Category Archives: About us

All Hail The Gruntmaster 6000!

It was more influential than you think!

The Gruntmaster 6000, first introduced in the The Name, and eventually realized by Infomercial is, more importantly, a great foundation to explain why the doctor started Sourcing Innovation and why it is still going SIX THOUSAND (6,000) published articles later (even though the GruntMaster 6000 ended up being an exercise machine with a graviton generator)! (And yes, this is the 6,000th published article on Sourcing Innovation.)

In The Name, it all starts with the team, including Dilbert, being challenged by the PHB (Pointy-Haired Boss) to come up with a new product (to replace the product that killed everyone who used it), starting with the name — which he believes is more important than whatever the product ends up being! A name that has to ultimately be approved by the CEO, who, of course, also believes that the name is the most important thing ever!

It’s an attempt to clarify, in a humorous fashion, both the absurdity of modern marketing for technology products and modern “suit” management who, when they are running a company they fundamentally don’t understand (still a big problem today, and we’ve had multiple recent examples of why accountants, bankers, and lawyers should NEVER run tech companies), over focus on details that just don’t matter.

And, more importantly, propagate the belief that all you have to do is select the “right” product, where the “right” product is obviously the one from the most successful company, because if a company is successful, the product must be good, right? And how do you identify the most successful company? The one that looks most successful, and, obviously has the most successfully sounding product name, right? Right?

WRONG! It’s the propagation of this problem into Procurement which is why Sourcing Innovation exists. The belief that you can pick a few successful companies, throw a problem over the wall, and get a good solution. And while you theoretically can, if you don’t pick the 3 best companies for you, the odds of you getting a good solution are not good. In fact, the odds of you getting a good solution are vanishingly close to zero! (That’s why at least two thirds of technology projects fail. Standish Group’s CHAOS 2020 report analyzed 50,000 global projects and reported 66% failure rate. And that’s one of the lowest reported failure rates the doctor has ever seen. Many of the reports he’s seen over the last two decades report 70% to 85% technology project failure.)

And you can’t pick good companies unless you know

  • what makes a good product
  • what makes a good company
  • … and, most importantly …
  • what you need the product to do
  • what you need the company to do

And that requires education. Continual, never-ending, education. Education that no one was giving you in the sea of (marketing) madness. That’s why Sourcing Innovation exists, and why it is still going SIX THOUSAND published articles later.

And, FYI, because the focus is on education, with the exception of a few hundred posts on products that no longer exist, the vast majority of what was written in the early days is as valid today as it was then. For example, the doctor, thinking ahead to the inevitable conclusion of outsourcing (and understanding EVERYTHING wrong with it*), has been preaching the desperate need to return to on-shoring, near-sourcing, and even home-shoring for the past fifteen (15) years! And every single one of the 101 Procurement Damnations still exists today! So feel free to jump back to the second post on Strategic Sourcing Innovation Defined published on 2006-June-10 and start reading forward. the doctor is sure you’ll learn something from almost every single post! And the best thing about going back to the beginning, you can read an hour a day every day for the next year and still not make it to 2024! (At roughly 5.8 MILLION words, and an average reading speed of 238 words per minute, the average reader will have over 406 hours of reading!)

* as he did study the history of trade as well as pre-recorded history, early history, archaeological, and anthropological methods [even though sometimes he thinks a better understanding of cryptozoology might help him understand modern business better] … and he’s even gave a presentation on the archaeology of spend analysis, as many of the best algorithms for spend analysis have their roots in the algorithms developed by mathematicians for archaeologists …

Top Nine Posts of 2018 … From Years Gone By

As per yesterday’s post where we highlighted the top 10 posts from 2018, of which five were on GDPR, the top 9 visited posts of the year were actually from year’s gone by. Today we are going to look at those, and even speculate as to why.

  • 9. The Purpose of a Contract is Easy to Define Is it because people, for reasons that perplex the doctor , struggle with contracts? Is it because Lawyers have done a great job pulling a fast one over the majority of the population and convinced them contracts are difficult and must be worded in complex Legalese? Is it because no one believes that contracts are relatively easy to create and can be written in plain English. It’s all about defining what both sides want, what happens when things go wrong, who’s responsible, and how you get out. It’s predicting all the scenarios and accounting for them up front. In plain English.
  • 8. Common Challenges of Indirect Procurement Most people in indirect Procurement know these, but it’s always nice to be sure, right? Direct wants to know that the other side of the wall has similar problems? The reason for this post’s popularity is a conundrum.
  • 7. A Strategic Sourcing Plan Outline This is probably the most direct, to the point, article out there on what should be in a basic strategic sourcing plan, with a hat-tip to Robi Bendorf of Bendorf & Associates .
  • 6. The Evolution of Purchasing
    Who doesn’t like a good history lesson? Especially when it’s one of the few guest posts in SI’s history on the subject (from Lisa Nyce).
  • 5. Is There a Difference Between Strategic Category Sourcing and Strategic Category Management
    This is a confusing question, to this day. Both terms are interchanged, used, and misused on a regular basis. No surprises a lot of readers would be looking for some clarification.
  • 4. I Will Survive
    Wow! the doctor knows you like his lyrical humour — he often gets more “fan mail” on these pieces then deep expositions (which he knows you read to cure your insomnia), but how did an ode to vendors who need to be forgotten become the fourth most visited post of the year? At least one inquiring (but not Enquiring, Americans will get this) mind wants to know!
  • 3. RFX Defined This is obviously the de-facto definition of RFX on the entire World Wide Web.
    This is a top post year after year after year. Webster’s should just point to SI. Seriously. the doctor would be a top ten NYT best-selling author if everyone who read this post bought a book!
  • 2. Five Types of Supply Risk and How To Mitigate Them This is probably SI’s top-visited post of all times. Normally 10X the traction of a top 10 post after the top 3 posts of the year are discounted. Can no other source define supply risks so succinctly? the doctor wants to know! The secret sauce in this post is worth a fortune!
  • 1. Its My Blog This post is obviously mistaken for the about post. SI’s rant anthem is pretty damn good, but #1 good?

Top Posts of 2018 To Date … A Breakdown

Stats are not something the doctor obsesses about. This is the second oldest continuously running niche blog in the space, and if you broke Spend Matters into its constituent blogs and measured them individual, there are many weeks this blog would get more hits.

And while the statistics have not been interesting to the doctor since SI reached #1 on all the ranking engines many years ago (when Spend Matters was just one blog and not a family) and stayed neck and neck for a while, it is interesting to the doctor to see what people are reading (and figure out why).

It’s also interesting to see if any posts of they year make the top 10 visited posts of the year. One thing about taking an educational and informative focus is that posts on this blog stand the test of time. The most visited educational post of the year is actually from 2007! In fact, only one of the top ten visited posts this year is from this year. (But that’s a subject for our next post.)

The most visited post of 2018 was a GDPR post and, in fact, five of the ten most visited posts of 2018 were on GDPR back when it was coming into focus. It seems no one was really ready for the new EU data tax and were scrambling to figure out how to comply. (And it is a data tax. If you don’t keep someone’s private data private or can’t expunge it to the extent legally required when asked, you get a big fine. But if the government exposes millions of records in a data breach, nothing happens. Companies, and even individuals, can get penalized while governments can continue to keep poor privacy standards to no ill effect. Sounds like a tax to me!)

The other five posts were:

  1. Maybe You Can Be a Procurement Hero
    Let’s face it, it sucks being stuck in the dungeon of the The Tower of Spend day in and day out. It sucks that sales and marketing get all the glory when every dollar you save is ten times as impactful as every dollar they bring in. It sucks that the C-Suite is telling you to cut 10% across the board on already lean categories while they still fly business class, have no restrictions on meal spend, and upgrade their perfectly functioning laptop and phone every year while you have to wait three. Of course you want to be a Procurement hero!
  2. One Hundred and Fourteen Years Ago
    This was a surprise! A short post on the construction of the Panama Canal, an important development in the history of Ocean freight (as it cut two to three weeks and 7,872 miles off of Atlantic-to-Pacific (and vice versa) voyages.
  3. Ariba Live Europe Needs a Mascot
    This was also a surprise! Of course Ariba is still a significant player and of course news from Live is always sought after. But a mascot recommendation? Maybe the doctor is right and smart, talented, sexy Procurement people do prefer cats to dogs!
  4. Is TCO a No Go Without Optimization
    This is a bit of an odd-ball for a top 10 post. The holy grail for most Procurement professionals is TCO — Total Cost of Ownership — minimization (so of course the topic is popular), but many Procurement professionals still feel they do not need, and sometimes even fear, strategic sourcing decision optimization, because it is heavy math and early solutions were extremely difficult to use (and, despite the doctor‘s insistence since the beginning of this blog that you need it, it is often avoided. But new solutions hide the math, walk the user through scenario (and constraint) construction, and are often easier to use than first (and even second) generation e-RFX solutions which, as pointed out last week, are often (still) kicking you when you are down (Part I and Part II).
  5. Of Course Catalogs Cant Be Trusted to This was about the only no surprise. Catalogs are a staple. Low value spend is a pervasive problem. And the doctor‘s rants are his most popular posts.

Come back tomorrow to find out the nine most visited posts of the year which, as per above, were not actually published this year! Proving that, unlike blogs that focus on news (or, in some cases, speculation and rumours) of the day, blogs that focus on education and explanation really do stand the test of internet time. Even if they maintain an old-school look! (Because, sometimes in unglamorous Procurement, we’re lucky to have old school tech. Unlike modern tech, it always works! And being the world’s second oldest profession, we know how to make old-school work!)

SI Will Return July 9th

Being one of the oldest blogs in the space, SI knows that last Friday in June through 2nd Monday in July is vacation season.

So, this year SI is taking a break until July 9th so you don’t have to fret about missing posts.  Enjoy the vacation the majority of you take around this time.

Sourcing Innovation is Proud to be part of a “Special Place in Hell”

No one wins a trade war.

Progress stagnates when borders close.

Freedom is jeopardized when dictators are praised.

Human Rights suffer when power is abused.

… and the world goes to hell.

So, if the world is going to hell, Sourcing Innovation is proud to be part of that “special place” where fairness is sought, openness is an ideal, multi-party cooperation is a way of life, and human rights are always upheld as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms trumps any law or power.