Benchmark Your Organization’s Purchasing Effectiveness

Posted: April 19th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Gem, What's Happening in Our Profession | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

Purchasing survey

Dear Colleague

Back in 2003, we created a simple, on-line survey to help Purchasing Professionals gauge their organization’s overall purchasing effectiveness.

The goals were to first measure attitudes and practices, and then offer concrete suggestions for making improvements. The initiative was successful: almost 3,000 people participated.

One of our readers had a great idea – why not re-do the survey? We could compare new results to the original numbers and see if there’s been a shift in attitudes and practices, over the past 7 years.

These 7 areas are covered and answers range between strongly agree and strongly disagree.

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When Warehousing Goes Green

Posted: April 14th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: CSR in purchasing, Energy, Gem, Greening the Supply Chain, What's Happening in Our Profession | Tags: , | No Comments »

Green buildingWhen considering the greening of any supply chain it is easy to ignore the impact of warehousing and distribution centres.
Transport miles are often shown to potential consumers, but what about the environmental cost of storage?

Understandably, the main focus in distribution centres is often the streamlining of the distribution process. This video of the Ocado distribution centre makes this optimisation geek very excited. But it is not difficult, and not necessarily expensive, to improve the green credentials of your warehousing.

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Don’t Sweat the Details – It’s the Direction that Counts

Posted: April 9th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Best practices, Gem, Negotiating with Suppliers, What's Happening in Our Profession | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

DirectionYears ago, while working for Green Giant, I phoned our steel can sales rep to ask for a 4% reduction. We had information suggesting steel prices had fallen 8%.
He certainly wasn’t very happy and, as expected, argued against any decrease.

“Are you saying you’re still purchasing steel at the same price as before?” I asked. “That would be surprising.”

“Um… no, of course not”, he said, “but look – let me get back to you.”

To learn more, follow the Negotiating Nugget on Propurchaser.


Plant Tours Worth every Minute

Posted: April 4th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Gem, What's Happening in Our Profession | Tags: , | No Comments »

Plant, factory tourThe struggle to find “good fit” suppliers never ends. And finding the right suppliers has never been more important than right now. The global recession has put many companies’ very survival at stake.
How do you make sure – really sure – that your supplier is capable of going the distance providing you with the price, quality and service that your company and your customers demand?

Well, you could take the sales rep’s word for it. But we strongly suggest you see for yourself.

Simple as it sounds, an actual tour is the best way to gather reliable information about your supplier‘s all-important cost drivers, quality commitment and service culture.

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The U.S. Natural Gas Story in 15 Charts

Posted: March 30th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Energy, Gem, Natural Gas | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Natural gasThe story of U.S. natural gas gets referenced a lot but you may not know whats going on. Here are 15 charts that tell the story of the U.S. natural gas market which has been completely changed by the rise of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

In the past few years, new technologies and cheaper costs allowed producers to access gas trapped in parts of the U.S. previously considered unreachable.

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The Marketplace and the Five-Hundred Pound Gorilla

Posted: March 25th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Best practices, Gem | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Five-hundred pound gorillaPurchasers know how hard it can be to convince our superiors & peers that we are doing a good job.
We struggle with Suppliers all the time, arguing, calculating, cajoling, pushing back to get the lowest possible all-in costs – and still we sometimes go over budget!

Does this mean we are doing a poor job? Probably not!

via The Marketplace and the Five-Hundred Pound Gorilla on Propurchaser.


A Supplier’s Advice for Purchasing Custom Tradeshow Exhibits & Environments

Posted: March 20th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Best practices, Gem, Negotiating with Suppliers | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

3D ExhibitsDear Purchasing Professional,

We usually don’t get to speak with you directly when we respond to an RFP. But if we could, this is what we’d say.

We’d like you to know that to get the best value when buying custom tradeshow exhibits you need to take a slightly different purchasing approach. These products  require creative thinking (like advertising), and work best when uniquely crafted to fit your company’s needs.

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Use labor productivity to drive down purchase costs

Posted: March 15th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Best practices, Gem, Negotiating with Suppliers | Tags: | No Comments »

Labor productivity Suppliers often use wage increases to justify nudging up prices each year, usually 1 or 2%. And it’s hard to argue: – seems reasonable, and it’s less than inflation.
But wages aren’t the real issue – labor costs are.

And the reality is that the average cost of a ‘unit of labor‘ is about the same today as it was 5 years ago.

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Corporate Social Responsibility in supply chains: an example of aluminum refining

Posted: March 10th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: CSR in purchasing, Gem | Tags: , | No Comments »

Corporate Social ResponsibilityCommodity production in many parts of the world causes huge problems for local communities. Extractive industries located in areas with poor environmental protection and enforcement can be particularly damaging.

For example this contentious aluminum refinery in Niyamgiri, India: The battle for Niyamgiri

Should purchasers have a role in influencing supply chains by avoiding companies with dubious social and environmental ethics? Would this be interfering with domestic governance and development, or does CSR (corporate social responsibility) pave the way for this type of decision? Are purchasers in a position to obtain and evaluate the information needed to make those decisions?


The Carbon Benefits of Recycled Materials

Posted: March 5th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: CSR in purchasing, Gem, Greening the Supply Chain | Tags: , , | No Comments »

RecyclingThe benefits of avoiding extraction and primary processing are usually significant, even when collection, transport and reprocessing of recycled material is taken into account.

An increasing range of recycled products are coming onto the market, such as glass, steel, aluminium, plastics and paper. Usually calculating the carbon benefit is reasonably straightforward. As the final products must perform to similar standards (whether from virgin or recycled materials) in order to compete in the market place, the carbon footprint during their ‘use phase’ will also be very similar.

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