BuyTrain News

August 2011

  ISM News
Personal Development
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Personal Safety Thought:

Finally getting hot over here and just in time. I was concerned I'd never get a chance to wear my cool safety sunglasses. Keep your eyes open at the home improvement store and you'll see them; wrap around mirrors. Might be the best safety investment you make.  Why?  Because your kids will want to wear them!


Conference in October

Have you seen the Lineup of Great speakers? You gotta look and make plans to participate!

The Oregon Mid-Valley Purchasing and Supply Management Association is excited to announce the 68th Pacific Northwest Purchasing Conference to be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Portland, Oregon from October 24 -26, 2011.   Read More....

This Conference is focused on educational learning opportunities which will allow each attendee to be able to add value to their own personal professional knowledge and skills while enhancing their company’s profitability.  This Conference will also provide an excellent opportunity for continued networking with your professional peers from  all over the Pacific Northwest region.  We are planning a minimum of 24 educational programs for you to select from.

Invite your colleagues and don't miss out on this exciting educational event which is being specifically organized for everyone working in or with the purchasing and supply management profession!

Here is the latest Conference information.... If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Conference Co-Chairs:   Ron Brown, C.P.M.  or  Sid Brown, C.P.M., A.P.P. sidbrown@aol.com      

I will be conducting a workshop on Service Contracts at the conference. Here are two of the items we can talk about during that workshop. Mt.

Anticipated Breach?

In a service contract, sometimes it becomes obvious the contractor is not going to perform and/or has not complied with contract requirements. We don’t have to wait until the contract due date to make that determination and take legal action. It's appropriately called Anticipated Breach.

Of course the problem in any contract dispute is proving the contractor violated ( or is about to violate) the contract. IF you want a better chance of winning a legal claim, there are two important concepts to keep in mind:

  1. DOCUMENT each problem when it happens during the contract in a way that it can later be used in court as evidence.  Use specific buzzwords  such as “Failure to perform in accordance with contract specification section 2.3.1”.  Even if you resolve the individual problem amicably, document the action so that if needed later, you can prove a pattern of problems.

    Here is another sample; 
    “Regarding contractor’s failure to complete section 2.2 of the specification by August 1, we have agreed, in this instance only, to allow contractor to finish the item by September 1 with no penalty. This agreement is specific to this one instance and does not change or amend any of the other performance requirements of the contract, nor establish a precedence wherein other failures of contractor to perform may be allowed.”

    Sound like pretty harsh words? Of course, lawyers always try to sound that way. Unfortunately I know many Buyers, who wish they had documented problems when they occurred when the contractor later took advantage of them again and again and again ....
  2. Request ADEQUATE ASSURANCE the contractor will finish performance in accordance with the contract. A buyer may reasonably request assurance from the contractor that the contract will be performed. [UCC 2-609].    If the contractor is unable to provide assurance or in some way indicates an intent to breach the contract then you have grounds to sue for "anticipated breach" of contract even though the performance period has not yet finished. 

    Of course, the duty to sue and prove the case rests with the buyer – and so it’s important to sufficiently and correctly document the anticipate breach.  Here are some sample buzzwords; “ Contractor is requested to provide adequate assurance within 7 working days that contract item x section 3.3 will be completed in accordance with the contract no later than August 2.”  And then later, “ Based on contractors failure to provide adequate assurance that contractor is in compliance with section 1.2 of contract x” or “based on contractors failure to make progress so as to endanger completion in accordance with contract requirements..”

Corollary: After a failure documented in item 1 above, you may also want to demand adequate assurance via item 2 that the failure won’t happen again. And, just as importantly for the future, include solicitation requirements that the contractor has to provide some evidence the failure will not happen again. At least include the discussion in your negotiation before award. "You failed to meet the deadline last time, why should I believe your proposal this time?"

If you think your contract could end up in court, consult legal counsel and use Legal Counsel preferred wording. Regardless of the wording, if you want to prevail, “prepare to win the case by documenting early”.

Who is that person in the copy room?

Do you have a service contract that authorizes contractor to work in your building or on company property? Do you care who those workers are? Would you mind if the copier machine repair company sends personnel who were convicted thieves, gang leaders, terrorists, spies from your competitor or worse?  Would you feel safe knowing that the janitorial company staff includes Charles Manson?  I think not. In addition to the obvious risks, I also think your company might have some corporate liability if it's your contract that authorizes service company personnel access. There is even a greater risk if the contract fails to require the contractor to do some basic background verification of personnel who will be supplied under the contract.

In the U.S., all employers are required to complete I-9 identify verification of their employees. So asking for confirmation as part of your contract shouldn't be too onerous. Also, consider specific verifications, certifications, waivers, etc. that are more tailored to the types of risks.   Example: “Each person who will be working on this contract must sign a confidentiality agreement and a certification that they are not affiliated with MNO corporation.” You could also require that the contractor use the (free) Federal E-verify program to verify the identity of employees who will be allowed access to our facility.

We are not talking about interfering with the contractor-employee relationship, nor restricting in any way the contractor’s right to employ whomever he wants.  We are talking about contractually limiting who the contractor may provide to perform work in our facility. As long as we include the requirement in the solicitation and aren’t requiring the contractor violate federal law; using acceptable personnel becomes a matter of contract performance. 

Read another few thoughts on this subject:  http://www.mltweb.com/tools/articles/ICRA.htm 

We’ll talk more about service contracts in my program at the PNPC in October.

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. If you doctor said " I don't keep up with current medicines because my manager won't pay for it," would you stop using that doctor?  Is our profession any different? Are we prima donnas who only learn what our managers require and pay for? Are we willing to let someone else will take responsibility for our professional development.  Read more....  Here is sample strategy .

Check out what Ross Reck has to say about professional development; http://reminders.rossreck.com/?p=611#comments

My Resume... Note to Self

Unfortunately, our company is going through a budget problem and is reducing staff. It's all too close to home today in many areas. I heard someone remark, " It's been so long, I don't even know where or how to look".  Unfortunate but true for too many of our colleagues.

In the best of times, looking for a job can be daunting;  today, even worse. The best advice I can give you, is to approach the problem, just like you would a complex acquisition. Tackle the job hunt systematically, prepare and organize your data. Check references,  compile skills and then enlist the help of friends and colleagues. Our business is finding needles haystacks or rabbits in hats. We just have to get over taking it personally and treat the quest for a new job like it was our procurement business.  

I have a few articles, ideas and links on this page. ( I know they need updating)   See if this article gets you fired up.

ISM News

Who in your affiliate reads and disseminates notes from ISM meetings?  As interested members, I think someone from each affiliate should be assigned to read and report to members ( just my opinion). I found these tidbits in the May ISM BOD meeting minutes. Thought you might find them interesting.

  • The BOD has heard a proposal to change the name to IISM. (International...) Now that we have affiliates in several foreign countries, I think it's worth considering.

  • Paul Novak has set a date for his retirement. There will be a search committee formed,  in case you want to apply. I remember meeting Paul at my very first Leadership program in San Francisco many years ago. Those were the days.

  • The BOD also heard a recommendation to increase ISM dues, and will consider it again. Proposed  implementation out a year.

  • Current affiliate count is 159…. Which includes Canada, India, Bangladesh, Korea. No wonder CPSM test materials are available in 4 languages.

  •  I really enjoyed reading about the strategic planning initiates. Could be opportunities for us to get involved and contribute to the future of ISM.  http://www.ism.ws/files/secure/index.cfm?FileID=150411 

ISM Media Room Channel on YouTube

Software Tips

Problem1: Spell checking does not spell check words in Capital letters. If you create letters and correspondence with ALL CAPITAL LETTER SUBJECT LINES, by default, the spell checking engine does not check the words in capital letters. 

Solution: Change the option in Word and Outlook to enable spell checking of words in capital letters:

Spelling Painintherear Problem 2:

I sometimes find myself looking at a spelling problem in a word document and the spell checker assumes everything is correct – but it ain’t.  Did you know that Word remembers each time you spell check a document, and only checks the new/changed text? So if you accidentally skip a spelling error one time – it will never catch the same error again in that document.  To force the spell checker to recheck the entire document, there is an option hidden in the Options Menu.

Simple Solution: Click the option to have word recheck the spelling in the entire document.  It’s in the Word Options>proofing menu. NOTE: This only resets the spell checker one time for that specific document.

Better Solution:  I depend on this option so much, I’ve added the button to my quick access toolbar.

Customize your Quick Access Toolbar

Outlook Tricks to impress your friends:

Got a task due in 45 days?  Set it up as an Outlook task and in the Due Date field type “45 days”. Type “45 days” and Outlook will figure out what the date should be 45 days from now.  Outlook also recognizes “weeks” as in due in “6 weeks” Sorry, Outlook doesn’t know the difference for work days.  If you want help calculating work days use the Excel function  =NETWORKDAYS

Free space  in your mailbox by using OPTIONS to edit a message and remove large attachments. Over the course of a few hours I send copies document to several different people. I may want to keep the message so I remember sending it to each person, but there is really no reason to keep multiple copies of the attachment.  Save space, by opening the message in the sent messages folder and in the Toolbar click OTHER ACTIONS > EDIT MESSAGE.  Then right click and remove the attachment. SAVE the message. It’s back in your sent items folder, but without the extra large attachment taking up space.

While you are at it, revise the subject line of messages while you are reading them. While you are reading an Outlook message, click in the subject line and change the subject to something that make sense e.g. “ Bob’s response to my question” before saving the message in a folder.

Problem: I sometimes want to make changes to an outlook meeting I scheduled, but don’t want to bother all of the participants with sending updates each time I edit the appointment

Example:  I want to adjust the meeting on my calendar to add some personal preparation or travel time.  When I change the appointment, Outlook diligently tries to send an update to all participants.

Solution:  You can't do this directly in Outlook 2007, but there is an easy workaround.

  1. Set Outlook to WORK OFFLINE . It’s choice on the file menu or also for us Exchange Users in the lower right corner of the Outlook window.
  2. While Outlook is offline – change the appointment and save ( Outlook will insist on sending updates to everyone)
  3. Since Outlook is offline – the update message will get stuck in your Outbox.  Just delete the update message. 
  4. Set Outlook back to Online mode by unchecking the work offline menu choice

Presto. The Outlook appointment is changed on your Calendar;  and you didn’t bug everyone with  an extraneous meeting change notice.

In my opinion, if you work in a company that users Microsoft Office, you have to become proficient with Outlook. It can be the your best assistant, or worst enemy. Get some more ideas for using Outlook here.


Educational Video to share with your grandkids. Might help them get the idea about hand washing. www.getyourbubbleezon.com


Want some Whiskey or Gin Like your grandfather used to make? Have you ever heard of Lemoncello? It's a refreshing aperitif or makes wonderful truffles. Check out my friend Joel's distillery. Maybe we'll see you there: www.blackheronspirits.com/

Kind of Geeky- but verrrry interesting.

A web page showing programmers what can be done wit Flash Animation. Amazing to see what they can do - and this is the simple stuff. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/17/adobe-flash-tutorials-best-of/

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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