Leadership

For Better or Worse, It’s Been a Year to Remember

To be able to see where you’re headed, you’ve got to look back at where you’ve been.

To be able to see where you’re headed, you’ve got to look back at where you’ve been. 


I just looked back at my December 2019 blog post and I was spot on, but for all the wrong reasons. I predicted that we would continue to elevate the role of strategic sourcing, broader adoption of technology, and a focus on upskilling sourcing and procurement teams.

I did not predict that a global pandemic would make the world talk about “supply chains,” albeit with a focus on toilet paper, Clorox wipes and a shortage of personal protective equipment. People came to realize that strategic sourcing professionals were the heroes who protected their sources of supply or quickly adapted to secure new sources.

While the pandemic continues to rule our lives in one way or another, we still see shortages on components for home gym equipment, bicycles and even casters for home office chairs. So, while some supply chains still have issues, many industries are experiencing a boom year and outpacing sales over any year in the past.

Looking back at the news of this year, many of us vaguely remember the Australian bushfires, and I distinctly remember racing go karts when news broke that Kobe Bryant died. I know some people were distracted by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walking away from the royal life and Parasite swept the Oscars. This was all immediately non-news and forgotten quickly when the pandemic became a reality. (Personally, I am glad of one “trend” that did not last through the pandemic, which was padded shoulders and puffy sleeves.)

Dawn Tiura, President and CEO, SIG

Importance of Stakeholder Management – Amplified in the pandemic

Anirudh Sundareshwar outlines how managing stakeholders is well-served via effective communication.

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Anirudh Sundareshwar outlines how managing stakeholders is well-served via effective communication.


A generic definition of stakeholder management is “Stakeholder management involves taking into consideration the different interests and values stakeholders have and addressing them during the duration of the project to ensure that all stakeholders are happy at the end.” It is important to understand that this may not always be true, especially in projects where multiple stakeholders and personal stakes are involved.

However, it is essential to ensure that most stakeholders are happy with the project's end result or initiative you are working on. That is not accomplished only by the end result but builds up along the project's lifespan.

As we have learned, one of the most critical tenets of stakeholder management is communication. It is vital to know what to communicate to whom, when to communicate and how to communicate, especially to senior stakeholders. This is an art and not easily achievable. Even more so in the current scenario where most people work remotely and do not have the advantage of picking up cues (verbal/non-verbal) as you would have in the pre-COVID era. Stakeholder management in our world involves both internal and external stakeholders, of course.

Communication Strategy

For important initiatives,  a procurement professional must invest time in building a communication strategy followed by a redesign of plans & templates to suit the virtual meeting format and eventually deploy. Since this is new to both you and the recipient, it is vital that you actively seek feedback to assess your communication effectiveness.

Anirudh Sundareshwar, Director & Head of Sourcing, BNY Mellon

SIG Speaks to Deborah Cunningham

Deborah Cunningham is the Co-founder of The Mindfulness Effect

Deb Cunningham’s passion for creating wellness in both the corporate world and personal life has led to her role as co-founder of The Mindfulness Effect, a boutique corporate consulting company that bring mindfulness into the workplace. With a career in healthcare that spans over two decades, she has combined her industry experience with 20+ years of practicing and teaching yoga and mindfulness. She is a certified RYT500/YACEP yoga instructor and certified Yoga Nidra meditation instructor.


What is mindfulness, generally speaking?

Mindfulness is a term that attempts to summarize a way of seeing the world around us, in the present moment and releasing the tendency to judge. It forces us to stop and pay attention, which is an important component in balancing the nervous system.

The past few weeks have catapulted the entire globe into a constant state of near panic. This perpetual barrage of fear and anxiety is quite literally triggering the fight, flight or freeze response in the brain.  How can we move through these times with a calm and present state of mind?

As we know, our environment is constantly changing. Look at the last month, never mind the last 20 years, and we can see that the ability to adapt quickly to new circumstances is vital. This requires a level head and access to focus, ingenuity and intuition.  

How does mindfulness work in a business setting?

We have all seen the person staring listlessly into the air as they go about the mundane task of the moment. It is proven that executives cannot focus on what’s at hand due to the unending demand for their attention, whether it’s the phone, email, text, reports, meetings and face-to-face interactions.

Stacy Mendoza, Senior Marketing Manager

7 Creative Hiring Strategies to Build Your Procurement Team

7 Creative Hiring Strategies for Building Your Procurement Team

As a procurement professional, you know that talent in procurement has been a hot topic in recent years. Here at WNS-Denali, we have seen more organizations grapple with talent issues, so we decided to dive deeper into the key talent concerns for retail companies at SIG’s Global Executive Summit last fall.

>>Looking for a new job or to hire top procurement talent? Visit SIG's Career Network!<< 

The all-star packed panel with procurement leaders from some of the largest retail brands in the world came together to such questions as:

  • How does your hiring profile differ now and why? 

  • Where are you finding your talent? 

  • What are you looking for in new hires? 

  • Specialist or generalist, which is a better hiring strategy for your team?

Even if you work at a company beyond the retail industry, these questions and the learnings from the panel still apply to your company. As you strive to gain a competitive advantage and influence more spend strategically, refreshing your approach to talent can make a big impact. Below are the top seven creative hiring strategies that came from our panel of retail experts.

Hire from within

This classic retail trick applies to all industries. Promoting from other areas of business up into a corporate role brings a wealth of knowledge and perspective on the core business and ability to relate to stakeholders. Most importantly, it will add a level of credibility to your procurement team.

David Gonzalez, Director, Procurement Services, Denali - A WNS Company

SIG Speaks Weekly Briefing - July 8

Here's your weekly update on the latest thought leadership, networking events and training with SIG. 

CPO Rising 2019: #ValueExpansion

Ardent Partners, in association with Zycus, presents its 14th edition of the CPO Rising report, a comprehensive, industry-wide view into the state of procurement and captures the experience, performance benchmark statistics, perspective, and intentions of 300+ CPOs and procurement executives.

Contingent Workforce Management Pinnacle Model™ Analysis

Everest Group is exploring the practices and technologies that are yielding the best outcomes for overall contingent workforce management. Participate in the Pinnacle Model™ study for a complimentary summary of the findings.

Hailey Corr, Content Manger

SIG Speaks to Kelly Bengston, CPO at Starbucks

Kelly Bengston is Senior Vice President, Chief Procurement Officer at Starbucks. Kelly is responsible for enhancing Starbucks enterprise-wide functional strategic sourcing and supplier relationships, creating consistent global sourcing processes, developing a sourcing talent management program and building a values-based approach to working with suppliers across all categories of the business.

Kelly has held numerous leadership positions during her 8-plus years with Starbucks. Most recently, Kelly served as Vice President of Starbucks Global Supply Chain’s Strategy & Deployment team, a new team created under Kelly to support Starbucks supply chain’s aspirations of becoming digitized, strategically aligning resources against priorities and building capabilities through long-term capacity planning and supply chain intelligence.

Prior to joining Starbucks, Kelly gained broad experience in packaging, product development, manufacturing, and project management at Macy’s, Bensussen Deutsch, Cranium and Hasbro. She enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with her family. Her favorite Starbucks beverage is Nitro Cold Brew.

Kelly will share her expertise with attendees at the Western Regional SIGnature Event in Bellevue, WA on May 16th. 

Can you share a little more about your day-to-day role and responsibilities as the Chief Procurement Officer for Starbucks?

I am fortunate to have an amazing job, working for an amazing company.  My day-to-day is filled with connecting with great partners and suppliers to deliver products and services to our stores and customers.   

Heather Schleicher, Senior Marketing Director

Now Show Me The Money!

Anecdotally, I have been hearing of huge increases in the amount being paid to sourcing professionals in recent years. From the top down, that has been true. As you know, we have a Career Network at SIG and I keep a folder of executives looking to move on to other senior leadership roles, so I know what kind of packages they are getting since I do a lot of match-making. 

In the last five years, I have seen that starting salaries for a recent college graduate are at least 25% higher in the sourcing industry. It is not at all odd for a person with three years of experience to command a minimum salary of $100,000 a year. Ten years ago, I didn’t have a single CPO making over $500,000, and now that is becoming a possibility for fully-loaded compensation. Of course, talent-level, cost of living, and location make a huge difference in the numbers. At the Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event in March, I confirmed the jump in salaries for sourcing professionals. 

A master’s degree intern from a strong supply chain or finance school commands $31 per hour for a paid internship and an undergraduate intern makes about $26per hour. What happened to the free internships we vied for when I was an undergrad? Interns now make the equivalent of $54,000-$64,000 per year as an intern. I know someone that was named “intern of the year” at a high tech company who was offered a starting salary of $85,000 after receiving a bachelor’s degree, and they turned it down - that was four years ago.

Dawn Tiura, President and CEO

SIG Speaks to Jane Zhang, Co-Founder of ETCH Sourcing

sustainable procurement

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. 

Heather Schleicher, Senior Marketing Director

Big Changes Arrive in the C-Suite

It’s no secret that technology, data analytics, globalization, and other factors have completely changed many aspects of modern business. Supply chains are wider than ever, sales and procurement strategies are increasingly predictive thanks to advance data approaches, and more companies are outsourcing work and relying on contractors.

Amid all this, the C-suite has seemed relatively stable. A business might have a CEO, a COO, a CFO, or other executives, but they tend to focus on business processes within their domains of expertise. But increasingly, it looks like those widespread shifts in other departments have reached the C-suite.

Whether through collaborations or new roles, the executive level in many companies has been adapting to new realities. Here’s how they’re doing it.

Collaboration

The technological shifts and trend toward outsourcing have been a boom for bottom lines, but they have also made the nature of business decision-making more complex. Consider, for example, the role of a CIO. For years, information and technology managers chose and oversaw the implementation of network solutions for a company to use in-house. But now that many businesses hire outside firms to handle cloud storage, data security, and other essential IT functions, the CIO’s role has changed. Now they are having to think more about purchasing, contracts and third-party risks, like a CPO, and about strategy and long-term competitiveness, like a CEO.

As a result, the traditional walls between those positions have begun to break down. The CIO in the example above can’t move forward with new contracts or strategy without consulting their peers in the C-suite. Likewise, if a procurement officer or human resources lead want to implement new software solutions that can add value and intelligence to their departments—an increasingly common occurrence—they’ll benefit from consultation and buy-in from the CIO.

Patrick Gahagan, Director of Contract Compliance Audit Services at SC&H Group

Organizational Transformation Begins with You

An image of a man in a high rise building look out over the city horizon.

“Fake it ‘til you make it.” This unattributed idiom (with a nod to Aristotle) is oft-used advice to people early in their careers. But how wise is it to follow? How many people have résumés that truly portray their strengths vs. a laundry list of what they want you to believe about their abilities? How confident would any shareholder be if they believed the CEO got to the top by faking their skills rather than building them? But more importantly, is it a person’s skills that give you confidence in their leadership abilities?

If you think about the last person who truly inspired you, was it their title…or the last three companies where they worked that piqued your interest? Was it their ability to run a shareholders’ meeting, analyze volumes of data and manage their exceedingly crowded schedule that excited you? Doubt it. When you think of someone who is truly motivational, you are usually moved by the things that don’t make it on to the résumé: their heart, integrity, authenticity and ability to enroll others in their beliefs and passions. It’s not because of their title.

It’s About Mindset

Too often, CEOs have the mindset that what has gotten them here will get them there. If they have successfully led profitable companies, why would they have any reason to believe they need to evolve? When things aren’t working, it doesn’t take much convincing that something has to change. But when they are…CEOs often don’t understand the need. They have the pedigree and the track record – and past accomplishments are a good indicator of future success – so why fix what isn’t broken?

Sarah Holliman, Chief Marketing Officer

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