SIG Speaks Blog

This Month at SIG - July 2018

A woman working on a remote island.

Here at the SIG headquarters, we’re working hard to provide you with an exciting line-up of fall events and thought leadership. Whether you plan to spend July taking some much-needed time off or your goal is to wrap up some big projects, SIG is here to support you in your day-to-day responsibilities. Register for one of our upcoming webinars that cover today’s latest trends in the industry or listen to our thought-provoking podcast on your commute or a work trip.

You can stay up-to-the-minute with all things SIG by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Here’s what’s happening in July:

CPO Virtual Forum

On July 19, senior procurement executives are invited to join SIG and Oliver Wyman for an exclusive CPO Virtual Forum. CPO Virtual Forums are one-hour, single-topic sessions in which CPOs gather online to openly discuss their most pressing issues. Facilitated by Oliver Wyman, the forum will generate actionable next-steps to discuss during the CPO Roundtable held at the Fall Global Executive Summit in Rancho Mirage, California, October 15-18.

This interactive presentation will be delivered in an open-mic, collaborative format via WebEx that will not be recorded to ensure candid conversations. The topic for this Virtual Forum will be "Procurement Rebranded: Leveraging the Wisdom of Brands to Produce a Star Function." Visit our website for the full session description and to register, but you must hurry – space is limited!

Stacy Mendoza, Digital Marketing Specialist

8 Keys to Ensure Ethical Sourcing Standards

An image of gears with text overlay that has ethical statements.

In my last blog, I spoke about ethical sourcing and the many benefits it can have for your company. Seems like a no-brainer, right? When attempting to put in a plan to obliterate unethical practices in your supply chain, it starts to be risky business. The best way to mitigate risk is to set up a solid plan and be diligent about following through with it. 

In my research to find a clear plan to mitigate unethical practices, I found a slew of proposed methods. Unfortunately, I felt that many of them seemed too simple—basically, too easy and too good to be true. I finally came across a solid and thorough plan proposed by Declan Kearney, the founder of 360° Supplier View, who shares tips with companies to ensure ethical sourcing practices in their supply chain.

Do Your Research

Make sure you do your research on your suppliers…and their suppliers. With myriad complex regulations now put in place, go out and learn from case studies and the resources that will act as a survival guide as you attempt to research your vendors and suppliers.

Stay Away from the Fat Cat

Assess whether the higher-ups in your supplier organization are well known or politically aligned. These individuals are more susceptible to bribery or corruption.

Hailey Corr, Junior Editor and Marketing Associate, Outsource and SIG

Sustainability in Sourcing Part II: Sourcing's Role

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In previous blogs, SIG has covered the basic concept of sustainability, including an overview of its various dimensions. In this post, I will touch on the role that sourcing professionals can have in meeting corporate sustainability goals.

Why should sourcing have a role?

Sourcing is uniquely positioned to contribute to meeting a corporation's sustainability goals because sourcing typically has expertise in:

  • Creating alignment to corporate goals
  • Building frameworks to measure success
  • Researching market conditions and supplier capabilities
  • Conducting strategic negotiations 
  • Designing innovative methods for value creation
  • Ranking the priorities of stakeholders with supplier offerings   
  • Identifying risk and mitigating responsibly

The reduction in costs after implementing a sustainability program can exceed the costs of implementation – in other words, you’re spending money up front but in the long run, you save more than you spend. For example, if an organization were to target the spend category of corporate services and facilities management (FM), capital may be invested in working with a supplier to install a new system that reduces energy consumption at the company's North American headquarters, but in the long run, the reduction in energy costs saves the company money – which of course, can then be reinvested.

In this example, procurement and sourcing are uniquely positioned to make this happen. Most likely Sourcing negotiated the original FM contract, understands the innovative capabilities of suppliers, has heard many recent pitches on new products, and is adept at performing the analysis that proves an investment can have a significant return in hard costs, and even soft costs.

Mary Zampino, Senior Director of Global Sourcing Intelligence

How Best-In-Class Procurement Organizations Are Driving Their Category Management Implementation

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Given the intensity with which companies today are focusing on innovation and profitable growth, it is imperative that procurement teams drive strategies that support enterprise-level business goals. Beyond traditional sourcing approaches, strategic category management delivers a collaborative way of developing solutions that support both business and category objectives. Category management maximizes category value to the organization, delivering on critical parameters such as total cost of ownership, risk and performance, to name a few.

While procurement organizations around the world realize the significance of building an advanced category management program, getting there isn’t simple. In a number of organizations today, category management is still at a nascent stage, perhaps indicating that though there is an organizational structure for category management, it is not quite aligned with the business strategy. For many though, exhausted sourcing strategies turn out to be their biggest hindrance.

To address this issue, GEP and SIG have teamed up for a webinar with Biju Mohan, vice president of GEP Consulting, to discuss the latest trends influencing strategic category management program design and implementation by global, market-leading procurement organizations.

Key topics include:

Edie Sachs, Senior Marketing and Content Manager, GEP

Love and Hard Data

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A CFO-CPO relationship, like any other, is not perfect and is often rooted in a lack of trust and miscommunication, which, at times, makes it seem beyond repair. The CPO promises savings and talks about adding value, but the CFO only sees costs and finds the P&L showing increased spending. This obvious gap between what procurement claims and what finance sees deepens further because the language and terminology used are not aligned. As a result, misunderstanding and communication breakdowns happen. 

The webinar ‘Prove Procurement’s Contribution to Finance with Love and Hard Data’ is designed to help procurement professionals turn their CFO’s hate into love. With Johan-Peter Teppala, a seasoned procurement expert and Bruno Duréault, an experienced CFO, this relationship dynamic between finance and procurement is discussed. With more than a decade of experience in their respective fields, they address and uncover the practical ways to improve this partnership.

Before exploring how to make the relationship between procurement and finance work, it is crucial to note how procurement has evolved from having the penny pincher reputation to becoming the heart of supply chain management. Organizations are now starting to see it as a key driver for competitive advantage. With various value-adding superhero functions, it has emerged from being just a cost-cutting function to having its own voice with a newfound organizational influence and corporate visibility. Mastering its potential and knowing its strategic and critical contribution will ensure a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic global business landscape.

Ericka Pineda, Product Marketing Specialist

This Month at SIG - June 2018

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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

The Innovative CPO’s Road Map

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Procurement has evolved to become more strategic and collaborative and has moved from an isolated, back-office function to a boardroom partner. While the procurement function must continue to drive hard savings, manage suppliers and mitigate risk, it must also pivot to look for opportunities to deliver future savings and innovation.  

“Procurement is at an inflection point,” said Dr. Marcell Vollmer in a recent interview with SIG CEO Dawn Tiura. “Procurement needs to transform into a value-added function focusing on strategic tasks.” How can procurement teams do this?  

Based on interviews with today’s leading procurement executives, innovative suppliers and academic research on the procurement function, five notable areas stand out in which procurement can drive innovation in areas critical to the sourcing industry.  

INVEST IN THE RIGHT TALENT

For all the great advancements that technology brings, it requires people to manage the technology. Oxford Economics’ survey among procurement executives and practitioners found that the top three investment priorities include new talent recruitment, training/upskilling programs and procurement/supply-chain technology.  

Oxford Economics Survey

Stacy Mendoza, Digital Marketing Specialist

How to Present to an Executive Audience: Prepare, Perfect, Practice and Pre-empt

A microphone in a room of executives awaiting a presentation.

When was the last time a presentation inspired you? Seriously…think about it. Now envision the last speaker who truly motivated you and ask yourself, was it their slides? (Dramatic pause.) I’m willing to bet that what got your attention had virtually nothing to do with the content presented…and everything to do with how it was delivered.  

When presenting to an executive audience, this is even more critical. You have only a few minutes to convince your audience that the most valuable way they can spend their time right now is by tuning in to what you are saying. So, as you prepare for that next opportunity to speak in front of executives, keep these things in mind.  

  • Set their expectations – They call it an executive “briefing” for a reason and the execs in attendance will be chomping at the bit to ask questions. Let them know at the outset that you will provide plenty of time for discussion. 

Sarah Holliman, Chief Marketing Officer

Sustainable Sourcing 101

An image of a sustainable forest with the sun coming through the trees.

The concept of sustainable sourcing, also known as green purchasing or social sourcing, is nothing new. Sustainable sourcing is impacting nearly every area of corporate business and the consumer’s mindset. Everything from sourcing materials, talent attraction and consumer purchasing habits are changing because of the growth of sustainable sourcing. However, the term gets thrown around in the procurement industry quite a lot and is often misunderstood or misused. So, here’s a guide with all the basics you need to know about sustainable sourcing.  

WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE SOURCING

First and foremost, we have to define the term. Sustainable sourcing is the integration of social, ethical and environmental performance factors into the process of selecting suppliers. It includes purchasing sustainably preferable products and services (products made from recycled or remanufactured materials), as well as green purchasing guidelines that might pertain to certain products or commodities.  

Heather Young, Senior Marketing Manager

The Business Case for Ethical Sourcing Practices

Ethical sourcing best practices.

In my time working in the sourcing sphere I have become passionate about ethical sourcing. Mexico, where I have lived for nearly eight years, is where many companies source cheap, nearshore labor and is a resource for bilingual, cost-saving talent. I have witnessed unethical sourcing practices in my time here and I am always looking to educate myself and others on the benefits of ethical sourcing. As companies chase better costs to remain viable, the possibility of building a supply chain with poor ethical practices increases. Ensuring ethical sourcing practices in your supply chain can be labor intensive but the benefits are immense.

According to the  Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS), ethical sourcing is the process of ensuring the products being sourced are obtained in a responsible and sustainable way, that the workers involved in making them are safe and treated fairly and that environmental and social impacts are taken into consideration during the sourcing process. Ethical sourcing also means the procurement process respects international standards against criminal conduct and human rights abuses and responds to these issues immediately if identified. 

The good news is that  84 percent of businesses report having a supplier code of conduct  in place to ensure ethical sourcing practices.

Hailey Corr, Junior Editor and Marketing Associate, Outsource and SIG

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