Login



For PLUS+ subscription assistance, contact customer service.

Not a PLUS+ Subscriber?

Become a PLUS+ Subscriber today and you'll get access to all Supply Chain Management Review premium content including:

  • Full Web Access
  • 7 Magazine Issues per Year
  • Companion Digital Editions
  • Digital Edition Archives
  • Bonus Email Newsletters

Subscribe Today!

Premium access to exclusive online content, companion digital editions, magazine issues and email newsletters.

Subscribe Now.


Become a PLUS+ subscriber and you'll get access to all Supply Chain Management Review premium content including:

  • Full Web Access. All feature articles, bonus reports and industry research through scmr.com.

  • 7 Magazine Issues per year of Supply Chain Management Review magazine.

  • Companion Digital Editions. Searchable replicas of each magazine issue. Read them in any web browser. Delivered by email faster than printed issues.

  • Digital Editions Archives. Every article, every chart and every table as it appeared in the magazine for all archive issues back to 2009.

  • Bonus email newsletters. Add convenient weekly and monthly email newsletters to your subscription to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.

PLUS+ subscriptions start as low as $109/year*. Begin yours now.
That's less than $0.36 per day for access to information that you can use year-round to better manage your entire global supply chain.

For assistance with your PLUS+ subscription, contact customer service.

* Prices higher for subscriptions outside the USA.

PLUS+ Customer Service Support


Customer service for all PLUS+ subscribers is available Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm Eastern time.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1-800-598-6067 (1-508-663-1500 x294 outside USA)
Mail: PO Box 1496, Framingham MA 01701-1496, USA



You have been logged out of PLUS+


For PLUS+ subscription assistance, contact customer service.

Need to access our premium PLUS+ Content?
Upgrade your subscription now.


Our records show that you are currently receiving a free subscription to Supply Chain Management Review magazine, or your subscription has expired. To access our premium content, you need to upgrade your subscription to our PLUS+ status.

To upgrade your subscription account, please contact customer service at:

Email: [email protected] Phone: 1-800-598-6067 (1-508-663-1500 x294 outside USA)

Become a PLUS+ subscriber and you'll get access to all Supply Chain Management Review premium content including:

  • Full Web Access. All feature articles, bonus reports and industry research through scmr.com.

  • 7 Magazine Issues per year of Supply Chain Management Review magazine.

  • Companion Digital Editions. Searchable replicas of each magazine issue. Read them in any web browser. Delivered by email faster than printed issues.

  • Digital Editions Archives. Every article, every chart and every table as it appeared in the magazine for all archive issues back to 2010.

  • Bonus email newsletters. Add convenient weekly and monthly email newsletters to your subscription to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.

PLUS+ subscriptions start as low as $129/year*. Start yours now.
That's less than $0.36 per day for access to information that you can use year-round to better manage your entire global supply chain.

This content is available for PLUS+ subscribers.


Already a PLUS+ subscriber?


To begin or upgrade your subscription, Become a PLUS+ subscriber now.

For assistance with your PLUS+ subscription, contact customer service.

Sorry, but your login to PLUS+ has failed.


Please recheck your login information and resubmit below.



For PLUS+ subscription assistance, contact customer service.

Regarding Procurement: Attitude Isn’t Everything and Other Shattered Notions

For Procurement, behaviors may be the best indicator of whether you’ll succeed at transformation.

By ·
By ·

Editor’s Note: James M. Baehr is Group Leader and Founder of Sourcing Strategies Group LLC.


“What’s the difference between a successful Procurement transformation and one that falls short of expectations?”  Several weeks ago, I was asked this question and answered with “let me think about that and I’ll get back to you.”  My immediate response was going to be “execution” but the voice in my head told me “not so fast”.  As promised I gave the question more thought.  Based on experience, I was leaning to “attitude” as best the answer.  Why?  Because, the three most effective transformations with which I’ve been associated all represented a “can do” attitude.

There’s no escaping that Procurement transformations are all about People, Process and Technology.  For more than three decades we’ve been driven by process as executed by people.  Technology, to this point in time, has been more an enabler.  Originally, it was mastering the overall processes that go into a transformation that mattered most.  It represented a new way of doing things, exemplified by the legendary recommendation for Procurement to become Supply Management. 

As the processes became more standardized and repeatable the focus shifted to the people, and how transformations could capitalize on the increasing reservoir of experience and expertise. This made it more about people and how they would be at the core of a transformation.  Therefore, my inclination to stand by my original thinking that the “attitude” of the people involved is the keystone for success. 

Back to the three most effective transformations - it seemed best to rule out the one where I was directly affected as a practitioner. Too much of a bias.  As for the other transformations - they’re polar opposites - one was in the private sector the other in the public.  One was driven by a sense of urgency - the need to survive.  The other was driven by persona - the entity was, and still is, recognized for its recurrent accomplishments and a commitment to continuous improvement.  How could two groups, on remote ends of the same spectrum, both be successful?  The answer must be - attitude.

Didn’t William James, the American philosopher and psychologist tell us … “It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” 

Attitude 1 - A sense of urgency

John Kotter has been telling us for years that creating a sense of urgency is essential to transformation.  Sometimes you don’t need to create it.  Sometimes it comes to you.  This company faced some major financial challenges in a market under duress.  Across the company, changes needed to be made and there was a compelling opportunity to transform Supply Management.  Everyone in the company, at all levels, was called upon to be engaged, not just the Procurement group.  Everyone responded by embracing the concept and supporting the initiative.  The Procurement professionals jumped in and led by example.  While fear of the company collapsing was undoubtedly a motivator, it was very evident that this team - leaders, professionals and stakeholders all had the right stuff and the right attitude.

Attitude 2 – The “we’re good at what we do” persona

Many transformations are driven by an admission that something is dysfunctional in the grand scheme of the business enterprise.  Some are driven by a willingness to go from good to better.  This public entity is recognized as a front-runner in much of what it does - operationally and functionally.  The leadership looked at how Supply Management was being handled and saw the opportunity to improve.  During transformations one often encounters the declaration “we’re good at what we do” immediately followed by “so we don’t need to do this”.  For this entity the statement was the same; however, the follow-up was “but, we can do better”.  And, they did.  Again, everyone throughout the entity was engaged and onboard with the change.  The right attitude?

Based on these reflections I was convinced that attitude is the correct answer to the question.  The difference between a successful transformation and a failed one must be attitude.  Then the voice in my head again said, “not so fast - are you sure you understand the meaning of attitude”.  This prompted some research.  I didn’t understand the meaning of attitude, especially not in this context and probably still don’t.  But, there was one representation that resonated with me.  It was the iceberg.  Having used the iceberg over many years to explain Total Cost of Ownership it seemed to me a good way of looking at attitude.

Together with beliefs and values, attitude drives behaviors.  We can see behaviors, we can influence behaviors and behaviors can influence us.  While attitude is important it’s behaviors that make the difference.  The behaviors demonstrated throughout these two successful transformations were representative of the complete package – values, beliefs and attitudes.  It’s probably safe to say that if one of the components was missing, or at best weak, the behaviors wouldn’t have been the same.  So, while it’s likely this thinking is debatable, it may just be behaviors that shape a successful transformation.

Doing the research required to write this piece, some personal suppositions were shattered.
 
Shattered Supposition #1 – Attitude is everything – There are many good quotes that convey attitude is what it takes to make good things happen.  But, to succeed at transforming, behaviors are the difference because they represent beliefs, values and attitudes.
 
Shattered Supposition # 2 – It’s all about execution – Execution of processes is critical but execution without the right behaviors is no more than going through the motions and is unlikely to deliver the desired outcomes.

Shattered Supposition # 3 – Transformations are about people and by people – This may be true about most transformations, at least to this point in time. However, there’s a new reality coming quickly. Where technology, in the past has enabled transformations, going forward transformations will be driven by technology.  This will require a significant shift in thinking and strategy. 

For the next wave of Supply Management transformations, we will see behaviors challenged more than ever before. Nonetheless, behaviors may still be the difference between a successful transformation and a failed one.

 


Subscribe to Supply Chain Management Review Magazine!

Subscribe today. Don't Miss Out!
Get in-depth coverage from industry experts with proven techniques for cutting supply chain costs and case studies in supply chain best practices.
Start Your Subscription Today!

Latest Whitepaper
The Digital Supply Network: The Era of Supply Chain Visibility and Tracking
Supply chain innovation will determine which companies succeed as traditional practices are disrupted.
Download Today!
From the November 2018
The combined forces of a strong economy, e-commerce growth and a tight labor market are making it more important for distribution center (DC) operations to find ways to make their existing infrastructure and people more productive. Software and automation continue to prove to be a vital part of the solution.
Shining a light on the “black box” of transportation
Does Artificial Intelligence (AI) -enabled demand forecasting improve supply chain efficiency?
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!


Latest Webcast
Leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) in Manufacturing
Is Digital Transformation a risk or an opportunity? This webinar will detail Manufacturing industry challenges and how using IoT can address these challenges through optimizing logistics, improving processes and gaining meaningful insights.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Global Kuehne + Nagel Indicators Signal Global Supply Chain Resilience
So far this year, international merchandise trade has risen by 10.6%. Emerging markets and North...
A.T. Kearney’s Global Business Policy Council Predictions Released
GBPC’s 10 major predictions, fleshed out in the study, are based on continuous scanning of the...

New Research Indicates Greener Supply Chains Mean More Profit
Transparency is key when selecting new suppliers as 85% of businesses want to achieve a...
New Survey Measures Potential Impact of Tariffs on U.S. Supply Chains
The proportion of total output produced abroad is meanwhile expected to rise very marginally.