Best Practices Xchange, Gaining a Voice in the Boardroom: Sourcing and Supply Chain Executives Shared Successes in Gaining C-Suite/Boardroom Support

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The Best Practices Xchange (http://www.bestpracticesxchange.com) hosted a one day summit, held quarterly, entitled, "The Best Practices Xchange: Gaining a Voice in the Boardroom". Top Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain Executives focused on the challenges that professionals face while gaining buy-in for their initiatives from the C-Suite and Boardroom. Also in attendance was Michael Lamoureux, editor of the blog Sourcing Innovation (http://www.sourcinginnovation.com). Guest speakers included Ruth Ann Gillis, EVP Exelon Corporation and President Exelon Business Services Company, and Professor Lloyd Rinehart, University of Tennessee.

The Best Practices Xchange (http://www.bestpracticesxchange.com) met on Friday, October 23, 2009 at the Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort Hotel in Oak Brook, IL. The one day summit, held quarterly, was entitled, "The Best Practices Xchange: Gaining a Voice in the Boardroom". Top Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain Executives focused on the challenges that professionals face while gaining buy-in for their initiatives from the C-Suite and Boardroom. Also in attendance was Michael Lamoureux, editor of the blog Sourcing Innovation (http://www.sourcinginnovation.com). Guest speakers included Ruth Ann Gillis, EVP Exelon Corporation and President Exelon Business Services Company, and Professor Lloyd Rinehart, University of Tennessee.

"As the complexity and velocity of business transactions increases, corporations are placing greater emphasis on supply chain and procurement optimization. The BPX forum is a great way for executives to share ideas forconfronting this changing landscape. The intimate setting and member-driven agendas are much more useful than any annual convention." Carlton B. Adams, Director, Global Indirect Procurement, Caterpillar, Inc.

Dalip Raheja, CEO of The Mpower Group, set the stage with an examination of Strategic Sourcing's evolving corporate role. "In the last ten years, since Strategic Sourcing was presented as a best-in-class concept, have we made progress as a corporate function? The answer is yes. However we haven't made as much progress as any of us sitting here would like. The good news is that expectations from corporate leadership are there; the bad news is that we still have a long way to go to fill those expectations."

Attendees from various industries (health care, heavy equipment, legal services, technology, etc.) explored how to increase their visibility and acceptance at the highest executive levels. Members shared best practices on how to overcome the main roadblocks that prevent their groups from achieving recognition for strategic contributions to organizational success. Many concerns and issues related to the day's theme were raised during the roundtable discussion and guest presentations. According to Justine Knizeski, Chief Procurement Officer and Divisional Vice President, Health Care Service Corp (HCSC), "It is critical that we get in on the front end of projects to take full advantage of all that Sourcing and Procurement has to offer."

Dr. Lloyd Rinehart tapped his industry experience and cutting-edge research on negotiations to create a framework for developing reality-based relationships. Blending theory and practical examples, Professor Rinehart introduced a powerful model for building and sustaining the relationships necessary to elicit positive responses from corporate leadership. According to Professor Rinehart, all relationships are built on varying levels of trust, interaction frequency, and the level of commitment each party has to the relationship. The most powerful relationships are those that exhibit high levels of each factor.

Ruth Ann Gillis shared her perspective as a C-Level Executive. She delivered several examples of what works (and what doesn't) when "selling" to the C-Level and how to overcome resistance to ideas. Ms. Gillis' main message was that in order to have the greatest chance of securing corporate sponsorship, it is imperative to align one's projects and communications with the CEO's/Board's agenda.

The second half of the day, directed by BPX members, took a different turn and focused on talent management. The message was clear; technical and process skills are sufficient for only the minimum requirements for today's Supply Chain and Sourcing professionals. In order to be successful in today's marketplace, these professionals require a host of strategic skills which will enable them to truly affect the bottom line.

"The only answer is to find the best talent you can, augment them with advanced training from one of the leading consultancies who have been doing this in the field day-in and day-out for decades (after you have insured they have the basics), and then put them under the wing of a senior sourcing professional who needs to transition her knowledge to your rising superstar before she retires (because, when you get right down to it, what really makes a sourcing expert an expert can't really be taught in a [n on-line] class, and can't be learned until you have the advanced tools, techniques, and processes at your fingertips to learn from a master)," Michael Lamoureux.

The next Best Practices Xchange meeting is February 19. Anyone interested in becoming a member should contact Nicolas Hummer at 630-268-8963.

About Best Practices Xchange (BPX):
BPX is a members-only, peer-to-peer group with a charter to provide thought leadership, advanced solutions and networking opportunities to group members. The group meets quarterly.

BPX addresses major global Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain Management issues such as:
o    Building World-Class Sourcing and Supply Chain Management Organizations
o    Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) and Governance
o    Low Cost Country Sourcing
o    Integration of Technology into Supply Chain processes
o    Integration of 6 Sigma and Strategic Sourcing
o    Managing IT Outsourcing Arrangements

If you would like more information on The Best Practices Xchange (BPX), or to apply for membership, please contact Nicolas Hummer at The Mpower Group, 630-268-8963.

All media Inquiries for BPX should be also addressed to Nicolas Hummer.

BPX is hosted by The Mpower Group
http://www.thempowergroup.com

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