Don't you just hate it when applications and web-based SaaS solutions look cool, but once you start using them, you run into issues with the slick buttons (having to click once on everything to figure out what the icon means) or you just can't figure out where a certain feature is (assuming it even exists, but how can you know for sure?). "Mystery meat" is what I call these features.more ▸
I’m writing this from the airport lounge at Heathrow, flying back to Chicago (for the Chicago Marathon this weekend) after a great few days on the road with my UK business partner and colleague Peter Smith. In my travels on this side of the pond, I’ve always found London to be a truly great city to connect with people in any profession because, unlike any cities in North America (except perhaps Toronto or Mexico City), it’s a true hub.more ▸
For most things in life, there’s the good, the bad and the ugly. So be it with procurement research. I’ve been doing procurement research for a long time, and have seen some really good stuff from all sorts of firms. However, I’ve noticed lately a marked increase in quantity of research surveys and an unfortunate commensurate drop in quality. “So what?” you say. “What’s the problem here?” The problem is that practitioners are surveyed to DEATH by one other (e.g., advanced firms getting hit up by others) and by third-party firms from numerous provider sectors. And when the research is sketchy, it drags everyone down.more ▸
CPO’s love to network and learn from one other. And tons of firms are happy to host them for such intimate gatherings. I’ve facilitated many of these sessions – and it’s all good. But, inevitably, the strategies, techniques and transformation stories begin sounding very similar. Innovation begins to falter and procurement can find itself falling back on old ways.more ▸
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.more ▸
“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.more ▸
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.more ▸
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.more ▸
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”).more ▸
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.more ▸
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?more ▸
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.more ▸