supply chain

How Streamlined Purchasing Supports Training and Development Programs

technology training and development

2020 created a unique situation for businesses and significant learnings from the unforeseen circumstances of the pandemic.  2021 will be the year these learnings are put into action.  Internally, this may mean updates to standard operating procedures, workflows and other processes to better prepare for the unforeseen. The explosion in online training and the expected increase in budgets will offer more opportunities. Businesses with a well-trained workforce will have a competitive advantage. 

Training is perhaps more critical in 2021 than in years’ past. It is well known that a comprehensive training and development program empowers employees and improves retention. According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning report,  51% of learning and development experts will be launching upskilling programs while 43% will be reskilling their teams.  So much has been learned across industries, disciplines, etc, that it will be critical for not only the Procurement organization to be an active participant in training but Marketing, Accounting, Manufacturing, Supply chain, etc.

Streamlined Procurement can be Part of the Solution

Across organizations, departments are being challenged to do more with fewer resources.  As a result, finding the time to participate in training sessions becomes more difficult. Establishing a priority for what training is most important becomes a challenge. Finding ways to make company-wide processes easier lowers the burden on the individual department in 2 ways. First, simpler technology or processes eliminates the need for formal training sessions, and an easier process saves time and encourages user engagement.

Kelly Luecke, Marketing Coordinator, Buyerquest

Supply Chain Mobility: Sourcing Tomorrow’s Business

Supply chain sourcing

There’s a lot of talk regarding all the ways technology is going to revolutionize procurement. Blockchain can increase supply chain visibility. The Internet of Things (IoT) can change the way our business devices communicate with each other. But what type of innovations are available at the sourcing level?

From paper RFPs to conferences, it seems the way we source business has largely remained the same. Procurement teams are limited to siloed, outdated supplier databases and incomplete business information when attempting to make business decisions. It’s expensive and time-consuming to get a holistic picture of a supplier’s business health and mitigate third-party risk.

How can we adapt today’s technology for tomorrow’s sourcing needs? Here are a few innovative ways that your organization can source business.

Mobilize Your Supply Chain

I believe the key to sourcing success lies in mobilizing supply chains. Right now, supplier data is locked down in many different places that don’t communicate with each other. A large organization may have supplier data separately located throughout their ERP and CRM systems, accounting and legal departments, and Excel files floating around from supplier diversity programs, in addition to their procurement arm.

Teams are often tasked with managing legacy Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems with high overhead costs and systems that are unable to effectively manage the dynamic nature and sheer abundance of today’s business data. Traditionally, supplier information has been limited to line items such as name, tax ID, quantity and price of a sourced product, and remit-to-pay.

Daryl Hammett, CSMP, CSP, C3PRMP, Global Head of Lead Management and Operations Amazon Web Services (AWS)

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

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

Utilizing Diversity and Inclusion to Optimize Your Talent Supply Chain

. Millennials will dominate the workforce by 2025 (75%) and most of them prioritize diversity when evaluating work engagements.

I recently had the privilege of joining SIG’s podcast with Dawn Tiura. We had so much fun talking about diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies, and why now is the time for organizations to start thinking about and acting on total talent diversity. Specifically, diversity across all of their workers, full-time and contingent (contractors, freelancers, and shift workers). Dawn and I are both super passionate about this topic so if you are too, take a listen. 


Maybe you’re thinking, “I’ve got diversity suppliers and that’s what I’m measured on.” That’s great if you do, and the truth is diversity suppliers are absolutely critical and shouldn’t be overlooked. However, just because you use diversity suppliers doesn’t mean you are getting diverse candidates. 

Many organizations spend as much as 42% of their entire workforce budget on contingent labor, and most CFO’s expect that number to increase in the coming years. In fact, by 2023, over 52% of the workforce will be made up of freelancers. So if such a significant portion of your workforce is contingent, shouldn’t you consider diversity and inclusion across all workers? 

Certainly, we know it’s good for the bottom line, as evidenced by the Boston Consulting Group finding that diverse companies have higher revenue. Who can deny that revenue isn’t important? It’s what keeps everybody employed! Here are some essential points to consider:

It’s so easy to do the right thing to do for people and business. Diversity and inclusion across all worker categories can so easily be implemented. It brings value to your community, to your current and future workers and your company brand.

Kevin Poll, Head of partnerships, WillHire

Procurement KPIs: Deep Diving into Spend Under Management - Part 4

Procurement KPIs for Spend Under Management

This is the final chapter in a four-part series on procurement KPIs. Catch up on part 1, part 2 and part 3.

One of the goals of a business is to have as much spend (with a capital “S” for all expenditures: CapEx, OpEx and COGS) under management as possible. And that goal should be extended out to supplier spend, where procurement wants to have as much supplier spend influence as possible.

That way you know what you’re spending on suppliers (and the pricing component of that, of course), what you’re getting from those suppliers (i.e., supplier performance), and how well you’re spending in terms of applying best practices and tools/intelligence to the process (e.g., proactively guiding stakeholders and minimizing maverick spend).

Pierre Mitchell, Spend Matters’ Chief Research Officer

COVID-19 Resources for Sourcing, Procurement and Workforce Management

Covid-19 resources

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.

Checklist: 6 Steps for Navigating Through the COVID-19 Storm

Covid-19 has transformed from a short-term hiccup to a perfect storm at an unprecedented pace. It is normal to feel disoriented and to feel like you're running in eight directions at once.

>>Read More

Mary Zampino, Vice President – Content, Research & Analytics

This Month at SIG - March 2019

This Month at SIG

This month our clocks spring forward and we gain an extra hour of daylight. To make the most of that extra hour, consider attending a networking event, thought leadership webinar or exploring SIG’s new partnership with Everest Group that brings delegates proprietary research, insights and analysis. Ready to get started?

Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event

March 6
Minneapolis Central Library

The Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event takes place at the beautiful Minneapolis Central Library on March 6. The event includes a great lineup of speakers from BB&T, Best Buy, Everest Group, Ontala and Virtual Operations who will present on topics that include third-party risk management, artificial intelligence in procurement, sourcing transformation strategies and how to buy digital platforms for your enterprise.

The event will begin with an executive roundtable for director-level and above delegates, while their teams take part in a training workshop on the fundamentals and frameworks of third-party risk management with risk expert Linda Tuck Chapman, who created the Certified Third Party Risk Management Program for SIG University.

To learn more about the day’s events, speakers, who should attend and to register you and your team, visit our website.

Stacy Mendoza, Digital Marketing Manager

3 Ways Sourcing Professionals Can Proactively Address Risk

Image of a man on a tightrope.

Risk…it’s a four-letter word. And while it is not as offensive as others, it can have a far worse and much longer-lasting impact on an organization. What is most challenging though is that it can come in many forms, making risk mitigation difficult at best and financially devastating at worst. Geopolitical risk, third party vendors, hackers, terrorists, natural disasters, poorly or inadequately trained staff and other circumstances make the global supply chain vulnerable to disruption, costing businesses millions of dollars annually. This is never so apparent as it is after tragedy strikes an area. Consider Hurricane Florence or the Northern California “Camp Fire”— the damage from these devastating events will be long lasting to the communities they impacted and the businesses that supported them.

According to Resilinc’s Eventwatch report, nearly 2,000 supply chain events took place in 2017, representing a 30 percent increase over 2016. Put in context, this translates to roughly five events per day with approximately 25 percent of them requiring an impact notification. Four of the five most significant 2017 supply chain events (in terms of number of supplier sites impacted, number of parts impacted and average time to recovery) were from extreme weather conditions and include late winter storms in the northeast as well as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. More than a year later, Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still trying to recover and will likely see years pass before their economies rebound.

Sarah Holliman, Chief Marketing Officer

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