BuyTrain News

May 2008

  ISM News
Personal Development
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Why is it so hard to get comfortable and sleep at 1:00 a.m. and so much easier 10 minutes before the alarm rings in the morning?


A Buyer's Worst Nightmare

This would make an interesting Affiliate Dinner Discussion Topic (ADDT):  [You'd be surprised how many of us have faced this type of problem.]

What is the worst agreement or vendor contract that someone in your company tried to get you to process? How did you negotiate a better alternative?  We've all been there - the boss walks in after a business trip and says, "Here is a copy of the agreement to purchase the giantweirdgoobermachine we wanted. Get it processed ASAP!" The important question is how did you handle it to do what the boss wanted, accomplish the mission and retain your job? Here is a short story about one real-life example; and some of my ideas about how to address it. Read more…...

UCC Review - a recent training review. 

UCC as published on the Cornell University Law School pages. 

Published edition of the UCC includes 2003 amendment which among other things raised the value for Statute of Frauds. IMPORTANT: The 2003 amendment has not yet been adopted by any state. See an example of the amended UCC and the current state law of Washington.  Here is the complete workshop handout

A MUST Read.

Do you get to make decisions based on numbers, charts or graphs? If not, do you send numbers to a manager who uses those numbers to make decisions? Do you aspire to a position where you can use numbers to make decisions? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then I have a book that must be in your library.

As most mathematicians, statisticians, economists or politicians will confirm; “numbers don’t lie, but people using the numbers can sure stretch the truth.” Basically, numbers, charts, graphs and statistics can be used to obfuscate the facts and support either side of an argument. A good spin doctor or a careless author can create impressive statistics, charts and graphs that are absolutely wrong, but seem quite plausible. Whether it’s on purpose or by accident, if we depend on the numbers to make a decision, then we need to be skeptical and very analytical.

This book does a good job, at a relatively simple level, of showing how charts, graphs and statistics can be skewed. It’s an easy, humorous and fun read. When you finish, you won’t be a great statistician, but you will be much more skeptical about any set of numbers, charts, or graphs.

Author: Gerald E Jones
How To Lie With Charts: Second Edition (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1419651439   or
How to Lie With Charts (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0782117236

My favorite editorial cartoon seems very appropriate in today’s economic turmoil. At a BOD meeting everyone looking at the chart being described by the president. The chart shows financial performance as a zigzag line going down, down, down. One of the BOD members raises his hand to make a motion. “I move we throw away that financial chart and get one with a zigzag line going up.”

Funny – yes, but I have actual seen some charts displayed where poorer performance was represented by an upward line. Before you fall into that trap – read this book! Before you management falls into this trap – recommend this book to them.

Cyber Security

On March 18, I heard Mr. David Aucsmith speak at a cyber-security forum. Mr. Aucsmith is Senior Director, Microsoft Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments, Microsoft Corporation. It was one of those rare presentations that turned out much more interesting than I expected.  Read more..

Personal Development

Be Specific for Clarity

Your writing style could be making it much harder to communicate. By eliminating pronouns, and being more specific you can be more effective. Read the short article here.

Web Site Manager: Need to Know!

If you are the affiliate web manager, then you are managing a valuable asset. And there is a lot to it! Here is a short article, reviewing what an affiliate Web Site Manager should understand.

Resume Resource

This month I met with several young people in our office to discuss their resumes. .  One idea we discussed is using your resume as a marketing tool. Do a good job of marketing the product (you) and you get the opportunity to win the job in a job interview. The concept is easy to understand but implementation is a little tricky. Thinking about a resume as an advertisement, does help you decide what to in and what is extraneous.

For an example, I suggested the resume writers look at a full-page advertisement in a national newspaper or magazine. Look at the kinds of things that a business would say to get your attention. Think about all the garbage that they include which would not influence your purchase. Now do the same sort of review in your resume.  What information attracts the attention of your customer (the hiring manager) and what doesn'tr need to be there.

Here is a resume resource worth reading:  I also have some job hunting tools linked on my web site ( O.K. I know some are out of date - I'll get it updated soon.) ISM also has some great career management tools for members

"The vendor failed to deliver, can I cancel?"

The vendor breached the contract by failing to deliver, the contract is already broken. Instead of suing the vendor, we are demanding to cancel as long as there is no other obligation or issue. Seems like an obvious answer. But Wait! Consider these issues before getting in over your head and loosing the legal battle.

  • Was there a firm agreement on the delivery date or just some vague words about lead times?
  • Was the final delivery date specifically written into the contract and acknowledged by the vendor?
  • Did the vendor previously inform us of the delay and we failed to act decisively then?
  • Have we purchased from this vendor before and allowed delivery dates to slide?
  • Can we reasonable make a case that the delivery schedule is meaningful and important in this situation?
  • We there extenuating circumstances beyond the vendor's control which lead to the delay (e.g. a hurricane)
  • Did the buyer cause the delay by being late or changing specifications?
  • Is the product something that typically can't be precisely scheduled ( e.g. ripe cherries)

Of course you and the vendor can amicably agree that it would be more trouble than it's worth to fight about it… but then that sets a bad precedent for next time…. and so the story goes. 

ISM News

ISM Issues Report on Salaries of Supply Management Professionals

This is an excerpt of an article which appeared in the May 2008 issue of Inside Supply Management®.

ISM surveyed supply management professionals in the United States during January and February 2008. Information on salary, bonuses and stock options was gathered from a total of 1,050 respondents and examined through multiple breakdowns including job title, years of experience, education level, certification status and buying responsibility.

ISM’s salary survey established average salaries (for the 2007 calendar year) for the following job titles:

  • Chief Purchasing/Supply Management/Sourcing: $128,821
  • Vice President, Purchasing/Supply Management/Sourcing: $210,419
  • Director, Purchasing/Supply Management/Sourcing: $125,833
  • Manager, Purchasing/Supply Management/Sourcing: $90,088
  • Experienced staff member (3 or more years of experience): $68,537
  • Entry-level staff member (less than 3 years of experience): $49,682

YouTube Video Worth Sharing

Check out ISM's promotional video, "This Is My Institute." 

Leadership Workshops - time to make plans

ISM annual Leadership Training Workshops are absolutely the best way to energize affiliate volunteers. If you have never been to one, then you really need to go. People who attend and participate learn a lot about ISM, affiliate management and leadership in general. Topics include communication, budgeting, programs and certification. Although the program sounds like it is geared only towards affiliate officers, in reality anyone who is, or wants to be, actively involved in helping the affiliate can benefit from attendance. Attendees build friendships and share information with a wide range of their peers from all over the country.

ISM conducts three different leadership workshops during the summer so you can find one that works for your schedule. As an important training tool, ISM will also help defray the cost for a few affiliate delegates. However, many affiliates budget and send many more.  Talk with your affiliate leadership now about attending.  You can find the 2008 Leadership workshop schedule and copies of notes from previous workshops online in the ISM web site under Affiliate Support. .  I also have posted some tips for affiliates to maximize your ROI.  Read Mike's Leadership Workshop tips here.. 

I plan to be at the Leadership workshop in Las Vegas this summer... it will be hot... but I hope to see you there.

Software Tips

Why Dual Monitors?

Do you use two monitors connected to your computer at the office? I know… it's not something I thought I'd want to do until about 5 minutes after I tried it. Now I would never want to go back to just one monitor. Let me clarify why.

Make Your PC Do The Work

Two more ways to track & locate recently used and/or project related documents.

Note: Did you know that in XP, you can take just about any desktop folder and make it a popup toolbar, by just dragging to the edge of the screen?   Sooooo, if you have a desktop folder with frequently used scrap text files or a folder with shortcuts to project files, you can make it a toolbar that pops up and/or auto hides when you don't need it. How do I make a popup toolbar? Why would I want to use a "scrap text file"?

How I Use Outlook - to organize my day

If you are trying to get more organized and have access to Outlook; here are some real life examples

Long file names can be a problem

Just a reminder when naming files and folders….

  2. Don't use spaces or oddball characters in the file names just stick to letters, numbers and underscores or hyphens.
    Like this:  memo_rev3.doc
    NOT like this: Case file memo and Ed's comments after rev2 (2/13/2008) but before pat's 20% change.doc
  3. When adding subfolders keep in mind that the file name and all of the names of all of the sub and sub sub folders will cause problems when the length of all of them together gets too long.

When the file names [including the full path of folders] get too long or weird, some programs can't handle it and refuse to touch the file. In those cases we can't make backup copies, can't restore it from the network backup, can't move it to a CD, can't copy it, etc. etc. etc.

Short File Names are better

Format Painter - Word

Trying to duplicate the format of a section title or body text? It's easy to transfer the formatting from one section of a document to another using the Format Painter Tool. Helpful if you are trying to duplicate title formats so that the Table of Contents will show all of the titles the same way. Also helpful to fix body text and lists so they look the same.

I suggest you watch the demo and then try it a few times. The Format Painter also works in Excel and PowerPoint. Once you get used to using it, I think you will find it verwy interesting. 

Note: if the demo doesn't play for you  - just click the link at the bottom of the screen to show the full text version of the demo.

PowerPoint Advanced Tools

Windows Secrets Newsletter search tool

Choice of searching windows secrets newsletters or all windows related web sites.

Oddball File In Your In Box?

If you get oddball documents and oddball messages - just delete them. There have been a lot of malicious emails floating around lately. Time to remind yourself and all of your friends and family.  DON'T touch it if you aren't sure about it!

A favorite hiding place for nasty bugs is in ZIP files. Example: If you get an email with an attachment like this; - the zip file could contain a big problem.  Don't even click on it just to look - there is no such thing as just a little poke at the hornet's nest.

In Outlook, you can permanently delete messages from your inbox by holding down the SHIFT key when you click the delete button. This will delete the messages without moving them into your deleted items folder. A good idea for spam and also a good way to dump extra large messages to recover mailbox space.

Microsoft Office 2007 - a few words of warning

The Office world is changing again. In case you haven't’ noticed it yet, Microsoft Office has a new version. Many people have already switched ( I have not – but will soon). The good news – it’s new and fresh; the bad news – there are a lot of changes. Once I make the switch, I’ll keep you posted as I learn the new version.

However, there are few things you should be aware of NOW!.

  1. There are many people already using Office 2007. The new file formats are different and could cause problems for people like us, using the old version.
  2. Ask the people using Office 2007 to make sure they save files in the previous version compatibility format.
  3. Have the people who are using Office 2003 install the Office 2007 compatibility package. It’s free and will help with the compatibility issues.
  4. By default Office 2007 uses several new fonts, which could cause legibility problems when those documents are opened by anyone who doesn’t have the new fonts installed. You get the new fonts in the compatibility pack.
  5. Switching to the new version of Office will take some quality training time to get used to the new toolbars and feature.

Just for Fun

How good are your eyes?

If you haven't already seen this video, check it out. Don't be embarrassed it you miss something, many people do.
Can you follow the bouncing ball? Play the video


Career Resource and Resume Tool


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Last Updated: 05/23/2006