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Overheard in the Metro October 17, 2011

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in Accountability, Business Improvement, human resources, Improving Personnel Performance.
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I was riding in the metro this evening and the conversation of the two guys standing next to me went something like this, “Can you believe how ______ treated our co-worker this morning?” “Oh, that’s nothing, he/she laid into ______ the other day for absolutely no reason” “I guess that’s why they call him/her ‘The Viper’.” “Well, you know he/she has always been like this, even to some of the Vice-Presidents…..”

We all have (or have had) someone like this in our workplace. A source of constant tension and poison that degrades performance and negatively impacts the company’s culture. Yet, no one chooses to do or say anything. Why?
Being me, I asked the guys, “Why has this been allowed to go on”. One of the fellows said, “Well, he/she has been with the company a long time and everyone is scared of him/her.”

Sure, confronting this person would not be at the top of anyone’s list (nor recommended), but you have a duty to yourself and your company to try and figure the problem out. And it doesn’t have to be confrontational. Sometimes people like this have worked themselves in a rut and don’t know how to extricate themselves. Changing their behavior is going to require you to be friendly, accommodating, and genuine. You will need to invest significant time trying to develop a relationship with them. Even if they berate you, stand tall, be professional and work through the anger. In the long run, everyone will benefit and you may develop an ally.

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Steve Jobs – What I learned October 6, 2011

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in Business Improvement, Customer Service, human resources, Improving Personnel Performance, Internet, Marketing.
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Steve Jobs passed away on October 5th, 2011. It’s hard even writing this fact down – the loss is so profound. I remember when I was in training at Apple in 2002, Steve came into the Apple Café and the Director of our program freaked out, warning us NOT to go up to him or talk to him. So we all, myself included, passed on speaking to the fellow who has revolutionized and changed our life.

Crazy isn’t it?

I am an Apple. Having been on the platform since the Apple II (and I may still have it somewhere), I have taken a lot of grief from the naysayers. The detractors said: its a toy, no IT department would adopt it, you could buy three PC’s for the price of one Macintosh, it doesn’t run any good software, blah blah blah. Now look at Apple’s market share and even more importantly, the charged-up, ecstatic, crazy customers that love everything Apple.

It is sad that many people will just get it today that Apple is and will always be something special. Born from a dream by someone who was a college dropout and described as directionless, Steve pursued his dream with fellow entrepreneur, Steve Wozniac. Steve didn’t make computers, he created tools that let us extend our current lifestyles and imagination. Seth Godin made a great point in his blog yesterday when he challenged all of us with the call to action, “What are we going to do with it?” The “It” is this wonderful tool that Steve and the other great folks at Apple have given us.

Now we just need to do like the Nike commercial and “Just do it”!

P.S. if Steve Jobs chose to invent the elevator, it would have a touch screen allowing you to deselect an incorrectly chosen floor AND the door open and close buttons would work! The iElevator would let you select relevant content about the building clients or local events thus helping passengers avoid those unnecessarily awkward elevator stares. The floor would have a small section that vibrates to sooth tired feet. You get the picture. Soon everyone would look forward to riding in an elevator again!

P.S.S. No, I am not an Apple snob – I have a PC and use it – mostly for Excel and VBA. If I were to liken it to a tool, I would call it an allen wrench – very good for very specific tasks. But I don’t carry an allen wrench with me all of the time….. I do, however, carry a MacBook, Ipad, and Iphone 24/7

What really defines your effectiveness is how you handle problems. September 1, 2011

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in Accountability, Business Improvement, Procurement.
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A long time ago I was taught that the true measure of leadership was all about how you handled adversity. Project Management and Supply Chain professionals are faced with difficult situations all the time (that is the beauty of the job) and knowing what to do and what not to do is key. After all, everyone acts the way they do for a reason. Most of the time it is “perceptions” that people have either about themselves or others that are the root cause of conflict. And if you get under the hood and discover those perceptions, you will be able to solve most any challenge.

Last night, I attended an Institute for Supply Management (ISM) group had the pleasure of listening to Rhonda Jones Sparks, who spoke to us about leadership development and in particular how to facilitate problem solving and problem ownership. Rhonda has been published with Stephen Covey (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) and Brian Tracy (National Sales Trainer and author of Turbo Strategies).

The best takeaway from the presentation that will benefit you and your organization was how Rhonda defined the stages of problem solving. You can find Rhonda at http://www.rjsleadershipcoaching.com

Stage 1: Externalizing – Oftentimes this is the part you see when a co-worker is venting about the job. Externalizing is natural but it offers only temporary relief and it distresses others. Sometimes, people get stuck in this stage and continually live in the past or feel like they have been victimized. Everyone has a choice when faced with a problem. The real problem, however, is not the event that just happened, rather it is our “perception” of the options available to us. It is important to use active listening skills during this stage and not offer any solutions.

When faced with a problem, you have three directions that can be taken:

1) You can influence the situation by doing something to change the circumstances.
2) You can accept the situation by creating an internal change within yourself – a letting go
3) You can remove yourself from the situation entirely.

Stage 2: Personalizing – You make a conscious effort to take ownership of the problem and solve or effect change. This empowering step creates hope and shifts emphasis from problem to solution. Brainstorming possible solutions will help the person weigh the cost of the options.

Stage 3: Personalized Deficit – This is the one obstacle or issue which is keeping an individual from moving forward (the real problem). You ask, “What are you not willing to do right now, that if you did, you’d feel better and begin to move toward a solution?”

Stage 4: Personalized Action: Talk through the issues and create solutions. Make sure to answer who, what, when, where and how.

People who don’t facilitate problem solving have the potential for making your workplace into an unhappy, miserable and toxic environment. So if you see someone getting stuck – maybe they are in denial, have a blind spot or a behind-the-scenes enabler, step up and see what you can do to help!

Yours in procurement,
Steve

Steve Gordon specializes in procurement, logistics, cost saving and business process improvement initiatives – call him today at 865.356.3575

Remember what the Aberdeen Group says……….

“For a typical enterprise, it takes an increase
of $5 in sales to equal the impact of
a $1 reduction in procurement costs.”

Solutions is happy to complete a complimentary audit of your firm’s expeditures. Just call or write to get started.

If you want to learn how to save money on a particular commodity, just send me a comment or email me directly. I will do my best to answer your request in a future post.

Respectfully,

Steve Gordon
Senior Consultant
Solutions Business Consultants
http://www.costavoidance.org
__________________________________
”Bringing Service, Value, and Efficiency to the Supply Chain”

steve@costavoidance.org
(865) 356-3575
Skype: stevegordskype
Blog: https://innovativeconsultant.wordpress.com/
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevegordonthecostsavingsguy

Maximizing your trade show dollar August 12, 2011

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in Business Improvement, Marketing.
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Trade shows and events bring your customers to you and are still regarded by traditional and web 2.0 marketers as an efficient spend. On average, your cost per lead is 45% less and cost per sale is 38% less. With 78% of direct mail being opened over a trash can and a mere 1.2% response rate, companies that solely market using the mail continue to throw money against the wall. And the efficient marketing landscape is continually changing – email now has a 24% opt-in rate but this figure is only 1/3 of the acceptance of text messages. Customers want (and expect) a fast response to their inquiries – and the statistics prove this out – contact requests that are responded to within the first five minutes are 100 times more likely to get in touch with a live person than a thirty minute response delay.
Now imagine that you can leverage each of your trade shows and events to bring in leads and sales over a period of months. This strategy is only being used by a small fraction of exhibitors and you have the potential to ride a huge wave of competitive advantage – the details to follow.

HR can be your biggest asset! April 14, 2011

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in Accountability, Business Improvement, human resources, Improving Personnel Performance.
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Nothing probably influences your company more than Human Resources. Our consultants have found a plethora of opportunities involving HR which not only lead to cost savings but more importantly keep good people employed and provide remedies for marginal performers. First a quick list of do’s and don’ts, and in Part II we will delve into more specifics.

Do’s and Don’ts

1) Do not hire relatives of employees – never have we seen a situation where this is a positive. The worst example was a company that had thirty relateds working in various departments. Supervisors were not allowed to correct bad behavior, their team participation was weak and salaries were skewed high similar to their peers. Needless to say this sent a rippling effect throughout the company that you did not have to perform well in order to get a job, keep a job or be promoted.

2) Do not put up with poor social behavior. Party animals are only entertaining when you are in college – there is not a good translation for them in the office. The same holds true for office romances. The worst example I have come across was a VP having an affair with a senior salesperson. Everyone knew about it including the execs and HR. His wife found out, there was a divorce, she took the kids out of state but no action was taken by HR. A bigger problem was the entire company knew about the moral breakdown and because it was condoned by management, guess what, the problem multiplied like bunnies in the forest. This was distracting at the very least to the important tasks and responsibilities that should have been going on – the VP commanded no respect and it sent a negative message to the associates.

3) Create detailed job descriptions and metrics (KPI’s) to measure desired results. Don’t expect your HR department to do this in a vacuum – the effort should be led by the department manager or executive staff with HR oversight/comments – after all, who knows more about the job than the first line manager/director.

4) Be consistent about compensation. This starts with the detailed job descriptions and needs to be administered by a competent compensation analyst. If you think folks don’t know what everyone is earning then you are just kidding yourself. Regrettably, our consultants report that there is still a gender gap in pay – make sure that your company isn’t setting themselves up for failure – equal pay means just that and a logically managed compensation program is the best thing in the world for morale and productivity.

4) Work with HR on making hiring decisions. You should insist on looking at every application/resume or at least a representative sample. It is a good practice anyway as a hiring manager you need to know what type of applicants are out there in the world.

5) Use group interviews and at least two rounds of them. Developing a standardized set of questions for the applicants and for references and make sure to call them. Qualifications and culture fits cannot be ascertained from the initial interviews. Keep in mind that 50% or more of marriages fail and oftentimes these people have been dating for months – how can you expect to make a good hire unless you take the time to know your applicants.

6) Have a comprehensive semi-annual review program. You can’t expect one size to fit all so tailor the questions to the position. Use Key Performance Indicators, Objectives-Goal-Strategies-Measurement or other system to quantify the accomplishments of the employee. Use a blind system and average the results to assign a numerical score based on qualitative data so personal bias is minimized.

7) Be accessible and customer-centric – Engage your employees. Find out what is working and what is not working and take special care to bridge the gap.

8) Have a system of organization for all new hires. Use document scanners to keep files in an electronic form because paperwork loss is the chief HR complaint that should never happen. In a perfect world, if your company is big enough, you could install a full blown HRIS system, but for many companies you can build a database (yes, anyone can do this, you don’t need a service) using one of the many web-based systems to keep thing organized. Besides, file rooms are a thing of the past and they never get cleaned out. Electronic documents are universally recognized as a legal method of storage and they are a lot easier to search, mine data, build performance dashboards and reduce/eliminate the flow of paperwork.

9) Many HR departments have taken on training as there are several issues that fall under HR purview – new employee orientation, harassment, safety, etc. Many successful HR departments have one trainer who creates reusable videos and elearner instead of trying to deliver live training. This standardizes and then use a free survey tool (from the internet) to ask pertinent questions to make sure your audience was paying attention. Instantly, you will get better consistency of delivery, validation of results and you can keep your training department lean and efficient.

10) Send communication back to every person who puts in an application. Why? because everyone is a potential customer and everyone talks – you want them talking positively about your company. One of the best I’ve seen comes from Scripps Networks and goes something like this:

Dear First Name,

Thank you for your interest in employment with Scripps Networks, and the position of ______________. The selection of candidates requires difficult decisions and at this point it has been determined that your background is not a match for the specific requirements for this position. Accordingly you will not be considered further for this particular opportunity. Please do not consider it a poor reflection on you; rather, it is an indication that another candidate has skills that better fit the role.

We encourage you to periodically review the list of available job opportunities provided on our web site and follow the application process described. Thank you again and best of luck with your career search.

11) Have a senior exec (not in the chain of command for HR) conduct a semi-annual survey of all employees which polls the performance of Human Resources. Then release a summary of the report with action items so that positive steps can be taken to improve the level of service.

More to follow in Part II

Yours in procurement,
Steve

Steve Gordon specializes in procurement, logistics, cost saving and business process improvement initiatives – call him today at 865.356.3575

Remember what the Aberdeen Group says……….

“For a typical enterprise, it takes an increase
of $5 in sales to equal the impact of
a $1 reduction in procurement costs.”

Solutions is happy to complete a complimentary audit of your firm’s expeditures. Just call or write to get started.

If you want to learn how to save money on a particular commodity, just send me a comment or email me directly. I will do my best to answer your request in a future post.

Respectfully,

Steve Gordon
Senior Consultant
Solutions Business Consultants
http://www.costavoidance.org
__________________________________
”Bringing Service, Value, and Efficiency to the Supply Chain”

steve@costavoidance.org
(865) 356-3575
Skype: stevegordskype
Blog: https://innovativeconsultant.wordpress.com/
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevegordonthecostsavingsguy

Savings Corner – Trimming Your Print/Copy/Ad Specialties/Design Costs March 10, 2011

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in Accountability, Business Improvement, Increase Profitability, Internet, Marketing, Procurement, Savings Corner.
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One of the low hanging fruit baskets of savings that you find in almost every business is printing and its related cousins. This broad category includes everything from design, printing, copying, advertising specialities and the internet.
COPYING: Let’s start with copying. If your office is using inkjet printers – especially lexmark or even some laser printers, chances are you are getting eaten alive in cartridge costs. You have several alternatives – First, if you are in love with your inkjets or laser printer, shop around for toner – hint – the big box office supply places are not the place to shop – we have achieved savings of 30% or more by partnering with smaller distributors and giving them a price target to hit. Second, rent a copy machine (or machine) – most copier companies will rent you a machine, provide toner and guaranteed service for a little over a penny per click on black and white. Color will (of course) be somewhat more expensive and is based on volume but it will still be less expensive than your inkjet or laser. Third, do not buy your paper from the office supply store – buy it from a paper merchant or better still – leverage your printing supplier to provide copy paper at their cost in exchange for your printing business. Fourth, if you have large copying jobs – do not take it to your local Fedex Office – I love the guys that work there but we have been able to save 50% or more using copy wholesalers. If you must use Fedex Office then get a discount card from the manager – you can save 15% or more with that little jewel.
DESIGN: Graphic Design staffing is size dependent on your business – that will determine whether you can afford to do design in-house, use freelancers or employ an outside agency. Regardless of who does your design work, demand copies of both the final files and working files. The reason for this is two-fold – 1) You can make your own versions/revisions without paying anyone and 2) If the designer disappears or the agency goes under, you are protected from having to recreate a catalog or web site from scratch. With the exception of very small businesses, I advocate in-house design and conversion of all paper documents to .pdf or web-based forms. If you can’t design from scratch, learn how to make changes – we have trained numerous companies and the learning curve is not as steep as you might think.
PRINTING: Nothing has become more competitive than printing prices whether you are printing digital, offset, half-web, full-web…. you get the picture. Most companies fail to obtain competitive prices by not bidding out jobs deep and wide – deep because you need to poll a statistically significant number of printers (and that doesn’t mean 3) and wide because you must gain understanding of the printer’s equipment capabilities and how you can leverage your job to take advantage of their production sweet spot. Never give all of your business to a single printer and require that they bid out every job every time – this keeps them honest. Don’t fall for the trap that only such and such printer can do a quality job or that your co-worker’s next door neighbor owns a print shop and will give you a “great” deal. The best part about purchasing printing is that printing prices are relatively easy to reverse engineer since equipment speeds are published, labor is relatively constant and the major ingredient “paper” is easy to source and price.
ADVERTISING SPECIALTIES: This is another easy one. Once you understand the industry pricing codes, you can easily negotiate from a position of power if you choose to use a specialty rep. company. Or if you are adventurous, you can deal direct with most specialty companies because they would rather make a sale to you then no sale at all. There are a lot of variations – I have negotiated cost-plus deals with a rep. company because my client didn’t have time to source. I have also purchased shirts direct from the manufacturer (US and China) and then had them contract printed or embroidered. The direction that I go in is oftentimes dictated by my clients internal resources, the size of the job and the amount of savings desired by the client.
INTERNET: Much harder to explain in a short blog but here’s my attempt. Web design should keep your company’s look and feel which means that you can repurpose (not re-design) your graphics which can be done very inexpensively. Most importantly, I can’t stress enough that you (or your marketing person) need to spend a day researching competitors web sites as well as sites that contain the functionality that you would desire in your own site. Make a list of the components that you like, create goals for your site, a statement of work (fancy talk for a brief describing everything you want the site to do) and then bid these out. Not to an agency necessarily – we use a combination of project managers, freelancers, local talent and foreign programmers. The delivered product should be well-documented so that anyone that understands HTML, CSS, PHP, Java, etc. can make programmatic changes. For larger sites, a content management system should be utilized so that you or your wordsmiths can update the site without a degree in computer science. Finally, be smart about promoting your site. You can go broke trying to create traffic and once you bid out a site, you will get bombarded by hundreds of companies that swear they can make your site a success. The truth is that there are recognized companies who have already figured out optimization, lead generation, nurturing, email campaigns, affiliate programs and the like. Regardless of how you approach your site, spend time researching and (please) don’t reinvent the wheel.

Yours in procurement,
Steve

Steve Gordon specializes in procurement and logistics cost saving initiatives – call him today at 865.356.3575

Remember what the Aberdeen Group says……….

“For a typical enterprise, it takes an increase
of $5 in sales to equal the impact of
a $1 reduction in procurement costs.”

Solutions is happy to complete a complimentary audit of your firm’s expeditures. Just call or write to get started.

If you want to learn how to save money on a particular commodity, just send me a comment or email me directly. I will do my best to answer your request in a future post.

Respectfully,

Steve Gordon
Senior Consultant
Solutions Business Consultants
http://www.costavoidance.org
__________________________________
”Bringing Service, Value, and Efficiency to the Supply Chain”

steve@costavoidance.org
(865) 356-3575
Skype: stevegordskype
Blog: https://innovativeconsultant.wordpress.com/
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevegordonthecostsavingsguy

Travel and Expense Policy – part one February 12, 2011

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in Business Improvement, Increase Profitability, Procurement, Travel Policy.
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I have had quite a few requests for a travel and expense policy. Before I go into the philosophy and nuts and bolts, let me make a few comments.

First, most companies have severely curtailed travel, both for internal group meetings as well as attendance at training, seminars, and supplier visits. I am actually glad that a good number of these trips have been curtailed. With communication mechanisms like Apple iChat, Skype, Webex, Go-to-Meeting and other low-cost, highly effective tools, the goals and accomplishments of an in-person trip can be achieved without an unnecessary hit on the pocketbook. Why send three people to the same training? Send one and have him/her train the others – or film the training and put it into your training library for future hires.

Let’s look at a hypothetical scenario: A few years ago a IT executive wanted to send two of his personnel to make a presentation at an overseas conference. I challenged the $10,000 cost of the trip (which probably cost more than $15,000 if you count the loss of two IT resources for 10 days) for three reasons. 1) If you are invited to present, the body sponsoring the presentation should have covered the cost; 2) the virtual communication technology available at the time could have easily have achieved the goal; 3) the economy was showing signs of decline and it would send a negative message to the rest of the company (besides being fiscally irresponsible). I was told that this presentation was not only prestigious for the company but it would also serve as a reward for the employees. Actually, the company did issue a press release, however, both employees left the company before the year was out. There was no measurable ROI or any direct benefits to the company. Anyway, I lost the argument but would still make the same plea today.

Enough pontificating, let us talk about what you want to accomplish with a good travel and expense policy.

First, create some goals and objectives for your policy:

1) To fairly compensate the traveler and provide for his/her safety and comfort away from home
2) To ensure company resources are managed responsibly, ethically and legally and minimize costs when possible
3) To ensure consistency in travel administration, yet provide reasonable flexibility
4) When in doubt, use common sense.
5) Apply the same rules to everyone regardless of position.
6) The traveler should neither lose nor gain financially as a result of business travel

Think about these and let me know if I left anything out – I will follow up shortly with more on this in Part II.

Yours in Supply Chain,

Steve

Remember what the Aberdeen Group says……….

“For a typical enterprise, it takes an increase
of $5 in sales to equal the impact of
a $1 reduction in procurement costs.”

If you have a topic of interest you would like me to discuss in our blog, “in-person”, or see a typo, just send me a comment or email me directly. I would like to hear from you!

Respectfully,

Steve Gordon
Senior Consultant
Solutions Business Consultants
http://www.costavoidance.org
__________________________________
”Bringing Service, Value, and Efficiency to the Supply Chain”

steve@costavoidance.org
(865) 356-3575
Skype: stevegordskype
Blog: https://innovativeconsultant.wordpress.com/
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevegordonthecostsavingsguy

Opportunities in Marketing Procurement March 26, 2010

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in 1, Business Improvement, Increase Profitability, Marketing, Procurement.
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Thanks to Robert R. of New York City for his question, “Steve, I am a CFO of a medical supply manufacturer. Our marketing spend has spiraled out of control. What suggestions can you provide to help put this cost center in check?”

Great question, Robert. Marketing spend oftentimes represents a large portion of a company’s indirect spend. Without specific targets or a look at your detailed spend, I am going to provide a generalized list of items that you can focus on.

1) Rank marketing spend by dollars.
2) Focus on top 20% of spend.
3) Use agencies and outside creative ONLY for idea generation and development of concepts whenever possible. Never use them to outsource printing, video production, web-design, etc. unless you want to pay a large 25% or more premium. (Note – even though agency commission might be 10% they will always use the high cost provider (since they make a percentage of the final price).
4) Create an in-house agency to take advantage of agency discounts.
5) Resource top 20% of spend – print, video, web-design, seo/sem, etc. And source out to 7-10 supplies instead of the industry standard of 3 potential supplies. The advantages of engaging multiple suppliers in the quotation phase are based on statistics – you cannot locate innovative, competitive, and quality-oriented suppliers with a small sampling.
6) Require that all completed digital files are supplied to the marketing department including original files, fonts, images, etc. This way your in-house graphics/video person can repurpose graphics and video at no additional charge to your organization. (When I use the words “original files” I mean the original source files (such as a flash .fla file or layered photoshop file) instead of the completed file (flash video .flv or .swf or merged photoshop file). The reason for this is that you can only edit the source file. My experience is that you must require this to be done when you place the original purchase order.
7) Marketing has a tendency to go with who they know and oftentimes they have a personal relationship with many of these suppliers. Sometimes this can be useful but once a supplier knows there is no competition you can guess what happens – price creep (and it never creeps down).
8) In the web-space be careful of trying to reinvent the wheel. Chances are that someone has created that special widget or function that is needed. There are great sources for inexpensive quality code, Search Engine Marketing and Optimization, and other web services. Make sure to be careful when creating the scope of services document so nothing is left to chance and make sure to involve multiple suppliers. Even if you are in a major metropolitan area, you will need to conduct a national search. Research can help you target your sourcing.
9) Take the time to understand and document your company’s marketing strategy. Early involvement by Finance and Procurement can eliminate any rush procurements which is used as a tactic to avoid best practices.
10) Never allow marketing to unilaterally select suppliers and negotiate with suppliers. This is true with all departments, not just marketing so don’t think I am picking on marketing folks in particular.
11) Consolidate suppliers whenever possible to leverage spend.
12) Create a preferred supplier list of suppliers who provide quality service at approved pricing.
13) If you shoot video, this category has huge potential for savings. The economy and technology have produced a wide variety of talented individuals and equipment who can take your (or your agencies) concept to successful completion. Even if you are in a small market, a few phone calls can lead you to a wide variety of suppliers. Hint: Stay away from suppliers who use hardware based Avid suites or non-digital solutions Currently the best bang for the buck are editors who use Apple’s Final Cut Pro Studio.
14) Limit long-term contracts for marketing services – that means not signing any agency contract – business is tight and competitive so you as a buyer are not compelled to limit your options.
15) Develop strategic partnerships with suppliers – concentrate on value-add services, payments terms and other benefits that they can provide.

Yours in Supply Chain,

Steve

Remember what the Aberdeen Group says……….

“For a typical enterprise, it takes an increase
of $5 in sales to equal the impact of
a $1 reduction in procurement costs.”

Solutions is happy to complete a complimentary audit of your firm’s expeditures. Just call or write to get started.

If you have a topic of interest you would like me to discuss in our blog, “in-person”, or if you find a typographical error, just send me a comment or email me directly. I would like to hear from you!

Respectfully,

Steve Gordon
Senior Consultant
Solutions Business Consultants
http://www.costavoidance.org
__________________________________
”Bringing Service, Value, and Efficiency to the Supply Chain”

steve@costavoidance.org
(865) 356-3575
Skype: stevegordskype
Blog: https://innovativeconsultant.wordpress.com/
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevegordonthecostsavingsguy

The Death of the Conventional Advertising Agency March 2, 2010

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in Accountability, Business Improvement, Increase Profitability, Marketing, Procurement.
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Twenty years ago, while I was running a printing plant, I was told that printing on paper would be a thing of the past. Today, printing isn’t dead but successful printers have had to find their niche, take advantage of the new business fostered by e-commerce and work smart to find their competitive advantage.

I will go out on a limb and predict the end of an era – the Conventional Advertising Agency. I define the conventional agency as one that has makes its real profit on services beyond that of an innovative think-tank that takes the most mundane of products and turns them into consumer must-haves. Times have changed and no longer are agencies needed to send unneeded people to garner billable hours on photo-shoots, commercials, printing, web-site designs and other outsourced projects. The sophistication of the modern marketing director understands that a good photographer is a good photographer without regard of who hires him or her.

The idea of charging fifteen, twenty percent or more on outsourced projects is a procurement nightmare. With a cost-plus methodology, no agency is interested in competitive billing. In fact, when you are making a commission, the higher the check the better. I have audited agency billings that would make you cry and even laugh – but it’s not so funny when it is your money. The abuse in some cases is nothing short of gouging the company. And some of the agency contracts are specifically designed to remove the choice of purchasing control from your firm.

Their will always be a place for idea men and women. People who can create compelling campaigns to bring top-of-mind awareness and develop strong brands. But they should take a hint that today’s modern cost-aware companies are going to look unfavorably on those ad firms who do not first and foremost, employ a fiduciary responsibility to their clients.

Yours in Supply Chain,

Steve

Remember what the Aberdeen Group says……….

“For a typical enterprise, it takes an increase
of $5 in sales to equal the impact of
a $1 reduction in procurement costs.”

We will do a sample complimentary audit of your advertising agency expeditures. Just call or write to get started.

If you have a topic of interest you would like me to discuss in our blog, “in-person”, or see a typo, just send me a comment or email me directly. I would like to hear from you!

Respectfully,

Steve Gordon
Senior Consultant
Solutions Business Consultants
http://www.costavoidance.org
__________________________________
”Bringing Service, Value, and Efficiency to the Supply Chain”

steve@costavoidance.org
(865) 356-3575
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Engaging Your People! September 27, 2009

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in Accountability, Business Improvement, Improving Personnel Performance, Increase Profitability.
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2 comments

A common theme has cropped up in several of my recent engagements. A perceived (and actual) communication gap between direct reports and their supervisor.

Here are some actual quotes, “I think John is here only to draw a paycheck”; “My boss has no idea about what is going on in the business and doesn’t have a clue as to what I do. . .”; “I wonder if my company really has a game plan.”

These issues didn’t happen overnight but they can be solved in a relatively short period of time. Here are a few tips. . .

1) Manage by walking around – If you live in an office with a door, make sure you spend no more than 20% behind closed doors and the remainder (outside of meetings) with your direct reports and internal/external customers. Ask what is going on and how you can help facilitate their mission.

2) Communicate clearly what the company (and your department’s) mission statement is.

3) Have regular (agendized) formal meetings with your staff as well as brainstorming and social (lunch or outside the office) sessions. Make sure you are getting and giving feedback so people don’t think they are working in a vacuum.

4) Compliment and recognize those that are doing a great job.

5) Collect and post KPI’s for your department.

6) Use the phone or in-person approach instead of relying on email or memos.

Today, every department is running lean so it is easy to disengage from your staff. Take the time to put the “human” back into Human Capital by engaging your staff!

Steve
costavoidance.org

Solutions Business Consultants are specialists in cutting costs and expenses without sacrificing employees™. We take an enlightened look at a company’s spend and create innovative cost savings methodologies which bring money to your bottom line!