BuyTrain News

February 2008 - amended 02/06/08

  ISM News
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UCC Crossword Puzzle Challenge

Supply Chain Specialists do more than just deliver the right product to the right place at the right time. We add value by making sure contract actions are legally enforceable. Experienced Supply Chain Professionals have a good working knowledge of contract law.

Are you ready to test your knowledge of contract law and the UCC? Try this puzzle just for fun.  I think all of the material is covered in the first module of the C.P.M. exam and/or I've discussed in past newsletters.  I'm sure it will be pretty easy for people who have their C.P.M., but nevertheless,  I'll publish the solution in a future newsletter.  Here is a link to the puzzle. 

Wish that you knew more about the UCC and contract law?  Here are some references:

Accounting and Inventory Management.

Learning Accounting terms has never been more fun. If you are an accounting professional or just someone who wants to do a better job of understanding accounting, try this. It's a web page full of interactive puzzles about various accounting terms. You can play the puzzles online by clicking links on the left and/or pay a nominal fee to download the whole works.

Personal Development

Mistake in the Proposal?

A few notes and comments from a recent discussion about how to address a claim by seller that there was a mistake in their proposal - after award.

The possibility of issuing a change to the contract to pay the seller more than the proposed price - should be treated with caution. It's is a major audit flag in many auditing and accounting handbooks as a possible indicator of fraud or mismanagement.  Thus, a change such as this should only be made when the evidence is "clear and convincing",  the value of the change is well reasoned and an independent management review concurs that the documentation is adequate.  Read my notes here....


Significant Market Event:

I'm, sure you noticed the jog in the stock markets on Tuesday Feb 5.  Did you also notice that the jump was caused by the ISM report on business? The ISM report on business, produced by our association from data supplied by ISM members, is considered a very valid leading indicator of commercial activity. Thus the big drop reported in the ISM business indicator immediately resulted in an impact to the market. In fact, I saw one analyst comment that ISM released the report one hour early because of concerns about leakage of the data to the market.

Not only is this important news for those of us looking at our 401K value; it is important to all ISM members because it demonstrates the direct involvement we have in the business market. I suggest you take the opportunity to make the connection with your senior management while it is still fresh news.  Show them your copy of the Report On Business (ISM members get it as part of Inside Supply Management) and/or that we can access on the ISM web site. This might be our best chance in a long time to communicate with senior management about our organization, our profession and the impact that we make on the economy. This is us and this is real world!


Posting Standard Terms

Speaking of Inside Supply Management, did you also notice an article in the January issue where Allen Anderson recommended Supply Chain organizations publish their standard boiler-plate contract terms on the company web site.  Our department did that in the mid 90s and I know many other organizations around the country already post standard terms as well.  If you haven't already done so, publishing standard contract terms is a good start to building a worthwhile web site and also provides some other indirect benefits.  It's a good article and worth reading, and I have some additional thoughts.

  • Be sure that the boilerplate documents you publish are locked or in format that can't easily or accidentally be modified or changed. We use PDF file formats.
  • Be sure that the documents each have a revision number and also a revision or effective date.
  • Each of your contracts and contract revisions should include a standard clause that clearly invokes and incorporates the standard document by revision number and date.   example: "Buyer's standard provision set xyz revision 12 dated 02/05/08 is incorporated herein and made a material part of this contract. blah blah blah "
  • Make sure your clause obligates the contractor to download and keep a copy of the application documents. Also that the contractor may obtain a hard copy directly from the buyer. 
  • Use this reference document process for all of your contracts. The more of a common practice it becomes between you and your suppliers, the better for you should it ever be challenged.
  • Keep old versions of the documents available for reference and/or for someone to get additional copies.

You want to avoid claims by contractors that the document in their possession is different, that they didn't know what version of the document was applicable, that it was too burdensome to try and download a copy and etc.

This might also be a good time to start an electronic record archive. By setting up a central archive location for the "record" copy of these documents, you avoid having to keep multiple copies in various locations. Each of our contract files references the centralized record instead of having a separate copy.

And this leads to one more efficiency idea.  Consider what other documents are referenced in multiple places or by multiple people/organizations in your company.  Specifications, work descriptions, standard contract clauses, procedures, work instructions, safety bulletins, training materials, etc.   All are candidates for a centralized, electronic record storage process. Each time someone can reference the central record instead of having to keep and file a copy, saves your company time, money and avoids inconsistency.

Here is a link to our company provisions; nothing special, just normal business.

ISM News

eSide News

 Have you seen the new eSide publication from ISM.  My first opinions: concise, timely and relevant.

In one article, Scott Tillesen provides suggestions for improving your company web site to improve it's usefulness for suppliers and also creditors. The article is a worthwhile read, because several of the tips relate to issues which Supply Chain Specialists should be looking at when vetting potential suppliers. As I have been suggesting for years, the lack of clear, correct and complete information on a supplier's web site is a very good reason to be skeptical.  Here is a link to the article by Scott.

Software Tips

Outlook Autocomplete Driving You Nuts?

Bumped into a few people who were frustrated by "wrong" names when Outlook helped enter an email address. Thought it time to revisit this solution.  Read how...

Executable Files Can be Hazardous

We were talking this morning about potentially dangerous files which are typically referred to as "EXECUTABLE" files. Basically the filename extension is used by Windows to determine an appropriate program to use when opening the file.

Example:  MYRESUME.DOC   has a filename extension of  .DOC. That tells windows to use Word to open the file. Some files can run automatically so that when you double click the file it will start running and do whatever it was designed to do. Example: A program named  DELETEALLFILES.EXE will start deleting all files immediately when clicked.

In this case, you don't' need to know a lot, but you should know what file extensions are unsafe and have some idea about what will happen when you click to run a file. Here is a better description along with a security setting recommendation for those of you using Microsoft Office at home

Outlook Contact Lists

I was asked how to create a contact list by importing from Excel - hereís how.

Excel Navigation tip


Some Excel Workbooks use a lot of Worksheet Tabs.
Scrolling to another Worksheet involves clicking the little navigation arrows at the left of the Worksheet tabs.

Better Way

RIGHT CLICK on the Worksheet Navigation arrows and a menu of all the worksheets will open. Pick the one you want. This works best if the worksheet tabs have been given names. Right clicking each Worksheet Tab to name it.


Office 2007?

If you have already switched to Office 2007, you might be wondering where frequently used commands and features were moved. Microsoft has several good resources for finding commands and menus in Office 2007. Here is one:


Someone asked how it could be that he received email spam which was sent from his own mailbox. Short answer is that the source address for the spam email had been spoofed to look like it came from him. Spammers know how to trick the email system into using a fake or counterfeit return email address. (If they didn't maybe we'd catch and jail more of them).

Here is an article which talks at length about why and how spammers spoof the return email address. Also includes some tips on how to view the underlying details of email messages.

Someone else asked why he got so much more spam at work than his friends in the office. Obvious answer is that the spammers found his email address and haven't yet found his friends. A vindictive person might deliberately help spammers find someone else's email address by sending it to the spammers. A careless person might accomplish the same thing by forwarding email messages with all their friend's email addresses included in the message header.

The most dangerous spam email messages and fake web sites are the ones that look the most real. How hard is it to make them look real?  Not very.  Most 10 year old kids can produce better looking web sites than many legitimate businesses use. How hard is it to trick people into believing fake emails and fake web site are legitimate? Not very.

Remember the famous quotation?  [which is often mistakenly attributed to P.T. Barnum] If you do, you just might be a generation that is easily fooled by all these "new fangled contraptions".

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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Last Updated: 05/23/2006