BuyTrain News

February 2009

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Personal Development
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SORRY! - I got so lazy during the summer that I forgot to start writing again this fall. Actually I've been in the middle of a particularly complex contract change for the last few months. At least it hasn't been boring


Document Retirement Plan?

In October 2008 I presented two programs at the Pacific Northwest Conference on my currently favorite business topics; Electronic Records and Negotiating from a Cost Perspective. 

I know, records sounds like a lot of paperwork - but really, with the increasing use of email today, electronic records and what to do with them is a much bigger problem than paper ever was. When the lawyers get involved they have a new process called "e-discovery". In a lawsuit, lawyers and their technical consultants might confiscate and search all of your computers, thumb drives, electronic files and databases. Every copy of every email you ever sent or received could pop up as evidence. Someone's CYA email message to his friends saying "...this contract is risky..." could surface in the search and be used against your company in court.

There are many more problems directly related to electronic files and records. So much so, that one very important part of a records plan, is a strict company policy on deleting/destroying/discarding/erasing electronic emails and files after they have reached the end of their useful life. Ask Bill Gates how embarrassing an old email can be that surfaces years later because someone just happened to have kept the old files. Already there are many software vendors advertising products designed to help companies get a handle on electronic records. I'm sure we'll all hear more about this.

Try doing a Google search this way "electronic discovery" or ediscovery. Read a few cases and then start considering how to protect yourself and your company View a copy of my presentation (PDF)

At the conference I also spoke about using an understanding of supplier costs when negotiating.  Direct and Indirect Costs provide different and unique opportunities to improve the negotiation and resulting contract.  View a copy of the presentation (PDF)  You will also find some previous articles on this subject here:

A MUST Read.

New Scams

Another two new scams have hit the scene. One pretends to be an antivirus notice urging the recipient to download a tool to cure their supposedly infected PC. Obviously your PC will be a lot more infected after the tool works on your machine a while. The lesson? Do not ever download, install or run something that you didn't specifically look for and that you know is legit.

 Not long ago I received the creative piece of spam - it came in the form of a job offer:

I am looking for someone to employ in the position of a Personal Assistant for me part time or fulltime. I need someone who would attend seminars and conferences all expense paid, receive and handle phone calls. You would also receive and issue payments on my behalf as at when due (Utility bills and allowances), These payments are in form of bank transfers and they would be paid into your Bank Account or a designated account.

So tell me, do you know someone who would fall for a scheme like this? Wanna bet the bank account deposits don't keep up with the payments? The bottom line is that we need to keep reminding friends, relatives and coworkers - NOT to trust unsolicited offers of anything. In the mean time - if you happen to meet one of these idiot scammers, send him over, we'll have a little 'party'.

Electronic Commerce and the Law

On April 10 I will be in Boise, participating in the University of Idaho College of Law - Business Law symposium. I'll be in a panel discussion with our frequent speaker and law professor Ben Beard about electronic commerce. Ben has been involved for many years with the American Bar Association efforts to bring the UCC up to date with e-commerce. Lately he has been involved with the committee working on international commerce laws.  . I'm looking forward to sharing my perspective about where the law is lagging behind current practices and hearing about the developments with new international business laws. Link to the symposium web site

If you haven't thought about this subject in a while, you can find some background information in several articles on my web site. Try this one for example: Incoterms.  I suspect you are already or know of someone who's supply chain has become international. But are they using a different set of terms and conditions (that would apply to international transactions)?  I doubt it. 

Also I suspect you and all of your peers are making significant use of the internet and electronic commerce. But has the UCC and legal system kept up with what you are doing? Nope, not really. Look at my very out-of date articles and information on electronic commerce  and consider what changes have been made to the UCC to accommodate email, electronic records and computerized ordering. Is there anyone who can afford to wait for the lawyers to catch up? I don't think so. [Interesting note: ever wonder what "common law" meant? Basically, we're creating the common law of online commerce.]  Should be a really fun discussion with the lawyers and law students - although I had to promise; no lawyer jokes before happy hour.

Personal Development

Question Costs

We’ve spoken several times about the value of understanding the costs associated with the items and services we are buying. At the Pacific Northwest Purchasing Conference I presented a program about negotiating from a cost perspective. [Here's the link to the program Cost Counts in a Negotiation ...] This new article has some recommendations for ways to gather cost data that will be useful in negotiating a better contract. Read the article Question Cost

Helpful Links

Here is a cross reference to impress your friends - and might even be helpful for your business. A cross reference of worldwide electrical currents and outlets.

Search just Government web sites on Google

Looking for a Federal contracting job? Start here:

ISM News

Leadership Workshop

As you may already be aware, the economic downturn hit the ISM budget and chopped our summer leadership workshop. Rather than skip it altogether, Jan and the Affiliate Support staff have pulled together an abbreviated leadership workshop which will be held in conjunction with the ISM International conference in Charlotte in May. While it will only be one day, we will be sharing as much information and ideas with affiliate leaders as we can.  I'll be talking about using technology to enhance affiliate communication. Agenda and Registration

I also have heard that affiliates in the Northwest and several other parts of the country will be trying to pull together local leadership workshops. I think it's a worthwhile effort and everyone is welcome to use the training materials I have on my web site. I plan to post my presentations and I know Jan will be post presentations on  the ISM web site for everyone to use.  Also, keep in mind, discussion notes and presentations form previous Leadership workshops are also posted on the ISM web site.  If there is some value I can add or a specific topic you would like me to try and address, just let me know.  Although it's out of date, some of the ideas in my article for getting the most out of the workshop are still worth reviewing, read more

YouTube Video Worth Sharing

Check out ISM's promotional video, "This Is My Institute." 

Software Tips

A Scrap of Text

Lately I have been responding to multiple email questions about the same topic with the same block of text. If you have the same problem – needing to repeat a block of text multiple times -your computer can help. Write the text you want to save in either Word or Outlook 2007 .Highlight the block of text and drag it to your desktop. Windows will create a text file it calls a SCRAP file. Name it whatever you want - but keep the same file extension.

When you are ready to use it in, just drag it from the desktop into email messages or letters anytime you want. This is helpful for the same email message sent many times,  a paragraph explaining the contract changes or even a list of new contacts. In fact you can set up many different SCRAP objects; give them all meaningful names and store the whole lot is a desktop folder.  Just imagine how much easier it would be if you didn't have to keep retyping the same message over and over again [ I sent it to you yesterday, or maybe Read the Contract] 

Microsoft Office 2007 - a few words of warning

Wow! This change to Office 2007 has stretched my patience. Outlook is O.K., Word isn't too bad, but Access and Excel are driving me nuts. I finally found the help file article about changing the default fonts in Word 2007.

Changing the default Font and Line Spacing

  1. On the Home tab, click the Font Dialog Box Launcher, and then click the Font tab in the lower right corner.
  2. This will open the FONT dialog box
  3. Pick your Font and then click the DEFAULT button in the lower left dialog box.

Set the default to single-spacing for all new documents

  1. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click Change Styles.

  2. Point to Style Set, and click Word 2003.

  3. In the Styles group, click Change Styles, and then click Set as Default.

  4.  If you try using another style set in your document and you want to return to your custom default setting, click Change Styles in the Styles group, point to Style Sets, and then click Reset to Quick Styles from Template).

TIP: Try a different view…….

Having problem reading a particular document or web site in Windows XP? Maybe the sun, the window colors or text size makes the screen hard to read……..Try temporarily turning on the HIGH CONTRAST display. Use this key combination to toggle the High Contrast Display on or off.  Left ALT+left SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN (or PRTSCRN)

More keyboard shortcuts….. Or……


In Office 2007 I need quick access to a very special document I am going to be repeatedly editing for many days or months.

Keep it visible in the Recent Document list. “PIN” the document to the Recent Document list by clicking on the push pin icon. The document will stay on the list until you un-pin it.

Bonus Tip:

Increase  the number of documents on the Recent Document list by changing the selection in the Advanced menu of the Word Options settings.

Advanced Level Super Mario BonusTip:  Where do I keep these tips so I can find them?

I use an Outlook folder to keep all PC tips - but I want to keep some tips even closer at hand. So I put them in a desktop folder.

  1. Right click your PC desktop

  2. In the menu select NEW > FOLDER

  3. Windows will place a new folder on the desktop

  4. Right Click the New Folder and Rename it PC_TIPS

  5. Now when you get a useful tip in a message

  6. n the Outlook Message FILE MENU select SAVE AS

  7. Save it as an RTF file in your DESKTOP > PC_TIPS folder

  8. You can save documents to the folder as well.


Do you get involved in Federal Contracting, or are you a prime contractor to a Federal Agency. If so, here is an online forum which has discussions and questions about many federal contracting regulations. Where in Federal Contracting

While we are talking about the Fed.... Ever get into a discussion about how the Fed allocates money to your prime contracts? Here is a new resource that might help. The GAO has just released the 3rd editions of their Principles of Federal Appropriations Law 

Provide Feedback and suggestions for future newsletters at any time. I'll try and use what I can.

I really do appreciate those of you who take the time to write and comment on this newsletter!  



Read more articles in the Purchasing Toolbox at and in the BuyTrain news article archive at Return to MLTweb

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Copyright;  Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M.
Last Updated: 05/23/2006