On this last day of 2012, it is a great time to reflect on what may have been our most productive year ever here at the Next Level Purchasing Association (NLPA). As I look back at 2012, here are the ways that we helped procurement professionals improve their workplace performance and enhance their careers:

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In January, “The Procurement Game Plan:  Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals” – a book that I co-wrote with my friend Dr. Soheila Lunney – was published by J. Ross Publishing.  I’ve heard a lot of great feedback from readers and am happy that I could reach procurement professionals in a new format this year!

In February, we further bridged the procurement and supply chain disciplines by launching our new online course, “Profitable Inventory Management and Control.”  This course was designed to give procurement and supply chain professionals like you the skills you need to use inventory as a strategic weapon for boosting profitability and giving your organization a competitive advantage.

In March, we launched our annual Purchasing &Supply Management Career & Skills Report.  One of the big shockers of this report was that, according to a survey of over 2,500 purchasing and supply management professionals, negotiation was no longer considered the most important purchasing and supply management skill.   After holding the top spot for the last four years, negotiation placed second to sourcing and supplier selection.

In April, we launched our “All-Access Corporate Subscription.”  This option allows qualifying organizations to pay one flat fee for all of their procurement employees to access all of our full-length online procurement courses, all of our Express Courses, and the NLPA Library, which consists of a variety of procurement templates, transcripts of interviews with procurement thought leaders, slide decks, and archived webinars.

Also in April, we launched our annual Purchasing & Supply Management Salary Report.  One of the most interesting findings of this report was that the average purchasing salary in North America had increased by 11%.

On July 1st – the eighth anniversary of the SPSM® Certification and the third anniversary of the SPSM2® Certification – we launched the SPSM3TM Certification.  This new certification became the highest level purchasing certification available, requiring the SPSM2® Certification as a prerequisite, which itself requires the SPSM® Certification as a prerequisite.  All told, earning the SPSM3TM Certification requires 108 hours of study from the beginning of one’s certification pursuits – giving those who will earn it a designation that shows a true capability of succeeding in a rigorous program of study.

Also in July, we launched the Premium Membership to the NLPA, complementing the already available free basic membership.  Premium Members get all the benefits of a basic membership, plus access to all of our Express Courses and the NLPA Library.  At $199.00 per year, the NLPA Premium Membership represents the cost-conscious procurement professional’s best choice for a procurement association membership that delivers real value, not just a membership card.

Also in July – wow, what a busy month! – we launched another new full-length online course entitled “Improving Quality in the Supply Chain.”  Like the launch of “Profitable Inventory Management and Control,” the launch of this supply chain quality course demonstrates our recognition of the need among procurement professionals for more advanced learning opportunities as well as opportunities to learn how to integrate their work into other functions within their organizations.

In September, we began a continuing effort to boost our portfolio of online Express Courses with the launch of “Increasing Your Personal Productivity, Part I.”  This Express Course focused on aspects of improving productivity by sharing ways to prepare for business changes, set goals effectively, and analyze one’s self, among other things.

In October, we launched the online Express Course, “Increasing Your Personal Productivity, Part II.”  Going beyond what was covered in Part I, this course teaches how to overcome obstacles to goal achievement, prioritizing work, and managing time, plus more.

In November, we launched yet another online Express Course, “Preventing and Managing Backdoor Selling.”  This Express Course covered how salespeople disguise their backdoor selling techniques, what to do when you encounted backdoor selling in progress, and how to negotiate with a supplier who has already gotten an internal customer to commit to a purchase, and much more.

In December, we announced that we will be hosting our first ever procurement conference!  The First Annual NLPA International Conference will be held in Pittsburgh on September 12 & 13, 2013.  More information will be released in a continuing stream in 2013.

Also in December, in response to popular demand by procurement professionals who had liked the SPSM Certification & Enhanced Results Program and the SPSM2 Certification & Enhanced Results Program, we launched the SPSM3 Certification & Enhanced Results Program.  This program provides all of the elements of the SPSM3 Certification Program plus two additional study components:  a 30-minute telephone consultation with our instructor and the SPSM3 Multimedia Study & Implementation Guide – an iPad preloaded with 40 audio and video clips!

This year, the NLPA was also named to the Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100 for the sixth consecutive year.  The SDCE100 is a list of the top 100 service providers in the supply chain space.  The NLPA was the only certification provider that made the list in each one of those years.  Additionally, I personally was recognized as one of Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine’s “Pro’s To Know” for the sixth consecutive year.

Other than that, we really haven’t done much here this year (LOL)!  We promise to work even harder at helping procurement professionals succeed in 2013, so expect another exciting year!

All of us here at Next Level Purchasing want to wish you and your family a Happy New Year and as much success as you can handle in 2013. We’ll be there to help you have a rewarding career.


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