Author Archives: Kelly Barner- Buyers Meeting Point

The Procurement Maturity Curve – Collaboration is value creation – Part 4

In this series of posts, we have looked at how procurement can progress from meeting the fundamental requirement for savings and ensure their continuation through process compliance. We have also considered the potential associated with a shift from an outward-in focus to one that is externally driven, allowing us to position the enterprise to take advantage of the best available options as well as to minimize the risks associated with them. Although this progression tracks an expanding perspective and set … More

The Procurement Maturity Curve — Managing Risk inside and out – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series we looked at how procurement can improve its risk mitigation role by getting involved earlier in the process, and staying involved. In Part 2 we’re going to compare and contrast the internal/external sources of risk, along with how to keep it in check. Look at risk from the outside in. When procurement looks at each category of spend as being directly influenced by materials markets and varying levels of influence in the supply chain, … More

The Procurement Maturity Curve — Managing Risk inside and out – Part 1

In the past, we’ve taken a close look at how procurement’s maturity curve affects its focus. Two recent posts addressed issues concerning the evolving role of procurement savings, compliance and enterprise alignment. In this blog series, we’ll consider risk. First, we look at supplier risk and methods to monitor and mitigate it; then we’ll examine internal vs. external risk sources. Procurement: Sourcing risk mitigation. After procurement has dealt with the primary internal spend management needs of the enterprise —savings generation … More

Procurement: Achieving compliance without focusing on enforcement: Part 2

In my last blog I discussed how procurement’s evolution has spurred the need for increased attention to compliance. By decentralizing day-to-day purchasing, extending it to organizational “consumers,” the process has been made more efficient — as long as everyone stays within the guidelines. In this post we examine the bigger picture of compliance; that is, aligning procurement processes with broader organizational goals. Improved Compliance Through Alignment Let’s face it, generating savings is not as simple as buying the same products … More

Achieving compliance without focusing on enforcement: Part 1

  In this blog series we’re taking a close look at how procurement’s maturity curve affects its focus. Two recent posts covered procurement’s first priority – savings. Now we set our sights on compliance. First, we’ll examine how the evolving role of procurement has created an environment where increased attention to compliance is imperative; on the follow-up post we’ll explore how to improve compliance through enterprise alignment. Procurement Evolves Procurement’s transition over the last decade from “purchasing” to its current … More

The Procurement Maturity Curve — savings at every stage (part 2)

Post one of this two-part series looked at how procurement is (and may always be) linked to savings, even as the definition and measure of those savings has changed. But Procurement’s role – and influence – has expanded. Technology and data are accelerating procurement along the value continuum, and changing what it can bring to an enterprise beyond the bottom line. In this post we look at how procurement professionals can leverage tools to increase their organizational effectiveness — and … More

The Procurement Maturity Curve — savings at every stage

The role of Procurement is ever changing and growing in importance. What are your company’s current practices? What are you doing to advance to the next level? Savings is still a primary focus and a critical measure of effectiveness, but it’s not the only one. In this two-part series, we’ll examine how procurement technology is (or should be) adding value across enterprises. We’ll also touch on how incorporating data and analytics tools can enhance processes, providing procurement professionals with increased … More

P is for Procurement… except when it isn’t.

The Finance team manages the finances of the enterprise. Marketing people market services and solutions to the purchaser (or customer). Human resources manages… well humans. Given those examples, you would think that Procurement handled procurement. In an ironic twist, this is becoming less and less true—especially as technology evolves and blurs the line between Procurement as an entity and procurement as a process. It used to be that every company had buyers; they were the people managing contracts and placing … More

Contract Management: Yours, Mine, and Ours

In his recent book Global Supply Chain Ecosystems, Mark Millar wrote, “…today’s supply chains encompass complex webs of interdependencies, frequently spanning the globe, designed and deployed to optimize critical attributes – such as speed, agility, and resilience – that drive competitive advantage.” His point plays out on a daily basis through the contract management strategies and practices in many organizations. Because our supply chains are no longer linear or consecutive, we may be buying from and selling to the same … More

Is there “Tough Love” Embedded in Your Budget Process?

It is the worst question Procurement ever faces. C’mon – you know what question I’m talking about. That horrible, terrible question from Finance for which there is no good answer… If Procurement worked so hard and saved all of this money, WHERE IS IT? Ugh. The problem is that the space between negotiated and realized savings is full of pitfalls: unexpected requirements, inaccurate demand, and budget holders who see an opportunity to unofficially reallocate savings elsewhere. Even when additional value … More

Whole Foods Markets Shift Their Cost Model as They Target Millennial Shoppers

In March, I wrote a post for this blog about the Whole Foods grocery chain in which I asked the question: “How Much Can Procurement Change on Their Own?” I looked at how Whole Foods has defied the low margins commonly seen in grocery retail by employing an operational strategy that merges brand reputation, consumer identity, and high-quality products in justification of higher prices. Their procurement team is part of a top to bottom approach to creating the right value … More

Where to find contract management discussions at ISM 2015

ISM’s annual supply management conference is just around the corner, May 3 – 6 in Phoenix. If you haven’t yet made plans to attend, there’s still time to look into it. If your travel plans are all in place, then you have to make some tough decisions about which breakout sessions to attend. This year, the tracks at ISM 2015 are decidedly strategic and value oriented, making it harder to determine which sessions offer the processes that can best benefit … More

How much can procurement change on their own?

As procurement professionals, we have come to take certain ideas for granted. Savings is still our primary performance metric given the ever-increasing challenges of today’s market environment. However, savings can no longer be the exclusive North Star to our voyage. We need to become more strategic by increasing our ability to create shareholder value and contribute to corporate competitive advantage. Collaboration with suppliers, at least in certain categories, requires that we take a multi-dimensional look at each commercial opportunity and … More

A New Metric for a New Perspective on Procurement

In March of 2014, Matthew Eatough, CEO of Proxima Group, wrote an article for Harvard Business Review discussing what he called ‘corporate virtualization‘. The concept is based on research that found that, on average, “69.9% of corporate revenue is directed toward externalized, supplier-driven costs.” The fact that such a large percentage of corporate revenue is spent with external business partners is surprising enough, but the study also uncovered that the percentage increased by 4% from 2011 to 2014, marking a … More

Procurement Gone Wild

On February 19, 2015, Paul Shin Devine must surrender himself to the U.S. Marshall Service and begin serving a one-year sentence on corruption charges. He has already repaied $4.5M in restitution and will be on supervised release for three years starting in February 2016. Is Devine a crooked politician? No. A member of the mob? Not even close. Devine is a former Global Supply Manager for Apple. A procurement professional just like the readers of this blog. The difference is … More