My, my, my. How time flies!

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It’s already the end of 2015. And as I do each year, I’ll use this space to recap what has been another prolific year here at the Next Level Purchasing Association (NLPA).

This year, we had a laser-sharp focus on producing and refining the highest-quality educational content for procurement professionals. Here’s what we accomplished this year…

In February, we launched a whitepaper entitled “The Future Direction of Procurement & Supply Chain.” This whitepaper expanded upon the application of one of our big launches of 2014 – the Strategic Procurement & Supply Management Body of Knowledge® (SPSM-BOK®) Mastery Model.

Also in February, I had the pleasure of being chairperson for the final day of the ProcureCon Indirect East event. Plus, Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine recognized me as a “Pro To Know” for the seventh time.

Building up our portfolio of Express Courses – online procurement courses that take less than an hour to complete – has been a priority of ours for a few years now. So, in March, we launched the first of four Express Courses that we’d release this year with the debut of “How To Present A Case For Better Procurement.” This Express Course teaches the secrets to getting management to buy-in to your procurement ideas with minimal time and effort.

One of our most popular annual traditions is launching our Purchasing & Supply Management Salaries Report. This year’s report revealed that purchasing and supply management salaries were up a mere 2.9%. Every year, we expand the report by researching a new wrinkle. This year, we found that purchasing and supply management professionals who were recruited from other organizations made an average of 15.3% more than those that were promoted from within!

Speaking of annual reports, we also released another big report in May. What was once called our “Purchasing & Supply Management Career & Skills Report” had evolved into our “Purchasing Skills & Performance Benchmarking Report.” This, too, revealed some interesting statistics. For example, we found that the average purchasing and supply management professional achieves cost savings and avoidance of approximately $1.7 million per year. Plus we found that, on average, purchasers of indirect goods and services contribute more savings and avoidance than purchasers of direct goods and services and men contribute more savings and avoidance than their female counterparts.

In June, we launched another Express Course – “Making The Right Negotiation First Impression.” Did you know that there are at least 20 variables involved in creating a first impression as a procurement negotiator – a first impression that will affect the results you’ll get in that negotiation? Well, there are. And this Express Course teaches them all!

Here at the NLPA, we love creating models that our members can use to better understand and communicate complex procurement topics. In the past, we’ve introduced models such as The Dominick Matrix and The Procurement Funnel. In June, we introduced Dominick’s Sourcing See-Saw.
Also in June, we released a case study documenting how one of our members put his SPSM2 Certification to work as a procurement consultant to deliver exceptional results to his clients.

In July, we released another model – The Continuous Strategic Supplier Evaluation Cycle. This model helps to dispel the myth that, after strategic sourcing is done, supplier relationship management takes over and everyone lives happily ever after.

In August, we completed a project that took slightly over seven months: thoroughly updating all of the courses in the SPSM Certification Program. Not only did we update the content with more current examples and more modern practices, we vastly increased the amount of multimedia available to help facilitate learning. We don’t rely on printed books for our certifications – doing that forces an institution to support obsolete material. Our significant update to our all-online material shows our commitment to bringing you the most modern procurement certification possible!

In September, we released yet another Express Course – “Supply Market Intelligence 101.” We like this one because we partnered with outside authors, including Buyers Meeting Point’s Kelly Barner, to really provide a wide-ranging view of how supply market intelligence can be used in the real world.

Also in September, I was pleased to serve as the third-day chairman of ProcureCon Indirect West and a general session speaker at the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association’s annual conference. I choose my speaking engagements carefully, but I’m always honored to be considered one of the most sought after procurement speakers in the country.

After a bit of a lull, we once again got more active with The Purchasing Certification Channel – our home on YouTube. In October, we released a video explaining the process of recertification. And in November, we launched a really fun video about two different approaches to procurement recruiting.

One of our full-length online courses, “Profitable Inventory Management and Control,” was named to Camcode’s “50 Top Inventory Control Learning Resources” in November. For clarity, our full-length online courses consist of eight 1-hour lessons, giving you a more comprehensive education on a topic compared to our Express Courses, which are designed to provide introductions to topics when you need them quickly.

We reserved our biggest launches for last.

In December, we launched the second full-length online course in Level 4 of the SPSM-BOK®: “Strategic Supplier Diversity Best Practices.” Though this course does cover the fundamentals that every supplier diversity professional needs to know, its biggest value is in that it teaches you how to make supplier diversity truly strategic. This course is our 16th full-length online procurement course.

And two weeks ago, we released our 26th Express Course, “Next Generation Procurement Talent Management.” This course teaches the latest approaches to recruiting, training and retaining great procurement employees. With this course, the NLPA’s portfolio of courses now offers 150 hours worth of on-demand online training for procurement professionals.

To close out the year, we launched another case study documenting Wabtec’s success in using their NLPA training to unite and improve their decentralized supply chain operations.

As you’ve read, it’s been a great year. And we’re looking for another great year serving the procurement community in 2016. One of the most exciting things we have in store is our 3rd NLPA Conference. It is taking place on October 24-25, 2016 at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The theme is “Make Your Mark on Procurement History” and our goal is to help you deliver historic innovations to your organization, your procurement career, and the procurement profession.

So, on behalf of the entire NLPA team, allow me to wish you a happy and healthy New Year!