Amy Fong is a Vice President in Everest Group's Strategic Outsourcing and Vendor Management practice. In this role, she advises enterprises on maximizing value from strategic provider relationships in outsourced services categories. She is a featured presenter at SIG’s upcoming virtual SIGnature Events taking place throughout the fall of 2020. Virtual SIGnature Events are free to all qualified buy-side practitioners and sell-side members.
What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
I work with our procurement members to ensure they are getting the research and support they need to maximize value in outsourced services categories. We have 200 analysts focused on the outsourcing, global services and intelligent automation space. My role is to work across those content areas to bring it all together and ensure we’re helping procurement.
For instance, developing category strategy templates with the market intelligence we provide, facilitating briefings and peer discussions, and designing surveys that answer top of mind questions. I’m available to our members to answer their questions or guide them to the right expert analyst to dive deep into their challenges.
In the time of COVID-19, this also means helping procurement teams understand how service providers are reacting and what they can expect. Also, helping them identify cost takeout and risk reduction opportunities for the “next normal.”
“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good.” – Elizabeth Edwards
When I was a kid, we never said the word resilience, but we did use the word tough. Being tough is just what we need right now; toughness is our ability to spring back, even when the world around us crumbles (think COVID-19). Our resiliency grows every time we flex – just like a muscle in our body. Developing a resilient procurement team likely means you are “starting over” – or creating a fresh start in some areas of your procurement ecosystem. If you’re feeling stuck or unsure where to start, you aren’t alone. Below are five ways that Procurement can help improve business resiliency:
SIG is always asking our event attendees, current and future members, and readers about their current issues and concerns. I have been tracking and analyzing their responses for almost 10 years now. While cost savings and value-add remain consistent and strong priorities, there's no doubt many are very concerned about meeting pandemic-related needs.
We are blessed to have a community of thought leaders and generous, experienced professionals who are willing to share their experiences and describe their wins.
We offer the following resources in your quest for COVID-19 related items specific to sourcing, procurement, and workforce management. SIG members can continue to search for related articles here.
In the resources listed here, you can learn how to set up crow's nest and a war chest, hear how Sprint/T-Mobile are managing the crisis using AI for their spend analytics, specific procurement best practices for today's market, how technology enhances continuity in your workforce and what happens if and when this is "all over." Plus, so much more.
What is your role and your day-to-day responsibilities?
I have been CPO at several global companies, where I had responsibility for all procurement, sourcing, P2P automation, as well as global real estate and facilities. I’m currently the President of Collabra Consulting, providing support to clients for procurement, sourcing, cost reduction initiatives, vendor risk management, advisory projects and interim leadership.
What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?
It’s exciting! Sourcing and procurement are mission-critical business activities and done well, they can provide significant bottom-line impact, strategic support, and risk and governance controls to a company.
As a procurement professional, you know that talent in procurement has been a hot topic in recent years. Here at WNS-Denali, we have seen more organizations grapple with talent issues, so we decided to dive deeper into the key talent concerns for retail companies at SIG’s Global Executive Summit last fall.
The all-star packed panel with procurement leaders from some of the largest retail brands in the world came together to such questions as:
How does your hiring profile differ now and why?
Where are you finding your talent?
What are you looking for in new hires?
Specialist or generalist, which is a better hiring strategy for your team?
Even if you work at a company beyond the retail industry, these questions and the learnings from the panel still apply to your company. As you strive to gain a competitive advantage and influence more spend strategically, refreshing your approach to talent can make a big impact. Below are the top seven creative hiring strategies that came from our panel of retail experts.
Hire from within
This classic retail trick applies to all industries. Promoting from other areas of business up into a corporate role brings a wealth of knowledge and perspective on the core business and ability to relate to stakeholders. Most importantly, it will add a level of credibility to your procurement team.
David Gonzalez, Director, Procurement Services, Denali - A WNS Company
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.
New technology, competitive drive and the desire to upend the status quo to influence innovation and enhance value are important characteristics for sourcing and procurement professionals in today’s world. As the digital transformation continues to accelerate at an unprecedented and exciting pace, SIG wants to recognize the change makers, movers and shakers who show innovation, leadership and transformation in areas critical to the sourcing industry.
This week, SIG announced the finalists for the second annual Future of Sourcing Awards taking place at the Fall Global Executive Summit in Carlsbad, California, on October 16. A panel of senior executives judged nominees in eight team categories and two individual categories. The teams and individuals listed below demonstrated ingenuity, initiative and innovation and showed the greatest achievements in terms of fundamentally changing the nature of their business and/or industry.
Shopping, buyers, shopping carts, savings, back office, JUST STOP DUMBING US DOWN!
As many of you know, my passion is to help elevate the sourcing industry to receive the attention, seat, respect (and yes, pay) that it deserves. So why do sourcing professionals keep self-sabotaging by using the term BUYER to describe ourselves? The only time this is a sexy title is perhaps if you are the buyer of fashion who attends runway shows and hobnobs with designers. Buying is what I do when I “shop,” like for groceries. We as sourcing professionals are NOT shopping.
So onto my next pet peeve, why do we have cute little icons that look like grocery carts to check out within our tools? Yes, it makes it seem like an easy process when pushing it out to our internal customers, but it connotes “shopping,” which, as we have just discussed, we are not doing. We are selecting items from a carefully sourced category after a lot of thoughtful processes have taken place. Why can’t we use an icon that better showcases the importance of this role?
“Fake it ‘til you make it.” This unattributed idiom (with a nod to Aristotle) is oft-used advice to people early in their careers. But how wise is it to follow? How many people have résumés that truly portray their strengths vs. a laundry list of what they want you to believe about their abilities? How confident would any shareholder be if they believed the CEO got to the top by faking their skills rather than building them? But more importantly, is it a person’s skills that give you confidence in their leadership abilities?
If you think about the last person who truly inspired you, was it their title…or the last three companies where they worked that piqued your interest? Was it their ability to run a shareholders’ meeting, analyze volumes of data and manage their exceedingly crowded schedule that excited you? Doubt it. When you think of someone who is truly motivational, you are usually moved by the things that don’t make it on to the résumé: their heart, integrity, authenticity and ability to enroll others in their beliefs and passions. It’s not because of their title.
It’s About Mindset
Too often, CEOs have the mindset that what has gotten them here will get them there. If they have successfully led profitable companies, why would they have any reason to believe they need to evolve? When things aren’t working, it doesn’t take much convincing that something has to change. But when they are…CEOs often don’t understand the need. They have the pedigree and the track record – and past accomplishments are a good indicator of future success – so why fix what isn’t broken?
The Global Executive Summit keynote speakers come from a wide range of industries to bring you well-rounded, insightful and unique perspectives on the issues and trends shaping the industry today. We are pleased to introduce our keynote speakers who will drive the conversations at #SIGFall18!
In this session, SIG CEO and President Dawn Tiura will put Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn on the hot seat for a grilling on the state of the sourcing industry. Rob has extensive experience running cross-functional teams and scaling companies from the early start-up phase into successful public companies. Got spend management questions? Now’s the time to ask them.
Do you ever wonder what your job will be like in 2020? Turns out you’re not the only one. Get the inside scoop from a panel of procurement executives on how to stay relevant when new technologies emerge on the scene.