Inside Supply Management Magazine

The Monthly Metric: Holiday Treats

December 18, 2017

The introductory post for The Monthly Metric appeared as Major League Baseball teams were conducting spring training, and it noted that advanced analytics had not taken hold of the supply management profession the way they have the national pastime.

The baseball season ended in early November, with the Houston Astros winning their first World Series, a championship that was hailed as a triumph of analytics (known in baseball parlance as “sabermetrics” or the “Moneyball” concept). Since its debut in March, The Monthly Metric has strived to detail supply management victories thanks to advanced measurements.

Here are the bases covered:

●March — Introduction

●April — SWOT Analysis

●May — Inventory turnover ratio

●June — Spend under management

●July — Net Promoter Score

●August — Total cost of ownership

●September — Contract compliance

●October — Cycle time

●November — On-time delivery.

While procurement’s progression with advanced analytics has been slower than baseball’s, it is picking up. That supply management organizations who fail to crunch numbers in depth will be left behind is no longer in dispute. At Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®), we see the evidence on a near-daily basis.

“We are certainly in an era where measures are much more important,” says Chris Sawchuk, principal and global procurement advisory practice leader for The Hackett Group. “I don't run into a lot of organizations that question whether they should be measuring performance in an advanced way. They talk more of the challenges of what those measures should look like or what they should be measuring. ...

“Some very mature (procurement) organizations are looking at the performance, even if the rest of their organizations say all they care about is cost savings. While they're reporting cost savings, they're also looking at other measures — the kind of measures that have an impact.”

With Christmas approaching, The Monthly Metric will not present a new metric this month, but leaves in the stocking two pieces of recommended reading from Inside Supply Management®:

●“Procurement Data That’s Interesting and Insightful” appeared in the November/December issue. Author Mark A. Crowder, C.P.M., offers four criteria procurement practitioners should use when determining which metrics to track. He also notes that data, not matter how advanced, is useless if not shared with suppliers as a basis for performance improvement.

●“Understanding the Supplier Deliveries Index” in the October issue discussed a critical measurement in the monthly ISM® Report On Business®. Kristina Cahill, ISM Manager of Research and Analytics, notes why practitioners should pay attention to Supplier Deliveries, a unique inverse-indicator index. Another of the Report On Business® indexes will likely be featured by The Monthly Metric in 2018.

The Monthly Metric picked the brains of a lot of experts this year, and we thank them. Jim Barnes, Managing Director of ISM Professional Services, and Jim Fleming, CPSM, CPSD, ISM Program Manager, Certification, have been terrific in-house resources. Outside ISM’s walls, Sawchuk; Peter Guarraia, a partner at Bain & Company and leader of its global supply chain practice; and Dave Wood, procurement director at Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Sales & Services in Atlanta, were generous with their time and guidance.

Lastly, thanks to our readers, especially for their suggestions and retweets. To suggest a metric to be covered, leave a comment on this page, email me at or contact us on Twitter: @ISM_Magazine.