Commitment Matters

If you are a professional in Contract & Commercial Management, committed to achieving the best possible outcomes from negotiations with all your trading relationships, then ‘Commitment Matters’ is the perfect source of regular articles and posts dedicated to helping you achieve that goal.

Value for money presents challenges

Posted by Tim Cummins, President of IACCM, Professor, Leeds University School of Law; Chair, International Commercial & Contract Management

Oct 28, 2019 2:55:00 PM

A shift in procurement practices from awards based on price to awards based on value is much discussed and, for most people, long overdue. All the evidence suggests that many organizations continue to struggle with making the change.

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Contract Management is more important than Procurement

Posted by Tim Cummins, President of IACCM, Professor, Leeds University School of Law; Chair, International Commercial & Contract Management

Oct 8, 2019 2:51:00 PM

This quote, taken from the latest edition of Supply Management magazine, will be welcomed by many as recognition that it’s actually the results of an acquisition that matter. For too long, they will say, Procurement has been happy to oversee inputs, ignoring the fact that it is contract management that oversees outputs and the actual delivery of value.

I have never forgotten the words of one very senior executive who recognized this issue when he observed that “organizations frequently undertake a perfect procurement and achieve completely the wrong outcome”. He understood that ‘procurement’ is actually just one element of a much bigger process.

Many contribute to disappointing results

There can be little question that traditional procurement practices are increasingly misaligned with business interests and have not adjusted to the realities of today’s markets. However, it would not be fair to heap the blame for that onto Procurement functions. They do what they are told and trained to do. Well-managed procurements are frequently let down by others – for example, Legal providing inappropriate templates, the CFO demanding draconian savings, the business unit failing to manage supplier performance. If Procurement has failed, it is a failure of its leadership to challenge and be adequately vocal in pushing for change. In this, they have often been let down by external experts – the consultants, advisory firms and training organizations that should be assisting in preparing their teams and processes for the future but instead have focused on issues like compliance, commoditization and category management. Procurement has been led down far too many blind alleys.

Where IACCM enters the picture

The International Association for Contract & Commercial Management was founded precisely because of these chronic issues. Procurement – like Sales – is just one of many specialist disciplines. ‘Contracting’ is an overarching competence and capability. It needs ownership. When it’s left to chance, things go wrong. Often badly wrong.

For 20 years, IACCM has worked to overcome entrenched attitudes and innate resistance to change. During this time, it has directly engaged with and trained over 200,000 people who understood there must be a better way. Its research, training and advisory services have enabled massive progress for the organizations which have grasped the fundamental truth that customers and suppliers depend on each other for success and are working to develop open, cooperative relationships, founded on honesty and integrity. IACCM espouses collaboration and believes in inclusive behaviors that generate mutual, shared benefits for customers and their suppliers.

In the end, does this mean that contract management is ‘more important’ than Procurement? No, it doesn’t. They are different disciplines and they must complement each other. What is true – and the real issue here – is that both are subservient to the overarching ‘contracting process’ and must align with commercial goals and strategies. Unless there is focus on holistic development of commercial capability, simply changing names or expanding the Procurement remit delivers at best marginal improvements and could even make things worse.

IACCM’s recent benchmarking report provides insight to the current state of contract and commercial management organization and performance, highlighting also the leading practises that generate improved results.

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Are you really a negotiator?

Posted by Tim Cummins, President of IACCM, Professor, Leeds University School of Law; Chair, International Commercial & Contract Management

Oct 7, 2019 2:49:00 PM

Most business-to-business negotiations are destroying potential value. Rather than engendering trust, they sow the seeds for discord.

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Contracts as sources of innovation

Posted by Tim Cummins, President of IACCM, Professor, Leeds University School of Law; Chair, International Commercial & Contract Management

Oct 2, 2019 2:48:00 PM

“Trade is the spark that lit the fire of human imagination, as it made possible not only the exchange of goods, but also the exchange of ideas. Trade also encouraged specialisation since it rewarded individuals and communities who focus on areas of comparative advantage. Such specialists had the time and the incentive to develop better methods and technologies to do their tasks.”

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Agility, contracts and value: time for new thinking

Posted by Tim Cummins, President of IACCM, Professor, Leeds University School of Law; Chair, International Commercial & Contract Management

Sep 23, 2019 2:44:00 PM

Agility is defined as “the ability to move quickly and easily”. It is an attribute that today’s business considers highly desirable, yet typically struggles to achieve. Research shows this is particularly true for the contracting process and the management of external relationships.

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Value destruction or value for money: sometimes a hard call

Posted by Tim Cummins, President of IACCM, Professor, Leeds University School of Law; Chair, International Commercial & Contract Management

Sep 19, 2019 6:17:28 PM

The ideas behind value engineering are not new. In fact, they go back to the 1940s, when the construction industry in particular was seeking new and more scientific ways to guide its purchasing decisions. It would not be unreasonable to assume that the methodology and its use would have matured by now. But you would be wrong; it has actually gone backwards.
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Topics: contract /commercial management, procurement, technology, communication, IACCM, value engineering, Architectural products, risk, sustainability

As-a-Service: Commercial Model of the Future

Posted by Tim Cummins, President of IACCM, Professor, Leeds University School of Law; Chair, International Commercial & Contract Management

Sep 17, 2019 2:42:00 PM

Almost 90% of Procurement and Contract professionals expect major growth in ‘as-a-service’ offerings, with a quarter believing they will rapidly come to dominate the market.*
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Topics: negotiation, contract /commercial management, sourcing, communication, IACCM

Contract Governance: a missing link for improved business performance

Posted by Tim Cummins, President of IACCM, Professor, Leeds University School of Law; Chair, International Commercial & Contract Management

Sep 4, 2019 2:41:00 PM

Formal, institutionalized corporate governance is a relatively recent concept and still maturing, yet few today would suggest it is unnecessary.

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Brexit: a classic in how not to negotiate

Posted by Tim Cummins, President of IACCM, Professor, Leeds University School of Law; Chair, International Commercial & Contract Management

Sep 3, 2019 2:39:00 PM

Negotiating something as fundamental (and emotive) as Brexit was never going to be easy. In the end, it has turned into a fascinating case study that will doubtless be used and cited for decades to come.

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Price isn’t everything

Posted by Tim Cummins, President of IACCM, Professor, Leeds University School of Law; Chair, International Commercial & Contract Management

Aug 29, 2019 2:37:00 PM

In many cases, organizations continue to make purchasing decisions based on price. It has been baked into their DNA, with the mantra of ‘commoditization’ backed up by software that drives price-based competitive auctions and measurement systems that continue to monitor ‘negotiated savings’. In the public sector, this is further reinforced by public procurement rules that blithely ignore concepts of value and have failed to adapt to the nature of today’s supply requirements.

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Does Commitment Matter To You?

Commitment Matters is the personal blog of Tim Cummins, the Founder and CEO of IACCM. If you are a committed contracting professional and want to develop your skills and network, take a look at what IACCM has to offer.
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