Is not spending, a saving?

MiraRistovich_100.jpgBy Mira Ristovich, Founder of MRC, a consulting firm that assists with various end-to-end projects, and Senior Associate at Bespoke Group Africa, an organisation dedicated to the strategic procurement outsourcing of projects.

Two decades after I began my work in procurement (I was involved in business performance management and measurement prior to joining the procurement family), I can still remember how surprised I was to find that many business owners believed that not using an allocated budget meant that they were saving money.

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking still exists.

5 negotiation tactics that will get you a better deal

Apprentice_110.jpgWe watch The Apprentice and see the 'lambs to the slaughter' negotiating. Not helped by their bravado and arrogance: 'I'm a shark in business'. Cue the next clip of the poor apprentice being taken limb from limb by a shopkeeper who won't give him 5p off a bottle of champagne.

Negotiating looks hard and can be hard if you do it wrong. Let's dispel the first myth: banging your fist on the table, looking mean and being tough doesn't work. Or, at least, you might be lucky and get it to work once, but after that they'll get wise to you and take a whole other approach.

After 14 years of teaching negotiation skills, Darren Smith, Founder of Making Business Matter, finds that those that can be honest, open and direct negotiate the best deals where a relationship is of importance. If you are negotiating to buy a second-hand car on the forecourt you are advised to adapt your style. For now, let's stick with the relationship-important deals:

Stakeholders are your customers: ignore them at your peril

ElainePorteous_100.jpgStakeholders can and will influence the outcome of a project, especially if they are likely to be directly affected by it. If you thus fail to meet the expectations of key influencers, projects will be delayed, will only be partially workable or, at worst, doomed. Elaine Porteous unpacks the process of winning stakeholder support in this month's SmartProcurement.

Is procurement more art than science?

PeterSmith_100.jpgAs we move towards a new decade, is the emphasis in the procurement world changing? Are we going to see a new age where the 'Art of Procurement' comes to the fore? Peter Smith, Chief Officer of Procurement Excellence and European Director, Public Spend Forum, deliberates the topic.

Planning procurement's response to the Millennial Generation

ChrisSawchuk_100.jpgThe Millennial Generation represents one of the greatest potential influences and challenges to managing talent in the next year or two.

Hackett's 2016 Procurement Key Issues study revealed that talent management remains one of the top-three critical or major areas of focus for virtually all procurement organisations. The two perennial favourites, category management and strategic sourcing, make up the other top focus areas.

Combined with the fact that most procurement organisations (especially those in Europe) continue to experience higher levels of staff churn and difficulty attracting great talent, organisations are targeting three specific areas to transform talent. They are:
1. Improving leadership skills
2. Honing business acumen
3. Building specialist procurement skills

"But can procurement cope with, and ultimately benefit from, the disruption brought into talent management by the Millennial Generation?", asks Chris Sawchuk, Principal and Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader, The Hackett Group.

4 common pitfalls when planning a travel budget

NicoleAdonis_100.jpgCost reduction and risk management continue to top the list of business priorities for procurement leaders in 2019.

For travel expenditure, the focus on cost often leads to stringent travel policies. However, policies that are too strict often have more cons than pros. A better approach, FCM Travel Solutions has found, is to look at the bigger picture.

Nicole Adonis, General Manager: FCM Travel Solutions in South Africa, explains that the secret to travel budgets is to create efficiencies. She illustrates this with an example: "If our data, for example, reveals that a client is using 500 different hotels in 50 cities, we would advise reducing this number to say 100, and negotiate a discount with the remaining hotels".

Adonis shares four of the most common pitfalls when planning a travel budget and how to avoid these.

Interview with Novartis CPO Wolfgang Rauch

WolfgangRauch_100.jpgHow and when did procurement and supply become your passion and career choice?
I have not always considered procurement as a career path. I was initially inspired by scientific and technical jobs: I dreamed about becoming a chemist or a jet pilot. But my professional life developed differently. I started a commercial apprenticeship at a mid-size company based in Germany and one day several emergencies arose in the procurement department. I was asked to join the supply management team and that was the starting point of my successful career in the discipline that became a lifelong passion.

Sales perspective: 5 tips on how to deal with procurement

NegSkills_100.jpgEditors note: We thought it might be useful to procurement professionals to get some INSIDE INFORMATION FROM THE OTHER SIDE. This article is written by a consultancy specialising in advising sales people to deal with procurement. Enjoy!:

"It has been said over the past couple of years that procurement departments are becoming increasingly powerful. They dictate how negotiations unfold as value propositions are torn apart and prices lowered until vendors can hardly think straight. It sounds like a horror story, right? But it doesn't have to be that way. Dealing with procurement is always going to be a challenge, but if you understand their game, it will be much easier to play yours."

Mercuri International, a consulting and result-improvement company, has put down five insights into how to stay on track with your goals while negotiating with procurement.

Free State welcomes Smart Procurement World

SPW_FS_100.jpgSmart Procurement World is bringing its regional conference to the Free State.

Partnering with the Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) has enabled Smart Procurement World to take its procurement and supply chain indaba into its fourth South African province.

Since beginning in Gauteng in 2009, Smart Procurement World has extended into the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and, on 19 March 2019, into the Free State.

February 2019 PMI down

Manufacturing_PMI_100.jpgThe seasonally-adjusted Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) declined to 46.2 index points in February 2019, down from 49.9 in January. "Despite the decline, the average recorded during the first two months of Quarter 1 of 2019 is slightly above the average seen in Quarter 4 of 2018", noted the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) in its February report.

Where the world of procurement is heading

SammeliSammalkorpi.jpegHaving more data generated in the last two years than in the history of mankind is an opportunity to recognise how analytics is a source of competitive advantage. Sammeli Sammalkorpi, Co-founder of procurement analytics solutions provider Sievo, shares some key points from a lecture presented at the London Business School.



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