Tributes Continue To Pour In As Global Procurement Community Mourns David Noble

As procurement leaders from around the world send in their personal tributes to mark the sudden and untimely passing of CIPS CEO David Noble, the common theme is one of sadness and shock.

Through these moving tributes, a picture is beginning to emerge of the significant legacy that Mr. Noble has left behind for the profession.

Leave a tribute to David Noble on the Procurious discussion board.

In many ways, the world is divided into two hemispheres when it comes to the professional bodies representing procurement and supply management.

Whether you belong to CIPS or ISM, you can be confident that you’re a part of an organisation with an incredibly long history (85 years in CIPS’s case, over 100 years for ISM), with a network of hundreds of thousands of professional colleagues globally.

It seems fitting, then, that after the Group CEO of CIPS passed away suddenly late last week, the CEO of ISM was one of the first to reach out with a moving tribute for his peer:

I know my personal shock and grief is shared by the global procurement community upon learning of the passing of CIPS Group CEO David Noble. David was more than a trusted ally and colleague. David had a vision of the evolution of procurement that included putting procurement, through licensure, on a footing equal to other formally recognised professions. His moral vision and leadership was also instrumental in CIPS’ crucial role in the passing of the U.K.’s Modern Slavery Act in 2015. ISM extends its deep condolences to David’s wife, his family, and our esteemed colleagues at CIPS.  Tom Derry, CEO, ISM.

Since yesterday’s sad announcement from Tim Richardson, the CIPS Chair of Global Board of Trustees, Mr Noble’s passing has been reported across industry publications including Supply Management, Spend Matters and Procurious. Yesterday’s article on Procurious included early tributes from Sam Walsh, former Rio Tinto CEO and CIPS president; Procurious Founder Tania Seary; Santos CPO David Henchliffe; and Visna Lampasi, General Manager Group Procurement for Woolworths Ltd.

Tributes continue to pour in, led by Mark Lamb, CIPS General Manager for the Asia-Pacific region.

At CIPS, we are deeply saddened to lose our leader and colleague, David Noble. Indeed, it is not simply a loss to CIPS, but also to procurement globally. David was always passionate about the role that procurement plays and how it can change people’s lives for the better. His legacy will long be remembered: CIPS is now recognised as the global professional body for procurement with an impressive global footprint and is improving procurement around the world. He was particularly vocal about ethical procurement, eradicating bribery and corruption, and ensuring that supply chains are free from modern slavery. As I reported to David, I will particularly miss his leadership which has seen CIPS go from strength to strength around the world. Mark Lamb, General Manager CIPS Asia-Pacific.

It is very shocking and sad news for all of the CIPS family and procurement professionals around the globe. David Noble was the voice of the profession in many arenas, and his visionary leadership has led to the success of the institute, its members, and the profession globally. He will be greatly missed, and I do sincerely hope that he rests in peace departing so early in life, and that his family and loved ones find solace and patience at this difficult time of their lives. Sara Abdellatif Omer FCIPS, Member, CIPS Global Board of Trustees

Like many across the global procurement community, I was shocked to hear of David Noble’s passing. Today is a very sad day for our profession, but more importantly, for David’s family, friends and colleagues. David’s legacy will touch every corner of the world. He inspired and advocated for a generation of procurement professionals while his leadership of efforts to eradicate slavery across the supply chain impacts millions of workers without their own voice. Philip Ideson, Host and Producer, The Art of Procurement

I was shocked and saddened today to hear of the passing of David Noble. I have known David as a friend since he joined CIPS in 2009 and worked closely with him on the development of the Ethical Procurement Guide with Andrew Forrest and the Walk Free Foundation. David was instrumental in getting the UK Government to introduce the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and has been a true leader to the procurement profession over the past 8 years. My condolences go out to his family and friends, and his colleagues at CIPS. He will be sadly missed by the Institute. Kevin McCafferty FCIPS, Executive General Manager – Procurement, Broadspectrum 

During my tenure as the only CIPS Trustee representing countries outside of the UK, David was always supportive in bringing a global perspective to CIPS as he worked diligently towards a global goal. Whist David and I had our differences with regards the establishment of the global governance structure, we were always able to share a pint at the bar and have great discussions around the profession. He always had a keen interest in what was happening in the Australian market and how the profession was developing. When I last met David, he was his usual vibrant self, full of energy and looking at ways to continually grow the institute and profession. David’s loss will create a void that any successor would have significant challenges to fill. My condolences to David’s family. Stephen Rowe FCIPS, CPO, Spotless. 

“David was the reason I joined the CIPS Board. He was such a strong advocate for the profession and his visionary approach for CIPS was an inspiration. He believed that the procurement profession was significantly undervalued and with steerage it could drive significant changes in the world, whether that be in eradicating modern slavery or sustainable sourcing. He was a warm-hearted Northerner who was well respected and someone who I’d known for many years. He will be sadly missed. Alison Parker FCIPS, Member, CIPS Global Board of Trustees, MD, HSBC

I was shocked to hear that our leader David sadly passed away on Friday. I first met him in the UK many years ago, before he was CEO of CIPS, and very much admired him in his Procurement roles. He has worked relentlessly for CIPS over his seven years’ tenure to bring value to our profession. David will leave a large gap and I am saddened I will not get to see him in London at our Annual Congress Meeting, just weeks away. Hannah Bodilly FCIPS, Global Congress Member for Australasia, Head of Strategic Sourcing, Bank of Queensland

I first knew David when I was on the CIPS Council (as it then was) back in the noughties. David always had a clear view on where he felt the profession needed to go. He gave strong leadership and direction in globalising CIPS to be the recognised worldwide body that it is today. Whilst being a leader at CIPS he was also a champion for the profession as a whole – his promotion of key causes, such as the Anti-slavery remit being a notable one,  which has such global resonance right now. He raised the profile and importance of procurement across public and private sectors alike, as well as with the media. He also forged links with other Institutes and bodies worldwide. His passion for the profession was without doubt and under his direction CIPS was re-branded. Like the broader profession, CIPS has flourished and grown in importance and stature.
He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and he will be a tough act to follow. Barry Ward, Procurement Brand Manager, Global Business Services, IBM

David and I worked together at Novar (formerly Caradon) for over seven years, arguably during a “golden era” of professional procurement in that organisation. Like many others who worked with him and for him during that period, I have many fond memories of David. From his absolute and authentic passion for our profession (years prior to him achieving his ambition to be part of CIPS), his relentless desire to support the technical development of his team (achieving one of the first CIPS Excellence awards when they launched the program) and his love of football (which many bruised ankles can attest to). He was an authentic, committed leader and a true gentlemen. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the CIPS organisation who have lost a fantastic champion and a great bloke. Very glad to have known him if only for a far too short period of time.  Andrew Brightmore FCIPS, Executive Director at Compass Group Australia 

David was a true advocate for our profession. Through CIPS, he led the charge with the licensing and professionalisation of procurement. His focus was on all areas of ethical practice, culminating in the 2015 Anti-Slavery Act, which was supported by the Vatican. His pragmatic and honest approach delivered the real transparency required when you lead a professional body with ethics as a pillar. Creating growth in any industry is a challenge, so his achievements in growing a membership organisation should also be highlighted as another major accomplishment. I am, and always will be, a proud Fellow of CIPS and a colleague of David. He will be missed by all. Mike Blanchard FCIPS, Deputy Chief Executive – Operations, Tertiary Education Commission, New Zealand 

A legacy of thought-leadership

A valued contributor to the Procurious Blog, Mr Noble appeared at the Big Ideas Summit in 2015. His thought-leadership published on Procurious includes:

Leave a tribute to David Noble on the Procurious discussion board.

Hiring And Retention In The Digital Workplace

Hiring top talent in the age of the digital workplace is going to be a little different. How can procurement prepare for workplace 4.0?

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Workplace 4.0, or the new digital workplace, is not all about data-driven processes, smart devices and the internet of things; it’s about hiring and retaining talented employees to extract the best results from the implementation of new and advanced technologies.

Simple, repetitive work in both manufacturing and administrative industries can be automated, but we will always need human brains for hire.

The Digital Opportunity

Companies are changing what they buy. We need new suppliers from different markets; end users are putting revised requirements on the table all the time. It’s a bonus for procurement to be able to participate directly in the sourcing process and show where they can add value in this field.

For example, the traditional I.T. category has expanded to include telecommunications and packaged systems solutions and has become a high value category with multiple and complex commodities. Software, communication devices and electronic components which require a greater level of skill to manage will be sourced more frequently.

Job descriptions need to be re-written and a different approach is needed to hire and retain these skilled employees. People are increasingly being hired for fixed-term contracts and project work in these types of procurement roles rather than being offered full-time permanent jobs. Much of the work is not location-specific and does not require adherence to strict office hours. To understand how to manage these workers, we have to know what drives them at work.

What Do 4.0 Workers Want?

The job seeker wants to work for an organisation that, in no particular order:

  • Provides opportunities for ongoing learning, growth and creative challenge
  • Has an equitable reward system that recognises success
  • Allows time and location flexibility in working practices
  • Employs far-sighted leaders that support collaboration and innovation
  • Supports a team-oriented work culture based on open communication and feedback
  • Has a pro-active approach to ethics and transparency
  • Promotes sustainability and recognises the “triple bottom line” — financial, social and environmental measures of success
  • Knows how to have fun (within limits)

Attracting and Retaining a Mobile Workforce

Are employers ready to provide everything on the wish list? According to  a recent Deloitte study, today’s millennials place less value on visible, well-networked and technically-skilled leaders. Instead, they define true leaders as strategic thinkers, inspirational, personable and visionary.

Organisations that want to keep pace will not only have to upgrade technically, but work on their organisational structures, flatten hierarchies and adjust their corporate culture, even soften some maybe outdated workplace rules.

The key to success in retaining talented employees is for organisations to have the structure and policies that support the new flexible working conditions. Human Resources managers are still scratching their heads about how to devise suitable reward systems, manage worker performance and provide training, especially for part-time employees and freelancers.

Training and Up-Skilling

Traditional methods of upgrading skills such as classroom training and on-the-job coaching may not be suitable in the Workplace 4.0. Continuous lifetime learning will have to be provided as roles evolve and advances in technology demand changes in job content. There will be a greater need to provide on-line facilities for e-learning so that everyone, including remote workers, can keep pace with the developments in the profession.

Work Is Life

There is already a blurring of the boundaries between work time and leisure time. Some conflict areas are arising such as actual or perceived electronic surveillance and having to be available or on standby every waking hour.

Companies must develop strategies for a healthy balance between security, privacy and trust in their workers, applying the same level of management and administrative support to those that check into the office every day and those who work remotely.

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Global Procurement Profession Mourns Passing of CIPS CEO: David Noble

Tributes are pouring in from procurement professionals around the globe in response to today’s news that David Noble FCIPS, Group Chief Executive of The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) and one of the profession’s strongest advocates, passed away late last week.

CIPS have announced that  David Noble has unexpectedly passed away on Friday after a short illness.

Mr Noble’s legacy to the procurement profession includes his adroit leadership of the world’s largest procurement and supply chain professional body and his championing of the Modern Slavery Act.

Sam Walsh, former Rio Tinto CEO and CIPS president, commented that:

David will be sorely missed. He managed and grew CIPS into a truly global and financially successful organisation focused on improving and obtaining recognition for the Profession.

His initiatives such as training, licensing of Procurement Professionals, establishment of standards for anti-corruption, anti-bribery and anti-modern slavery have led to CIPS being highly regarded by Governments, Employers and Members.

CIPS loses an accomplished leader

Mr Noble took on the role of CIPS Group CEO in June 2009 after the previous CEO, Simon Sperryn, departed after only one year at the helm. Despite being parachuted into a difficult role as an “emergency appointment”, Mr Noble rapidly stabilised and increased CIPS’ finances and oversaw the steady growth of the member base to over 100,000 professionals internationally.

Prior to his captaincy of CIPS, Mr Noble was Group Supply Director at IMI plc, a FTSE 250 UK multinational company specialising in advanced engineering technology, where he was responsible for a £1billion spend. Mr Noble was also known for his pioneering of Category Management and Strategic Sourcing at Motorola in the mid-1980s. Although the majority of his career was in manufacturing, Mr Noble’s experience of the public sector, the distribution industry and large scale turnkey power station projects served him well when he engaged with the leadership of these sectors in his role as CIPS Group CEO.

Mr Noble held an honours degree and was elected a fellow of CIPS in 1994, also serving on the fellowship selection panel, the CIPS management board, the Cabinet Office Government Procurement Reform Board and the London Olympics Supplier Arbitration Board.

A global advocate for procurement

According to Keith Bird, Managing Director at The Faculty Management Consultants, Mr Noble’s global vision for CIPS means that his passing will be felt around the world. “Personally, I will remember David for his vision and tenacity. Expanding the CIPS network globally is a remarkable legacy to leave behind.”

At the time of Mr Noble’s death, CIPS has over 115,000 members across 150 countries, with offices in Africa, the Asia-Pacific, UK, North Africa and the Middle East, with partnerships in China, Poland, Romania and Sweden.

Procurious Founder Tania Seary commented that Mr Noble’s advocacy for licensing the profession will be his greatest legacy:

I last met with David at the Institute of Company Directors in Pall Mall. He was so proud of CIPS’ membership growth and its increasing levels of online engagement. CIPS, like ISM, is an important backbone to our profession – through his advocacy, David has strengthened procurement’s posture.

Similarly, Santos CPO David Henchliffe remembers Mr Noble for the work he has done moving the profession forward in one of its key areas of growth, Australia:

I worked with David as the Chair of the CIPSA Professional Advisory Group for more than 5 years. He was a tireless advocate for advancing the profession and the Institute in Australasia and will be sadly missed. I would like to extend my condolences to his family and friends.

A modern-day abolitionist

Mr Noble was a giant figure in the crusade against modern slavery, inspired by a meeting with Andrew Forrest of the Walk Free Foundation in 2012. Since then, he aligned CIPs with the cause, partnering with Walk Free to educate the organisation’s 100,000+ members through the establishment of the Ethical and Sustainable Procurement Guide.

CIPS also provided guidance to the Home Office in the creation of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, which led to Mr Noble journeying to Vatican City in 2015 to witness the historic signing by faith leaders of a joint declaration committed to the eradication of modern slavery by 2020. He also attended a meeting at the White House to discuss how CIPS can support the G20’s Anti-Corruption Implementation Plan.

An incredibly hard act to follow

It is believed that Mr Noble’s passing will create a significant leadership gap for CIPS, as he was personally driving many of the organisation’s key initiatives. Many of the partnerships and relationships formed at the highest level were linked to Mr Noble’s personality, and the confidence and trust he inspired in others. At present there is no clear successor for CEO within the executive team. There has been some movement recently among CIPS’ leadership, with a new Chief Operating Officer joining late last year, and the Head of Finance retiring soon.

Mr Noble’s role as advocate, spokesperson and thought-leader for the profession meant he was regularly called about to comment on the biggest issues affecting the profession, from slavery, to Brexit, to finance and the manufacturing landscape.

Visna Lampasi, General Manager Group Procurement for Woolworths Limited praised Mr Noble for his pioneering spirit:

David was a driving force.  He put his personal brand and energy behind licensing the profession, making the Modern Slavery Bill a reality and a creating a number of other firsts for CIPS.  He was a major contributor to procurement’s development and will be sadly missed.   It is a great loss, not just for the profession, but for his family and friends.

A legacy of thought-leadership

A valued contributor to the Procurious Blog, Mr Noble appeared at the Big Ideas Summit in 2015. His thought-leadership published on Procurious includes:

Hope For the Best And Plan For The Worst: Dr Linda Yueh Talks Trump and Trade

Dr Linda Yueh, a renowned economist, broadcaster and Adjunct Professor of Economics for London Business School, discusses how supply managers can react to the major shifts in globalisation, trade and protectionism under Trump.

Yueh spoke with Philip Ideson as part of Procurious Even Bigger Ideas, a 5-part podcast series sponsored by State of Flux. You can access the series exclusively on Procurious. 

As the world watches President Trump’s next move to discover which of his campaign promises he is likely to deliver on, Dr Linda Yueh hopes that the potential impacts on globalisation are being overexaggerated.

“It’s hard to see how any one country could turn back globalisation, because globalisation isn’t just about trade agreements. National borders have less meaning now than they did in the past. That being said, protectionist sentiment is certainly on the rise.”

Protectionism is costly to trade 

Donald Trump successfully tapped into the feeling that globalisation hasn’t benefited lower-income, lower-skilled people as much as those of higher income and higher skills.

“Can this be rectified? If we’re starting a new phase of globalisation, there could be a reluctance to proceed at the pace we’ve had over the past couple of decades. If globalisation is going to work, we all have a responsibility to ensure policies around trade are more equitable so it doesn’t impact on any particular group.”

According to Yueh, the increase in protectionist sentiment around the world is likely to impact the cost of doing global trade. “Business need to be wary around protectionist sentiment being translated into additional customs checks, higher tariffs on exports and imports, or taxes on where a company locates its production.

Practically, protectionism can lead to enormous supply chain disruption. Goods or farm products can get held up at the border – for fresh fruit such as tomatoes, a few days’ delay can be devastating. Protectionism would only lead to higher costs, and ultimately that’s bad for the consumer because the cost will affect them”.

What about China?

Withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership is consistent with President Trump’s focus on American jobs, American wages, and his Made in America campaign. “Trump made it clear that America First is the overriding economic principle,” says Yueh.

The TPP was going to link America with Pacific Rim countries and was part of the previous administration’s “Asia Pivot”, designed to increase their influence in Asia. The TPP didn’t include China so it was a way of asserting America’s role in the region. The big question is whether putting America first means withdrawing from international supply chains, leading to an economic impact that may not actually be so good for multi-national American companies.”

Yueh comments that there’s an indication from China that they may be willing to step into a stronger leadership position in the global economy as America withdraws.

“We’ve heard China’s views of globalisation from President Xi Jinping at the World Economic Forum in Davos. I’ve also heard from other Chinese policy-makers at various meetings around the world that China has always been reluctant to take a strong leadership position in the global economy. Their main focus has always been on domestic development.”

“If there’s a void, power will fill it. I think that’s essentially what we’re seeing. I would stress that the Chinese position is to support globalisation, because globalisation has helped its economy. It’s contributed to its remarkable growth, but they’re reluctant leaders – they’re not leaping into this space.”

In Yueh’s opinion, we’re unlikely to see a trade war despite Trump’s posturing on the topic. “I think there’s too much to lose for all counties. In reality, businesses will continue to sell to consumers all around the world. They produce overseas because that gives them a supply chain advantage. Political rhetoric won’t change this”.

How should supply managers react to uncertainty?

Yueh advises that procurement and supply management professionals should:

  • Plan ahead for supply chain and market access disruption
  • Follow closely the policies as they appear
  • Look ahead to how you would reorganise your supply chain and the location of where you would deliver your services, depending on the industry that you’re in.
  • Plan out scenarios that anticipate increases in cost and work out ways to grow the business taking into account potential disruptions.

“When we see big structural shifts in policy, it can take some time before we understand the impact on businesses. All you can do is to look at your strategy for the years ahead and be alert to policy changes, whether it’s around TPP, NAFTA or the timeline for Brexit, and plan scenarios accordingly. To quote a former British Prime Minister, “You hope for the best and plan for the worst.”

Procurious Even Bigger Ideas is a 5-part podcast series available exclusively to Big Ideas Digital Delegates. Sponsored by State of Flux, this series features interviews with five of the most intriguing power players at this year’s Big Ideas Summit in London.

Drones To Deliver Medicine, Not Missiles, To People In Disaster Areas

Autonomous flying drones will soon be drafted into disaster relief efforts to greatly improve the effectiveness of the world’s most challenging supply chains.

Establishing a supply chain in an area hit by disaster holds its own completely unique set of challenges. The speed at which the supply chain needs to be established, the unplanned nature of the event, critical safety concerns and the lack of stability in the area can all exacerbate the challenge.

Perhaps the greatest worry, though, is simply getting access to the people in need. That’s where technology can make a world of difference.

Solving the access problem

Flood events, earthquakes and other disasters can lead to an incredible amount of rubble and debris which needs to be shifted by bulldozer before aid workers can reach the people in need. It can take days before an effective path is cleared to enable trucks to begin bringing up the tonnes of supplies required to feed, house and treat those affected by disaster.

Problems with access by land are compounded when air and sea transport facilities are also damaged. We saw this in 2010, after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake (followed by over 50 aftershocks) devastated Haiti.

The disaster led to anywhere between 100,000 to 160,000 deaths and the collapse of 250,000 residential buildings. Other countries and international organisations dispatched humanitarian aid in the form of rescue teams, medical teams and engineers, but chaos at the airport caused by a damaged air traffic control tower led to some of these crucially important flights being turned away.

Helicopters would seem to be the obvious solution when planes cannot land and bulldozers haven’t yet done their work, but that’s where aid agencies come up against funding issues – even the largest of the international organisations simply can’t afford the fleet of helicopters that would be required to deliver effective immediate disaster relief on any scale.

How flying drones can save the day

Imagine an international aid agency ship mooring off the coast of a disaster-affected area, such as Peru or Japan, and acting as an aircraft carrier to deliver immediate relief to people in need. Instead of having jets or helicopters taking off from its flight deck, however, it is packed with small, autonomous robot drones.

The first drones to go out would be for the purpose of mapping and observation – they’d stay up at altitude and monitor the area, assess damage, and help direct the delivery efforts with real-time information. Soon, the sky between the ship and the disaster area would be thick with a swarm of buzzing drones; carrying food, water, clothing and medicine to victims and then flying back to the ship, resupplying, and taking off again.

A helicopter, of course, could carry human passengers and vastly more weight, but for the scale required to be effective, a fleet of autonomous drones is significantly less expensive than a fleet of helicopters. Drones are currently severely limited in the amount of weight they can carry, but capacity is expected to improve. At present they’re ideal for light-weight, high value items such as medicines or blood. They could also be used to fetch medical samples and bring them back to base for analysis. Other applications may include:

  • Deliveries into conflict zones where a helicopter may be shot down
  • Coordination of search and rescue activities from above
  • The provision of internet to disaster zones.

Problems to be solved

There are some challenges to be overcome before drones can go into action when the next disaster inevitably hits. For example, if drones are to work in conjunction with helicopters and other aircraft, air traffic safety must be a priority to avoid mid-air collisions.

There are also some extremely negative perceptions of drones in war-torn areas, such as Afghanistan and Iraq. There, drones are either regarded as spy-craft, or as dangerous, weaponised systems capable of delivering a missile to any point on the ground. A humanitarian aid drone would therefore be met with suspicion and fear by people in need.

Similarly, a report from the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action found that humanitarian aid workers are concerned that drones are “too distant from people and inhumane”. This raises an important point about the role of aid workers, who are not only there to assist people and deliver much-needed supplies, but provide human comfort; something that a faceless drone cannot do.

Drones will soon be a common sight in disaster zones, if only in an observational or mapping role at first. While drones are unlikely to completely replace helicopters and trucks, they can play an essential role in supporting and complementing other means of delivery, particularly when access by land has not yet been established. Supply chain managers working in humanitarian aid can look forward to incorporating drones into their means of delivering assistance and, ultimately, saving lives.

In other news this week 

A milestone week for Procurious

  • Procurious delivered its signature event, the Big Ideas Summit, in London on Thursday last week, with speaker highlights including Oxford University’s Linda Yueh, CAPS Research Managing Director Deb Stanton, Barclay’s Chairman John McFarlane and Futurist Mark Stevenson.
  • On the eve of the event, Procurious also announced that its community has grown to 20,000 supply management professionals worldwide.
  • Procurious has also launched its new Corporate Site, with the first major client being the UK-based Society of Procurement Officers (SOPO).

Read more via Yahoo Finance

UC Berkeley recycles 3D printers’ plastic waste

  • In response to a surge in plastic waste generated by over 100 3D printers on campus at UC Berkeley, PhD students have launched a 3D Printer Filament Reclamation Project.
  • The campus-wide system takes used 3D printer plastic, grinds it up, melts it down and produces a spool of recycled plastic that can be used again in the campus’s 3D printers.
  • The recycling system is expected to be replicated in businesses using 3D printers on an industrial scale to minimise, or even eliminate, waste products from the printing process.

Watch UC Berkeley’s video here

Toyota and General Motors hold top number of renewable energy patents in the US

  • Research company CB Insights has analysed over 50,000 US renewable energy patent grants between 2009 and 2017 to identify the number of patents, the top patent holders, and trends in renewable energy patents.
  • Over 26,000 U.S. patents related to renewable energy have been granted in the 8-year period to date, with the number peaking in 2014 at 4268. The top four areas are solar, wind, fuel cell and bio-energy.
  • LG has emerged as the top patent holder in solar, GE for wind, GM and Toyota for fuel cell patents, and Xyleco and Shell for bio-energy.

Read the full report here.

[Image credit: Pixar]

How To Convince Hostile Stakeholders To Adopt New Technology

Simona Pop’s Big Idea provides a recipe for convincing even the most unwilling departmental heads to embrace new technology.

Register as an online delegate for the London Big Ideas Summit 2017 here.

Deciding to adopt a new technology has historically been a pain in the ass. An expensive, dull, prolonged pain nobody wants to deal with. The problem I have is that those adjectives belong to OLD tech. Putting nimble new technology in the same pile with 90s software is like mixing vodka with milk. It may have worked for the Mad Men of the 50s but it is an unnatural association. (I watched Mad Men until the 5th series then lost interest, by the way.)

Here’s the gist of it: people need to be comfortable with the cost and potential risk of adopting new technology. How do you make them comfortable? By providing “proof of concept” and calculating these costs and potential risks. One simple guideline is the 10X rule: if you can expect a return of 10 times your investment, then it’s worth it.

However, with technology – especially if it spans across different departments – you must take into account that your gains will come from any of several improvements, or a combination of improvements:

  • Cost reduction
  • Efficiency improvement
  • Fraud prevention
  • Admin processing speed
  • Mobilising the workforce
  • Product/service enhancement
  • Competitive environment

Your gains will be the sum total of all factors. If adopting a new technology provides an improvement in one factor but it’s at the expense of another factor, it may not be worth adopting. This tends to limit everything to a financial view though. A far better formula includes non-financial factors, some of which will outweigh the financial ones. You need to also remember that some investments in new technology can require at least a year to show their true value.

Managing risk should also be incorporated into your analysis, but remember that you take a risk whether you adopt a new technology or not. The advantages a new technology provides may not be obvious – until a competitor adopts that technology and makes your competitive disadvantage clear. In that case, adopting a new technology reactively will put you on the back foot. Playing catch-up is never a good business move!

Risk Reduction Recipe

Let’s call it – new tech is the unknown. The unknown is typically scary to humans. And since I am all about the H2H in business, working to remove that fear is key to successful tech adoption.

One sure way to reduce the risk is to go for a taster: a proof-of-concept implementation. Starting small & early allows you to identify problems early when they are far easier and less expensive to correct. It also makes it easy to start over if the proverbial hits the fan.

When rolling out new technology across multiple departments, you’re guaranteed to encounter a mixed bag of responses. From enthusiastic stakeholders who “get it” straight away, to nervous – and sometimes downright hostile – departmental heads who are terrified of change, you’re going to have to manage them all.

Here’s the secret – rather than trying to beat hostile stakeholders into submission with the force of your arguments, ask the willing departments to do the job for you. Carry out a proof of concept with your supporters so you have the evidence required to overcome any objection, and go back to the risk-averse stakeholders with your advocates at your side.

Also keep in mind that both organisational and process changes will be needed when bringing in tech. Procedural changes are very common. The reason why you are looking at that tech is typically to improve current processes you have found lacking. You must be aware that tech is here to improve NOT replicate. Trying to fit clunky processes on efficient technology is not only frustrating but a complete waste of time and resource. Changes to previous processes will need to happen and you will have to expect some resistance to those changes. Again, human nature.

The mark of good technology for me is its accessibility and great user experience across the board (from top to bottom, from left to right). Because you are effecting change (and that’s difficult enough), the very last thing you need is that change to come in the form of clunky, pain in the ass – MS-DOS looking software.

In my quest to empower people through tech, one problem I come across a lot is: “How much resource do I need from our side because we really cannot spare anyone?” This question is proof of a bad reflex left over from dealing with old tech. The type of tech that takes a year just to implement, another year to train for and another to realise it’s not right for you anyway even though it is costing you serious cash. The type of tech that is SO unlike what you know and love in your personal life, it might as well be alien. A vintage alien at that.

Clear communication will help overcome the organisational and process challenges. When people get that you are in fact trying to empower them to work better and easier, they will want to be part of that higher drive.

As Richard Branson says: “Screw it, let’s do it!” Move quickly, find out what works and what doesn’t. Stalling, procrastinating of burying your head in the sand are NOT ways to avoid a pain in the ass.

This article was first published on InstaSupply.

Stay tuned for more Big Ideas from Simona Pop as we lead up to the Big Ideas Summit 2017!

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7 Warehouse Management Tips to Improve Inventory Control

In every business, there is one silent player that can absolutely make or break your operation — the warehouse. 

Warehouses  form the nucleus of numerous businesses and it is imperative that they are managed efficiently. However, its size and structure can become overwhelming if not managed properly. You can manage it efficiently by implementing a warehouse management system, with which you can control the movement and storage of the materials within the warehouse. Additionally, you can incorporate tasks like transportation management, accounting systems, light manufacturing, etc.

Managing inventory effectively and maximizing warehouse productivity rank on top of the priority list of almost all the warehouse managers. If you are one of them, these 7 warehouse management tips will help you in improving inventory control and achieving effective warehouse management.

  1. Plan An Efficient Layout

The warehouse layout must be carefully planned out in order to maximize storage space. You must arrange the space in a manner that allows you to move smoothly and with ease while carrying goods around the warehouse. You must keep enough space to maneuver the forklifts and weight carrying machines around without any hindrances. Mark the bins and place them in a planned manner to avoid confusion and stocking of goods at inappropriate places. The right layout will also help in minimizing safety hazards.

  1. Stock Inventory As Per Need

You must arrange your inventory based on how and when you use/need it. You shouldn’t hoard inventory unnecessarily throughout the year unless there is a regular demand. Keep the stock levels at 1.5 times the average for avoiding blocking of working capital. With optimised inventory holding, you can effectively reduce the cost of storage. You can study historical trends as a part of your warehouse management process to forecast the inventory need.

  1. Apply Cross Docking to Maximize Space

The objective of cross docking is to reduce the shelf storage time of stocks in the warehouse. It helps in transporting warehouse delivered goods quickly to the outbound carriers that can take the stocks to distribution centres. You have to ensure that the warehouse layout supports cross docking.

  1. Implement Strict Standards for Safety

Don’t make your warehouse an unsafe place for your employees. If your staff isn’t trained properly, you will have numerous accidents and high injury rates. Ensure that only the well-trained and experienced employees operate heavy duty equipment such as forklifts. Mark the safety protocols in the warehouse, such as indicating a safe distance from danger zones.

  1. Incorporate Efficient Weighing Systems

Make efficient weight scales, such as truck scales, an integral part of your warehouse as it helps in optimising all the weighing processes. You can improve the accuracy of the billing and shipping tremendously, thus increasing the revenue. The overall workflow productivity is also enhanced.

  1. Use Technology to Enhance Inventory Management

Technology is a good friend to have in the warehouse. New robotics technology has become the most sought after technology in many companies. You can partner up with warehouse management systems and create customized software and smart robots that can help in managing the movement, storage and sorting of warehouse inventory. Automated vehicles come a close second. By incorporating self-driving technology in the warehouses, you can reassign human labor to more critical jobs and enhance safety and efficiency.

3D printing technology allows on-demand production of various components for manufacturing at the location itself. It can effectively eliminate the need for any transportation, thus reducing the cost and lead times significantly. Innovation of newer, lighter and stronger materials like nanotubes and graphene is also exciting news for warehouse and logistics management. You need less energy to transport lighter materials and equipment. To make it even better, self-repairing finishes and self-assembling materials are already in developmental testing!

  1. Improve Demand Planning

Demand planning is a crucial part of forecasting inventory purchases, stock requirements and customer buying trends. This helps in optimizing inventory levels and meeting the demands of the customers at the same time. When the demand planning is effective, you can track the sales trend history, product activity during specific seasons of the year, trends of various manufacturers and different rules of warehouse storage and business.

Don’t let the complexities of a warehouse wear you down. With careful and efficient planning, you can achieve your goals and manage every single warehouse with high efficiency.

Kevin Hill heads up the marketing efforts and provides technical expertise to the sales and service teams at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, California.

The Big Ideas Summit 2017: The After-Party

No one likes to reach the end of a great procurement  party. Luckily there’s still a whole lot more Big Ideas Summit content to come…

Join The Big Ideas Summit 2017 group to access all of yesterday’s discussions and exclusive video content.

Yesterday Procurious gathered 50 of procurement’s top thought leaders in London for the Big Ideas Summit 2017.

We heard from a number of  inspiring speakers, sparked exciting discussion and shared our Big Ideas for procurement in 2017. Conversation topics ranged from economics to futurism, from cognitive technology to  releasing creativity and everything in-between.

It was wonderful to see some familiar faces at this year’s event and lots of new ones too.

Big Ideas By Numbers

But the fun didn’t stop in London. Our digital delegates from all around the globe followed the day’s events via social media.

3,400 people visited Procurious to access Big Ideas content discussions and videos.

On twitter, the #BigIdeas2017 hashtag  was tweeted 1,850 times and had over 6.4 million impressions.

The Big Ideas Summit After-party

Don’t worry- The Big Ideas party isn’t over just yet!

Throughout the next week, we’ll be uploading all the video content into the learning section on Procurious. You’ll hear from each of our attendees on their Big Ideas  for procurement.

Whether it’s scaring yourself daily, paying your bills or turning statements into questions there’s a whole range of thought provoking advice to take on board.

Here’s a little taster of what’s to come:

If you’re feeling inspired by these videos, there’s still time for you to submit a Big Idea’s video. You’ll find a reminder of how to do so here.

Turning Statements Into Questions

Our first Big Ideas video comes from Creative Change Agent, James Bannerman. James wants procurement pros to start turning statements into questions in order to unleash their creative genius.  Check out the video to find out more.

You can hear more from James in our podcast series, Even Bigger Ideas. 

Even Bigger Ideas Podcast Series 

Want to hear more from some of our speakers? The final Even Bigger Ideas podcast was released today. Futurist Anders Sorman-Nilsson talks about how we can seamlessly transition between ordinary, analogue world to the extraordinary, digital world and who will thrive in this era of cyber disruption. You can listen to the Even Bigger Ideas Podcast Series here.

Want to catch up on all of yesterday’s Big Ideas Summit activity? Join the group here

Indirect Procurement: Leading By Taking Responsibiity

Authentic leadership is especially important in indirect procurement. Pauline King discusses why taking responsibility is a key aspect of this.

Join The Big Ideas Summit 2017 group to access all of yesterday’s discussions and exclusive video content.

I was recently at a lunch with a former member of our indirect transformation program. I wanted her view was on how we achieved so much and so quickly. Her answer surprised me.

She made no mention of classic procurement methods; it was all about authentic leadership. Indirect procurement, with its high change impact, power struggles and need for excellent business partnering, is especially in need of this kind of leadership.

But what does this mean in the day to day? Thinking back over authentic and inauthentic bosses and my own mistakes in aiming to be an authentic leader, one theme is about taking responsibility. Here are three examples from my past experiences that demonstrate this.

  1. Be confident to make tough decisions 

I’ll never forget the first leadership team meeting with the best boss I ever had.

Bruce told us that each of us should be doing our own job and not the job of our direct reports. This was a powerful message for me because I realised that I had been covering and doing damage control for one of my team leads, Dirk.

Dirk had many talents, but he was not comfortable challenging the business. In indirect procurement, this is fatal.

It was September and we were setting up for the following year’s project pipeline and savings commitments. The numbers were not on track.

We were reviewing his numbers when I realised he hadn’t completed the final, and crucial, step of getting the senior business managers’ sign-off.  With a sinking feeling, I saw I would have to step in and ‘do his job for him’.  It was time for a hard decision.

In this case, it was especially difficult because I had worked closely with Dirk and appreciated his knowledge and skills in many ways.

But, he deserved to hear it straight that he hadn’t stepped up despite many feedback sessions. I didn’t see him being able to develop this particular skill. We instead focused on his considerable strengths and worked successfully to find him a new role. He went on to have great impact.

  1. Manage Relationships Effectively 

During a particularly difficult phase of a worldwide P2P rollout, my responsibility was to lead the global indirect implementation. This was in coordination with my teammates, the regional heads.

One of the most complex regions was in Europe with its many countries and languages. There were endless calls between global and region Europe to hammer out the operational details. One particular teammate, John, the head of Europe seemed to be putting roadblocks in place that didn’t make sense.

I made an error in blaming John and, worse still, being vocal about it. I didn’t take the time to understand his reality on the ground.

Luckily for me, our boss was very blunt and told me:

  • Work with your colleague to fix the disagreement
  • Never complain in public about a team member

I apologised to John and spent time with him discussing how we both thought we could bridge our differences.

Ultimately, he became one of my closest colleagues and together we led the rollout in Europe to success.

  1. Train your team to be independent 

The best way to coach people to take responsibility is by giving them the space to act alone.

I was once working on a series of difficult projects, one of which was reducing travel cost by implementing high-end video conferencing. In order for it to be impactful, a fast worldwide rollout was needed.

Serge was the procurement lead and had never done such a project before.  He had, however, developed a great relationship with his business client. I was convinced, with some support, that he could do the job.

One of the first tasks was in finding a clear way to measure the savings and bring that to the P&L. Together with the travel manager, we did some brainstorming on how to get the data and make the case, reviewed what external case studies we could use from providers and what the storyline could be for senior management. Serge went away with the task to put together a first draft with his colleague.

What he came back with was terrible: no clear story line and fuzzy numbers.

We did another brainstorming session and gathered some more data. At the end of this round, I thought Serge had enough to bring everything together. But, once again, he again came back with meandering slides and no clear way to measure the savings.

I knew he could do better.  I looked him in the eye and told him he had what he needed to pull the deck together and that I was convinced he could do it. And sent him away.

Several days later, Serge came back with the frame that we then polished and successfully got approved. With this success behind him, he stepped up and drove the project through, not only deepening his relationship with his business client, but also increasing his visibility in the company.

Believing and then saying, ‘I have full confidence’ to an employee is a powerful message.

Want to catch up on all of yesterday’s Big Ideas Summit activity? Join the group here

You Appointed WHO As The New CPO?

Increasingly, companies are appointing CPOs from outside of the supply management profession. What does this tell us about C-level expectations of procurement, and why are supply management professionals missing out?

Want to follow all of the action today? Register as an online delegate for the London Big Ideas Summit 2017 here.

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Years of hard work and a brilliant career in supply management has brought you to within a hair’s breadth of fulfilling your dream – to become the Chief Procurement Officer of your company. Starting at the most junior level, you’ve worked your way up the ladder to your present position as second-in-charge of the procurement function. Your boss announced his retirement last week, and you’re quietly confident your turn has come – after all, there’s absolutely nothing about the organisation’s supply chain that you don’t know.

You step into the meeting room where the out-going CPO and two other executives are seated around a table. Disconcertingly, they stop talking when you walk in and look at you guiltily. Getting straight to the point, they tell you they’re excited to announce the new Chief Procurement Officer is … Jennifer from Marketing.

Is Procurement Being Usurped?

Has this happened in your organisation? There’s every chance that when it comes time to choose a new CPO, the C-Suite will appoint someone from a non-supply background. This means that a colleague of yours in a completely different department may one day swoop in to steal the job that you’ve been working towards for years.

While CEO-level expectations of the CPO continue to blur and broaden, the skill-set required to meet those expectations can now potentially be found in any department. The fact that supply managers are still reporting difficulty in educating their businesses on the value procurement can bring to an organisation doesn’t help the situation. If a CEO (wrongly) believes that a supply manager has spent his or her career focused solely on cost, then they are likely to look elsewhere for candidates for the top job.

Deb Stanton, Executive Director of Research and Benchmarking organisation CAPS Research and former Global CPO of MasterCard, has observed the trend of CPO appointments from outside of the profession. CEOs are no longer as interested in appointing CPOs who possess the traditional skill set that is earnt over years working in supply chain. A savvy marketing professional, or a cost-conscious operations manager who understands how supply management works, makes a very attractive candidate for CPO.

So, what does this mean?

  1. CEOs are looking for a different set of skills for the next CPO

The CPO of the future may have little idea how a tender is run, but they must:

  • Be business-savvy and understand the organisation as a whole
  • Know how procurement works from a customer’s perspective
  • Be completely aligned to overall business strategy (not just the supply management strategy)
  • Have a strong knowledge of the business’ finance function
  • Be focused on the core customer and external audiences
  • Embrace changing technology and external disruptive forces
  • Be an influencer and relationship management expert.

Deb referred to CAPS Research’s “Futures Study 2020”, which projects the skills required to manage a procurement function into the future.

  1. The CPO doesn’t necessarily need supply management expertise

The complex and varied skill-set picked up through a career in supply management may no longer be enough to satisfy the requirements for the job of CPO. CEOs may even regard procurement’s traditional audience of stakeholders, end-users and suppliers to be too focused.

That being said, technical procurement skills do matter, and are still vital for any procurement team’s success. In the example above, the disappointed candidate who missed out on the top job can still play a vital role in educating and supporting the outsider CPO with their supply management knowledge.

What’s the solution? If you believe the CPO role rightfully belongs to you, rather than someone from a completely different department, then make sure you broaden (rather than narrow) your focus as you move upwards in your organisation. This means familiarising yourself on a macro level with the whole business, bringing the core customer into every decision you make, and being known as an influencer who can clearly articulate the value you, and your function, brings to the business.

As Deb pointed out today, procurement professionals are in a unique position to overlook an entire business. They’ve got every chance of seeing where the opportunities are so let’s use it an not lose it!

Don’t forget to register as a digital delegate so you can keep up with the rest of today’s events.