Following in the footsteps of Richard Branson…

The words of Sir Richard Branson were ringing in his ears when Ben Briggs accepted a job offer a few years ago. He really wasn’t sure how he would ever be able live up to expectations, but wanted nothing more than to give it a shot.

Ben Briggs wanted to be the next Richard Branson

So, he fronted up on the first day as the global commodity role at General Motors in Detroit, aged 27, and began working. He was one of the youngest managers in the company. It was huge, by anyone’s definition.

“I remember Sir Branson saying that if someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later. And that’s what I did.

“Despite having strong technical skills, I believed at the time I was short on leadership skills, predominantly due to my age. This was not the case however, but when you’re 20-something, you often doubt your own abilities – or at least question them.”

Saying yes has seen Ben rise to the role of head procurement honcho at Melbourne’s Crown Resorts, where he’s working to improve cost efficiencies, quality, delivery and technological benefits to one of Australia’s largest entertainment groups. He’s been in the profession 15 years and has worked on both the cost and revenues sides of the operation.

Ben describes procurement as a dynamic and fast-paced industry with significantly varying stakeholder requirements, which creates daily challenges.

But juggling his first child with his role managing a major restructure to better align procurement operations is easily his biggest achievement to date. “Both were occurring at the same time, and each had their challenges,” he muses.

Crown Resorts is a fantastic place to work, he says.

“You’re constantly challenged. What’s also interesting is we’re now playing a pivotal role in finding ways to improve revenue uplift via our sourcing activities, creating new skills and creative thinking in the team.”

Ben loves overseas travel to experience different cultures. He also competes in marathons in his spare time.

“In all aspects of your life, I believe it’s important to back yourself, be committed, have passion and be a good listener, as these key traits will greatly steer you to success in whatever you do – at whatever age.”

Will augmented reality change the manufacturing industry?

According to recently published figures – only 17 per cent believe that augmented reality is going to change manufacturing in the future.

But first a primer: what is augmented reality?

Augmented reality in manufacturing

People often confuse augmented reality (AR for short) with virtual reality, the two are wholly different beasts but it’s easy to see the logic. Virtual reality transports the user into a carefully constructed 3D, virtual world. It’s a full-blown immersive experience – and it needs to be, in order to create and sustain the illusion. Whereas augmented reality relies on digital data being overlaid on a live view of the world outside. Text, graphics and sound fill your field of vision, adding a useful extra layer of data to your immediate surroundings. In technology terms we’re talking Google Glass and Sony’s Smart EyeGlass, rather than Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus.

Factories of the future

Today there is very little practical, real-world use of augmented reality in the field. Despite being AR is still very much in its infancy many industries and professions are wising-up to the benefits the technology can afford.

Not to mention, the use of AR could expedite training – negating the use of offsite sessions and bringing it in-house instead. Similarly it has applications within the medical world, providing the surgeon with overlays of essential patient information.

Boeing, BMW and Volkswagen are working on implementing AR into their assembly lines to smooth the manufacturing process.

There’s a strong case for the use of AR within the retail and commerce space. Want to see what’s inside a product’s packaging without opening it? You can do that, sure.

How about using it to help battle immoral practice in the workplace? Google Glass is now able to detect whether someone’s happy, sad, nervous, angry or excited with the help of an app. This could help boost productivity, ensuring workers remain in a healthy state of mind, and identifying emotional strain before it fully takes hold.

Incidentally SCM World currently carries a survey on the future of manufacturing – you can take part and submit your thoughts here. The results are due to be published in October, so we’ll be keeping a careful eye on this one.

Have you got the eye of the tiger?

When people bang-on about training, your first thought usually turns to this…

As empowering and utterly brilliant that may be, we’re here today to talk about something that can do for you what Survivor did for Rocky in the ring.

Procurious has an ever-growing collection of fine training videos and learning materials for your consumption. What’s more, they’re bite-size, so you can graze as much as you like without ever having too much.

Browse our selection of educational videos

Our Learning page can be accessed from anywhere on the site – here you’ll be presented with a selection of videos (we call them ‘featured classes’) to browse.

You might have noticed that some videos are listed as free, while others carry a charge. If you’re not looking to spend there’s still a healthy selection to choose from, but some of the more specialised lessons will require you to dip into your pockets.

How will I know if a lesson is for me?

Never fear, each paid video provides a short second sampler (anywhere from 25-45seconds), so you can watch and decide if it’s really for you. If you like what you see – just click the ‘Add this class to cart’ button, and proceed through the checkout process.

Purchasing lessons on Procurious

You can opt to have your billing information saved for future purchases if you so choose – just tick the respective box before making your payment.

Changed your mind? You can remove the class from your shopping cart in two ways: Either click the ‘X Remove from cart’ prompt, or select the ‘Clear cart’ command from the Your Cart screen. You can access this at any time, just click the shopping trolley icon next to your mailbox and notifications.

Exploring the lessons tree

Training videos on Procurious

After selecting lesson, the next thing you’ll want to do is watch the thing. In the player view you’ll also see the Lessons tree – this can be used to navigate between the different sections of the video (if the lesson is split into parts).

A (tricky) lesson learnt

Each class also carries its own difficulty rating. These range from videos suitable for all levels, through to the more advanced/intermediate where prior knowledge of the topics covered is advised.

Armed with this knowledge, go forth and explore the Learning available on Procurious! Alternatively if you’d like to talk to us about adding your training materials to our collection, please get in touch here.

Social network faux pas

If you’ve got even a smidgen of a presence on social media then you’re in the public spotlight. Don’t damage your carefully constructed image by falling foul of these common faux pas.

Social networking faux pas

Inappropriate material

When we refer to inappropriate material, we’re not just talking about the sort of content that caused upset for Hollywood’s superstars… Insensitive opinions, jokes in bad taste, photos from that party, in-fact anything that makes you look the opposite of ‘ha ha’ silly should be pretty much avoided.

Don’t ever post anything that could harm your image, or cause major embarrassment. You never know who’s watching. Your career might thank you for it later. The Internet never forgets you know…

Changing your name

It’s all very well to hide behind a clever alter ego, but when you replace your surname with nonsense it really goes beyond the pail…

Matt ‘Twinkletoes’ Jones doesn’t imply a healthy sense of humour, it makes you look a twerp.

Game invites

This one only really applies to Facebook but it’s a humdinger… If we want to play a life-sucking, cutesy (yet mildly addictive) online game then we’ll do it of our own accord. We don’t want spurious invites and intrusive notifications cajoling us to join your sad existence.

Oh it has cute fluffy cats? OK, maybe just for a few minutes…

The written word

Are your social networking accounts wanted for crimes against the English language?

Do you flout a flagrant disregard for sentence structure, needlessly employ CamelCase in the Very Middle of Sentences, make serious spelling errors, or babble in incomprehensible text-speak? These are just some of the offenders on our list.

To all those that answered ‘yes’ – just stop it. Stop it now.

Laziness

Social networks are communication tools, let’s not forget this… But there are times when you can’t help but wonder whether this is really the right platform for your verbal diarrhoea.  It really comes to something when you’re holding conversations with your nearest and dearest when they’re in the same room.

By all means like a photo, or share an amusing anecdote but don’t use social media as an alternative to meaningful, real life interactions. Far-fetched? Nope, we’ve seen it play out on Facebook and the results made us reach for the ‘hide’ button.

Hashtags

Ah the humble hashtag (#). Hashtags have their uses, but in the wrong hands they can turn into weapons of mass annoyance. Don’t litter your status updates with the things, instead employ a shred of common sense. A general rule of thumb is stick to a maximum of 2-3 in one Tweet. Plus, stop using them on Facebook (although the social network added support for them, the experience remains mediocre at best). Stick to Twitter and Google+ for your hashtag fix.

Arguing in public

Don’t air your dirty laundry in public. All of the major social networking platforms offer private or direct messaging functionality – use them instead of causing a social media storm. It also looks wholly unprofessional, so keep your diatribe private.

Social networks

Validation services

We all need validation… Twitter validation services however are a trifle unneeded if you’re anything but a large company trying to weed out armies of zombie accounts.

If you’re on social media you should be fully aware of who’s following you, liking your pages, and interacting with your ‘brand’. Therefore leaving it to an automated tool like TrueTwit or TweetDeck (for instance) almost feels like missing the point. You shouldn’t be doing it.

Saying that, there is nothing wrong with TrueTwit  (and others of its ilk) but if you’re just starting out on social media we’d encourage you to cultivate personal connections first.

LinkedIn embarrassment

Ever receive those emails from LinkedIn telling you to ‘congratulate’ Bob Mills on his work anniversary?

In this fast-paced modern world, roles and functions change all the time, so there’s every likelihood the poor sap you’re being told to shower with glad tidings has been moved on. Maybe send condolences to Bob in the form of flowers instead?

Commitment

If your heart’s not in it then it soon becomes blindingly obvious to the people sitting at the other end. No matter your social network of choice, people ultimately choose to follow you for a reason – so don’t let them down. Post often, be friendly, engaging, and show some personality will you? A dormant account is a waste of everyone’s time and network.

Join an entirely new online network – Procurious.com
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
We’re even on Google+

Enjoyed this article? Vote for Procurious at the #UKBA15 

Responsible sourcing: top 500 ranking

You can pack a great deal under the responsible sourcing umbrella – from businesses practicing sustainable procurement, specialists in environmental and ethical trading, thought-leaders in social impact, to those organisations sharing strategies and solutions.

The leaderboard is arranged by social media clout – those with massive influence undoubtedly sit nearer the top, indicating that meaningful interactions via social media channels count for a lot here.

The list is compiled by McClelland Media Ltd, and UK retail giant Marks and Spencer.

We’ve provided a small sample below, but we suggest you head on over to https://www.leaderboarded.com/responsible-sourcing to view the top 500 in its entirety.

You can pack a great deal under the responsible sourcing umbrella – from businesses practicing sustainable procurement, specialists in environmental and ethical trading, thought-leaders in social impact, to those organisations sharing strategies and solutions.  The leaderboard is arranged by social media clout – those with massive influence undoubtedly sit nearer the top, indicating that meaningful interactions via social media channels count for a lot here. The list is compiled by McClelland Media Ltd, and UK retail giant Marks and Spencer.   We’ve provided a small sample below, but we suggest you head on over to https://www.leaderboarded.com/responsible-sourcing to view the top 500 in its entirety.  See something missing? We’ve been told it’s possible to nominate organisations (or people) for consideration. Best visit the publisher’s website for more information.

We’d also recommend bookmarking the page, as it updates weekly every Friday.

See something missing? We’ve been told it’s possible to nominate organisations (or people) for consideration. Best visit the publisher’s website for more information.

Cracking-down on Africa’s illegal Ivory trade

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Africa's illegal ivory trade

Focus on supply chain to tackle illicit ivory trade

  • The Born Free Foundation is calling on enforcement agencies to tackle the illicit trade in ivory by addressing the supply chain behind it. The charity has produced a report detailing the supply chain behind the trade, which involves a complex network including poachers in Africa, freight forwarding companies, corrupt port officials and organised crime syndicates.
  • The report, called Out of Africa, said: “Disproportionate attention is currently being paid to the beginning and end of the ivory supply chain, on tackling poaching through deterrence, and on reducing the end-demand by re-educating consumers.
  • “Both are extremely important, but also extremely difficult, especially in the short time frame available. Disrupting the intermediate sections of the supply chain, however, is likely to be a more tractable intervention.”
  • The report said between 2009 and June 2014 170 tonnes of ivory had been seized, that assuming a 10 percent interception rate was equivalent to the deaths of almost 230,000 elephants. Ivory is collected in the bush at $50 to $100/kg (£30 to £60/kg), sold wholesale at $2,100/kg (£1,300/kg) and then retailed in the millions.

Read more on Supply Management

Aerospace groups voice concerns over supply chain

  • Some of Britain’s smaller aerospace companies have expressed concern that capacity issues in the supply chain could derail the big aircraft makers’ ambitious plans to step up production of passenger jets.
  • The thousands of companies that make up the UK’s aerospace supply chain are at present benefiting from the launch of an unprecedented number of new aircraft and engine programmes under development in the industry simultaneously.
  • “There is definitely cost pressure and that’s coming now with the challenge of volume that is there,” says Craig Gallagher, chief executive officer at MB Aerospace, a key supplier to aero-engine manufacturers, such as Rolls-Royce.

Read more at FT.com 

Water scarcity a challenge to cotton supply chains

  • World Water Week kicked off in Stockholm on 31 Aug, and with it increased attention on putting increasingly limited water resources to better use.
  • Water scarcity poses a potential risk to the global cotton industry, and the apparel supply chain is being urged to do more to tackle the fibre’s huge water footprint.
  • Cotton is one of the largest and thirstiest crops produced – accounting for around 2.5 per cent of all available arable land and more than 3 per cent of the water consumed across all crop production.
  • The world is likely to face a 40 per cent global shortfall between forecast demand and available supply of water in the next 15 years.

Read more on Just Style

Arcadia entertains supply chain overhaul

  • Arcadia is continuing on its quest to overhaul its IT systems, this time announcing a contract that, it is hoped, will speed up and improve its supply chain overhaul.
  • The retail group, owned by Sir Philip Green, has started a multi-million pound migration to a new supply chain system and is working with suppliers including Oracle and Manhattan Associates.
  • The retailer has employed a testing partner to help make sure its new supply chain systems are glitch free by the time they go live. The challenge is made more complex by the fact that Arcadia operates several brands, including Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and BHS.

Read more on Retail Week

Hospital food

Hospitals must adopt food procurement sustainability plans

Read more on Supply Management

Apple iPhone 6 screen delay leaves supply chain scrambling

  • Suppliers to Apple are scrambling to get enough screens ready for the new iPhone 6 smartphone as the need to redesign a key component has disrupted panel production ahead of September’s expected launch, supply chain sources said.
  • It is unclear whether the hiccup could delay the launch or limit the number of phones initially available to consumers. But the issue highlights the risks and challenges that suppliers face to meet Apple’s tough specifications, and comes on the heels of a separate screen technology problem, since resolved, in making thinner screens for the larger iPhone 6 model.
  • Cupertino, California-based Apple, has scheduled a media event for Sept. 9, and many expect it to unveil the new iPhone 6 with both 4.7 inch (11.94 cm) and 5.5 inch (13.97 cm) screens – bigger than the 4 inch screen on the iPhone 5s and 5c.
  • In addition: the Cupertino company’s long-rumoured ‘iWatch’ may not ship until 2015 according to recent rumblings.

Read more at Supply Chain Digital