Yesterday we asked Mr. LOLCat if he agreed that the “future” trends we were discussing were old news. Here’s what he had to say:
Yesterday we asked Mr. LOLCat if he agreed that the “future” trends we were discussing were old news. Here’s what he had to say:
In yesterday’s post we again reiterated that it’s not what the analysts and vendors think the future of Procurement is, it’s what the future needs to be for your organization to be successful (and solvent) and what you need to do to get it there. And these are not one in the same. Furthermore, all of these “Future Trend” talks are getting repetitive because the vast majority of “predictions” in the doctor‘s recently compiled list of of 33 commonly identified “future states” that Procurement is supposedly going to have contains well over two dozen “future states” that Procurement has already had for years (and years) and provides a reader with absolutely no insight on what the future of Procurement is and, more importantly, what it needs to be for your organization. But, unfortunately, just telling you this doesn’t help you. So we have to discuss all 33 of these “future trends” and illustrate how only a small minority are relevant to the conversation while the rest are the same old trends that have been recycled and repackaged by the junket jaunters for the past decade. But having to spend over a week dispelling deceit does not delight the doctor in the least, and, as a result, makes him even more likely to call a duck a duck, a spade a spade, and a well dressed presenter the snake-oil salesman he really is. While he will continue keep the language Safe for Work, unless you mention a trigger word, the doctor‘s not pulling any punches in this series so if you want something more along the lines of cookies and sundaes*, head on over to Spend Matters for about the next week. I’m sure their pieces will continue to be friendlier, or at least more politically correct, than SI’s.
Since we still have 27 to slog through, we’re going to dive back in!
27. Inter-Departmental Collaboration
To be fair, with a lot of effort, one could put forward a decent argument that this belongs in the ongoing blues category because there are still many companies where departments pit themselves against each other like two old-time big-league rivals, often with the throw-downs to match, but the whole point of the enterprise software movement, which has been ongoing for more than three decades, has been to provide organizations the tools with which to increase their collaboration. Furthermore, as soon as the CFO or CEO of any organization sees the financial benefit of collaboration, if collaboration doesn’t happen naturally, it is mandated. C’est l’entreprise.
26. Increased Accuracy in Demand Planning
Before best-of-breed Sourcing, Procurement, and Supply Management systems we had ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems (and, to be fair, most organizations still run on outdated ERP systems). Before ERP systems we had MRP systems. MRP, which is now known as Manufacturing Resource Planning, and which originally stood for Material Requirements Planning, was focussed on production and inventory control, regardless of what you choose to call it. And good inventory control came from … that’s right … good demand planning. So better demand planning has been at the forefront of needs and wants for … wait for it … wait for it … fifty (50) years. That’s right. FIFTY FREAKIN’ YEARS! MRP has been in production since 1964, when it was first implemented by Black & Decker. And 11 years later the founder (who developed MRP in response to TPS — Toyota Manufacturing Program) published the book on MRP, which, coincidentally, was published in the same year that Brooks published the classic tome on Software Engineering and Project Management (The Mythical Man Month). So to say this is new is like saying acrylic paint is new. (It’s not. It’s also 50 years old for those who are interested.)
25. More Stakeholder Collaboration
Thanks to the passage of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, “Small Business Investment Companies” (SBICs) were licensed to help the financing and management of the small entrepreneurial business and, in the 1960s and 1970s, the first VCs formed and invested in companies like Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Apple Inc., and Genentech and struck modern gold. This led to the rapid rise in VC corporations, and VC investment, and these VCs, who were major stakeholders, were interested in protecting their investments and got actively involved. This not only paved the way for stakeholder collaboration across the board but made it an important part of any serious** business discussion for the last three decades. Again, old news (that the VCs might not want you to know if they’ve invested in the competition, but old news).
Do you agree Mr. LOLCat?
* Still no guarantees!
** Yes, the doctor has much higher standards than the average person. Deal with it.
In yesterday’s post, after noting that conference season is around the corner and, with it, plenty of talks on Future of Procurement, we noted that the doctor is beginning to really despise this because it’s repetitive, unnecessarily stressful (with the false sense of urgency for the wrong solution), and, most importantly, focussed on the wrong question. It’s not what the analysts and vendors think the future is, it’s what the future needs to be for your organization to be successful (and solvent) and what you need to do to get it there. These are not one in the same.
We then explained that it was repetitive because the doctor reviewed dozens of “future” studies, papers, articles, and posts written in the last year and compiled a list of 33 commonly identified “future states” that Procurement is supposedly going to have and explained that the majority of these states have been “future states” for years and provide a reader with absolutely no insight on what the future of Procurement is and, more importantly, what it needs to be for your organization. But, unfortunately, just telling you this doesn’t help you. So we have to discuss all 33 of these “future trends” and illustrate how only a small minority are relevant to the conversation while the rest are the same old trends that have been recycled and repackaged by the junket jaunters for the past decade. However, having to spend over a week dispelling deceit does not delight the doctor in the least, and, as a result, makes him even more likely to call a duck a duck, a spade a spade, and a donkey a jackass. While the doctor will keep the language Safe for Work, unless you mention a trigger word, he’s not pulling any punches in this series so if you want something more along the lines of kittens and unicorns*, head on over to Spend Matters for the next week. I’m sure their pieces will be friendlier than SI’s.
Since we still have 30 to plough through, let’s dive back in!
30. Continued Margin Pressure
Every since the beginning of the modern industrial age and the introduction of the first mass production factories, customers have wanted lower prices. And when efficiencies gave customers these lower prices, they wanted the prices to be lowered even more. With end customers putting continued pressure on retailers to lower prices, these retailers are putting continued pressure on manufacturers to lower prices, and these manufacturers are, in turn, putting pressure on raw material providers to lower their prices. Margin pressure has always been with us and it’s not going away any time soon. This prediction is akin to predicting that fish will continue to swim in the ocean and if someone expects the doctor to take this as intelligent foresight, he has to wonder if they think they are speaking to a complete idiot on the classical Binet Scale. He knows the business world has its share of mentally deficient and somewhat incompetent buffoons, but no one with an IQ at or below the level of moron is going to be given the ability to make serious business decisions (which would include buying whatever product or service you’re selling) regardless of how much money his daddy has to waste**.
29. More Outsourcing
Ever since the wannabe used car salesmen in their plaid suits, gawdy striped ties, and bright red pants convinced gullible CEOs that the answer to all their money problems was outsource, outsource, outsource, the outsourcing craze has gripped the business world and now you can find a service provider for almost everything you can think of. (Human) Dog Food Tester to make sure little bow-wow won’t refuse to eat his Caesar’s? Check. Phone Psychic to help your dumb boss figure out just what he’s thinking? Check. Multimedia Foley Artist (because you need just the right sound effect for your PowerPoint)? Check. Telephone Sanitizer? Well, not yet. But soon. Very soon.***
28. Supply Chain Risk
Natural Disasters. Economic Disruptions. Geopolitical Interference. Societal Swings. Technological Advances and Breakdowns. These are the major categories of supply chain risk and all of these have been with us since the beginning of trade. Ancient societies had to deal with earthquakes, floods, locust swarms, and poor Pompei had one of the most devastating Volcanic eruptions in recorded history. Plus, wars between nation states have been around as long as the nation states themselves, and each war caused an economic disruption. Good luck doing any significant amount of trading in many ancient and medieval societies without permission of the Pharaoh, Emperor, or King. Societal swings have always emerged in the presence of a great orator or onerous monarch. And even the ancients made great technological innovations. The Egyptians built pyramids. The Chinese discovered gunpowder. The Vikings, and maybe even their forefathers, conquered the Atlantic. And each of these carried great risks for those merchants engaging in trade. A storm could sink a ship. A war could cripple an economy and it’s desire for luxury goods. The disfavour of the king could put you out of business. A societal swing could close the border. And if the marauders suddenly acquire better weapons, good luck getting your goods safely to their destination. Yes, supply chain risk is increasing, and the rate of natural disasters is expected to increase five-fold over the next fifty (50) years. And yes, economic disasters, thanks to greedy Wall Street bankers, are coming even more fast and furious than the over-the-top movie sequels rushed out by hollywood movie studios as fast as the hi-tech Korean sweatshops can pump out the special effects. Yes, governments, even those that are supposed to be representing the people who elected them and not their own interests, are interfering on a global scale and, even worse, doing it in secret. Yes, the modern media is great at stirring people up into a frenzy over minutia to distract from the real issues at hand, and, possibly, turn them against your business based on your beliefs. And yes every technological innovation could be a Tomahawk headed straight for your head. But what’s new? NOTHING! You just need to prepare for it, watch for it, and deal with it.
For even more ranting and raving, come back tomorrow. Or, if you’re in the mood for something a little closer to kitties and unicorns, as the doctor indicated at the top of this post, you can check out Spend Matters and come back next week. the doctor should have worked his way through most of the sheer lunacy by then. Still no guarantees, but that’s still his goal!
* No guarantees!
** OK. Maybe in the Southwest US or the state of Florida, which has its own FARK tag for a reason. But that’s the exception, not the rule! (At least for now …)
*** And if the doctor knew exactly when, he’d be counting the days because he’s anxiously waiting for what comes next. 😉
As per yesterday’s post, today we’re going to dive right into a discussion of the list of the 33 “future” states that the symposium speakers are thrusting upon you in their halogen halo. But unlike the halo of an angel*, these are man-made halos and far from heavenly, so we must take care not to be suckered in by their splendour, because prolonged exposure to these halos might just give us skin cancer. So we’re going to debunk the deceptions one-by-one as soon as we repeat our warning that a duck will be called a duck, a spade will be called a spade, and a red-assed baboon will be called a red-assed baboon. If the thought of brutal honesty makes you uncomfortable in any way, you can always hop over to Spend Matters for the week where they have an editorial team that’s usually a little more PC.
33. Governmental Regulations
Government regulations have been enabling and restricting trade since trade between nations began. Why would it suddenly stop being an issue? Yes, the regulations and trade agreements will be in constant flux as governments are full of big egos (who constantly want to gain the upper hand for their country and look like a hero) and greedy grubbing con-men who weren’t quite psychopathic enough to be big business CEOs** (and instead went into government and push for whatever legislation is favoured by the lobby group that gives them the biggest bribe … err … the lobby group that loses a suitcase of money in their office and never claims it, making it legally theirs after they try, but fail, to find the person who lost the suitcase full of money). However, because of the due process of law that must be followed in all countries, and the fact there are always egos that will be damaged and special interests that will be disadvantaged by whatever trade agreement is made or law is passed, these changes take time and can be prepared for if you keep watch and stay on the ball. Now, some regulations will be so onerous (such as the ones being proposed in the TPP) that they might just make it impossible for your business to compete in one or more of its current markets, in which case you will have to decide whether you want to change product and service offerings, change markets, or shutdown the business while it is still profitable (so that the investors can take their earnings and start something else while they still have the chance). But that’s just the way it is, and things usually aren’t that bad. And any expert who thinks you don’t know this already, like the moron who thought his CD Tray was a Cup Holder and really was too dumb to use a computer, is in fact too dumb to even be writing future trend pieces (and, unfortunately, also too dumb to realize that he’s too dumb to be writing future trend pieces and, as a result, pumps them out faster than Harlequin pumps out their lushy romance novels).
Globalization is not new. Soon after trade between neighbouring nations began, the more aggressive traders looked for ways to expand their trading reach and increase their wealth, power, and influence. They formed caravans. They used ships. And they got as far as they could. And some of these routes lasted for thousands of years. Consider the Silk Road, which was, as per its name, a major trading route for Silk dating back to the Han dynasty, starting around 200 BC, approximately 3000 years or so after the establishment of trading routes between Egypt and Mesopotamia for pottery, lazuli, and obsidian. Moving forward, the Vikings established the Volga trade route back in the 9th century and traded along it for about 300 years. Then, another 300 years later, Elcano completed Magellan’s attempt to circumnavigate the world, creating the first global trade route. Yes, faster travel options, the outsourcing and rightsizing crazes, and the internet accelerated the pace of globalization beyond the wildest dreams of the early industrialists, and opened the global marketplace up to smaller enterprises, but globalization has been with us for a long, long, long time and it’s here to stay. And any future trend talk focussed on this should be relabelled “More Facts from Mr. Obvious”.
31. Increased Competition
To be fair, an idiot, and maybe even an imbecile, might not be aware that Globalization is, obviously, going to lead to increased competition and that as the pace of Globalization increases, so does the pace of increased competition because it does require some basic logic skills to deduce this, but not much more than your average middle year child is going to use to try and convince you to buy him / her that new video game. Of course you are going to face increased competition as a result of globalization. Globalization means you will be entering markets that already have providers that offer competing products and/or services, which can now enter markets you are already in. Not realizing this is like not realizing that the same stairs*** that you used to walk up to the second floor can also be used, gasp!, to walk back down.****
For more ranting and raving, come back tomorrow. Or, if you’re in the mood for something a little closer to puppies and rainbows*****, check out Spend Matters and come back next week. the doctor should have worked his way through most of the sheer lunacy by then. No guarantees, but that’s the goal!
* Where we are using the popular perception of what an angel is under the Christian influence.
** Many of the best business leaders, where best is defined according to Wall Street, are psychopaths. Multiple studies, summarized on patheos, confirm this.
*** Stairs, not escalators.
**** Which, sadly, is a fact that has escaped at least one lawyer! (See Things People Said, Courtroom Quotations).
***** No guarantees!
In yesterday’s post, we talked about the fact that conference season is around the corner and, with it, plenty of talks on the Future of Procurement, Procurement in 2015, and Procurement 2025 — What it Will Take to Get There. We noted that the doctor is beginning to really despise this because it’s repetitive, unnecessarily stressful (with the false sense of urgency for the wrong solution), and, most importantly, focussed on the wrong question. It’s not what the analysts and vendors think the future is, it’s what the future needs to be for your organization to be successful (and solvent) and what you need to do to get it there. These are not one in the same.
So why is it repetitive? the doctor recently reviewed dozens of “future” studies, papers, articles, PowerPoints, and posts written in the last year and compiled a list of 33 commonly identified “future states” that Procurement is supposedly, according to a plethora of authors that shall not be named to protect the guilty, going to have. The majority of these have been “future states” for years (and are old news). Only a minority are still somewhat innovative (and are ongoing blues) if looked at in the right light and only a portion of these from a select few forward-thinkers are truly new (like a pair of shiny new shoes) and informative and relevant to a future-state discussion as these select few trends have not yet been discussed and drubbed for nearly a decade, and, in a very small number of cases, could not have been foreseen a decade ago.
To illustrate my point, the doctor is going to discuss the full list of 33 “future states”, of which at most 7 “future states” are truly new and forward thinking and relevant to a current discussion. The majority are old news and ongoing blues. Once we get through the old news and ongoing blues, which will take us over a week, we will discuss the 7 “future states” that are still new and shiny and that were not clearly visibile through the long-range telescope as recently as five years ago. Given that we have 33 “future states” to get to, starting with tomorrow’s post, we’re going to dive right in.
But before we continue, let me make one thing very clear. These posts are categorized as rant for a reason. Just like the doctor has no restraint when it comes to rubbish, he has literally no patience for puff-pieces, which he has recently read a lot of. As a result, he’s not pulling any punches with this series. So if you have a habit of reading, sharing, or promoting these pieces, unless you’re ready for a rumble, you might want to go hop over to Spend Matters for the next week where I’m sure you’ll find friendlier pieces. Because, in this series, I’m going to call a duck a duck, a spade a spade, and an idiot an idiot*. the doctor will do his best to keep the language Safe for Work, unless you mention a trigger word, but the bile will likely bleed through where it is well deserved. You have been warned.
* the doctor is well aware you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, but he doesn’t want to attract any annoying little insects with brains smaller than a mustard seed who, after spending the bulk of their day in someone else’s excrement will, despite being swatted at repeatedly, continue to buzz around senselessly until they get their brains bashed out.