Michael van Keulen is a procurement executive and advisor who most recently 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. At both companies, he lead procurement transformations generating 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.
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
Your workforce is larger than you think. Look beyond your employees and contingent workers and you’ll realize there’s another large, powerful force at play. One that probably isn’t on your radar.
Services providers, such as consulting firms, marketing agencies and IT outsourcers, play a crucial role in helping organizations get work done. They are a vital part of today’s workforce, comprising nearly one-fifth of workforce spend, and bringing much-needed skills to the table. They carry out mission-critical work, often operating at the heart of the enterprise.
In the oil and gas industry, services providers play a major role in shutdown/turnarounds, which cost millions each day and must therefore be completed as soon as possible. Many organizations rely on consulting firms to help them build and execute their strategies – particularly around digital transformation. Banks engage IT consultancies to improve their online and mobile banking platforms and call centers to support their customers.
In many organizations, services providers operate as an invisible workforce. How can management ensure that this often-unseen workforce consistently delivers maximum value? And how can organizations make sure that workers’ access to confidential data and systems is turned off at the end of the engagement?
Molly Spatara, Global VP, Brand Experience, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass
As we look into the future of contingent workforce management, and our vision of what a Managed Services Provider (MSP) solution should deliver, we must acknowledge that many of today’s MSP programs are broken and failing to deliver on their original promise. These legacy programs have become ineffective, pushing managers and talent into a broken process and creating endless frustration. To the point where, after having squeezed every last penny from the staffing supply chain, they are no longer delivering the best talent to the client.
We call today’s market reality “MSP v1.0” and in many programs it is represented by a command and control mentality where the MSP actively prevents staffing suppliers from speaking to the business managers who have created requisitions for new workers, enforces unrealistic pricing restrictions, and delivers an anemic value proposition through a burdensome and time-consuming process.
It is no wonder that many hiring managers are frustrated with their organization’s contingent workforce program, and as a result, many legacy MSP program stakeholders discover huge amounts of rogue spend taking place outside of their programs. We’ve even seen recent examples where procurement and HR stakeholders have become so disenchanted with their MSP program providers that they are actually considering taking the draconian step of shifting their programs in-house.
Bruce is a distinguished thought leader and global innovator, with over three decades’ experience within the human capital and workforce management industry. In his current role, Bruce is involved in new services and product idea generation, sales presentations, internal and external evangelism, digital and social media strategies, and lead generation. He gives us an inside look into his role, how he acts as a key partner to the business and his outlook on the future of work.
Your CPO keynote presentation at the Denver CPO Meet and Eat is about leveraging spend management within services categories--why is this an important topic?
There is a lot of talk about spend analytics, data and how that is the future of success. Our position is that spend analytics is a wonderful tool and capability but we’ve yet to see the capability evolve beyond goods-level detail. As procurement teams are continuing to try to find ways to better address services spend and deliver value to their organizations, we feel that there is tremendous opportunity by thinking differently about this space.
Despite the disruptive winds of change brought by MoviePass, unexpected flops, and shifting release dates, the action in cinemas looked pretty familiar this summer.
Critics and audiences alike complain about Hollywood’s predictability, but studio heads and directors continue to rely on the same old tricks. Compare this to an inert talent manager in Procurement. Every day, these ‘directors’ are confronted with signs that their shopworn strategies need shaking up. The supply chain talent they manage to bring in-house is restless before the previews have ended. Soon, they’re making a break for the exits.
A simple reboot won’t cut it. Even in the era of digital transformation, people are still Procurement’s most valuable resource. To build the right team and reach Procurement’s potential, the function needs to fully remake its approach to casting and directing talent.
Ironically enough, this summer’s slate of retreads offers some valuable lessons in talent management. Grab a seat and check out what Hollywood’s biggest franchises can teach Procurement.
Look for Talent in Unexpected Places
One of this summer’s biggest disappointments, Ron Howard’s Solo is a case study in the law of diminishing returns. Even the promise of beloved Star Wars characters, it seems, can’t guarantee a hit. That doesn’t mean the film has nothing to offer talent managers.
As the demand for independent talent grows, many organizations are using their own resources to directly source top independent talent without engaging third-party staffing agencies or consulting firms to perform recruiting functions. Direct sourcing affords many economic benefits such as avoiding high-priced staffing markups, decreasing overhead costs by hiring fewer full-time employees and filling project-specific roles with the right-priced independent talent.
But direct sourcing is only a small part of the picture. In order to compliantly utilize independent talent end-to-end, organizations must build a Direct Access program that encompasses finding, sourcing, engaging, paying and managing independent workers. Here are five best practices organizations should keep in mind when creating a Direct Access program to source and engage independent professional talent.
1. Drive Support from the Top Down
A lasting and successful Direct Access program begins with the right leadership support and sponsorship. This support must be driven from the top down by a senior business leader who has influence over the managers who will be sourcing and utilizing independent talent.
While a top-down approach is not the only method, attempting to build a Direct Access program from the bottom up is almost always a long and arduous path. Internal adoption is much slower and disjointed as the process relies on word of mouth and proof-of-concept in small groups.
In an increasingly crowded global marketplace, it can be hard to stand out. Back in the day, competition came from companies that looked just like yours. That is no longer the case. With an always-online hyper-connected economy, your competition could come from an industry so far removed from the one that you are in that it hardly makes sense…and yet if you aren’t watching, your business can find itself on the precipice of being made redundant by a company you never saw coming. (Think Uber to cabs or AirBnB to hotels…or even more recently Amazon to grocers.) It is not at all far-fetched…and with artificial intelligence and other forms of digitization, who knows what the future holds?
Frankly, it shouldn’t be surprising that some of the best ideas may come from outside your industry…that’s one of the concepts that SIG holds dear. During a plenary Summit session, we had everyone work with the people at their table to discuss a challenge that one person at the table was facing. Because the tables were random and the people at those tables represented different positions and industries, the results provided some breakthrough moments with complete out-of-the-box thinking.
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.
Have you ever tried having a productive day at work after being involved in a head on collision the previous day? It is pretty rough! The concussion sure made it hard to focus on what Sally was explaining at the executive meeting. You did not make the best decisions that day and I’m pretty sure you ruined your chances of bringing that one strategic partnership to fruition when your slurred speech was mistaken for intoxication. Actually, I bet you didn’t go to work the next day and I bet your employer told you to take the time you needed to heal, see the right doctors and come back stronger. Physical health issues can affect anyone at any time. For that reason, many workers are given medical insurance, sick time and other benefits to ensure they can recuperate before returning to the work place.
Yet, less visible injuries occur to our mental health and they can be just as frequent and debilitating. However, rather than providing the necessary support to workers, many are not given benefits to take time off or get a mental health checkup. Rather than receiving well wishes of getting better, most people with mental health issues deal with them in quiet because of stigmas that exist.
I decided to write my blog this week on this topic after being inundated with news reports in the recent days, weeks, months and unfortunately even years of crime and other tragic outcomes related to various forms of hate, anger and frustration. As I question my bi-racial child’s future in a hate entrenched society, and reflect on the loss of a friend at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last year, I can’t help but think that there has got to be something that could have been done to prevent this. Is there something I can do? Is there something anyone can do other than teach our children how to show compassion, consideration and love for others?