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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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Art of Procurement
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Now displaying: Category: procurement
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.

Jul 29, 2019

Last week, I had the opportunity to facilitate a webinar last week with procurement consulting firm Efficio, titled Driving Greater Procurement Performance from Complex Direct Spend and Factory Indirects.  In the webinar, I was joined by two of their US-based principal consultants, Arthur Mattouch and Waldo Saville. 

During the webinar, Arthur and Waldo shared three case studies demonstrating the strategies and tactics that can be used to deliver sustainable savings in a mid-cap manufacturing environment.  In today’s podcast, I am sharing this case study, along with a couple of questions that I asked during the webinar. 

This is a company looking to quickly reduce costs through a coordinated cost reduction program, while minimizing disruption on the business.  As you will hear, they ended up switching suppliers for only 12% of the total number of parts.

To watch the entire webinar on-demand, including the supporting presentation, you can register here.

Jul 22, 2019

What do childcare, ducks, and power have to do with negotiations? In today’s episode, host Philip Ideson shares three negotiation tips taken from his experience as a procurement practitioner and entrepreneur. 

Jul 15, 2019

As we enter the summer, I’m going to spend some time answering some of your most frequently asked questions.  These pod’s are going to be bite-sized, so I’d love to hear your feedback on whether you like the shorter podcasts or not. 

One of the topics that I get asked the most about is negotiations.  So for the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share some insights based on my own experience.

This week, I’m going to dig into the archive and share a part of a podcast I recorded 3 years ago - specifically with regards to the question of how to maintain supplier relationships after a tough incumbent negotiation.  It is a topic that I have a lot of experience of - both from the practitioner and service provider sides of the table! 

Jul 8, 2019

If procurement is going to attract the ‘best of the best’ to join our ranks, no matter what their background, then at some point we can expect to work alongside someone with no experience in procurement. Whether such a move is successful is likely to be dependent on the individual transferring in as well as the overall culture of the organization.

I interviewed Liam Moniz, Manager of Procurement Systems & Services at Fortescue Metals Group, during SAPAriba LIVE in Austin, Texas. Two years ago, Liam had no experience in procurement, and, as he told me, “didn't know a purchase order from a purchase requisition or invoice”. Based upon his success in other roles, the business brought him into procurement to be a fresh set of eyes as they invested in process, technology and talent transformation.

His background in IT Service Delivery and Support prepared him for the technology-focused parts of transformation, but process and customer satisfaction were another matter. To address those, Liam leaned on his understanding of business objectives and his desire to engage with stakeholders in pursuit of value – including through the implementation of guided buying.

Jul 1, 2019

Whether you are a consultant or a practitioner, it seems like the grass is always greener on the other side. Consultants are constantly on the road, work late hours and are subject to high expectations from their management team and the point people on each customer account. Practitioners find themselves at the mercy of consulting teams they didn’t personally decide to hire, lack the influence naturally extended to external parties and are often left to deal with the details – and the devil in them – once the consultants have flown off to their next engagement.

I’m joined today by Mark Richardson, Head of Procurement, Fleet & Administrative Services at AAA Southern California. He is uniquely qualified to discuss the differences between procurement consultants and practitioners because he’s been both.

Having joined AAA initially as an individual contributor, he now manages the team who were initially his peers.

In this podcast, Mark addresses the challenges of making the transition from consultant to practitioner and making the transition from peer to leader.

Jun 24, 2019

Today I am joined on the show by my good friend, procurement executive recruiter Iain McKenna.  Iain is Founder and Managing Director of the executive search firm Sourcing Solved.

Our conversation is split into a couple of different parts:

In the first half of our interview, we discuss the hiring process, and specifically if our reliance on AI - such as keyword searching on CV’s and resumes - severely restrict an organizations ability to hire the best candidate for a role. Iain shares tips on how procurement leaders can hire for personality, drive, EQ and an empathetic management style rather than those with the best keyword match.

In the second part of the interview we switch focus and specifically discuss hiring in the context of procurement services and software firms.  A number of firms are aggressively hiring in this space, and yet their initial brief tends to focus on hiring from competitors rather than from industry.  We discuss how, as a practitioner, you can best position yourself for a move into consulting or to a procurement software firm - and the benefits for software and consulting firms in hiring practitioners.

Jun 17, 2019

Many procurement organizations pay lip service to innovation, but few are taking the steps required to make it a reality. Part of this has to do with the difficulty overcoming the paralysis of the unknown and part of it has to do with a willingness on procurement’s part to risk failure. Ironically, facing the unknown and pushing past the fear of failure makes it far more likely that disruptive innovation will be achieved.

I’m joined today by Cyril Pourrat, Chief Procurement Officer at Sprint. They are three years into their transformation journey, one that has a new purpose in the context of Sprint’s pending merger with T-Mobile. If the merger goes ahead, procurement will be expected to drive significant synergy-based savings. If it does not, achieving cost savings will become even more critical for Sprint to thrive as a stand-alone company.


In preparation, Cyril and his team have launched a number of innovative programs. One of them is ‘Procurement Digital Labs’ – an initiative that is empowering a multi-generational team to identify and experiment with a broad range of technologies. The objective is to provide buyers with far deeper insights use in the development of their sourcing and category strategies. Another is enabling the use of predictive analytics in negotiations.


In this podcast, Cyril talks about:

  • The enabling technologies being evaluated by Sprint to help break the mold of traditional procurement thinking
  • How design thinking has changed their procurement value proposition and attitude towards disruptive change
  • The potential of hands-free procurement, made possible by digital assistant technology

 

Jun 10, 2019

If you’ve been in the workplace – any kind of workplace at all – for longer than six months, chances are good you’ve experienced poor management at least once. Sadly, being in the workplace for years or even decades doesn’t come with the same odds of encountering even one great manager. Why is that? Why are great managers so rare?


I’m joined today by David Deacon, career HR executive and the author of The Self Determined Manager: A Manifesto for Exceptional People Managers. He and I talked about the complex effort we call management, or as David defines it, “a hugely important, impactful role that most people don’t do very well.”
The main challenge is that most poor managers don’t want to be bad managers; they’ve just never experienced a good manager. And without a proper role model, it can be very hard – although not impossible – for an individual contributor to scale themselves and their impact by effectively leading a team of people towards a single, unifying goal.

According to David, great managers start by truly knowing themselves. They are as clear about their mission, vision and purpose as they are objective about their personal strengths and weaknesses. Great management requires the creation of an environment where the team can thrive, and it is usually supported by a natural sense of empathy that inspires each member of the team to do a little better than they thought was possible every single day.

Jun 3, 2019

Whether we are responsible for Procurement and our stakeholder is the c-suite, or we are developing a Category Strategy and our stakeholders are the business users. Alignment continues to be one of the greatest challenges for procurement. Ultimately, it becomes the differentiator that determines whether you are perceived as being a trusted advisor or a back office function.

Indeed, it is not possible to become a mature procurement organization without true strategic alignment, at scale. How can that alignment be sustainable, and not contingent only upon a team member’s personal relationship and rapport with an individual stakeholder, or group of stakeholders?

There is one tactic that consistently works. In today’s show, I will explore why treating your senior level stakeholders as investors in the company of “procurement” is key to building alignment - and I’ll share how you can get started!

 

May 27, 2019

I’m joined today by Anthony Clervi, President and CEO of UNA, a group purchasing organization (or GPO). He joined us last month for an AoP Live session that proposed an alternative approach to ‘automating’ procurement – one that doesn’t involve robots and doesn’t cost a dime.

As the opening quote suggests, our preconceived notions can often prevent us from leveraging the full range of options available to us. Acting without being fully informed can be a huge misstep for procurement, given that our purpose is to identify and compare as many qualified solutions as possible for every business need.

Since many procurement organizations do not have experience with a group purchasing organization, everything we learned about what GPOs are NOT is just as valuable as what they do and the opportunity they represent. GPOs are NOT:
- Just for small companies
- Just for hospitality, healthcare, and higher education
- Just about savings
- Just for indirect spend
- And most importantly, GPOs do not represent a competitive threat to in house procurement.

May 20, 2019

The only guarantee that comes with a transformation journey is that there will be ‘twists and turns’ along the way. And since no organization can escape the unexpected, how procurement leaders makers handle those twists and turns becomes a critical differentiator and success factor.

While I was at ProcureCon Indirect East, I interviewed Dave Quillin, Manager of Procurement at Alliant Credit Union in Chicago. I last interviewed Dave in early 2017, when he was at the end of his first year of procurement transformation. This conversation gave us an opportunity to get caught up on the progress his team and organization have made over the last two years and hear about what he has discovered along the way.

The Alliant procurement organization is small, which forces them to prioritize strategically, leverage every resource available to them, and distribute some of the activities that would be centralized in a larger company. But does that make them completely different from big procurement organizations? Absolutely not, says Quillin. As he points out, even a 50 or 100 person procurement team will eventually tap out on resources or be asked to act on category expertise they do not possess.

Perhaps his greatest lesson learned of all from his transformation journey to date is that those ‘twists and turns’ are the status quo. Adjusting to them, and designing every process with flexibility in mind, even governance and compliance, will likely make all the difference in the journey forward from this point.

In this conversation, Dave Quillin discusses:

• How small procurement teams can build (or access) specific category expertise
• The talent requirements, particularly in the area of soft skills, that are absolutely mandatory in a smaller organization, and why Dave sees that as an advantage
• Why implementing all P2P modules at once – even in response to stakeholder demand – may not be the best approach.
• A key piece of management advice from a former colleague that has made all the difference on the Alliant Credit Union transformation journey.

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