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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: 2020
Oct 5, 2020

Telecom has been on an interesting and unique journey as a spend category. Gone are the days when all that was needed to deliver significant savings was a professionally conducted third-party audit or service rationalization/optimization. Today, most organizations are several years post audit, looking for new efficiencies in a category that is not only evolving, it is also encroaching on other categories of spend.

Dave Pastore is a Senior Director of Sourcing Operations at Corcentric where he specializes in telecom spend. It was his analytical background that led him to specialize in this category, plus a noticeable gap in procurement ownership over telecom, a traditionally siloed category.

 

In this interview, Dave shares his point of view with Philip Ideson and Kelly Barner on:

  • How the line between IT and telecom has blurred over time, and why this is likely to continue
  • Why telecom is simultaneously like the ‘Wild West’ from a new entrant perspective and also a rapidly consolidating industry
  • The opportunities that exist to nurture collaboration between team members and between companies and third parties, and the value procurement can deliver by supporting these opportunities
Sep 28, 2020

AOP Host Philip Ideson starts each interview with a question about what brought that particular guest to procurement. With this week’s guest, business consultant and coach Juergen Scherer, it might have been better to ask what brought him THROUGH procurement, because he has held influential roles across procurement, supply chain, sales, and operations.

While he isn’t in procurement today, Juergen’s doctoral thesis on Procurement Marketing received the Scientific Award of the German Industry Association for Purchasing and Supply Management. His knowledge of the function has unquestionably improved his ability to excel in each of his other roles, as well as in his current coaching practice.

Today, Juegen splits his time between Germany and the US West Coast as a business consultant and coach, leading his business called BXB-Exchange. He reached out to Art of Procurement in response to our podcasts about the flywheel effect and its applicability to procurement. We took that opportunity to probe deeper into his thoughts about how procurement can better align with the business as a whole.

In this conversation, Juergen shares examples from his extensive background that illustrate the key part of his business philosophy:

  • How procurement can push suppliers to deliver more value while investing in them so that their capabilities are developed at the same time.
  • Why, despite the fact that every buyer/seller relationship is unique, there are common success factors that have to be consistently present: trust, open communications, and mutual respect, to name a few.
  • How procurement can develop and effectively communicate a “USP,” or unique selling proposition, to both suppliers and internal stakeholders.
Sep 21, 2020

Although procurement professionals don’t usually think of ourselves as making ‘cold calls,’ we do it all the time. If you’ve ever sat down with a stakeholder for the first time and immediately realized they either don’t understand procurement’s role or don’t particularly care for our processes, you’ve survived a cold call.

 

In that moment, you can either explain or listen, and although listening is the better way to build understanding and rapport, most procurement professionals aren’t prepared to structure this kind of conversation.

 

In this week’s podcast, Host Philip Ideson discusses how to master this type of first meeting using an approach that sales professionals use - and have no doubt used on you - called the discovery call. He explains:

  • Why discovery calls are important and how they set the tone for the long term success of the relationship
  • The three components of a typical discovery call: the planning, the call itself, and then the follow up
  • How to prepare in advance to ensure your discovery calls are productive for procurement and for your stakeholder(s)
Sep 14, 2020

One year ago, all procurement could talk about was digital transformation. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of those plans were thrown overboard. 

We may not be doing what we expected to be working on as we approach the final quarter of 2020, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a strong appetite for procurement change, both at the executive level and within the procurement community. The difference is that we are now trying to lead transformation in the midst of a disrupted landscape without the benefit of any forward-looking certainty.

Christopher Eyerman is the Head of Procurement Innovation at Denali - A WNS Company and David Clevenger is their Director of Procurement and Operational Excellence. They are focused on the factors that influence digital maturity and readiness for change in the context of the entire procurement ecosystem.

In this podcast, which is based on an AOP Live session made possible by Denali, Christopher and David share their point of view on:

  • How procurement can get the digital journey started - in reality, not just in theory
  • The types of change management investments procurement will need to make in order to ensure that transformation is successful and sustainable
  • What additional trends we should be preparing for as we close out 2020 and attempt to ready ourselves for the new year
Sep 7, 2020

Technology is an extremely broad spend category and it is expanding by the day because of our emphasis on digital transformation. Nearly every function and category has an IT software or services component to it. Technology truly forms the foundation, or “lifeblood” as Rene Mathis put it, of corporate initiatives.

Rene Mathis is an Associate Director at Corcentric where he specializes in technology category spend. He is currently working side by side with companies that are reevaluating their IT contracts, redefining their uptime definitions and service level agreements, and attempting to put plans in place - despite the fact that no one knows what the next 6-12 months will hold.

In this interview, Rene shares his point of view with Philip Ideson and Kelly Barner on:

  • The current state of IT sourcing, including what has (and has not) changed because of the COVID-19 shutdowns
  • The health of procurement’s relationship with in-house IT, and some suggestions for building collaborative bridges while still achieving spend-related objectives
  • Trends in emerging technologies and automation that procurement should be prepared to address in cross-functional sourcing projects
Aug 31, 2020

For the rest of August, I’m taking a roadtrip across the United States, and so because I’m out of the recording studio, I’m going to dip into the archive all the way back to 2016 to share some of my favorite episodes from that year with you that are still just as relevant as today - and if you found the podcast after 2016, there’s a good chance that you haven’t yet heard these conversations.

Today’s I rewind to a conversation that I had with Tim Jones, Head of Sourcing at Google. 

Our conversation documents Google’s journey to become a trusted advisor. Google’s approach includes tactics around stakeholder engagement that I often recommend to procurement teams who are on their own journey from tactical to strategic, regardless of the size of your company.

Aug 24, 2020

For the rest of August, I’m taking a roadtrip across the United States, and so because I’m out of the recording studio, I’m going to dip into the archive all the way back to 2016 to share some of my favorite episodes from that year with you that are still just as relevant as today - and if you found the podcast after 2016, there’s a good chance that you haven’t yet heard these conversations.

Today’s I rewind to a conversation that I had with Jack Miles.  There are few, if any, leaders in the procurement profession with the depth and breadth of experience as Jack.  Jack has enjoyed multiple CPO roles at some of North America’s largest companies and has served as Secretary of the Florida Department of Managed Services.  He serves, and has served, on a number of corporate boards, and has become a key advisor and friend to me personally, and to Art of Procurement.

In today’s show, Jack shares seven of the key lessons that he has learned from his career in both the private and public sectors. If you have any interest in growing your procurement career at any level, this episode is a must listen!

Aug 17, 2020

For the rest of August, I’m taking a road trip across the United States, and so because I’m out of the recording studio, I’m going to dip into the archive all the way back to 2016 to share some of my favorite episodes from that year with you that are still just as relevant as today - and if you found the podcast after 2016, there’s a good chance that you haven’t yet heard these conversations.

Today’s is a conversation with former procurement practitioner Sylvain Mansottee, now the CEO and Co-Founder of Whispli. It is a story about procurement fraud.

 

As a practitioner, Sylvain received the call from the newly appointed CPO of a large Australian based construction company to assist in building a new procurement function.  

Within 2 months, he had uncovered a $20M fraud that spanned 12 years and led to the perpetrator admitting to the crime, and ultimately being sentenced to 15 years prison.

Today’s Art of Procurement is Sylvain’s story.  Sylvain discusses how he uncovered the fraud, and the decisions he had to make in blowing the whistle.

We then talk more specifically about procurement fraud.  Sylvain shares a number of fraud red flags and provides tips on how you can ensure you have an environment where a whistleblower feels safe in coming forward if they have information to share.

Sylvain’s story is really absorbing, and also, for me, a wakeup call to realize that procurement fraud is real, and that any one of us in procurement may find ourselves in the same position as Sylvain given the nature of our roles.

Aug 10, 2020

For a long time, procurement has gotten feedback that our terminology - and, more specifically, our abbreviations - have a distancing or alienating effect on internal stakeholders and budget owners. But if language has the power to push people away, it can also be used to purposefully clarify, align, and collaborate.

Steve Wills is the founder and Managing Director of Procurement Central and formerly served as the Procurement Advisor to the 2012 London Olympic Games. He has extensive business experience with blue chip organizations and has worked with leaders in industry and commerce as a CPO to transform complex procurement and supply chain functions.

In this interview, Steve outlines:

  • Some of the ways procurement can use language and messaging to bridge the gap between ourselves and the other functions in the organization
  • The more expansive notion of stakeholder management procurement should embrace if we want to build stronger relationships with the business
  • What to do when circumstances call for pragmatism instead of our polished procurement processes
Aug 3, 2020

Marketing is one of those spend categories that procurement often has a hard time breaking into. They are less concerned with cost than their counterparts in other functions, and most of the services they contract are not only complex, project-based efforts, they are usually evaluated from a highly subjective point of view.

Kathleen Jordan is an Associate Director at Source One, a Corcentric Company, where she has been focused on the marketing category for years. She is familiar with the opportunities in marketing spend as well as the common disconnects that may prevent procurement from bringing marketing spend under management and cost marketing professionals the ability to make their budgets go further.

In this interview, Kathleen shares her point of view with Philip Ideson and Kelly Barner on:

  • Some of the most effective sourcing strategies for marketing spend and which specific categories should be looked at by procurement as good starting points
  • The trends and implications hitting the marketing industry and consumers of B2B marketing services as the world transitions from traditional to fully digital marketing
  • Tips and best practices procurement can use to bridge gaps in understanding or priorities between their team and their marketing colleagues
Jul 27, 2020

It has been well established that having a diverse and inclusive workforce increases results and employee satisfaction, so why wouldn't’ the same be true for companies that invest in building a diverse supply chain? That question is the one that started Jaime Crump down the path to become a supplier diversity expert and consultant.

Jamie is the president of The Richmond Group where she provides consulting and coaching services to corporate and certified diversity-owned businesses in the areas of strategic sourcing and procurement strategies, supplier diversity initiatives, and optimizing the leverage of a diversity certification.

Although supplier diversity programs are well-intentioned, they also have to be good for business, and as Jaime points out, there is a lot of research highlighting the correlations between a more diverse supply base and quantitative business improvement. The American Sociological Review, Harvard Business Review, and McKinsey have all studied the issue and found strong evidence to support true supply chain diversification. 

In this interview, Jamie explains:

  • Why the majority of diversity spend is associated with indirect suppliers.
  • How stakeholders (or distributed buyers) are ultimately the ones with the power to make the greatest difference in supplier diversity.
  • The fact that the effort to ensure supplier diversity is never done, and why it can’t be put on ‘cruise control.’
Jul 20, 2020

In last week’s podcast, Host Philip Ideson described the concept of the flywheel, a consistent pattern of small but deliberate actions designed to build momentum and deliver business results described in the book Good to Great by author Jim Collins. 

This week, we apply that idea to procurement directly to ensure our strategies and tactics become (and remain) aligned with the goals and objectives of the enterprise as a whole.

This focus has to permeate every effort we are involved in and the benefit can drive competitive advantage through cost optimization, risk mitigation, revenue growth, regulatory compliance, or operational agility. 

Listen to Part 2 of this series on the flywheel to learn:

  • How procurement can apply the flywheel to reposition procurement at the organizational level 
  • How we can harness the flywheel principles to help build more adaptable project management processes for efforts such as category management and strategic sourcing
  • How it is possible to turn seemingly tactical efforts into full strategic alignment with high-level business decision makers
Jul 13, 2020

At Art of Procurement, we believe that helping procurement teams effectively align their capabilities and outcomes with the goals of the businesses underpins the transformation of a team from transactional to strategic. In this podcast, we discuss a concept that is a big part of our Procurement, Inc approach and a core part of how we manage the Art of Procurement business itself: the flywheel.

Because this concept may be new to many of our listeners (it was new to us when we discovered it), we’re going to cover the idea in two episodes. This week we provide the broader business context of the flywheel concept, and in part two (next week) we will contextualize the flywheel for procurement teams and discuss ways to put it into practice.

In this podcast, you will learn about the following from Art of Procurement Founder and Host Philip Ideson:

  • What is a flywheel and what value does it generate for a business?
  • The sub-elements of the flywheel concept and where you have likely seen one in action as an individual consumer (whether you received it or not)
  • Why it is the accumulation of smaller efforts, executed consistently, that is more important to success than one ‘big bang’ moment
Jul 6, 2020

Due to the risks posed by the coronavirus, procurement teams responsible for managing facilities services are currently experiencing quite a change. Services such as janitorial have quickly gone from transactional contracts established based upon cost to highly strategic relationships that must be in place and meet a new high standard for a facility to operate or even open.

Arthur Piszczor is a Consultant at Corcentric, where he has been helping organizations manage their facilities services spend since long before our current elevated requirements went into effect, and he has helped a number of clients manage not only the transition, but the process of planning for the future.

In this interview, Arthur shares his point of view with Philip Ideson and Kelly Barner on:

  • Whether smaller localized or large national players are more commonly used, and how a company’s existing supplier base and contracts affected their ability to respond to the COVID-19 shutdowns
  • The combined involvement of HR and procurement in cases where employees not only need to be kept safe by third party janitorial and sanitation providers, but need to feel safe as well.
  • How the elevated standards that we expect to be in place going forward may be restructuring not only facilities services markets, but also the relative leverage of the buyers and suppliers in those relationships.
Jun 29, 2020

It is never easy to request additional headcount, so making sure the timing is right and having a solid business case are critical to protecting your internal reputation and hopefully getting an affirmative response.

There are plenty of ways procurement can stack the deck in their favor, and most of them have to do with demonstrating alignment with enterprise objectives and a vision that explains the value associated with that position in the longer term.

Alexis Ryan has been in procurement for 2 decades, the last 5 years of which have been spent in leadership positions. After starting her career in Legal, she ended up in procurement with no preconceived notions about the function’s value proposition or focus.

In this interview, Alexis provides her advice about how and when to request additional procurement headcount and how to increase the chances of the request being approved:

  • Which procurement metrics can be most effective at supporting requests for additional headcount
  • The objections to growing procurement’s headcount that leaders should expect to face in the enterprise-wide competition for resources
  • What a documented headcount business case should look like, and the type of information it should include
Jun 22, 2020

When it comes to governance during the sourcing process, your experience probably matches one of the following two scenarios:

  1. You have a strict 7 or 8 step process, and at the end of each step you have to get an approval of some sort to move to the next.  
  2. You have an approval council that wants to see proof that you checked every single box during the sourcing process.  

What do these scenarios have in common? They are burdensome, create mountains of paperwork, and really slow down the process. No wonder stakeholders want to bypass procurement altogether.

In this podcast, AOP Founder and Host Philip Ideson shares his easy 2-step governance process, one that he created when he was an Indirect Sourcing Manager earlier in his career. This process - and the templates required to carry it out - are part of one of the AOP Mastermind mini-courses that you member companies will be able to access on July 1st,.

Jun 15, 2020

For many procurement teams, risk management is now priority #1. If that sounds like your situation, how can you make sense of all the unknowns and ensure that each one of your category strategies is prepared to adapt to whatever may come your way?

In today’s solo show, AOP Founder and Host Philip Ideson shares one way you can balance risk and agility: by taking the business continuity and disaster recovery plans we often ask our suppliers to provide and applying the concept to your category strategy.

This approach can be used whether the category, product or service in question has a physical supply chain (products) or a virtual supply chain (services). Either way, a category continuity plan will help you proactively identify the risks associated with a category, product, or service and identify potential mitigation steps to take should a particular scenario occur.

Listen to this podcast to learn more about the following ways to apply business continuity planning to risk management:

  • The six key steps you will need to follow to create your business continuity plan, and why the focus is about ensuring you are well-informed
  • Why supply chain mapping and scenario planning are a powerful (and actionable) combination
  • Which proven frameworks and tools can be helpful when identifying specific points of failure
Jun 8, 2020

A lot of things have changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, not the least of which has been procurement and supply chain teams being thrust into the spotlight in very challenging conditions. As an Executive Search Consultant, Tom Graham has naturally been focused on how this increased exposure has impacted leaders, individual contributors, and entire teams.

Since the lockdowns began, Tom has been holding regular, virtual roundtables with Chief Procurement Officers and Chief Supply Chain Officers to discuss everything from crisis management to planning for the new normal. Their observations and perspectives on next steps have evolved with the status of the crisis, and as businesses begin to open back up, the time is drawing near to start acting on those ideas. 

In this interview, Tom shares what he has seen and heard and what he expects to see next as the world continues to adapt to the new normal: 

  • Why he expects the initial transition period to be so difficult for companies that are in the process of bringing their operations back online
  • Why natural leaders have been less impacted by our current virtual ‘working from home’ situation than people might have expected
  • One of the best techniques he has seen in practice for finding a solution to a highly complex problem and making it very easy and straightforward for others in the enterprise to support
Jun 1, 2020

Logistics has never been an easy category of spend to manage. Whether your company is multimodal, focused on less-than truckload (LTL), or depends upon small parcel, carriers and third-party logistics providers form a critical link between you and your customers. Superimpose the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic on top of that complexity, and you have one of the most fluid and challenging situations procurement will get involved in.

Joe Lazzerini is a Consultant at Corcentric, where he helps organizations manage their logistics category spend. In fact, he was consulting in logistics long before he found his way to the world of procurement.

In this interview, Joe Lazzerini shares his point of view with Philip Ideson and Kelly Barner on:

  • What the state of the global logistics market looked like before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • When companies should look to their carriers for input on costs, contracts, and shipping capacity
  • Why paying the right price is more important than paying the lowest price, and the importance of becoming a ‘shipper of choice’
May 25, 2020

According to Harvard Business Review, under Zero-based budgeting (ZBB), “Expenses must be justified for each new budget period based on demonstrable needs and costs, as opposed to the more common method of using last year’s budget as your starting point, then adjusting up or down. ZBB is a straightforward, intuitively simple way to aggressively strip out costs that cannot be rationally justified.”

Sounds wonderful, right? Well, as this week’s guest (and the HBR article referenced above) point out, there is no such thing as a ‘one-size fits-all’ silver bullet, even when it comes to aggressively cutting costs.

 

David Ward is the Director of Global Sourcing & Procurement at a global pharmaceutical company, and has held procurement positions at Ford, Rolls Royce, AstraZeneca, and Unilever. During his time at Unilever, he became the ZBB Programme Leader for Marketing and Business Services, and so he has seen the advantages and disadvantages of this budgeting and management method first hand.

In this interview, David explains how ZBB works and whether it is a strategy that procurement should actively consider in the current economic conditions:

May 18, 2020

The scope of responsibilities associated with enterprise procurement has grown significantly over the last decade, and yet we keep coming back to the ‘good old’ RFP. This one enabling tool often defines our reputation as a function, and not always in a good way. At the same time, no other approach has been able to unseat the RFP, and it remains the best way to evaluate supplier costs and capabilities in a standardized and structured way. 

Dave Hulsen, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of RFP360, joined us for an AOP Live session on March 31st. His topic - reclaiming the power of the RFP - clearly struck a chord with the procurement community, because we’ve never had so many excellent questions submitted by audience members before.

May 11, 2020

There are a lot of very talented people today that suddenly find themselves un- or under- employed by no fault of their own and companies lift with critical vacancies. How can professionals and hiring managers continue to move careers and operations forward under the current business conditions?

Mark Holyoake is the founder of Holyoake Search, a US East-coast based procurement recruitment firm and someone who always has his finger on the pulse of the procurement recruitment market. The landscape for hiring and being hired in procurement has changed dramatically over the past couple of months, so what does that mean for anyone looking for a new role or for executives looking to hire their next rising star?

In this interview, Mark provides Host Philip Ideson with an honest overview of the current state of hiring, interviewing, and career building.

May 4, 2020

While the challenges of COVID-19 aren’t completely behind us, many organizations are starting to look ahead to what's next. For many procurement teams, that means identifying and defining quick wins from a cost savings or expense reduction perspective. 

Brian Seipel is a Consultant and Spend Analysis Lead at Corcentric, where he helps organizations perfect their strategic sourcing abilities, manage supplier relationships, and clear away process roadblocks. We asked him about his advice about getting quick wins (that are actually quick) without alienating suppliers or stakeholders.

Apr 27, 2020

As procurement has worked to reposition ourselves as a source of value beyond savings, we have had to rebuild our relationships on a foundation of credibility and rapport. That hasn’t been an easy change for all procurement professionals and teams, and some stakeholders have been easier to win over than others. We have made significant progress to date, but the journey continues.

Canda Rozier is a multiple-time CPO with experience working across a number of leading global organizations. She recently started her own procurement consulting firm, Collabra Consulting.

In this interview, Canda shares her point of view on some critical considerations for procurement teams looking to partner sustainably with the business.

Apr 24, 2020

Sustainable expense management programs should be managed to align outcomes with company objectives. Doing so amplifies their impact, strengthens stakeholder and supplier relationships, and provides real savings that can be reinvested as necessary.

In this 5-part special series, Art of Procurement Host Philip Ideson will take you through the keys to running a successful expense management program, pitfalls to look out for, and tactics to cover incumbent supplier management, strategic sourcing, and demand and category management.

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