Supply Management

Cooperative Ecosystems: Finding Suppliers That Give A Damn

supplier ecosystems

When Barry Kull was going through the recruitment process at Novo Nordisk, his son was diagnosed with diabetes. Walking into his meeting, Kull was apprehensive about mentioning his son’s diagnosis, but when the conversation went such, Kull brought up it up. He was glad he did. “When I mentioned my son’s diagnosis, the CFO’s body language and energy absolutely changed. He leaned into the conversation and was genuinely curious about my son. He told me how Novo Nordisk addresses challenges that adolescent type 1’s encounter.” Kull realized that the executives at Novo Nordisk care. He is now proud to represent a company that, throughout the organization, empathizes with its customers.

Finding Suppliers That Care

Kull doesn’t expect suppliers to care as much as Novo Nordisk, but he expects them to understand why they care so much. He expects the suppliers to lead, to anticipate and to push their thinking. Kull believes that all procurement professionals should have supply partners that are good people with strong ethics.

The Cooperative Ecosystem

A cooperative ecosystem is a combination of different partners and suppliers that bring their own set of values to the table. The partners and suppliers work together to solve a specific problem or to create an opportunity.

In the context of launching a new pharmaceutical brand, the following is Kull’s (paraphrased) list of potential partners and suppliers that might be part of a brand-viable ecosystem:

Sarah Scudder, President, Real Sourcing Network

Supplier Performance Management Saves Time and Money

Male arm holding silver pen point to a graph measuring supplier performance management

SIG University student Moath Alswaidan enrolled in the Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program and works at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – MHPS Saudi Arabia. He shares what he’s learned in the program and how his team plans to implement best practices in supplier performance management.


Supplier performance management is one of the most important areas in sourcing and supply chain management and I feel fortunate to have worked on both the sell side and buy side of the table. Most of the sourcing process requires much effort from both sides until the work is awarded to the supplier. Supplier selling teams spend time and effort to prepare to negotiate a proposal that best fits the buyer. At the same time, the buyer team needs to put the same effort in searching and selecting the best proposal for their organization. It is a waste if the agreement doesn't last due to the lack of supplier performance management.

Transition Process

The supplier performance management process begins by selecting the team from both the buyer and supplier organization. The mission is to translate the contract into the operation language and identify the measurement and monitoring criteria. This task is called transition. The team should have enough knowledge of the business and the scope of work defined in the contract. The transition process requires a joint effort from the transition team and may also require the support of other teams in the organization. The transition process is considered a change from an existing state to the desired state. Therefore, it is recommended to adapt to Lewin's Change Management Model: Unfreeze, Change and Refreeze.

Moath Alswaidan, Supply Chain Manager, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – MHPS Saudi Arabia

Procurement Myth-Busting - Putting Misconceptions to Rest

Many companies are on missions to improve their procurement processes. One technique that caught my eye is an approach used by the U.S. government, which started in 2011 when the Office of Federal Procurement (OFPP) , a unit of the Office of Management and Budget began disseminating a series of “myth-busting” memos.

The concept is interesting because it is aimed at helping procurement people (many of whom have been in their jobs for their entire career) realize that policies and practices are much different than what they have learned over the years. The first memo explains that “with expenditures of over $500 billion annually on contracts and orders for goods and services, the federal government has an obligation to conduct our procurements in the most effective, responsible, and efficient manner possible.”

So what are some of the common myths? One is a major misconception that the government can’t meet one-on-one with potential suppliers as they seek the best way to develop a strategy or prepare for a competitive bid. Sadly, many in government procurement believe this is not allowed, because talking to one supplier can unfairly disadvantage other suppliers that are not also called into meetings.

The myth-busting memo sets it straight, pointing to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), in Part 15, which actually encourages exchanges of information with interested parties during the solicitation process; this then ends with the receipt of proposals. “There is no requirement that the meetings include all possible offerors, nor is there a prohibition on one-on-one meetings,” the memo says.

Kate Vitasek, Educator and Expert, University of Tennessee

Technological Trends in 2019: A New Look at Supplier Diversity

Supplier Diversity Technology

In 2019, global supply chains are focused on technology and innovation. Today’s global supply chains are often complex, with many moving parts. However, procurement professionals are facing increasing pressure to manage them with efficiency and transparency. Creating a successful supply chain requires building a sustainable foundation. Though technology mobilizes supply chains to compete faster and better in today’s global economy, having a strategy to optimize your talent is just as important. Technology that gives business users more autonomy and security are reflected in a positive impact on your organization’s bottom line.

Based on my experience, many businesses have separate initiatives that fragment their supply chains and could benefit from pooling resources and aligning different stakeholders to the same common goals with the use of technology. For example, many businesses have separate supplier diversity processes. They have supplier diversity experts who don’t collaborate with their larger procurement teams. Sourcing and procurement professionals are often incentivized differently and often don’t communicate nor see eye to eye on the same overall strategy. With collaboration, your organization can streamline its supply chain and build a stronger foundation for process-driven results.

In today’s market, you can no longer ignore the rapidly changing landscape of digital transformation. Companies that are reluctant to embrace the technologies that bring better visibility and security to supply chains risk being left behind. To avoid that fate, here’s what companies can do in 2019 to improve supplier diversity and overall supplier relationship management process.

Daryl Hammett, CSMP, CSP, General Manager/Chief Operating Officer at ConnXus

Sustainable Sourcing 101

An image of a sustainable forest with the sun coming through the trees.

The concept of sustainable sourcing, also known as green purchasing or social sourcing, is nothing new. Sustainable sourcing is impacting nearly every area of corporate business and the consumer’s mindset. Everything from sourcing materials, talent attraction and consumer purchasing habits are changing because of the growth of sustainable sourcing. However, the term gets thrown around in the procurement industry quite a lot and is often misunderstood or misused. So, here’s a guide with all the basics you need to know about sustainable sourcing.  

WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE SOURCING

First and foremost, we have to define the term. Sustainable sourcing is the integration of social, ethical and environmental performance factors into the process of selecting suppliers. It includes purchasing sustainably preferable products and services (products made from recycled or remanufactured materials), as well as green purchasing guidelines that might pertain to certain products or commodities.  

Heather Young, Senior Marketing Manager

Brazil, Latin America’s Comeback Kid of the Digital Age?

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.

Brittany Miller, Marketing Analyst, SIG

Do Your Homework to Meet Regulatory Demands

The global regulatory environment is heating up – and not just because it's summer. As government enforcement actions capture headlines, corporate leaders are rightfully concerned about whether their due-diligence strategy can hold up to the increased scrutiny. Richard Girgenti, KPMG LLP's National and Americas leader for Forensic Advisory Services, wrote in an article in Metropolitan Corporate Counsel recently, that the rapid and ongoing nature of regulatory changes, the array of agencies involved in bringing enforcement actions and the aggressiveness with which they are enforcing such actions are resulting in "record fines and penalties, class action lawsuits, lost earnings and reputation damage." Girgenti would know, having more than three decades of experience – not just in advising organizations but in conducting investigations and overseeing policies on the enforcement agency side of the coin. So, what does he see as some of the top of mind issues for corporate leaders who want to stay out of hot water with regulators?

Three Enforcement Areas that Demand Enhanced Due Diligence

Mark Dunn, Segment Leader, Entity Due Diligence and Monitoring, LexisNexis

Amazon....the Next B2B Network?

Amazon. The name alone makes you think of something big. So it makes sense that they might have something grandiose on the horizon.

With that in mind, I want to start a conversation about whether Amazon might be the next Ariba or Coupa. I heard a rumor that 10 or so Ariba people have gone to Amazon with the intention of making it the next and biggest B2B network in the world. Think about it, we all know how to use Amazon, they have a network that is massive, they have distribution and delivery capabilities, so why couldn't they host additional suppliers and be the purchasing platform for businesses? Amazon has the money, they know how to fill demand, they are nimble, they are constantly innovating...what is to stop them?! They could fairly easily add a feature that limits our searching to approved items with our company's contracted pricing (that it knows to show when we log on with our company credentials) and then check us out with a credit card or even link directly to our accounts payable systems.

Amazon is wildly successful, has a surplus of cash and has set the standard for online purchasing and customer service...so why not go a step further and move from the B2C to the B2B world? I was in the San Francisco Bay Area recently to speak at Coupa Inspire. I love being in the Bay Area surrounded by brilliant people with amazing thoughts and aspirations. After living there for 30 years, I should not be surprised by the number of new companies, ideas and appetite for innovation, however I always am. While there, I spent an evening with my oldest son and his girlfriend, both typical millennials working in Silicon Valley. We started "what iffing" and (since my son has grown up with me as a mom talking supply chain and sourcing and spent time working for Coupa) we convinced ourselves that this is distinctly possible. So was it the wine...or are you drinking the Kool-Aid and see the possibilities here too??

Dawn Tiura, President & CEO Dawn

One-on-One with SAP: Digital Networks and the New Face of Procurement

one on oneOne-on-One is a new Q&A series with leaders in the SIG community. Cost savings. Process efficiencies. They're synonymous with procurement and among the terms most used to describe its role within the enterprise. And with good reason. Over the last decade, procurement has transformed itself from a back-room function to a strategic capability by delivering them. But a new term has entered the lexicon: innovation. There's no doubt that procurement today is a different game. It's more connected, informed and some might even say "social" than ever. Just as consumers tap into personal networks to learn, share and shop better, procurement is beginning to tap into business networks. To learn more on how these digital communities are transforming the function, SIG sat down with Dr. Chakib Bouhdary, President of Business Networks for SAP.

SIG: Social tools much like those used to manage our personal lives have infiltrated the enterprise. How is this changing procurement?

Bouhdary: There are officially more mobile devices than people in the world. More than a billion of us participate in social networks. Over 15 billion web-enabled devices connect us to the people and information we need to manage our daily lives. And data is exploding—doubling about every 18 months. So we are mobile, and apps on our phones and tablets give us new ways to discover and collaborate with our peers and trading partners. Just as consumers tap into social networks to keep tabs on their relatives and friends, procurement is now leveraging business networks to manage trading relationships and commerce activities.

SIG: There seems to be a complete shift in the way trading partners communicate, transact and collaborate. How are business networks driving this?

Sarah Holliman

Mining Data to Boost Revenue in the Networked Economy

We live in a networked economy. As consumers, we tap into personal networks to learn, share and shop better. And with increasing frequency, companies are harnessing the insights and intelligence of business networks to break down the barriers to collaboration and drive innovation and competitive advantage. Like social networks, business networks are an efficient, effective way to connect with a global network of partners and transact business. And they have fast become the defacto standard for a number of key processes, such as sourcing. But the real power of business networks lies in what goes on inside them – all the interactions, transactions and commentary, and the massive amounts of insights and data that they generate. And innovative companies are leveraging this information to move beyond simply transacting and engaging with partners in new ways that give them a leg up on the competition. Take MSC Industrial Supply Co., a leading distributor of Metalworking and Maintenance, Repair and Operations ("MRO") solutions, services and supplies to North American manufacturers. More than a decade ago, MSC joined a network to provide its customers with a fast and efficient way to find and purchase the products they needed. Today, the company is taking things to the next level, mining the insights, intelligence and transaction data that reside on the network to help its customers run their businesses with greater efficiency and effectiveness. When MSC learned that employees at one of its customers' locations had to walk a mile to get to a centralized storeroom where supply replacements were housed, it suggested they install vending machines to put inventory closer to where the work was being done. In doing so, MSC enabled its customer to save time and money, making it a more strategic and valuable partner. In their initial phase, networks were all about connecting companies so that they could buy and sell more efficiently.

Dr. Chakib Bouhdary, President, Business Networks, SAP

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