SIG Speaks Blog

Lessons Learned in Sustainability and Process Controls

business sustainability

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Kevin Schofield details why business leaders need to maximize communication within the company while focusing on strategic and sustainable sourcing to further educate team members on process controls and root cause analysis.


Merging the focal points of a diverse corporate system with the outside world's needs while managing a profitable business is always a challenge. Given the additional issues with value stream, inventory management, and transportation in the era of globalization during a worldwide pandemic make it even more challenging. Corporate leaders need to maximize communication within the company using new and different platforms while focusing on strategic and sustainable sourcing to further educate team members on process controls and root cause analysis.

Streamlining with Effective Communication

The first step in developing a more efficient and effective business is better managing people and communication. By clearly laying out responsibilities and dividing our individual and group tasks, we can more easily interweave those lines with other groups and branches. One of the issues in defining supply chain duties is developing a logical means of resupply and inventory management. Because each separate project has long been viewed as an “island” unto itself, the build-up and inventory waste that comes with it have grown.

If the supply chain team can be seen as a series of bridges between these islands or a fleet of ferries, companies will save millions in unnecessary waste. Using the techniques we discussed in the course, you can create a corporate system to increase teamwork and present ideas to management in ways that they will accept and benefit from.

Kevin Schofield, Manager of Supply Chain Management, ONEOK

7 Reasons to Respond to that Survey

SIG is hosting a survey to find out what matters most to SIG members.

Every day, my inbox is bombarded with requests for feedback. Most requests I honor because I am a data nerd and I know there's some fellow data nerd behind the scenes who really needs the insight for their business case. Also because my husband is a PhD and we spent several years of our marriage dedicated to quantitative assessments - I have seen tears spilled over empty questionnaires.

Many survey requests I archive for later because I want to see how our partners and competitors collect data and use it to shape their programs. But mostly, I just think it is incredibly important to share your opinion when asked. (I could write a whole different blog on when NOT express your opinion, mostly from first-hand experience.)

This is a list of the top 7 reasons why I think people should respond to SIG surveys in particular and surveys in general.

SIG Member Input Drives Content Creation

As sourcing professionals, you are really good at understanding the value of your partnerships and ensuring you realize that value -- that is why we have strategic sourcing, negotiations, performance measurement and things like vested sourcing. Providing your input to SIG about what you need from our partnership is critical to us delivering the content, the speakers, the tools, the connections and the awareness you expect from us. You are paying for it, so let us know how we can serve you!

Expressing Your Opinion Is Good for Mental Health

Get it off your chest, share your concerns and join a community of people who are facing the same problems as you. We know your leadership, your customers and your team are all leaning on you to make 2021 successful. Telling someone about this can be extremely helpful, because it means someone is in your corner listening.

Mary Zampino, Vice President – Content, Research & Analytics

This Month at SIG – February 2021

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

This month we begin to build back stronger with leadership insight, industry research and webinars to keep you up to date.


Executive Leadership Education

Executives are invited to attend SIG’s next CPO & Executive Roundtable on February 24 for open-mic discussions on executive leadership and education, continuity of leadership and what skills the leaders of the future must develop.

GEP Outlook 2021 Report

For procurement leaders, there’s a lot more to do. And more questions than answers.

Get a big leg up with the GEP Outlook 2021 Report — featuring eight critical leadership themes that will help you navigate uncertainty and thrive in the new normal. Published annually, the GEP Outlook Report is a trusted strategic guide for thousands of procurement leaders across the world. Get your complimentary copy today.

Your Digital Procurement Expertise Checklist

The average working day in procurement will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50. Are you prepared for digital procurement?

This checklist will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and find the right way to start a digital transformation of procurement. 

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Coordinator

How to Align Procurement with Finance

All of these strategies are essential to help procurement succeed in collaborating with finance, but you have a far greater likelihood of success if you select the right tools. Choose a digital solution that offers robust reporting, enhances visibility, and enables real-time engagement.

Procurement is a business function that offers so much in the way of value. However, its not always easy to showcase the full spectrum of what procurement provides to other teams or get the necessary buy-in from sponsors or stakeholders to support procurement activities. In fact, one of the common pain points for procurement practitioners is the ability to align finance.

Finance is a critical business function. So much of what guides operations is based on the bottom line and therefore it is absolutely essential that procurement align with finance. Without this collaboration, procurement teams will struggle to gain credibility within an organization and will be less able to contribute to the overall success of the business. In order for procurement to truly be successful, it needs to align with finance. Here are some tips for helping achieve alignment between finance and procurement.

Develop a reporting structure that promotes collaboration

Reporting is essential for keeping different departments aligned. It’s only logical that the department in charge of managing money and the team that handles buying should coordinate. To really make the most of your collaborative efforts, try syncing on reporting structure to increase adoption. Ideally, procurement would actually fall under the purview of finance wherein the CPO reports directly to the CFO to increase that alignment. Benefits include:

Jason Treida, Head of Americas, Per Angusta

An Exposé from Procurement Insider Peter Smith

Procurement business

Career procurement professional turned author Peter Smith, MA, FCIPS, FRSA, recently joined the Sourcing Industry Landscape Podcast to lift the lid on some of the worst procurement scams in history, offers practical advice on avoiding embarrassing mistakes, and shares how to make sound, strategic procurement decisions. 


If you're going back to 2019 is when you wrote the book, can you share some of their global disasters or the big stories that you included in the book back then?

When it comes to procurement failures, there are many areas, and some of them do not really understand what you're buying. And that can be something very simple, like the printing equipment the Irish government bought that didn't actually fit into the building they were putting it in. Or much more complex technology failures and so on.

But then, there are some interesting areas we perhaps don't think about so much in supply chain procurement, and I believe getting incentives wrong is a fascinating one. So, how do you incentivize suppliers to do the right thing?

And some of the failures there are clearly failures, but when you ask the question, "Well, how would you have done it, so it wasn't a failure?" those answers are not simple. Just something as straightforward as, "How do you get the incentives right for somebody running an outsourced call center for you? They're handling customer queries, doing inquiries or complaints. How do you incentivize them to work efficiently but give excellent customer service to the people calling in?

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Complex Services Procurement and Technology: A Spend Matters and SIG Survey

Procurement technology

Each year, organizations spend over $20 trillion globally on all kinds of services, according to some estimates. Services in the U.S. make up, on average, nearly 60% of organizations’ total non-payroll external spend (and that can be significantly higher in some industry verticals). The effective management of services spend has been a perennial topic of discussion (and limited action) over many years. And technology used to address complex services in an organization is not well understood.

Spend Matters and Sourcing Industry Group have partnered to field a survey of procurement professionals (CPOs, procurement directors, category managers, etc.) that is described briefly below.

The purpose of the survey is to better understand how and to what extent procurement is using enterprise procurement technology and other solutions to process and manage an organization’s service categories and with what level of satisfaction.

For this survey, the term "services" encompasses a broad range of spend categories, like consulting, facilities management, legal, temporary staffing, marketing and so on.

>>Take the Survey<<

Procurement of Services — The Puzzle

Despite the size of this mega-spend category, procurement leaders we talk with have agreed that most categories of services are not, to put it kindly, optimally managed and there are few best practices.

There also seems to be agreement that purpose-built technology for specifically managing different services categories, strategically and tactically, is lacking.

Andrew Karpie, Research Director for Services and Labor Procurement, Spend Matters

The Future of Procurement and the Shifting Supply Chains: Reflections 2020

The future has to be about possibilities to reshape our supply chains.

With the passing of the year, 2020 became more than a hindsight. We saw the emergence of human resilience and world leaders stepping up to shape a sense of leadership in young minds – be it in the area of politics, entrepreneurship or grassroots movements. 

Many equate the COVID-19 pandemic to the 1918 Spanish flu. I see the similarities, but the impact today is much larger. Some basic statistics: Worldwide population in 1918 was ~1.8b, compared to ~7.8b in 2020 (4x larger). On mobility, estimates place ~23.5m travelers arriving on U.S. shores in 1918-19, compared to ~79.3m in 2020. Travel and military embankments were at close quarters in 1918, with distancing, tracing and lockdowns more the norm in 2020. On communication, wireless communication was the novel technology in World War I, limiting civilian communication to letters, postcards, newspapers, and some telephone and radio. Today, social media and the internet are primary communication modes today, with hand-held devices now reaching the farthest corners of the world.

With all this evolution in the area of mobility and communications, one would expect the mobilization of essential goods and services, inter- and intrastate communications, interlaced with the very basic of humanity, would be the norm of trade policies and corporate goals. 

Padmini Ranganathan, Global Vice President, Product Strategy, SAP Procurement

The Fear of Automation - Are We Prepared?

President Trump signed an executive order for the “American AI Initiative” to guide AI developments and investments in the following areas: research and development, ethical standards, automation, and international outreach.

SIG University Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) program graduate Jolene Checchin discusses how technology and automation have changed our personal lives and how it will continue to evolve the way we work.


When “The Jetsons” cartoon made its debut in 1962, we could not imagine the futuristic automation they created. We thought it would be unrealistic to have flying cars (Terrafugia), jetpacks (Hoverboards), video calling (Face Time, Skype), robotic vacuums (Roomba), and much more. Now, fifty-eight years later, their future is our present, and to some, this can be unsettling.

Evolution of Technology

As a Baby Boomer, our generation has watched the evolution of technology at such a fast pace. I sometimes wonder if we really comprehend the changes. Just looking at how we can communicate today, we have gone from shared phone lines to cellphones, and we thought call waiting was a big deal! We can communicate, on the road, in the air, via video, email, text, and our social media resources are endless.

We have the ability to do our banking, pay our bills, and do our grocery shopping from anywhere we are. Some think purchasing a TV requires a degree in IT; from SD to OLED, do we really have a clear understanding of what any of that means? Instead of getting up to change the channel, we just want the ability to talk into a remote and tell the TV what we want to watch. We have appliances that cook while we are at work, and our refrigerators can now make grocery lists and place food replacement orders for us.

Jolene Checchin, Procurement System Administrator, CDK Global

This Month at SIG – January 2021

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

Happy New Year! We kick 2021 off with sustainable procurement for executives and training resources that will elevate your team to excellence for the New Year.


Sustainable Procurement Strategies for 2021

Executives are invited to attend SIG’s next CPO & Executive Virtual Series on January 13 for open-mic discussions on sustainable procurement, enabling growth through partnership and innovation, and how to nurture talent and culture.

Jumpstart Your 2021 Strategy

Sourcing and procurement professionals learned a lot in 2020: The importance of making supply chains and operations nimbler, how to digitize your processes and mitigating unforeseen risk were all key lessons. Get a jumpstart to your 2021 with a SIG University certification.

Delivered entirely online, a certification can be completed in five, six, 10 or 12 weeks depending on the area of study. Programs start in January and February. Prefer to go at your own pace? Inquire about the new self-paced option.

New Contributors Wanted

Future of Sourcing, SIG’s flagship digital publication, is looking for new contributors. Once you've reviewed the editorial calendar and the contributor guidelines, reach out to pitch us an article. You have the choice to submit articles on a regular cadence or you can submit whenever you feel inspired. Contributors are encouraged to subscribe to Future of Sourcing's email newsletter, which is delivered to readers twice a month.

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Coordinator

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

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