Tag Archives: joseph carter

Small Business Leadership Academy

Strategic Procurement: Developing Supply Strategy

“Knowledge is power,” says Joseph Carter, the Avnet Professor of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, and leader of the Strategic Procurement section of the 2012 Small Business Leadership Academy.

For a small company looking to bring on a large company as a client, or keep a large company as a client, cost can be the main component of the relationship. “Price is only one part of the total cost,” Carter remarks. “The four general types of supply costs include purchase price, transaction costs, administrative costs and production costs. “

The large company will first define its category, putting information together, including the strategy for that category. Strategy can include searching out the lowest cost, the quickest response time or the least amount of risk, which relates to the external market complexity. This information should be available at the drop of a hat for the company.

One place the large company will try to squeeze their suppliers is by negotiating a lower purchase price. The purchase price is always important, but it isn’t as simple as just one number. The purchase price includes four distinct factors: profit, semi-variable costs, variable costs and fixed costs.

The large company knows that a very small percentage of its suppliers garner the majority of the purchase dollars. Purchases should be grouped into imperative categories with the understanding that 80 percent of dollars spent will be on 20 percent of the categories.

What does this all mean to the small business owner? Once they understand where they stand as a supplier, they can better understand the bidding processes that they must go through, as well as the pressures they will face. For the small business owner, knowledge is power.


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The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U.S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about strategic procurement and/or the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Strategic Procurement Practices

Strategic Procurement is a comprehensive, systematic business process to assure that an organization acquires the correct goods and services at the lowest total cost over the long-term of the business operation.

Small- and medium-sized companies can benefit from understanding how large companies approach their suppliers. Those smaller companies need to understand and be able to succinctly describe their value proposition in order to keep the business they have and win new business. In light of the continual push for the large company to lower their own costs, smaller companies may need to get creative to find ways to stay competitive.

“Today, the creation of value often requires careful coordination of activities across the boundaries between functions, business units and firms,” says Joseph Carter, the Avnet Professor of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, and leader of the Strategic Procurement section of the 2012 Small Business Leadership Academy.

Suppliers can get stuck concentrating on the day-to-day operations of their companies, ignoring or avoiding the important work of optimizing their existing relationships. It’s while nurturing those relationships that suppliers can discover ways to increase their value to the customer.

This means that just having the lowest price doesn’t always guarantee a contract. A lower price combined with a longer repayment period, plus a quicker fulfillment schedule, could push one company ahead of another. Determining what their value proposition is can be one of the most challenging parts of an RFP process for a small business owner.

Conversely, the large company has decisions to make as well. How many suppliers should they have for any one part? “Rationalize, rationalize, rationalize,” says Carter. “Rationalization doesn’t necessarily mean ‘fewer’; it just means being able to explain why you have the number of suppliers that you have, whether that ends up being more or less than what you have now.”

The supplier/client relationship is ever-evolving. Both parties are looking to lower costs and maximize profits while maintaining a strong and synergistic business relationship.


Listen to the podcast.


The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U.S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corporate Procurement Practices (Part II)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corp Procurement Practices (Part II)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corporate Procurement Practices (Part II)

One company’s purchasing is another company’s marketing.

If small and mid-sized businesses can keep that in mind, they will have discovered one of the secrets of success for a supplier, according to Joseph Carter, the Avnet Professor of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business and instructor for the procurement classes in the 2011 Small Business Leadership Academy. Carter, a leading academic in the supply chain field, is also a Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) and Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM), designations granted by the National Association of Purchasing Management.

“The eye-opener for these business owners is self-awareness,” Carter said. “They are beginning to understand the role they play in their customers’ supply base.”

And that’s when procurement meets marketing.

“The owners of small businesses are so wrapped up in surviving that they don’t have the time – or the personnel – to specialize,” Carter said. “As a result many feel that their companies are under-appreciated by their customers.”

A company like SRP wants value from all of its customers, but a purchasing manager may be managing hundreds of suppliers. “A company, because it’s a large company, is not going to understand the supplier’s business and the supplier’s potential for adding value as well as the supplier does,” Carter said. Understanding the buying process and how the purchasing groups at large companies think enables suppliers to figure out what and when to communicate.

Suppliers must show how they add value to their customers’ enterprises. Sometimes that means understanding who the customer is. “The procurement officer is not your final customer,” Carter says. “Your customer is the user.” So small business owners cannot just try to compete on price. When dealing with procurement officers, they must elaborate on the total value that their company brings to the table, including “what’s in it for the procurement officer.” Elaborating on why working with their company will be worth the additional work of changing vendors, adding a new vendor, and the inherent risk of working with a new vendor, will enable that procurement officer to make that difficult choice with confidence.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

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For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

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Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corp Procurement Practices (Part I)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corporate Procurement Practices (Part I)

If you are the owner of a small or medium-size business interacting with a big corporation, you need to know how that company thinks about procurement. That’s what students in the 2011 Small Business Leadership Academy are learning from Joseph Carter, the Avnet Professor of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Typically, suppliers concentrate on the internal operations of their companies, Carter says, but if that’s their predominant focus, they will miss out on the advantages of optimizing their relationships with the companies that are their customers. Jeffrey Campbell of Western Truck Equipment Company, Inc. had the right idea when he asked, “What can I learn to better service the companies that we work with?”

“Today, the creation of value often requires careful coordination of activities across the boundaries between functions, business units and firms,” Carter explains. “In short, organizations that learn how to leverage procurement collaboration can obtain speed, innovation, dependability, flexibility, cost and/or quality benefits that go far beyond those potentially realized from solely optimizing a single firm’s internal operations.”

Carter is one of the top scholars worldwide in the field of supply management. He has published 60 articles about sourcing and supply management issues, and he has shared his expertise with firms all over the world.

Students are learning to understand strategic sourcing and their role as suppliers. To begin, they need to understand the importance of developing a collaborative relationship with a customer and how to manage it efficiently. Carter is taking the students “inside” their client companies by explaining the various roles and functions of a procurement department.

“Business owners need to understand the primary importance of sourcing when developing their strategy,” Carter says. “We’ll be talking about what they need to know in order to drive success for the buyer’s company as well as their own.”

Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

[stextbox id="grey"]The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. [/stextbox]