Daily Archives: November 14, 2006

Noteworthy (Developments in the e-Sourcing Space)

Rearden Commerce announces a new relationship with American Express Business Travel that will resell the Rearden Commerce platform under the name American Express Intelligent Online Marketplace or AXIOM.

Emptoris launches a new version of its new integrated suite this week with enhanced spend analytics and spend management capability. Check back here on Sourcing Innovation later this week. I’d also keep an eye on Spend Matters which has had some great coverage of Emptoris in the past. In the meantime, here’s the official press release.

Iasta just launched it’s brand new website in preparation for its forthcoming SmartSource 7.0 release which will integrate with their new and improved SmartAnalytics and be supported by their new Spend Velocity programs. Also, hidden betwixt the pages is their announcement of their new annual Iasta reSource user group conference next May. With the Indy 500 only two weeks after the conference, there are sure to be some great lead up events going on in town at that time. I’ll be covering the new Iasta release here on Sourcing Innovation in a week or two, so keep an eye out.

14 Purchasing Best Practices, A Review Part I

This weekend I audited the online course 14 Purchasing Best Practices from Next Level Purchasing, a course designed to introduce you to the basic purchasing best practices that you can easily implement to jump-start your purchasing career and the organization you work for.

According to NLP‘s website, this course is designed to help you learn:

  • How to strategically measure purchasing performance
  • How to improve your spend management by implementing a buying plan
  • How to select the best suppliers by using cross-functional commodity teams, scorecards, and total cost of ownership analysis
  • How to improve vendor performance through a supplier performance management program
  • How to optimize supplier relationships
  • How to improve risk management
  • How to map and improve processes
  • How to leverage technology such as eProcurement and Internet Reverse Auctions
  • How to conduct benchmarking
  • How to achieve efficiency through the systemization of purchasing operations
  • How to utilize a strategic plan

And the course lived up to its promises, but that’s not what I liked about it. What I liked about it is that it:

  • contained detailed exercises and supporting materials on the creation of a strategic plan – the first step you need to undertake in your transition from an old-school purchaser to a new-school strategic sourcer(or)
  • contained detailed exercises and materials on the creation of category and commodity buying plans – the mandatory first step of any buying activity if you want to ensure success
  • emphasized the importance of using commodity teams and how they are necessary for the implementation of successful scorecards, a key tool in understanding the total cost of working with a supplier and/or the total value a supplier offers to you
  • discussed the importance of ethics in a purchasing organization and how to develop a simple, but effective, ethics policy
  • discusses key clauses you should have in every contract and provides you with a sample contract template to focus your thinking appropriately
  • indicates that sometimes legal has to be involved from the beginning (as I outlined in my post Key Concepts for Major Procurements)
  • provides concrete directions for conducting a market analysis, which is key to successful negotiations (approximately what should I be expecting to pay?)
  • provides a template for the creation of a simple, but effective, supplier rating program and identifies the key questions you need to ask
  • dives into process mapping as a method for operational improvement
  • holds to the promise of not being vague, voluminous, or unrealistic, like much of the literature you will encounter

Of course, what you want to know, is it worth it? The answer is a definite yes! It’s a steal at $200. Why? Just trying to amalgamate all of the content on your own through web searches, articles, and (expensive) books would probably take you a couple of days – then you would have to absorb, understand, and extract the material relevant to you – which would probably take you a couple of weeks since most of your searches will result in voluminous, but vague, articles. On the other hand, this course gives you the foundations in a couple of days (depending on how fast you are able to work through the course). And when you consider that it’s designed to be an eight hour (equivalent) course, that most professional day seminars cost closer to $800, you really can not go wrong. (Moreover, it is a first step to completing the certification program that is very likely to result in a salary bump that is multiples of what you invest.)