Inside Supply Management Magazine

Being Strategic in Supply Management

May 15, 2016

What Does It Mean To Be Strategic?

ISM2016 session on Sunday, May 15

Moderator: Joe Sandor, Hoagland-Metzler Endowed Professor of Practice in Supply Chain, Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.

Panelists: Hans Mellotte, senior vice president and chief procurement officer, Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, New Jersey; R. David Nelson, chairman, Dave Nelson Group Inc., Detroit area; Beverly Gaskin, executive director, global purchasing, General Motors, Detroit area; and Jeff Smith, global sourcing director, DuPont, Wilmington, Delaware.

Strategy — or being strategic — can take many forms in supply management. Panelists took questions about strategy, its meaning and implementation from the 100 attendees.

Key takeaways:

Procurement strategies should align with stakeholders’ strategies.

Strategy and tactics both have roles in supply management. One person doesn’t usually have both characteristics — each requires different skill sets.

Once a strategy is established, it needs to be handed off to the right person to execute it.

There is a risk of being too strategic — by becoming too paralyzed to take action or not being able to adapt your strategies when change or issues occur.

Whether an organization is centralized or decentralized does not make it any more or any less strategic. An organization’s structure is a means to an end.

Terms such as “strategic buying” or “strategic sourcing” are redundant. Every action you take or make should be strategic.

Key quote: “The more you use the word ‘strategy’ in conversation, the more you dilute it. Be strategic rather than talk strategic.” — Hans Mellotte.

ISM2016 is May 15-18 in Indianapolis.