BuyTrain News

January 2008

  ISM News
Personal Development
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Happy New Year! My Favorite New Years Tip

For any of you who still use paper checks. While you are thinking about it, write the new year 2008 on the next ten checks.  By the time you use them up, you’ll remember that it’s a brand new year.


Notice This!

Do you write notices to contractors about problems with contracts and purchase orders? Are those notices sufficient to protect the contractual rights of your company? It's easy to get complacent with letters and email correspondence. Try thinking about it this way:

Are you just describing an interesting situation? Or are you putting the contractor on notice for a contractual problem? 

If there is a problem; be sure the letter identifies who owns the problem. Form a long-term-relationship perspective we may intend to help resolve it. However, at the same time, we need to leave ourselves the option of strictly enforcing the contract.

If it's an action item then show who is responsible for the action. Also, define the deliverables, delivery location/method and due date.

Consider the difference:

    " We found a problem with the workmanship on the HVAC housing." 


    "The HVAC housing delivered on 12/25/07 failed to meet contract requirements and specifically specification section 2.2.1. The delivered housing includes unallowable defects as can bee seen in the attached image file, and is rejected. We expect immediate action to remedy the situation and deliver a conforming HVAC housing. Provide your proposed resolution to me within 3 days."

Click here to read more  observations and suggestions for improving contract notices.

Compliance And Ethics Training Resource

Compliance, ethics, legal and management training materials.  An informational source for programs that just might help keep you and/or your company out of trouble. I've seen the "Buried Alive"  video showing how disastrous a poor records management plan can be. Situations in the video were real-life and it was entertaining as well as informative. Pricing for some of the materials is a little high, but well worth considering for a company training program.

Personal Development

Career No Longer On The Fast Track?

Pick up some pointers in my Career Coaching Presentation from the Pacific Northwest Purchasing Conference in Idaho.

Would A Skills Survey Help?

This is the first time I've been exposed to this tool and thought you might like to see it. An automatic tool to handle reference checks. I received a request to complete a survey about a person who used to work for me.  The survey was quick and painless for me. The sample results look useful as well.

Career Planning Idea:

If you are going to continue working more than about 5 more years, then chances are very good you will change employers at least once more. If your experience is limited to one industry, or you have been sheltered from world-market and current supply -chain issues then your probable job change could be traumatic.  Pave the way to a more successful job search by using this trick.

Browse through the ISM Membership Demographic Report, ISM Supply Chain Salary Surveys and articles in the Inside Supply Management magazine.

Look for attractive industries, titles and occupations. Use that knowledge to plan your personal learning program in your affiliate. Volunteer to obtain a speaker for one affiliate programs. Then invite a senior Supply Chain official or author from your target occupation to present the program. A working title might be: “Body of Knowledge or Specialized Skills required to be the Chief Supply Chain Official in the XYZ Industry”.  An easy program for a senior manager to prepare and present and a direct way to get an idea of what to study, review or learn to qualify for a job in that industry. 

ISM News

A Wealth of information at your fingertips!

There is an unbelievable amount of professional, career and supply management information hiding in the depths of the ISM web site. Spend lunch time with the ISM web site and I'll bet you find a lot of useful tidbits. Use my ISM web site notes from the Pacific Northwest Purchasing Conference as a starting point.

Mark this date...

It’s already time to make plans to attend one of the ISM summer leadership workshops. These are informative and fun workshops designed to energize a leadership team.  Talk it up with your friends and pick a date for your leadership team to attend. Read my suggestions for getting the most from the leadership workshops.  ISM has posted the 2008 schedule here:

Affiliate Program Suggestions:

Have a resident computer geek set up a real-time demo with a laptop and projector.  Show people the tricks to finding the information they need on the web. Since most program locations now have wireless this is a no-brainer to set up and run.  Use one of these outlines as a basis for the discussion and then do some interactive searches with questions and queries from the floor.

More effective searches using Google

Mining the ISM web site for Valuable information

Software Tips

Looking for something?

Can I do a better job searching in Google? Yes.  Pick up a few tips from my presentation at the Pacific Northwest Purchasing Conference in Idaho. Read more....

TIP: Try a different view…….

Having problem reading a particular document or web site in Windows XP? Maybe the sun in your eyes, poor screen colors or small text size makes the screen hard to read……..

Try turning on the HIGH CONTRAST display.

Use this key combination to toggle the High Contrast Display on or off.


New USB Thumb Drive Trick

If you’ve purchased a thumb drive in the last few months, chances are that it includes a copy of a program which tries to start up each time you plug in the drive. U3 is a new type of operating system loaded on to some new thumb drives which essentially makes them stand-alone computers. That is, just like a cell phone, the U3 system can run calendars, phone directories, music players, and much more..  Plug a U3 enabled USB thumb drive into a PC and you have access to all of those applications directly on the thumb drive.

The good news is that U3 system is getting more robust everyday. New U3 applications are being developed and are available for download to your thumb drive. Using the U3 operating system you can make a once dumb storage device, into a powerful tool. Just as people have found critical uses for cells phones and PDAs;  U3 enabled USB drives could become an integral part of our lives. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the near future, cell phones and U3 enabled storage devices merge into a common tool and technology.

The bad news is that in order to operate, the U3 system must get permission to run from the computer. When you insert the U3 enabled USB thumb drive, a PC (or your network administrator) could decide it’s a computer security risk to allow the U3 system to run, or it might be completely incompatible. The only easy way to know if it will work is to try it. Insert the USB device and the U3 systems should try to automatically start.  If it does  run on your PC, I suggest you give it a quick review and maybe test a few applications. You might find a new best friend.


  1. When you insert a U3 enabled thumb drive into your PC, it will occupy two drive letters. One is the U3 operating system and the other is a removable storage device just like the older thumb drives. You can cancel out of the U3 system and just use the local storage device like other USB drives.

  2. If you start using the U3 enabled applications to store personal data, remember to encrypt the files in case the USB device is lost.

  3. Read more about U3 applications at the U3 web site.


Gentle Reminder…

I have another friend who was whining about loosing a long list of Outlook contacts when, a few months ago, the office computer “puked”  [my friend’s technical description not mine].  So I asked, “Do you now have a backup copy of your contacts list at home on a thumb drive?”.  The answer was, “No – I can access my work computer from home”.  My simple suggestion was, "Remove head from sand."

Read more about making backups:   You can find thousands of help files and articles on the internet about how to make  backup copies. It’s a lot easier today with USB drives than it was 5 years ago.   Here are a few more articles about backups:

Email Newsletters

Responsible for emailing your affiliate newsletter? Here is a resource that might help. 

Word Spell Check Gotcha.

Word > Tools Menu > Options

Rant and Rave

I recently heard this comment from a rather experienced buyer. “ I didn’t read your article because you were talking about contracts, and I only issue purchase orders.”  Obviously, he just doesn’t get it.

Many of the principles of negotiation and administration are applicable regardless if you are issuing construction contracts to build a classroom,  contracts to build a battle ship or purchase orders to buy staplers. It doesn’t matter if you call them contracts, purchase orders, blanket orders, sales agreements or outside requisitions. Buyers, contracting officers and supply chain specialists work with suppliers, vendors, contractors, sellers, distributors and manufacturers. For educational purposes; they are the same. If it quacks like a duck, then it is! 

Now don’t even get me started talking about people who “don’t have time” to read software tips and then complain because they can’t be productive using their PCs.

sorry, too much health food for breakfast.

Provide Feedback and suggestions for future newsletters at any time. I'll try and use what I can.

I really do appreciate those of you who take the time to write and comment on this newsletter!  



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MLTWEB is assembled and maintained by Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M. 
Materials and articles prepared by Mike may be shared for purchasing education provided that this source is cited and no fee is charged. The rights for any other use are withheld.
Copyright;  Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M.
Last Updated: 05/23/2006