We are all facing Austerity…and here’s how procurement can help

A friend of mine recently asked me to explain austerity measures to him

 

So I said it’s like this…you know how you told your wife you needed a new set of clubs because that’s what was missing from your golf game

 

And she said fine, but then you should also let me know which of your three daily meals you’re going to give up 

 

Because we can afford to have you running around on a golf course pretending to know what you’re doing AND eat like a king at home

 

Well, that’s austerity. Now the term’s typically used in reference to governments that are finding it hard to borrow money or pay back loans

 

So they introduce austerity measures like increased taxes and spending cuts which then impacts a households disposable income…breakfast or golf?

 

But austerity doesn’t just impact the public sector or limits itself to the Federal government 

 

Like when corporations find they have to pay more taxes, they try to counter-balance that with either more revenue or less spending

 

But it’s always easier (and faster) to cut costs then it is to increase sales

 

And this is where our jobs as procurement and supply chain professionals becomes so critical

 

Never has it been more important to make that shift from tactical purchasing to real strategic sourcing and vendor management

 

Before the pandemic, that shift would have occurred in one of two ways

 

Either the organization would mandate a greater focus on strategic, cost savings activities while maintaining business as usual on the tactical purchasing side

 

Or they’d bring in outside help for the strategic stuff while their existing team focused on tactical purchasing

 

But we’re in a post-pandemic world and most organizations I’ve spoken with don’t have the appetite to spend money in order to save money

 

They need cost savings now, not 6 months from now or a year from now…so they need the people who are already there to find a way to do more with less

 

And that could be a tough ask for procurement departments that were already understaffed and struggling to just keep up with the day to day stuff

 

Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic bullet to fix that problem. But I do have a suggestion, based on my experience and what’s worked for me over the years

 

I suggest taking a look at your procurement process to see where you can create some efficiencies

 

Because those efficiencies will give your team the extra time they need to focus more on cost savings activities

 

And you don’t need some big shot consultant, or even a little shot like myself, to review your process for you or point out the inefficiencies

 

You can do it yourself, and you could probably do it in one day. The harder part will be in convincing your people to give up some of the administrative tasks they spend time on every day

 

The reality is that, as much as procurement people complain about not having enough time to get everything done, they love their SharePoint folders and Excel spreadsheets

 

It’s mindless busywork but it gives the appearance of a really complicated, IQ-intensive task

 

Have you ever walked by someone in procurement who’s staring intensely at a massive spreadsheet and thought “man, I don’t wanna be that guy”

 

When I see that I think “man, there goes a couple of thousand dollars in salary down the drain”

 

If you’re a procurement person managing your work on a spreadsheet…you’re doing it wrong

 

And you’re wasting time that could be used to focus on more strategic, cost saving activities

 

If you don’t believe me, check out some of the testimonials on our website …or feel free to reach out to me directly for a chat

 

Mohammed

[email protected]

 

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Redesigning The Way Your Company Works

COVID-19 has changed the way we work, play, and interact with our world. Whether your company is a single or multiple branch office operation, with industrial facilities or mobile public and field workers — developing a clear, concise program requires careful consideration and detailed risk and resource assessments.

Unique challenges require unique customized solutions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for businesses and workforces all across Canada. Public health departments, government leaders, and associations provide continual streams of information where business owners and executives must analyze this information to the best of their ability, providing direction in the creation of customized solutions for their business.

Barantas Inc. (Barantas) has remained focused on the core principles of prevention and safety services offering clarity and direction to company programs and operational procedure development.

Barantas can assist in any of the following key areas:

  • Business re-opening plans and implementation strategies
  • Operational redesign of workspace management
  • Worker inter-personal safety prevention programs and methodologies
  • Workforce programs for office, industrial, municipal and education sectors
  • Construction project-specific pandemic enhanced programs and inspections
  • Health and safety manual and policy development
  • Personal protective equipment supply and sourcing (masks, gloves, face shields)

Barantas provides comprehensive, long-term protection strategies and a personalized partnership anchored by our commitment to service excellence.

Redesigning Workplaces in a Post Pandemic Era

Our national reach and multi-disciplinary approach to safety management allow you to access a complete suite of health and safety services for a fraction of what it would cost you to source these services individually.

Barantas interactively works with you in evaluating and developing your new workplace strategies and worker health and safety management. Our goal is to collaboratively provide our expertise and knowledge to your key persons or teams, building a sustainable, internal infrastructure focused on the health and safety of your workforce.

We utilize a FIVE phase process. This process begins with a data acquisition phase, where we learn and understand your business, through to ensuring your teams can execute, monitor and continually adapt your program to meet today’s and future challenges.

Our process is based on the following principles:

  • Risk Reduction: Focused on reducing risk through prevention methodologies using the hierarchy of controls.
  • Individual Health and Safety Protection: Ensuring your company is taking the precautions reasonable for the protection of workers, employees, clients and affected individuals.
  • Maintenance of Applicable Requirements: Continual monitoring of authority directives, legislative requirements, and corporate due diligence best practices combined into a preparedness program able to adapt to changing environments and new directives.
  • Education and Sustainability: As part of working with your team through the five-phase process, our goal is to ensure understanding and application of the principles and methodologies for key team members ensuring an ability to assess, respond and adapt to continual change in both external factors and internal business decisions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OUR 5 STEP PROCESS https://www.barantas.ca/the-five-phase-process/

For a full version PDF of this document https://www.barantas.ca/pandemicmanagement/

 

 

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Do Not Lose Focus

Let us not forget about all the other risks & threats that kept us up at night before the threat of the pandemic landed on our doorsteps.

Yes, the response to the pandemic is important.  Unfortunately, there are other risks & threats that still exist.  

Do not lose focus.

Organizations now more than ever need to be able to strike a balance with multiple focal points whist executing their emergency response, risk & security, business continuity plans.

Stay organized.  Stay Sharp.

We can Help.

Plan the Work.  Work the Plan.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

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Municipalities and the Use of Technology During the Pandemic

If our current situation due to COVID-19 has had any positive impact, it is that municipalities who have been hesitant to adopt technology are now realizing just how vital it is. In the past, many municipal employees were unable to work from home due to technology limitations and concerns about the protection of confidential information. Let’s take a look at how some municipalities are adapting to the “new normal”.

 

WASAGA BEACH, ONTARIO

While other municipalities have set up a system allowing many staff to work from home instead of reporting to town offices, in the case of Wasaga Beach, the risk of an information breach has prevented them from allowing staff to work off-site.

“We had a cyber-attack almost three years ago that has made us wary of the security of confidential information being transmitted over the Internet from off-site locations,” said Communications Officer Michael Gennings.

“We have implemented many of the measures that other municipalities have, including work shifts to increase physical distancing. Should the pandemic situation change, the municipality will consider its options at that time.”

“Staff that must stay home are required to use vacation time or explore a leave. The bulk of our workforce remains onsite. Some have taken leaves.”

Wasaga Beach council is meeting via video conference for regular meetings, and in council chambers for closed session meetings.

 

MEDICINE HAT, ALBERTA

The City of Medicine Hat has laid off 170 workers – about 15% of its workforce – and has deferred filling many summer positions as it wrestles with closures and budget stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Hall is attempting to conduct as much business as possible, but with less physical interaction and higher safety standards. “The City of Medicine Hat has taken the approach that it’s business as usual during an unusual time,” said Dennis Egert, the city’s corporate services commissioner,  pointing to online, teleconferencing, or directing resident queries via email rather than in-person meetings. 

 

NOVA SCOTIA

Despite the roadblocks presented by COVID-19, Nova Scotia’s municipal elections will go forward as scheduled. Electors from all 49 provincial municipalities will go to the polls on October 17 in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act stipulation that elections be held every four years on the third Saturday in October.

Chuck Porter, Minister of the province’s municipal affairs department, told reporters “At this point, we see no reason why municipal elections can’t move forward. We’re all adapting to do business differently these days and certainly we will work with (municipalities) to offer support where we can.

“We’ve done things in the past like electronic voting, by-phone voting in some circumstances. So I think there are a number of options that are out there for us to be able to vote this coming fall.”

How is your municipality dealing with social distancing, council meetings, and more? We would love to hear from you! Drop us a line and let us know how you are doing … [email protected]

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Older adults could be our ticket to prosperity after the pandemic

It has certainly been a challenging period in all our lives both personally and professionally.

This is one reason why I wrote this article which highlights how the pandemic has unfortunately reinforced ageist bias on one hand, and yet has been able to take advantage of the skill, expertise and experience of older medical professionals on the other.

As businesses emerge from the lock down, they may benefit enormously from a cohort of older adults who still want to contribute by working. I see this as a win-win for all. If you can circulate the article to friends and/or on social media, or if you know of any companies, businesses, organizations who might benefit from Top Sixty’s expertise as they resurface, I would greatly appreciate hearing from them.

Thanks for your help as we fight one of the last socially acceptable “isms”.

Warm regards,

Helen

See Helen’s Profile

 

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Pandemic/Epidemic Business toolKIT

We are deeply focused on keeping your employees, customers, and suppliers safe while working, visiting, or conducting business at your facilities and supporting your business operations.

The Michael White Group International and Hilt International Security have partnered together in order to create a dynamic resource that is continuously growing, developing, and being  revised to keep you informed of the latest requirements, new best practices, and procedures.

As we all continue to navigate our  ‘new normal’, we have tapped into our global resources to develop a toolKIT that lays out processes to raise awareness of new health and well-being protocols and potentially helpful practices for cross-functional teamwork, operating discipline, and training for employees.

While it is not a one-size-fits-all approach, the Pandemic/Epidemic Business toolKIT includes practical recommendations, based on guidelines from Health Canada and World Health Organization, that could be tailored for different  businesses (when required) to address various scenarios they may face when returning to work. Regular updates will be made to the toolKIT based on real-time feedback. The toolkit covers a wide range of topics, including:

•      Step-by-step guides for setting up a pandemic response team

•      Cleaning and disinfection procedures

•      Staggering shifts and lunch breaks and other physical distancing strategies

•      On-site health screening

•      Protocols for isolating employees who become ill at work

•      & more.

This has been a difficult time for everyone, and re-establishing a workplace where employees feel comfortable performing their jobs safely is a multi-faceted challenge. It is our hope that by developing and providing this resource we can help your organization accomplish and adapt to the new operating protocols in today’s still ever challenging conditions.

Should your Municipality be open to exploring the need, whilst accessing our  toolKIT to assist you during  the re-opening, and re-populating of your facilities, contact Michael White Group International today, and in partnership with Hilt International Security we will be happy to assist.

 

 

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The WE Approach to Online Meetings

Well I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this crazy unprecedented time.  As I prepare to go on yet another online meeting I was thinking about the previous normal and how meetings were often named as a #1 waste of time in the workday.  People can drift and disengage with meeting fatigue.  Good gracious, how are we going to keep focus online?

Firstly, lets all commit to show up on camera. It gives us a fighting chance. Next, apply the basics of an effective meeting:

  1. Make sure the meeting is necessary
  2. Clarity of purpose
  3. Have an agenda and publish it beforehand.
  4. Be clear why each participant is attending.
  5. Always remember the simple, common courtesies of life, particularly if you need to win support and build relationships. Make people feel welcome by creating a comfortable environment now more than ever!
  6. Promote openness and honesty in your meetings.  Create the psychological safety necessary for this and the quality of the conversation will be much greater.
  7. Ensure you keep time. People need to feel their time is valued.
  8. Contribution is important. Ensure all participants have opportunities to participate, especially those whose preference is to reflect and consider the views of others before speaking. They often have very valuable insights that should not be missed.
  9. Carry out regular and frequent summaries. This will enable everyone to check understanding and confirm what has been discussed/agreed. Research suggests that in effective meetings someone summarizes at least every 5 minutes.
  10. Record – In our current reality most online platforms can do so and then you can decide on options for providing access to the recording. Or old school it and have someone take notes and send that to all who participated.

Strive for continuous improvement. Obtaining feedback from participants on what was useful about the meeting and what could have been done differently is valuable information.  We can flatten our on-line meeting learning curves by actively listening and implementing improvements.

Remember that teams are cognitively and behaviorally diverse and if we follow the basics, we will help everyone engage in a meaningful online meeting experience! 

Now let’s effectively Zoom ourselves through this 😊!

Gail Green, President and CEO

Emergenetics Ontario

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Even the Best Technology Needs Good Process

We know that technology is the backbone of any successful organization and, as a company grows, it must constantly add and change the internal tools that will enable it to stay competitive and profitable.

 

This applies as much to Procurement as to any other department within an organization.

 

But new technology on its own can’t overcome gaps in a broken or non-existent Procurement process.

 

In fact, some Procurement groups will actually create redundant steps when forced to incorporate new technology solutions into an overly complicated, inefficient procurement process

 

Case Study: Procurement Process Redundancy

 

Many years ago I worked for an organization that was using:

 

        i.         A home grown Purchase Requisition system to create and track internal requests for goods and services

       ii.         An add-on document management module from the corporate Print solution for Contract Management

     iii.         An add-on module from the corporate ERP system for Purchase Orders; and

      iv.         An add-on module from the corporate help desk ticketing system for Asset Management.

 

Since none of these disparate systems were integrated, the Procurement team had created a series of processes to manually input information into each of the systems for every purchase.

 

The overall process was incredibly redundant and full of vulnerabilities.

 

Purchasing agents would print out fully approved Purchase Requisitions and manually input the information in the ERP systems to generate Purchase Orders.

 

Contracts would go through several redundant approvals before final approval and signature, only to be stored in a standalone document repository with limited search capabilities.

 

Assets were received and tracked in a separate Asset Management system that required manual receipt of products and a 3-step invoice approval process.

 

Having failed several audits, the organization purchased very expensive Purchasing Requisitioning and Contract Management add-on modules from their ERP supplier, who assured them that their solution would provide an airtight Procure-to-Pay solution for the company.

 

What the supplier failed to highlight, and the organization failed to address, was cost and effort to redevelop processes, retrain employees and re-input years of historical data across 4 different legacy platforms.

 

So several years, and millions of dollars later, the add-on modules are collecting dust and the organization continues to limp along with even more redundant process bandages to stop the bleeding.

 

There have been exponential advances in Procurement technology over the past 20 years. And in the hands of skilled Procurement professionals the results have been amazing.

 

But Procurement tools are very closely integrated with Procurement processes.

 

Before investing in new technology an organization should evaluate the processes that are in place and then determine what, if any, new technology can be easily integrated into organization without creating redundancies or complexities that will increase costs.

 

Is the Procurement technology in your company an asset or a crutch? How has Procurement process, or a lack of it, affected your organization?

 

Please download our free report on Procurement Process Innovation here -> http://oneviewnow.com/report and see if there are potential cost savings opportunities hiding in your Procurement process

 

by: OneView

 

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Ensuring Due Diligence and Cost-Effectiveness While Working on a Budget and Under the Public Microscope.

Staff Training – Bylaw Officer Training and Accreditation.

Ensuring due diligence and cost effectiveness while working on a budget and under the public microscope.

As a court recognized “Subject Matter Expert” (S.M.E.) in the training of Provincial Officers, Bylaw Officers and Police Officers, I am often called to testify as to what is or isn’t an acceptable level of training and give opinions on policy and procedural issues surrounding enforcement.

In a series of coming articles I will discuss a number of different issues surrounding the training and operational deployment of Bylaw Officers, particularly Parking Bylaw, Animal Control and General Duties Bylaw Officers/Inspectors within Municipalities. This will include comments on standards (best practices) and what constitutes proper due diligence.

To train or not to train; this is the question!

In the words of the ancient Huna tradition: “In all things you must pay attention, or you will pay later with pain.” Ouch.

My quote is this: “There is only one thing more painful that training someone and they leave; and that is that you don’t train them and they stay.” Free advice from a guy who in court a lot and seen the outcomes.

Here are a few facts before we start just for context:

1. There is NO mandatory training required by legislation in most Provinces or Territories in Canada
to become a general duties Bylaw or Municipal Bylaw Enforcement Officer appointed to enforce Parking,
Property Standards or Animal Control. (Building Inspectors and other specialty trades do have standards and
training.)

2. There is also NO government mandated course training standard for “certification,” or “accreditation” for
non-college delivered courses. Colleges must meet the requirements of their legislation in order to issue
“certificates of achievement” to graduates. There is no consistency within college programs and courses can
vary in length and cost. No two courses deliver the same identical content even if they carry the same
module/content names.

3. Bylaw Officer training courses are currently offered to the public via Colleges or by *private vendors in
addition to any job specific courses delivered in house by the employer. (* Provincial Associations training
programs are included as private vendors as they are not a sanctioned arm of the government nor usually
listed as private career colleges.)

4. ANY training is only as good as the credentials of the instructor who teaches it and the content they teach.
Beware of anyone who calls themselves an “expert.” Only the courts can designate someone as a Subject Matter
Expert. If credentials are questioned, they must be proven credible to be accepted.
Content that is not kept up to date by a qualified person can be both useless and get officers into legal
trouble. Content updates should take place annually.

5. Beware of labels and semantics. The term “Municipal Law Enforcement Officer” or M.L.E.O. is a term that is
sourced within the Ontario Police Services Act. It is used in Ontario only. Other Provinces use the term
“Bylaw Officer” or use other terms. Legal terms are found within each Province or Territories enabling
legislation. “Provincial Offenses Officer” (P.O.O.)is a term sourced in the Ontario Provincial Offenses Act.
Officers that we train for Provincial Ministries or other agencies who are not necessarily Municipal Bylaw
Officers, get their appointments from this Act.
Changing the name does not change the facts surrounding their duties. “Regulatory Compliance Officer,”
“Inspector,” or any other made up term to describe a Bylaw Officer or M.L.E.O. doesn’t change their
appointment status or their authorities to act within law.

6. All Police Officers are also appointed as P.O.O.’s and M.L.E.O.’s in Ontario. In some cases they are the
only source of Bylaw enforcement in smaller communities but in others this is left entirely to the local
Bylaw officers or even outsourced, contracted, security guards or private agencies. It is therefore common
sense that the same academic content taught to the police should be taught within a properly vetted course
to Bylaw Officers in context.

Regardless of which Province or Territory you live in, staff need a core level of academic knowledge and
skills competencies that a properly vetted course can provide. In many cases, but not all, Municipalities
offer further training or supply additional certification specific to appointments. Some only accept Law and
Security or Police Foundations college graduates then don’t give them any further training at all. I can’t
begin to tell you how dangerous a practice this is for many reasons.

For further details regarding accreditation within your area, please visit our website https://burgessandassoc.com/courses/municipal-provincial-officers/bylaw-officer-core-competency-training-course or https://burgessandassoc.com/courses/municipal-provincial-officers/parking-enforcement-officer-course

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The Negotiators Toolkit: 6 Roles for Effective Contract Negotiations

Contract negotiations are often complicated processes that can take several weeks or months to finalize.

 

The responsibility of the negotiator is to not only engage with his or her counterpart on the other side of the table, but to also oversee and manage the overall process.

 

While this may sound simple and intuitive, a closer look at all of the roles and responsibilities of a negotiator shows just how complex the management of a negotiation can be.

 

More importantly, not giving each of these distinct roles its due diligence and attention could be the difference between a mutually beneficial negotiation that mitigates risk and a lopsided negotiation that benefits one party while setting up the other for failure. 

 

When representing my clients in a negotiation, I typically wear a few different hats.

 

The Negotiator

This is the obvious one. The role and responsibilities are fairly well defined. My job is to understand the requirements of the business and negotiate the most favourable outcome while mitigating as much risk as I can in the contract.

 

The Lawyer

All lawyers are negotiators but not all negotiators are lawyers. I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve been negotiating for over 20 years so I know my way around the legal terms and conditions of a contract. That doesn’t mean I don’t need a lawyer on the team, but part of my job is to know our lawyer’s threshold of acceptability and negotiate terms as close to that threshold without going over it.

 

The Accountant

Two of the most important business terms in a contract, for both sides, is a description of what goods and/or services are being transacted, and for how much. Because of their importance, a lot of focus is given to making sure the “what” and “how much” in a contract is well defined. But there are other aspects of the agreement that also require some level of financial analysis such as payment terms, taxes and delivery fees.

 

The Decision Maker

A good negotiator takes the time to really understand the business requirements before getting into a negotiation. Because as much as we try to put structure around our negotiating strategy, there will always be unstructured moments when one party puts something on the table and the other party needs to make a decision. There have been times, during a meal or a round of golf, when my counterpart has casually offered up or conceded a key point in a contract and I’ve found myself having to make a quick decision on behalf of the business

 

The Project Manager

As a negotiator, I’ve often found myself at odds with project managers, and to some extent they’re my nemesis in negotiations. Gantt charts, timelines and status updates define their world. But contract negotiations are hard to manage on a Gantt chart because I don’t know if it’ll take 4 hours, 4 days or 4 weeks to agree on Warranty language or an Indemnity clause. However the reality is that project managers are there to make sure things are moving forward on time and on budget, and since they can’t sit in on every negotiation, I often find myself taking on that responsibility.

 

The Admin

This is probably the most overlooked and challenging role I’ve had to assume in a negotiation. It’s also the reason why I believe a good administrative staff is the backbone of any successful business. Even simple contract negotiations involve a lot of paperwork exchanging hands. In addition to several iterations of the contract draft circulating internally and back and forth between parties, there are also emails, meeting minutes, term sheets, schedules, addendums and other miscellaneous notes that need to be tracked and summarized

 

So all of this begs the obvious question: How does one person handle all of these responsibilities?

 

The short answer is that in most cases they shouldn’t, at least not directly.

 

Good negotiators are also good delegators. They have a keen sense of their strengths and weaknesses, and will move other resources in and out of their negotiations as the need arises.

 

When I’m working on a deal with a strong emphasis on protecting my client’s Intellectual Property, I’ll lean a little more heavily on our lawyer to help negotiate key legal terms and conditions.

 

Similarly, if my client’s business requirements seem high-level or somewhat undefined (which is a very common occurrence) I’ll make sure to involve a decision maker from the business in key discussions with our counter-parts.

 

What hats do you wear as a negotiator? Which ones do you find most challenging?

 

By: OneView

The only platform built for managing contracts!

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