The Purchasing Process Category

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3 Reasons Catalogs Can’t Be Trusted to Manage Low-Value Spend

For many procurement organizations, catalogs have become the default way to manage indirect spend. It’s easy to see why. Catalogs offer a simple way to manage recurring, low-value purchases. By grouping previously sourced categories and commonly requested items into a single interface, catalogs promise ease of use, efficiency and, of course, increased savings, especially through the reduction of maverick spend. In practice, however, catalogs often create as many new problems as they solve. To help you understand why, here are three reasons why catalogs can’t be trusted to manage low-value spend — and how you can go about protecting your organization.

Ask Spend Matters: Should You be Asking for Prices in the Supplier Prequalification Process?

finance

A North America-based reader from a professional services company recently wrote in with a question about asking for prices in the supplier prequalification process. She noted that procurement organizations in the public sector tend to ask for prices in the RFI process and then again in the formal RFQ process, whereas in the private sector they typically ask for prices in the RFI process only when they need to explore the market, saving price requests for the RFQ. Why does the public sector need an RFI with prices and then an RFQ, likely with the same prices? It seems inefficient to this reader, who wonders if there are some advantages to this approach that she is missing

The 6 Different Approaches to Buying and the Implications Each Holds

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jonathan O'Brien, CEO of Positive Purchasing. 

Everyone has a choice about how they buy. Within companies, this could be determined by marketplace understanding, suppliers, future needs or how important a supplier is now and in the future. However, to understand what level of “buying power” you may have, it’s important to understand what type of buyer you are.

All We Are “Saved” — Give Purchasing Consortia (Including GPOs) a Chance [Plus+]

Purchasing consortia and group purchasing organization (GPO) models have been accused of being fads in the past. But there are reasons they could more than go mainstream as a common procurement lever across industries, working outside of just healthcare environments, where they have thrived in the past. Spend Matters research suggests that there certainly are a number of underlying factors that make the consortia and GPO models more attractive than before (even if some suppliers, such as the airlines, will never play ball in working with these intermediaries). Indeed, several GPO and consortia providers not focused on one particular industry have a lot to offer to procurement organizations looking to better manage cost and quality for certain categories of spend.

In this Spend Matters Plus analysis, we will explore the reason behind the current and rising interest in these models and the benefits they can bring to procurement in such categories as IT spend (e.g., hardware, software, etc.), human resources (e.g., contingent staffing and MSP programs), office supplies, employee benefits (e.g., retirement/pension, pharmacy benefits, etc.), facilities and other professional and services categories (e.g., operations consulting, energy management, etc.), not to mention some areas of direct spend as well (e.g., metals). First up: exploring the different GPO benefits for both less mature and more mature procurement organizations.

How Relevant is Personality to a Negotiation?

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jonathan O'Brien, CEO of Positive Purchasing. 

There are many personality traits that can both help and hinder a negotiation: a fear of failure, a desire to win or even our own sense of self-belief. Of course it’s not just our thoughts and feelings that are affected by our personalities — they also drive our behavior and make us unique. Personality has a big role to play in any negotiation, as it influences how we see the world and make decisions. This, in turn, drives how we behave. If some or all of our personality is shaped by early environment and through education and experience, it would explain why there is such a thing as culture-specific behavior.

The Services Procurement Machine is Broken — Here’s Why You Should Trade it in for a New Approach

Channel the original Apple Macintosh ad. Remember the people staring into the screen before our hero destroyed it? They weren’t just nameless faces in some Orwellian dystopia. They were procurement team members tasked with buying services. Category managers led astray by a misguided authoritarian philosophy. Call them part of the services procurement machine, if you will.

Write Better RFPs: How to Get What You Want (and Need) From Suppliers [Plus+]

RFP

The typical business challenge when you go to market with an RFP centers on getting ideas for what is possible, and identifying suppliers that either already have these ideas or are willing to work with you toward that end. Targeted activities are often services or complex products where quality, service or the engineered final product will be different from each vendor responding. We've put together some fresh ideas to an old challenge: conveying your needs in ways that a supplier can relate to and that encourages them to put their best foot forward, with a proposal that goes beyond your wants and addresses your needs, as well.

3 Strikes? Your ROI on Purchasing is Out!

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from David Wadler, CEO of Vendorful.

Some people suggest that the chances of generating good ROI on a major purchase are effectively a flip of a coin. Unfortunately, those odds may be wildly optimistic.

In 2015, the Boston Consulting Group published a report detailing the results of a study about large IT purchases ($10 million or more). The study found that the odds of successful delivery — on-time, on-budget and meeting the specified objectives — were roughly 10%. Put differently, achieving a positive result on such a project would be closer to flipping a coin and getting heads three times in a row.

Catalogs Get No Respect — and That’s a Mistake

catalog

When you think of electronic catalogs, do you get excited? Probably not. My colleague Jason Busch penned a piece on this last week that needed a retort. Although you might not find catalogs very sexy, if you look at the data on how the best procurement organizations use them properly, and the performance uplift those organizations get, you probably would.

Improve Your Negotiation Tactics With Behavioral Psychology

partnership

Our last BravoSolution Real World Sourcing event looked at the latest thinking in behavioral psychology and how it might impact negotiation strategy, approaches and ideas. We looked in particular at the work of Dr. Daniel Kahneman. The author and Nobel Prize-winning psychologist has blown big holes in many economic models and theories, which assumed consumers always behaved logically. Humans, Kahneman has shown, actually behave illogically more often than most would care to admit. This has important implications for negotiation, as we explore in our paper, “New Approaches to Procurement Negotiation – Dr. Daniel Kahneman and Behavioural Psychology Suggest Some Winning Techniques.”

Presenting 3 Best Practices for Sourcing Commodities in 2015

global trade

Are you sourcing commodities on the spot market in 2015? Are you using an index? You might want to take a minute and familiarize yourself with 3 Best Practices for Buying Commodities in 2015 from husband-and-wife team and noted experts Lisa Reisman, CEO of Azul Partners and executive editor for MetalMiner, and Jason Busch, founder and managing director of Spend Matters. This FREE PDF download will provide you with an entertaining argument against conventional wisdom that will lead directly to not only profit, but the highest possible value available for your commodities purchases this year. Get your copy today!

How ‘Always-On’ Connectivity Improves the Buying Process

Spend Matters welcomes this guest article by Vroozi. As Spend Matters and Vroozi wrote in their jointly produced research paper Declaration of the New Purchasing: A Buying Manifesto: “Always-on” connectivity and visibility into activities will yield step change improvement in how and what we buy. The era of “booting up” or “launching” an application to conduct activities is dead. Always-on connectivity means activities will follow us, such as receiving alerts on a smartphone or mobile device rather than having to log in and access a dashboard. This will change procurement activities and buying by providing insight based on role, location and need into different sets of activities and speeding up all processes, from approvals for requisitions to contract implementation that will allow us to implement savings more rapidly after sourcing events.