Recently, I blogged about the need for a reality check in outsourcing or offshoring decisions. A full analysis of the total cost of ownership (TCO) should precede those decisions, I wrote. But I left out one element of that TCO analysis, an element that became very apparent last week in much of the US media: brand image.
Well, it’s about time! Recent reports show a growing realisation on the part of finance officers of the value of procurement. Consultancy 4C cites finance’s view that procurement is a driver of growth. And there’s more: A recent study by Ariba and the research arm of CFO magazine reveals that finance executives agree that procurement is making a valuable contribution to companies and is, indeed, a strategic function. One respondent said that procurement has evolved into an area of optimisation.
Charles Dominick, CEO of Next Level Purchasing, recently wrote an interesting blog on certification. In it, he asked, "What is a more professional job: corporate purchasing or fingernail painting?" The answer seems obvious, yet, Dominick wrote, every state requires nail technicians to get training before they get licensed. There’s no such requirement to work in procurement, he says, nor any requirement for certification or licensing.
Among the many lessons for procurement during the last couple of years of economic troubles is the importance of checking on suppliers’ financial health. A recent study by Experian and reported on by Procurement Leaders last week shows that many companies have learned that lesson well and have cut the time it takes to pay their suppliers so the suppliers, in turn, can pay their own bills and stay in business.
The week between Christmas and New Year is traditionally a great time, personally and in business, to reflect on events of the past year and to set in place strategies to ensure that the worst of those events don’t happen again. It’s also a good time to reflect on what opportunities the future may hold so you can take advantage of them.
If you’re thinking about giving your staff books or other educational material as Christmas gifts this year--a good idea, by the way--here’s a suggestion: Find material that your business stakeholders and C-level executives are probably reading. It will help your staff see the business world from the perspective of the people they want to collaborate with. If they use the knowledge they gain, they will be more successful in gaining the trust and cooperation of the stakeholders they want to help.
First Japan. Now Thailand. It seems that nature in 2011 has brought several supply chain challenges to the world’s businesses. Inventory management, always a critical responsibility, is suddenly a bigger deal than it was before.
“It’s not the consumer’s job to figure out what they want.” That was the opinion of a certain technology pioneer who was eulogized in a variety of media across the world after his death October 5. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, relied on his own intuition rather than focus groups to decide what customers wanted.
The US Senate, which likes to call itself “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” last week passed a bill to punish China for what senators called its currency manipulation. The bill would require the US Treasury Department to order the Commerce Department to impose tough tariffs on certain Chinese goods in the event of a finding by the Treasury that China was improperly valuing its currency to gain an economic advantage.
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