No one could have predicted that the start of Q2 would be quite like this. As the world works to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses will come to rely on procurement more than ever. This month, SIG is providing free access to a selection of business continuity resources for all readers, along with more information on earning a professional certification that will increase your value during these uncertain times, plus there's an exciting update on the Procurement Technology Summit and more.
Business Continuity Resources for Sourcing and Procurement
The SIG Resource Center has thousands of tools and templates for SIG members to use and reference, but since knowledge sharing is of critical importance right now, SIG is offering free access to the below resources to all readers, regardless of membership status. These can be used to help you and your teams ensure business continuity and plan for future crises that may arise.
3. What will go back to the way it was pre-COVID? Like most of you, when I try to fall asleep and clear my mind, I can't help but dwell on these questions. The world has proven itself to be very small and more interconnected than we might have realized. I also feel that this is a test of leadership as well as a test of people's character.
Impacts to the Gig Economy
4. Do you think about the gig workers and what this might mean to the future of the gig economy?
5. Will people drop the flexibility they once craved for more traditional employment that has PTO, sick time, health insurance and other benefits?
6. Do you think that when half of the workforce embraced the gig economy for flexibility and the thrill of ever-evolving work experiences that they thought about what a pandemic means for them or not being able to file for unemployment?
7. Will we think about localizing and diversifying more of our supply chain to protect against the risk of a future pandemic?
8. Will companies retreat to adding costs to their supply chains by adding inventory to protect against risk, or will we learn to open our inventory to share with other companies?
Impacts to the Government and the Economy
9. In the future, who will you trust to lead you?
10. Have you gained or lost trust in the government or the media; and did it change once the pandemic got closer to home?
11. Do you ever think that people were maybe overreacting, or did you hold firm in your urge to protect every human life, the economy be damned?
I recently went back to read an article that I bookmarked a while back on the predictions for 2020. Forget self-driving cars and flying cars; Popular Mechanics magazine predicted in 1951 that every family in the 21st century would have at least one helicopter in their garage. They also predicted in 1957 that every road and street would be “replaced by a network of pneumatic tubes,” and your car would only need enough power to get from your home to the newest tube.
Dave Evans, the chief futurist for Cisco Visual Networking, actually predicted in 2012 that he'd be out of a job by this time because, as he forecasted, everyone would be able to predict the future themselves.
Automating Everyday Tasks
I wasn’t alive when Popular Mechanics made its predictions, but I was alive for the statement by Dave Evans. What I know for sure is that while his prediction for companies to make data-informed decisions is slowly coming to fruition, we are far off from a world without futurists. What amazes me is that most automation predictions were in the form of self-driving cars rather than taking place in everyday life.
SIG University Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) Program graduate Mike Morsch has led an RPA and IA journey before. He discusses the steps a company must address to ensure a successful Intelligent Automation journey to produce the best long term and sustainable outcomes.
In the CIAP program, students gain knowledge of automation technologies, learn how to identify the correct opportunities to build, run and sustain a successful automation program, and will understand the true potential of IPA technologies when adopted correctly.
I found the CIAP certification training to be an excellent baseline for anybody looking to embark on an intelligent automation (IA) journey. Senior leaders looking to sponsor a program really need to think through how they can best start the program to ensure both leadership and associates understand the focus of the program. It is easy to get caught up in “cost savings” and getting fast and visible results to justify a program. While quick wins are always a good way to show the value of any initiative, the long term benefits available in taking a broader view will pay the most dividends on investment over time. In thinking about my own experience and the lessons learned in the CIAP program, I would suggest to anyone considering IA the following areas of focus to create the best program.
In the Northern Hemisphere, March signals the first month of spring. In the procurement world, March signals the beginning of conference season! Attending events gives you the opportunity to learn more about the industry and make valuable connections, which are important for professional growth. Short on time? Check out a virtual webinar to learn something new in just an hour. No matter where you get your inspiration, share what you learn with the broader SIG community in our member’s LinkedIn Group.
Rescheduled - Western Regional SIGnature Event
The Western Regional SIGnature Event has been rescheduled to October 1 due to the current reports of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington state. This postponement was done out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our attendees and employees. All registrations have been carried over to this new date and there is no need for you to register again.
Please modify or rebook your travel and hotel reservations for the new date. Most airlines are accommodating reservation changes right now due to the Coronavirus. If you cannot attend on October 1, please update your registration status on our website. Should you have any questions or concerns about your registration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Haggling is not negotiating. I repeat, haggling is not negotiating. You are just “meeting in the middle.”
I remember watching an episode of the BBC’s “The Apprentice” in which the task was to buy a list of items in London. The would-be apprentice, Jim, went to a butcher to buy a steak. It was a classic haggle. The butcher started high and Jim started low. They ultimately met in the middle.
This back and forth is haggling, which is a valid method of resolving a conflict. But other ways to resolve a conflict exist, including negotiation. The difference is that haggling is just about the price, and largely the outcome depends on who starts the highest or lowest. But negotiation is about trading variables and takes more skill, which makes it an art rather than a blunt instrument.
Learning the art of negotiation can be done with a few simple, yet effective tools.
Tool 1: The Up-and-Over
As a child, my family lived in a modest three-bedroom house in Laindon, Essex. It had one of those garages at the front of the house but you couldn’t get to the garage through the house even though it was integrated into the building. You could only get to it through the big up-and-over door.
“Up and over” is also a negotiating tool to use when you want to counter propose, which means to reject an offer and replace it with one that suits you better.
Let’s say you are selling your car. After looking the car up and down and kicking the tires, the buyer says, “Would you take $4,500 instead?” Typically, you’d haggle and say, “No, but I would accept $5,000,” and on the haggle goes until you meet in the middle. In a negotiation, you might say, “If you can buy the other car I am selling too, I could move on the price.” “Another car?” the buyer replies. “I don’t want another car. That’s silly.”
Darren Smith, Founder and Chief Meaning Officer Making Business Matter
Michael van Keulen is Chief Procurement Officer at Coupa. He formerly served as the Global Procurement Director at lululemon athletica inc. (NASDAQ: LULU), a $3B+ designer, distributor, and retailer of technical athletic apparel. Previously Michael served as the Procurement Director at VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC), a $12B+ lifestyle apparel and footwear company. Michael is known for leading procurement transformations that generate significant shareholder value.
You have a passion for sourcing talent and developing high-performing teams. How is your approach different than others?
I’m not claiming my approach is different or unique. When hiring, I look for attitude first and procurement experience second. I always say procurement is a seven-step process that can be taught to anyone. What is difficult (if not impossible) to teach someone is to be “naturally curious” and “passionate” about the profession. Procurement is about being bold, going outside the comfort zone and challenging the status quo. This mindset requires people who have high EQ, are agile and not afraid to make mistakes. These traits are even more important when going through a transformation from tactical/operational to strategic.
Let me start by making something clear: I’m a process guy. I started my career as an engineer on a production line. I have spent the past 20 years working in supply chain, helping clients improve operational efficiency and deliver value in more predictable and repeatable ways. If you ever need a process map for anything, school projects included, ask my kids because I’m your man. So, when my team at WNS-Denali shared the results of our recent benchmark study, I was ready to dive into operational improvement mode. Where did we find inefficiency? How can we help our clients improve performance at scale? I was surprised at what we saw in the findings.
Reading the Procurement Data
What we saw is a tremendous amount of variation. In fact, if you only looked at the findings through the lens of traditional procurement performance models, the data do not lead to very specific conclusions about procurement’s value. So, we decided to flip the analysis model on its head and examine some different correlations.
We focused on two separate benchmark rankings: value and business alignment. For value, we looked at traditional procurement KPI’s: spend under management, savings, process efficiency, and operational excellence. When measuring business alignment, we looked for more subtle trends and indicators of deep stakeholder alignment, effective change management, agile procurement, and adaptive operating models. What did we find? The responses did not point to any single “best” procurement operating model, technology package or spend management process. There was NO PROCESS MAP for best-in-class procurement! Instead, high-performing organizations had one thing in common: a mindset emphasizing tight alignment with business objectives – what we call Total Business Alignment.
Greg Anderson - Senior Vice President of Procurement Services, WNS-Denali
The gig economy has been talked about so extensively that the term has become nearly meaningless. Yet contingent workforce and services procurement practitioners know there is something going on beyond the buzzwords, something that is beginning to matter to the work they do. It is difficult, however, for many practitioners to distinguish what is essential and of importance in the context of their procurement goals. To aid in that effort, this Spend Matters’ brief explores how practitioners can make the gig economy work for them.
Based on a cursory look at Google Trends data, it is clear that the interest in the gig economy has risen consistently since the summer of 2015. No such increase occurred for terms like “contingent workforce” or “temporary labor” since 2004. But let’s take a closer look at how the gig economy is being described.
Definitions of what constitutes gig economy work range from:
Andrew Karpie, Research Director for Services and Labor Procurement, Spend Matters
In part one of this brief, we deconstructed the meaning behind the buzz word “gig economy” and explored what these new digital supply chains look like. In part two, we’re addressing the potential value opportunities, risks and challenges associated with digital supply chains for work and services and how practitioners can make the gig economy work for them.