Commitment Matters

With great excitement, I welcome Tim Cummins, who heads IACCM, to the blogosphere. His new blog -- which I promise that I had no role in naming -- is titled Commitment Matters. Tim bills his blog as "dedicated to issues of global trade and the factors that influence trading relationships and practices. It will be of greatest interest to those who select, negotiate or manage relationships with trading partners -- customers, suppliers, strategic alliances, teaming agreements or channels." This angle on procurement and supply chain goes beyond the buy-side focus of Spend Matters. Rather, to Tim, contracting is a subject that we must all look at from multiple perspectives. And fundamental to successful contracting is trust and commitment -- from all parties.

Speaking of commitment, IACCM's commitment to embracing technology as a means of information sharing and dissemination is second to none, leaving other communities and groups such as ISM in the virtual dust. Tim views the online world as an extension of the physical and as such, networking matters in both environments. According to one of Tim's posts from last week, "We can use networking to spot trends as well as habits. And we can use that information to suggest changes in policy, practice, business terms and offerings ... Blanket internet use is very inefficient -- so managed networks are generally offering more immediate value ... For example, IACCM (www.iaccm.com) has provided a range of tools for its members ... You want to know about contracting practices in the Ukraine? You want to understand the typical approaches to negotiation in Taiwan? You want to explore trends in liability limits in the telecoms industry? Then these networks and tools offer immediate answers." As can blogs, such as Commitment Matters, if we can all get the discussion and dialogue going in individual posts and comments.

One of the challenges I've found over the years on Spend Matters is getting more individuals to chime in on a regular basis in the comments section. Indeed, if these pages were filled with commentary on politics or consumer technology, the comments section for each post would be overflowing. But I've discovered that procurement and supply chain practitioners tend to keep to themselves, preferring a voyeuristic approach to using blogs such as this, rather than becoming active participants in the discussion itself. I wonder if organizing a formal community or social networking site such as those that Tim Cummins and IACCM have created would help foster greater information exchange from more voices on these pages. So far, I've hesitated, as I did not believe that this market was ready for a true social networking type of dialogue. But IACCM has proved me wrong. Perhaps it really is time to take the Spend Matters community in a new type of direction.

- Jason Busch

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