Fly LOLCat Air!
They really redefine luxury!
Fly LOLCat Air!
They really redefine luxury!
The Outsourcing Center recently ran an article on the 5 “gotchas” when negotiating an outsourcing agreement that pretty much covered the same-old, same-old, when it noted that, if not carefully structured, the following five areas of an outsourcing agreement can not only drain value from your business case but decrease the probability of having a successful outcome. Specifically, without a good focus on the
if things go bad, your agreement, and any value you expected to derive from it, can go to hell in a handbasket very, very fast. Why?
But in the future pricing discussion, the article did a great job of pointing out three specific areas you should look out for (and what you should do about them).
So pay close attention to your future pricing unless you want your projected savings to turn into actual losses.
A recent Supply Management article (yes, Supply Management, how shocking) caught the doctor‘s eye when it said that EU nations should increase their adoption of e-Procurement to provide greater transparency and reduce the potential for purchasing processes to be corrupted. Bzzt. Adoption of e-Procurement will definitely increase transparency as all participants will be able to see what’s going on, but let’s not fool ourselves that it will reduce the potential for purchasing processes to be corrupted. It’s still easy for an individual to corrupt a process if he or she wants too, especially since most awards will be made on a weighted scorecard these days.
And since your first reaction is no, definitely not, because Provider XYZ told me that proper, full disclosure, implementation makes corruption almost impossible, after I tell you bullshit, I’m going to show you how easy it is to corrupt a process if the individual running is corrupt and wants to corrupt the process.
Let’s say you define a weighted scorecard as follows:
Let’s say you have suppliers Alpha, Beta, and Echo bidding. Let’s also say, after a preliminary, unconfirmed, analysis, you have the following rankings, which were supposed to be derived from a thorough evaluation based-upon a detailed check-list for each category, on a scale of 1 to 10:
And let’s say that Echo has promised you a free Caribbean vacation (in exchanged for “speaking” at their annual meeting or whatever), some “on-the-side” (read “under-the-table”) consulting revenue, or whatever it takes for you to want them to win — and you want them to win. You can’t do anything, right? Wrong! You defined the scorecard, which, by the way, happens to have three categories where the metrics are very subjective. A few more nines here and there on the subjective metric sheets for Echo and a few less for Alpha and Beta, and, bingo, we have this table:
Hello Echo! And don’t tell me that since the categories and weightings will be predefined, that the chances of there being enough room to manipulate any supplier to the top will be slim. If the buyer wants a certain supplier before the event beings, he can do an off-line assessment, figure out which metrics that supplier happens to be good in, and weight those particular metrics higher (after concocting appropriate rationalizations for long-term reliability being important for printer paper or whatever). The point is, the tool can only affect transparency. The only way to reduce corruption is to instill better processes that are harder to corrupt and the only way to get rid of it is to hire the incorruptibles. Get it now?
A recent article over on the ISM site on Moving Lateral to Move Up provides good food for thought on how to advance your Supply Management career and make your way to the C-suite. Taking into consideration that succeeding as a supply management professional means understanding how the complete supply chain works and how the systems all work together and that it is crucial to develop expertise and experience in purchasing, operations, logistics, material resource planning (MRP) applications, cost reduction, logistics and trade compliance if you want to work your way into the C-suite, the article suggests that one way to do this is to make a lateral move.
Specifically, it says that moving from director of procurement to director of planning may be a lateral move at the moment but will provide longer-term potential. Using the same logic, moving from director of planning to director of logistics and then from director of logistics to director of trade compliance will be a great boost to your supply management career and it won’t be long before you’re in the corner office. Right? Maybe. Maybe not. If you jump around from one director position to the other, you might find that you are pegged as a career middle manager (and the first on the list to board the B-Ark) because, if you had more potential, why didn’t you become a senior director or junior vice president. Experience, like education and knowledge, counts but so does career progression.
Now, if you moved from director of procurement to director of planning for a one year term to cover someone’s parental leave upon the request of a senior manager, as pointed out in the article, and then moved to a senior director of logistics, that would be a good thing. Management would see that you’re a team player, as you took over a role that needed to be filled, someone looking to expand their horizons, as you had three different roles, and, most importantly, someone who can progress up the corporate ladder.
But the article makes one good point, before you make a lateral move, you need to determine if it is the right one. So how do you do that? The advice the article gives can be condensed into the following check-list:
And it’s definitely where you start, but don’t forget to ask
the doctor believes that it is possible to quickly zig-zag your way up the corporate ladder, but only if you are really serious and smart about it. Not all lateral opportunities will be right, and staying at the same level too long could be used against you. It’s a balancing act, so be sure to take out the scales.
Flipping over to the eSide, we see that it recently ran an interesting article on Getting Supplier Diversity Going — From the Middle Up that presented a number of good low-cost suggestions for kicking a diversity program into gear. These suggestions included:
By now you probably think the doctor was being sarcastic when he said that the article presented a number of good low-cost suggestions for kicking a diversity program into gear. Even though he ripped on all of them, eight out of ten of the ideas are good. The problem is not the ideas. The problem is your people. In today’s economy, people are generally overworked, underpaid, and barraged with new initiatives all the time, most of which require time and effort they just don’t have. As a result, their first reaction to anything new is “uh-oh!”. On top of this, you have the problem that this is a sensitive issue that has to be addressed lightly and the potential problem that some people in our society still don’t want, or even like, diversity.
The reality is that if you don’t have people in your organization that are at least open to diversity, they’re not going to embrace any initiative you throw at them, no matter how many of the eight great ideas above you throw at them. (For the record, except for the government training event, that could backfire, and the raffle, that sounds like bribery, the doctor thinks the rest are great.) Even if they’re overworked, or lazy (which is another problem in today’s workplace), if organizational talent is open to diversity, a good diversity initiative will bring them out of their shell and such a program will generate, with effort, some amazing results. But if your organizational talent is not open to diversity, you can, as they say, try until the cows come home and not get any results, or, even worse, if your organization is full of backwoods types that don’t like diversity and change, generate hostile resentment to the initiative. So make sure any effort you undertake starts with HR. HR really has to get it right.