Category Archives: Friday Rant

Rant: Keeping My Nose in the Air

- September 12, 2014 3:31 PM | Categories: Friday Rant

Normally, my primary concern is that the plane will leave on time. For instance, one day in June this year, I experienced TWO big bird mechanical failures in a row (!) flying out of Atlanta, barely made it in time to Singapore via a weird European detour thanks to heroic efforts by Fernando, an extraordinarily capable member of Delta’s ground crew. Thanks Fernando!

A secondary concern is wondering whether I will be able to stow my carry-on luggage.

Thirdly, and a far more minor issue would be, who will sit in the middle seat?

Earlier this week, however, a fourth concern reared its ugly head – or nose – and I can't see a way to mitigate against this.

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Stop Bullying “Best Practices” and Start Applying Them Thoughtfully. Here’s How (Part 1)

- September 12, 2014 6:24 AM | Categories: Friday Rant

“Best practices” have been getting a bad rap lately. It has become fashionable to poo-poo them as cookbook techniques based on stale thinking that get rotely applied and misapplied by folks with sloppy thinking or something to sell you. Makes sense right? A hundred years ago, using a longer-lasting buggy whip was likely a transportation management best practice. Or let’s take a more modern example: p-cards. P-cards used to be a broad-reaching best practice to reduce transaction costs for low dollar spending, but now, many firms have minimized p-card adoption as other electronic buy/pay methods have become more robust.

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Playing with Numbers: Why Cheerful BLS Unemployment Reports are Misleading

- September 5, 2014 2:59 PM | Categories: Friday Rant

For those who have been around the economy awhile, the current 6.1-percent unemployment looks nothing like the 6.1-percent unemployment we had in the summers of 1994 and 2003. Here is why: the BLS has constantly redefined away the problem of persistent unemployment, simply removing the annoyingly unemployed from the statistics and focusing on tracking merely changes in the employed versus the recently unemployed. That’s like saying “Well, that supplier has failed so long that we’ll just not count their broken parts in our QA stats.” That doesn’t change the fact that there’s a lot of failure out there.

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Prediction: USA 2020 – Will We Have Any Major Corporations Left?

- August 29, 2014 6:30 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Innovation, Outsourcing

Maybe it’s not so much a question of “will we,” but should we have any major corporations left in the United States come the start of the next decade? I’m speaking of corporations headquartered in the country, that is.

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Purchases: Don’t Take Supplier Ethics Too Seriously, Let Them Buy You a Cup of Coffee

- August 29, 2014 2:00 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Supplier Collaboration

In my years of researching and assessing sourcing sophistication and approaches inside procurement organizations from around the globe, I’ve noticed there’s a universal bent – except perhaps in the most corrupt developing markets – to begin to discourage biases to/for one supplier or another in the sourcing process at the early stages of procurement maturity (after, let’s say, a base “stage zero”).

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Air Canada Rouge — A Pictorial Guide to An Airline That Needs Some Deep Cleaning

- August 25, 2014 10:27 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Travel

Last week, I provided a business and personal travel review about a recent transatlantic trip on Air Canada Rouge — Air Canada’s “discount” airline-within-an-airline. After hearing from a number of people who have also “been rouged” — a new verb which I might define as “thinking that you are flying Air Canada when you are really flying a completely different airline that looks for the oldest, most inexpensive planes to fly and then only partially updates them" — I thought I’d shared some pictures from my recent trip. Enjoy the visual tour.

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Rant: On Corporate Inversion

- August 22, 2014 2:24 PM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Industry News

AbbVie's $55-billion bid for UK drug maker Shire was approved, providing yet another footnote in the history of corporate inversion on the part of US companies mainly looking to avoid corporate taxes. The combined firm will move to UK, saving upwards of $8 billion in US corporate taxes by some estimates. While such a move certainly rubs policy makers the wrong way, in reality isn't this a perfect case study in the free market economy?

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On Diversity Success — Why Bring HR into the Equation?

- August 22, 2014 6:33 AM | Categories: Diversity, Friday Rant

Racial and gender bias in HR is pure poison, regardless of whether it is used to hold people down or to lift them up. Similarly to what I recommend in my article for supplier diversity, it is better for companies to instead focus their efforts on supporting local/urban STEM schools, scholarships, labs, and other facilities– i.e. build for the future, don’t engage in shortsighted and counterproductive tinkering with HR policies.

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A Review of Air Canada Rouge – Just Say No for Business and Personal Travel

- August 22, 2014 2:20 AM | Categories: Friday Rant, Travel

air canada rouge I think I’ve found the bottom of the barrel of Star Alliance. While it may be painted “Rouge” on the outside, Air Canada’s new discount service made my family red with anger on the inside. Earlier this month, we took a family vacation to Europe returned from Rome to the U.S. through Canada. The routing that made the most sense – and what first seemed like a great deal in cashing in Citi points – involved an airline-within-an-airline that I had never heard of: Air Canada Rouge. Air Canada Rouge is supposedly a discount airline, but the prices were similar for the transatlantic routes to standard airlines.

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Information Spend Matters: Procurement Should Think Twice before Cutting Paid Subscriptions

- July 25, 2014 6:39 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Spend Management

physical newspapers While there are major strategic implications for media companies and society as we turn into a culture of “free” news and information, there is one group of people that still expects to pay for their information: business executives. As companies look to cut costs by shifting from paid subscriptions to free sources of similar news and information, it is likely that they will find stiff resistance from executives. While moving to free news sources might make short-term financial sense, a recent study has found that executives around the world use and trust paid media in a way that produces value for themselves and their companies.

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“Nicola Davidson” — A Recommendation for Harley to Partner With Elon Musk

- July 11, 2014 10:21 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Innovation

Here’s my suggestion for Harley, go partner up with Elon Musk (the founder of Tesla) and create a two-wheeled Tesla motorcycle. Call it the Nikola or perhaps the Nikola Davidson? The electric bike concept has merits, bikes are by and large pleasure vehicles that usually don’t need to a thousand-mile range – I’m sure a lot of people rarely travel farther than 50 miles from home – so electric could work. Ride it to work, charge up there, ride home, rinse and repeat.

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Afternoon Champagne — Buying Fancy Vodka for the 4th?

- July 4, 2014 11:31 AM | Categories: Friday Rant

You can take vodka and distill it 159 times (yes, that exists), but it is fundamentally just ethanol - the purer the better. In other words, no flavor! It has to be one of the greatest IQ tests of all times whether a person buys $100+ "premium" vodka or just a fairly basic $25 pick-your-label vodka. Sure, there are bad vodkas out there (stay away from plastic bottles), but it doesn't take a lot of money to get perfectly good stuff. As long as it has been properly distilled and not artificially flavored, you're good to go.

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