Thinkers360

Kelly Barner

Owner, Managing Director at Buyers Meeting Point, LLC

Boston, MA, United States

11025 Followers

Kelly Barner is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point. She has a unique perspective on procurement from the numerous roles she has held during her 15 years in procurement. Kelly worked for Ahold USA (parent company of grocery chains Stop & Shop, Hannaford, Giant Landover, and more) on their not for resale sourcing team, specializing in systems implementation and hired services category sourcing. She spent three years as the Associate Director of consulting services at Emptoris before it was acquired by IBM in 2011.

Since 2009 she has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point. Buyers Meeting Point provides the procurement industry with an events calendar, blog, active social media network, and podcast, all of which are trusted sources of information for practitioners and solution providers alike. Kelly has several regular columns throughout the industry, and in the summer of 2016 was appointed to become the Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business.

Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College. Kelly has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals: Research, Process, and Resources’ (2014), ‘Procurement at a Crossroads: Career Impacting Insights into a Rapidly Changing Industry’ (2016), and 'Finance Unleashed: Leveraging the CFO for Innovation' (2017). In 2017, Kelly co-founded Palambridge with Phil Ideson (Art of Procurement).

Kelly BarnerPoints
Academic0
Author187
Influencer113
Speaker11
Entrepreneur0
Total311

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Thought Leader Profile

Portfolio Mix

Company Information

Company Type: Individual

Areas of Expertise

Analytics 30.52
Digital Transformation 49.35
Fintech 51.74
Procurement 100
Supply Chain 96.96
Big Data 31.75
AI 32.93
Emerging Technology 31.07
Leadership 31.11
Innovation 30.60
Sustainability 33.04
Digital Disruption 30.31
Management 32.67
Culture 30.28
Customer Experience 33.15
Autonomous Vehicles 31.49
Change Management 32.80
Design Thinking 30.42
Blockchain 30.35
Risk Management 38.75

Industry Experience

Professional Services
Retail

Publications

53 Article/Blogs
The May ISM-New York Report on Business: Nevermind…
Buyers Meeting Point
June 04, 2019
In May, New York City purchasing managers reversed course and gave up all of the gains reported in April.

Current Business Conditions fell from a 12+ year high of 77.3 in April to a 2-year low of 48.6 in May. This is the largest month over month drop reported in May, and it is the first time current conditions have been in contraction since September of 2017 (49.7).

The Six-Month Outlook fell from a 7-month high of 77.8 in April to 56.3 in May.

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Tags: Procurement, Supply Chain

Compliance advice for those who herd cats
Determine
June 04, 2019
We’ve all heard (or used) the expression that managing some group of people is “like managing cats”. For cat people in the reading audience, this requires little explanation. Cats do what they want, when they want, only if they want. The expression wouldn’t have caught on if it weren’t true, which means there are plenty of feline humans out there too. If you’re in procurement, I’m sure you’ve met quite a few of them.

We put a contract in place, and the “cats” buy from someone else. We establish a process, and they do whatever they like. It can be infuriating. But, if we approach our internal cats with the right attitude, they also present us with unique opportunities to improve procurement’s performance, impact and influence.

Here is some advice for those days when you find yourself unavoidably herding cats...

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Tags: Change Management, Procurement, Supply Chain

Concentric Supplier Risk Management
Determine
May 28, 2019
When a supply chain extends across the globe, procurement has to extend the scope of their risk management efforts beyond specific suppliers to include the industry or country that a supplier operates in. Rooting out supplier risk resulting from regulatory non-compliance, child labor law violations or corruption requires proactive monitoring on multiple levels in the supply chain. In order to achieve this expanded view, procurement must move outward in concentric circles; making each supplier the center point, then expanding to include additional relevant sources of risk for further investigation.

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Tags: Procurement, Risk Management, Supply Chain

The April ISM-New York Report on Business: Lofty Long-term Expectations
Buyers Meeting Point
May 02, 2019
Without a doubt, the most interesting finding from this month’s report is the expected revenues index. At 95.0, it is big in every way: highest level ever, highest increase in the report this month, and just plan high in terms of growth indication. I pair it with the increase and high level of the six-month outlook because both look forward to November 2019.

While 61% of this month’s respondents expect business conditions in the New York metro area to be better in six months (including 15% that believe they will be much better), 70% anticipate increased revenues in 6 months. From my perspective this indicates sort of a ‘double optimism’. Not only do these purchasing managers believe conditions overall will improve, they believe their firm will outperform the market as a whole – one that they believe will be generally strong. That goes beyond optimism to become just plain confidence – the kind of confidence that fuels disruptive innovation and competitive advantage in professional services.

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Tags: Procurement, Supply Chain

Savior, Slave or Sidekick: What is your perspective on automation?
ATSC blog
April 29, 2019
Automation has become a ‘catch-all’ term for the use of technology to address a range of tasks and business objectives. Although the whole business world has been swept up in the hype and optimism surrounding automation, the impact within the supply chain profession has been particularly significant, due to the fact that we can benefit from both physical automation (e.g. warehouse robotics, driverless fleets) and software-based automation (e.g. artificial intelligence, robotic process automation).

If we focus specifically on software-based automation, supply chain professionals are advantageously positioned. We have extensive experience leveraging technology to improve operational efficiency and streamline processes. Solutions such as inventory management, supply chain control towers or source to pay platforms have given us firsthand knowledge of how to (and how not to) select, implement and monitor enterprise technology.

Although the automation trend now has us focused on the potential benefits chatbots and smart machines – technologies that seem ‘futuristic’ to say the least – the fact remains that no technology is the answer to all of a company’s problems. If we ask too much of our technology, we risk repeating the mistakes of the past and failing to optimize the automation and meet user expectations.

How we perceive the automation we evaluate and implement has as much to do with its ability to deliver a sustained ROI as the design of the technology itself.

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Tags: AI, Digital Transformation, Procurement

Can the Whole Foods and Amazon Grocery chains exist under the same corporate umbrella?
Determine
April 23, 2019
Amazon recently announced that they will open a “traditional” grocery chain. This is in addition to their 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods and their experimentation with Amazon Go, a fully automated (i.e. cashier-less) convenience store-style market. All three will meet a similar kind of consumer need, just in a different way. This will likely result in the creation of three completely different cost models and profitability rates – not to mention three very different procurement and supply chain operations.

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Tags: Procurement, Supply Chain

When procurement looks in the mirror, what do we see?
Buyers Meeting Point
April 18, 2019
Sometimes a post on social media connects with people such that it takes on a life of its own. That happened this week in the wake of the Ivalua NOW event in Paris.

Philip Ideson recently shared a picture of Duncan Jones from Forrester Research sharing striking statistics about procurement’s self-assessed v. actual maturity:

- Procurement organizations who self-assess as at the beginning of their maturity curve: 4%
- Procurement organizations who are actually at the beginning of their maturity curve: 60%
- Procurement organizations who self-assess as advanced: 65%
- Procurement organizations who are actually advanced: 16%

While it is fair to ask questions about the Forrester methodology and maturity framework that might explain away some of the discrepancy, the fact remains that procurement’s perception of our own maturity is significantly skewed from reality. As a profession, we are significantly overestimating our organizational maturity by a huge margin.

This share gained 30K views, 40 comments, and over 200 likes in a very short time. Some of the most compelling comments centered around four core ideas.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Management, Procurement

How much can procurement change on their own?
Determine
April 02, 2019
Real lasting change requires give and take. If procurement is to make enough change to satisfy even a fraction of the wants and needs listed above, we can’t do it alone. This is probably the largest factor missing from procurement transformation efforts; we are trying to change ourselves in a vacuum.

If our goal is to become more strategic by creating increased shareholder value or contributing to corporate competitive advantage, we need access to shareholders and corporate strategy setters. If we are going to collaborate with suppliers, we need the authority to take a multi-dimensional look at carefully selected spend categories and play a long-term, relationship-oriented game that isn’t tethered to a savings target.

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Tags: Change Management, Digital Transformation, Procurement

The March ISM-New York Report on Business: Reversing Course
Buyers Meeting Point
April 02, 2019
In March, New York City purchasing managers changed direction on every index except one - Expected Revenues.

Current Business Conditions rose from 61.1 in February to reach a 4-month high of 66.9 in March. This brings to an end 6 consecutive months of decreases.

The Six-Month Outlook fell from 71.5 in February to a nearly 10-year low of 53.0 in March (referencing the finding of 50.7 in May of 2009). This month's 18.5 point decrease gives back the 13.2 point increase reported from January to February and then some.

I always think it is difficult to interpret the ISM-New York Report on Business findings, but this month is a serious challenge. There were almost no trends to track with the (nearly) across the board change in direction. Only Expected Revenues was part of a multi-month trend.

So if the March data is somewhat stranded on its own, let’s consider what the different indices reveal about each other.

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Tags: Procurement, Supply Chain

Is Blockchain Ready for the Challenge of Managing Complex Supply Chains?
All Things Supply Chain
March 25, 2019
Blockchain – or distributed ledger technology – is most commonly known for being the technological and intellectual basis of the crypto currency ‘bitcoin’, but it has many other applications as well. ‘Blocks’ on a ‘chain’ are used to store information securely via a peer to peer network. Each block contains identifiers from the blocks that precede it, making the chain difficult to modify or hack, but more importantly, making unsanctioned modifications very hard to conceal. Because the ledger is distributed, living on all machines in the network, no one company or person ‘owns’ the data stored in it. For this reason, blockchain is being studied for its ability to guarantee visibility into multi-enterprise contracts and extended supply chain transactions.

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Tags: Blockchain, Procurement, Supply Chain

Achieving Customer-Centricity by Focusing on the ‘Why’ not the ‘What’
Buyers Meeting Point
March 05, 2019
Seasoned procurement professionals understand the importance of cultural alignment in supplier relationship management - regardless of the category of spend in question. But with so much going on in procurement these days, and in competitive enterprises in general, it can be hard to define the elements of culture that should be used to determine that alignment.

There is one cultural dynamic that will resonate with most procurement organizations: the need for change, or as we frequently put it, transformation. Any organization committed to change, whether they intend to alter current practices and capabilities or add new ones, must partner with organizations that have the same objective. But change for the sake of change gets us nowhere. Understanding why we are making or requesting changes is what makes our decision strategic and optimizes our results.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Design Thinking, Procurement

The Procurement Maturity Curve: Collaboration is Value Creation – Series Summary
Determine
March 05, 2019
When we learn to collaborate with others, trading joint efforts for shared benefits, we not only increase our potential for value creation, we also open the door to new types of value. Nothing worth having is easy to get, and a state of effective collaboration is no exception. In fact, achieving a state of mutually received advantage requires procurement to completely alter some of the ways we’ve worked – and thought – in the past.

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Tags: Change Management, Procurement, Supply Chain

The February ISM-New York Report on Business: Moderate Ups and Downs
Buyers Meeting Point
March 04, 2019
Deciphering this month’s findings is a tricky matter – like reading tea leaves. In this commentary, I share a few stories that I can see some support for in the numbers - in the short term, the longer term, from a purchasing perspective and in the big picture.

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Tags: Procurement, Supply Chain

The Procurement Maturity Curve – Managing Risk Inside & Out – Part 2
Determine
February 26, 2019
It is critical that procurement not think of risk mitigation activities as separate from our other spend management responsibilities. Sourcing, spend analysis, supplier management and contract management should all reflect a keen awareness of risk, especially once procurement has demonstrated the ability to carry these processes out to good effect under internally driven objectives.

Each category of spend should be evaluated for the risk profile it bears both inside and outside of the company. When procurement recognizes that the enterprise is part of a much larger system of players and forces, and accepts the role we can play in managing those dynamics, our work becomes far more complex. Fortunately, this complexity comes with a corresponding increase in potential for value creation and competitive advantage.

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Tags: Supply Chain, Procurement, Risk Management

Are We Focused On The Right Transformation Objectives?
Art of Procurement
February 20, 2019
There is no sense in fighting an uphill battle to transform into a procurement function that does something other than what our executive team has in mind. This is true whether our journey forward follows the path described by other leading procurement organizations or not.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Procurement, Supply Chain

The Procurement Maturity Curve – Managing Risk Inside & Out – Part 1
Determine
February 19, 2019
In the past, we’ve taken a close look at how the procurement maturity curve affects its focus. Two recent posts addressed issues concerning the evolving role of procurement savings, information and technology. In this two-part blog series, we’ll consider supply chain risk in the context of procurement’s maturity. We start by looking at supplier risk and the available methods to monitor and mitigate it. Then we’ll examine internal vs. external sources of risk.

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Tags: Supply Chain, Procurement, Risk Management

Is B2B driving B2C supply chain innovation, or vice versa?
ATSC Blog
February 18, 2019
Every supply chain manager is also an individual consumer, and there can be no doubt that the innovations in one market often alter the demand, offerings and consumer expectations of the other. Despite the fact that we have different priorities and perspectives on our personal spend than we do corporate spend, the rate of idea exchange between the two markets seems to be speeding up, ultimately bringing business and consumer supply chain and logistics closer together.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Procurement, Supply Chain

Combating Leadership Fatigue
Art of Procurement
February 05, 2019
NASCAR doesn’t fill its cars with regular unleaded, and SpaceX doesn’t either. High-performance engines need a specialized kind of fuel to achieve top speed and performance along with advanced maintenance. If you’re moving in the fast lane, you need to do the same for yourself. A little bit of support and self-care can go a long way, increasing your results and your professional satisfaction over the long term.

It isn’t a weakness to admit that being a superstar is taking a toll on you. In fact, it may be the wisest thing you ever do. Make sure you protect yourself before you reach the point of burnout, or worse, ‘walk out’.

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Tags: Change Management, Innovation, Leadership

The January ISM-New York Report on Business: Long Term Growth Without Employment?
Buyers Meeting Point
February 04, 2019
In January, New York City purchasing managers indicated short term decreases in the face of longer term optimism, according to the survey taken by the Institute for Supply Management-New York.

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Tags: Procurement, Supply Chain

The Procurement Maturity Curve, Part 2: Savings — and Value — at Every Stage
Determine
January 17, 2019
Part One of this two-part series on procurement maturity looked at how procurement is (and likely always will be at some level) linked to savings, even as our perspective on those savings changes. But the scope of procurement’s role has expanded. Technology and data are accelerating procurement along the value continuum and expanding our contributions beyond the bottom line. In Part Two, we look at how procurement professionals can leverage tools to increase our organizational effectiveness — and influence.

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Tags: Procurement, Supply Chain

Imagining a World Without (Good) Spend Analysis
SynerTrade
January 17, 2019
Before procurement had spend analysis solutions at our disposal, every question about historical purchasing activity led to unthinkable manual work or a big question mark. Now that we can centralize, cleanse, and normalize data for analysis - often with the assistance of tailor-made automation – many of us have stopped thinking about what life was like without it. But not all spend analysis is up to the task. In fact, having inferior spend analysis can be almost as bad as not having spend analysis at all. Poor spend analysis inflates expectations about the level of visibility we have, and may artificially inflate our confidence about how well we understand the spend we’re working to manage.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Procurement

The Procurement Maturity Curve, Part 1: Savings at Every Stage
Determine
January 15, 2019
After multiple years of transformation (first procurement, then digital), most of us have accepted the idea that we work in a state of perpetual change and self-examination. What are my company’s current practices? What am I doing to advance myself or my team to the next level? How does that compare to what my competition is doing? Isn’t this striving for growth what “procurement maturity” is all about?

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Procurement

The December ISM-NewYork Report on Business: Downward Close to 2018
Buyers Meeting Point
January 03, 2019
I couldn’t help thinking about this month’s survey findings while watching the rain fall down on the New Year’s Eve revelers in Times Square on Monday night. For months, outlook and business conditions remained cautiously optimistic despite fears of global trade disputes. In December, it all finally came crashing down.

If I try to step back and think objectively about what this month’s report teaches us, I see both good news and bad news – despite December’s downturn.

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Tags: Management, Procurement, Supply Chain

Wondering What Your Procurement Contracts are Worth?
Determine
January 03, 2019
It would be easy to calculate the value of a contract by multiplying projected volume, negotiated costs and term. Accuracy notwithstanding, this answer limits the 'value' of the contract to its transactional footprint. Any procurement organization that insists their value transcends savings dollars or spend under management has to be willing to take the same approach when determining total contract value.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Procurement

Additional Commentary on the November ISM-NewYork Report on Business: Outlook Stands Alone
Buyers Meeting Point
December 04, 2018
In November, New York City purchasing managers indicated lower conditions in all indices but two, the Six-Month Outlook and Prices Paid.

Current Business Conditions reached a seven-month low, coming in at 67.8 in November. Current Business Conditions have fallen between 2 and 4 points per month for the last three months.

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Tags: Procurement, Supply Chain

Making the Business Case for Digital Procurement this Budget Season
SynerTrade
December 04, 2018
The days remaining in this fiscal year are slipping away quickly. All across the enterprise, decision makers’ attention is turning to 2019. The start of a new year brings new budgets – along with all their ups and downs. Procurement’s spend management mandate might lead one to expect that we have an inside line on securing funds, but this is not usually the case. Procurement teams have varying levels of visibility and influence during the annual budgeting process – especially when it comes to making the case for investment in our own technology. And an investment in digital procurement can be the difference between ‘getting by’ and ‘getting ahead’.

Procurement teams that have successfully transformed into a strategic and digitally-enabled function have stronger relationships with stakeholders and executive leadership. This is partially because of the increased access to information that transformation provides and partially because of reduced ‘static’ thanks to access to integrated, end-to-end digital procurement.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Procurement, Supply Chain

3 Procurement Software Obstacles to Change
SynerTrade
November 13, 2018
“Hooray! Change!” said absolutely no one ever.

We work in a time of rapid, disruptive change. Today’s innovation is tomorrow’s passé trend, and yesterday’s innovation is… well, who can remember yesterday?



Procurement is often in the driver’s seat for change management efforts, and we must deal with natural resistance to change as well as competition from other enterprise projects. The following obstacles are commonly – and uniquely – faced by procurement teams in the course of rolling out processes and technology...

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Tags: Procurement, Supply Chain

Business Survey Chair Commentary on the October ISM-New York Report on Business: "Hotter Jobs Under Cooler Conditions"
Buyers Meeting Point
November 02, 2018
In October, New York City purchasing managers reported yet another new high level of Employment while indicating lower Current Business Conditions and a lower Six-Month Outlook, according to the survey taken by the Institute for Supply Management-New York.

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Tags: Management, Procurement

Policy or Practice? Supply Chain Risk Management in Reality
All Things Supply Chain Blog
October 29, 2018
It is a scary reality for companies with global raw material supply chains that the data does not always exist to verify the source of the metals they and their suppliers buy. We can invest in supply chain risk management and/or compliance solutions and regularly audit our supply chains, but reliable visibility remains elusive.

This is not just a challenge for small or growing companies. The firms named in the WSJ article include Fortune Global 500 regulars such as Apple, VW, and Samsung. If they cannot keep conflict minerals out of their high visibility supply chains, how can any company hope to?

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Tags: Supply Chain, Procurement, Risk Management

Fleet Innovation - Beyond the Robots
ATSC Blog
October 08, 2018
Driverless fleet vehicles (a.k.a. autonomous trucks) have everyone so excited that you might finish your daily read of news from around the industry and think it is the only promising area of innovation in logistics. While fully autonomous fleets probably won’t become mainstream for a few years (at least!), there are plenty of other potentially disruptive advancements being rolled out right now – and not a single one of them involves robots.

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Tags: Autonomous Vehicles, Innovation, Supply Chain

Comparing the Merits of Digital and Electronic Invoicing
SynerTrade
October 04, 2018
If digital and electronic invoicing sound like the same thing to you, you’re not alone. Can an invoice be one and not the other? Absolutely.

With all of the hype surrounding digital (i.e. digitalization, digitization, digital transformation), it seems like the optimal form for invoicing. And yet, it has its limits. A PDF is digital, as is a Word document, a photograph and even a freeform text file. Digital just means that information is stored in ‘soft’ copy rather than on paper. And while an e-mailable soft copy is worlds better than a piece of paper, it doesn’t necessarily leverage the speed, efficiency, or effort-reducing capabilities of computing. Taking a picture of a paper invoice technically makes it digital, but that doesn’t make the data in that invoice accessible to most software programs.

The alternative to a digital invoice is an electronic invoice. Rather than being scans or images of invoice information, electronic invoices contain data directly in a file and, more importantly, in a format that can be accessed and interpreted by software. Electronic invoices change the playing field for companies looking to invest in either invoice automation or the automaton of the end-to-end P2P process, but they aren’t always the friendliest or most convenient format for the humans involved in the invoicing process.

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Tags: Innovation, Procurement

The September ISM-New York Report on Business: Help Wanted! Employment reaches a new all-time high
Buyers Meeting Point
October 02, 2018
In September, New York City purchasing managers reported the highest Employment number on record, according to the survey taken by the Institute for Supply Management-New York. Current Business Conditions were at 72.5 in September, a 4 point drop from the 12-year high of 76.5 in August. There are two really significant findings in this month’s report: employment and quantity. Both are interesting from an economics perspective, but you have to view them through a procurement lens to get the full color.

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Tags: Management, Procurement

Elements of a Diversified #Procurement Technology #ROI - Tracking the Value of Time, Efficiency and Risk Management
SynerTrade
September 06, 2018
When procurement is looking to select and implement new or replace Source to pay software, our focus is often on gathering requirements and comparing qualified alternatives. But we can’t view ourselves as the only stakeholders for the effort.

One of the earliest hurdles we must often get past is delivering a business case that documents the ROI corporate leadership can expect to see from the implementation.

Sure – there’s always savings, and no procurement technology ROI calculation would be complete without that element, but in an environment where every function, team, and individual is looked at to deliver ‘more’, a savings-only ROI may seem one dimensional.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Procurement, Risk Management

A Dose of Our Own Medicine: Improving Procurement Technology Selection and Implementation
Buyers Meeting Point
September 06, 2018
Working with a third party that specializes in selecting and implementing procurement technology offers a number of advantages, not the least of which is driving business outcomes. While completing a project on time and on budget are important considerations, the implications of prioritizing them over finding the right solution are significant – and long lasting. Although many procurement organizations have one or more IT category managers on staff, they rarely possess current expertise focused on procurement technology because their attention and effort are required elsewhere (like managing categories relevant to the business).

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Tags: Culture, Digital Transformation, Procurement

The August ISM-New York Report on Business: Nowhere to go but down... except up
Buyers Meeting Point
September 05, 2018
In August, New York City purchasing managers reported significant highs in Current Business Conditions and Current and Expected Revenues. Current Business Conditions were at 76.5, a new 12 year high over the 75.0 seen in July, but still failing to surpass the 77.1 reported in November of 2006.

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Tags: Procurement, Supply Chain

AI Needs Us More than We Need It – For Now
ATSC Blog
September 03, 2018
Imaginative business leaders dream of applying AI to spend data analytics, achieving full supply chain transparency, and deftly automating internal buyer support. While these remain on the table as potential applications for AI in procurement and supply chain, AI is being held back like many of the other enterprise technologies we implemented with equally lofty goals.

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Tags: AI, Procurement, Supply Chain

Evading the Strategy Trap in Pursuit of Procurement Agility
Determine
August 22, 2018
Procurement’s desire to be agile is as well-documented and frequently discussed as our interest in transformation. In both cases, however, we are at risk of falling into the ‘strategy trap’ – the lack of clarity, direction and actionability that accompany all things non-tactical.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Leadership, Procurement

Survey Chair Commentary: The July 2018 ISM-New York Report on Business
Buyers Meeting Point
August 02, 2018
The findings in this month’s survey are nothing short remarkable. Not only do we have a number of milestone index levels, they are high across the board. This is the only time that all of these indices have been collected (current and expected revenues have only been collected since February of 2012) and that they have all been above 60. Keep in mind, too, that we closed the survey for July on Friday the 27th – the day that the Q2 2018 GDP of 4.1% was announced – meaning that all of the optimism associated with that day did not meaningfully affect this month’s results.

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Tags: Procurement

The Private Company Paradox
Procurious
August 02, 2018
Many procurement teams have been tasked with diversifying the supply base. This often means partnering with small, diverse, or locally-sourced suppliers.

One challenge that arises is that many of the companies that qualify for such programs are privately owned. The lack of information that usually accompanies private ownership is at odds with procurement’s transparent supplier evaluation frameworks. Add to this the fact that participating in an RFP process just to be ‘diversity fodder’ is onerous and potentially even harmful to small businesses, and we’re left with a paradox:

How can procurement stay true to our mandate while also finding mutually beneficial opportunities for small and diverse businesses?

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Tags: Innovation, Procurement, Sustainability

Advantages of Having the Right End-to-End Procurement Software Solution in Place
SynerTrade
July 26, 2018
The value of working with one company, on one platform, for all procurement technology needs can be measured through ease of use, user adoption, and functionality. The advantage of taking a platform approach – with the right platform and partner – is that the results and intelligence derived from using the system are as expansive as the automation, user groups, and processes it encompasses.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Procurement, Supply Chain

Procurement steps up its game
Determine
July 24, 2018
In this, the third of our four-part blog series for the release of CPO Rising 2018: The Age of Intelligence, Kelly Barner of Buyers Meeting Point delves into the myriad facets of Procurement Performance in Chapter Three. There’s no debate that the importance and influence of procurement is on the rise across industries, but the question is, are procurement’s metrics – like spend under management – truly representative of those accomplishments?

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Tags: Analytics, Procurement

Making the Case for Libertarian Procurement
Procurious
July 10, 2018
Technology and consumer expectations have advanced to the point where we can consider the possibilities of ‘Libertarian’ procurement, an approach to spend management and compliance that nods to the free will of buyers whenever possible, even if it means giving up some of the ‘control’ traditionally associated with spend management.

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Tags: Procurement

Survey Chair Commentary: The June ISM-New York Report on Business
Buyers Meeting Point
July 03, 2018
In June, New York City purchasing managers indicated a solid end to the second quarter in the form of strong forward-looking business conditions and employment. At the highest level, this month’s findings were almost ‘directionally ideal’. What do I mean by that? Anything that we would want to see go up (current business conditions and employment) goes up and prices paid goes down.

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Tags: Procurement

Common Misconceptions About the Summer Supply Chain
All Things Supply Chain Blog
June 25, 2018
Freight is considered a leading indicator for the economy, and for good reason: goods have to be in place (or at least in distribution centers) before they can travel the final mile and be sold or delivered. This means that while many of us are ramping down for a few months, logistics activity is heating up along with the weather.

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Tags: Supply Chain

Survey Chair Commentary: The May ISM-New York Report on Business
Buyers Meeting Point
June 04, 2018
The May ISM-New York Report on Business was released on June 4th at 9:45am Eastern. This post reviews the report's actual findings as well as an interpretation of their meaning.

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Tags: Procurement

The Story Behind the Numbers: The April 2018 ISM-New York Report on Business
linkedin
May 02, 2018

Current Business Conditions were at 64.3 in April, reaching the highest level since January when they reached an eleven plus year high of 72.5. The Six-Month Outlook fell to 58.4 in April. With the exception of the small increase we reported in March, the six-month outlook has declined every month since December 2017.

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Tags: Procurement, Management

The Story Behind the Numbers: The February ISM-New York Report on Business
linkedin
March 02, 2018
The February ISM-New York Report on Business was released on March 2nd at 9:45am Eastern and is available for download on the ISM-New York site. You can also hear my podcast commentary on BMP Radio, part of the Art of Procurement Network.

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Tags: Procurement, Management

The Story Behind the Numbers of the January ISM-New York Report on Business: Optimism Today, Optimism Tomorrow
linkedin
February 02, 2018
Current Business Conditions were at 72.5 in January, up almost 20 points from December. This marks the highest level reported since November of 2006 when current business conditions were at 77.1. At that time, the Six-Month Outlook was also in growth territory at 73.0, but it was lower than what we are seeing this month.

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Tags: Procurement, Management

Call for input: Preserving Trust and Respect in Negotiations
linkedin
September 21, 2017
Mark Bilgin, career negotiator and the author of Mastering High Stakes Negotiations (2017), and I will be doing a regular podcast series – one that we’re looking for community input on. Our first discussion (next week) will be focused on the importance of trust and respect in negotiation: how to foster them and signs that they are missing.

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Tags: Procurement, Management

Help! My webinar topic sounds boring!
linkedin
January 24, 2017
This content was originally featured on the Webinara blog.

One of the things we have talked and written about at length here at Webinara is the importance of having a compelling topic for your event. That topic is what will get people’s attention when you want them to register. It will give them the incentive to show up for the live event. Lastly, it will ensure that you hold their attention while you share your content.

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Tags: Procurement, Management

Capt. Sully Sullenberger on Crisis Leadership (Revisited)
Buyers Meeting Point
September 15, 2016
January 15, 2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of the "Miracle on the Hudson". I’m as struck by his leadership now as I was then. While he is first and foremost talking about teamwork and leadership, he also teaches us about the tradeoffs of cost and risk, preparation and prevention.

My original focus was on the line about a “false dichotomy between cost and safety” but today the idea that “safety can pay for itself” stands out. After all, procurement organizations today are looking to stretch their influence beyond savings. Could a strategic, value driven approach to managing the supply chain have enough of an operational impact on the company that it would outweigh the direct bottom line impact from traditional savings? That is a question that each team will have to answer for themselves and their unique circumstances.

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Tags: Culture, Leadership, Procurement

How Procurement Saved the American Revolution
Buyers Meeting Point
July 04, 2014
As we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July in the United States, we have a lot to be grateful for. We are grateful for the simple things like peak of summer traditions: fireworks, grilling, and parades. We are also grateful that in the many years since the Declaration of Independence was signed our relationship with Britain has improved. We’d be awfully sorry not to be able to work with our British colleagues and partners.

All that being said, is the 4th of July a reason to be grateful for procurement? Absolutely. Procurement played more of a role in the American Revolutionary War than most people probably realize.

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Tags: Leadership, Procurement, Supply Chain

How Procurement Saved the American Revolution
Buyers Meeting Point
July 04, 2014
As we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July in the United States, we have a lot to be grateful for. We are grateful for the simple things like peak of summer traditions: fireworks, grilling, and parades. We are also grateful that in the many years since the Declaration of Independence was signed our relationship with Britain has improved. We’d be awfully sorry not to be able to work with our British colleagues and partners.

All that being said, is the 4th of July a reason to be grateful for procurement? Absolutely. Procurement played more of a role in the American Revolutionary War than most people probably realize.

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Tags: Leadership, Procurement, Supply Chain

3 Books
Finance Unleashed
Palgrave Macmillan
October 27, 2017
Finance Unleashed is based on a series of interactive interviews with a diverse group of global influencers and executives, all of which will challenge readers to think laterally and find inspiration in the new role of finance. Cases and interviewees represent organizations such as UPS and DHL, and the London School of Economics, and approaches such as Lean Six Sigma, innovation, customer-centricity, the financial supply chain, and behavioral procurement. The authors’ goal is to serve as a catalyst for leaders who are positioned to make meaningful changes today.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Fintech, Supply Chain

Procurement at a Crossroads
J. Ross
January 01, 2016
This book examines the 10 major questions regarding procurement’s role in the enterprise and how procurement is at a crossroads that will shape the future of the profession. The goal of this book is not to provide step-by-step directions on a hypothetical ‘correct’ path, but to illuminate the relative benefits of each choice available to procurement professionals. These thought leaders and subject matter experts also consider what the next phase of procurement’s evolution will be like by sharing the observations of others and taking some creative (but enthusiastic) license of their own.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Supply Chain, Procurement

Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals
J. Ross
November 02, 2015
This book provides procurement professionals with the process, skills, and resources to develop a supply market intelligence program that will deliver value to the organization as a whole. The authors clearly explain each of the concepts introduced and then provide the background and steps required to make execution possible.

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Tags: Supply Chain, Procurement

1 Media Interview
On Earth Day, Digital Networks Turning Global Commerce a Brighter Shade of Green
SAP Ariba
April 19, 2019
By opening up transparency among the millions of buyers and suppliers who engage in commerce every day, digital networks enable trading partners to gauge each other’s adherence to Earth-friendly standards in their business operations.

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Tags: Procurement, Supply Chain, Sustainability

2 Panels
The 5 Most Expensive Mistakes AP Can Make – And How To Avoid Them
Tradeshift
August 16, 2018
The number one goal of any AP team – ensure that the company gets the most out of every dollar spent. The number one goal for strategic AP teams – become a driving force for positive cash flow. So what happens when the AP team makes a really expensive mistake? How long would it take for you to realize you had made one, and how much would it cost the business?

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Tags: Digital Disruption, Management, Procurement

Automation Deployment And Change Management Best Practices
Zycus
June 19, 2018
In the past, eInvoicing and eProcurement solutions were an adjunct component of large back-end ERP platforms. As a result, the functionality regarding their practical use in the real world was limited and even restricted. In other words, technological limitations created a misalignment between the way that the ERP systems worked and the way global buying decisions were made. To address this disconnect, change management strategies were introduced to force compliance with these technologies. These strategies included a concerted effort to eliminate maverick spend and rationalize supply bases.

Fast forward to today, and what Gartner has called the Postmodern ERP Era. With the emergence of on-demand or “by the drink” solutions that can be implemented within weeks if not days as opposed to months and years, compliance with these “user intuitive” systems is no longer an issue. This transformation raises the question; is change management as we know it from Finance and Procure-To-Pay standpoints still relevant in the digital era?

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Tags: Fintech, Procurement, Change Management

2 Podcasts
Technology Alone Is Still Not A Silver Bullet For Transformation
Art of Procurement
March 25, 2019
In this episode, AOP Host Philip Ideson and Kelly Barner (AOP Content Director and Owner of Buyers Meeting Point) discuss their major takeaways from March’s news, industry topics and podcast interviews.

In March, Louis Bastone (Indirect Category Manager at ASML) talked about making the move into procurement from another function or later in one’s professional career. Sammeli Sammalkorpi (co-founder of Sievo) provided some grounded advice about AI, making clear that if we want it to generate real results, we have to apply it wisely. Finally, David Loseby (author, Soft Skills for Hard Business) reminded us that as long as people are still at the heart of the business, we need to be aware of our choice of language, their perspective on decisions, and the impact of small decisions compounded over time.

Don’t miss out on upcoming opportunities to connect with us in person at ProcureCon, Ivalua NOW, Ariba Live and the upcoming SIG Summit. We also have two AOP Live sessions scheduled in April, one with Kris Koneru at Infosys and one with Anthony Clervi at UNA. Make sure you are subscribed to our mailing list to receive notice once those events are open for registration.

This month’s discussion topic comes from a Harvard Business Review Article: ‘Digital Transformation is Not About Technology’. It reminds us that our technology may have changed, but implementation and adoption challenges remain the same – especially for organizations that are trying to significantly change and improve their operational capabilities.

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Tags: Change Management, Digital Transformation, Procurement

Insider's View: Procurement Transformation - Episode 2: Why Procurement Leaders Need to Speak Up
SAPAriba
March 06, 2019
Kelly Barner, owner and managing director of Buyers Meeting Point, shares why it’s essential that procurement leadership leverage their influence to achieve successful procurement transformations.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Management, Procurement

3 Speaking Engagements
Aligning Intent And Investment To Build (The Right) Procurement Capabilities
Art of Procurement
February 25, 2019
In this episode, AOP Host Philip Ideson and Kelly Barner (AOP Content Director and Owner of Buyers Meeting Point) discuss their major take-aways from February’s news, industry topics and podcast interviews.

In February, Andrew Daley (Edbury Daley) described the importance of conquering risk aversion when we scope out and fill open positions. Jens Hentschel (FIVIS Partnership) reminded us of the danger of “toiling away” at a tactical level while missing the big picture. Finally, Matt Clark (Corcentric) described the positioning challenges being faced by accounts payable organizations as well as the company’s recent acquisitions: Source One Management Services and Determine.

Don’t miss out on upcoming opportunities to connect with us in person at ProcureCon and Ariba Live, or the latest on the AOP Live schedule – including the free download on Building a Procurement AI Game Plan based on February’s session with Sievo.

This month’s discussion topic was driven by the findings of The Hackett Group’s 2019 CPO Agenda Report: Building Next-Generation Capabilities. The existing gaps between what procurement believes is important from a skills development perspective and what the enterprise values (and why) may be a quick read, but it deserves a lot of thought.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Leadership, Procurement

SIL Podcast: High-Stakes Procurement w/ Kelly Barner
Art of Procurement: SIL Podcast
July 19, 2018
Kelly’s advice to procurement professionals is to stop asking for permission and do whatever it takes to meet business objectives by looking at the long-term, larger picture. When procurement is involved in creating those strategic relationships across the organization, it can drive innovation that leads to cost savings and long-term value.

Key Takeaways:
- Procurement professionals should look at challenges and stumbling blocks as opportunities to save money and increase value.
- To get results and show procurement’s value to the organization, procurement needs to stop asking for permission. If it ruffles some feathers, that’s okay.
- The best kind of procurement talent are those individuals who can handle friction, challenge the status quo and readjust their strategies with agility.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Procurement, Supply Chain

Negotiating for the Unknown: Buying Emerging Technologies
Art of Procurement Podcast Network
June 21, 2018
For enterprises and procurement organizations piloting or evaluating emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, and RPA, there is very little to go on when preparing for a meeting with an AI vendor.

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Tags: AI, Emerging Technology, Procurement

2 Whitepapers
The Procurement AI Gameplan Workbook
Art of Procurement
March 11, 2019
There are an increasing number of examples of how AI and machine learning add value in procurement. They include spend classification, capturing supplier information from public sources, and parsing the key terms from lengthy, complex contract documents. Automation can be implemented as a pilot project or an enterprise-wide effort, and it can improve legacy processes as well as parts of the business that have been deliberately re-worked to leverage the unique advantages of AI.

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Tags: AI, Digital Transformation, Procurement

Boosting Supplier Performance with 360° Information
SynreTrade
July 16, 2018
What a company wants from each supplier varies widely by industry and spend category, with one exception: transparency. Procurement (and the internal stakeholders they support) are always on the lookout for opportunities to increase supply chain visibility.

In this paper we will consider the impact that building an actionable 360° picture of supplier performance has on the long term success of third party relationships by combining:
- Supplier onboarding
- Profile enrichment
- Performance scorecarding

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Tags: Big Data, Digital Transformation, Procurement

Blog

2 Article/Blogs
ATMs Provide a Cautionary Counterweight to Digital Transformation Optimism
Thinkers360
April 27, 2019
In the March/April Harvard Business Review there is a fantastic article on Operational Transparency by Ryan W. Buell. His research shows that when customers don’t have a clear understanding of the effort and expertise required to complete a task, they assign less value to it and customer satisfaction suffers.

Buell illustrates his point with the adoption of ATMs. When first introduced in the late 1960s, ATMs were successful beyond banks’ wildest expectations. Customers loved the 24/7 access to funds and banks loved the decrease in staffing costs. But the news wasn’t all good. As Buell writes:

“When customers use ATMs more and tellers less, their overall level of satisfaction with their bank goes down. It turns out that when consumers can’t see the work that’s being done to serve them, their perception is that less effort went into delivering the service, so they don’t appreciate or value it as much.”

I believe this offers a critical consideration for procurement organizations pushing full steam ahead with digital transformation. Transformation almost always implies automation, with overall accuracy and improved buyer empowerment being the goals. But perceptions can be hard to control, regardless of the intent. Buell’s research serves as a counterweight to digital optimism, and reminds us that as automation lifts the weight of any given effort, we have to ensure the user understanding required to ensure the same level of value assignment and satisfaction.

So how will procurement ensure that our value assignment (something that we might already say is in question) survives digital transformation?

Option #1: Increase visibility and understanding through face to face effort and proactive involvement in stakeholder projects. Like the tellers that remain in banks, procurement has the opportunity to engage on a strategic basis to address complex needs and high risk supply chains.

Option #2: Emphasize the collection, validation and COMMUNICATION of performance metrics. If procurement is able to increase measured performance, then we can show value. The catch is that if colleagues don’t trust the numbers, or even worse, don’t know about the metrics, they won’t do us any good.

Digital transformation presents a huge opportunity for procurement to increase value, efficiency and performance, but we must be aware of perceived value loss. Any transformation planning effort must address this risk and outline steps to mitigate it.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Digital Transformation, Procurement

To Maximize Employee Engagement, We Must First Define It
Thinkers360
March 25, 2019

In the March 23rd Wall Street Journal, Sam Walker had a fascinating piece about the connections between effective middle managers and the performance of the company as a whole: “One Fix for All That’s Wrong: Better Managers”. Walker cites Gallup research which found that good middle-level managers account for 70% of the difference between high and low productivity companies. “In other words,” Walker writes, “if it’s a superior team you’re after, hiring the right manager is 70% of the battle.”

One reason for this difference is what Gallup defines as ‘employee engagement’, or how employees feel about their jobs and the work they do. Engagement is characterized as an emotional measure rather than as a set of actions. It has to do with fulfillment, and a sense that the company values each person and what they are capable of.

While many companies track audience/customer/prospect engagement as measured by clicks, views, reads, listens, downloads, likes, shares, etc., Gallup takes a much softer point of view – but it may be far more meaningful. Engagement isn’t an action at all. It is a feeling. If there is one thing we know about social media, it is that what people do often has very little to do with how the content makes them feel. Too often they haven’t even read it.

Anyone driven by metrics can easily fall into the trap of prioritizing activities that can be measured, whether they have any meaning or not.

If Gallup’s study is right, and employees engage in response to (a.) good middle managers and (b.) corporate investment in professional development, then procurement organizations have a lot of ground to make up. We have to invest in our teams and feelings of satisfaction. This will require real leadership. If we don’t care about our work, we can’t generate good results.

People are a competitive differentiator. When we view engagement as an intangible upside that companies desperately need to create customer and shareholder value, we have to position it as equally important to procurement as savings.

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Tags: Management, Procurement, Supply Chain

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Kelly Barner