SIG Speaks Blog

Lessons Learned from the World Cup

The world is in a soccer (or should I say "futbol") frenzy right now. Every day the best teams in the world are competing for their country in hard-fought matches where the team advancing might be determined in the final few seconds of a game. In the U.S vs. Portugal game, the U.S. was the only team in their group Sunday that could have advanced to the knockout round with a win. Instead, their fate is still up in the air, with a number of possible outcomes. This got me thinking about the lessons we could learn from the World Cup.

Leadership is key. It is easy to credit a coach or team captain with leadership, but if there is one thing I've learned in the past few years, it is that anyone can be a leader—it is not defined by your title. This is evident in any soccer game in the world at any given time. Just listen to players talking to one another on a field. Often it's the goalie or center back defender shouting instructions. They may have a lay of the land that someone in a striking position can't see. I think of the Procurement group the same way—it is often the only department that has regular communication with virtually every other business unit, allowing it insight at a high-level that is difficult for any other department to replicate.

Sarah Holliman

The Impact of Leadership on Procurement Organizations

There is one common, less noticed trait about all companies with successful supply chain operations; they know the value of an effective procurement organization, and have placed a great deal of emphasis in creating/transforming them around a strategic vision. However, only a small percentage of businesses globally can claim this success. Most companies lack the vision and thus have seen their procurement organizations evolve organically, developing around the needs of the time and constraints of supporting revenue growth. This blog post provides insights into what defines the second type of companies and how change at the top, supported by long-term vision, can help a firm change for the better. Businesses have developed practices of utilizing the resources and teams available to them to focus on their immediate needs. With top lines receiving a significant emphasis, procurement organizations have been asked to focus on getting the right material in time, but rarely on quality and best cost. Alternatively, when bottom line results are at risk, procurement teams have been asked to generate additional savings to meet quarterly or annual targets. It is only during times of extreme commodity price volatility and spikes in cost of goods sold (COGS), that teams are created to focus on managing commodity risks and price fluctuations. Competitive forces, lessons learned and recommendations from resources new to the firm or from consultants typically drive the situations described above. However, these are implemented as stand-alone projects and rarely translate to a long-term strategic vision. Procurement and Corporate leadership seldom evaluate a procurement organization from a holistic viewpoint.

Samir Patel, Director, GEP

Networking for the Feint of Heart

I've read a lot lately about networking. It's a "must do" for any professional career...but for SIG, it's the difference between success and failure. SIG is defined by our ability to provide opportunities for our members to share best practices and thought leadership. How? By connecting them with other sourcing, outsourcing and procurement professionals. We offer online opportunities with Webinars, Town Hall Teleconferences and P2Ps (Peer-to-Peer resources), and of course with live events, such as Global Summits, Symposiums and Regional Roundtables. This week alone we've had one Symposium (in Toronto), a Regional Roundtable in Chicago (at McDonald's Hamburger University...how cool is that?!), a Town Hall Teleconference two Webinars and two P2Ps. It's a busy week—but it's what our members need to hear the latest industry standards and benchmark with others in this function. We love what we do and we try to make our events hassle-free and accessible. But based on some of the articles I've recently read, I'm reminded that live networking is not something that comes easily to most people. In fact, some of the best public speakers I know absolutely cringe when they have to mingle. So what can you do to enhance your networking outcome when you are at a conference or an event?

Sarah Holliman

Business Outcomes for Procuring Value Beyond Cost Savings

"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." - Warren Buffett So you think you've seen it all in sourcing and procurement? Have you tried to weed out real value beyond cost savings? Just because you are saving money doesn't mean you've driven value for your organization. It might seem to be amorphous and unaccountable, but the "value" of a deal or contract is definable by the stakeholders in your organization. Find out what they want, and you find what drives "value" in your company. When you know what someone wants, you can negotiate based on that. Maybe "value" is measured in time. Maybe it's measured in contract commitments. Maybe your supplier needs goods or services you have, that can be applied in barter or through profit sharing. Procurement has matured into more than just negotiating the best contract for the best price. The creativity and innovation that can spur both value and savings comes from doing deals that exceed the simple exchange of dollars for services. Here are a few things to consider when putting together a deal: Deal summary – create an overview of the deal:

  • Where did it start, how did it evolve?
  • Who is the customer (if there even is one)?
  • What is the desired outcome?

Intangibles to consider:

Celia De Benedetti

Predictive Analytics Replace Reactive

Leading procurement organizations will increasingly be able to anticipate future spending patterns rather than just analyze historical spending, and will be able to prevent supply risk failures, such as supply chain disruptions, before they occur.

When it comes to analyzing historical spend data, there already exists a major divide between world class and non-world class. Looking at a "significant amount" of spend visibility company-wide, the gap is getting bigger: 23% more world class had this level of spend visibility overall in 2012, and the gap more than doubled in 2013 to 47%, when 89% of world-class organizations achieved this mark overall. Top performing organizations also have better visibility as to how their suppliers are currently performing. In 2013, 80% of world class performers were utilizing a formal, supplier scoring methodology as compared to just 50% of the total peer group, according to Hackett Group benchmarks. Going forward, these leading organizations will seek to further extend their advantage by leveraging spend and supplier analytics in more proactive and predictive ways, for example:

Richard Waugh, Vice President, Corporate Development, Zycus Inc.

14 Ways the Workplace is Evolving - Is Your Corporate Culture Keeping Up?

As corporate cultural battles play out, workplaces have become the battleground, with outcomes increasingly dependent on worker engagement, health, well-being and a sense of belonging or purpose. The following are 14 workplace trends reshaping corporate cultures in 2014 and beyond:

Bernice Boucher

What Inspires You?

Editor's Note: We saw a longer version of this blog a few months ago and were inspired by the support that Beeline provides to the global community. We asked if we could share it with the SIG community to inspire other companies to do more and/or to share what they do. Please read below...be inspired...and share your own wonderful work with us!

What Inspires You? I have been thinking about this question for several months now, no doubt due to the "Be Inspired" theme from the 2013 Beeline Conference. After hearing from such amazing speakers like Derreck Kayonga (the Global Soap Project) and Robert X. Fogarty (the Dear World project), I felt overwhelmingly inspired. See photo where SIG's own Dawn Evans participated in the Deear World project.


 

Their projects have affected countless lives around the world, which really got me thinking about Beeline's philanthropy. Every day at Beeline, my colleagues make a choice to place an importance on giving back to the community. One thing is certain: I am inspired by the generosity of others.

Typhoon Relief After thousands lost their lives (and countless remain homeless) from the typhoon that struck the Philippines in November 2013, Beeline immediately set up a fund to support relocation and rebuilding efforts. The Beeline office located in Manila spent a Saturday packing supplies for the victims of this typhoon and made the decision to cut certain budgeted items. Feeling inspired to help, several Filipino colleagues in the Beeline Jacksonville office immediately set up a Typhoon Donation Luncheon and made traditional Filipino food. Between both offices' efforts, Beeline raised $9,564.47 to support this effort.

Marci LaValley,

Engaging with ICs? Three Things to Consider

Engaging with independent contractors (ICs) is a very productive and cost effective way to work smart in your business. As more companies implement contingent worker programs as part of their overall business strategy, it's important to make sure that you as a company are protected from issues beyond the proper individual IC classification of your contractor talent. Many articles have been written about IC compliance, and the aim of these less obvious recommendations will help ensure your contractor talent program is successful and fully compliant. 1. Make sure your company understands the importance around proper IC classification and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a company, it's essential to have a clear IC compliance process in place to provide protection from possible issues regarding health coverage and other benefits responsibilities.

Mark Young, Senior Vice President, Human Capital Practice, Synergy Services

In the blink of an eye...

Each spring or fall as we approach the Summit, my creativity stops flowing and I go into "do" mode. My approach to everything becomes VERY tactical. My shoulders tense early in the day as I make a handwritten list with the various tasks I need to accomplish. If the item isn't: (a) going to print; (b) necessary for the Summit; or (c) required to keep one of my children alive, it probably won’t be addressed for a few more weeks. That's just the nature of working for a company that puts on large-scale events. We look at every detail from every angle and do everything in our power to execute as flawlessly as possible. That isn't to say that everything goes perfectly. It doesn't...but it's our job to shake it off, find a new solution and move forward like swans—looking peaceful and content above water, but paddling like all heck underneath. We arrive at the Summit location a full 4-5 days before our first guests arrive. In a sea of commotion, we unpack boxes, set up rooms, organize our registration desk, write last minute announcements, put together signs, meet with the hotel and check off the myriad things on our individual and collective "to do" lists (and yes, there really is a group "to do" list). It is a blur...and yet those days before the Summit starts are relaxing in an odd sort of way. We get the chance to reconnect with our colleagues whom we see only a few times a year. We are able to appreciate in person the amazing work our team members produce. And we laugh. A lot. As Saturday becomes Sunday becomes Monday, the anticipation of delegates arriving escalates palpably. The quiet buzz of excitement in the air becomes a cacophony of sound, not the least of which are the intermingled voices of delegates greeting old friends and making new connections. Although I look forward to our keynote speakers and hearing the latest trends and discoveries in the incredible breakouts, I secretly think that it's the sound of people connecting that I love the most.

Sarah Holliman

Is your real estate sourcing approach strategic?

A strategic sourcing approach can accelerate enterprise growth. Deeply knowledgeable on IT issues, procurement leaders offer a sophisticated understanding of how to make IT purchases impactful to the corporate bottom and top lines. The next hill to climb in delivering increasing value to the C-suite may lie in another significant expense category: corporate real estate. Companies outsource facilities management and related services to reduce expenses, and those expectations are met, but they soon learn that real estate strategies can provide even greater value in areas such as employee engagement, worker productivity and risk management. The right real estate partner with the right strategy in place can also help companies optimize balance-sheet and P&L impact, enhance employee attraction and retention, and meet strategic goals in areas ranging from M&A to sustainability. These goals are often the responsibility of internal departments other than real estate, so gaining the benefit requires strong collaboration among internal teams. If this collaborative spirit doesn't already exist at your company, bringing in a third-party real estate partner can help bridge communication gaps and align the goals of different departments to gain mutually beneficial results. Some areas where collaborative initiatives pay the biggest dividends include:

Bryan Jacobs, Executive Managing Director, JLL

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