Dad Wasn’t Wrong About Too Much!

June 17th, 2013

How are you using the advice from dad to your advantage as a procurement professional?

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President and COO at SafeSourcing.
For many more reasons than I could possibly go into in this short blog, this Father’s Day has been a very special one for me.  I have so many reasons to celebrate as I watch the U.S. Open and spend spectacular time with my family and my dad via Skype (how times have changed!).  As I reflect on this day it makes me think of all the advice that fathers, mine and millions of others, have given their children over the years and how simple the ideas are and yet at the same time how powerfully applicable to the business world we all live in every day.

In today’s post I want to go back to some of that advice and see how much value still stands in concepts that are so simple.

Treat people as you expect to be treated – The procurement space can be brutal.  Suppliers are trying to deliver value and make money; customers are trying to get as much value as possible while controlling costs.  These two things can often create clashes and tension as both sides work to get the things they want out of a business relationship.  The key that comes here is to remember that the same suppliers you are beating up on price will be the same ones you are asking for rush service and special assistance on down the road.  Creating partnerships with the best value and cost is the goal.  Everyone is a supplier and everyone is a customer at some level and applying this simple advice can help forge the greatest value for your company.

When you know you are right it’s ok to stand your ground – The process of procuring goods is not a new one, in fact evidence of tracking supplies and services dates back as far as ancient Egypt as scribes would record orders taken and those fulfilled on papyrus rolls.  With such a long history it is no wonder that certain ideas and processes have developed that continue to show up even today.  As the world changes, and tools change, processes change, and capabilities improve, this fatherly advice has never been so applicable.  Many misconceptions from the past about how to source goods, what could and couldn’t be sourced and how to deal with vendors have evolved into new possibilities.  Knowing your category, industry and vendors is the foundation to build your projects on.  Sometimes these projects will go against normal approaches but if you have done your homework and believe your strategy is sound, stand your ground and fight for what you believe is best for your company even if your suppliers or internal customers grumble about the change.

Plan your work; work your plan –  I have heard this advice over the years from many people I have admired and respected.  It is simple and encompasses everything that best sourcing projects need in two pieces.  1.  Plan the work (create the project); this involves research and a knowledge of what you are going after that goes beyond a 15 minute Google search.  It means researching the market, indexes, new technologies and trends, new suppliers and new government regulations that may affect your goals.   Knowing your category allows you to plan the work with measureable milestones teams can follow and be a part of.  2.  Work the Plan you have created with little exception.  Once you have created the plan for the project, stick to the timelines and employ leverage where you need it to keep projects moving.  Everyone is always going to be overloaded with work, so if you are not the one working your plan every day you will be replaced in our people’s priorities by someone else who is.

Don’t spit in the wind and don’t take any wooden nickels –  I will be honest, I have no frame of reference by which to link these sage pieces of advice back to the world of procurement, but they both always seemed like really good ideas.

We, at SafeSourcing, hope your Father’s Day was full of great memories and happy times!  We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it.   For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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