Monthly Archives: April 2009

Technology and My Hobby

Over on New Florence, New Renaissance, Vinnie Mirchandani has reach his goal of fifty guest author submissions to his Technology and My Hobby series. For those of you looking for something different, but yet interesting, to read … you might want to check this out. To help you find the guest posts related to your hobby, I’ve indexed them by category.

Category Author Company
Archaeology (Armchair) Michael Lamoureux (of Sourcing Innovation)
Baseball (Little League) Mike O’Brien (of Appirio)
Basketball Coaching Dan Dal Degan (of Salesforce)
BBQ Floyd Teter (of Jet Propulsion Labs)
Beagles Peanuts
Blood Donation Tom Foydel (of SightLines)
Brewmastering (Home) Dennis Howlett (of ZDNet)
Bridge David Dobrin (of B2B Analysts)
Cars (Tinkering) Brian Sommer (of TechVentive)
Cartoons (Tech Toons) Alvaro “Blag” Tejada Galindo (of SAP)
Cats Rusty Weston (of Third Set Media)
Chess Rita Mirchandani
Cycling Paul Wiest (of Siemens Enterprise Communications)
Fishing Mike Prosceno (of SAP)
Flying Ameed Taylor (of Applation)
Gardening Erik Keller (of Wapiti LLC)
Gastronomy William Mougayar (of Eqentia)
Golf Jim Rafferty (of Market Shapers)
Green Living Timothy Chou (an Author)
Home Design Josh Snowhorn (of Terremark)
Home Improvement (Global) Helmuth Guembel (of Strategy Partners)
Home Movies Tom Wailgum (of CIO Magazine)
Model Planes Anil Wats (of DP World)
Musical Discoveries Mike Laven (of Traiana)
Jazz (Big Band) Joe Thornton (of Lawson Software)
Organ Playing Gerlinde Gniewosz
Reading Francine McKenna (an Author)
Restoring Antiquarian Books Jason Busch (of Spend Matters)
Rifles (Target) Tom Ryan (of Gartner)
Rock (Guitar) Devan Sabaratnam (of Business on Software fame)
RVs Tom Chimera (of Overpayment Recovery Services)
Running Eric Dirst (of DeVry)
Sailing Curtis Beebe (of PwC)
Side-Tripping Kimberly McDonald Baker (of Project Partners)
Photography Michael Krigsman (of Asuret)
Skiing Sig Rinde (of Thigamy fame)
Snorkeling Louis Columbus (of Cincom)
Soccer Coaching Christian Schuh (of Siemens Enterprise Communications)
Squash Nick Dembla (of Capsilon)
Super Momming Joy Wald (of ADT)
Technology Impact Bob Warfield (of SmoothSpan)
Technology Luddism Josh Greenbaum (an Industry Analyst)
Tennis Karen Beaman (of Jeitosa)
Theatre Marilyn Pratt (of SAP Labs)
Travel (International) Harish Malani
Vinyl DJs Ray Wang (of Forrester)
Wine John Dean (of ex-Steelcase fame)
Working Out Larry Dignan (of ZDNet)
Writing (Adventure) Rein Krevald (an Author)
Youth Science Mentoring Charlie Bess (of EDs)

Upcoming Events from the #1 Supply Chain Resource Site

The Sourcing Innovation Resource Site, always immediately accessible from the link under the “Free Resources” section of the sidebar, continues to add new content on a weekly, and often daily, basis. Unlike many “resource”, “best of”, or “portal sites” that are abandoned almost as quickly as they are thrown together, the resource site is actively maintained (and dead links are removed on a regular, usually weekly, basis). In fact, there have been over 25 resource additions in the past week alone.

The total number of unique, active resources exceeds the 2,650 mark, and breaks down as follows:

And includes the following recent additions, among many others:


Dates Conference Sponsor
2009-Apr-27 to


ProcureCon Indirect

Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands (Europe)

2009-Apr-27 to


The Logistics & Supply Chain Forum

New York, New York, USA (North-America)

Richmond Events
2009-Apr-27 to


Trade Compliance 101 – Back to Basics

Raffles City, Singapore (Asia)

Mondial Trade Compliance
2009-Apr-28 to


42nd Annual SCL Conference

Vaughn (Toronto), Ontario, Canada (North-America)

2009-Apr-29 to


Gartner Risk Management and Compliance Summit

Chicago, Illinois, USA (North-America)



Date & Time Webcast

11:00 GMT-07:00/MST/PDT

Survival Guide: Succeeding During Tough Times

Sponsor: Vantage Partners


13:00 GMT-04:00/AST/EDT

Moving from Task In-Sourcing to Comprehensive Outsourcing with CROs

Sponsor: Vantage Partners


13:00 GMT-04:00/AST/EDT

Five Plus Five: Two CPOs Offer Their Five Strategies for Driving Cost Savings

Sponsor: ISM


8:00 GMT-07:00/MST/PDT

Successful Supply Chain Risk Management

Sponsor: QAD


Dates Workshop Sponsor
2009-May-4 to


Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management

Chicago, Illinois, USA (North-America)

2009-May-11 to


Basics of Supply Chain Management

Chicago, Illinois, USA (North-America)

2009-May-28 to


Delvering Value through Effective Risk Management

London, England, UK (Europe)

2009-Jun-2 to


Advanced negotiation workshop

Kettering, England (Europe)


which are all readily searchable from the comprehensive Site-Search page. So don’t forget to review the resource site on a weekly basis. You just might find what you didn’t even know what you were looking for!

And continue to keep a sharp eye out for new content and even more new content categories which will be coming on-line in the near future!

Will We See The Two-Per-Category Theory Where Supply Chain Technology is Concerned?

A recent TPMA (Trade Promotion Marketers Association) Outlook contained an article by Bob Houk (of the TPMtoday blog) that expounded on the two-per-channel theory that refers to the idea that retail channels are consolidating to the point that there will eventually be only two significant players in each channel. The article also discussed the two-per-category corollary that states that as retail channels consolidate, and as shelf-space decreases and increases in cost, the suppliers to the few remaining retailers will also consolidate.

This reminded me of my recent post on why Marketing is Not Optional and how, as a result of too much inaction on the part of too many vendors and a lack of faith by too many buyers, this prolonged recession is likely to accomplish what years of M&A activity couldn’t, namely, condense the market to a small handful of key players for each technology and services offering. And I got to thinking, what happens if the space over consolidates and we see the two-per-category theory take effect in core e-Sourcing and e-Procurement offerings? What would happen then? We already have the situation where the suite solutions offered by the big providers are essentially the same solutions offered five years ago, with a few more “bells and whistles” in the UI that really don’t offer much in the way of value improvements. Would we have any innovation at all? And more importantly, even if we don’t see the two-per-category, but only see a small handful of providers … would they all centralize on a “value system” like SAP or Microsoft? What value would there be if all the savings they offered up had to be pumped into (ridiculously?) high license fees and maintenance fees with “empty-calories“? Good questions. Scary questions!

And questions we’ll have to ask unless the more innovative vendors wake up and small the espresso, double down, show you the value, and find a way to sell it to you with essentially no up-front cost — which is very realistic with a SaaS model where they can give you a free 30 day trial and not bill you until the end of month two, giving you enough time to get your first quick wins, demonstrate value, and justify the low monthly service fee that you’ll pay for the 3, 5, 7, and 10+X ROI that these solutions will deliver.

An Update on the Kiva Micro-Finance Experiment, Part II

Last September, I introduced you to Kiva, the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending initiative in a post where I posed the question Can Micro-Finance Make a Macro-Difference? after being referred to the site by a fellow hoser.

In an attempt to answer that question, I decided to conduct an experiment. Since last July, I have been making two loans a month under the hypothesis that if it works, after a year I will have enough capital in the Kiva system to help a new person every month as previous micro-loans get re-payed. To date, the doctor has made twenty $25 Kiva micro-loans (which get bundled with other micro-loans to fund loans to individuals and groups through Kiva’s micro-finance partners). The loans are:

Individual Institution Total Loan Loan Funded Disbursed Repayment Term Repaid to Date*
Gulchehra Rahimova LLC MLO Humo and Partners 1,175 June 28, 2008 July 12, 2008 12 months 67%
Din Ly CREDIT (World Relief) 250 June 28, 2008 July 12, 2008 18 months 44%
Araba Awotwe Christian Rural Aid Network (CRAN) 350 August 14, 2008 August 28, 2008 7 months 100%
Serigne Cisse UIMCEC (Christian Children’s Fund) 975 August 15, 2008 August 29, 2008 12 months 58%
Mavluda Tosheva LLC MLO Humo and Partners 450 September 1, 2008 September 15, 2008 12 months 50%
Mario Aguilar Fundacion Paraguaya 475 September 1, 2008 September 15, 2008 11 months 55%
Irene Microfinanzas PRISMA 1,200 October 11, 2008 October 25, 2008 6 months 83%
Sokhna Sene UIMCEC (Christian Children’s Fund) 300 November 1, 2008 November 15, 2008 12 months 33%
Essoneya Tchindo WAGES 300 November 1, 2008 November 15, 2008 12 months 33%
Guillermo Microfinanzas PRISMA 325 November 1, 2008 November 15, 2008 10 months 40%
Olinda Microfinanzas PRISMA 325 November 27, 2008 October 31, 2008 6 months 67%
Sron Chea Group AMK 200 November 27, 2008 October 28, 2008 4 months 100%
Kayi Lawson Microfund Togo 1,175 January 2, 2009 November 17, 2008 18 months 11%
Abdulhokim Azimov LLC MLO Humo and Partners 600 January 3, 2009 January 17, 2009 10 months 20%
Feliciana Llano Ramirez Manuela Ramos / CrediMUJER 475 Feb 4, 2009 Jan 15, 2009 5 months 67%
Atta Ofori Sinapi Aba Trust (SAT) 525 Feb 4, 2009 Jan 26, 2009 10 months 14%
Moeun Sileng CREDIT, a partner of World Relief 1200 Mar 1, 2009 Feb 12, 2009 21 months 6%
Mohammad Ameen s.a.l. 1200 Mar 1, 2009 Feb 5, 2009 15 months 8%
Daniel Adu Sinapi Aba Trust (SAT) 725 Apr 5, 2009 Mar 26, 2009 8 months 0%
Adetokunbo Fajuke Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) 500 Apr 6, 2009 Apr 20, 2009 10 months 0%
Averages   636     11 months  

Since my last update in January, where I presented an interim verdict that Kiva appeared to be great, based on the fact that all loans over 3 months old had partial repayments, I’m happy to say that Kiva beat my expectations. I expected that it would take 13 or 14 months to reach the point where the repayments coming in would be enough to guarantee at least one new (minimum) loan of $25 every month, and preferably two, when, in fact, it only took 10 months! As of this month, the cumulative repayments coming in for the month are enough to make two new $25 loans next month.

Conclusion? While the site continues to disclaim (in the footer of every page) that lending to the working poor through Kiva involves risk of principal loss, Kiva is working great. And in this economy, it’s less risky than investing in the stock market and mortgage funds, especially since an investment in Kiva last year would have resulted in your principal being returned to you, while those of us with market-based investments (stocks, mutual funds, 401Ks, RRSPs, etc.) are finding them (considerably) underwater at this time.

Thus, I would still encourage you, if you’re still lucky enough to have any discretionary funds left, to take part of them and try lending through the Kiva platform. Considering that you can start for $25, or the cost of one good bottle of wine (at the liquor store and not your local 300% mark-up restaurant), it’s an endeavor that the vast majority of us should be able to afford. And if even half of the 1.2B people in the developed world made even one loan a year, think of the sustainable difference it could make. That’s something worth aiming for. And if you do lend, remember to tell them that jeff <at> hosernews <dot> ca sent you (because one should give credit where credit is due). (And if you’re a fellow hoser, you can even consider joining his team.)

And remember, there is a supply chain lesson here for all of us. If a good supplier is in trouble in these hard financial times, key customers can band together to keep it financially solvent until times improve through faster payments, guaranteed orders, and low-interest loans. And, in addition to the good feeling these customers will get from knowing they did right, they can also secure long-term capacity from a strategic supplier. Let’s face it — most business people want to do the right thing when given the choice, and many will be quite happy to sign a long term contract or guarantee if you help to bail them out. This means that if you stick by a good supplier when it’s having a bad day, it’ll stick by you through thick and thin.

*As of April 22, 2009

A Supply Chain Risk Management Checklist from PricewaterhouseCoopers

The Global Supply Chain Council recently published an article on managing supplier risks in a downturn that had a good checklist for global companies looking to improve their supply chain risk management. It’s definitely worth an expanded review.

As the author clearly points out, focusing on the processes that drive risk rather than reacting to specific events will allow supply managers to be more proactive. Risk mitigation should be incorporated into the sourcing strategy and qualification along with the traditional Price, Quality, Delivery, and Design Selection Criteria. Regular monitoring, and frequently a second source strategy, is necessary — but this should take a more insightful form than traditional third-party plant audits and quality checks. While quality checks are important, they are not a means to manage risk — they occur too late (in the process).

Select the Right Suppliers

  • Do Your Due Diligence
    Be sure the supplier is financially sound and operationally equipped to meet your needs.
  • Validate The Data You’re Basing Your Decision On
    Don’t rely on third party data sources if the supplier is going to be providing a critical part of service — validate the data on your own.
  • Understand Their Customer Portfolio
    Who else do they serve? How likely are they to understand your needs? How important will you be? If you would compose a significant percentage of their business, that could specify financial trouble. If your business would be a rounding error, it would be unrealistic to expect great customer service and first fulfillment if supply is limited.
  • Understand Their Supplier Management Process
    It’s not enough that they comply with your supplier management processes … if they don’t have any of their own, you have no way of knowing whether or not their suppliers are cost efficient, reliable, and socially responsible.

Improve Supplier Monitoring and Measurements

  • Utilize a Robust Risk-Based Monitoring Framework
    Make sure the framework, or scorecard, addresses regular reporting, financial and operational data collection, relevant information, and on-site reviews.
  • Analyze Risk Data Regularly
    A well designed monitoring framework / scorecard is one of your best early warning systems for a potential problem.
  • Focus on Suppliers Near the Limits
    Don’t just focus on suppliers outside the bounds of your risk tolerances … focus on those near the limits as well. This could represent an emerging problem or a malicious attempt to manipulate the system (with slightly skewed false data) to hide a serious problem.

Develop Supplier Development and Contingency Plans

  • Identify Suppliers Who Need Development
    Your efforts should be focused on critical suppliers who most need it.
  • Perform On-Site Reviews
    Self reporting is not sufficient. Do your suppliers understand the framework and metrics? Are they being completely honest with themselves, and with you? Do they even understand how well they could, and should, be doing?
  • Develop Performance Initiatives
    Tailor them to the specific needs of the supplier, as determined by your on-site reviews.
  • Provide the Appropriate Support
    They will need to be helped and guided through the process.
  • Identify Alternative Supply Sources
    Just in case.

Develop a Supplier Exit Strategy

  • Assemble a Cross-Functional Team
    This team will help you identify what the requirements are for a successful supplier.
  • Analyze Supply Alternatives
    Do a market assessment and identify likely candidates.
  • Determine the Appropriate Course of Action
    Stick with the supplier? Or move on?
  • Execute!
    Move on? Use your intelligence to put together the right RFX and begin the supplier selection process anew.