SIG Speaks Blog

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

The Top Webinars of 2020

a round-up of the top webinars of the year

2020 was a great year for thought leadership sharing as everyone suddenly experienced the same issues all at once. Many of the innovations and trends we saw emerge will continue to be essential as we move to 2021. To keep you informed, we bring you a round-up of the top webinars of the year!


5 Procure-to-Pay Trends to Watch in 2020

With the new year upon us, it’s the perfect time to take a look at look at the future of procure-to-pay (P2P).

 

The State of Procurement’s Value Measurement: Evolution and Best Practices

Today, successful value measurement in procurement requires understanding the mindset of stakeholders and leveraging the trove of procurement data that's available.

 

The Future of Procurement Technology

Industry-leading procurement technology has one job: providing a robust yet easy-to-use system for transforming needed goods and services into value for a company so that it can excel at its own business.

 

Coronavirus Town Hall - Leveraging the Power of Procurement to Address COVID-19

Leaders in the business and nonprofit space share how organizations can -- and should -- bridge the gap between businesses and beneficiaries for the wellbeing of the world.

 

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Top 10 SIG Speaks Blogs of 2020

To wrap up 2020, we highlight the top 10 blogs of the year.

To wrap up 2020, we highlight the top 10  SIG Speaks blogs of the year. From sustainable sourcing to mastering the art of negotiation, this year has been filled with thought leadership to help weather the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Guide to Understanding Category Management

By drilling down on spend categories, procurement can become established as a trusted advisor to the business. Check out our guide for a category management template to build your business case.

20 Questions About Life Post-COVID-19

SIG CEO & President Dawn Tiura discusses the future that lies ahead post-COVID-19.

Sustainable Sourcing 101

This guide provides a basic overview on sustainable sourcing, including links to resources.

7 Sourcing Business Models to Improve Sourcing Effectiveness

This article outlines seven sourcing business models that organizations should consider to improve their sourcing effectiveness and get the best results from supplier relationships.

Measurable Success: 7 New KPIs to Optimize Your Procurement Pipeline

This article outlines seven sourcing business models that organizations should consider to improve their sourcing effectiveness and get the best results from supplier relationships.

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Coordinator

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

2021 – The Year of Bringing Buying To the Board Room

It is hard to believe 2021 is at our doorstep, and while the immediate future is uncertain, the mid-to long-range outlook is virtually unknown. What we thought would be a ‘two-week’ work-from-home in March, has turned into a full-blown pandemic, and with it, the uncertainty surrounding it. Now, with a new wave of COVID-19 outbreaks breathing down our necks, tough times are here again.

As procurement professionals, we are, by nature, resilient. The toughest of times takes the strongest leadership and most innovative strategies. The pandemic and the consequences of it provided a proving ground for the often-overlooked sourcing and procurement team.  Over the past year, sourcing and procurement became the lynchpin for many organizations’ survival, securing critical business and PPE-related goods and services to keep businesses afloat and employees protected. Throughout, procurement professionals were working tirelessly to create innovative cost savings and expense reduction opportunities when other departments went right to cutting staff and payroll.

At a time when the needs of the business are buoyed through critical sourcing and procurement activities, there is, perhaps, no more important function to a business.

Procurement Myth Versus Reality

Unfortunately, not everybody understands that. Many business stakeholders still think of sourcing and procurement as tactical purchasing and contract administrators, or bottlenecks that create delays in the buying process and upset suppliers. In reality, sourcing and procurement is really about negotiating critical multi-million-dollar contracts and finding the right supply chain partners to mitigate the significant risk in today’s market. Critical, not just in savings, but in the essential value and impact you have on the business. 

Sam Vail, Managing Partner, LogicSource

An Open Letter to Procurement Sales People Who Want Their Products Bought

Best in class procurement people are astute in finance, law, analytics, project management, sales, negotiation, ethics, executive address, total cost of ownership, and return on investment.

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Madison Mobley discusses how to articulate value by utilizing hard savings, soft savings, and cost avoidance.


My first corporate job out of college was with EMC Corporation, now Dell EMC, notorious for its Sales Associate Bootcamp.

Picture seven weeks in a basement without food and water (tee hee, dead serious), and an exam every couple of days, 90% or higher to pass… Delicious.

The result? I learned how to talk technology very well – the bits, the bytes, the speeds, the feeds. And, at a time when the information age called for CIOs to reimagine how their company’s data was to be stored and protected, nothing was sexier than a storage array with fibre channel connectivity and two-factor authentication.

What’s more, I learned who best to engage at the individual contributor, mid-level management, and executive leadership levels. It was the same person(s) at every organization I prospected into 99.999% of the time for what I was selling.

Long preface short, knowing your product, knowing your ICP (ideal customer persona) and articulating that knowledge in your prospect’s “love language” made for a successful salesperson back then.

Fast forward to March 2020.

The day I joined Fairmarkit, the intelligent sourcing platform that revolutionized how all organizations buy the stuff they need (it doesn’t matter what the stuff is), I felt confident stepping into a sales role.

True, I had never sold directly to procurement people, but how different could it be?

The answer? Way different.

Madison L. Mobley, Senior Account Executive, Fairmarkit

This Month at SIG – December 2020

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

To close out 2020, we bring you the resources to elevate to excellence for the new year.


Elevating to Excellence - People and the Business

There’s still time to register for our upcoming digital SIGnature Event on December 9. The theme for the event is People and the Business. Senior-level and above delegates will participate in an executive roundtable hosted by SAP Fieldglass to discuss managing labor spending.

Meanwhile, teams will take part in a deep-dive training session with Western Michigan University Professor Sime Curkovic and William Crane, CEO of IndustryStar, on sourcing’s critical role in accelerating innovation.

 

CPO & Executive Virtual Series

Two buy-side executive peers will open the day sharing experiences of lessons learned or stories of success. This will be followed by an interactive discussion on VUCA, an acronym that originated at the U.S. Army War College to describe the perceived state of the world at the end of the Cold War — Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Let’s come together to talk about the best technology strategies for procurement and supply chain leaders to bring to bear against VUCA as we look to 2021.

This interactive digital event will be in an open-mic, collaborative format for a personal and targeted discussion. The entire meeting will last for two hours, beginning at 2:00 pm ET.

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Resources for Supplier Diversity Programs

The benefits of a supplier diversity program can have lasting impacts on your community and your organization.

For those who work in any area of the supply chain, diversity is a word that comes up often. Supplier diversity or diversity in contracting are programs that can be either mandatory (i.e., requirement to fulfill state or federal contracts) or voluntary (i.e., procurement/social responsibility strategy).   

Whether your organization chooses diverse suppliers for advocacy and social responsibility reasons, to comply with state or federal regulations, or to simply meet your stated requirements and work scope, the benefits of supplier diversity can have lasting impacts on your community and your organization. 

Starting a Supplier Diversity Program (SD Program) in your organization requires input and collaboration from various stakeholders at all levels. The SIG Resource Center has a wealth of information to help you begin the process to implement an SD Program, including how to make the business case to internal stakeholders, best practices and benchmarking studies from your peers.  

Mary Zampino, Senior Director of Global Sourcing Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence Can't Replace Human Interaction

Automation within procurement systems have developed.

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Katherine Smith shares how lessons in the CSP program informed her during her company’s digital transformation.


One of the many areas of the CSP program that I found to be of great relevance for my role as a Procurement Specialist at Fannie Mae was the Lesson on Artificial Intelligence. Being of an older generation, I can remember working as a manager when there were no computers. Inventories were taken manually and then extended using calculators or adding machines. It was a significant step forward when we could automate that process.

Gone are the days of spending long hours on the phone reading off SKU numbers and quantities needed when placing orders for products, such as the food and paper supply needs of a hospital foodservice department. 

Katherine Smith, Sr. Contracts and Procurement Specialist, Fannie Mae

This Month at SIG – November 2020

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

After wrapping up the 59th Global Executive Summit, we are excited to bring you even more resources and connect you with a network of people to help you be your best.  


Summit Resources On-Demand

Following each Summit, we publish an anthology that provides a snapshot of every Summit presentation and also includes speakers’ contact information if you’d like to follow up with them. The 2020 Global Executive Summit hosted over 40 keynote and breakout sessions.

This is a great resource for an overview of the content to share with your team members who were not able to attend and to demonstrate key takeaways and ROI to your executive team. This is a benefit of membership, so if you’re not a member inquire today!

Finish the Year Strong

As we near the end of 2020, one lesson is clear: Sourcing and procurement teams equipped with advanced skills, technologies and best practices not only weathered supply chain disruptions but were able to pivot and innovate.

As we enter 2021, the rehiring wave will focus on procurement professionals with modern and diverse skillsets based on today’s best practices. Understanding the current business landscape will be essential to secure your future.

SIG University is enrolling for programs that start in January and February. The free curriculum guide will provide you with detailed information on all four programs, including strategic sourcing, supplier management, third-party risk management and intelligent process automation. Prefer to go at your own pace? Inquire about the new self-paced option.

Stacy Mendoza, Senior Marketing Manager

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