E-auctions: when (not) to use them… and dirty tactics to look out for!

A recent article in Procurement Leaders magazine, “Are e-auctions all they are cracked up to be?”, concludes “by taking the personal touch out of the bidding process, you’re losing the opportunity to leverage your face-to-face skills to get really [to] know a potential supplier.” The article seems to be founded on the premise that e-auctions (reverse auctions) might typically be run in circumstances where buyer-supplier relationships are important.

I have been a long-standing critic of indiscriminate use of procurement e-auctions. Reverse auctions do have an important place in the procurement toolkit but are often misused. So, what constitutes misuse?  What can go wrong? And when is it appropriate to use reverse auctions? Continue reading

Lean vs Agile Supply Chain… or can we have both?

This blog is inspired by Rudi Verheyden who posted a question “Does Supply Chain LEANness mean that the Supply Chain organisation is also agile, or are these 2 elements rather conflicting or independent from each other ?”  in the Supply Chain Optimization Group on LinkedIn. (The same question is also posted in the Inspired Supply Chain & Logistics Executives Group but at time of writing had no comments.)

This is a very big question, with many facets to be explored. I look forward to following the discussion. My immediate thoughts are that there is some conflict, some consistency and some dependency. Continue reading

Procurement for Projects: Supply Planning (Part 2) – 3 Key Elements; 6 Tools & Techniques

This article is the second in a series written specifically as guidance for project managers. 

Many projects suffer from the late involvement, or absence, of the procurement professional. It is the Project Manager’s responsibility to determine the requirement (or not) for specialist procurement skills. The series sets out to educate project managers in the essential considerations, and to inform the PM’s decision as to the need for specialist procurement resource.

The first article (Part 1) answered the question, “When and why do project managers need supply planning?” This article covers three key elements of supply planning – requirements analysis, supply market analysis, and risk management – and six tools and techniques used in the supply planning process.  Continue reading

Procurement for Projects: Supply Planning (Part 1)

This article is the first in a series written specifically as guidance for project managers.  Superficially the requirements of projects and ‘business as usual’ may seem different. For the experienced practitioner, procurement for projects has much in common with other procurement practice, ideally drawing on a range of techniques from a comprehensive tool set.

Many projects suffer from the late involvement, or absence, of the procurement professional. It is the Project Manager’s responsibility to determine the requirement (or not) for specialist procurement skills. Irrespective of the makeup of the project team, it is most important that the procurement cycle is considered and planned from the project outset. This series sets out to explain why, to educate project managers in the essential considerations, and to inform the PM’s decision as to the need for specialist resource. Continue reading