BuyTrain News

May 2009

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Personal Development
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Issue: In addition to the Legal Symposium in Boise I spoke about last month I've also had the good fortune to attend the ISM leadership Workshop and International Conference in Charlotte. Thus this newsletter  contains random [I had to say that for Michelle] notes and comments I picked up at all three events. Enjoy! 


Interesting topics for affiliate programs and discussions.

  1. Hot trends in Business Management.  Discussion.  Which are affecting you? Are they working? Implementation issues & problems.
  2. No land telephone lines. All wireless telephone system at the office. What’s involved with hooking it up and are there options for calling plans.  There are equipment vendors who sell office communication equipment to make this happen.
  3. Electronic Records, electronic discovery and record management plans
  4. Supplier registration portals. Vetting new suppliers, due diligence with regards lower-tier supplier integrity. How do we determine that our supplier chain is sustainable, green and free from fraud, abuse and issues which could be a liability for our company?
  5. Blog-based information sharing among members and officers. Does our web site hosting include Blogging software - many do. Let's turn it on and provide a place for members to share.
  6. Can we use one or more social networking sites to share information, program notices, tips and questions?  The answer is absolutely yes! I spoke with one affiliate that has an affiliate group set up in Linkedin. They encourage members, prospective members, interested business leaders, students and everyone else to subscribe. Then use the group to post notices about upcoming events and to keep in touch.
  7. Another idea; set up a TWITTER account using your affiliate name. If all members link to that affiliate account then, next time it becomes necessary to send out a program reminder, it can be done as a TWEET, with little effort.

Affiliate marketing suggestion:

Encourage all members to take past issues of Inside Supply Management or affiliate newsletters whenever they go to a waiting room. Ask that they leave the magazine or newsletter  behind in the waiting room magazine rack when they are done with the appointment.  Everyone in the community visits the dentist or doctor. Having something  interesting to read in a waiting room would be a welcome change for most people.  Leverage the publication, by adding a colorful sticker with affiliate contact information, web site address and an invitation.

This strategy could be a table-top topic discussion at your next meeting.  Discuss, other pubic waiting rooms public locations where publications could be deposited?  Encourage participation by offering a reward to each member whose copies of the publications were seen in a waiting room by an affiliate officer or BOD member.

Ross Reck Video

A number of people have emailed me asking for the link to my YouTube video, so here's the link: See if you can spot my cameo appearances and, by all means, feel free to comment on YouTube or to me directly. The title of the video is Bosses Gone Wild. Have a great day! Ross

Personal Development

Business Law Symposium, Boise.

Copyright is a noun not a verb. A copyright is created when the intellectual property is created. You don’t have to register it to own it. A copyright is forever. Thus arises a significant issue when using shareware or freeware software. Where’s the license to use it for your business?  Even thought it’s freely posted, if you don’t have a clear license to use it – signed by the documented owner of the copyright - then there is a risk that the true owner could come to claim it someday. Remember the fight long ago between and the author of a shareware search tool Amazon had started using.  Good speaker on the subject: Lawyer; Bradley R Frazer, Hawley Troxell, Boise, ID.

Read more about the symposium in my  March newsletter  (sorry I have a few notes form our panel discussion, but nothing well organized). Ben and Christina spoke about the latest updates and changes in the UCC and international contract laws. I whined about what procurement could really use in the way of help from legal counsel.  It was great because our discussion in Idaho fit right in to an interesting presentation at the ISM conference.

ISM Conference Notes

Find the presentations on line:

 The Legal Structure of an International Supply Chain Jeffrey J. Mayer, J.D., L.L.M. and John Shapiro, J.D. I've heard these lawyers speak before and this presentation did not disappoint. Probably the most important point I heard in the International workshop, was to make sure you know who you are contracting with if the goods are coming from a foreign country. Is your contact an authorized representative, agent or just a middleman. It will make a big difference if a legal battle ensues.

Best Practices in Using Technology in Procurement,  John Tuttle. Good discussion of a procurement department technology strategy. One important point would be to optimize and document a process before trying to automate it. Without knowing all the parameters and expected outcomes, you could end up implementing an expensive piece of software which doesn't do the right job. Except when you are considering a complete new system package, and in that case exactly the opposite can be true. Get the package and re-map processes to take better advantage of the new software tools.

Supply Management as a Path to the Corner Office, Mark D. Steele, PE, CPIM, CQE. Corporations are increasingly seeing the value of Supply Chain Managers when looking for senior executives. This could be due in part to the increasing use of an effective Supply Chain as a competitive business strategy.

Supplier Bankruptcy: How to Mitigate Your Risk, Kenneth P. Black, P.M.P.  Since I know so little about bankruptcy law, this was a very informative presentation. A key idea is to include contract clauses that allow you to act before the contractor declares bankruptcy. Clauses that allow examination of financial & solvency data, removal of partially complete work at the buyers discretion, 3rd party storage of raw materials that the buyer has paid for and protection of intellectual property associated with the process (drawings, software code, assembly manuals, etc.).

Career Transitioning in Supply Management, Patrick Knobloch, MBA, MS and Randy Ingebridson. Remember when we all started working we heard that people change jobs an average of 5 times in their careers. Today, the younger generation will likely change jobs 9 times in their career. He also thinks that the most important part of looking for a new job is using your professional network. Two other key ideas:

  • Don't let the perfect career plan become the enemy of a good and flexible plan.  In other words, don't delay the plan to death
  • How much are you investing in yourself and your career? We can't be settling down - we have to settle up for ourselves

At the opening panel discussion, I'm not sure who said it:  Difficult times require better communication within the organization.

Affiliate pre-meeting discussion topic:

How to keep your professional network healthy.

How do I recruit volunteers for a committee?  

Ask a person to help with a specific task. A task that is quantifiable, finite, and that they can be successful at.  Encourage, motivate and reward.  Then ask another person for help with a different task. The key is to approach likely helpers directly with an “I would  appreciate your help…” request.

 Note: whether requesting volunteers or recruiting a helper, start with a list of defined tasks. Be ready to give your volunteer something to do that can be successfully accomplished. Even if it is participating in a brainstorming session  (formerly known as a committee meeting) to develop an action item list.

The biggest  difference between a helper and an otherwise inactive member  is your personal request for assistance. Use effective communication and praise to encourage your helper to take on  additional tasks.  The difference between a group of helpers and a committee is…. Hmmmm maybe there isn’t!  Remember no one wants to go to yet another meeting, or volunteer for an unknown commitment – but many people will respond to a specific request for assistance.

Reverse mentoring.   

Suggestion for involving younger members. Approach younger members of the affiliate who are familiar with new technologies and networking sites. Request their help in mentoring a more technically challenged affiliate officer or BOD member. Ask the younger person to help the senior person become familiar with using new networking tools and technology.  In exchange the more senior person can provide career advice, insight into the advantages of ISM membership and introductions to other professional contacts in affiliate and at conferences. A win-win benefit to both. 

Technology Director.

Add a new position or responsibility to the affiliate BOD;  Technology Director.  Responsibilities can include exploring ways that technology can be used to help manage the affiliate and improve communication with affiliate members.  The director can also manage the affiliate technical assets including the domain name, web site, software and social networking groups. Read more...  I've asked for a copy of the position description drafted by St. Loius and we'll share it online when it becomes available. This could be a fun assignment for a youthful member and a great way to get a future resource involved with affiliate management. When recruiting the “volunteer” don’t forget to highlight the fact that the "Technology Director"  title could be a valuable addition to what might otherwise be a sparse resume.

ISM News

J. Shipman Gold Medal Award

I was happy to be present at the ISM Conference to see Richard D. Rich, C.P.M. receive this recognition. I met Richard a long time ago when he was NAPM President. Listening to the very long list of his contributions was inspiring. Read the full news release here:

ISM Persons of the Year

I was very surprised and happy to receive the ISM  Innovation/Creativity Person of the Year award. Each year ISM recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions. Most importantly, these awards result from nominations made by ISM members, not ISM staff.  It was an honor to be included among the other very deserving recipients. Many thanks to those of you who took the time and effort to nominate me for this award. I was in good company, the other winners were:

Education/Learning Person of the Year
Lynne Adams, CPSM, C.P.M.,
NAPM—New Mexico, Inc.

Marketing/Communicating Person of the Year
Stephen Grzesik, C.P.M.,
Connecticut Association of Purchasing Management, Inc.

Volunteer Person of the Year
Sharon Malkovicz, C.P.M.,
NAPM—Houston, Inc.

Leadership Person of the Year
Mary M. Sieger, C.P.M.,
ISM—Milwaukee, Inc.

 Read the full news release here: 

Affiliate Awards

NAPM Alaska received an Affiliate excellence award  - Congratulations! NAPM—Tulsa, Inc. received the Affiliate of the Year Award. Read the news release:

Leadership Workshop 2009

Thanks to the efforts of Jan Miller, support of ISM staff and many volunteers, we managed to hold a valuable one-day Leadership workshop in Charlotte prior to the International Conference. Jan and her staff will be working to post all of the workshop presentations online in the Affiliate Support area of the ISM web site.

There were nearly 100 of us who took advantage of the time to meet, share ideas and improve our skills. We learned to be better leaders and more about ISM resources. Take the time to thank your leaders for attending on your behalf and ask for feedback about specific workshops and subjects discussed.

I opened the workshop with a few thoughts about leadership and also presented to sessions on using technology. You can find copies on my web site using the links below.

Sharing The Value

How do you encourage members who attended the leadership workshop to share the information and materials with other BOD members?  Either at a day-long planning meeting or at a working dinner, it’s important to facilitate the information sharing process. Ask the attendee to bring materials and handouts, ask specific questions and most importantly give them the time to share while it’s all still fresh in their minds. Here are some sample questions to ask:

  1. What's new at ISM? What’s changed on the ISM web site?
  2. What did you learn and what handouts did your receive relative to officer responsibilities?
  3. What great ideas did you hear from other attendees about membership recruiting, retention and communication?

Leadership Workshop 2010

Tentatively planned to starting Friday April 23, 2010 at noon and continue through Saturday. This is the weekend of the 2010 ISM International Conference in San Diego. I highly recommend new officers and active members of the affiliate attend the leadership workshop. Jan is hoping to again not charge any fee for attending the workshop. Given the location, I expect it to be a well-attended and fun event. Even if you don’t yet know who a new officer will be, budget the cost to attend, make a TBD reservation and initiate travel plans.

Handouts and Presentations

2009 International Conference:

Hired Help Shortcut 

I heard from one affiliate that creatively solved their workload problem by contracting with a stay-at-home mom on an hourly basis to help manage affiliate business. As a 1099 contractor, she records her hours spent , answering emails, updating membership lists, updating the web site, distributing meeting minutes, etc. With luck you can find a stay-at-home mom who is familiar with the affiliate and has the skills to spend X-hours per month working on affiliate business. A well-documented time card and  reasonable hourly rate make this a winner for the affiliate and the affiliate's contract employee.   

Get Connected

I know - when do you have time to get involved with all these? Answer: One less I Love Lucy rerun per week. [note: if you don't remember the chocolate factory or grape stomping episodes, then you are young enough that you already probably are connected and just need to know that there are ISM groups.]

Follow ISM on Twitter

ISM Linkedin Group

Facebook Group

ISM Discussion Forum and Blog

ISM has a brand new members-only discussion forum and blog web site. Really cool. Check it out in the members only area at:  Read some of the daily Blog entries from the ISM Conference.

Software Tips

Exclusion Dictionary

At breakfast, several of use were discussing resumes and the spelling mistakes that can accumulate because Word's spell checker accepts the wrong word.  I have a significant problems typing the words form and from. The solution is easy. Set up a custom dictionary in Word and include words that will always be flagged as misspelled. It's a little techie, but worth the effort to keep misspelled, but otherwise legitimate, words  [like pubic for example] out of your business correspondence.

Take a minute to reconsider…...

Ever send an email only to wish you hadn’t a few minutes later?
Instead of sending a gratifying but regretful message, use an Outlook feature and take a minute to think about it.

At the office, I stop Outlook from automatically sending messages by setting my Send/ Receive options to wait a minute (or more)   Instead of immediately sending the message after I click the send button, Outbox patiently stores it in my Outbox for a minute and gives me a chance to reconsider the ramifications of what I said.  If I decide not to send the message or to edit it, I can pick it out of the Outlook Outbox - otherwise Outlook sends automatically a minute or two later. 

Change the option in the Tools menu > Options > MailSetup >Send/Receive >Schedule automatic Send/Receive.

At home, I always compose email while offline (mostly for security reasons) and then only after I’m done do I connect and ask Outlook to Send/Receive messages.

IE 8? Windows 7?

Recommend you wait. Remember, being the first mouse to get to the mouse trap isn't the best idea.

Home Computer Security - latest newsletter from Microsoft

If you have a home computer, then you should be taking steps to keep yourself and your family safe on line. I highly recommend you subscribe to a newsletter, if for no other reason than to get familiar with the terminology and issues.

This was the headline article from a recent newsletter:

Computer viruses: Everything you need to know

Your PC is behaving strangely - could it be infected with spyware, or a virus? Find out by learning precisely , and the Microsoft Security center . If you diagnose an infection, see how to use antivirus tools to help remove the virus from your PC.


Video Worth Sharing

Looking for something interesting to put on your web site or in an online newsletter. Try inserting a link to one of ISM's promotional videos.

 ISM-TV - Annual Conference Institute for Supply Management (ISM)

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! As always, you are welcome to use my articles or presentations for educational purposes. Just as long as you are not charging for the materials and credit the source.  



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Last Updated: 05/23/2006