SIG Speaks Blog

Is Your Due Diligence Process Diligent Enough?

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SIG University Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program graduate Susan Berkenbush describes how an effective and logical exit plan is one of the most overlooked topics in our space, and notes how relationships end for many reasons and when they do there must be a well thought out plan with clearly outlined tasks.


As strategic sourcing and supplier management professionals, we have a duty to protect our companies, employees, shareholders, and clients from harm. Depending on the industry, that “harm” can manifest itself in various forms, including financial, legal, and reputational compliance violations, improperly protected data, and employees’ physical safety. We typically invest a significant amount of time and resources in performing due diligence upfront during the RFP process and contract negotiation, as well as we should. But do we consistently focus on ensuring that due diligence is conducted at the end of a supplier contract as well? If not, it might be time to reconsider.

The practice of developing an exit management strategy as a standard step in supplier governance is crucial, especially in critical supplier relationships. If executed effectively, exit management clearly establishes roles and expectations for all parties, with the goal of achieving a balanced, fair dissolution if or when the time comes. It can help maintain productive communications and mitigate risk by keeping your team and your supplier centered on the tactical process of unwinding the relationship.

Susan Berkenbush, Senior Director of Global Supplier Management, The Fitch Group

Creating a Strong Risk Culture

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SIG University Certified Third-Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) program graduate Andy Ignacio describes and compares some of the related concepts he learned throughout the program to his organization's evolution from "check the boxes" to a strong risk culture and program.

Andy Ignacio, Contract Management and Third-Party Oversight Manager, Umpqua Bank

Sustainability in Procurement Areas

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Maria Józefczyk shares a well thought out and important perspective about how Sustainability and caring for the natural environment is critical.

Maria Józefczyk, Global Category Senior Manager, BNY Mellon

Start Off on the Right Foot with Supplier Management

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Kate Burke outlines the necessary points for creating a strong, healthy, and productive relationship while ensuring your company has a clear path of intention and expectation.


Supplier relationship management is often overlooked during Procurement’s negotiation and contracting phases. Since the negotiation and contracting phases are just the beginning of the relationship, significant value can be driven by incorporating a governance framework into the contracting phase and instilling a collaborative relationship early on. Starting with a win-win mindset and a documented, agreed-upon governance framework will allow the business to focus on achieving the value of the contract, reduce noise, and enable quicker resolution of issues.

First, sourcing professionals and business stakeholders should enter the negotiations and contracting phase with a collaborative mindset. It’s important to establish appropriate bargaining ranges for your company, but equally important to enter it with a mindset that both parties need and want each other’s business. Establish trust by practicing solid communication skills and being truthful yet firm with your business’s needs. Learn who the supplier's key points of contact are during this phase and work to build mutual trust. Distrust or a sense of exhaustion from the negotiation only delays and hinders value realization once the deal is in effect.

Kate Burke, Procurement Lead, MassMutual

Due Diligence, What Is It, Why Is It Important, And What Are Some Practical Applications

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SIG University Certified Third-Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) program graduate Jessica Mckenzie provides an exceptional and readable display of the topics covered, making this complex topic accessible for practitioners and novices, and shares her common sense advice with risk professionals.


As we experience an ever-growing expansion of business relationships worldwide, dependency on one another to ensure our day-to-day operations run smoothly has become increasingly apparent. We rely on third parties to expand the reach of our companies globally, improve customer experience, and build partnerships that help us collaborate and create innovative opportunities. We rely on them to help us build financial strength and resiliency. With this reliance we have on third-party relationships, how do we ensure that the companies and people who run them are operating in a sound manner and that they hold the same values that we do? How do we ensure that as we enter and maintain relationships with third parties and their third parties, they will do what they say they will so that we can minimize impacts on our own financial stability, reputation, business strategies, or operational functions? 

Jessica Mckenzie, Third Party Risk manager, American Express

Driving Automation and Change in Enterprises

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SIG University Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) program graduate Samantha Mackowiak shares a very thoughtful and comprehensive piece on a company's Intelligent Process Automation journey.

Samantha Mackowiak, Strategic Sourcing Manager, Ulta Beauty

Understanding the Technical Aspects of Negotiations

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Connor Ryan describes the technical aspects of approaching negotiation conversations and how applying these tools will absolutely enhance your success and create a strong supplier relationship.

Connor Ryan, Category Management Advisor, Cigna

Change Management

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SIG University Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program graduate Erika Marzilli shares her personal experience in project management and how accepting sudden change can be hard, but it is always worth it in the end.

Erika Marzilli, Senior Advisor Category Management, Cigna

Implementing a New Governance Model

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SIG University Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program graduate Mark Nilsson shares an example of how his team had to implement a new governance model that was instrumental in getting a project back on track and helped implement several layers of change across his organization.

Mark Nilsson, Sr. IT Vendor Manager, Leprino Foods

Category Management Playbook and Category Strategy Planning

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Prateek Jindal describes how the course helped him and his team increase value from improving their strategic sourcing strategies on down through your category playbook.


As a Sourcing Director, I manage Category Playbooks and drive effective sourcing strategies within our organization. Coming from Facilities Management (FM) organization, my directives are to manage over 20 key categories primarily in the services procurement domain, including Elevators, Janitorial, HVAC, Security, Snow Removal & Landscaping, Waste Haulage, Electrical, Key Trades, and many more. Each category is unique and requires substantial knowledge and understanding to ensure client requirements and expectations are met, both qualitative and quantitative. Combining a portfolio of over 40 clients and management of over 20 FM categories, it is imperative to have robust Sourcing Strategy Planning and regular review of Category Playbooks. 

While our existing processes to develop Sourcing Strategies and Category Playbooks were functional, I recognized the need to elevate our practices to industry-leading standards. To address this, I recently completed the Certified Sourcing Practitioner course SIG (Sourcing Industry Group) offered. This essay highlights how the concepts and techniques learned during the certification course enabled me to enhance our Category Playbooks and elevate our sourcing strategies significantly. 

Prateek Jindal, Director of Strategic Sourcing, BGIS Global Integrated Solutions

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