Jonathan OBrien

Jonathan OBrien
Jonathan is the CEO and a founding member of Positive Purchasing. Jonathan has over 25 years’ experience of working with household name companies around the world to help transform procurement capability. Jonathan works with executive teams to shape and implement winning procurement strategies, is an inspirational trainer and trains, coaches and develops procurement teams to perform and realize their potential. Jonathan leads the team at Positive Purchasing to develop the thought leadership and practical tools to help transform procurement capability worldwide. Jonathan is an award-winning author of procurement and negotiation books, he is an accomplished broadcaster and writer and likes to paint, cycle and swim.

Hurt, help or hero? How to define and get more out of your most important suppliers

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) focuses on unlocking value from your supply base.  However, to achieve that, you need to identify which suppliers are the most important to your business.    If you can get this process right, you can be confident in knowing that you are directing precious resources to where they will have the greatest impact.  Get it wrong, and you could find yourself missing key opportunities and being at risk of wasting time and energy in the wrong places.

Measuring the non-financial benefits of strategic sourcing

It is becoming increasingly important for a modern strategic procurement function to demonstrate its effectiveness robustly in terms of providing financial and non-financial benefits. This is because the way we measure the effectiveness of procurement drives behavior as well as demonstrates contribution and it is also a business-wide concern. Achieving this can seem daunting, but it is in fact quite straightforward. It is about changing the way the organization thinks, quantifying benefits as much as possible and showing how intervention contributes to wider, more measurable organizational goals. Ultimately it requires the procurement function to organize itself so it can ‘tell the story’ of the benefit, share success stories, and make sure the good work of procurement stays on everyone’s radar. Doing this is possibly one of the most effective ways a procurement function can ensure the rest of the organization is recognizing its contribution.

The problem with RFPs – are they an essential tool or are we limiting the potential that the supply base can offer?

RFPs (Request for Proposal) and, indeed, RFQs (Request for Quotation) are key tools in a buyer’s tool- kit. These are almost certainly managed through an online platform and have become increasingly routine where there is an opportunity to run a competitive process. But do they really help bring advantage? And are these tools being used effectively throughout the procurement community?

5 Key Steps to a Quality Category Management Implementation

“What benefits will category management deliver to my organization?” This is a question I am regularly asked. It is expected that I will produce a magic savings number, backed up by hard evidence to justify the claim, and form the basis for a business case. My answer is simple and is, “It depends!” It depends upon many factors but at the heart of these is the organization’s ability to effect a quality implementation. There is no doubt that Category Management can deliver dramatic benefits to an organization.

Insight – Is it OK to lie?

Jonathan O'Brien talks about if it's OK to lie in a negotiation. Should we lie when negotiating? Lying is frequently regarded as a necessary component of negotiation, as part of the way the game is played. For negotiation we tend to use slightly different language to make it more palatable and we call it ‘bluffing’ or ‘laying out a position’.

Purchasing – The Function that Buys the Pencils?

Progressive organizations have long since separated out the transactional component of their purchasing and now recognize strategic procurement as a key enabler to business success. Twenty years ago the position of Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) was unheard of. Now any business that wants to survive and beat the competition couldn’t be without one. So what’s the big deal? Why is procurement so important all of a sudden? The answer is simple and two fold. First, the world is fast changing. Supply bases and market places are global and informed customers want their products and services better, faster, and cheaper (unless it can be unique and exclusive). Second, the supply base typically harbors the greatest untapped potential that can transform the organization but only if there is a way to work out how to access this.

What The Last Recession Taught Me About Truly Effective SRM

On the global scale, positive signs of growth in some countries contrast with deepening economic and political worry in others. In response to this continued period of change and unrest, businesses have had to adapt to the new economic environment. One of the key changes that smart organisations have made is to transform the way they manage their suppliers.

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