Author Archives: Charles Dominick, SPSM - Next Level Purchasing

Is It Time To Source Non-Traditional Areas?

Have you ever had questions like these? “Every other procurement department is getting involved in non-traditional spend categories like health benefits, advertising, travel, and fleet services. Should we be getting involved, too?” or… “What characteristics would make a non-traditional area appear to be appropriate for strategic sourcing?” If so, this post is for you! There are generally five things a procurement department may observe to decide that a Non-Traditional Area is ripe for strategic sourcing: 1. The Spend is Significant: … More

The Dark Economic Cloud Has A Silver Lining For Sourcing

There are at least three reasons why these rough economic times are great for sourcing professionals. With declining revenues, companies are looking to reduce costs to preserve profit margins. And which department specializes in reducing costs? Sourcing, of course! The weak global economy is a fine reason to ask a supplier to restructure a deal. If your organization must reduce costs in order to survive, there is no shame in asking your existing suppliers for price reductions. Many of them … More

What Sourcing Professionals Can’t Afford To Forget

During the commodity price run up that lasted for a few years up until the last quarter of 2008, it was becoming increasingly common for suppliers to refuse to honor their contracts where the buyer would be paying far less than market price. Contracts had historically given sourcing professionals assurance that their price was “locked in,” but market practices in recent years blew that notion out of the water. Now that commodity prices have fallen, many experts are saying that … More

The Sourcing Data Quiz

In economic downturns like the one we’re experiencing now, management goes to Procurement to ask them to wave their magic wand and reduce spend. Ah, if only it were so easy. Well, the right data, while not magical, can make your job easier and help you deliver higher-quality results. So, do you have access to the right data? Take this 14-question quiz. If you have access to the data to answer a question, give yourself the allotted number of points … More

Avoiding The Procurement Pink Slip

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or somehow shielded from every type of media imaginable, you’ve heard a lot about declining economic conditions worldwide. And with an economic recession comes the inevitable job cuts. Unfortunately, professionals in procurement departments aren’t exempt from the carnage. While nothing will guarantee a job (or a job loss) for anyone, there are several common characteristics of procurement professionals that make some of them more easily expendable than others. These include: The individual relies … More

What Your Future Sourcing Boss Wants To Know – Part III

In Part I of this series, I stressed the importance of justifying your cost savings claims to a hiring manager. In Part II, I stressed the importance of demonstrating that you can work harmoniously and effectively with internal customers. In this last installment, I’ll focus on one more question that is on the mind of the hiring manager: “What was your track record with managing supply risk?” In many organizations, continuity of supply is a make-or-break proposition. If supply is … More

What Your Future Sourcing Boss Wants To Know – Part II

In Part I of this series, I stressed the importance of communicating to a hiring manager exactly how you really achieved the cost savings that you claimed on your resume. In this installment, I’ll focus on another question that is on the mind of the hiring manager: “How well did you relate to your internal customers?” Sourcing managers know that sourcing teams are positioned differently in different organizations. Some sourcing organizations are powerful within their organizations while others are lower … More

What Your Future Sourcing Boss Wants To Know – Part I

With unemployment rising and the economy taking its toll on businesses, undoubtedly and unfortunately more and more sourcing professionals are or will be looking for work. So right now, many resumes are being updated and interview preparations begun. When you submit your resume and get called for an interview, the hiring manager will want to dig deep into how qualified you are. So I’ve put together this three-part series to help you better understand what’s on the mind of your … More

The 4th Quarter: A Procurement Leader’s Time To Plan

On a daily basis, sometimes it can seem like not much has changed in Procurement. However, the fourth quarter is a good time for a procurement leader to sit down and evaluate how much progress has actually been made in the last year and what plans need to be made for the next year. Then, it becomes quite apparent how very much has changed both within the organization as well as in the broader profession. Here are some questions that … More

Supplier Risk Assessment Best Practices

Today’s headlines are full of natural disasters and financial failures. The risk of a supply chain disruption has never been more real. It’s your responsibility to help predict and prevent supply chain disruptions, so here are a few best practices you can employ to assess supply chain risk when evaluating prospective suppliers. Make Supplier Risk Assessment Part of Process – You never know where a disruption will occur so all suppliers must undergo some level of risk assessment. Create both … More

Unmuzzling Procurement: Supply Chain Success Can Be A Marketing Slam Dunk

In my years in the field, I’ve seen many procurement professionals be approached by media, such as trade publications, with the opportunity to share their success stories with the press only to have the idea shot down by their organizations’ Communications or Marketing Departments. I can’t say why this is in all cases but, in many instances, Marketing/Communications wants to keep tight control over the messages sent about their organizations. What do I think of this? I think that these … More

Purchasing Procedure Writing

A topic that has been on my mind lately has been the topic of procedure writing. So I thought I’d share with you some of my philosophies on the topic of purchasing procedure writing. Number one, I think it’s important to understand the importance of procedures. Procedures should be put in place to ensure quality and continuity. And what I mean by quality is that your procedures should be written so that, irrespective of who executes a certain process, the … More

The Evolution of Purchasing

I was recently in a client’s office to deliver a presentation. As part of the presentation, I was asked to speak on the history of purchasing. Now, that topic makes me a little apprehensive when people ask me to speak about it because, at any given point in time, companies will be in different places in their purchasing evolution. At any given point in time, there are going to be leaders – those companies that are a decade or two … More

The Purchasing Negotiator’s Worst Enemy

If I was to ask you who your worst enemy is in the context of a negotiation, I bet there’s a high likelihood that you would respond that it’s your supplier counterpart. That is, the sales person on the supplier’s team who’s trying to get the highest price for the product or service that he or she is trying to sell to you. And in some cases you’d be right. In other cases I’d say that you’re close, but not … More

Good Procurement Decision-Making At The Expert Level

After reading what advanced procurement decision-making is like in my previous post entitled “Good Procurement Decision-Making At The Advanced Level,” you may think that it is the pinnacle of procurement decision-making. And you’d be close. There are only seemingly subtle differences between the advanced procurement decision-maker and the expert procurement decision-maker. But they are really significant differences. Like the advanced procurement decision-maker, the expert procurement decision-maker also uses Total Cost of Ownership Analysis as the basis for measuring cost differences … More