The CPO’s Stocking Stuffer

Here's a question to the Spend Matters community. If you had only $197 to spend on unique and pragmatic insight into the procurement and operations world, how would you allocate it? Well, I'd hope given the time value of money argument, you'd spend a few minutes on Spend Matters. But if we're talking hard cash -- after all, Lord Byron, the famous poet, once proclaimed that "cash is [the only] virtue" -- then I'd get a check in the mail to Global CPO, Doug Smock's monthly print newsletter.

Doug's been an editorial force in the procurement world for years and his book, Straight to the Bottom Line, has become required reading in a number of procurement organizations that I know (both up and down the ranks). Earlier in his career, Doug served as Editor in Chief of Purchasing, back when you actually had to read the infamous publication from cover-to-cover to be conversant in related cocktail conversation. Now, you can just turn to the top blogs in the sector to analyze the more interesting bits and tell you which articles that are worth your time.

Post Purchasing, Doug has turned the corner in his career as an entrepreneurial editor and publisher. The first issue of Global CPO includes a number of articles and observations that go into far more detail on topics than this blog ever does. For example, Doug profiles Goodyear's success in detail sourcing "low-cost tires, raw materials, indirect materials and capital equipment" throughout Asia. And these aren't commodity buys -- they're highly strategic to the business. For example, according to Doug, Goodyear has recently doubled its steel wire spend in low cost regions without any compromise in quality by closely aligning different operating units within its organization.

The issue is packed with insider knowledge. For example, did you know that "alarmed by a stunning third quarter loss ... Chrysler retained a team of McKinsey [consultants] who helped steer a turnaround known as CORE, for 'costs down, revenues up, execution'. Close to a dozen consultants have set up shop in Chrylser HQ ... sadly, one of their main functions is to make sure that cost-savings ideas actually get implemented." For all those doing the math, figuring a typical McKinsey blended rate in the $3,500-$4,000K range, that's nearly a million bucks a month, a sum the US executives probably had to ask Dr. Z about before pulling the trigger on.

The newsletter also includes an interview with Kevin Costello of Ariba which is worth looking at. But Kevin gets one thing slightly incorrect -- the genesis of the original merger / acquisition talks with FreeMarkets. The actual start of these early talks began after a couple of glasses of Bordeaux and a napkin sketch at an AMR Research event in 2002. That was when I chatted with Ariba's then CMO, Michael Schmitt, before we took the concept and argument up the food chains in our respective companies.

But back to the subject at hand: Doug's newsletter gig. If you're not convinced that it's worth paying a few bucks for Doug's insights, he'll even mail you a free sample issue. Personally, I don't need convincing. My check is in the mail. And your's should be too.

Jason Busch

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