Purchasing Magazine this month published a cover article entitled “Purchasing 3.0” which discussed how today’s purchasing professionals are utilizing technology to be more effective.

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This article is thought provoking on several levels. I’ll be posting a two-part series on some of the positive points that I found in the article. I also encourage you to check out Michael Lamoureux’s scathing review of the article on Sourcing Innovation for a different view point.

So, today, I just want to highlight how the article encourages the use of Microsoft Project. Next Level Purchasing offers an online course called “Microsoft Project For Purchasing Professionals.” While many procurement leaders know the value of expertly managing a project, we still occasionally hear from our potential clients “We won’t enroll in that class because we don’t use Microsoft Project.”

Well, I also say: “You don’t use Microsoft Project, but should you be using it?” After all, it only helps coordinate the work of cross-functional teams, increases the probability that projects will be completed on-time and under budget, and provides management visibility into the progress of a large project with many “moving parts,” among other things.

Here’s an excerpt from the article where Jim Adkins, VP of Sourcing and Supply Chain for Bobcat, describes the value that Microsoft Project has brought to his organization:

Adkins says one easy-to-learn software package that many procurement
departments could benefit from but often overlook is Microsoft’s Project
application. As procurement gets more involved in cross-functional teams
and programs – serving as the facilitator in many cases – leveraging some kind
of project management system can pay off in spades.

“After 15 years of program management in the U.S. Air Force, I learned the
value of project management and the value of the right project tracking tool,”
Adkins says. “Whether it’s a savings project, running a bid project or
even new product development project, you have to know what your critical path
elements are and using these tools can help track that.”

In fact, Adkins feels the people that are really good at sourcing are often
those with the strongest project management skills, and using the right tool
“puts rigor to the process. I have been transitioning our organization in
the last couple years and those are the kinds of tools it takes to drive
change.”

It is always refreshing to me when I encounter someone who “gets it” with regard to the importance of project management, and the use of project management tools, in procurement. We started offering “Microsoft Project For Purchasing Professionals” in 2001. Here in 2010, people are finally starting to catch up.

Part 2 coming soon!

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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