Friday Rant Content

Where’s the Beef? A Lesson for Sourcing, Procurement

This post asking “Where’s the Beef?” isn’t about the beef supply chain, or the purity of the beef that you source, but yet another post about the pitch. We’re latching onto Wendy’s classic catchphrase because its message is easy to remember and one that you should never, ever forget! Especially when you are being sold something that sounds better than it is, or what you are being sold is better than what you expect from the organization providing it.

Why must we talk about this again and again? Because it’s too easy to get suckered into a deal that is too good to be true or without substance.

Don’t Forget the Big 4 Questions to Ask During Any Mega-Acquisition

Four years ago, during the last big M&A frenzy, I published a post on my Sourcing Innovation blog on The First 4 Questions to Ask During Any Mega-Acquisition that is still just as relevant today as it was four years ago.

And while it was very direct and maybe even a bit confrontational, sometimes it’s a good idea to be direct because sometimes you need to let the new vendor know you’re not in the mood for any shenanigans. The reality is that while some mergers and acquisitions are with the intent of creating a better combined company that can better serve the respective customer bases, not all mergers and acquisitions are done for this reason. Some are done just to eliminate competition, and others are arranged by investors for the sole purpose of a short-term money grab (which will be accomplished by a short-term PE sale or initial public offering once the balance sheets are puffed up and the overhead reduced).

So, without further ado, let's get to the four questions you should ask to find out whether you and your new vendor are on the same page.

Should We Forget or Reinvent the Meaning of Labor Day?

By now, many of you will have already started your Labor Day weekend. Plenty of folks will have plans for the weekend, but I wonder how many of us will be thinking about the meaning of Labor Day? Very few, I suspect, even the workforce management or procurement professionals among us. I’m not trying to guilt anyone here. I’m just asking the question: Should we be thinking about it?

Why My Uber Rating is Lousy — and What it Can Teach Us About Solution Provider Rankings

on-demand workforce

What’s your current Uber rating as a passenger? Probably in the 4.5–5 range, right? Most people I know confirm that range. Indeed, my friends and I once compared scores when Uber first granted passengers the ability to see their ratings. We went around the room: 4.9, 5.0, another 5, 4.8, and some ridicule for the guy at 4.6. Now imagine my horror when I was greeted with a paltry, miserable Uber rating of 4.2. An outlier, for sure, but I assumed it wasn’t all that bad. Still, the low score was vexing. I had to figure out what had cut me down so far.

Where’s Jaggaer?

"Deep Procurement Throat" forwarded us a Coupa marketing email that we found humorous. It’s for a download of a recent IDC report on the sector. We won’t opine on the veracity of the report, as we don’t know anything about IDC’s methodology. But what we will call your attention to is that Jaggaer is listed in the report in multiple areas: Jaggaer, Jaggaer Advantage (BravoSolution) and Jaggaer Direct (Pool4Tool). That’s in the report. The landing page for the download tells another story — at least on part of the page!

Old-Fashioned Heuristics: Common Sense Cause and Effect

Regarding the countless examples of reckless government spending we like to mock, I stopped caring a long time ago. Instead, I have turned my attention to the funding of studies designed to confirm things that we should have already known. If you have a sense of humor, there are numerous ridiculous examples where taxpayer money might have been invested more judiciously. Spending more than a billion to confirm that the use of seat belts saves lives comes to mind, as does funding a long-term study to determine whether obligatory handwashing might be a good idea in health care settings. Studying hospital behavior to determine if they might be playing self-serving games with the current reimbursement calculus also strikes a chord.

The Future of Work is the Gig of Disruption or: How I Learned to Stop Caring and Get Back to Work

You know how some things seem timeless, while others — no matter how annoying — just don’t seem to go away. Or are they both one and the same? That’s the problem: confusion. One of the biggest threats to humankind today may not be nuclear war or climate change — it may very well be confusion, on a scale larger than the world has ever known. The misplacement of a comma or an innocent misspelling could mean the difference between life or death (or at least the flawed delivery of your Zappos shoes to your undeserving, though outwardly affable, neighbor). In any case, confusion seems to have become the bane of our existence and an accepted feature of our everyday life. But not for me. I have chosen to resist. And my first target is buzzwords.

Back in Coastal Georgia with the Evacuation Blues Again

Hurricane Matthew and Irma. Two evacuations in one year have proven more than enough for me (and I’m hearing there may be yet another one on the way). In both cases I lost more than a week of my life. Whether holed-up with friends hooked on reality TV or moving between cheap motels with my ill-mannered pets, it doesn’t make much difference: it’s a totally depressing scene that has moved me to action. I ain’t going nowhere next time, no how.

Ubering After Dark — in Wisconsin

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines heavy drinking as 15 or more drinks for men and eight or more for women on a weekly basis. On average, 18% of American adults fall into this category, but the percentage is over 25% in Wisconsin. Some experts will tell you that the Germanic and Scandinavian ancestries of Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota have something to do with it. And others will say that it’s the dreary weather.

Trump Manufacturing Council Roundup: When the CEOs Said ‘See Ya’

manufacturing

Alas, President Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative has sadly drawn to an abrupt close in the wake of the events in Charlottesville. As you’ve surely heard by now, Trump disbanded the council once a critical mass of CEOs and other business sector leaders stepped down. One day before his official decision, announced on Twitter (is there any other way?), the President tweeted one of my favorite tweets of his in recent memory.

No, Robots Will Not Run Procurement by 2020

The motion stands thus: This house believes that robots will run (and rule) procurement by 2020.” I believe that the general direction of this argument is not in and of itself wrong. But there are a number of flaws in the nuance of how the motion has been proposed. And we are, after all, asking you to judge the merits of the proposal on its own, as it stands. Let me present you with three arguments against it.

Selling Kids on a Career in Procurement is Impossible — Here’s a Better Option

supply chain

Let’s face it. No child ever says, "I want to be a purchasing manager when I grow up.” Honestly, the term procurement itself draws blank stares from kids — and even adults. The best I can do is tell people that I try to help companies “buy better.” They usually nod politely, and even murmur an “uh-huh” if I give some B2C consumer analogies of how people try to shop online for supplies, home services, mortgages, travel and so on. So, perhaps the solution isn’t to try to sell kids vocationally on procurement at all but rather introduce the area of the broader supply chain.