BuyTrain News

July 2010

" As Ella said, "It's too darn hot!"

  ISM News
Personal Development
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Are you planning on attending the Pacific Northwest Purchasing Conference?


If you haven’t made that decision yet, here are a few reasons to participate::

  • It’s a professional educational event, with high level speakers and a choice of many good programs all in one location.
  • As a local event, the cost to attend will be thousands less than one of the National Conferences in a more remote and bigger city.
  • It’s a great way to meet and share ideas with supply chain professionals from around the northwest.
  • It’s an awesome opportunity to get acquainted with people you might want to have as professional contacts during your career.
  • It's a way to participate in small-group creative workshops that reflect specific interests.

I’ll be there presenting a workshop titled
 Career Coaching: Practical References For Career Advancement

This workshop will focus on actions that we can take to improve and advance our own careers. As professionals, we are in direct control of our personal professional development plan. This workshop will provide some practical advice based on many years of coaching, managing and training supply chain personnel.

Among other ideas, we’ll discuss “career limiting” attitudes that you may not realize could dramatically affect chances for future employment.

Example: Have you ever heard people make comments like these?

  • "My boss is a moron, without me he’d sink like a rock.”
  • “ Of course I have good people skills. What kind of an idiot question is that?”
  • “I don’t get paid enough to stay late today.”
  • “I don’t have time to keep up with professional articles and news.”
  • “I don’t have time to attend training, conferences or local programs.”
  • “Mike Taylor is a really good speaker.” [Just checking to see if you were still with me.]
  • “The other people in my office don’t do squat – I have to do their work too.”
  • “I don’t care who hears me, it’s the truth.”
  • “I’ll be stuck here forever.”

….and maybe you will.  The important question becomes, "Would you hire a person that you heard making those comments? We’ll talk more at my workshop in Spokane.

Cloud Computing in your future?

Already some companies and government agencies have adopted cloud computing technologies for business processes. There have been many news reports over the last few years talking about Cloud Computing as well as successes some organizations are having and delays that others are experiencing. Before your company decides to trust critical business processes to this not-very-new technology, there are a few things I think you should consider. Read more...

INCOTERMs About to Change

INCOTERMS have been described as "Rules at the Core of World Trade".

On January 1, 2011 the much heralded 2010 revision to Incoterms® will take effect.  ICC Incoterms® are global rules that clarify the transportation costs, risks, and responsibilities of both buyers and sellers. Developed by ICC and used by companies to move goods around the world, ICC Incoterms® have become the standard in international business rules setting.

One article by DHL Global Forwarding described the change this way:

Although Incoterms® 2010 has not been officially released; the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has released the table of contents which show Incoterms® 2010 consists of 11 Incoterms instead of the current 13. There are two new terms added – DAT and DAP – and four which have been deleted - DAF, DES, DEQ and DDU.

Is this Greek to you? Do you place contracts or purchase orders than span across international borders?  If so, time to get up to speed with INCOTERMS. Here are a few previous articles where I've discussed INCOTERMS:

Here is a link to ICC INOTERMS training http://www.iccincoterms2010.org/

 CYBERSECURITY a National Issue?

The Government Accountability office seems to think so. Read this summary. http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d10466high.pdf.  All I can say is that I hope someone is listening!

Electronic Records

Continuing our discussions about electronic records... I've heard from several more people that their companies are implementing changes in  email message archiving.  A recent GAO report discusses the issue and includes a good examination of email record issues starting at about page 10. Sounds a lot like some of the discussions we’ve had over the years.  Read more:


Here is a link to my electronic record presentation at the 65th Pacific Northwest Purchasing Conference. http://www.mltweb.com/seminars/electronicRecords.pdf

Personal Development

Professionals develop their own professional development programs! No one would want to use a doctor or a tax attorney who hasn't kept up with the latest advancements. Are we any different than them? We are, if we hope that someone else will take responsibility for our professional development. Read more.... Here is a different look at a strategy

My comments about a new GAO case which describes some of the pitfalls in performing a best value solicitation. ( in this case the buyer lost)tools/articles/Best_value_GAO_case.pdf


My Resume... Note to Self

Skip the generalized goal and purpose statements. Tell the hiring manager what excites me about my career. Describe how I can add value to the organization. Provide specific examples that the manager would probably have liked to see happen in his own company.

Growing Where?

Reality Check:

I talk to a lot of Supply Chain Professionals from all over the world. I've interviewed many candidates and conducted numerous professional development workshops. One thing is very obvious when you get them all in the same room. Employment standards and expectations are very different in various locations and different companies. Unfortunately, many of the experienced people I talk to aren't qualified for the jobs they want - and even worse, they don't realize why.  So,...........If you expect to crawl out of your shell and qualify for a better paying job elsewhere, then you need to see what will be expected. The least painful way to checkout the competition is to mingle with other professionals  at an ISM workshop or conference. Ask about working conditions, skill expectations and growth opportunities in other locations and other industries. Don't apply for a job only to find out the hard way that the grass is a different shade of green on the other side of the fence.

Negotiate Contract Changes Before Creating the Contract

Negotiating the price of contract change isn't easy. Unfortunately, no matter how well we plan, and how good the SOW, contract changes seem to arise more often than we would like.  When differing site conditions are discovered, the SOW turns out to be missing an important fact, the scope expands or the project manager has a change of mind; we are in the difficult  position of requesting and evaluating a contract change.  Trying to find a way to evaluate the change proposal can be a challenge. There is an old joke in the contracting industry about contractors getting well on contract changes.

While there is no magic solution, there are several things that can be done before awarding the original contract to make the pricing evaluation task easier.

  1. When initially preparing the solicitation, anticipate obvious changes and ask for options. No experienced procurement person in the world should be surprised that the original quantity estimate was too low. Nor should we forget the old management adage that “if it works, we probably want to do it again a few more times”.  Ask the contractor to provide pricing on foreseeable options, additional quantities and multiple locations.
  2. Of course the converse is also true. No experienced procurement person should ever be surprised when the initial estimate by the project turns out to be way too high. Thus we should always ask the contractor to provide a quote and an optional “what if we don’t buy that many”  price. In fact, most suppliers understand this fact and will often pad the pricing to allow for quantity changes. Instead of forcing the contractor to take the risk (and pad his price),  suggest writing quantity options into the contract. Options could result in more realistic and maybe even better pricing from the contractor.
  3. As part of the initial solicitation, ask for as many “what if” pricing variations as you can think of.  Sooner or later, everything that can go wrong in a contract;  will. We know things go wrong and the contractor prices contingencies into his proposal. Ask the roofing contractor to propose and reach an agreement on the impact of rain or wind delays. We should be able to identify and reach optional pricing agreement on many of those possible problems.
  4. Another obvious application of this principle is to ask for a priced spare parts list with each new piece of equipment or a replacement cost for rental equipment. Ask the contractor who is quoting on HVAC repairs to also provide a priced parts list as part of their initial proposal.
  5. Ask for price breakdowns as part of the initial proposal. What are the pricing components that make up the proposal? Freight, mobilization, delivery of building materials, stand-by time, cost of major components, specialized testing or inspection, documentation or certification, permits, bribes to border officials, {just checking to see if you are awake} and anything else that can be separated, should be.  Then when a change happens, it an be tied to a specific price component of the original proposal

In the suggestions above, we are basically identifying as many of the potential unknowns in the contract as we can. Thus we are  "negotiating"  a way to mitigate the risk-of-change in a contract by assigning a price tag to it.  These post-award negotiation risks can be predicted, included in the solicitation, proposed on by the contractor and should be negotiated into the contract.  From a bigger picture perspective, failure to consider all contracting risks before award gives the contractor considerable leverage in negotiating the inevitable change. 

ISM News

Newsletters from ISM

ISM distributes several electronic newsletters each month. Information about Supply Chain issues, and member communications have migrated to online distribution. It's great way to get timely updates, without killing trees, but you have to sign up. Visit this web page to make your information selections http://www.ism.ws/pubs/emailnewsletters/?navItemNumber=5478

ISM members can log in to their ISM personal profile and select even more newsletter updates.

Software Tips

Note to web managers:

DO NOT upload files to your web site that have long file names or file names that include spaces, dates, rev. numbers, etc. Just post the latest version, put the rev. numbers in the document and give it a simple file name. If someone wants to link to the file or the web page, the hyperlink will be easy to use – not trashy

This link……… http:/ /www.napmfargo.org/2010%20SC%20Purchasers%20Conf.v7.pdf

could easily have been set up to be this simple: http:/ /www.napmfargo.org/2010Conf.pdf

A simple hyperlink would be so much easier to send to friends and colleagues.


Black Heron Spirits

In case you are not already aware of it, my friend Joel has started a new adventure.

Black Heron Spirits will be opening soon in West Richland.

Joel plans to make exceptional Vodka, Gin and maybe a few other distilled spirits. I wish he could make 20-year old scotch, but that might be pushing the envelope a little too far.

The grand opening will be soon - and you really should stop in to see the beautiful building. I've started a small web site with some pictures and we'll send out newsletters as events are planned and new items become available.


 Check out the web site: www.blackheronspirits.com/

If you would like to be on the Black Heron Spirits email list for notices about new products and events, send your email here. mail@blackheronspirits.com

Hope to see you at one of the events.

Measurement Conversion Tool


Local Harvest

Use your zip code to find local produce. http://www.localharvest.org/ 

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.  



Read more articles in the Purchasing Toolbox at http://www.mltweb.com/prof/tools.htm and in the BuyTrain news article archive at http://www.mltweb.com/tools/buytrain/index.htm Return to MLTweb

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