Commercial Awareness: Managing your Strategy, Contracts and Risks

NEW Commerce is about buying and selling. The more buying and selling you do the more commercial you are. This programme will give you the knowledge you need to make better commercial decisions.

Course overview

Commerce is about buying and selling. The more buying and selling you do the more commercial you are. With outsourcing being the predominant business model for the past 20 years, you don’t have a choice about whether you are commercial but you can make the choice to do it well.

That’s what this two-day workshop is about.

Whatever level we’re at in a business, we all make better decisions when we understand the processes, relationships, risks and costs involved in commercial transactions. This programme will give you the knowledge you need to make better commercial decisions.

Your next step is to call us now on +44 (0)20 7729 6677 or email us at or use our contact form and find out how we can help. There are no commitments, and if we cannot help our advice and recommendations are free of charge.

Why you should attend

This highly practical two-day in-house seminar will enable you to develop the commercial understanding required to help you deliver excellence within your business. It can be tailored to your exact companies needs so you and your team achieve the goals you’re aiming for.

Sample programme

1. The changing commercial environment

Organisations have shifted from employees producing goods and services to suppliers providing them. This shift from contract of service to contracting for services has become the main business model – and it has wide ranging implications for employees. We start the workshop with understanding what has happened and why.

  • Skills implications of downsizing and outsourcing
  • Why outsource?
  • Value for money defined and measured

2. Contract strategy

Good buying and selling starts with a clear strategy: what are we buying/selling? How are we going to go about it? How much are we willing to pay/charge? Who are we going to buy/sell to? We introduce a range of approaches and models to help you tackle these issues.

  • Developing a contract strategy
  • The Knowledge Continuum™
  • Payment mechanisms

3. Contracts: the legal framework

Contracting is at the heart of commerce. It is the mechanism that governs the relationship between buyer and seller. As commercial managers we need to understand how contracts are formed and varied, the key elements of a contract and the key pitfalls to avoid when drafting contracts.

  • How contracts are formed? Offer and acceptance
  • Main remedies for poor performance
  • Key terms and conditions within contracts

4. Contract governance

As recent case law shows, it’s not just what’s in the contract that counts, it’s how you manage the contract that really matters. We call this contract governance and this session looks at what it is and how to ensure best practice.

  • Model of best practice
  • Case study
  • Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

5. How costs behave

All commercial managers, both buyers and sellers alike, need to understand how costs behave to ensure they are either setting their prices correctly, or paying the right price. With many of us now in the roles of buyer and seller, understanding costs has never been more important.

  • Different types of costs
  • What drives costs?
  • Relationship between buyer and seller

6. The buyer’s perspective

Buying is no longer the preserve of a procurement department but is increasingly carried out by devolved budget holders. Here we look at the key stages in best practice buying and, critically, we focus on how as a buyer you make sure you are paying the right price for goods and services.

  • The purchasing cycle
  • Managing costs
  • Paying the right price

7. The seller’s perspective

Successful selling requires a combination of the right product sold at the right price and in sufficient quantities to generate the desired profit. That’s easier said than done in a world demanding higher quality at ever lower prices. Here we look at key issues facing the role of the seller.

  • The selling cycle
  • Features and benefits
  • Value pricing

8. Risk management

Commerce is an inherently risky business. We need to be able to identify what could go wrong and how we can reduce, eliminate or contain the risks. We look at what we mean by commercial risk and review approaches for managing it.

  • Risk management approaches
  • How to identify and prioritise risks
  • The role of contracts in risk mitigation

Recommended trainer

Robert Maguire runs his own consultancy and his experience spans the full range of outsourcing and vendor management issues from determining what to outsource, through developing an appropriate contract strategy and building a performance dashboard to negotiation and conflict resolution to deal with the inevitable management issues that arise in any long-term relationship. Through his consulting, coaching, mentoring and skills development interactions, he helps major organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sector transform their thinking and approach to their commercial relationships. Robert’s clients span a range of industries including pharma, consumer products, telecoms, transport and public sector both in the UK, the US and the Middle East. He is an accomplished line manager and consultant experienced in all aspects of purchasing and supplier management. Prior to establishing his own consultancy Rob was European Purchasing Manager for Reckitt & Colman plc where he established a European procurement function for the purchase of raw materials and sub-contracted products. He has worked as a consultant at Price Waterhouse and Ernst & Young, and has worked with a number of pharma companies including Glaxo Welcome (GSK).