Welcome back to another installment of Whitepaper Wednesday here on the Purchasing Certification Blog.

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Unlike Jason at Spend Matters (who seems to trick at least one heartbroken reader every year), I will not be playing any April Fools jokes and saying that I’m leaving the blogging business or anything like that today. Instead, I’ll be doing a serious review of a whitepaper entitled “Effective Supplier Performance Management: Maximize your Profitability and Minimize Risks” from Ariba.

The whitepaper starts out by discussing some of the key aspects of supplier performance management (SPM), with a lot of similarity to the concepts taught in our free online mini-course “Managing Supplier Performance” and our article “Skillfully Managing Supplier Relationships.” The portion of the whitepaper that I found most unique and interesting was Ariba’s “7 Foundational Principles of Supplier Performance Management.” Here is a brief summary of those:

  1. Know your end game, then set metrics for only those elements that drive you
    toward the end game.
  2. Decide with metrics…the facts rule. What I think this whitepaper is getting at here is saying to internal customers (who are often defenders of incumbent – and, usually, expensive – suppliers): “I understand that you feel that this supplier is good. Let’s work together to find out exactly how good this supplier is from an objective perspective.”
  3. Hold them to the numbers, clarify consequences, and follow through. Basically, this piece says that consequences for bad performance are necessary, but there will be less friction and, ideally, better performance if everyone knows what to expect up front.
  4. Work with (not on) suppliers. Suggesting that procurement professionals ask suppliers to rate themselves (as a complement to being rated by you), this whitepaper stresses that supplier relationships are to be a collaboration of peers at times, not just a review between a superior and a subordinate.
  5. Assign SPM owners. Effective supplier performance management requires personal dedication to the process as well as personal accountability.
  6. Leverage continuous improvement methodologies, modify metrics over time. Nothing stays the same forever. Neither should your supplier performance management program.
  7. Automate processes, including data collection, reporting, and analysis. This is pretty self-explanatory.

Obviously, the whitepaper has much more detail than I am able to review here, it’s very well written and relevant, and it’s only five pages, so I recommend that you download your own copy from Ariba’s Web site (registration is required). Be sure to save a copy – I think this is one of those rare whitepapers that you may find yourself referencing now and then over the years if you’re committed to an effective supplier performance management program.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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