SIG Speaks Blog

This Month at SIG – March 2020

Monthly round-up of research, webinars and events at SIG.

In the Northern Hemisphere, March signals the first month of spring. In the procurement world, March signals the beginning of conference season! Attending events gives you the opportunity to learn more about the industry and make valuable connections, which are important for professional growth. Short on time? Check out a virtual webinar to learn something new in just an hour. No matter where you get your inspiration, share what you learn with the broader SIG community in our member’s LinkedIn Group.


Rescheduled - Western Regional SIGnature Event

The Western Regional SIGnature Event has been rescheduled to October 1 due to the current reports of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington state. This postponement was done out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our attendees and employees. All registrations have been carried over to this new date and there is no need for you to register again.

Please modify or rebook your travel and hotel reservations for the new date. Most airlines are accommodating reservation changes right now due to the Coronavirus. If you cannot attend on October 1, please update your registration status on our website. Should you have any questions or concerns about your registration, please email events@sig.org.

Stacy Mendoza, Senior Marketing Manager

3 Tools to Master the Art of Negotiation

An image of Negotiation

Haggling is not negotiating. I repeat, haggling is not negotiating. You are just “meeting in the middle.”

I remember watching an episode of the BBC’s “The Apprentice” in which the task was to buy a list of items in London. The would-be apprentice, Jim, went to a butcher to buy a steak. It was a classic haggle. The butcher started high and Jim started low. They ultimately met in the middle.

This back and forth is haggling, which is a valid method of resolving a conflict. But other ways to resolve a conflict exist, including negotiation. The difference is that haggling is just about the price, and largely the outcome depends on who starts the highest or lowest. But negotiation is about trading variables and takes more skill, which makes it an art rather than a blunt instrument.

Learning the art of negotiation can be done with a few simple, yet effective tools.

Tool 1: The Up-and-Over

As a child, my family lived in a modest three-bedroom house in Laindon, Essex. It had one of those garages at the front of the house but you couldn’t get to the garage through the house even though it was integrated into the building. You could only get to it through the big up-and-over door.

“Up and over” is also a negotiating tool to use when you want to counter propose, which means to reject an offer and replace it with one that suits you better.

Let’s say you are selling your car. After looking the car up and down and kicking the tires, the buyer says, “Would you take $4,500 instead?” Typically, you’d haggle and say, “No, but I would accept $5,000,” and on the haggle goes until you meet in the middle. In a negotiation, you might say, “If you can buy the other car I am selling too, I could move on the price.” “Another car?” the buyer replies. “I don’t want another car. That’s silly.”

Darren Smith, Founder and Chief Meaning Officer Making Business Matter

SIG Speaks to Michael van Keulen

Michael van Keulen is the Chief Procurement Officer of Coupa

Michael van Keulen is Chief Procurement Officer at Coupa. He formerly 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. Michael is known for leading procurement transformations that generate 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.   

Stacy Mendoza, Senior Marketing Manager

How to Create Your Procurement Ecosystem

Let me start by making something clear: I’m a process guy. I started my career as an engineer on a production line. I have spent the past 20 years working in supply chain, helping clients improve operational efficiency and deliver value in more predictable and repeatable ways. If you ever need a process map for anything, school projects included, ask my kids because I’m your man. So, when my team at WNS-Denali shared the results of our recent benchmark study, I was ready to dive into operational improvement mode. Where did we find inefficiency? How can we help our clients improve performance at scale? I was surprised at what we saw in the findings.

Reading the Procurement Data

What we saw is a tremendous amount of variation. In fact, if you only looked at the findings through the lens of traditional procurement performance models, the data do not lead to very specific conclusions about procurement’s value. So, we decided to flip the analysis model on its head and examine some different correlations.

We focused on two separate benchmark rankings: value and business alignment. For value, we looked at traditional procurement KPI’s: spend under management, savings, process efficiency, and operational excellence. When measuring business alignment, we looked for more subtle trends and indicators of deep stakeholder alignment, effective change management, agile procurement, and adaptive operating models. What did we find? The responses did not point to any single “best” procurement operating model, technology package or spend management process. There was NO PROCESS MAP for best-in-class procurement! Instead, high-performing organizations had one thing in common: a mindset emphasizing tight alignment with business objectives – what we call Total Business Alignment.

Greg Anderson - Senior Vice President of Procurement Services, WNS-Denali

A User’s Guide to the Gig Economy for Procurement Practitioners - Part 1

How procurement can make the gig economy work for them.

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.

This two-part brief is available to readers as part of SIG and Spend Matters ongoing partnership

Read part two.


Deconstructing the Gig Economy

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

A User’s Guide to the Gig Economy for Procurement Practitioners - Part 2

How procurement can make the gig economy work for them.

In part one of this brief, we deconstructed the meaning behind the buzz word “gig economy” and explored what these new digital supply chains look like. In part two, we’re addressing the potential value opportunities, risks and challenges associated with digital supply chains for work and services and how practitioners can make the gig economy work for them.

This two-part brief is available to readers as part of SIG and Spend Matters ongoing partnership.

Click here to read part one.


What is the potential for value, risk and challenges of digital supply chains?

The conditions we discussed in part one of this brief present contingent workforce and services procurement with a new set of potential value opportunities, risks and challenges. 

As with pushing ahead with most innovative approaches, achieving value means confronting, evaluating and, where possible, addressing risks and execution challenges.

Value, Risks and Challenges

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

Don’t Go It Alone – Ways to Win a Software Audit

software audit

Let’s face it: Software audits are not fun.

I should know – I lived through a very painful and protracted software audit at my current company, Russell Investments, an audit that lasted over eight months from start to end. While the software provider (who I will not name) was completely within their contractual rights, I learned a lot from the experience and would like to share that experience with you – so you can learn from what we did right, and what we did wrong. For the purposes of this blog and my presentation at SIG’s Western Regional SIGnature Event, I will call this software provider “Skynet,” but rest assured the real name of the company is one you would easily recognize.

Software audits never happen at a convenient time. Our situation started in late November 2018, near the end of our fiscal year. Our various business groups were scrambling to get their purchase orders approved and issued by year-end. Any remaining budget dollars were being used to get a head start on the next fiscal year.

Skynet sent a letter to our CFO saying that we had been “selected” to receive a software license review. The word “audit” was never used in the letter. Audits are highly profitable for software companies – companies can operate within their contractual rights, as audits have a high ROI. Why? Because most clients do not have a firm grasp on the number of software licenses purchased or deployed (either on-prem or in the cloud). 

Brett Miller, Director, Russell Investments

This Month at SIG – February 2020

Monthly round-up of research, webinars and events at SIG.

Check out the February round-up of new research from our industry partners, upcoming webinars to bookmark and the latest podcasts with procurement thought leaders and award winners.


Contract Risk Playbook: Risks Hiding in Plain Sight

This e-book is an advanced guide for corporate boards and senior executives to mitigate contractual risks. Included are steps to assess situations, take action and move forward, as well as a checklist for directors and executives.

February Thought Leadership Webinars

February 5 – 5 Procure-to-Pay Trends to Watch in 2020
Presented by: Basware
Now is the perfect time to take a look at the future of P2P. This webinar will cover new innovations in the P2P marketplace and the trends that will make the biggest impact this year.

February 25 – The State of Procurement’s Value Measurement: Evolution and Best Practices
Presented by: Ivalua
Today, successful value measurement in procurement requires understanding the mindset of stakeholders and leveraging the trove of procurement data that's available. Join this webinar for insight into best practices and to better understand changes in the industry that impact procurement’s value measurement.

Stacy Mendoza, Digital Marketing Manager

Why the Sourcing Status Quo Is No Longer an Option

Half of all procurement organizations will have near-real-time procurement analytics.

According to Gartner’s latest predictions, in just four short years, half of all procurement organizations will have near-real-time procurement analytics – will yours be one of them?

While we can argue the probability of this claim (along with the debatable prediction that we will see a large rise in voice-command PO processes), there is certainly no denying that the way companies do business is changing. Between hyper-automation, machine learning, and a renewed focus on user-centric design, we can now access and influence limitless channels in a matter of seconds. With this massive influx of new data and opportunities for connection, sourcing and procurement must adapt to the rapidly evolving market or risk falling behind.

Like Sales with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms or Human Resources with Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions, modern sourcing organizations need technologies that will empower them with visibility into their processes, proactively manage projects and mitigate risks, and generate actionable insights based on real-time data.  

Why Digital Transformation is Mission-Critical for Your Business

Implementing new technology can seem daunting, but with an effective change management strategy, you’ll find that the benefits far outweigh any costs. If you’re still on the fence about adopting modern solutions, here are five benefits your organization is missing out on by continuing with its current processes. 

Chris Crane, Co-Founder, Product, Scout RFP, a Workday company

The Powerful Workforce That’s Not on Your Payroll

Contingent workers now represent nearly 25 percent of total workforce spend.

Navigating the Skills Shortage

Do you have the talent you need to stay competitive? Connect with your customers in a 24/7 world? Harness new technologies to drive more business value?

To achieve these goals, organizations need to source fresh talent and new capabilities. That’s easier said than done. To put things into perspective, in 2009 there were 6.6 job seekers for every vacancy in the US. By July 2018 that figure had fallen to 0.9, meaning there are now more job openings than unemployed people. The result? It’s increasingly hard for organizations to find the skills they need. 

Our new research found that many organizations are already experiencing significant skills shortfalls. Just 31% of executives say their organization has enough skills in newer technologies (such as AI, automation and robotics). Only 29% have enough skills in cybersecurity.

To source sought-after skills, many organizations are turning to the external workforce, which includes:

  • contingent labor (also known as non-payroll workers), such as independent contractors, freelancers and temporary staff
  • services providers (companies that supply services delivered by people), such as consulting firms and marketing agencies

Our research found that the external workforce helps organizations to achieve a broad range of business goals. Most executives say the external workforce is important or extremely important to operating at full capacity/meeting market demands (74%) and improving the customer experience/client satisfaction (67%).

Molly Spatara, Global VP, Brand Experience, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass

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