Commodities Prices: Managing The Insanity
PurchTips - Edition #162
By Charles Dominick, SPSM
Are Volatile Commodities Prices Driving You Crazy?
On the Supply Excellence blog, Mike Petro - Ariba's Senior Category Manager for Metals - wrote "The days of holding annual negotiations to set fixed price direct material contracts are over" and stressed the need to increasingly use price adjustment clauses in contracts with raw materials suppliers (http://tinyurl.com/45tqj6). I recently had the chance to discuss with Mr. Petro some common questions buyers have in this time of volatile commodities prices.
Why Are Price Adjustment Clauses Necessary? More than ever, suppliers are refusing to honor their commitments for long-term fixed pricing. "There are cases of broken contracts all over the place," says Petro, who has observed that not even the threat of legal action deters some suppliers in this time of rising commodities prices. Petro also finds some suppliers refusing to quote fixed prices for new projects, saying "We are seeing suppliers that will actually drop out of a sourcing project based on the fact that they can't justify the risk of trying to lock in a fixed price and still be competitive."
What Should Price Adjustment Clauses Be Based On? Price adjustment clauses should be closely tied to the indexes of the applicable cost drivers for the commodity. A cost driver is "any cost that impacts the final price of a commodity," according to Petro. For example, he lists iron ore, scrap, fuel, energy, duties, tariffs, taxes, and currency exchange rates as cost drivers for steel. It's important to know how the cost drivers are changing and the proportion of each cost driver's impact on the final price for the commodities that you are buying.
How Often Should Prices Be Reviewable When Using A Price Adjustment Clause? "The time frame is dependent on the commodity and the volatility," Petro shares. "Most of the buyers we work with are looking at things quarterly," but monthly may be appropriate for some commodities.
(Keep reading for a FREE Offer)
Spotlight On Professional Development Opportunities
Are you tired of not getting enough opportunities, respect, and money out of your purchasing career? Well, guess what? Nothing will change unless you take action towards becoming a world-class purchasing professional.
You see, today's employers refuse to reward employees for yesterday's skills. They demand that purchasing professionals like you use the most modern skills and achieve unprecedented results. They want you to save more money, achieve better operational performance, and reduce risk.
Earning your SPSM® Certification by completing the Senior Professional in Supply Management® Program is the action to take if you want to bring the most modern purchasing practices into your organization and achieve your career potential. Learn how to earn your SPSM® Certification (and perhaps get an iPod) at:
The Latest Purchasing News!
- Purchasing Managers/Directors: The fourth quarter is a critical time for planning how to improve your team's skills and performance in 2009. We can help you build a roadmap for improvement. Learn if you qualify for our FREE purchasing skills benchmarking service at: www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/benchmark
- Considering a career move? Browse over 80 jobs preferring candidates with the SPSM® Certification posted at: www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/jobs
Want to learn more about today's topic? Then check out my podcast interview with Mike Petro! Podcasts are audio files that you can listen to on your PC, download to your iPod/MP3 player, or burn to CD.
It's absolutely FREE to download the audio. So why not add to your collection of great purchasing education material?