SIG University

Four Tips to Prepare for the Fall Global Executive Summit

SIG’s Fall 2018 Global Executive Summit in Rancho Mirage, California, is less than three weeks away! That means it’s time to kick things into high gear and prepare yourself and your team for the most innovative and thought-provoking sourcing event of the year.

With more than 350 delegates in attendance, numerous educational sessions and workshops, plus how-to labs, speed networking, a CPO Roundtable Program and a charity golf scramble, there is a lot to prepare for! Navigating such a vast event may seem overwhelming at first, but don’t fret. I’ve outlined four tips that will have you walking into the Summit like a seasoned vet.

1. Plan Your SIG Summit Agenda with the new SIG Events App

One thing you’ll want to do before you depart for Rancho Mirage is to create your Summit agenda. This fall, with 100+ speakers, 50+ educational sessions, panel discussions, networking receptions, keynote presentations, how-to labs and fun entertainment, there is a lot to do in just four days! Even if you’re a longtime Summit attendee, planning your agenda goes a long way. To make this easy on delegates, we have a new app with a built-in schedule planner tool.

There are multiple ways to download the SIG events app to your smart device:

Heather Young, Senior Marketing Manager, SIG

The Guide to Understanding Category Management

An image of a lightbulb over a black background a spark inside the lightbulb.

In 2018, cost reduction still tops the list of priorities for procurement. As nations engage in trade wars and protectionist policies and extreme weather continues to cause disruption in supply chains, procurement will need to adopt new strategies to meet business objectives and goals.

Procurement can efficiently manage spend and continue to achieve cost savings through the adoption of category management, which is the process of categorizing goods and services and then managing these categories as "business units" to achieve improved outcomes in the most effective and efficient way. 

Category management was developed in the 1980s and takes a project management approach to sourcing to achieve improved outcomes, which is structured, measurable and drives continuous improvement. It is used in both the public and private sector, and while there is no standard categorization or grouping requirements, a general rule is to group goods and services that have similar characteristics. Organizations can use the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code to group categories or it can develop its own homegrown models.

Category Management is Not Strategic Sourcing

Category management is not to be confused with strategic sourcing, although category management evolved from the overall strategic sourcing approach. Some of the main differences between category management and strategic sourcing include the following:

Chart of the evolution of category management.

Stacy Mendoza, Digital Marketing Specialist

This Month at SIG - June 2018

An overhead image of a work space with people around a table with their computers, coffee and tablets.

The month of June is a time for reflection. As you approach the halfway point in the calendar year, it is a good time to consider what you've learned in the past six months and how you can apply those learnings going forward. Some changes will be easy, such as process improvements, but changes in partnerships or relationships will require more stakeholder support. Reflection coupled with bold action can make for transformative change at the end of the year.

SIG has a variety of resources, thought leadership and crowd-sourced best practices and benchmarking studies to help you navigate any challenge you encounter so you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time something pops up. Here's a rundown of how SIG can help you meet your goals in June.

Summer Enrollment Savings

SIG University's summer programs begin July 16. A dedicated member of our team will help up-skill you or your team, with options to enroll in a five-week Certified Supply Management Professional program or a twelve-week Certified Sourcing Professional program. Enroll in our summer programs now and you’ll be ready to implement what you’re learning as early as Q3. While you are planning ahead, consider enrolling in our new Risk curriculum and earn a Certified Third Party Risk Management Professional designation. This eight-week program launches September 24.

These comprehensive programs provide professionals with principles that can be immediately put into practice, including:

Stacy Mendoza, Digital Marketing Specialist

Not training your people? You’re falling behind.

A lack of learning opportunities is the reason why many people leave their jobs.

Does this statement sound familiar: “We’re cutting budgets and unfortunately we need to reduce spend on professional development.” The balance of my professional career has and continues to be focused on helping teams improve productivity, longevity and deliver the right results. For more than 12 years people leaders have told me that their biggest obstacles to training their teams are that they don’t have enough time and dollars. Is this merely a symptom of a bigger challenge? Why is it that seemingly every time budgets are cut, a line item under the microscope is professional development?

In my experience, two primary reasons exist for cuts to professional development budgets. The first reason is that companies are fearful that if they invest in their employees through professional development, they will leave and go to the competition or somewhere else. Secondly, it has been historically difficult for advocates of professional development to demonstrate a return on investment (ROI).

Recent findings from a survey of chief procurement officers by Deloitte and research on professional development shed some light on those myths and support a business case for investing in your people and training them to be the best they can be.

  1. “If we invest in professional development, people will take those skills and go somewhere else…”

Perhaps. The truth is that people will come and go at every organization; this is a reality that will always be the case. No company will ever experience 100% retention of their people. Besides, is that really what you want? The point is, worrying that you will somehow have a mass exodus of top talent as a result of investing in their professional development is unfounded.

Elijah Condellone, MBA, CSMP

5 Considerations of Adult Learning

There is a story where a retiring home builder was asked to build a final home. He was known for building wonderful homes with every detail precise, and his boss wanted one last house constructed before his retirement. The builder was very reluctant and agreed despairingly.

The builder did not take his time with the home, the materials were not his usual top quality and his work was sloppy. He was tired, and it showed. At the end of the construction, the boss handed the builder the keys and said, “After all your years of service, I wanted to give you this home.”

In life, we are the home and we must make choices on how we want it constructed. One of the choices many people make is to go back to school to learn a new trade or enhance their skills. Working professionals must weigh the options and determine the best learning opportunity for them. I have worked with adult learners for over 12 years and have compiled five things adults should consider:

1. Learning platform/accessibility
2. Curriculum/content
3. Customer service
4. Continued education
5. Recommendations

The learning platform is the methodology of how the information is transferred from the educator to the student. Adult learners must potentially juggle obligations with work, family, social responsibilities and personal leisure, which could get in the way of knowledge transfer. Educators today are focusing efforts on building comprehensive online learning platforms that support the working adult learner. I would look for online education opportunities, but make sure that they have a thorough onboarding process where they provide the tools for a successful learning experience.

Mark Pollack, Vice President, SIG University and Chief Strategy Officer, SIG

It’s My Party, and I’ll Learn About Sourcing if I Want To

SIG Resources

Today is my birthday.  As commonly happens on birthdays, we tend to reminisce over the past year(s).  And because so much of our life is spent working, this is where my reminiscing takes me because I get to work with my best friend for a company I love, not only because I get to work from home, but because it’s existence is what I dreamt of many years ago when I was younger and (more) clueless.  Yes, I know… it sounds corny, but it’s true.  After all, it was a little less than 15 years ago that I landed in the sourcing world working for a small supply chain management and procurement solutions provider, Enporion.  I had no clue what acronyms like SCM, VMS, P2P, RFP, or SOW were, nor this strange idea of “Reverse Auctions.” 

I have such fond memories working at Enporion, but anytime I tried explaining my job to family or friends I got that “deer in the headlights” stare and I felt like I was a part of some small secret society.  Back then, Mary Zampino (fellow SIG-let) and I had virtually no resources available to us on how this whole “procurement” thing worked. We tried to come up with best practices, templates, and other tools to make our sourcing clients jobs easier and offer them the most process improvement and cost savings possible. We dreamed of creating a knowledge library of resources that we so desperately needed ourselves so that others wouldn’t have to work so tirelessly to do their jobs. 

Liz Mantovani, Senior Manager of Innovation, SIG

Five Tips for E-Learning Success

It is increasingly difficult, with jam-packed workdays and busy personal lives, to dedicate time to growing our skill sets. More and more, we are turning to online training or "e-learning." With time at a premium, it is critical that once we do dedicate the time to e-learning, that we gain the most we can from the experience. You can't just click through and hope to magically improve your knowledge and skills. I mean if you are going to take the time and effort to enroll, shouldn’t you engage and maximize your experience?

In my career working with adult learners and technology platforms I have noted a few characteristics that separate the high-achieving student from the just-clicked-through-every-slide student. I'll share a few best practices here.

Commitment

Guy Hanna, Leadership and Higher Education, PhD (ABD)

Education is Good

The build out of the “internet of things” will drive the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours, according to IBM. That means that every time you go to bed for the night, an entirely new amount of information has flooded the world. It wasn’t that long ago that robots were only part of huge factories. Now they have them available for purchase at local retailers for less than $50. Robots are more than mechanical machines…in today’s world, they are incredibly advanced tools that have the ability to automate everything, including driving.

As sourcing professionals, it is necessary that we all understand the new world we are living in, and how it impacts not only our organization, but our daily job. Do you have a knowledgeable understanding of:

  • How you are going to source these new products?
  • How you will negotiate contracts for technologies that didn’t exist last month?
  • How you will incorporate these products into your work?
  • How contracts will be crafted to protect IP?

Do you have the knowledge, skills and competencies to fully grasp the future that is here and expanding exponentially?

Education is the answer…and there are a few simple things you can do to support your own education:

Make sure you are reading a book a month. That’s an investment of only 15-20 minutes per day. If you don’t know what to read, (I have this problem) ask someone you trust, explore the internet (trusted sites) and determine what the most successful people are reading. Make sure these books are not just about your industry or current role, but about business, innovation, creativity and other areas of focus. By reading a variety of books, you will gather different insights and uncover different views on the changing world.

Teach. When you teach others, you learn. You have knowledge others want and they have insight you need.  Learning is a mutual relationship.

Mark Pollack, Vice President, SIG University and Chief Strategy Officer, SIG

Best Practices from SIG University Part II: The Real Deal

In our second installment in the discussion on the value of education and more specifically a SIG U education, we discuss preconceived ideas and expectations. After the first class of students completed the training, SIG and Outsource’s Jamie Liddell interviewed students from Honda North America, PNM Resources and Florida Blue for candid opinions.

Preconceptions and Prejudices
Any prospective student contemplating a particular course will have preconceived ideas – however inaccurate – of that course and the institution providing it. In the case of this first cohort of students, of course, there was no existing commentary available to them from previous graduates of this specific course which could colour their expectations; nevertheless, the students could build a certain perspective on the reputation enjoyed by SIG itself – and for Tammy Way, a Sourcing Consultant for Generation at PNM Resources, this in particular gave rise to high expectations indeed: “Given SIG’s buy-side focus and collaborative knowledge sharing approach to just about everything, I fully expected the program to involve trainers from very diverse buying experiences who encouraged others to engage in discussions, share experiences and knowledge, and freely exchange tools and templates aimed at making the work a little lighter for all of us.” Thankfully, she added, “The course did not disappoint.”

Jamie Liddell, Editor, Outsource and Co-Head of EMEA, SIG

Best Practices from SIG University Part I: Why SIG U?

“Education,” wrote John Dewey, “is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” That’s a philosophy that SIG has from its inception held very close to its heart: the idea that throughout our lives and our careers we should continue to learn and develop, not simply for the benefits that learning brings us – and our community – professionally but also because education is a good in itself. Hence the strong focus at SIG’s Summits, Symposiums and Roundtables, in our webinars and our Student Talent Outreach program – truly, in everything we do – on growing our members’ knowledge and understanding of the practice of sourcing and the environment within which we work.

Jamie Liddell, Editor, Outsource and Co-Head of EMEA, SIG