SIG Speaks Blog

Lessons in Vendor and Category Management

vendor relations and category management

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Diane Bradley discusses how CSP modules on vendor relations and category management improved her vendor management and negotiation skills.


I would like to start my essay by saying "thank you." BNY Mellon has invested in its employees and is providing us with this training. I feel that is something that should be recognized, and I do appreciate the opportunity to expand my knowledge, which will ultimately increase my value with the bank. With that said, the SIG University training has provided me with a lot of valuable information and has also given me guidance, which I have started applying in my day-to-day activities

I feel the units focusing on vendor relations have been extremely helpful. As I continue to negotiate more and more contracts, I have reminded myself to go into the call with my goals established and I have them written down in bullet points, so they are easy to refer to while on calls. I have also made sure to have internal calls with the stakeholders prior to reaching out to the vendor. So when the call is conducted, I am confident that we are on the same page and present a consistent and concise dialogue. I feel this preparation has given me confidence, and I strongly feel that it is represented in the call. I am also very focused on the partnership that we are building with our vendors.  I realize I am an essential aspect of the partnership.  My dealings with the vendor will make a significant impact on the success or failure of the relationship. 

Diane Bradley, Global Procurement, BNY Mellon

This Month at SIG – June 2020

June updates from SIG.

It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through 2020! Given everything that's happened this year, it's likely that the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year have changed - and that's okay. No matter what you seek to accomplish, whether it's pushing ahead or navigating a new normal, SIG is here to help you start Q3 with a bang.


Calling all CPOs!

Senior procurement executives are invited to join this monthly virtual meeting to find solutions to challenges that procurement leaders are facing today. These single-topic discussions are delivered in an open-mic, collaborative format for a personal and targeted discussion.

With a maximum of 15 attendees, this two-hour session will cover topics relevant to CPO and executive-level procurement practitioners across industries. You are invited to join the discussion and share your experiences, ask questions and share your expertise with the group.

Space is Limited, Reserve Your Spot>>

Recession-Proof your Career

A SIG University certification on your resume will make you stand out and demonstrate your expertise. Earn your certification at a discounted rate when you enroll and pay prior to June 6! SIG University’s curriculum is unique and delivered entirely online. Students learn from real-world sourcing and risk events that are taught by senior industry practitioners. Graduates are equipped with the resources and knowledge to add value immediately. 

Get Free Information>>

Stacy Mendoza, Senior Marketing Manager

Finding Cost Savings in a Distressed Economy

negotiating cost savings in a covid-19 economy

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Angelica Gardner discusses how CSP modules on internal spend analysis and contract negotiation planning improved her approach to identifying cost efficiencies as a procurement buyer.


As everyone is aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected a large portion of the economy’s growth ability, especially in the automotive industry, with declining sales of more than 40%. Companies are having to develop strategic ways to cut costs and provide cost-saving solutions. As a buyer in the manufacturing plant, my responsibility is to identify these cost efficiencies.

To accomplish this task, SIG University's CSP program helped me recognize two areas to improve: internal spend analysis and contract negotiation planning. These areas are complementary skills that have helped me improve my approach these types of situations in the future as a procurement buyer.

INTERNAL SPEND ANALYSIS

As a new procurement agent, having followed industry market trends, company earnings and announcing changes within the organization has given me a leg up in my negotiation strategies. Assessing the environment is vital to understanding business requirements, the company’s vision and our department’s functional goals during this critical time.

In one particular situation, management did not agree with a supplier’s new budget proposal and wanted to reduce cost by an overall savings of $86,000. The lesson teaches us to gather as much data required and perform a spend analysis to determine leverage. After completing a spend analysis from the previous year, we discovered the total spend was consistent with what was done in the past.

Angelica Gardner, Procurement Buyer, Honda Manufacturing

Are Your Procurement KPIs Balanced or Obsolete? - Part 2

KPIs for CPOs, Procurement benchmarking

In Part 1 of this series on procurement’s key performance indicators (KPIs), we discussed how legacy KPIs need to be augmented to help procurement expand its value proposition. In this second installment of the series, we’ll focus on how to build a balanced “360-degree” procurement scorecard and highlight some truly KEY performance indicators that help foster the right behaviors and alignment across the source-to-pay (S2P) process and the broader value chain.

This two-part brief is available to readers as part of SIG and Spend Matters ongoing partnership.

Click here to read part one.


KPIs: Become What You Measure

Everyone knows the old adage, “What you measure is what you get.” Known as the “Hawthorne Effect,” it has been shown that performance will improve when those performing the process know they’re getting measured on it. So, designing stakeholder-specific KPIs is critical to ensuring business alignment. The “SMART” (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely) metrics model is an excellent framework to apply here. Still, the first step is ensuring a 360-degree measurement system that aligns procurement with:

Pierre Mitchell, Spend Matters’ Chief Research Officer

SIG Speaks to Nikesh Parekh, CEO and Co-Founder of Suplari

Nikesh Parekh will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

As the CEO and Co-Founder of Suplari, my goal is to hire great people, provide some direction, and then enable my team to build great products and services for our customers. 

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

I am passionate about enabling people and companies to buy smarter and more strategically. There is a perception that procurement teams are process-only and hard to work with, but I have met wonderful people on procurement teams around the world who are true strategic advisors driving change across the company and in their industries. Sourcing and procurement teams know how to let their hair down too and are some of the most fun out there.

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have?

  • Data analysis
  • Communication/negotiation
  • Collaboration

What does the future of sourcing and procurement look like to you?

Procurement must enable the business to be more efficient and serve as a trusted strategic advisor. It must also enable the rest of the business to buy smarter while focusing on the most important sourcing events for the company. Procurement and sourcing will become a true strategic executive function at every company. 


Explore more interviews with expert practitioners and executives on our blog.  

Nikesh Parekh, CEO and Co-Founder of Suplari

SIG Speaks to Sarah Scudder, President, Real Sourcing Network

Sarah Scudder will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

As president of Real Sourcing Network (RSN), I oversee our growth, strategy and marketing. I strive to provide useful content and actionable tips to help companies better manage their print and marketing spend.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

Procurement is invaluable. The COVID-19 crisis has shown the world that healthy supply chains are essential. Procurement is no longer a profession where people just cut costs and write POs. It now plays a strategic, visionary and creative role that is an essential part of a company’s (and our country's) success.

Procurement does not yet have a seat at the executive table in many organizations, but with the right leadership in place, it has the potential to become a more valued and revenue-generating function. Accomplishing this is a challenge and is a great reason for ambitious people to choose procurement over other more well-known careers. I have a bias toward marketing services procurement. I think it’s super challenging, fun and has the most potential for making an impact!

>>Read more: Sarah Scudder covers marketing services procurement on Future of Sourcing<<

Sarah Scudder, President, Real Sourcing Network

SIG Speaks to Jon Kesman, Head of Procurement Solutions, Allegis Global Solutions

Jon Kesman presents at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities? 

I am the Head of Procurement Solutions, Product and Strategy at Allegis Global Solutions. What that means is that I’m responsible for evolving our service offering and capabilities to ensure they are delivering optimal value to our customers. Day to day I spend time with our customers and internal teams to take in thoughts, perspectives and challenges, and in turn work to align those to what and how we’re delivering, all with a continuous eye on innovation.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement? 

It’s so much more than just cost savings. Procurement has the potential to drive such strategic value – specifically in indirect/services spend, if organizations are willing to think differently about their approach. And to go a step further, it is possible as skills and technology have evolved to enable this.

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have?

The first is an ability to understand and analyze data; the second is influencing skills; and the third is creativity.

What does the future of sourcing and procurement look like to you? 

Hopefully different from what it’s historically been. Far too many organizations still rely on antiquated processes and technologies that are not fit for purpose. In the future that I envision, there is an increased receptivity to challenge the way procurement has always been done and the role that procurement professionals play. Lots of organizations have already gone this route, but across the board I believe there is a high degree of immaturity toward the management of the total spend portfolio.

Jon Kesman, Head of Procurement Solutions, Allegis Global Solutions

SIG Speaks to Carlos Burgos, Director, Indirect Procurement, College Board

Carlos Burgos will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I am Director, Indirect Procurement, and my role is to manage indirect categories of spend. Those categories include office supplies, office equipment, maintenance and repairs, office services, HR and our contingent workforce program, among others. 

In my role I strive to reduce dependencies on sole-sourced vendors, automate processes by migrating where possible to a digital delivery, manage down our expenses and leverage our suppliers to come up with solutions that challenge our business operations. At the end of the day, I’m tasked with transforming our operating model to deliver an improved stakeholder experience with greater flexibility and at a lower cost.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

I wish people knew how rewarding this profession is. We get to work on a variety of different projects that are challenging and unique. We get to work with all departments and divisions within our organizations, as well as work with all levels of employees from the CEO to entry-level colleagues. We play an integral part in putting solutions in place that affect our business operations, supply chain and ultimately our viability as a company.

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have?

The 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have:

Carlos Burgos, Director, Indirect Procurement, College Board

SIG Speaks to Sheena Smith, Managing Director of North America, Spend Matters

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities? 

I just transitioned into a new role as Managing Director of North America. We purposefully chose a nebulous title because every day looks different for me and my role is pretty much a catch-all! Some days I'm head-down on internal company strategy (I still lead our client and commercial teams from behind the scenes), other days I work directly with our clients on anything from technology selection projects to jointly running global CPO surveys.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement? 

 That it touches EVERYTHING. When I started with Spend Matters 10 years ago, I had no idea that procurement was “a thing.” I wish people thought about how their everyday items from socks to cell phones are made, built, assembled and sourced. I also wish people understood how sophisticated the sourcing and procurement process has the potential to be. It’s so far beyond steak dinners with “key” suppliers and fiddling about with spreadsheets. There's some amazing stuff happening out there with technology and process, and people are thinking bigger to drive it.

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have? 

 1) Sales – Hear me out. Procurement is a sales team for a lot of reasons: negotiations internally and externally, selling new internal processes, understanding pain points of teams and suppliers...the list is endless. Being able to “sell” an agenda, a tool, a process or an initiative is key.

Sheena Smith, Managing Director of North America, Spend Matters

Procurement Takes Center Stage

Chris Haydon is the President of SAP Procurement Solutions

We live in a dynamic world where billions of people make billions of choices daily. The sheer multitude of choice makes it increasingly difficult to have shared experiences – those kind of global watershed moments that push change and innovation forward at an accelerated pace. Covid-19, in its own terrifying way, stopped us all and immediately narrowed our choices. But it also gave us one unified experience and one unified goal: Fight the virus, stop the spread. 

A true global watershed moment had arrived. Suddenly, the whole world understood the importance of the supply chain. Procurement had been thrust onto center stage, and the spotlight was both harsh and illuminating.

Spotlight on Procurement

There’s no way to plan for every outcome. There just isn’t. No risk plan can predict the future with 100% accuracy. There’s no judgement to be laid at anyone’s doorstep. The impact of COVID-19 wasn’t something supply chain professionals could have easily seen coming. So, as the whole world watched the demand for certain products like N-95 masks, PPEs, disinfectant and toilet paper soar, they also saw the dramatic consequences of supply chains that weren’t built for pandemic-driven demand.

The links between the supply chain and business continuity, between business continuity and employment, between employment and economies, those links were now on stark display for everyone to see. Interdependencies that were once just the language of procurement professionals had become the common language of the world.

Chris Haydon, President, SAP Procurement Solutions

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