to work harder than ever to cut down on human rights violations and environmentally unsound practices. Social and environmental responsibility should increasingly help differentiate the true leaders of supply management. 

April 27, 2018

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

Recent Blog:
Can We Negotiate with the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
Jose Schneider, Buyer's Meeting Point, 4/26/2018
The potential implications of artificial intelligence and automation are among the hottest topics in supply management. Machines are already widely performing operational tasks and replacing tactical professionals. Employees working in more strategic positions are starting to worry. Schneider urges Procurement professionals against thinking fatalistically about new technologies. Procurement, he reminds readers, has adapted to countless technological advancements over the year. Through them all, the human element has remained essential for long-term success. Supply Management will certainly need to change in the future, but there's no need to fear the worst.

Recent Podcasts:
ISM2018 Session Insights (Episode 10) - Category Management: The Next Step for Procurement?
Source One's Associate Director and Procurement Transformation Practice Lead joins ISM2018 Session Insights to discuss methods for developing and maintaining category management programs. These, she suggests, could be the next step in Procurement's ongoing strategic evolution. Procurement's leading professionals are already exerting cross-department influence. As these programs develop, cross-functional Procurement will gradually become the norm with world-class organizations.

ISM2018 Session Insights (Episode 9) - Becoming an Employer of Choice in Procurement
MRA Global Sourcing's Nick Lazarra joins ISM2018 Session Insights to offer his tips for companies looking to better navigate the crowded market for Procurement talent. As Procurement grows more essential to leading companies, small and mid-sized organizations find it increasingly challenging to compete with business giants. Not everyone can pursue talent as aggressively as these organizations, but everyone can borrow their tactics to make themselves employers of choice. With a mix of challenge, compensation, and recognition, companies can better attract the next generation of Procurement professionals.

Upcoming Events:
ISM2018: Nashville, TN
The year's premier supply chain event is finally almost here. May 6-9, Source One's Procurement experts will join their industry peers at the Institute for Supply Management's Annual Conference. In addition to serving as sponsors and exhibitors, the Strategic Sourcing leaders will co-host a pair of presentations. On May 7, Analyst Kaitlyn Krigbaum will offer tips for building a world-class Procurement function in Orchestrating a Procurement Transformation: A Symphony of Recruiting, Branding, and Leading. On May 9, Director Diego De la Garza will present best practices for improving Procurement's reputation in Overcoming Procurement's Internal Image Problem.

ExecIn: Nashville, TN
From May 7th to 8th, Source One will serve as the exclusive hosts and sponsors of ISM's ExecIn Forum. Reserved for executive-level supply management professionals, the sub-conference features expert-led discussions, private sessions with ISM2018's keynote speakers, and countless opportunities for industry leaders to network, exchange best practices, and discuss emerging trends. 
Sustainability in the supply chain: Ambition is increasing

Sustainability in all its forms - from humane treatment of workers around the world to using practices that won't damage the environment and more - won't happen without corporate commitment. Businesses need to change their mindsets before they can make a lasting difference in their practices. Supply chain leaders have a huge role to play in this priority shift, considering the serious impact that logistics can have on organizations' global footprints. Fortunately, there are indications that key personnel are taking action.

Balancing the need for sustainability with companies' abilities to achieve other goals such as budgetary objectives and speed targets is a major part of supply chain leadership today. As technology improves and consumer preferences shift, it's becoming increasingly possible to align these multi-faceted requirements. While sustainable practices are far from universal at present, organizations are setting ambitious future targets.

Selecting valuable next steps
Supplier networks today can span the world, adding potential difficulty when sourcing departments attempt to ensure high standards among their partners. Fortunately, this hasn't stopped more firms from seeking accountability. The recent Ceres study on organizational sustainability indicated 69 percent of organizations include sustainable practice requirements in their contracts with the third parties they purchase materials and services from. This is up from 58 percent from the previous iteration of the survey, taken three years earlier.

Setting good goals and putting admirable policies into place can only get organizations so far, however. Translating these plans into action may require hands-on work between companies and their supplier networks. According to Ceres, this connection still hasn't materialized. One-third of respondents said they reach out to their suppliers about sustainability directly. That number didn't change between 2014 and 2017. Furthermore, companies' policies tend to target only certain elements of good practices, with few businesses seeking both human rights justice and environmental protection.

Getting the resources to become more proactive is a major roadblock, the researchers noted. Organizations sometimes lack the ability to launch training and outreach programs that target their suppliers. This lack of priority harms these businesses' ability to reach beyond their first tier of suppliers in many cases. Business leaders may need to loosen purse strings to move toward ambitious sustainability goals.

Employees study a world map.Keeping global supply chains sustainable requires a deep level of visibility.
Forming alliances
When corporations band together to work on shared projects, they gain a new framework through which to become sustainable. The Thompson Reuters Foundation recently shared an example of such an agreement: The Consumer Goods Forum created the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative, which is designed to make third-party audits and certifications more visible and accessible to member organizations. The end goal is to create a more straightforward assessment environment in which companies can eliminate harmful labor practices from their supply chains.

These types of large-scale programs are debuting in response to consumer demand. Today's shoppers want to ensure the products they buy aren't being created with slave labor or other immoral systems. Organizations have created mechanisms such as the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative to be certain they aren't funding such harm at any layer of the supply chain. With so many levels of partners in today's manufacturing and retail environments, this work is difficult but still essential.

After two days of absorbing insights and market intelligence, Source One shared some wisdom of their own on Day 3 of REV2018. In Maximizing Fuel Efficiency, Associate Director and Procurement Transformation Practice Lead Jennifer Ulrich presented attendees with tips for getting the most out of their technology and leveraging it to serve Procurement's strategic evolution.

Procurement Transformation is among the hottest topics in today's supply management circles. The volume of the conversation and variety of perspectives has caused many misguided ideas about these initiatives to take hold. That's why Ulrich opened by deflating some Procurement Transformation myths. These endeavors, she reminded attendees, are not really transformations at all. They aren't quick fixes, nor are they reserved for organizations that need a major overhaul. She suggested that they are actually long-term initiatives that should aim for continuous improvement.

After outlining the process for assessing Procurement and setting goals, Ulrich spoke to the critical importance of fit-to-purpose technology. Not every organization, she asserted, will necessarily benefit from the most robust or most complex tool. Everyone, however, will benefit from tools and solutions that are optimized to their maturity level and unique needs. There's no one-size-fits-all strategy for aligning this technology with Procurement's people and process, but the skills that make for success in these efforts are fairly consistent. In any organization, cross-functional leadership, communication skills, and a collaborative spirit will serve Procurement's efforts to become world-class.

With the right technology in place, Procurement will enjoy benefits including more strategic decision making, more informed risk management, and more nuanced performance tracking. These will all support the department's efforts to market its value and make itself a strategic business partner.

Day 3's proceedings also included keynote presentations from Freakonomics author Stephen J. Dubner and CAPS Research's Executive Management Director, Deborah Stanton.

Ulrich and her colleagues have offered Procurement optimization services for over two and a half decades. In that time, they've developed an unparalleled library of category expertise and industry best practices. They're ready to share that knowledge with your organization. Give the sourcing experts a call today.

When you think of classics in music, you probably smile fondly at the thought of genius arrangements by the likes of Beethoven and Mozart.  Without a doubt, these composers have made a lasting impact on music - for both artists and audiences.  But, what if music never evolved from there? What if artists never strayed from that genre? Would shows still attract an audience? Would the songs still connect with listeners? Chances are, probably not. While classical music has proven timeless, it's hard to imagine a world without music's evolution; it'd be a world without The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Adele, and many, many others.

The same idea holds true for Procurement. Within countless organizations, the department is still dancing to the sounds of Savings. Though Procurement is in a prime position to drive supplier innovation, facilitate company-wide objectives, and enable its business counterparts - Procurement professionals remain fixated on cutting costs;(insert percentage here) year-over-year.

Unfortunately for Procurement groups hesitant to turn the dial, the Savings tune gets old - and fast.

1. You're beating on the same drum...or suppliers. 

Each year, you're set on hitting the same cost reduction notes. To your ears, 5-7% savings sounds great. So, each year you turn to your supply base and demand they place the same piece again and again. For a time, they'll probably feel obliged to put on a show and keep your business. Eventually, however, the music will stop. The chorus of "squeeze, squeeze, squeeze" will only hold an audience's attention for so long. Sooner or later (probably sooner than you think), your business won't be an attractive show to attend - and you're going to need to set up stage elsewhere.

This might seem okay for Procurement. There's no denying that savings sound sweet, but closing your ears can lead to missed opportunities for additional cost reduction. Taking a more strategic approach to supplier relationships can offer greater value in the form of supplier-introduced innovation, improved service levels, and more. But, you'd never know it if Procurement won't listen to new genres.

2. Trapping Stakeholders in the Same Budget-Slashing Performance

The classical Procurement strategy not only means squeezing suppliers, but also backs internal stakeholders into a budget-cutting corner. For more delicate categories like IT and Marketing, that's the last place they want to be.

Nonetheless, they're asked to hit those same savings high notes every year. How do they respond? First, they'll resist or even rebel by introducing dissonance. Simply cutting their budget may mean sacrificing the products and services they need to achieve their goals. Second, they'll develop bad habits and start to miss notes. While conceding to the cost reduction mandate, they identify 15% savings - but that's not necessarily what they're going to report to Procurement. If they admitted to the full 15%, that would mean they'd have no savings to report next year. Instead, they'll offer Procurement the 7% they want to hear and wait another year for the big finish.

Letting savings steal the spotlight damages Procurement's relationship with business partners and keeps it from producing the maximum possible value. It causes disarray among the players within an organization. Instead of accepting its rightful place as a conductor, Procurement becomes an internal enemy.

Composing a new song and moving past savings, Procurement can better encourage harmony across an organization. It can help its business counterparts more effectively manage spend across all categories and identify opportunities for better pricing, better service level agreements, and additional soft dollar value-adds. Additionally, it'll promote better habits. Procurement's bandmates will report their actual savings and opportunities and, in turn, make it simpler for Procurement to negotiate more competitive agreements.

For Procurement, savings will forever be a timeless tune, but the performance shouldn't end there. It simply isn't sustainable and it keeps Procurement in far too low a register. World-class organizations recognize Procurement's potential.  They've changed their tune, tone, and instruments accordingly.

Interested in learning more about rewriting your Procurement Strategy? Check out Source One's ISM2018 Sessions taking place in the Music City, Nashville:

To begin taking your Procurement operations to the next octave, contact Source One's Procurement Advisory and Implementation Experts

Few stages of the sourcing and procurement process are more essential (or potentially frustrating) than the negotiations stage. At this point, a supplier reveals their true strategic value and Procurement sets the stage for long-term collaboration.

Procurement professionals are constantly confronted with best practices for the process. Blogs and articles offer daily insights for preparedness, execution, and everything in between. Rarely, however, do these cover the moments when cost reduction opportunities dwindle and negotiations become a waste of time and resources. Oftentimes, Procurement would do well to enter an agreement "as is" or walk away from the table entirely. Source One's negotiations team share some signs that negotiations should cease. 

Looking for help optimizing contracts for maximum cost reduction and strategic value? Contact Source One's Procurement and Strategic Sourcing specialists today. 

Day 2 of JAGGAER's REV2018 conference kicked off today with an opening address from CEO Robert Bonavito. After acknowledging the event's sponsors (including Source One), he went on to discuss his thoughts on innovation, education, and acceleration in Procurement. One line in particular stuck out to Source One's team. "Customers innovate. JAGGAER listens." This thought appeals to the collaborative nature of Source One's suite of Procurement services. Our team has always prided itself on opening its ears and empowering our clients to provide their own innovative solutions during engagements.

As the day continued, Source One's cost reduction specialists attended a number of presentations hosted by supply chain thought leaders from across the industry. Topics of discussion included engaging suppliers, leveraging analytical software, automating the contracting process, and more. Absorbing a variety of insights, Source One contributed to its already considerable store of sourcing best practices. Attendees look forward to sharing these new lessons with their peers when they return home next week.

Tomorrow, Source One Associate Director Jennifer Ulrich will offer her Procurement Transformation insights in Maximizing Fuel Efficiency. Calling on years of successful initiatives, she'll provide REV2018 attendees with tips and best practices for aligning Procurement's technology to better serve its people and process.

Procurement stands at the brink of a new era. An incoming wave of collaborative, tech-savvy, young professionals promises to drive supply management into an exciting future. Unfortunately, their arrival coincides with the departure of many industry veterans. Within a number of organizations, a shortage (or poor application) of internal resources leaves new hires under-managed.

Mentor programs could be the answer. At their best, they'll benefit upstarts and veterans alike by encouraging collaboration and promoting an open transfer of skills. Source One has helped numerous clients refine their operations by implementing programs for training and mentorship. Check out some of the best practices they've learned over the years.

1. Level Set Across Your Organization 
You can't provide direction to young talent if your mentoring program is directionless. Before attempting to develop a program, ensure Procurement has achieved the executive buy-in necessary to guarantee its long-term survival and success. Develop Procurement's brand within your organization to make sure that leaders believe in its worth and feel compelled to invest in refining its talent pool. Once you've sold leadership on Procurement's considerable strategic value, you shouldn't have trouble encouraging them to invest in maintaining a program that'll ensure its ongoing success.

2. Select the Right Manager
More than ever, Procurement departments require strong, forward-thinking leaders. Selecting the right individual to lead your mentorship program could make the difference in helping generations of incoming talent achieve their full potential and serve your organization as strategic assets for the long-term. While a strong manager won't necessarily mean success, a weak one will almost certainly mean failure. The best leader for these programs will exemplify the qualities that make for success in Procurement. They're agile, innovative, and quick to offer constructive feedback. With this individual in charge, your program will remain effective in the long-term.

3Think Like Marketing
Your efforts to promote the value of a mentorship program should never stop. Getting a program off the ground is just the beginning. Typically, a program's introduction will inspire a great deal of enthusiasm from across Procurement. There is no guarantee, however, that this enthusiasm will last. Procurement will need to think like Marketing to ensure mentors and mentees alike are confident in the importance and strategic value of the program. Don't be afraid to get creative in your efforts to internally promote the program.

4. Stay Flexible
A certain level of structure is necessary for a mentorship program to prove at all successful. The formality and consistency of training, tracking progress, and communicating expectations are essential. That being said, Procurement's ever-evolving needs and responsibilities mean that flexibility is equally important. Consider options for introducing variety. You might offer participants with multiple options for formatting their sessions. Keep your ears open. Let mentors and mentees offer their suggestions, and implement these into the program as possible.

5. Emphasize Successes 
Sometimes members of your Procurement team will need a reminder that their work is paying off. If your mentorship program has proven successful, take care to remind all participants and relevant stakeholders. Broadcasting success stories and recognizing contributions will encourage additional investment moving forward. Knowing that they're on the right track, your team will commit themselves to the program's future success.

Building, optimizing, and maintaining a Procurement mentorship program is hard work. If you're looking for help, consider reaching out to the talent management team at Source One today.

Maximizing KPIs may not be supply chain cure-all

What does it take to create a top-quality supply chain experience? Companies' logistics leaders are becoming increasingly important to their organizations' strategic direction and effectiveness, but success is not guaranteed. The stakes are high and, in the years ahead, a performance gap may open between companies with great back-end operations and those that struggle.

The question facing managers today is whether their current practices are up to the task, or whether they need to fundamentally change something about the way they operate. Not changing anything would of course be easier, but the risk of staying stagnant lies in missing great innovations that are sweeping the sector. Clinging to outdated approaches is a major hindrance to performance.

The KPI fallacy
As Forbes contributor Steve Banker recently stated, there is a danger in becoming too tied to departmental key performance indicators. He specified that firms set metrics for everything from sourcing to sales, and then aim directly at those targets, gravitating toward operations that will affect the numbers. There is a danger in that approach, however, as individual departments' KPIs may have been created without much regard for how they'll affect other functions, or the business's objectives on a macro level.

Banker gave the example of operations that help companies procure materials at an excellent price. These may appear unbeatable, according to sourcing KPIs, but simultaneously hurt the manufacturing department, as the cheap components might lack quality. Sections looking out for themselves could inadvertently harm the rest of the company.

While it's clear on an abstract level that departmental directors should look beyond the walls of their individual fiefdoms, it's not uncommon for companies to fall into exactly that pattern. Banker stated that when businesses lack integrated planning and set up each of their teams on separate and siloed metrics, they are creating the conditions for single-minded KPI pursuit, potentially harming their overall progress.

A hand writes the words "key performance indicator."KPIs are useful, but they can be misleading in isolation.
Technology to the rescue?
Detecting an all-too-common supply chain fallacy is step one for companies interested in improving. Step two involves finding the most effective way of digging out of the proverbial pit. The answer to metric-tacking solipsism may involve that most common of modern logistics innovations: data-analyzing technology.

DHL and IBM recently reported on artificial intelligence's impact on logistics. While references to "AI" may make supply chain managers think of science fiction, the reality of the technology is more of an evolved form of big data analytics. Good AI algorithms will help departments detect patterns in huge quantities of data, potentially resolving some of the limited-view KPI confusion facing companies today.

The researchers suggested there's potential for AI use to bring supply chain operations together more harmoniously. The survey touted AI's ability to guide behaviors and practices in ways that wouldn't be possible with humans alone crunching the numbers. The era of manually checking results against KPIs, and the limited conclusions drawn from that act, may recede into the past. Companies might be struggling with their ability to move forward in a unified fashion, but technology can give them a boost.

Today, members of Source One joined other innovative professionals from across Supply Management for Day One of REV2018. Hosted by JAGGAER, the conference welcomes over 700 individuals and features an agenda focused on promoting education, innovation, and acceleration in Procurement.

Since 1992, these qualities have proven central to Source One's suite of cost reduction and spend management services. They've always believed that Procurement departments at any maturity level are capable of establishing cultures of continuous innovation and improvement. This conviction is why they're not only attending REV2018, but also serving as sponsors.

Day One provided attendees with the opportunity to network, exchange best practices, and decompress after the trip to Las Vegas. Tomorrow, the conference will begin in earnest with sessions dedicated to partnering with suppliers, developing an optimal approach to Procurement technology, leveraging spend analytics, and more.

Source One's attendance of REV2018 coincides with the launch of their new Procurement Technology Advisory offering. This new component of the firm's offering brings them even closer to providing an end-to-end Procurement solution to its clients.

Check back in throughout the week for more updates from REV2018.

Once again, the innovators at Source One Management Services are diversifying their suite of Procurement and Strategic Sourcing services. The firm that's spearheaded Procurement's evolution since 1992 is proud to announce the launch of their new Technology Advisory practice. With this new component of their services, the spend management leaders are even closer to offering an end-to-end solution for optimizing and elevating Procurement departments.

The Procurement technology landscape is practically unpredictable. Faced with a consistent wave of emerging technologies, even mature Procurement departments can easily grow overwhelmed.

Source One's team of Procurement Technology consultants aim to provide the support that most software developers cannot. They'll not only help Procurement navigate the crowded market and select the appropriate solutions, but will oversee the process of implementation from beginning to end. Developing training programs, establishing metrics, and more, they'll contribute to Source One's ongoing efforts by providing for Procurement's strategic growth.

Want to learn more about this new offering? Contact the Procurement consultants at Source One today.

Few topics will command as much attention at ISM2018 than the ongoing strategic evolution of Procurement. For over a decade now, forward-thinking firms like Source One have helped purchasing teams abandon their tactical and reactive processes in favor of more strategic practices.

What's next for strategic Procurement teams? Associate Director Jennifer Ulrich - Source One's Procurement Transformation Practice Lead - believes developing category management plans could help the department reach the next stage in its evolution. Collecting cross-category experience and best practices, innovative Procurement teams will ultimately mature into fully strategic business partners.

Ulrich joins ISM2018 Session Insights to discuss the benefit of these programs and offer suggestions for ensuring their success.

Give the episode a listen today.
Supply chain leaders reaffirm commitment to digitization

Is digital procurement the wave of the future, or part of the present? Those two options seem to be the only possible paths for logistics departments to go, as high-tech solutions take hold in every imaginable industry. Sticking with heavily analog processes limits the kind of speed, efficiency and visibility open to companies. Exciting new processes such as predictive analytics don't work unless they have stores of digital information to use as raw material.

The move to more tech-savvy operations has been playing out in the supply chain for a long time, with leaders trying to find ways to square the technology's potential with existing processes that still have a foot in the manual operations sphere. The winning formula for companies will involve a direct path to value, with short-term and immediate gains opening the possibility of more permanent advantages to come.

Leadership shows determination
According to the University of Applied Sciences Wurzburg-Schweinfurt's new SAP-sponsored study of procurement managers, the entire industry is on the precipice of an evolutionary process that has been promised for decades. The next steps of digital investment will take businesses beyond the simple automation of existing processes and begin delivering strategic value rather than just operational savings. Though it's true that most departments haven't yet completed their adoption of the new projects, leaders have envisioned their next steps.

The split between executives who believe in digitizing and those who have accomplished the process remains pronounced. The university's survey revealed that 83 percent of the 450 employees surveyed are convinced digital implementation will change the way they do business. That number contrasts sharply with the mere 5 percent who have already gotten through the process of automating their operations to a significant degree. Evolution is on the way, but the tide has yet to turn in most organizations.

Actual effects of digital transformation can involve exciting new capabilities for procurement departments. According to the University of Applied Sciences, the wave of effective new processes coming to the supply chain won't take the form of robots occupying purchasing roles currently occupied by human employees. Instead of putting people out of work, digital algorithms will give high-speed insights that enable efficient and accurate buying decisions. Artificial intelligence is more of an enabling tool than a simulated worker.

A mind full of digital data icons.AI and employees work together to make sense of overwhelming data volume.
AI in a chaotic world
The kind of assistance provided by powerful new algorithms may be essential for analysts trying to wade through a sea of numbers and keep their departments on track. Suplari Head of Marketing Gregg Makuch told PYMNTS.com the vast amount of information flowing into and out of supply chain departments can be overwhelming. This chaotic flow of data can be hard to parse, which is where analytics tools come in.

Going digital is a process with many parts. Replacing analog record-keeping with digital solutions may swamp departments with data, leaving employees scratching their heads. Augmenting those human workers with advanced AI, as Makuch suggested, is a way to make the many kinds of information tell a coherent story. At the end of this digitization journey, there are exciting and timely insights waiting to be mined.

This blog is brought to us by MRA Global Sourcing

Recruiting Procurement talent is challenging and all-important, but retaining hires and keeping them engaged is often even more important and even more challenging. Incentives and benefits are a great start, but many organizations struggle to find an appropriate balance between over-the-top perks like unlimited vacation days and more traditional options like a good 401k. The right direction will differ for each company, but these tips should help everyone get a better understanding of how their employee benefits programs stack up.

Encourage A Good Work-Life Balance 
A manageable balance between work and life reduces stress and absenteeism in the workplace. Inc. recently reported that workers who feel positively about their workload will perform 21% more effectively than their more unhappy counterparts. There are a number of incentives companies can offer that will encourage a better work-life balance. These might include introducing a work-from-home policy that allows employees to function remotely on a regular basis. Inc. goes on to explain that working remotely improves both satisfaction and performance. You might also consider providing employees the opportunity (within reason) to create their own office hours.

Anne Hayden, MRINetwork's VP of Human Resources remarks, "Once a novelty, flexible and remote work options have become the norm in many workplaces." She continues, "Data has demonstrated that providing the means to create a positive work-life balance can increase engagement as well as output." These opportunities and incentives are also shown to improve employee retention. This, in turn, reduces the amount of time and effort an organization needs to reserve for hiring and recruiting new talent.

Establish Incentive Programs
Everyone wants to see their hard work acknowledged. Procurement managers should make honest, consistent efforts to recognize jobs well done and continued success. According to the American Marketing Association, recognizing employees for their productivity and innovation will promote engagement, motivation, and productivity.

"When praise is organic and genuine, employees are much more likely to feel connected to the work that they do and thus, continue to remain engaged," adds Hayden. "Going beyond verbal recognition, other forms of compensation for hard work can help drive success." Competitive compensation, for example, can keep teams and individuals on their toes and promote better performance.

Leverage 'Bonus' Perks
Driving employee engagement and improving morale is as simple as implementing low-cost bonus perks. If you're worried catered lunches or happy hours might break the bank, consider smaller perks like flexible hours, fresh fruit and vegetables, or game rooms. At their best, these incentives will promote social connections among your Procurement team and build a sense of camaraderie moving forward.

"Employee perks can at first appear to be bait on the hook - purely there to catch the biggest fish," writes Alex Holderness of the The StartUp. "But the truth is that a well-designed employee perk package can help the employer day-to-day as well."

If nothing else, small perks could mean more smiling faces around the office. A happy employee, one who truly has fun at the office, is far more likely to feel connected to their employer, its goals, and its vision. Even something as small as donuts in the break room can go a long way toward making your Procurement team feel valued and engaged.

Driven, satisfied employees will work wonders for your organization's brand. They'll take to social media to sing the praises of your workplace and its culture. As ambassadors, they'll attract new talent and continually make positive contributions to office morale. "Big changes start with small adjustments," concludes Hayden. "Start improving your day-to-day workplace policies today."

ICYMIM: April 23, 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.
Sydney Lazarus, Spend Matters, 4/17/2018
A new study by Deloitte and the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation has found that manufacturers are increasingly aware of the benefits a digital supply network might provide. Implementation of these technologies, however, is still generally lacking. Unsurprisingly, the primary obstacle standing in the way of implementation is insufficient funding. Other barriers include fragmented data, poor strategic management, and an inability to scale up initiatives. While all of these ranked highly, talent is still perhaps the primary concern for organizations. Deloitte reports that recruitment, retention, and training each present distinct challenges.

Why a True Supply Management Professional Still Will Not Be Replaced by Technology
Michael Lamoureux, Sourcing Innovation, 4/17/2018
The Doctor addresses the concerns of Procurement professionals who fear they'll soon find themselves out of a job. He suggests that humans are safe so long as algorithms are unable to truly sense. Predictive analytics are making progress, but machines still can't accurately predict how humans will behave. As a result, we can only expect them to negotiate with other machines. Successful negotiations are depend on more than simply transmitting a message. For the time being, the human element is an indispensable component of this process and of supply management altogether. Technology can make Procurement professionals more productive, but it won't replace them (yet).

From Talent to Category Management: 4 Critical Development Areas for Procurement 
Sydney Lazarus, Spend Matters, 4/19/2018
According to a recent Hackett Group report, cybersecurity and talent are the primary concerns for today's CPOs. Other areas of concern include broadening Procurement's scope and influence, improving agility, better managing complex spend categories, and producing value beyond cost savings. More than a quarter of respondents say they're going about achieving these goals by pursing talent from outside Procurement. In general, the report reveals a considerable discrepancy between Procurement's goals and its present capabilities. For example, 83% of respondents consider category management a high priority, but only 56% believe their team is currently equipped to develop these programs. 
Procurement's agenda involves targeted improvement

Taking on new technologies, capabilities and priorities in procurement departments will largely transform these teams over the next few years. The current digital age represents a significant change from the way business was conducted even a few years ago, and firms that fully embrace new points of view may be better able to cope with the new reality than their competitors. While evolution is necessary, it can also be nerve-wracking for officials within the supply chain. The decisions they make today may set their course for years to come.

Deciding what to change and how will be essential, with firms needing a list of actionable and clearly delineated changes that address real-world issues they're facing. With clear priorities and a dose of market research, leaders can set their agendas. The supply chain of tomorrow will emerge as organizations across industries and regions executive their respective strategies and revolutionize the way they procure goods and services.

Four areas of attention
According to the Hackett Group's 2018 industry survey, there are four distinct functional areas that executives should target for improvement in the near future. First, leaders should ensure their teams are stocked with relevant skills and knowledge as requirements change across the sector. They should also find ways to determine the value of their departments in real business terms that the rest of the company will be able to understand. It's important for procurement departments to embrace supplier relationship management to optimize their contracts. Finally, they should embrace category management.

The set of priorities identified by Hackett is so vital because the net effect of the changes within could involve a transformation of the supply chain's overall role. Procurement departments that are more concerned with delivering value to the whole organization and aligning with overall goals may find their importance snowballing in the years ahead. Corporate managers that work more closely with their logistics teams may find a positive cycle emerging - greater decision-making power and integration with business operations go hand in hand.

A meeting in a boardroom.Do supply chain leaders have a stake in company-wide decisions?
High hopes for the future
Another survey of chief procurement officers, this one by Deloitte, found there is a gap between the ways these departments want to contribute to organizational performance and their current abilities. As of the study, 24 percent of CPOs see their teams as valued partners of executives, with a strategic role and proven track record of value. Many more, 86 percent, want to take on this kind of role in the future. This shows the path supply chain groups will work over the next few years, even as plenty of work remains to get there.

When the C-suite is on board with procurement's agenda and operations, the relationship between logistics and overall operations tends to thrive. This is a bond employees will likely focus heavily on building in the future. There is a need for improvement, with Deloitte noting that the amount of supply chain leaders who feel supported by their companies' executives actually declined between the 2016 and 2017 results. With a clear agenda ahead of them, managers can take on this relevant strategic challenge.

It's that time of year again. That's right, Look Alike Day is finally here. Established by a Pittsburgh television reporter in the 1980s, everyone's favorite unofficial holiday celebrates doppelgangers, doubles, and duplicates everywhere.

For Procurement professionals, it can sometimes look like every day is Look Alike Day. The department's huge catalog of relevant terms and phrases includes a number of words that look and sound almost identical. To make matters more complicated, the majority of these lookalike Procurement terms mean completely different things. Need some help getting your definitions straight? You're in luck. Source One's terminology team can help you make sense of Procurement's dictionary.

1. Digitization vs. Digitalization

Digitization: This term refers to the process of transitioning from analog to digital technology. Think of the ongoing move from CDs and DVDs to MP3s and MP4s. For Procurement, this could mean shifting from physical contracts to digital files in a contract repository or abandoning paper purchase orders in favor their electronic counterparts.

Digitalization: This is ultimately the more meaningful term for Procurement and Strategic Sourcing professionals. It describes the use of digital technologies to change business models and create new opportunities. A Procurement team looking to digitalize itself might look into spend analytics platforms, eProcurement tools, or other solutions for streamlining and optimizing the sourcing process.

2. Managed Spend vs. Spend Under Management 

Managed Spend: Procurement professionals often mistake managed spend for true spend under management. To qualify as managed, spend only needs to be tracked and made available for analysis. Just because your Procurement team has entered historical spend into a spend analysis or opportunity assessment platform does not mean they've brought it under management. They've certainly put down a nice foundation, but they've still got quite a bit of work ahead of them.

Spend Under Management: For manged spend to qualify as spend under management, Procurement needs to make sure that all of their spend is effectively categorized, strategic purchases are made across all categories, and that all purchasing decisions are inspired and reinforced by a dependable platform. Procurement can't reach its full potential until it gets the entirety of their managed spend under the management of an expert team and cutting-edge platform.

3. BPO vs. GPO

BPO: Business Process Outsourcing providers offer Procurement teams support for all or some of their operations. The best of these organizations offer flexible, fit to purpose support for Procurement organizations at any maturity level. Many, however offer little but boilerplate support and inexperienced consultants. Source One cautions any organization from selecting its Procurement BPO based on price alone. The seemingly cost effective choice is often anything but.

GPO: A  Group Purchasing Organization leverages the buying power of multiple businesses to negotiate discounts with vendors. In theory, this collaboration makes it easier to obtain favorable prices, terms, and conditions. Industries ranging from health care to industrial manufacturing favor this system to optimize their purchases. You might think small businesses are more likely to take part in a GPO, but research from Spend Matters suggests that 15-20% of Fortune 1000 companies take part in purchasing groups as well.

Still feeling confused? Contact the Procurement team at Source One today. We'll leverage our years of experience and wealth of resources to fill in any gaps in your understanding and prepare your team to produce long-term value.

How do we know what we are getting unless we give it a whirl or actually trying it on for size? Unfortunately, we do not always get this opportunity for all business exchanges.

In this series we will be exploring the problems with the management consulting industry, from my vantage during my experiences in this industry.
While at times this series might seem as though that I am bringing straight heat to your standard white glove management consultants, from the likes of Mckinsey, Bain to Accenture and IBM, but in truth, behind the snark, I think these points are much more positive in spirit, I am really just an advocate for a better work product and result, while seeking tones of snark to entertain. <Disclaimer done!> (for potential future prospective client employers)  
Now that is out of the way, let me paint this scene: You are down to two suppliers and lets call one of the presenting company’s Srey Dickinesy Marketing..To be confused with companies that have similar names...
They do their pitch, coming in with loads of energy and with people who have off the record job titles of something to the effect of the “The Closer” and “The Finisher”. They show up with a team of 15 and naturally of course, requesting a larger room last second - Just to show their shallow might and to make this statement: "if you buy us, we will bring departments for your $500K engagement." Thinking from their perspective, they got to like one of us. In my space we call this the Crazy Backward Dance. CBD for short. We all might know someone who fell victim to CBD…  
...Welcome to the world of Sourcing, Management, and Specialized consulting...
You of course select one of the 2 CBD providers for your outsourced, augmentation and or consultative capacity and you get the ol’ switch a roo when it comes to services being rendered. Day one of the engagement, you get meet the B Team. Lets talk about the B team in our next post on this series. Our focus here is really about managing expectations and making sure you engage with what's really needed.
Should fall victim and Prey to predators transmitting KBD you will likely experience the following symptoms:
·       Amnesia, forgetting that you ever liked this company to begin with

·       Extreme buyer’s remorse, resulting in doubts on other purchases seemingly not related, like your pants you have on today.  thinking thoughts like “ would I be in this situation if I bought pants with pleats?”
Here is how to prevent and Treat CBD:
Scope of work! Scope of Work! Scope of Work! & Review and interview. From my experiences  I have been interviewed by clients 4 times before being placed on an actual engagements. That’s just how we do things in the NON CBD Transmissions transactions, there is integrity… Weird right. Make Corporate Great Again? Nope, just kidding. Anyway hope you enjoyed this read and will check out the next post in this series. Problems and Solutions with Management Consulting: The People.

Even in an era of emerging technologies and software solutions, talent is still the most important tool in Procurement's repertoire. There's no replacing the right team of dedicated subject matter experts.

CPOs recognize this. PWC reports that a whopping 93% consider talent management a primary concern. Only 39%, however, believe they've already taken the necessary steps to improve their processes.

As Procurement grows more important to leading organizations, identifying the right talent grows even more important for the department. That means devoting resources to recruiting, interviewing, and hiring the wrong person can prove especially costly. So what exactly does Procurement lose when they pursue the wrong resource?

Want to learn more about making the right hiring decisions. Reach out to Source One's Procurement recruiting and staffing experts today. 

April 20, 2018

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

Recent Podcasts:
ISM2018 Session Insights (Episode 9) - Becoming an Employer of Choice in Procurement
MRA Global Sourcing's Nick Lazarra joins ISM2018 Session Insights to offer insights for companies looking to better navigate the competitive and crowded market for Procurement talent. As blue chip organizations continue to boost their Procurement function, it becomes increasingly challenging for small and mid-sized companies to distinguish themselves as employers of choice. Lazarra presents his tips for standing out and attracting world-class Procurement professionals.

ISM2018 Session Insights (Episode 8) - Responding to Supply Chain Disruptions
These days, data breaches are a fact of life for supply chain professionals in just about any industry. Torey Guingrich, a Procurement IT expert, joins ISM2018 Session Insights to provide her tips for managing these risks. It's not enough, she suggests, to prepare for a data breach. It's essential to develop response plans for when a breach occurs. In these instances, Procurement should function as an internal project manager to ensure stakeholders in each department know their role and communicate effectively among themselves.

Upcoming Events:
REV2018 Jaggaer Conference: Las Vegas, NV
Since 1992, Source One's Procurement consultants have emphasized innovation, education, and acceleration in supply chain management. From April 24-26, Jaggaer's REV2018 conference will bring other industry professionals together to discuss these ideas, exchange best practices, and lay the foundation for supply management's next generation. In addition to sponsoring the event, Source One will attend as featured presenters. Associate Director and Procurement Transformation Practice Lead, Jennifer Ulrich, will deliver offer tips for aligning Procurement's people, technology, and process in Maximizing Fuel Efficiency.

ISM2018: Nashville, TN
It's almost time for the year's premier supply chain event. May 6-9, Source One's strategic sourcing experts will join industry peers at ISM's Annual Conference. In addition to serving as premier sponsors and exhibitors, Source One's team will co-host a pair of presentations. On May 7, Analyst Kaitlyn Krigbaum will offer tips for building a leading Procurement function in Orchestrating a Procurement Transformation: A Symphony of Recruiting, Branding, and Leading. On May 9, Director Diego De la Garza will present his insights for rehabilitating Procurement's reputation in Overcoming Procurement's Internal Image Problem.

ExecIn: Nashville, TN
May 7-8, Source One will serve as the exclusive host and sponsor of ISM's ExecIn Forum. Reserved for executive-level supply chain professionals, the event features expert-led discussions, private sessions with ISM2018's keynote speakers, and countless opportunities for Procurement and Supply Management's true leaders to network, exchange best practices, and discuss their industry's emerging trends.

Whether you have undergone a merger or acquisition, are experiencing significant changes in company structure, or are constructing a fleet policy or management structure for the first time, it is important to consider how re-evaluating your fleet could lead to significant savings. At Source One Management Services, we assess every aspect of your Vehicle Fleet to find cost-savings not only in price per unit, but through contract negotiations that provide you with comprehensive services that satisfy the needs of your company. These contracts not only save money in the short-run, but ensure vehicle safety, efficiency, and maintenance, so your fleet investment doesn’t fade due to a shorter vehicle-shelf life than you had expected.

Before negotiating these contracts, however, there are important questions and considerations to think over when assessing your company’s fleet needs. 

The first aspect of fleet to consider is your company’s vehicle make-up. Fleet is a large category, and it is important to consider the types of vehicles you are using for specific purposes. Are these vehicles similar? Are they stratified into distinct categories?

Depending on your company’s needs, it may be valuable to standardize your fleet. By standardizing your fleet, you may be able to find lower maintenance costs from limiting the variety of parts needed to repair or maintain vehicles. Standardizing your fleet also opens a door to more competitive contract pricing if your fleet volume is large enough. 

The next aspect of the fleet process to consider is fleet leasing. Are you leasing from more than one company? Are there incentives to streamline your fleet dealer?

Although every company’s needs are different, it is important to consider how streamlining your fleet sources could create savings. At Source One, we can help consolidate fleet spending to cut costs by developing a supplier scorecard. These appraise your supplier's performance to ensure they are capable of meeting your needs. Contracting with one dealer in larger volumes creates opportunity for more cost-control and allows both you and the supplier to negotiate vehicles and services that match your company’s needs. Some of these negotiations could include establishing a consistent vehicle replacement schedule, receiving a retainer bonus, rebates through fuel card programs, loyalty incentives, or unit discounts. By limiting the number of dealers with whom you are contracting, you are typically able to purchase in larger volumes. This, in turn, leads to fewer contract negotiations and provides additional leverage for those negotiations that are necessary. 

It is tempting to believe that all fuel programs have the same benefits. However, the type of vehicle fleet you are utilizing may determine the types of fuel services that suit your company’s needs. Here, we consider how your fleet’s fuel needs could be best accommodated.

Fuel cards are perhaps the most common fuel service provided by fleet dealers, and can allow drivers the flexibility to fill up when needed. For heavier-duty vehicles, however, looking for an OEM dealer that provides wet hosing services may be a more practical option. They eliminate the risk of fuel-card misuse and keep your company from paying retail price for fuel. Wet hosing services can also produce soft dollar savings by reducing the time it takes to fuel off-site vehicles. 

Every supplier can provide something different. Sometimes it is easy to look at the baselines for all suppliers and assume their services are the same. Though cost per unit is important in terms of OEM fleet, it is often the additional administrative and maintenance services that make the biggest differences in both price and convenience.

Depending on the size of your fleet, perhaps it’s important to consider how services like vehicle inventory and managing replacement schedules may take a load off of your shoulders. If you are a larger firm, you may already be hiring third-party providers to manage these aspects of your supply chain. However, many OEC suppliers like Ford, GM, Nissan and Toyota offer onsite management services and telematics technologies that oversee pricing and administrative functions. This type of vehicle inventory monitoring can ensure that maintenance is taken care of in a timely fashion, and vehicle replacement is occurring when necessary. Cutting back on 3rd party fleet management services can cut internal costs and create a more streamlined approach to vehicle management.

Although this is only a sketch of things to consideration as you re-evaluate your fleet spending, a sourcing specialist at Source One can assist you with the ins and outs of picking the right supplier for your company’s needs.

Procurement can become Marketing's Knight in Shining Armor

Procurement has long-since tried to be the knight in shining armor who saves marketing by slaying the proverbial dragon, implementing cost-reduction tactics to slash costs and save money. But what may have been a well-intended happily ever-after has evolved into a Brothers Grimm plot twist. Read on for actionable insights Procurement can take today to transform this tragedy into a fairy tale.

If measuring success based on cost-reduction, you’re on the wrong quest

The irony in this tragic tale of procurement and marketing is in its room for interpretation. Procurement defines procuring as saving, while marketing defines procuring as killing: killing their talent, creativity, and brand. As history would have it, Procurement began working alongside Marketing in more tactical categories such as coupons and commercial and operational print, but as Procurement pushed harder for cost-reduction and savings, a divide was created and the seeds of conflict began. What was once a united effort is now the Marketing vs. Procurement dichotomy. So, what’s the resolution to the age-old conflict of procurement fighting the wrong battle? The quest for procurement is not to kill the beast, but instead to tame it and train it. In other words, the goal is not cost-reduction, but investment and reinvestment to achieve harmony.

To revert back to our knight in shining armor example, you wouldn’t buy a wooden sword to ward off a dragon just because it’s a cheaper alternative to a steel sword. Similarly, evaluating a marketing agency focused solely on the immediacy of cost-reductions and ignoring the consequences of long-term sustainable quality and market impact is like battling that dragon with your wooden sword. It’s crazy, and will utterly fail. When you make an investment decision based solely on costs, the outcome is grave at best. If you’re measuring success based on increasing marketing ROI, you’re on the right track. Increase agency value through supplier relationship management and budget optimization to improve marketing efficiency and become the fairy tale hero.

Procurement must give up specificity and embrace ambiguity
Marketing is inherently creative and innovative, and is driven by elements like insights and intuition, which are difficult to quantify, difficult to track, and yet absolutely essential to growing the business. Simply put, marketing is focused on the intangibles. Procurement on the other hand is analytical, metrics driven, and almost entirely focused on tangible, quantifiable values, such as cost reduction and spend under management.

In marketing, quality is often a variable, and creative agency evaluation and selection may not always be the apples to apples comparison procurement is used to. Direct materials sourcing is static, but marketing agencies and marketing suppliers are in a highly fluid marketplace. Direct materials sourcing employs cost reduction strategies to cut costs associated with the annual fixed budget; however, the budget associated with marketing isn’t always so concrete. So how can Procurement add value to the marketing team? Procurement must relinquish the need for control and learn to find creative and innovative solutions for problems across marketing’s network of agencies. By demonstrating a complete understanding of the investments marketing wants to make and helping marketing determine how agencies fit into their overarching strategy, Procurement strengthens the marketing procurement alliance. Therefore, Procurement needs to be comfortable with ambiguity, and respond to it accordingly.

Ultimately, Procurement can become a collaborative "hero" to Marketing if they focus on delivering the right message, and track success with the right metrics. While cost-reduction is still an important component of any sourcing strategy across any spend area, its importance is second to overall quality, brand differentiation, and customer loyalty for Marketing. Source One’s contingency cost-reduction experts are committed to driving brand value and optimizing the marketing category by increasing marketing ROI, and can help your Procurement team implement Marketing Procurement best practices today.