Whether your company’s focus is to build smart applications or update mobile apps for end-users, to increase intelligence using advanced algorithms, or to look at opportunities to automate internal operations to drive high-value outcomes, there’s no denying that digital plays an increasing role in everyday operations of companies across all verticals and sizes.
As companies worldwide push to drive digital transformation, procurement leaders are being challenged to strategically influence spending, amidst a global climate full of talent scarcity and the need for immediate cost optimization.
Through a strategic partnership with Fossil, we helped the executive leadership team to increase quality, productivity and utilization as they moved from working with a 300-person offshore team to a 180 person Global Insourcing Center “GIC” team through our unique offshore model.
A US-based, vertically integrated global retail and manufacturing company that specializes in a diverse portfolio of lifestyle accessories. This industry powerhouse operates an extensive brand portfolio and a wholesale distribution network across 150 countries and 500 retail locations.
The company had an extensive outsourcing presence in India for years but recently had been adversely affected by cost overruns, under-performing contractors, and poor resource management processes. All were creating a significant drag on productivity and profitability and distracting from the core focus of being a fashion trendsetter and market innovator.
The objectives established for the outsourcing operation were not in dispute. The culprit was the deteriorating execution. The company wanted to regain control in its approach to outsourcing.
After extensive evaluation, the company partnered with SMC Squared to strategically “right-source” the execution.
Patricia Connolly, CEO and Co-Founder, SMC Squared
SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate William DeMarzo shares his perspective on the old sourcing cliché “don’t leave money on the table."
In our SIG University CSP course, we learned the benefits of “leaving money on the table” as this negotiation style builds trust, transparency, and a collaborative relationship with suppliers. Yet, the concept of leaving money on the table seems to be taboo in today’s business environment. Nine of the top ten hits from a Google search of the phrase are articles about why it’s a bad idea, a sign of weakness, or otherwise poor choice to do so. Perhaps this is more a sign of a zero-sum society than a negotiating strategy, but that’s a topic for another essay.
Let’s be clear that there are many business transactions where it is appropriate to pay the lowest price for a product or service. For example, products that have defined specifications, from a #2 pencil to a powerful server, or a service that has a measurable deliverable, should be sourced at the lowest price in the market. But when is leaving money on the table a good strategy?
William J. DeMarzo, Sr. Director, The Bank of New York Mellon
It is incredible how many companies are still using a basic RFP platform with minimal scope for optimization. Even the platform Excel has no capacity for optimization or sourcing processes to manage the sourcing of highly complex categories. None of these methods can deliver any substantial savings or ROI.
A simple and easy-to-use sourcing platform is all you would need – even if you are not a sourcing specialist – for a three-bids-and-a-buy sourcing project to source a single item. But if you have hundreds of suppliers and thousands of possible scenarios, a simple platform does not make the grade. As for trying to manage (and more importantly, analyze) complex sourcing events in Excel, that will require a full-time mathematical genius or a team of full-time employees for weeks or months on end trying to figure out the best outcomes.
To manage the sourcing of complex categories and create business value, you absolutely must use a solution that takes full advantage of the power of optimization complemented with artificial intelligence and game theory.
To be “complex” in the sense of the word here, a sourcing category needs to meet some combination of the following criteria:
SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Madison Mobley discusses how toarticulate value by utilizing hard savings, soft savings, and cost avoidance.
My first corporate job out of college was with EMC Corporation, now Dell EMC, notorious for its Sales Associate Bootcamp.
Picture seven weeks in a basement without food and water (tee hee, dead serious), and an exam every couple of days, 90% or higher to pass… Delicious.
The result? I learned how to talk technology very well – the bits, the bytes, the speeds, the feeds. And, at a time when the information age called for CIOs to reimagine how their company’s data was to be stored and protected, nothing was sexier than a storage array with fibre channel connectivity and two-factor authentication.
What’s more, I learned who best to engage at the individual contributor, mid-level management, and executive leadership levels. It was the same person(s) at every organization I prospected into 99.999% of the time for what I was selling.
Long preface short, knowing your product, knowing your ICP (ideal customer persona) and articulating that knowledge in your prospect’s “love language” made for a successful salesperson back then.
Fast forward to March 2020.
The day I joined Fairmarkit, the intelligent sourcing platform that revolutionized how all organizations buy the stuff they need (it doesn’t matter what the stuff is), I felt confident stepping into a sales role.
True, I had never sold directly to procurement people, but how different could it be?
The answer? Way different.
Madison L. Mobley, Senior Account Executive, Fairmarkit
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.
SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) programstudent Jessica Maki works at Driven Brands. She shares what she’s learned about contract negotiation and how she is implementing newly learned best practices and techniques to score bigger wins and drive more savings for her company.
In the CSP program, students focuson the hard and soft skills of sourcing, including strategic sourcing and outsourcing methodologies, as well as best practices in negotiations.
Negotiation planning plays a big part in the procurement industry. Procurement is always looking for the best price, best supplier performance and cost savings for the organization. In SIG University’s Certified Sourcing Professional program, I learned several key factors when it comes to negotiating with suppliers including preparation, best practices, and what to do versus what not to do. Throughout my experience as a procurement specialist, I’ve learned to apply these important techniques during the negotiation process, and it has helped me become a more confident negotiator.
According to reports authored by the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management, the Aberdeen Group, and the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals, the average contract loses approximately 17% to 40% of its value from the time of execution through to close-out. Value leakage can range from things like low adoption rates, non-value-added change orders, lack of innovation, poor governance, etc. This blog post will help contract professionals understand how customer-supplier relationships lose value and three best practices to preserve value.
Move Beyond Deal Points
Typically, negotiators think in terms of “getting the best deal”, meaning, financial and legal Terms that are favorable to the negotiator’s organization. Here is the problem: if businesspeople accept this premise, they are negotiating short-term “deals” in a complex, long-term business environment.
Focusing on the “deal” often leads to losing focus on the larger business goal(s) that a customer-supplier relationship seeks to address. For example, an overemphasis on “getting the best deal” often results in failing to fully document costly aspects of the work in the Statement of Work, failing to include adequate inspection, testing and cure processes, and failing to document and control common risk events.
Furthermore, focusing on the “deal” also precludes the inclusion of innovation in the delivery of goods and services. Buying emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, cloud computing, or cognitive automation is the new norm, yet only 21% of respondents in Deloitte’s 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey reported that innovation was a key part of their contracts.
Jane Zhang is the Co-Founder of ETCH Sourcing, a Canada based consultancy specializing in providing strategy and execution services in the sourcing, procurement and category management space. She loves people, solving problems, and has years of expertise working throughout the entire sourcing spectrum, from building and executing multi-million-dollar tactical strategies, to being entrusted with some of the most complex and strategic contractual negotiations on business-critical projects. Graduating from the Haskayne School of Business twice over with a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and an MBA in Finance with a focus on Global Energy Management and Sustainability, she has returned to build and teach business contract negotiations with her Co-Founder as a part of giving back and elevating her alma mater.
Jane is passionate about education is a member for multiple boards, most notable is her role as Board Director and Chief Operating Officer of a non-profit designed to connect children aged 8-13 with industry learning and development through play.
Jane’s latest passion is to champion the role of sustainability in procurement and is celebrating the launch of ETCH’s sustainable procurement offering, which integrates the UN SDGs as a sustainability function into the procurement process from an end-to-end perspective.
Shopping, buyers, shopping carts, savings, back office, JUST STOP DUMBING US DOWN!
As many of you know, my passion is to help elevate the sourcing industry to receive the attention, seat, respect (and yes, pay) that it deserves. So why do sourcing professionals keep self-sabotaging by using the term BUYER to describe ourselves? The only time this is a sexy title is perhaps if you are the buyer of fashion who attends runway shows and hobnobs with designers. Buying is what I do when I “shop,” like for groceries. We as sourcing professionals are NOT shopping.
So onto my next pet peeve, why do we have cute little icons that look like grocery carts to check out within our tools? Yes, it makes it seem like an easy process when pushing it out to our internal customers, but it connotes “shopping,” which, as we have just discussed, we are not doing. We are selecting items from a carefully sourced category after a lot of thoughtful processes have taken place. Why can’t we use an icon that better showcases the importance of this role?
Situated in the southernmost part of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, nestled among green rolling hills, coffee plantations and dairy farms is the small town of Santa Rita do Sapucaí. A cursory glance shows Santa Rita as a charming town full of farms and churches but in reality, this picturesque little city has so much more to offer. In recent years, it has become known as “Vale da Eletrônica” or Electronics Valley because it is home to the highly respected technical school, Escola Técnica de Eletrônica Francisco Moreira da Costa and is also known as a hub for technological applications, from carpool and table service apps to toothbrushes with sensors that connect to children’s games. And Santa Rita isn’t the only city in Brazil ramping up their efforts.
Plagued by years of upheaval economically, Brazil is making a comeback and relying on the IT sector to help make their triumphant return. A $200 million joint investment with chipmaker Qualcomm, was welcomed in March by the federal government to build a semiconductor factory in the state of São Paulo where other major tech companies such as Samsung and Lenovo already have operations. Their hope for the investment is that this will be the first step for Brazil in becoming a noteworthy player in the manufacturing of high density semiconductors that are used in 4G and in the future, 5G devices, as well as IoT applications. The investment from Qualcomm is expected to bring in about 1,200 new jobs which only makes a tiny dent in solving Brazil’s unemployment rates—at 11% there is still a long way to go, but it’s a step in the right direction.