Category Archives: Procurement Heads

Are You A Maverick When It Comes To Empowered Decision Making?

In the classic 80’s movie Top Gun, Maverick almost loses his career as a US fighter pilot because he operates on instinct rather than the rules. In one of the great scenes of the movie, Maverick is severely disciplined by his superiors because he made a great decision that just happened to go against protocol. Whether you think he made the wrong decision or his decision was the right one, depends on how you feel about risk and following the rules. Do you always need to do things by the book, or do you feel that trusting your gut can lead you in the right direction? History shows us that many of the best decisions were made when people trusted their gut instinct.

Here is a real life example of this valuable and important idea. Imagine your child is getting ready for a game of soccer. The temperature is soaring and all the children look tomato red and are sweating like pigs. Though each child is dying for a drink of water, rules dictate that children can’t drink out of the taps. Soon one of the children faints with heat stroke. The parents are furious and mayhem ensues. The right thing would have been for the coach to allow the children to drink water even though it was against the rules. It is just common sense.

Now take this concept to a business level. Senior management is recruited because they have experience, credibility and confidence that their decisions are right, even if they seem to go against the grain. They are acting in the best benefit of the company as a whole. Effective senior leaders look at the big picture and they don’t always follow the rules. This is how things get done.

No matter where you fall on the rungs of your company, from the purchasing department to the HR department, you can always use your instinct to make the right decision. Maybe your team members are going through a serious personal issue that affects them at work such as a death in the family. While the company rule book may dictate one thing, a good team leader will use their gut instinct to decide whether the rules are appropriate or not.

This isn’t to say that guidelines aren’t important. Guidelines, rules and policies are crucial, but they can always be flexible. Depending on the situation, the rules can be bent for the good of the company. The former CEO of Apple Steve Jobs said this “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”. This is what has made Apple an innovative company and leader in the industry. Apple didn’t get to where it is now by hanging back and following the rules. Their rule breaking lead to enormous success.

While Maverick in Top Gun made a reckless decision that would make any rule follower cringe, his instinct and passion saved the day. It is important for any organization to know when empowered decision making is appropriate and when it is better to follow the rules.

What is Your Brand Equity?

By: GotCredit

The concept of brand equity is one that can seem confusing at first, but it is actually a fairly simple idea, and one that marketers focus on a lot when they are assessing the performance of different brands. The idea behind brand equity is that there is an innate value to having a well-known brand name. If your name is known and trusted then you will be able to generate more revenue from your products, and you will find it easier to launch new products and attract new customers than you would if your brand name was not so well-known. There are three factors that are most commonly associated with having good brand equity, and they are:

Loyalty to The Brand

– Lower costs for marketing

– Better trade leverage

– Easier to attract new customers because of increased trust and awareness

– More time to respond to competitive threats

Awareness of The Brand

– Easier to associate other products with the brand

– Product preference and familiarity

– Improved visibility in the marketplace

– Positive association when it comes to customer needs

Associations With the Brand (e.g. perception of quality)

– Easier to communicate information about the products

– Easier to differentiate products within the marketplace

– More reasons for the customer to make a purchase

– Positive attitudes and feelings associated with the brand

– Easier to extend and expand the brand

Building Brand Equity

If you want to build your brand then you will need to create distinctive assets. Your assets are usually your products or services – they are the most interesting things that you offer. You may believe that it is obvious that your product or service is the best on the market, but your customers will not recognize that. The fact that your product is “unique” is not a selling point. The things that you should sell it on are the things that make the brand distinctive – the characteristics, not the fact that those characteristics simply exist. Once you can create the marks that identify your brand – such as the Apple picture, the Nike Tick or the yellow Shell motif, then you have gone well on the way to achieving brand recognition.

Differentiating Your Brand

To set your brand apart from its competitiors, you need to commit to evolving it at all times. You need to be flexible and focus on improving the products and services that you offer so that you are not left behind when the conditions in the marketplace change. You cannot afford to simply be happy that you were head and shoulders ahead of your competitors – you must always be above them. When you start to slip, you do not have long to recapture the core of your market segment – in fact, unless you have amazing brand loyalty you will lose your customers as soon as something better comes along. Innovate, research, develop and improve, otherwise your competitors will do it for you, and you will lose the position in the marketplace that you have spent so much time, money and effort on working to obtain.

Focus on The Movements in your Marketplace

While there are a few brands in every niche that are doing well, there are many others that are destined to fail. Those failures can be just as valuable a teaching opportunity as the successes. The companies that failed to recognise the changes in the marketplace – the Ataris, Commodores and to an extent IBMs are just as important as the Apples and Microsofts. You can learn from what they did right, and from how things went wrong for them. Research the management techniques they used, and learn as much as you can about the lifecycle of their products and their brand. Corporate history is just like political history – there is a lot to learn from, and you can benefit from that knowledge to save your own brand.

The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing

By: Evan Bench

Regardless of the size of your professional organization, you likely have some need for IT. With today’s technology requirements, IT continues to play an increasingly large role in many organizations, and having a strong IT department can often make the difference between success and failure. The IT department often supports a business’ employees, assists with market research, plays a vital role in human resources and manages a company’s fleet and utilities. When looking at this list, it is easy to consider an IT department as the heart of many companies, regardless of the type of service or product the company provides.

Many organizations do not have the knowledge, manpower, finances or time to keep an internal IT department, and for these businesses, outsourcing is often the answer. Outsourcing, like Procurement Heads, allows a business owner to focus on what he knows best while still accessing state-of-the-art technology and innovative practices in IT.

When it comes to outsourcing your IT services, it is often difficult to understand who you should put your trust in. As with any industry, there are IT professionals who are superior and others who fall far short of the mark. Finding the best providers can be somewhat like finding a needle in a haystack if you do not know what you are looking for. Remember that with IT services, when you outsource you lose some element of control, so it is important to do your homework and find a company that you are comfortable giving up that control to.

Even with the idea of losing some control, there are several benefits to outsourcing IT services. First, most IT companies have access to state-of-the-art technology, technology that many business owners do not have access to. This means that they have the ability to use the latest products and developments to enhance your company’s efforts and help you to do business in a more efficient way.

Second, outsourcing your IT services offers cost savings measures. For many companies, keeping an internal IT department requires also hiring additional human resource staff and providing expensive benefits to a greater number of individuals. There are also tax considerations and other financial implications that must be considered. When you outsource, you can avoid these costs while still accessing a group of qualified, professional IT providers.

Outsourcing is also a flexible option. Rather than paying for a full time IT professional on staff, outsourcing allows you to use these services only when you need to and cater them to your specific business needs. You can also increase or decrease services as your business needs change in order to make the most cost effective use of IT skills.

While these advantages are worth considering, it is also important to consider the downside of outsourcing your IT services. First, consider the contract length that many outsourcing agencies require. If you are a start-up business, it may be difficult to commit to a full year of service or more when you are not sure how profitable your business will be in that period of time. Also, being held to a contract means you often cannot change companies if you are not satisfied or find a more cost effective option in the future.

Second, understand that some flexibility is lost when you outsource. The provider of your services will use the technology platform they feel is most appropriate, and if you find that a different platform better suites your business needs, it is often difficult to get them to change. This means you are tied to their terms and decisions, leaving you with less control over your own business needs.

Finally, consider the morale of your employees. Outsourcing can lead to some layoffs or staff changes, and this can often reduce morale at your company. Even staff that are not laid off will sometimes panic, and this can cause them to feel less dedicated to your company overall.

While these disadvantages should be considered, they are not meant to discourage outsourcing. Simply make sure to consider all points, and always review the contract you sign with a legal professional. Remember that it is legal and binding, so you must consider it carefully. Also make sure to interview several outsourcing vendors before deciding on one so you can find the company that is best suited to your needs.

Outsourcing IT Support: The Strongest Link In The Chain

Business is changing in today’s world.. Many companies will no longer be able to rush to get rid of the overhead associated with their permanent departments unless they catch up with technology. There are many changes in the employment world today and they are forcing new flexible approaches to ensure that their employees are part of a whole value chain.

Changing World

There are many workers and many are on temporary and fixed term contracts. They are growing quickly and many recruiters are predicting that they will soon be a quarter of the overall workforce. Many businesses are turning to outside employees from their own offices and treating this trend more seriously than ever before.

This brings great benefits to IT support teams however, it also involved proper planning in order to engage the outsourced portion of the value chain.

Benefits of Outsourcing

Outsourcing provided a great flexible benefit to many businesses. IT support can greatly benefit from this flexibility. As businesses look to expand they can seek greater support during the set up period without the increased costs of new staffing. For businesses that are facing these challenges it can be overwhelming.

It is much easier to change the support required. When working with in house IT support teams they often have to retrain staff. When outsourcing they can allow the provider to handle the ever increasing changes and thus save money and time.

Outsourced companies are good at developing specialized skills and keeping them up to date. They know how cost effectiveness is important to the small business owner and can keep staff trained and at the ready. They support dozens of customers with these concerns so that they can keep their skills up to date at a moments notice.

Drawbacks

Every positive has a negative and the world of business is no different. This is especially true when outsourcing IT support.

Outsourced support techs don’t automatically have the close links that the rest of your business team has. Their staff is much less familiar with the specific quirks and jargon of the workplace and the field. They may not have a tailored approach for your specific business.

When you give up your own IT support team, you also hand the controls over to another company. You aren’t able to dictate who you can call upon at any given moment and may be stuck with someone you don’t seem to get along with. You’ll have to trust someone else with this detail of your business.

Dealing With Drawbacks

Thankfully, this can be easily dealt with. You can have your cake and eat your cake by being flexible.

Keep in mind that the work you need done and the support team are working together. They are two parts of a single value chain and ensure that your system will run smoothly for both staff and customers. As you get to know the company that provides your support team, you can invite them to learn more about your specific company. They can learn how they can help and how to focus on the tasks you require. As they learn this you’ll be able to put more and more confidence into their skills. Now you’re able to let go of the control and trust them. Review their skills regularly and set the direction and trust them to get you there.

Outsourcing your IT support team can greatly benefit smaller companies as well as larger companies. As long as you plan it out well and keep the goals in mind you can dictate how it gets done and be satisfied with their level of expertise in your company.