Archive for April, 2016

What’s your BHAG?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

 

 

Today’s post is by Michael Figueroa, Project Manager at SafeSourcing

A BHAG (pronounced bee-hag) is a statement regarding your company’s strategy that may be too extreme for an external audience, but inspiring and directional for those conducting everyday business. The term was originally coined by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book Built to Last[1], as a tool for achieving long term strategic goals. Used properly, a BHAG can be a powerful way to communicate the ambition of the company, and align the efforts of a team. But what make up the components of this statement?

A BHAG must be:

  • Inspiring: Emotionally compelling, motivational to the team
  • Attainable: Difficult enough to be audacious, but not so impossible that no one will attempt it. “Out of reach but not out of sight” as the old maxim goes.
  • Company appropriate: Aligns with your mission and core competencies
  • Long term: 10-30 years, or unless your organization exists to solve a certain problem within a certain timeframe.

Some examples of publicized BHAGs:

  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure: A world without breast cancer.
  • Amazon: Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
  • Microsoft: A computer on every desk and in every home
  • John F. Kennedy: Land a man on the moon by the end of this decade and return him safely

Collins and Porras also recommended that a company develop its BHAG while in its infancy rather than wait for it to reach a mature size in order to help the company stay focused in its crucial developing years. Your organization needs to be adaptive of course; however its core reason for existing should not. Throughout the life of your organization, many targets of opportunity will arise, but identifying your BHAG in your professional or personal life will help you keep on course.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process 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.

[1] <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Built_to_Last:_Successful_Habits_of_Visionary_Companies>

Make sure that you are not being shunned by your procurement team!

Friday, April 8th, 2016

The numbers of words that end in TION are in the thousands . According to Wikipedia to be shunned is to modify the behavior of a member. Another definition that probably better suits the purposes of this post is from Wiktionary is, the act by which something is shunned; avoidance.

The reason for my play on words (SHUN versus TION) is to call attention to a similar practice of continually offering objections to processes that are advanced, modern and return greater results than more traditional procurement methodologies. Think of it as a form of enlightenment, which in its own right caused a lot of the other type of shunning over the course of history.

You might even call these OBJECTIONS. Have you ever heard any of these?
1. We don’t believe in Reverse AUTIONS
2. This process does not support our TRADITIONS
3. We only have one or two OPTIONS
4. We have no SPECIFICATIONS
5. They don’t understand our CONFIGURATION
6. We have never been good at COLLABORATION
7. We already know how to get the best QUOTATION
8. We have the best prices in the NATION
9. We are under no OBLIGATION
10. We already have a handle on the best VALUATION
11. You can not guarantee our SATISFACTION
12. We know what we are doing and don’t need any procurement EVOLUTIONTION
13. This is nothing more than useless IMPROVOSATION
14. We won’t get better pricing just by  category CONSOLIDATION

There will always be people on your team that fight progress, don’t let them TION you. If you’d like someone to change your PERCEPTION, call a SafeSourcing customer services representative of an INTRODUCTION.

We look forward to and appreciative your comments

What is “Scope”?

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

 

Today’s post is from Michael Figueroa Manager of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

The practice of defining scope is a narrowing of focus, taking certain concepts and pulling them to the forefront, all the while forcing everything else to take a back seat. Creating your scope, by definition, means excluding those things that do not fit within the core competences of your project, mission, goals, or whatever context you are operating within.  If you could take a picture of your scope, you might see it represented by a tunnel vision focus on a certain object. Take away that tunnel and you see the periphery, and if your scope was developed well, you’ll look at the peripheral objects and say to yourself “Ya, these things are irrelevant to my project, let’s narrow our focus”.

When your procurement projects don’t accurately understand what’s relevant to the initiative, you risk diluting its full value potential.  If you’re attempting to source “Ground Beef”, but your focus is so wide that you are asking questions more indicative of a scope of “Beef Products”, you will get information irrelevant to your project, while also confusing your potential suppliers. What you exclude in the scope of your project is just as important as what you include, because having too wide a view will just muddy the waters and make it harder to see your real savings opportunities.

Media reference: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f9/Tunnel_vision_sc.png/240px-Tunnel_vision_sc.png

No is not a four letter word, and in many cases saying yes for too many inputs is not a value-add. Your inclusions/exclusions must speak to your core competencies and context of goals/projects. What you say NO to in terms of your informational inputs is just as important as what you say YES to. The concept of “economies of scope” is not best served in procurement projects. You want your information to be exclusive to what is relevant to your procurement project, which by definition means some things need to be excluded.

This is why we at SafeSourcing work with both you and the vendor community to understand the industry your project operates within through our well-developed RFI/RFP processes. We clearly define our clients goals, and get in-depth feedback from the vendors so that we can ask the relevant questions. Allow us to fuse your needs with our skill to focus on what drives value for your procurement projects.

 

Video Conferencing Etiquette.

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Gayl Southard, Administrative Consultant for SafeSourcing.

Etiquette Rules for Video Conferencing.

In order to save costs, video services such as Skype, Google Hangouts, Join.me , Got to Meeting and WebEx to name a few are available to companies and individuals.  These services really cut down on the need to travel for face-to-face meetings.  There are certain manners that must be adhered to for these meetings.  There are right ways and wrong ways to conduct yourself – don’t let that small screen fool you—others are watching!

  1.  Don’t type. The noise of the typing is distracting and also is an indication that you are not listening. Even if you are taking notes, others may think you are working on something else. Experts say it is better to be taking handwritten notes.
  2. Make Eye Contact. Making eye contact builds trust and indicates that you are paying attention to what is being said. Moving the video-chat window near the computer’s camera so that you can look into the camera and other people’s faces is beneficial.
  3. Don’t Eat.
  4. Discourage Interruptions. You can post a sign on your door or cubicle that you are on a video-conference call to discourage interruptions.
  5. Don’t Leave Without Telling Someone. If you are the moderator, just indicate that you are taking a quick break. If you are participating in a large meeting, private message a colleague you will be right back.
  6. Pay Attention. People can notice your eyes drifting to a keyboard. Don’t look away from the screen.
  7. Remember the Outliners.   A video conference call can be between a room full of people or one person in a remote area. Make sure individuals outside the group are included in the conversation and have openings or cues for comments and/or questions.
  8. Controlling the Background. A messy background can cause people to focus on the mess rather than your words and ideas. Noise can also be a problem. If your personal space is loud or messy, move to a conference room.
  9. Head Off Technical Difficulties. One of the biggest issues is when technical issues prevent a person from joining the call. Make sure your software is up-to-date.   Fumbling to sign-in, joining late as a result, or missing a call completely, can make an individual look unprepared or technologically inept. Join the call early so you can trouble shoot any technical problems. Also, once the call is over, make sure you sign off. Comments made when you think the call has ended and has not, can be very harmful.
  10. Act at Home as you Would at the Office. Remember if you do work from home, these same etiquette rules apply. In a survey by Lab42, 7% of respondents have indicated that a participant was on a call while still in bed, or a pet made a cameo appearance in the background. So in short, get out of bed, keep pets or children out of the picture, and get dressed!

Sally French, Wall Street Journal, 3/14/16

There are many video conferencing solutions available to both individuals and companies today. There are also at least as many pricing programs. SafeSourcing hosts thousands of these calls annually and we have also sourced these services for numbers of companies across multiple verticals.

For more information on how the team at SafeSourcing can help your company with video service sourcing, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

Part I of II. Is critical thinking in supplier selection a key to quality and sustainable retail reverse auctions?

Friday, April 1st, 2016

I was speaking to a senior vice president and head of a procurement organization yesterday that said what SafeSourcing really offers us is access to suppliers that we do not know exist or where to find them. He went on to say that his team and himself personally spend all day negotiating contracts and there are just many projects that they do not have the time to conduct the necessary research or solicitation of all the information including bids that SafeSourcing has ready access to.

A logical focal point for hosting a competitive reverse auction is to assemble all of your present vendors for a particular category that you hold in good standing. These would be suppliers from whom you have historically sourced products using traditional means. In general the principal is that the more vendors or suppliers you have participate, the greater your potential results.

However the above does also require strategic thinking because your company is beginning a process that you wish to use on a recurring basis. As such inviting the same suppliers again and again may initially seem to make sense. However this may not encourage the long term results you are looking for; and is a critical reason why it is important to have the most robust supplier data possible available for your regular review.

By way of an example to support the above let?s suppose you can only find six local suppliers for a particular category you wish to take to reverse auction.? For the most part they will all show interest in participating in your auction the first time around. However a key issue to consider is what will encourage them to participate the next time and the time after that?

Please check back tomorrow for Part II of? Is critical thinking in supplier selection a key to quality and sustainable retail reverse auctions?

We look forward to and appreciate your comments