SIG Speaks Blog

Understanding the Technical Aspects of Negotiations

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Connor Ryan describes the technical aspects of approaching negotiation conversations and how applying these tools will absolutely enhance your success and create a strong supplier relationship.

Connor Ryan, Category Management Advisor, Cigna

Change Management

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SIG University Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program graduate Erika Marzilli shares her personal experience in project management and how accepting sudden change can be hard, but it is always worth it in the end.

Erika Marzilli, Senior Advisor Category Management, Cigna

Implementing a New Governance Model

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SIG University Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program graduate Mark Nilsson shares an example of how his team had to implement a new governance model that was instrumental in getting a project back on track and helped implement several layers of change across his organization.

Mark Nilsson, Sr. IT Vendor Manager, Leprino Foods

Category Management Playbook and Category Strategy Planning

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Prateek Jindal describes how the course helped him and his team increase value from improving their strategic sourcing strategies on down through your category playbook.

As a Sourcing Director, I manage Category Playbooks and drive effective sourcing strategies within our organization. Coming from Facilities Management (FM) organization, my directives are to manage over 20 key categories primarily in the services procurement domain, including Elevators, Janitorial, HVAC, Security, Snow Removal & Landscaping, Waste Haulage, Electrical, Key Trades, and many more. Each category is unique and requires substantial knowledge and understanding to ensure client requirements and expectations are met, both qualitative and quantitative. Combining a portfolio of over 40 clients and management of over 20 FM categories, it is imperative to have robust Sourcing Strategy Planning and regular review of Category Playbooks. 

While our existing processes to develop Sourcing Strategies and Category Playbooks were functional, I recognized the need to elevate our practices to industry-leading standards. To address this, I recently completed the Certified Sourcing Practitioner course SIG (Sourcing Industry Group) offered. This essay highlights how the concepts and techniques learned during the certification course enabled me to enhance our Category Playbooks and elevate our sourcing strategies significantly. 

Prateek Jindal, Director of Strategic Sourcing, BGIS Global Integrated Solutions

Executive Presentations in Procurement

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Kate Laing shares her perspective on the importance of a clear, concise presentation and how it is very important for the entire team and reinforces the depth of work performed and the criticality of procurement to your stakeholders. 

Kate Laing, Procurement Specialist, Coca-Cola Consolidated

The Future of Procurement and Sourcing: The Effects of Artificial Intelligence in the Industry

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Lauren Redden shares an excellent essay on the power of AI to transform the smart sourcing industry, in balance with the potential risks that companies must evaluate in employing more intelligent automation into their processes.

One of the lessons that I found most interesting in the Certified Sourcing Professional Program through SIG University was in Week 4 regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI). The rapid advancements in AI have notably impacted various business functions, including procurement and sourcing. Businesses and organizations continue to strive to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and gain a competitive edge, and AI technologies have begun to revolutionize the procurement landscape. In this paper, I will highlight the effects of AI on reporting, outsourcing, and contract management as we learned in the lessons. Additionally, I will examine the risks associated with adoption and the process to adapt it to existing procurement practices.

Lauren Redden, Procurement Manager, Exact Sciences

Implications of Reputational Risk

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SIG University Certified Third-Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) program graduate Meshkat Rahman shares her systematic analysis of Reputational Risk with a methodical solution design process.

I have decided to partake in the certification of the C3PRMP course by SIG University as I have a growing passion for the topic of third-party risk management. I have learned various aspects of vendor risk management, which includes the types of risk, how to identify risks and their remediation plan, the importance of RACI and the role of various stakeholders, industry trends, and best practices. The list will go on. With this in-depth knowledge gained via this course, I can demonstrate a high proficiency level in the topic I am most passionate about. This will help me help my clients and my company in the future.

One of the topics that can be deemed simple and self-explanatory but possess a high value is reputational risk. In this article, I would like to dive deep into the topic of reputational risk and discuss its implications and how to apply the knowledge gained from this course in an organization. 

Meshkat Rahman, Senior Consultant in Risk Advisory, Deloitte

Is Your Procurement And Sourcing Function ESG Sustainable Ready?

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Sophie McNally shares how there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to ESG and that each company has to take a deep dive into what will ultimately work best for them.

This analysis attempts to explore how procurement and sourcing functions of publicly traded technology companies with market capitalizations between $15 billion to $35 billion (“Tech Company”) can evaluate, implement, and monitor emerging Environmental Social and Governance (“ESG”) regulations within their supply chain.

All publicly traded companies are required to disclose their ESG efforts and generally, Tech Company boards have ESG oversight. While Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Reporting on the “S” and “G” components of ESG metrics has evolved and is standardized across industries, there is no single consistent baseline on environmental and sustainability reporting on the “E” component.

A survey of 2022 Proxy statements indicated that boards generally voted against proposals to manage climate risk through comprehensive science-based targets due to the potentially costly and burdensome target-setting process. This is consistent with the change in tone that ESG champions like BlackRock who once supported shareholder proposals pushing for lower emissions at public companies have taken.

Sophie McNally, Senior Manager Financial Reporting, CoStar Group

RPA Challenges and Lessons Learned

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SIG University Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) program graduate Sharon Shao shares her experience with implementing RPA projects and describes the different challenges and lessons she has experienced.

A successful Robotic process automation (RPA) streamlines workflows, which makes organizations more profitable, flexible, and responsive. It also increases employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity by removing repetitive, manual tasks from their workdays. RPA is noninvasive, can be rapidly implemented to accelerate digital transformation, and potentially transform businesses of all sizes.

However, RPA does have its challenges. It results in duplicate work effort, disruptive processes, and employee frustration if not overcome. In this blog post, I would like to discuss two common challenges covered in the course and experienced from our end during the implementation of RPAs and the lessons learned to overcome these challenges.  

1. Limited IT resources

One of the biggest challenges of RPA is the limited IT resources. RPA is a software technology and requires a unique skill set that combines technical expertise with a specialty in a certain business area. This can be difficult to find. Meanwhile, a large volume of RPA pipeline might be waiting to be assigned to designers.  

Sharon Shao, Finance Manager/Global Process Owner, VMware

Maximizing the Potential for Cost-Savings and Risk

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Heather Frazer discusses how TCO is a great tool that will help capture the entire potential for cost savings and risk and how it is increasingly important for procurement organizations to secure reliable data.

Heather Frazer, Procurement Specialist, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee