Daily Archives: July 24, 2009

Speculation is Fun … But You Should Get the Facts

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Speculation, a favorite pass-time of many bloggers, is fun, but you should get the facts before you sponsor any blog.

That being said, it never hurts to latch on to a winner early (especially if a sponsorship is being priced competitively), and there are a few up-and coming winners out there, particularly if your focus is narrower or broader than supply chain innovation, education, and best practices. So, if you are a forward-thinking marketer who knows your traffic is going to the blogs (after all, the only traditional publication that appears to get more regular web traffic than this blog is Purchasing), I’d highly recommend that you consider putting your logo on multiple, complimentary blogs and make your brand #1 in the eyes of your prospective, and discerning, customers.

First off, in the supply chain space, I’d recommend taking a close look at Bob Ferrari’s Supply Chain Matters. While still on the low end of the middle ground in the rankings (between Procurement Insights and Supply Excellence), Bob has been churning out high quality content since day one. If Bob decided to make Supply Chain Matters a daily blog, stepping up from his sporadic posting schedule of about every three days on average, I think Supply Chain Matters could shoot up the charts and quickly become, without question, the third most visited blog in supply and spend management space.

Secondly, in the related Metals space, I’d highly recommend Aptium Global‘s Metal Miner. Now augmented with it’s MetalMiner IndX service, Metal Miner, which now claims to be the fourth largest online metals publication (and the traffic engines appear to support this claim), has been bringing you quality information on the metals market since it’s launch in December of 2007. It’s no-nonsense approach to quality information day-in and day-out, coupled with it’s metal pricing index that is updated daily, has allowed it to climb to the point where it is now also the third most trafficked supply chain blog (which you can verify through external triangulation across the five major traffic ranking sites). Quite impressive.

Thirdly, in the broader enterprise solutions space, I’d recommend Vinnie Mirchandani‘s Deal Architect. While Vinnie doesn’t tend to do deep dives into particular solution offerings very often, he offers a myriad of insights on a regular basis that can help you get a very strong understanding of the enterprise software space if you read it regularly. And that is one heck of a useful service … especially since you’d have to subscribe to Gartner or Forrester to get the same quality of insight, and they’re certainly not free!

Well, those are my recommendations if you’re on the market for (multiple) blog sponsorships as an innovative, thought-leading organization.

Why Are You Negotiating The Wrong Terms?

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At the beginning of every year, the IACCM does a survey of the top negotiated terms of the previous year. And for the last three years, the top negotiated terms haven’t changed much. This is not a good thing, because the top terms are not what you should be focussed on. As of today, the top negotiated terms are the following:

  1. Limitation of Liability
  2. Indemnification
  3. Price / Charge / Price Changes
  4. Intellectual Property
  5. Confidential Information / Data Protection
  6. Service Levels and Warranties
  7. Delivery / Acceptance
  8. Payment
  9. Liquidated Damages
  10. Applicable Law / Jurisdiction

This is nuts. The most important things are:

  • what products / services do you need,
  • what quality and service levels are required,
  • what quantities do you need,
  • when and how do you need the products / services delivered, and
  • how much can you / are you willing to pay?

And if you look at the top ten list, only three of these five key points make the top ten. Furthermore, if you examine the top thirty list of the negotiated terms, we see that

  • scope and goals is 14,
  • freight / shipping is 23, and
  • information access and management is 29.

This is absurd. If you can’t verbally agree up front in the first five minutes that

  • you’re liable for your actions (and your supplier is only liable for theirs),
  • your IP is your IP (and your supplier’s is your supplier’s),
  • you’ll take the utmost care to protect your supplier’s confidential information (in exchange for your supplier taking the utmost care to protect yours),
  • each party will respect the laws in each country where they do business and the jurisdiction will be that of the buyer (or destination), and
  • you’ll each respect all of the applicable import and export regulations,

trust each other on these points, and just go with standard clauses in the final agreement, then should you be negotiating in the first place? Because if you can’t get right down to what’s important, I’d argue that maybe you don’t trust each other enough to be doing business in the first place. It’s not about how many billable hours your lawyers can wrangle out of you on administrivia, it’s about getting down to business and making sure you can each profit on the transaction. I’m not saying these clauses aren’t important … I myself insure they are included in every contract I draft and / or sign … just that they’ve been written thousands of times, there are standards that capture reciprocal protections, and it’s not worth sacrificing your goals to try and wrangle out provisions that may be unfair to one party and inevitably destroy the trust that is needed for a successful relationship.