Supply chain talent management remains a priority at Lenovo

Supply Chain View from the Field

I recently interviewed John Zapko at Lenovo, who talked to me about some of the issues Lenovo is facing globally around supply chain talent management. As we drive in this complex world, having that level of talent is really critical for us, and it is clearly the biggest challenge we have. How do you create talent and why is it so important in a complex world? Why is talent so important in procurement as you work these issues?

Five Predictions (About Prediction) that Every Procurement Professional Should Consider

Supply Chain View from the Field

As part of the conference, I’m delivering a talk on five predictions that every procurement professional should consider. These aren’t so much “predictions”, as opportunities that procurement professionals should become aware of, and educate themselves on. Most spend management looks at historical spending – which is interesting, but doesn’t tell you where the puck is going!


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Future of Procurement Study Available

Supply Chain View from the Field

I recently completed a study of 25 CPO’s, each providing their view of what procurement will look like in 2025. Procurement has a history that is linked in the core concepts of centralization, volume leveraging, and cost reduction. The earliest traces of this can be linked to materials management. i] By 1866, the Pennsylvania Railroad had given the purchasing function departmental status, under the title of Supplying Department.

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Review of “Procurement Value Proposition” misses the point…ISO “Mr. Impossible”!

Supply Chain View from the Field

A recent review by Peter Smith of my new book , “The Procurement Value Proposition”, co-authored with Gerard Chick, provides some solid support for the message Gerard and I were seeking to develop. In his review, Peter calls our work “an impressive book”, with its key theme being “the message of value as the central proposition and driver for procurement activity, rather than cost savings or transactional execution.”

Procurement needs to follow in the steps of marketing

Supply Chain View from the Field

A recent interview I conducted with a former Chief Procurement Officer who has worked for over 25 years in procurement in various industries captures what I believe is the true opportunity that exists for supply management executives. “The space occupied by procurement is not well understood by the CEO or the CFO in most companies, and in many cases is not well understood by the CPO themselves!

“Procurement at a Crossroads”: Spot On and Makes You Think


I had a chance to review the new book by Jim Hansen and Kelly Barner, “ Procurement at a Crossroads “, which explores the many changes that the profession is facing, and challenges individuals to do things differently. (I The authors do a great job of exploring what change in procurement consists of, and how it is likely to unfold in the next five years. The authors also go through and explore a number of other procurement issues that are often debated.

Interview: Get ready for Supply Chain Outlook conference!

Supply Chain View from the Field

The Supply Chain Management Review, one of the leading practitioner journals in the field of supply chain, is hosting their first ever conference in November at the Rosemount Hilton at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. The conference, titled Supply Chain Outlook promises to be an exciting event, with many leading speakers and academics attending. It’s the golden age of procurement – so take advantage of the opportunities!

Insights From Procurement Leaders Conference Part 1 – Making HR Your Friend!

Supply Chain View from the Field

master of ceremonies”) for the Procurement Leaders Forum in the heart of Boston at Sixty State Street. There were hundreds of brilliant individuals in the room and in the space of two minutes, I had run into two fellow Wolfpackers: the Chief Procurement Officer of DeutscheBank, Ken Litton (an NC State engineer) as well as one of my former NC State research assistants, Chandra Kujinthapam, who now works as a supply manager at RJ Reynolds.

Winning Student Posters Focus on Visibility, Total Cost of Ownership, and Procurement Processes

Supply Chain View from the Field

John Deere – Supply Chain Visibility – MBA Team: Jessica Newsome, Nithin Seshandri, Delia Smith, Bo Zhang – Project Sponsor: Mark Burton, John Deere. Bayer Crop Science – Internal Procurement Audit – Undergraduate Team: Hamilton Brewer, Emily Ciriano, Scott Gray. Strategic Sourcing Manager – Tires, Wheels, and Mounting Systems. John Deere World Headquarters – Enterprise Supply Management.

Procurement Leaders Blog Post: Cross-Functional Teaming is Easier Said Then Done


Continuing my reporting of the Procurement Leaders meeting in Miami, I sat in on a very interesting session that included three professionals from very different walks of life: Captain Harry Thetford – Defense Logistics Agency. In particular, management will often say “Oh yeah – we use cross-functional teams.” Procurement is their own organization and often doesn’t see the need for going to team meetings, and if you don’t show up, people don’t take you seriously.

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Interview on Buyer’s Meeting Point BlogTalk Radio: Creating Procurement Value is a Lot of Work!


We talked about how procurement needs to think about the five core “game changers” that are going on in the world, including the balance of power, technology, globalization, demographics, and sustainability. The issue around managing people was a strong theme – as was the need to think about adopting analytics into the core abilities that help build a business case that allows people to influence and drive change within their stakeholder community.

For supply chain managers to become a trusted advisor, talent management is key

Supply Chain View from the Field

A CPO in the financial services industry also noted that a need to redefine procurement’s role in the enterprise is happening, driven by the recognition that a new type of procurement capability is needed: Prior to our transformation, the ONLY metric by which our performance was measured is how much money we saved for the organization. Despite hitting home runs on our savings targets, procurement had higher attrition and mixed customer feedback.

A “Swiss Army Knife” of Supply Chain Talent Requirements: Views from a Former Wolfpack Student


He started in supply planning, overseeing over $100M of spend in batteries and other categories. Marsh did not have centralized approach to supply chain management. But because of their less mature supply chain organization, the net income percentage was in the low single digits. Stuart discussed the need for a supply chain Swiss Army knife skill set.

SCM is smoking hot!….Why students should consider NC State for a supply chain major.


An article published in the Wall Street Journal identifies what I have been saying for years now… Supply chain talent is a hot commodity! Many of the skills that we’ve identified in prior posts on this site have discussed the key skills and knowledge that recruiters are looking for in supply chain students. In fact, Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook, came directly out of their supply chain organization.

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MBA Supply Management Class Prepares Exciting New Set of Projects for Fall 2016


As in past years, we have been collecting these projects from our partner companies, and they reflect the on-going set of strategic challenges faced by these organizations as they work on building their supply chain capabilities. Benchmarking Supply Management salaries : Understand what the ‘going rate’ is for key roles in Supply Management, so it can better develop its ‘employee value proposition’ to more effectively attract, develop and retain key staff.

Supply Chain Predictions for 2018: Real-Time, Innovation, Cognitive, Blockchain, Industry-Academic Partnerships, and Taking a Stand!


I had an opportunity to work on a number of exciting projects this past year, and in the process, spent a lot of time talking about digital supply chains with a lot of really informed people. Here are a few of the big stories that I wrote about this past year that I believe define some of the big shifts in the supply chain ecosystem we witnessed in 2017, and the predictions for 2018.