Supply Chain Review Pressure Following Chicken Scare

Public confidence in supermarkets and their supply chains has taken another hit, following a scare about contaminated chicken.

chicken

A recent report has found that one in four chicken samples bought from major supermarket chains contain antibiotic-resistant E.coli. The findings are again putting pressure on supermarkets to tighten their supply chain quality assurance processes.

While supermarkets have worked hard to improve supply chain traceability, this report shows there is much work to be done. It also serves to highlight a wider issue in the food supply chain – the use of antibiotics.

There is on-going criticism about the overuse of antibiotics by humans, but use of the drugs on livestock is contributing to increased resistance to antibiotics by so-called “super-bugs”.

Issues Raised in Chicken Testing

The study of chicken samples was carried out by the University of Cambridge. It revealed that from 92 chicken pieces, including whole chicken, thigh pieces, drumsticks and diced breast meat, 22 pieces contained potentially deadly bacteria.

The “superbug” strain of E.coli was found in chicken samples from all leading UK supermarkets, including Tesco, Waitrose, Aldi and Morrisons. Similar strains were found in supermarket pork samples tested in the same study.

The findings raise concerns about the quality of factory farming in the UK, as well as the end-to-end supply chains of the big retailers.

Dr. Mark Holmes, part of the research team that conducted the study, suggested that more resources needed to be put into assessment of antibiotic resistance in animals in the supply chain.

“These results highlight the need for improvements in antibiotic stewardship in veterinary medicine,” Holmes said. “The levels of resistant E.coli that we have found are worrying. Every time someone falls ill, instead of just getting a food poisoning bug they might also be getting a bug that is antibiotic resistant.”

Supply Chain Quality Assurance

Quality control software experts InfinityQS suggest that, while the supermarkets themselves might argue that their quality assurances are sound, the findings suggest this is not the case.

“It’s clear that a disconnect exists across these supermarkets’ supply chains. It’s likely they’ll have stringent procedures in place for their own food traceability, but it’s imperative these are adhered to amongst their suppliers.”

The company suggested that closer relationships with both suppliers and farmers was necessary. This could mean a more pro-active approach to site visits to where they source food from, and understand how they could help farmers to make improvements.

“An effective supply chain process will ensure that controls are in place to manage the necessary people, activities, resources and data throughout the supply chain.

“If done correctly, that product will be delivered with the correct documents, with an agreed quantity, adhering to a set quality standard and all sent at the right time to the right place.”

Antibiotic Overuse Creating Resistance 

The report also serves to highlight the wider issue of overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals. As well as depleting global supplies of antibiotics, systematic overuse is creating resistant strains of potentially deadly bacteria, including E.coli.

It’s predicted that, by 2050, one person will die every 3 seconds around the world from antibiotic resistant bacteria. Globally, 70 per cent of bacteria have now developed antibiotic resistance, including to traditionally ‘last line of defence’ treatment.

It’s estimated that around 40 per cent of antibiotic use in the UK is for animals in the food supply chain. The drugs are frequently given to large groups of completely healthy animals, with the intention of stopping the spread of infections. Mass medication accounts for an estimated 90 per cent of all animal antibiotic use in the UK.

Intensive farming practices, and keeping large groups of animals in close quarters, is to blame for such practices. In such crowded conditions, even one unhealthy animal can have devastating consequences.

However, as farming practices change, and retailers aim to ensure higher animal welfares standards, this issue may be lessened. Retailers have also been urged to pay a higher price for meat such as chicken and pork. This would relieve productivity pressures on farmers, and reduce intensive farming too.

Will this change your dietary habits? How can procurement get more involved in changing the underlying issues? Let us know in the comments below.

careerbootcamp-logo-final

Career Boot Camp Reminder!

The Procurious Career Boot Camp kicks off in earnest this morning with the release of our first podcast! Today, as well as every day for the next 15 work days, we’ll be releasing a podcast at 9:30am (BST).

You can access everything you need to enlist for Career Boot Camp here. If you have any questions, read this, or get in touch.

We’ve been on the look out for all the top stories in procurement and supply chain this week. And here they are…

Bailout Rejection Makes Hanjin Liquidation Likely

  • The chances of a bailout for stricken shipping company Hanjin look unlikely, increasing the possibility of liquidation.
  • The bailout was needed to help the company combat $5.4 billion debts, and allow it to unload cargo at ports.
  • However, with decisions still to be made, the South Korean Government criticised the company for “economic irresponsibility”.
  • The company is conducting sales fund the release of $14 million worth of stock currently stuck on its cargo ships.

Read more at Supply Chain Dive

Sewing Robots to Join Garment Workforce

  • A company called Sewbo has developed a robot that can sew, and intends to replace humans in the garment manufacturing process.
  • The machine uses stiffened, pre-cut garment pieces and feeds them into a sewing machine, before dropping the completed garment into hot water to remove the non-toxic stiffener.
  • Automated clothing production provides a potential solution to labour abuses and sweat-shop conditions in the developing world.
  • However, large-scale automation would also put millions of people in the garment industry out of work.

Read more and watch the video at Engadget

Study Says Petrol Must Be Phased Out by 2035

  • According to a Climate Action Tracker report, the last petrol powered car will have to be sold by 2035 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • A ceiling of 1.5 degrees was the most stringent goal set by world leaders at the Paris summit last December.
  • Current projections suggest that electric vehicles will make up only 5 per cent of the world’s car fleets by 2030
  • This means aggressive measures will be required to shift rapidly away from fossil-fuel powered vehicles much earlier than expected.

Read more at Fortune

“Poor Procurement” To Blame For Detention Centre Cost Blowout

  • Australia’s scandal-ridden offshore detention centres for asylum seekers have come under intense scrutiny once again.
  • An audit of the centres revealed “serious and persistent deficiencies” in the relevant department’s management of the contracts.
  • It identified failures in the open tender process for security, cleaning, catering and welfare services, with costs blowing out from a $351 million contract in 2012, to a current $2.2 billion contract.
  • The report also criticised the original open tender process, and negotiations that took place with suppliers in 2012.

Read more at The Guardian

Are Employees the Weak Link in Company Cyber Security?

Are your employees leaving the door open for cyber attacks? Here’s how to help them reduce the cyber security threat.

employees weak link

Employees are a significant risk to their employer’s cyber security according to research by specialist global executive search and interim management company Norrie Johnston Recruitment (NJR).

The research forms part of NJR’s cyber security report, ‘How real is the threat and how can you reduce your risk‘. The report shows that:

  • 23 per cent of employees use the same password for different work applications.
  • 17 per cent write down their passwords.
  • 16 per cent work while connected to public Wi-Fi networks.
  • 15 per cent access social media sites on their work PCs.

Such bad habits and a lack of awareness about security mean that employees are inadvertently leaving companies’ cyber doors wide open to attack.

This research is supported by a report which incorporates the advice from fifteen experts in the field. In it, Benny Czarny, Founder of OPSWAT, discusses the top tips to avoid massive data breaches.

With Sony recently setting aside $15M to investigate the reasons for, and remediate the damage caused by, last year’s data breach, many of our customers—from large enterprises to small business—are wondering what they need to do to make sure they aren’t the next big data breach headline.

The good news is that most data breaches can be prevented by taking a common sense approach, coupled with some key IT security adjustments.

1. Employees’ security training is an absolute necessity. 

I cannot emphasise this point enough, as your network is only as safe as your most gullible employee. Even the most sophisticated security systems can be compromised by human error. The Sony breach started with phishing attacks.

And people still also use USB devices from unknown sources, which is allegedly how the Stuxnet worm was delivered.

2. Access to executable files should be limited to those who need them to complete their duties. 

Many threats are borne via self-extracting files. Therefore, limiting the number of employees who are allowed to receive this file type limits your exposure.

Your IT department absolutely needs the ability to work with executable files. Bob in accounting? Not so much!

3. MS Office documents and PDFs are common attack vectors. 

Vulnerabilities are identified in MS Office and Adobe Reader on a regular basis. While patches are typically released very quickly, if the patches are not applied in a timely fashion the vulnerability can still be exploited.

As an everyday precaution, document sanitisation is recommended to remove embedded threats in documents.

4. Data workflow audits are essential. 

Data can enter your organisation through many different points – email, FTP, external memory device, etc. Identifying your organisation’s entry points and taking steps to secure them is a critical step in avoiding data breaches.

At a minimum, scanning incoming and outgoing email attachments for viruses and threats, and implementing a secure file transfer solution, should be considered.

5. Store sensitive data in separate locations. 

Simple data segregation could have mitigated the impact of the Sony breach. The hack exposed both internal communications and unreleased video files.

Had the videos and emails been stored on two separate systems some of the damages may have been prevented.

6. Internal and external penetration tests are critical. 

Internal testing is a valuable tool, but hiring an outside party to attempt to breach your network will identify security holes your team may have missed.

7. Keep your security architecture confidential. 

You may be excited about your innovative networking solution or new cloud-based storage system, but think twice about making any of that information public!

8. Remember that traffic generated internally to your security system may still be suspect. 

For example, the Sony malware connected to an internal security system to impersonate legitimate traffic to disguise its malicious nature.

9. Multilayer defence is needed. 

I like to describe defence in depth by comparing it to the defence systems you might see at a castle. It could be defended by a large stone wall, followed by a deep moat, followed by a draw-bridge, followed by an iron gate, etc.

A single layer of defence is not sufficient for your data. It must be protected by multiple systems working in parallel. That way if one layer is breached your data is not exposed.

10. Finding your weakest security link is your top priority. 

Every office has one, and it will vary wildly from organisation to organisation. It might be the employee with their passwords taped to their monitor. It might be the deprecated Linux server everyone seems to have forgotten about.

You might not be looking for those weak links, but rest assured that cyber attackers are. The question is: Who will find them first?”

To read more useful and practical insights into topics including how to assess the scale of your risk level and managing the immediate aftermath of a security breach, download the full report.

Big Ideas Summit 2016: Big Idea #14 – Procurement Must Evolve

Procurement must evolve if it’s going to survive. It needs to leave its comfort zone and showcase real value for the organisation.

At the Big Ideas Summit 2016, we challenged our thought leaders to share their Big Ideas for the future of procurement.

From ideas that have the potential to change the very nature of the procurement profession, to ones that got the assembled minds thinking about the profession’s impact outside of the organisation, the response we received was amazing.

Evolve to Survive

Dapo Ajayi, CPO at AstraZeneca, believes that procurement as a profession must evolve in order to remain relevant.

Dapo argues that procurement needs to stop being process-based, and leaders must develop new skills in order to deal with ambiguity, and enable evolution into a profession that can work with the business to enable value.

Catch up with all the delegates’ Big Ideas from the 2016 Summit at the Procurious Learning Hub.

Want to find out more about Big Ideas 2016? And maybe what we have planned for 2017? You can visit our dedicated website!

If you like this (and you haven’t done so already) join Procurious for free today. Get connected with over 17,000 like-minded procurement professionals from across the world.

Young, Female & Stuck in a 1950s Procurement Department

It’s the 21st century, so why, as a female, do so many procurement departments feel like they’re stuck in the 1950s?

female 1950s procurement

It’s a news story that never gets old: women are still paid less on average than men.

Procurement is a profession that continues to perform poorly compared to other industries. CIPS research has found that there is a 21 per cent gender salary gap for private sector advanced professionals. In real terms, this means that women receive £12.7k less per year at this level.

POOL4TOOL’s partner, Kloepfel Consulting also performed research on the Procurement market. It’s findings were almost identical.

This is the 21st century – shouldn’t things be different?

Workplace culture

Part of the problem is cultural. Biases that underestimate the economic power of women remain, even in relatively progressive countries. Some workplaces still have an inflexible culture that is resistant to change. These are often the kinds of workplaces that suffer from subconscious discrimination against women.

This is even true of workplaces where women are well-represented. This puts women and minorities at a disadvantage. It also suppresses new ideas, innovation and necessary change.

Young, female, ambitious

But this is not an employer Boot Camp – this is the Procurious Career Boot Camp! So what can a young female professional do if they find themselves in an environment that is still mired in the 1950s?

Before I landed in my current role, I spent my 20s in a series of different work environments. I’ve also had my fair share of horrendous career advice over the years.

So here are my top three career tips from a decade of being young, female and ambitious in the workplace.

1)    Don’t be afraid to be different

There is a time to learn the ropes, and there is a time to do things differently. While there is pressure to behave the same as more established employees, you will stand out for the things that only you can do. This also represents added value for your employee.

Procurement is an important interface between company departments and suppliers. Being yourself and thinking independently is a key strength in managing relationships.

Put it this way – nobody ever got into a leadership position by being like everyone else. Whether leading from the front as a manager or leading from the back in another role, leadership requires the courage to be different.

2) Capitalise on low-value projects

At the start of your career, sometimes you have to live with low-value projects. This can be frustrating, especially when you see colleagues with glamorous assignments.

However, low-priority projects are great precisely because others are often not interested in them. This is an advantage because it gives you a lot of free reign to make a project your own and turn it into a success.

It is tempting to hold back from making low-value projects successful. The fear is that you will get even more low-value projects. But this could result in no success at all. It also gives your employer no way to measure your abilities.

Some employers do give low-value projects to successful employees ad infinitum. Those are the ones that need to change their staff development policies!

3) Accept that you will be a different person in 6 months

If you’re anything like many talented people, you may not believe in your own abilities. There are a lot of bright people who think that they are not competent or experienced enough.

But young professionals have a great capacity for high learning curves. They can also quickly pick up competences from their environment.

If you can’t do something now, in 6 months’ time, you could already have the confidence and the ability to perform that task.

The Procurious Career Boot Camp is a great place to exchange thoughts and experiences. Do you agree with my three tips? What have been your experiences? What are your tips?

How Women Can Accelerate Their Procurement Leadership Careers

The ‘think manager, think male’ perception is interfering with women’s procurement leadership progression. But change is in the air…

glass ceiling female procurement leadership

No doubt by now you’re familiar with the following. Women tend to wait to apply for promotional roles until they are 100 per cent ready, whereas men jump in when they are just 60 per cent ready.

This mini-boot camp to accelerate your career is for you if you know you’ve got talent, have the desire to do more with your career, yet don’t feel like you’re progressing at quite the right rate.

The good news – there has never been a better time to accelerate your career. Over the last five years, more women are moving into senior roles and gender-imbalanced professions, including procurement.

While times are changing, the bad news is that ‘think manager, think male’ still prevails. And it’s interfering with your ambition and your career development.

The Divergence of Perception

How? The need to display dominance is associated with leadership and traditionally seen as a male attribute. Where women express dominance directly, they are seen as unlikeable, and are less likely to be hired.

Women who put themselves forward for promotional opportunities may be seen as ‘pushy’ or ‘aggressive’. However, men are seen as ‘go-getters’ and ‘straight shooters’ when they do.

Even where male and female leaders are assessed as having the same leadership capability, men receive higher ratings for performance and potential. Women receive less feedback on their leadership, even though, when they do, they are more likely to adapt their behaviour.

Women tend to attribute setbacks to themselves, (“I knew I wasn’t good enough”), whereas men attribute setbacks externally, (“This is a tough job”). This is flipped for success, where women tend to attribute success to external factors like luck, and men to their own capabilities.

Lack of Female Role Models

Women must successfully negotiate a minefield of expectations across both female and male characteristics to be seen as effective leaders. In addition, the degree of vigilance and attention to their impact on others is high.

So, women who are ambitious and want to lead are often caught in the ‘damned if you do, doomed if you don’t’ trap. The trap exists between the need to be competent and assertive in order to be respected as organisational leaders, but also warm and nurturing to enact their ‘appropriate’ social role.

And despite the increase in women at the top, there’s still a lack of female role models, which is a real problem, because ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’.

All of these things feed insecurity and fear of failure, and reduce motivation to lead, which is important for being noticed as having leadership potential and helping you attain leadership roles.

People high in motivation to lead identify strongly with leading and are intrinsically motivated to lead. Women tend to have a lower motivation to lead. This shows up early in careers (actually, in girls still at school).

Set Your Sights on Procurement Leadership

To reverse all of the above, and set your sights on making it to CPO, you need to increase your confidence in your own leadership identity. One way to do this is by identifying concrete role models.

Role models help increase feelings of self-efficacy in leadership, the development of your identity as a leader, and increase your positive feelings about being a leader.

Creating a strong, confident story-line that is congruent with your own values, and having a presence that holds attention, are critical to succeeding in leadership roles, and work on these will help you flex your career muscles.

Here’s a mini boot camp to accelerate your procurement leadership career:
  1. Find yourself role models and exemplars of leadership. Analyse what they do, how they do it, and why it appeals to you.
  1. Do some self-analysis, (no, you don’t need a couch for that – this is a boot camp after all!) and be clear about your sense of identity, your values and your leadership purpose. Why do you want to lead? Be brave. Dream big.
  1. Having done 1 and 2, write your own narrative about the leader you want to be. Script it, edit it, refine it, use it! And repeat.
  1. Reverse your attributions. When things go well, practice attributing your success to your own capabilities. For example, “My ability to remain calm under pressure helped us get through this crisis”. Attribute setbacks externally – for example, “This is a tough project”.
  1. Build a strong support team, your own personal board of advisors. Your board should include guides, advisors, mentors, career advisors, and career guides as well as role models; they’ll help you with the above four steps.

You can also take part in a larger Boot Camp for your career, with Procurious. It’s a great opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in procurement leadership roles.

Or sign up to my Women in Leadership Accelerator programme and really power your career. Mention this article to receive a 10 per cent discount!

Irresistible Procurement Candidate? Have A Finger In Every Pie

Why cross-divisional experience will make you an irresistible procurement candidate.

irresistible procurement candidate

Rhonda McSweeney, Group Manager of Procurement and Contract Management at CS Energy,  tells us why cross-divisional experience and team diversity are so important in the procurement function by drawing on her twenty years of corporate experience.

Considering her background in medical science, Rhonda explains how she has grown to value the transferable skills she learnt in the early stages of her career before moving into procurement roles and how this has influenced how she recruits and builds teams.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

I didn’t work in procurement at the beginning of my career and, in fact, started out as a medical scientist.

I later took on the position as a regional manager for a global diagnostic firm before progressing, within that firm, to national sales and marketing manager.

My third position was at The Global Travel Group where I was a business leader in acquisition and integration.

2. What’s one thing you know now, that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I have learnt that medical science, and science generally, as an undergraduate degree wasn’t irrelevant to the GM Commercial roles I’ve filled in the latter half of my career.

The ability to think analytically, understand concepts, and also to understand problems and carry out root cause analysis, is very applicable in a business environment and not unique or exclusive to a career in science! 

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials?

Millennials need help from CPOs to understand how procurement can provide a very unique and privileged view of a business.  Procurement offers insight into to all aspects of a business; from operations and business services, to manufacturing and sales, to marketing, and beyond.

Gaining this insight helps to create a very well rounded business individual. I like to promote it as “free business learning”, being able to have insight into the other divisional areas that you wouldn’t necessarily be subjected to otherwise.  I think this is a great fit in the era of millennials who are typically on the “fast-track”. 

4. Does the procurement talent gap exist? Or is it just a perception problem?

Depending on your procurement mindset, it could be a combination of the two. I like to attract a diverse team in which there are cross-divisional backgrounds, for example, engineering, operations, or sales to name a few, while also ensuring a mix of individuals with strong commercial, contract, and/or supply chain backgrounds.

I have always tried to achieve this mix and have found that I can up-skill, and cross-skill, when necessary. I look for strong behavioural attributes on all accounts  to trump any technical learnings with the firm belief that these can be taught.  Having an enquiring mind, grasping concepts, working successfully across boundaries and establishing relationships and strong communication cannot be taught!

5. What’s more important for a candidate – attitude or aptitude?

It is important to have a mix of both. If I had to have a bias, I would sway slightly towards attitude. The ability to ask the right questions, and acknowledge that you do not have all the answers,  can resolve any aptitude gaps.

6. What key skills are critical for procurement in the next 5 years?

Cross-divisional experience is fundamental in procurement. It is so beneficial for employees to complete rotations within a business, therefore experiencing as many aspects as possible.

This will produce a well-rounded, commercial individual, who will create a compelling candidate for the procurement industry. This experience, balanced with the right behavioural attributes, will be essential going forward.

Does Your CV Pack a Punch for a Real Live Human?

It’s all very well being able to get your CV past a computer algorithm. But how can you make sure it packs a punch when it lands in front of a human?

optimise cv for human

In my previous article, I discussed the power of using the right keywords to make sure your CV gets past the recruitment gates. With more recruiters than ever using digital searching and algorithms for creating candidate long-lists, you want to be sure that your CV stands up digitally.

Now let’s assume you’ve got your CV past the robots, and in front of a real, live human being. Impressing the robots isn’t nearly enough, we need to get a human on side too! You want to be sure that, having got the CV past the algorithm, a human is going to be suitably impressed, and invite you to meet face-to-face.

While the last piece was just as relevant for LinkedIn, this article is much more applicable to CVs. LinkedIn has very different requirements, so applying the premise of this article to it should be done carefully.

We’ll look at a couple of things in this article that should help your prospective recruiter or employer find the most relevant information to them, in as fast a time as possible.

Reverse-Engineering

At this stage it’s still key to have the right keywords in place. Whether formal or subconscious, our human will have made a list of things they are looking for. Whether they are reading or just scanning your CV, I guarantee there will be phrases they are looking for.

You need to ask yourself, “What is the searcher looking for? How can I show that in an easy to find and accessible way?”

If you deliver that in your CV, your CV will make the “long-list” more often, giving your CV more chances.

Your keywords are the backbone of the CV. You identify your keywords, your core skills and competencies, and then build your CV around that to demonstrate that you are the right person for the role. The only two things a CV can ever positively demonstrate are:

  • What you’ve done
  • How well you’ve done it

What we are trying to do is lay out your skills in an achievement-focused, concise manner. Remember, the reader’s attention might be as short as 3-5 seconds for recruiters, and 7-10 seconds for HR or line managers.

So how do you put across what you’ve done in a professional, concise and achievement focused manner? The good news is Procurement is one of the easiest sectors to be able to do this. Bear with me!

How to Structure a Bullet Point

If you follow this structure your CV will be easy for people to pick out what they are looking for.

Word 1: Pro-active language

The use of pro-active language as the first word in each bullet point allows you to be more concise. It also gives the reader the impression you are a “get up and go” personality without you having you say it.

Use words like:

  • Drove
  • Delivered
  • Implemented
  • Initiated
  • Took ownership for

There are obviously hundreds more, but you want it to make it obvious you took the bull by the horns, and YOU did whatever it was.

Word 2-5: Subject

Putting the subject second in the structure allows someone looking for something specific to skip the rest of the line if this isn’t what they are looking for. You only get 10 seconds to make your impact, make sure they are looking at what you want them looking at for that 10 seconds.

For example, “Drove marketing spend consolidation”.

Words 5-10: Achievement or Responsibility

If you are writing your CV with separate Responsibility and Achievement sections, then you will need to vary this.

In Responsibility section

  1. Pro-active language
  2. Subject – responsibility
  3. Achievement

In Achievement

  1. Pro-active language
  2. Achievement
  3. Responsibility

Make sure you put meat on the bones here and use quantitative numbers. You wouldn’t sell your boss a project to “save some money”. You would say something along the lines of “with an investment here we can save 10 per cent or £30,000”.

The 4 groups of people you are trying to communicate with are Procurement, Board level executives, recruiters or HR. All of these groups are highly numerate and commercial.

HR can be less so, but quantitative deliver more information and are hardly ever detrimental (as long as your CV doesn’t turn into a Suduko puzzle!). Use their language to your advantage.

The quantitatives don’t even need to be value based – they could be man-hours, supplier consolidations, or times. But people remember numbers (that’s why politicians use them) so put them in. It will also make your CV more concise.

For example, “Drove marketing spend consolidation with senior stakeholder and supplier engagement saving £500,000 annually.”

Past Tense

Always put your CV in the past tense. If you forget to add an achievement, or can’t find one, then just being in the past tense (with the right language) implies success.

If you do those 4 things consistently your CV will be a document that will be easy to read and interpret as well as look professional and put across a massive amount of your success and delivery.

Building on over a decade of corporate recruitment (and reading in the region of 250,000 CVs), Andy Wilkinson set up The Chameleon Career Consultancy to coach CV Writing, Interview Technique and LinkedIn Profile writing. 

If you would like any advice on any of these areas or more help on your CV feel free to get in touch by e-mail, or visit the Chameleon website or LinkedIn page.

Do You Know a Rising Supply Chain Star?

Judges are looking for your nominations for a rising supply chain star for ’30 Under 30′ 2016. A multi-talented, young professional who is an influencer and trailblazer in their organisation.

rising supply chain star

ISM and THOMASNET.com’s 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars recognition programme returns for its third year, with nominations opening this week.

The programme was first launched to address a worrying lack of Millennials choosing Procurement and Supply Chain as a profession. This was particularly an issue in an environment where an entire generation of Baby Boomers were expected to retire in the next three to five years.

Together, ISM and THOMASNET.com are celebrating and broadcasting the achievements of young professionals in an effort to bring more Millennials into the profession, while also preparing them to step into senior roles earlier than expected.

Going Global

The big change this year is that the competition has been scaled up to the international level. This means we’ll see even more diversity in personalities, professionals and organisations represented by the 30 winners.

According to THOMASNET.com’s Director of Marketing and Audience Development, Donna Cicale, opening the programme up globally is an acknowledgement of where the supply management industry has been in the past, and where it’s heading in the future.

“Many supply management professionals today are managing global suppliers, responding to global issues, and thinking ahead for global growth. Young professionals all over the world are facing enormous challenges and accomplishing a huge amount.

“It makes sense to extend this fantastic recognition opportunity to these talented individuals, and learn as much as we can from one another.”

Who are the Millennials?

Research organisations and government bodies can’t seem to agree on the age range of Millennials. Typically, however, the term refers to anyone born between 1980 and 1995.

This means the youngest Millennials turn 30 in 2025, when they will make up 75 per cent of the global workforce. They’re followed by Generation Z, the oldest of whom turn 20 this year. They are now beginning to filter out of educational institutions and also enter the workforce.

What does it take to become a Supply Chain Star?

According to Cicale, judges will look for three main characteristics in the next batch of Rising Supply Chain Stars. Individuals need to be:

  • Multi-talented: “We look for people who demonstrate and excel at a wide range of skills beyond business acumen. We’re searching for fast learners, effective communicators, quick thinkers and natural leaders.”
  • Influencers: “Supply chain stars must be ‘movers and shakers’ in their organisations. They need to be skilled in getting others engaged, bringing colleagues on-board, and working towards common goals.”
  • Trailblazers: “We’re looking for individuals with ‘firsts’, or accomplishments not previously realised by their organisation. A ‘first’ can relate to timing, budget, initialisation, integration or adoption.”

Procurious caught up with inaugural 30 Under 30 winner Nick Ammaturo for his view of the essential attributes needed to win.

“When I look at the previous years’ fellow winners, I see a ton of common traits between us. There’s definitely a shared level of passion for supply chain and procurement, coupled with the motivation to advance skills and careers through challenging roles and continuous learning.

“Most importantly, 30 Under 30 winners all display curiosity. They all have a genuine interest in how their roles fit into the bigger picture.”

What prizes will the 30 winners receive?

30 Under 30 winners all receive a complimentary one-year ISM membership, as well as free admittance to ISM2017 in Orlando.

One lucky “Megawatt” winner will also have an all-expenses paid (up to $5000) trip to the same conference. Each winner also receives a THOMASNET.com Supplier Discovery and Evaluation “lunch and learn” session for their teams, and any other teams in their organisations.

Most importantly, the winners will gain widespread recognition from managers, companies and peers, as their achievements are celebrated and broadcast through industry journals, blogs, magazines and newspapers locally and globally.

Essentially, the programme identifies 30 “ones to watch” every year. Make sure you keep an eye out for the winners. They could be a future procurement leader in a company near you. And soon.

Do you have a Millennial supply chain star in mind for the 30 Under 30 awards? Nominations are now open – visit THOMASNET.com for more information.

Reporting For Duty! Meet the Career Coaches Getting You In Shape

Reporting for Boot Camp, Sir! Meet the Career Coaches who will be putting you through your paces in Week One.

meet the coachesWe’ve managed to secure procurement experts of the highest calibre to ensure you’re learning valuable insights from the most experienced professionals.

Our coaches include a Global Broadcaster with an audience of two million listeners; a Cultural Intelligence Advisor to Forbes 500 companies; and the CEO of the profession’s peak body, ISM. These leaders will be offering invaluable advice and whipping you into shape during Career Boot Camp!

Why Career Boot Camp?

Tania Seary, founder of Procurious, draws a parallel between career development and training regimes.

“When you go to the gym alone, it’s easy to get sidelined and hard to motivate yourself. You just don’t work as hard. As soon as you add a group of fellow gym-goers and a killer personal trainer, you’ve got the extra boost you need to succeed.

“This is the idea we’re embracing with Career Boot Camp. 17,000 procurement professionals, learning together from the best in the business. That’s how you achieve career results.”

Our Coaches are ready to start dragging any Career Couch Potatoes off the sofa, and up the next rung of the career ladder. But first, we wanted to introduce you to the trainers who will be getting you in shape throughout Week One:

DAY ONE – Monday 19th September

tania-seary‘The Warm Up’ – Tania Seary, Founder, Procurious

Top tips for staying motivated: Think positive, take it one day at a time, and believe in yourself and your career goals.

We’re kicking off with an introductory podcast from Tania Seary, Founder of Procurious, to get those muscles warmed up and your heartbeat racing. 

DAY TWO – Tuesday 20th September

tom-derry‘5 Surefire Ways to Become a CPO’ – Tom Derry, CEO, ISM

Favourite Boot Camp Moves: Career Crunches, Procurement Planks, Sourcing Squats, Buyers Burpees, Leadership Lunges

If your goal is to make a major impact on your company, there’s no better role to strive for than Chief Procurement Officer. CPOs typically sit on 64 percent of their firm’s total cost structure, making their decisions incredibly important.

Tom has substantial experience in product development, cross-border acquisitions, and foreign joint ventures, and spent nine years with the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).

Given the many years he has spent interacting with top CPOs on a daily basis, Tom knows exactly what it takes to get your career on the path to success.

In his podcast, Tom will outline five key skills to master as procurement professionals, such as earning a reputation for reliability and mastering your craft.

DAY THREE- Wednesday 21st September

tom-verghese‘Become a Global Player’ – Dr. Tom Verghese, Fortune 500 Cultural Intelligence Advisor

Favourite Motivational Quote: Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done.

Do you have the cultural savvy it takes to be considered a global player? Think you could benefit from some expert guidance?

Dr. Tom Verghese has been an independent cross-cultural consultant for more than 25 years, and will share the four key components of cultural intelligence. Tom will explain the importance of having cultural intelligence in order to succeed as a global procurement professional.

He will also discuss why it is advisable to learn more about different cultures, and how to deal with different people effectively.

DAY FOUR- Thursday 22nd September

charlie-wigglesworth-a‘Take your conscience to work: Finding meaning in your procurement career’ – Charlie Wigglesworth, Social Enterprise UK – £1 billion corporate social procurement programme

Nutritional Advice: To get through three weeks of Career Boot Camp, you’re going to need to stock up on protein shakes, rare steak and lots of spinach.

Do you feel like you’re making a social difference in your procurement role? Is your conscience telling you that you could do even more? If so, Charlie Wigglesworth’s podcast is for you.

Charlie has worked with clients across the public, private and third sectors delivering events on public policy issues. He also has extensive experience in business development, having delivered bespoke packages for a wide variety of clients from small charities to multinationals.

In his podcast, Charlie will explain why it is so valuable to generate more meaning in the work we do, the importance of working with social enterprises, and how this can be embedded into the core of business.

DAY FIVE – Friday 23rd September

jon-hansenAt a Crossroads – 3 Career Questions to Ask Your Boss – Now! – Jon Hansen, Global Procurement Broadcaster, 15,000 monthly listeners

Army Coach Credentials: Chief Career Corporal

Jon Hansen, expert blogger, writer and speaker will outline three questions to put to your boss to be sure you can evolve and advance together. 

He believes ambitious procurement professionals need strategic, forward-thinking leaders to help them grow. With over two million listeners, and five books and 3,000 articles published on topics as diverse as supply chain practice and social media, Jon is a force to be reckoned with.

His podcast will discuss why it is crucial to have innovative leaders with clear vision and a solid approach to dealing with stakeholders. Are you and your boss a match made in heaven? Or is it time to start thinking about going your separate ways?

Introductions over! Hopefully you’re feeling prepared and ready for Career Boot Camp Week One. Stay tuned for the low-down on our Week 2 coaches, coming soon.

There’s still time for you to register to take part in Career Boot Camp! Find out all you need to know, including more about our coaches, by visiting the website

Born Ready or An Old Hand? Balancing Attitude and Aptitude

Skills can be learned, but attitude is something you’re born with. But when it comes to creating your rockstar procurement team, should one really be prioritised over the other?

experience vs attitude

This article was written by Dee Clarke, Davidson Projects & Operations.

“Please find me procurement professionals who have an equal balance of personality and drive and skills and experience.”

I hear this statement from my clients on an almost daily basis. It’s a significant move away from the days when clients would state the five mandatory fields for candidates as:

  • Education;
  • Experience;
  • Years with a company;
  • Size of projects; and
  • Reference checks.

Now, those are just the start of the conversation, and the first step in developing the success profile of potential candidates.

Furthermore, the same clients are asking for psychometric assessments (personality testing) to be conducted on all potential candidates before the shortlist is even sent to them. In the past, this would have only been carried out when the shortlist had been confirmed, if at all.

These key facts point to the rising trend within the procurement profession of companies looking beyond the CV.

Natural Attributes or Learned Skills

So why is attitude so important? And can it really outweigh experience and qualifications when looking at a future recruit?

With strategic partnerships and vendor management a strong focus for procurement teams, there is an increased need for individuals to have effective stakeholder engagement, influencing skills and, overall, a great attitude.

Many within the profession believe skills can be learned. However, attitude is something you are born with. It is, therefore, the more important quality to look for when hiring a new employee.

I personally believe it all comes down to the role in question, and how that person and the role fits into the objectives of the organisation.

Attitude vs. Aptitude – Pros and Cons

Let’s look at some key factors when it comes to recruiting attitude over aptitude.

Cultural Fit

Ensuring a new employee fits with the company culture is important. Not just for the organisation, but also for the candidate to feel comfortable in their surroundings, and ensure they perform to the best of their abilities.

This is where personality testing can come in handy to look at this before they even get to the final stages of interviews.

Communication

The right attitude in a key procurement project lead can make or break the outcome of the project. With the need to liaise with a variety of different stakeholders, both internally and externally, how they interact and communicate with these people is essential to the success of a project.

Training & Support

Hiring someone with limited experience in procurement, but who has the drive and passion to progress their career in this area, needs a large amount of support, mentoring and access to training to become a loyal employee.

This leads me to ask, does your company have that internally, or via connections externally?

Team Balance

In order to be able to hire someone based on attitude over skills, you need to ensure there is already a high level of experience within the team. You need to balance the pendulum, or else you may have a great team culture, but no success to go with it.

Managing Expectations

One of my greatest concerns when a client hires a new employee based on attitude over aptitude is ‘expectations.’ When I take a role brief, we discuss the role and candidate expectations and what will the candidate have to do.

Measuring Success

What will the candidate have to achieve in six to 12 months to be successful in the role? These are usually decided on before potential candidates are interviewed. Once a decision is made to recruit a less skilled person, expectations of the role may need to be adjusted.

Speed of Learning

While, yes, skills can be learned some people develop skills at a slower pace than others so you need to ask yourself before making the final hiring decision, can the role expectations be adjusted?

And how much time can you allow for the individual to develop the skills they are lacking?

Clear Cut Decision?

I do agree that attitude is probably more important than aptitude, but only slightly.

As you can see above, it’s not a clear cut decision or process for future recruitment strategies.

It goes further than a question of balancing attitude vs aptitude. The answer lies in the internal processes you have to support this, and the time you will allow that person to develop required skills.

Arthur Freudiger, Procurement Solutions Manager at Charles Kendall, sums it up best. “While culture and attitude is critical, there needs to be the right balance depending on the position to ensure projects and KPIs are met. Otherwise it’s all pointless.”

Dee Clarke, is a Senior Consultant within the Davidson Projects & Operations team, which delivers the right technical and project expertise for any stage of a project or asset’s life cycle.

She has more than 10 years’ experience in recruitment across the Australian and Irish markets. During this time, Dee has forged a strong expertise in Procurement and Contracts and is an Affiliate Member of CIPSA.