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Art of Procurement

Learn from Procurement Experts. Host Philip Ideson talks with thought leaders who share the trends, strategies and tactics that you can lever to elevate the role of procurement - and your career.
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Now displaying: 2019
Dec 23, 2019

As we begin to wind down for 2019, Art of Procurement host Philip Ideson shares the three themes that are at the forefront of his mind when considering the health of the procurement function and the opportunities that await in 2020.

Dec 16, 2019

This week’s podcast is based on our recent AOP Live session with Pierre Lapree and Jason Treida. They joined us last month to take live audience questions about how procurement can maximize the value potential of automation while ensuring that performance management is not lost in the ‘noise’ of technology.

Most of today’s technology focuses on either the transactional aspects of procurement (P2P) or shiny new toys (RPA/AI/Blockchain). It does not necessarily provide a holistic view our activity and performance. And yet, it is those activities and that performance that determine procurement’s impact and influence now and in the future.   

In this live session, we discussed:

  • Procurement’s Fascination with ‘Shiny’ Technology
  • The stages of procurement maturity, and how performance should be measured and incentivized as we progress
  • The power and importance of corporate ‘rituals’
  • How a careful consideration of procurement performance management requires us to approach technology selection and implementation differently
Dec 9, 2019

Whether you call it supplier performance management or supplier relationship management, procurement has always understood that we need supply partners at their best for us to realize the maximum ROI from each contract. Usually, however, that boils down to a meeting where we point out where they could be doing better or ask a bunch of questions that imply the same thing and send them on their way to figure out how they should improve. It basically amounts to procurement making a wish list and throwing it over the wall.

Needless to say, this delivers questionable results. Procurement doesn’t have the time required to follow up with as many suppliers as we should, and the suppliers don’t have an incentive to put more energy than absolutely necessary into a contract they have already signed. Besides, they’re often not sure exactly what we want from them.

In this disconnect, Amanda Prochaska, President and CEO of HPP Coach, and Jonathan Townsley, a Business Transformation and Supply Management Advisor, see an opportunity for procurement to meaningfully and sustainably change the way we manage our suppliers.

Dec 2, 2019

Having the opportunity to reflect back on a successful career in its entirety is a gift, and in “A Procurement Compendium”, Peter Smith shares that gift with the whole procurement community. From being found by procurement (either because he could play tennis or because he was lousy at sales), to his time as a consultant and then 8+ years with Spend Matters, he’s experienced nearly everything.

Peter shares stories from his career that capture the things he’d done differently. He wishes he’d insisted upon having better talent. He would fight for the budgetary resources to get his team the resources they needed. He would be less cautious and spend more time connecting on a personal level with fellow executives.

In this conversation, Peter talks about:
· The importance of competition and the dangers of supplier dependence
· Why procurement is not in decline (yet)
· What new CPOs should do to succeed early on

Nov 25, 2019

In this episode, AOP Host Philip Ideson and Kelly Barner (General Manager of AOP and Owner of Buyers Meeting Point) discuss their major take-aways from November’s news, industry topics and podcast interviews.

Note: This is a special - early and shortened - version of our This Month in Procurement podcast due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. We would like to thank you, our listeners and followers, for sharing your time and energy with us during the year. The procurement community is amazing. We continue to be enthusiastic about being part of your network and having you in ours! 

 

Nov 18, 2019

In this week’s podcast, Philip Ideson is joined by two members of the Procurement Leaders team, David Rae, their Chief Product Officer, and Geraldine Craven, Head of Research. They recently completed a study in cooperation with Bain Consulting to understand what is changing in advance of the arrival of 2020 and what remains the same.

In this conversation, David and Geri talk about the key recommendations in Procurement Leaders’ 2020 CPO Planning Guide, including:


• The need for procurement to connect with the broader C-suite agenda
• The organizational differentiation that Procurement Leaders is seeing among companies that focus the customer experience, innovation or risk management
• Whether it is easier to drive transformation when change is already underway or when a team is at the beginning of their journey
• The skills that leadership teams need to make sure are in place within procurement, and why it is critical that procurement recruit from outside the function

Nov 11, 2019

“A good procurement person has two qualities: One is they're curious. They want to know how things are made. How did we get it here? Why is the supplier doing that? What is the price? What is the cost? So, curiosity is the number one thing and the number two thing is emotional intelligence. Do they have the capability to build relationships inside and outside the business?”

In this week’s podcast, Philip Ideson is joined by Bill Michels, Vice President of Operations Americas at CIPS. They discuss the global nature of today’s supply chains and the impact that shift has had on the professional procurement community: specifically, they discuss the ongoing impact of trade tariffs around the world, and the proactive actions that can be taken to prepare for economic recession.

In this conversation, Bill talks about:


• Why procurement needs to start focusing on influencing buyer behavior, not their spend
• The destabilizing impact of tariffs, and whether it is possible for them to represent an opportunity as well as a challenge
• How procurement leaders can begin to proactively plan for an economic recession.
• How procurement skills development is being impacted by the very different interests and needs of the four different generations making up the current workforce

Nov 4, 2019

In this episode, AOP Host Philip Ideson and Kelly Barner (General Manager of AOP and Owner of Buyers Meeting Point) discuss their major take-aways from October’s news, industry topics and podcast interviews.

In October, we heard a total of seven podcasts:

  • A solo show from Philip Ideson on Getting Executive Buy-in for a Procurement Change Initiative
  • A five-part series with leadership team from Efficio, titled “A CPO’s First 100 Days”
  • An interview with Ryan Flynn, a Principal at Deloitte Consulting, about their 8th annual CPO Survey 

This month’s discussion topic is one that most procurement professionals – most people, in fact – think about this time of year… How can I set myself up for success in the new year? With less than 60 days remaining in 2019, there isn’t a minute to waste. The AOP team is already actively engaged in the planning process, and we are positive 2020 is going to a much brighter – and bolder – year!

Oct 28, 2019

“The ‘complexity masters’ have taken the transactional side of procurement and turned it into a well-oiled machine, a combination of operating models and digital strategies, so that they can focus on those areas where they can drive the most value.”

The annual Deloitte Global CPO survey is one of the most anticipated reports of the year. In this year’s report, the 11th annual, the authors took a different approach than they have in the past, calling out a single word of focus: complexity. Ryan Flynn is a Principal at Deloitte Consulting with 14 years of experience helping global companies improve their sourcing and procurement efficiency and effectiveness.

Despite the fact that so many things seem to remain the same in procurement year after year, Ryan observes that his team is seeing movement – and fortunately, we are moving in the right direction. Procurement’s scope is shifting, as is our attitude towards ‘good’ risk. Of course, there is still plenty of work to be done, and nothing ever remains the same.

Oct 25, 2019

You have just been appointed to a new CPO position. Your executive leadership team is looking at you to make an immediate impact while setting up procurement as a driver of sustainable, long term value. You know that your first 100 days in the role may make or break your career. What do you do? Where do you start? 

In this special 5-part series, made possible through a partnership with Efficio, we will provide you with the roadmap you need to hit the ground running. 

In the fifth - and final - episode of the series, I spoke with Shirin Tomlinson, head of The Efficio Academy, about the importance of investing in skills development, starting with how a new CPO can attract the best talent into procurement.

In addition, Shirin and I discussed:

  • What skills CPOs should look for in their teams now and in the future
  • How companies should approach the training and upskilling of current team members
  • The risks associated with not focusing on the team and their skills in the early days of a procurement change effort
Oct 24, 2019

You have just been appointed to a new CPO position. Your executive leadership team is looking at you to make an immediate impact while setting up procurement as a driver of sustainable, long term value. You know that your first 100 days in the role may make or break your career. What do you do? Where do you start? 

In this special 5-part series, made possible through a partnership with Efficio, we will provide you with the roadmap you need to hit the ground running. 

In this fourth episode of the series, I spoke with Peter Wetherill, a Principal at Efficio, about where to start with the new technology that you are expecting enable your elevated procurement value proposition.

In addition, Peter and I discussed:

  • The legacy of wasted time and resources associated with technology implementations
  • How important procurement’s technical ‘literacy’ is to the realization of post-implementation ROI
  • Where to begin in a non-digital procurement organization
  • How to evaluate technology that is already in place
Oct 23, 2019

You have just been appointed to a new CPO position. Your executive leadership team is looking at you to make an immediate impact while setting up procurement as a driver of sustainable, long term value. You know that your first 100 days in the role may make or break your career. What do you do? Where do you start? 

In this special 5-part series, made possible through a partnership with Efficio, we will provide you with the roadmap you need to hit the ground running. 

In the third episode of the series, I spoke with Sushank Agarwal, a Principal at Efficio, about the tactics that help maintain the delicate balance between delivering quick savings and preserving long term relationships with stakeholders and suppliers. 

In addition, Sushank and I discussed:

  • Whether quick-win savings require you to start off with an unhappy supply base
  • The value that procurement teams already have within their reach but often overlook
  • The common pitfalls experienced by procurement teams in pursuit of quick-win savings
  • The critical role the executive leadership team has to play in building stakeholder support
Oct 22, 2019

You have just been appointed to a new CPO position. Your executive leadership team is looking at you to make an immediate impact while setting up procurement as a driver of sustainable, long term value. You know that your first 100 days in the role may make or break your career. What do you do? Where do you start? 

In this special 5-part series, made possible through a partnership with Efficio, we will provide you with the roadmap you need to hit the ground running. 

In the second episode of the series, I spoke with Vikas Tyagi, a Principal at Efficio, about the steps a CPO can take to create a high performing procurement operating model - from assessing the suitability of their inherited model to designing a new fit for purpose organizational structure.

In addition, Vikas and I discussed:

  • Why now is the right time to reset procurement operating models
  • Why it is so hard for everyone to know what to expect of procurement
  • The standard elements that should be part of any procurement operating model
  • Best practices from procurement organizations who have successfully changed their operating model
Oct 21, 2019

You have just been appointed to a new CPO position. Your executive leadership team is looking at you to make an immediate impact while setting up procurement as a driver of sustainable, long term value. You know that your first 100 days in the role may make or break your career. What do you do? Where do you start? 

In this special 5-part series, made possible through a partnership with Efficio, we will provide you with the roadmap you need to hit the ground running. 

For the opening episode of the series, I spoke with Simon Whatson, a Principal at Efficio, about the importance of repositioning procurement. This is a key initial consideration, because you will likely face challenges as you work to convince skeptical stakeholders that this time it will all be different.

In addition, Simon and I discussed:

  • The importance of procurement / enterprise alignment
  • The hardest parts of leading change in procurement
  • How a forward-looking vision for procurement should be different by industry
  • Why procurement needs to take an honest look in the mirror before investing in branding
Oct 14, 2019

I’ve been spending a lot of time the past few months working with procurement teams on their transformation journey from being a tactical function to a strategic one.

This journey must begin by inspiring people on the art of the possible. This often has to be members of your procurement team - to rethink the possibilities of what they can achieve - and also senior executives and stakeholders - on what they can expect from a fully functional procurement team.

Today, I’m going to share a few approaches that you can use to secure executive buy-in for your procurement transformation.

Oct 7, 2019

In this episode, AOP Host Philip Ideson and Kelly Barner (AOP Content Director and Owner of Buyers Meeting Point) discuss their major take-aways from September’s news, industry topics and podcast interviews.

In September, we heard four diverse interviews:

  • NBA CPO Joe Postiglione started the month by reminding us of the importance of self-empowerment as well as how powerful a truly engaged manager can be.
  •  Mahmood Shah, Director of Global Procurement at MetLife, brought the continued importance of change management to light by talking about his company’s exploration of emerging technologies.
  • Chris Sawchuck, Principal and Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader at The Hackett Group, shared recent research into World Class Procurement – including how (and now not) to pursue World Class status.
  • Finally, Deutsche Telecom’s Hakan Cakir provided an example of how procurement can move into uncharted waters without feeling pressure to already know everything.

This month’s discussion topic is how to make the most of the fall conference season. Whether you are a ‘frequent flyer’ or only attend one event a year, Phil and Kelly provide advice on making the most of your time onsite, how to survive those awful coffee breaks and the answer to the question all conference-goers ask at some point: if a session is not well done, do I really have to stay for the whole thing?

Sep 30, 2019

“If you were to ask me what the ‘Art of Procurement’ is, I would say it is bringing together the right people and the right partners.”

In this week’s podcast, we get to listen in on a conversation about digital transformation on a global scale that was recorded at Ivalua NOW in Paris earlier this year.

Hakan Cakir is the Procurement Digitalization & Analytics Product Owner of Sourcing Solutions for Deutsche Telekom AG, one of the world's leading integrated telecommunications solutions with 178 million mobile customers, 28 million fixed lines and 20 million broadband users in 50 countries. DT is best known in the US for their T-Mobile brand.

The procurement steering team that Hakan works within has end-to-end responsibility for all group wide strategic procurement processes and systems including digitization and innovation roadmaps. Given the scope and scale of their project, they leveraged advocates across the company, a key decision that allowed them to harmonize their processes before implementing technology.

In this conversation, Hakan talks about:


Their future state vision for the source-to-contract process and how that informed technology decisions.


How his team emphasized usability and acceptance testing to improve the implementation process and maximize adoption rates.


Lessons learned from a broad global rollout that required change management training and communication.


How DT plans to move forward towards their primary goal of building a fully data-driven procurement function.


The role that emerging technologies such as chatbots may play in DT’s global procurement future in the future.

Sep 23, 2019

“How do I get from where I am today to where I would like to be?”


In the age of digital transformation, it goes without saying that change is on everyone’s mind. But despite all of the energy we are putting into thinking about change, we may or may not be seeing that change come to pass.


In this week’s podcast, host Philip Ideson speaks with Chris Sawchuck, Principal and Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader at The Hackett Group. They recently released a new research report titled “World-Class Procurement: Redefining Performance in a Digital Era”. 


In Chris’ experience, many procurement teams are looking for step-by-step guides for change that would be better led more organically, by a leader with a vision for proving procurements’ intrinsic value. One example is a question he is asked often: “How do we become a trusted advisor?” Rather than looking for details as to how, Chris instead characterizes the traits he sees most often in advisory procurement teams, not the least of which is balancing agility with consistency. 


In this conversation, Chris shares his advice about: 

● Emerging technologies and how they are being incorporated into the existing procurement technology landscape by world-class organizations. 

● Avoiding a focus on lengthy, 200-page policy manuals that no one is going to read or follow.

● What he sees happening in the teams that successfully lead change from within, including investments in automation, education and execution.

Sep 16, 2019

“We have to be able to talk in a language that the business understands, and they have to see the actual value of what [procurement is] bringing to the table over and over, above any type of savings, I think that's the key for me.”

In this week’s podcast, host Philip Ideson speaks with Mahmood Shah, Director of Global Procurement at MetLife. He started his career in supply chain in the automotive and airline industries before making the switch to procurement and financial services. He has also worked on both sides of the direct/indirect spend line.

His experience and point of view are critical for any procurement organization weighing the benefits and challenges of full digital transformation. That doesn’t just mean taking the source-to-pay process online; it requires the leadership team to explore and employ the full advantages of bots and robotic process automation (RPA).

In this conversation, Mahmood shares his advice about:

  • The importance of having a vision for procurement digitalization that includes more personalized capabilities and self-service options for distributed buyers, and what boundaries (if any) should confine what non-procurement colleagues have access to do.
  • What he would do differently to market procurement within his organization if he had it to do over.
  • How to evaluate, select and implement RPA solutions specifically for procurement applications.
  • The kinds of changes further automation of procurement requires to the relationship between procurement and in-house IT.
Sep 9, 2019

If we were to describe a CPO that was focused on emotional intelligence (EI) and self-empowerment, tranquility and self-possession, where would you guess he or she worked? Maybe at a lifestyle brand or a Silicon Valley startup. It would probably take you a few hundred guesses to come up with the National Basketball Association (NBA). 

In this week’s podcast, host Philip Ideson interviews Joe Postiglione, CPO of the NBA, author and executive coach. True to our opening question, he is a certified empowerment coach and certified emotional intelligence coach. After leaving a supply chain-focused career in big consulting, he became an entrepreneurial executive coach. Now he supports all of the leagues that form the NBA.

Despite working in a fast-paced environment that no doubt has more than its fair share of intensity, Joe stresses focus and living in the moment with his team – who he continues to support in a manner reminiscent of his coaching days. “Anyone can learn to live a more “self-empowered life,” Joe tells us.

Based on all of his professional experiences, Joe paints an interesting picture of the self-limiting beliefs specific to procurement pros, including an inability to escape the thinking that led to a problematic situation in the first place and being preoccupied rather than present. Fortunately, the way out of that box is as simple as choosing to think differently.

Sep 2, 2019

In this episode, AOP Host Philip Ideson and Kelly Barner (AOP Content Director and Owner of Buyers Meeting Point) discuss their major take-aways from August’s news, industry topics and podcast interviews.

In August, we split our time between active procurement practitioners and thought leaders. Dana Small, Global Category Manager at BioMarin Pharmaceutical, talked about her transition from finance to procurement (yes, on purpose) and shared how being a business blogger changes her perspective on her ‘day job’. Then Jason Cammorata, Vice President of Strategic Sourcing at MDC Partners, spoke about the qualities that make conflict “good” for an enterprise and the teams within it.

On the thought leader side, Hélène Laffitte, Founder and CEO of Consulting Quest, provided insight into best practices for sourcing consulting services and Procurement Insights Founder Jon Hansen pointed out that while companies can’t transform without going through procurement and supply chain, we aren’t alone in the disruptive challenges we face.

This month’s discussion topic is technology implementation ‘turn arounds’. Since implementations rarely go smoothly without considerable planning and communication, something both Philip and Kelly have experienced personally, nearly every implementation needs a turn around. Often, this stems from the misplaced expectation that implementation = digital transformation, and vice versa.

Aug 26, 2019

According to research undertaken by today’s guest, Procurement Insights Founder Jon Hansen, 70% of an organization's digital transformation activity passes through the procurement and supply chain. But is procurement prepared to step outside the frameworks of our historical job descriptions to proactively enable our companies to create and execute their digitization strategies?

In today’s podcast, Jon and I discuss:

Why the unknowns of digitization are impacting executives across the company, not just in procurement.
The key obstacles to digital transformation.
What can procurement do to take a leading role in enabling enterprise digitization

Aug 19, 2019

No one wants conflict for its own sake, but it can actually be an important factor in personal or organizational growth and decision making. Rather than shying away from conflict, especially in a professional context, procurement professionals need to start embracing it as proof of diverse thought and opportunities to practice empathy.

That is the point of view espoused by Jason Cammorata, Vice President of Strategic Sourcing at MDC Partners, and one that he is quite passionate about. Is this podcast, Jason shares his advice about how procurement can approach “good” conflict – a dynamic that usually stems from multiple people with different ideas but equally good intentions.

The procurement team at MDC Partners faces a unique challenge. They are an “umbrella” company with 55 brands in marketing that provide services such as public relations, creative, digital, advertising and production. Their decentralized corporate model is largely brand driven, so Jason regularly has to sell the benefits of procurement internally. That conversation usually starts with introductions and explanations and quickly advances to discover what the brand needs and how procurement can support them.

In this podcast, Jason answers questions such as:
· What is more important: technical skills or personal skills?
· When should procurement be firm (but nice) about frameworks and processes, and when should we be flexible?
· Does procurement face a unique set of challenges today, or are we battling the same issues as all other functions?
· What does relationship-driven procurement look like, and what are the benefits of investing in that approach?

Aug 12, 2019

It seems that we live in a service-centric world these days, and that includes a growing number of procurement spend categories. Although we’ve made headway in IT, legal and marketing, there is one category of professional services spend that still gives most of us reason to pause: management consulting.

In this episode of the podcast, I ask Helene Laffitte, Founder and CEO of Consulting Quest, some of the questions I hear most frequently about managing consulting spend. For instance:

  • How can we find the ‘right’ consultant?
  • When should I lean towards small/boutique consulting over the big brands?
  • Are daily rates an effective pricing model?
  • What if we don’t know exactly what we need from the consultants (yet)?
  • What are the primary drivers of price in a consulting services agreement?

Ironically, when managing consulting spend, procurement’s best opportunity to add value may occur long before the list of participating providers is finalized and the RFP is sent out. According to Helene, the most critical activity when sourcing consulting is defining scope, objectives, milestones, deliverables and deadlines. These components will not only drive the qualification and selection process, they may determine whether or not the whole engagement is successful.

As Helene points out, procurement’s ability to listen and discern the difference between what the business is asking for and what they need is essential. And once that need is defined, we move to challenge #2: being “tight” on what is needed while being “flexible” about the approach. 

Listen in for advice and insight on this complex services spend category from a proven consulting procurement expert.

Aug 5, 2019

The commonly-cited disconnect between procurement and finance all comes down to one central question: where did the money go? As hard as procurement works to negotiate and track different types of savings, they always seem to evaporate or be reallocated for other projects. In the best cases, this gets the enterprise more value for their dollar, but in the worst cases can lead to reduced credibility for procurement – especially with finance.

I’m joined today by Dana Small, Global Category Manager at BioMarin and author of the Ms. Category Management blog. It is rare to find a procurement professional with a background in finance, and rarer still to find a procurement practitioner so willing to share their insight and experiences that they start a blog. In Dana we find both, and that’s a real win for the procurement community.


While working in Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Dana realized that by the time an efficiency opportunity is identified by finance, it is usually too late to act upon it. So she decided to move ‘up’ in the process, and pursued a role in strategic sourcing.

At the encouragement of a colleague, she began sharing her experiences via a blog in early 2019. Doing so has not only bolstered her professional reputation, it has also changed how she reflects back on her “day job”.


In this podcast, Dana talks about the importance of reflection and perspective in all procurement work, whether it is tracking savings, working with suppliers or engaging with the community at large.

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