Sunday, July 12, 2020

Transforming Courses Story- Use Boiler Plates

Transforming Courses Story- Use Boiler Plates

          A very bureaucratic purchasing department wanted to transform themselves into the latest supply management concept. There were over two hundred purchasing professionals throughout the company that needed to be trained in the new strategy and concepts.

          Since training was basically non-existent an As Is process map was not a Kaizen tool option. A team of purchasing department heads decided to meet and try to design a To Be course curriculum for the new strategy and concepts. After many long hours of meeting a consensus could not be reached on many of the courses to offer. Disagreement of certain aspects was strong.

          Luckily I discovered a roadmap of courses that were recommended by the Institute of Supply Management and broke the impasse. We basically boiler plated their courses into our To Be process map.  This is a good tactic to use especially when consensus cannot be reached.


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Saturday, July 11, 2020

General Meeting Ground Rules to consider

General Kaizen Meeting Ground Rules to Consider
·        Be respectful and polite.
·        Raise hands - stay in order except for: point of clarification or point of process
·        Don’t interrupt a speaker
·        Stay on subject
·        Be concise, don’t repeat others
·        Be respectful, Be polite.
·        Everyone participates
·        Start and finish on time
·        One conversation at a time
·        Silence is agreement
·        Different opinions are welcome
·        Challenge ideas, not individuals
·        Disagree in private; unite in public
·        Do what you say you'll do
·        Treat everyone with courtesy and respect
·        Listen actively- respect others when they are talking
·        Listen to others with an open mind
·        One person speaks at a time- no cross talk
·        Be aware of your own and other’s participation-step up and step back!
·        Share your own experiences and opinions with “I” statements, rather than generalizing with “We” or “They” comments
·        Respectfully challenge an idea, not a person
·        Respect the groups’ time and keep comments brief and to the point

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Friday, July 10, 2020

How to Source Office Supplies and Dense-Pack Sourcing

How to Source Office Supplies and Dense-Pack Sourcing
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Best practices for Office Supplies are many and varied. They greatly depend on what the customer wants or the Voice of the Customer (VOC). Once I was tasked with completing an office-supplies sourcing search for a client in a major western state city at their headquarters, which housed approximately 5,000 employees downtown. I had much previous experience completing four strategic sources of office supplies, so I had a fairly good idea of the competency of the suppliers and their pricing structures.  I knew which additional total-cost-of-ownership practices to ask for, such as desktop delivery, consolidated billing, and electronic catalogues. It was an exceptional situation for a supplier, because it was one delivery spot for major sales volume. Composing the request for a quote was straightforward, and I used many of the requirements that I had previously used in sourcing requests. My client was eager to get the sourcing process underway and completed quickly.

However, I soon discovered that there were three other large companies in the same city block housing an additional 15, 000 employees (20,000 total). I saw an opportunity to pool our volumes and presented a proposal to my client. I had shared our expected price reduction and other savings with them prior to the engagement. Now I proposed to the client to construct a request for quote for all of us for office supplies, thus providing even more leverage. I named it the “dense-pack” approach because, once again, the winning supplier would have concentrated deliveries in a close area, which would significantly reduce the winning supplier’s transportation costs. The purchasing managers were skeptical at first, but luckily none of the other companies were direct competitors.

The hardest part of this approach was next: convincing the other three companies of the merits of this approach. I recommended that they each set up steering committees to choose what services they desired. We sort of used a cafeteria approach where each company selected the service they desired. Fortunately, all of them were familiar with supply management and strategic sourcing. I had to show the expected savings and get them to agree to at least some common total-cost-of-ownership reduction items. Gathering the usage data was another challenge, but we believed that we had fairly accurate volume data when we went out with the request for a quote. Getting agreement to go with the winning quote was not as difficult as I had anticipated, and all four companies had two representatives on the sourcing team. Each company agreed to select their specific supplier services that they valued and asked the suppliers to demonstrate their capability and client references.

The results were fairly astounding, and we doubled the expected price savings. The winning supplier then offered a cafeteria menu of total-cost-of-ownership savings and enhancements that each customer could select. In addition most of the companies “piggybacked” with the office supplies supplier on other services like document management (copiers), personal computer supplies etc. It also led to standardization of the office supplies used which further reduced prices.

In summary, we clearly understood the market, the pricing structure and the services offered. The biggest challenge, as usual, was getting customer buy-in and consensus. 

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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Market Your Purchasing Successes with the Use of Storyboards

Market Your Purchasing Successes with the Use of Storyboards
By Tom DePaoli

Purchasing professionals need to realize that they must not only market their purchasing strategies but their successes. Many purchasing professionals neglect to create a marketing plan for their organization. I use the term marketing plan synonymously with communication plan.
Some of the goals and techniques of your marketing-communication plan should be to educate top management on your strategic plans, publish results of supplier performance and surveys, publish internal customer survey results, educate personnel on purchasing and supply chain principles, emails, hold round-tables, hold town meetings, use social media, utilize newsletters, use a supply chain specific web page, monthly letters, and announcement of successes.

Storyboards are a great way to market your successes. Storyboards require you to be disciplined in your message and fully understand your results and assertions. You must limit your words and concentrate on the essentials. Thus you must communicate explicitly and right to the point for your audience. You need to strip away the technical argot and make sure the audience can easily grasp what you have accomplished, even with a very limited knowledge of purchasing.
Storyboards should adhere to a lean principle of visibility. Storyboards must be understood quickly with the maximum use of graphics, not words, spreadsheets or numbers. This is not an easy task, as a consultant we would often spent hours and days trying to accomplish this with a storyboard. Obviously purchasing often does not have the talent (full-time illustrator) or resources to do this meticulously, but this is intended to be a guide. 
There is no one catch-all formula or template for storyboards. Often how you employ them and your particular style depends on the culture and communication norms of your organization. The important aspect is to make sure that you communicate your successes in a manner that can be readily understood by both purchasing and non-purchasing personnel. Think of storyboards as intelligent commercials that must be brief, easily remembered and upbeat.

I have provided an example of a storyboard that we used to communicate a purchase order success story. The organization that it was used in was very heavily into Lean Six Sigma, Kaizens and the DMAIC methodology (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control). We used this familiar DMAIC format to help people understand and follow what we did. It still has too many words and numbers but we needed to ensure people realized the scope of what we had accomplished. The storyboard was well received and readily understood by employees. I highly recommend purchasing and supply chain professionals consider using storyboards to communicate your successes.

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