Daily Archives: December 7, 2008

the doctor’s 10% Blogger Sustainability Challenge Update

Back in September, I issued a challenge to all bloggers who generate advertising or sponsorship income off of their sites to donate 10% off the top (off the gross for you financial types) to sustainable charities of their choosing from all advertising and sponsorship income they receive, and to do so at least yearly (with quarterly donations being preferred).

Although, to the best of my knowledge, no one has taken the doctor up on his challenge yet, I am happy to report that I have inspired at least two of my fellow bloggers to be more charitable in their endeavors.

First of all, Jason Busch of Spend Matters, decided to Give Thanks for Spend — and Give Back and has started to ask some investors and consultants that he advises in lieu of a fee that they give a donation to a local Chicago organization that distributes food to needy families and individuals in his North-side neighborhood. (I just hope he asks for a copy of a tax receipt! That way he knows he’s making the difference he wants to make.)

Secondly, Charles Dominick of The Purchasing Certification Blog and Next Level Purchasing will be kicking the New Year off with a “Charity Challenge” that could see a substantial amount of money directed to worthy charities. I can’t release any details at this time, but I can say that it sounds really cool and that you should keep your eyes peeled for it!

As for the doctor, this quarter saw three $525 donations to the David Suzuki Foundation (receipt), Medicins Sans Frontieres (receipt) — also known as Doctors without Borders, and Water for People (receipt), respectively. The David Suzuki Foundation, which works to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that sustains us, is one of the leaders of the sustainability movement; Medicins Sans Frontieres continually endeavors to find ways to respond rapidly and effectively to public health emergencies, with complete independence from political, economic, and religious influences and developed Plumpy’nut — a very simple food that does wonders in keeping young children in third world nations healthy; and Water for People funds sustainable water projects and sanitation systems built by local communities in developing countries — sustainability at a basic level.

I hope that our efforts continue to inspire more bloggers to follow us in our cause because we can only make so much difference on our own. Let’s face it, green computing (which means ditching the printer), fluorescent light-bulbs, high mpg cars and public transportation, only buying products in recyclable containers and packaging whenever possible, and smart energy use in the home are all worthwhile endeavors, but when it gets right down to it, individuals are not the biggest threat to the environment — corporations are. For starters, corporations utilize most of the energy … and waste most of it as well. (Some estimates are that energy usage in North America could be reduced by as much as 25% — or more — if corporations just invested in more energy-efficient buildings!) They also waste most of the water, etc. And it’s our need for energy that causes us to burn coal and oil … and pollute the environment. And the only way to take on corporations, and especially those whose products we can’t boycott on a massive scale, is with action groups, that we can join and support. In other words, alone we are weak, but together we are strong — and together we can make sustainability and corporate social responsibility standard operating procedure.

What are The Drivers of Procurement Excellence? Part II

Yesterday’s post discussed the recent article in the Supply Chain Management Review on The Drivers of Procurement Excellence that discussed seven megatrends that are currently exerting their impact on the global procurement function which the authors claimed to be driving procurement excellence by way of the pressures they are exerting on procurement departments across the board. While I agree that all of the megatrends are driving the need for a greater procurement function, and while I believe that each of the five elements that they listed as being core to a procurement transformation are necessary, I do not think that megatrends drive procurement excellence.

As far as I’m concerned, procurement excellence is driven by one thing — and one thing alone. Talent. People drive excellence — and although this excellence generally needs to be supported by kick-ass processes and kick-ass technology, excellence is driven by people first, process and technology second, and external influences third.

Face it, as the SCMR article deftly notes, the skills and capabilities required in today’s procurement function are vastly evolved and nearly unrecognizable from those of 10 to 15 years ago and no technology or process is going to come close to meeting a fraction of the requirements, or deliver the results today’s procurement functions need, without a very talented individual at the helm. An individual that is an experienced, collaborative, customer-focused market zen master team player who is driven to succeed. An individual that is adept at analysis, skilled at strategy, and focussed on sustainability and who will seek out the knowledge she needs, consult with experience, and innovate all the while. A new breed of professional who is a jack-of-all-trades and master of one — spend and supply management!

Of course, given that there’s a talent crunch, and maybe even a talent war, for A-level procurement professionals that has already progressed to the point that only 11% of executives are confident that they will be able to recruit and retain the needed talent they need, attracting the talent you need might be easier said than done. That’s why true leaders will take their intelligent, hard-working, driven B-level players and provide them with the training (possibly through industry-leading certifications such as the SPSM offered by Next Level Purchasing) and job experience they need to become A-level players and kick ass. (And when you consider that, as pointed out in this Supply Excellence piece, A players, who only cost 40% more, often deliver an overall return of 100% or more in a given year, the payback on talent acquisition and development is almost exponential!)

So hire the best, train the best, and retain the best … and you will achieve procurement excellence, because the best will accept nothing less.