All posts by Matt Farrington-Smith

YOUR Big Ideas: Procurement Will Be Dead By 2030

Jonathan Betts from Science Warehouse makes a startling statement in his Big Ideas video.

Controversial? Jonathan doesn’t think so, as he reminds us that in the past 15 years we’ve seen successive waves of technology disruption.

Want to add your voice to the conversation? We want you to share your point of view and ideas with the community by creating a video no more than 60 seconds long. What’s your Big Idea?

YOUR Big Ideas: Big Data In Procurement

David Hulsen is co-founder of RFP365 – a dynamic software application that makes the entire RFP (request for proposal) process collaborative and streamlined.

 

David’s Big Idea for procurement is leveraging 21st century technology for vendor selection.

Blink and you’ll miss it as David’s video lasts a mere 39 seconds – happily conforming to our 1 minute challenge. It just shows you don’t need to agonise over a lengthy speech. Well done David!

Want to add your voice to the conversation? We want you to share your point of view and ideas with the community by creating a video no more than 60 seconds long. What’s your Big Idea?

Behind the scenes of Big Ideas Summit 2015

A little insight into the Big work that went into Procurious’ inaugural Big Ideas Summit, as told by the people that made it happen.

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Gathering 40 of the world’s most influential thought-leaders for a one-day event in London was a potential logistical nightmare in the making…

Luckily Team Procurious had an ace up its sleeve in the form of its European General Manager – Lisa Malone, who skilfully guided the entire operation to its successful conclusion . Planning began back in the latter half of 2014, speakers were booked, agendas set, media packs distributed, interviews arranged, film crew booked, dietary requirements received and reservations at venues made. Yep, Big Ideas Summit 2015 was spread across not just one, but two venues.

Spend Matters’ Jason Busch joked: “I’m not sure if anyone else who knows the history of the Soho neighborhood also observed the irony of a “procurement” event there – especially one hosted by “Procurious” – but I at least got a chuckle out of it.

“Venues aside – and the Soho Hotel has a truly great small conference facility.” Suffice to say that the irony was not lost on us…!

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Fun fact: Big Ideas Summit was originally known as 20:20 – with the idea being 20 speakers in a room with 20 influencers.

Product Manager Jack Slade built a bespoke landing page for the event. The Big Ideas Summit website carried essential information about the day, including featured speakers, topics to be covered, latest news and details for getting involved. A timer counted down the hours to the big day, ensuring that the whole team were kept on their toes…

DSC07436_2As the big day rolled around Lisa would do a faultless job of ensuring speakers kept to time and everything flowed smoothly. In- fact we think the word ‘effortless’ was mooted…

Sigi Osagie praised Lisa Malone

On the day itself Procurious founder Tania Seary said: “Through the ideas that have been generated today, we’ve hopefully inspired a new generation of business intrapreneurs to get their creative juices flowing, to start collaborating through networks like Procurious and then start implementing those ideas to achieve change within their organisations and the entire profession.” 

Fun fact: Even before Big Ideas Summit began we’d published 30+ stories on the topics and people who were set to appear

Euan Granger, Relationship Manager – Procurious, offered: “For me, Big Ideas represented a great opportunity to make people aware of procurement and Procurious, as well as getting them talking about the future of the profession. It was great to be able to see both sides of the conversation – the first part in the room in London where the room was alive with ideas and discussions, but also to watch what was happening on social media and know there was a huge number of people watching, following and taking part in the discussions around the world. To see the numbers of people following Procurious across the various social media platforms was something special. 

I just hope they got as much out of the day as I did!”

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Jordan Early, Euan Granger and Jack Slade working away

Procurious contributor Jordan Early said: “Big Ideas was a blast. It was busy but that’s exactly what I expected when I stepped off the plane at Heathrow after an overnight (and day) flight from Sydney. 

The lineup of speakers didn’t disappoint. It’s great to see some procurement conferences are finally moving away from the traditional sale pitch from service provider and CPO patting themselves on the back style of speeches towards discussions that hold real relevance for procurement professionals.

“I spent most of my day scribbling notes in the hall and turning them around into blogs that can now be read on the Procurious platformI learnt a lot and met some great people and ultimately, isn’t that what events are about?

Big Ideas certainly caused a buzz across social, just as Euan had alluded to. On Twitter #BigIdeas2015 was mentioned 759 times in 24 hours (reaching a potential audience of 1m+), we saw a colossal 2700+ new likes on Facebook, and our 5000+ strong community made Procurious the go-to place for daring discussions.

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As the curtain went down, the action moved across town for a chance for guests to let their hair down.

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After wars of words in the panel sessions, a new battle took shape in the bowling alley…

Those not able to make the day were able to enjoy bowling, drinks and food at The Ham Yard Hotel.

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It also provided us with an opportunity to get face-time with some of our biggest supporters and valued community members.

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Helen Mackenzie – Head of Exchequer Services

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The Faculty’s Max Goonan treated us to some of his highlights from his trip across the pond:

  • Chris Sawchuk being described as a ‘Dapper Road Warrior’ despite arriving that morning from Chicago.
  • Max Goonan surviving similar jetlag on any even longer flight from Australia the night before.
  • Sigi complementing all on how good looking everyone was…
  • Paul Rakovich (I think it was him) aligning his mid-life crisis Porsche purchase – to the state of the procurement profession..
  • Rob Nott’s amazing bowling prowess – re-created from his teens…
  • And the genuine camaraderie amongst participants – all with a desire to be part of a momentum shift in thinking!

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In the days since we’ve been hard at work getting all of the videos (keynotes, panels and Big Ideas) onto Procurious for you all to view and share among your peers. The latest uploads can be found on our Learning page.

The Procurious team now have just enough time to recharge their batteries before Big Ideas Summit 2016 kicks off! Keep your diary free next May, and keep your eyes locked to Procurious for further announcements…

Team Procurious Assemble!
Team Procurious Assemble!

The day itself may now be over, but your Big Ideas are still being amplified online. As a Procurious member you can access exclusive video content online – just join the Big Ideas Summit Group page to view.

Got a Big Idea of your own? We want to hear it (provided it’s less that 60 seconds)! Find out more here.

YOUR Big Ideas: Social Supplier Management

James Ferguson founder of Supplibase.com thinks the future lies in Social Supplier Management (or SSM for acronym fans). 

James imagines a place where we all manage our supplier relationships through reviews, references and recommendations.

London-based professionals may also like to know that James hosts a monthly procurement meetup (don’t worry it’s not in a boardroom, but a local pub…) – you can RSVP and join James at the London Buyers Club here.

Want to add your voice to the conversation? We want you to share your point of view and ideas with the community by creating a video no more than 60 seconds long. What’s your Big Idea?

YOUR Big Ideas: eSourcing For Everyone

We’re putting Big Ideas from the Procurious community in the spotlight… Here’s a particularly creative effort from Anya McKenna of Market Dojo. Great job!

Market Dojo want to make eSourcing for everyone, following on from a TED lecture about the 4 stages of technology. In Anya’s view, eSourcing is yet to reach a commodity level, but it’s just a matter of time… Who will be the first?!

Connect with Anya on Procurious

Want to add your voice to the conversation? We want you to share your point of view and ideas with the community by creating a video no more than 60 seconds long. What’s your Big Idea?

What was Twitter saying about Big Ideas?

How the Twitterverse reacted to Big Ideas

How the Twitterverse reacted to #BigIdeas2015

Whether you chose to follow the Big Ideas Summit on Procurious or Facebook we hope you enjoyed the conversation, learnings and interactions throughout the day… But we wanted to especially thank all those that followed along on Twitter – we positioned the Big Ideas Summit as a digitally-led event but we couldn’t have predicted the overwhelming response we received…

Some brief figures: Our #BigIdeas2015 hashtag was picked-up and mentioned 759 times throughout the day.

In total, tweets relating to the event were served to a potential combined audience of 1,154,466 million.

If you’re not following us already, come and find us using @procurious_ and help to continue the conversation!

#BigIdeas2015 hashtag was being used worldwide
This map shows where the #BigIdeas2015 hashtag was being used worldwide

What follows are just a ‘small’ sample of tweets mentioning the Big Ideas Summit – see what influencers, thought-leaders, commentators, and fellow procurement professionals made of the day’s events.

 

Earth Day 2015: A Time For Change Not PR

Earth Day 2015: What are businesses doing?

45 years ago April 22 was just a normal average day… If it had been a colour, it would be grey. Unremarkable. Now it is forever marked in history as Earth Day – the original Earth Day occurred in 1970 and saw scores of people gather across the globe to show their support for greener policies. 

Fast-forward to 2015 and more than 1 billion people from 192 countries have come together to build environmental democracy and to broaden, diversify and mobilise the environmental movement. Improvements in industrial development can be observed in corporate sustainability targets and the expansive range of sustainable products filling our shops and lining our cupboards. Yes, more companies are engaging with the issues firsthand – with the proposal of realistic goals, tangible progress is happily being achieved. The bottom line is now the Holy Trinity of people, profits AND planet.

If you happened to be in Washington last Friday you’ll have enjoyed Usher, Mary J. Blige, and Gwen Stefani (among others), performing at the free Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day rally hosted by rapper/entrepreneur will.i.am and journalist Soledad O’Brien. The event tied neatly in to the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings – an early opportunity for world leaders to gather before they set the world’s sustainability agenda at the UN General Assembly in September.

The assembled throng counted world leaders and corporate innovators among its numbers  top of the agenda were rallying calls to end to extreme poverty and eliminate the threats posed by global climate change. 

“Whether it’s the big migrations we expect to see or soil depletion or emptying the oceans, loss of species, loss of timberland — all these things are creating poverty at the same time that they are also creating climate change issues. Eliminating poverty will require solving climate change”  – Kathleen Rogers, Earth Day Network president

The day saw a total of 33 commitments announced: education, water and sanitation, food security, health, political action, marine protection, and environmental awareness were all among them.

World Bank Group, President Jim Kim said: “Each person must do their part. We need engineers and entrepreneurs, we need doctors, we need lawyers, artists, teachers, we need students and activists – we need YOU. We are the first generation in human history with the opportunity to end extreme poverty.”

Also in attendance was the organiser of the very first Earth Day – Denis Hayes: “Climate justice is THE issue facing this generation. Ruthless, powerful carbon companies are buying votes and lying like the cigarette industry did for so long.  So far, they are winning. The main power on the other side is you—you and billions of other people who actually care about tomorrow.”

A group of leading scientists and economists have added weight by issuing a chilling warning today – stating that three-quarters of known fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground if humanity is to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Johan Rockström says: “It’s so frustrating, because it’s the choice of moving down a business-as-usual route with devastating outcomes for humanity and, at the same time, we have this almost unprecedented opportunity, we can transform the world economy to a fossil fuel-free one and moreover do it in a way that is security and health-wise more attractive.”

Turning Back The Clock

Steven Cohen, Executive Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute– writing for The Huffington Post neatly summarises the challenges such an initiative needs to tackle head-on:

Sustainability is at or near the top of the modern global political agenda. At the core of that agenda is the need to:

  • Protect ecosystems and biodiversity;
  • Mitigate and adapt to climate change;
  • Protect and enhance water supply and quality;
  • Ensure adequate and healthy food;
  • Develop sustainable cities built with renewable energy and efficient transportation systems.
  • Reduce the impact of human-created waste on natural systems.
  • Develop businesses that minimize environmental impacts and maximize the use of renewable resources.

Steven notes: “We still have a lot to learn. We continue to extract and burn fossil fuels at a ferocious and destructive rate. The transition to a renewable resource based economy will be the theme of Earth Days for the next several decades. The institutional inertia and sunk costs of elements of the economy that depend on finite resources will not be easily addressed.”

Bob Langert, former Vice President of Sustainability, McDonald’s suggests that today’s society is in need of a reality check: The consumer is less engaged today than in times past. We need a real surge to engage the consumer, or “sustainability” will be a niche that serves only a small segment of the marketplace.”

The 1990’s bought recycling to the fore but the enthusiasm (and novelty) soon wore off – and although recycling initiatives have become a part of modern society, the fervent desire once exhibited has now waned.

Bob continues: “While the consumer movement is quiet, the corporate environmental movement — including corporate collaborations with NGOs — is on fire. In 2005, Walmart worked with the EDF, Conservation International and others to put in place bold environmental goals, including zero waste. Similar actions and partnerships came from Unilever, Nestle, Nike, Coke, General Mills and General Electric, among others. For example, Coca-Cola has a “water neutral” goal. These aspirations, goals and progress are amazing.”

A Time For Change, Not For PR

Forbes notes that dozens of iconic US food, consumer and manufacturing giants (many of them Fortune 500 companies) such as Kellogg Co., Unilever, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Nestle, Mars, Gap Inc., L’Oreal, and Ben & Jerry’s will all be gathering on Capitol Hill to deliver a single, focused message to Congress.

Speaking to Forbes, Tim Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer – Nestlé Waters North America, said: “Nestle’s is directly impacted by the effects of climate change. Of particular concern are changes to weather patterns, water availability and agricultural productivity that will affect our global supply chain”.

And while many others will no doubt use the day to highlight their own sustainability plans and issue press releases – climate change is a challenge and not a business opportunity, and as such the developed world should not profit from disaster, according to India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Biggest Report Ever

Impeccable timing finds a newly-released report that details how sustainable production of bioenergy can be an important tool for addressing climate change.

Industry experts are calling the SCOPE Bioenergy & Sustainability Report the most comprehensive report on bioenergy ever released. It pulls together work from 137 researchers at 82 institutions in 24 countries that documents and analyzes impacts, benefits and constraints related to the global expansion of bioenergy. 

View and download the report 

The Rise (And Rise) of Vinyl Records

It’s an age-old story of supply and demand… so on the eve of Record Store Day we’re bringing our record player out of storage, dusting off our favourite albums and learning why vinyl is here to stay… Record Store Day and the rise of vinyl

In 2014 something extraordinary happened… UK album sales on vinyl climaxed at a 20-year high, following seven years of sustained growth (after even more years in the doldrums). Recently released figures from the Official Charts Company reveal that sales of vinyl LPs are continuing the trend in 2015– up a whole 69 per cent during the first quarter (compared to the same period in 2014).

Happily this has led to the creation of the Official Vinyl Albums Chart Top 40 and Official Vinyl Singles Chart Top 40 (combining sales of 7” and 12” singles) – musicians and retailers alike have welcomed the announcement with open arms, like UK vinyl retailer Phil Barton of Sister Ray Records, Soho, London:

“The resurgence in vinyl sales has been a great boost for the independent trade. The launch of the Official Vinyl Charts tells the world that a format that is loved and revered is more relevant now than ever – far from being a curiosity, vinyl is the go-to format for many music fans.”

So all signs are pointing to a resurgence of the once-beloved format, but do we have the infrastructure to keep up with the newfound surge in demand?

Back in Black (red, gold, green, and even white too…)

Vinyl LP sales stood at 1.4 million in 1995 (1.60 per cent of the UK album market) – in the years that followed sales dipped dramatically, finally reaching rock-bottom in 2007 with sales of just 205k (and a dismal market share of 0.10 per cent). With such a dismal performance it looked as though the beleaguered format had nowhere left to go – it was as good as dead…

But that hasn’t stopped those passionate and protective of the format from striving to restore the vinyl LP’s rightful place in our record collections – enter Record Store Day

Dave Grohl ambassador of Record Store Day
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl is ambassador of Record Store Day 2015

 

From its humble origins in the US, Record Store Day (or RSD for short) has since become a significant event in the musical calendar.

Megan Page , Communications and Marketing Assistant for the Entertainment Retailers Association, provides us with a potted history of Record Store Day and its origins.

“RSD is a celebration of the culture of independent record shops that aims to appeal not to just vinyl enthusiasts but also introduces a new generation to the joys of vinyl. Stores stock a range of exclusive product and host a range of events to celebrate.

“Record Store Day was conceived 9 years ago in the USA and was brought to the UK a year later.  It’s now in its 8th year in the UK and co-ordinated by the Entertainment Retailers Association and Spencer Hickman. In 2014, over 220 independent record shops across the country signed up as labels produced over 270 exclusive album releases and 340 singles on vinyl. Now a global event, Record Store Day is celebrated in territories all over the world, including France, Germany, Netherlands and Spain.”

“…Watch the reverence they have as they handle their Beatles vinyl. How carefully they replace the albums into their sleeves, making sure they’re placed back onto the shelf in the proper sequence…”

Due to the complex logistics involved in such an initiative, orders are placed at the record factories as far back as December to ensure the production runs are completed in time. But park that thought for a bit, first we need to discuss vinyl’s phoenix-like rise from the flames…

I Am The Resurrection

During 2014 record sales hit a 20-year high – bolstered by the likes of Pink Floyd and Arctic Monkeys. But if we had to play Devil’s Advocate, is this all just a flash in the pan, a passing fad perhaps?

Martin Daniels from Recordstore.co.uk doesn’t necessarily think so…

“It certainly helps having a big year of releases that would include Pink Floyd but from a personal point of view even the smallest of artists/fanbases can add their own mark on sales which keeps this trend continuing.”

Megan adds: “The growth of vinyl has been incredible and its sales figures reflect year on year growth. In 2014, vinyl album sales passed the 1million mark for the first time since the Britpop era. This is more than four times than the level as recently as 2008.”

UK vinyl LP sales from 2014

We quizzed Martin on the factors that have contributed to vinyl’s return – what caused it to come back into fashion?

“Customers/consumers have always wanted something tangible and collectable. Vinyl is nice to look at, the artwork was really made for this format and you get a feeling of experiencing the record more.”

Earlier this year we also saw Neil Young weighing in on vinyl’s rise in popularity –Martin reckons that Neil Young had his own agenda to peddle here, commenting: “Very recently he’s launched a multi-million pound digital system (the PONO) that various people have already poked holes in, so that anything that deflects back onto vinyl helps his cause.”

We asked Megan whether there’s been a visible knock-on effect from such initiatives as RSD with record stores sales and vinyl releases?

RSD itself has become such a popular initiative – sales of LPs alone last year generated more than £2m in retail for record stores. Because of its success, we are now seeing that not only heritage acts are releasing material on the format, but a new generation of artists such as Jake Bugg and the Arctic Monkeys are releasing music on vinyl. This also allows teenagers to discover the sound of vinyl of first time.”

Megan adds: “The great thing about the inclusion of bands like 1D and 5sos etc. is that for the first time it is recruiting a younger, female generation of music lovers to independent record shops who are discovering music on the vinyl format for the first time! Hopefully we’ll see more and more mainstream bands releasing material on vinyl too.”

Best-selling Record Store Day releases

Raging Against The Machine

Certainly on the strength of this you’d be forgiven for thinking that the future of the vinyl is as shiny as its glossy black exterior. However, it’s a different story behind the scenes, as aging factories are struggling to keep pace.

The Wall Street Journal reported that pressing plants (in the US) are being run flat-out to keep up with demand. And although there has been some investment in increasing capacity across Europe, more investment needs to be pumped into production facilities.

“The creaky machines that make them haven’t been manufactured for decades, and just one company supplies an estimated 90 per cent of the raw vinyl that the industry needs” – WSJ.

Chris Ruff, Marketing at Atlantic Records, thinks that there is a similar story in the UK: “Vinyl pressing time now is well over 8 weeks something that used to be almost half that. This is due to millions (literally) of repressing’s of classic albums.

“Depending on artist we usually do a pressing of 2k and then repress if any is needed. For reissues it is usually 5k… As a standard now for bands and indie acts we press all albums on vinyl.”

It’s not delays that have the potential to derail this creaky supply chain… The WSJ reports that record labels are sometimes waiting months for orders that used to be filled in mere weeks. In an effort to boost production, the machines are being run harder (and longer) than ever before, which is increasing the risk of break-downs – leaving record factories to foot hefty repair bills. The labour-intensive nature of the pressing process itself – the creation of the master record – all of these considerations pile on to the complicated, archaic procedure.

Chris sees the biggest obstacle will be trying to keep pressing in the UK (noting that Atlantic may look to Europe to press if they are quicker).

Such is the demand that factory owners are embarking on globetrotting voyages of discovery in order to procure scrapped presses. Paying anywhere in the region of £10-25k for the privilege – and that’s before adding the costs to transform them back into their previously (working) glory.

Placing increased pressure on plants when it comes to readying special (weird) releases. Limited runs of splatter, coloured, glow-in-the-dark, even scented vinyl means that invariably pressings take longer.

As a retailer Martin offers an alternative viewpoint when it comes to vinyl’s challenges:

“Pricing very much depends on how many of each album/single is pressed. This affects myself as retailer (the cost to me) and the customer (the cost to them). Moving forward we could certainly use more pressing plants in the world to ease delays!”

“I believe that the power of the record store to inspire is still alive and well, and that their importance to our next generation of musicians is crucial.” Dave Grohl – Foo Fighters frontman and ambassador of Record Store Day 2015

Big Ideas that changed the world: Communication

Communication through the ages

Without a resilient communications system modern-day society would crawl to a halt. As technology has evolved so too have our businesses, commerce,  transport systems, and media networks.

Today we’re taking a look at how people communicated before such modern enablers as email and the Internet. Starting with hieroglyphics and taking in everything from smoke signals, to television, radio, right up to the electronic messages of this modern age.

See how we learnt a thing or two from the American Indians and discover the perils of finding a message in a bottle.

Hieroglyphics

The Egyptians used a kind of writing called Hieroglyphics. A hieroglyph used pictures to represent people, animals and objects. The origin of the word is Greek and its translation means sacred carving.

Ancient Egyptians wrote hieroglyphs on papyrus reed (an early form of paper if you will) and were also to be found carved into stone, often adorning the walls of tombs dedicated to their fallen.

Smoke signals

The smoke signal is a form of visual communication required for relaying messages over a long distance. The signal is made by creating or interrupting a column of smoke. Its roots lie in ancient China where it was used by soldiers defending the Great Wall.

Tribes of American Indians each devised their own communication system – making their signals unique. Nowadays smoke is still used in Rome to indicate the appointment of a new Pope.

Message in a bottle

Made famous thanks to that song by The Police. The message in a bottle was once the oft idyllic and romantic notion of throwing a bottle into the sea, in the hope that one day someone discovers it washed up on a beach.

When English ships were under attack by the Spanish Armada, Elizabeth I relied on this form of communication to receive messages from her fleet. In fact it was considered so important she hired an official ‘Uncorker of Bottles’, should if anyone other than the post holder opened a bottle they would face an untimely end.

Snailmail

The postal service is the official system for collecting, conveying, and delivering letters and parcels to another place. Its roots lie in the relay system of the Persian empire. People on horseback could transfer written messages at one relay station to fresh carriers who could then transport it to another station.

The founding of The Post Office in 1635 transformed written communication and pioneered postal services. In the 1830s it was the first to issue adhesive stamps as proof of advance payment for mail.

Bramlette-Cylinder-Press

Printing press

Faster dissemination of news was made possible by the invention in Europe of movable type by the German printer Johann Gutenberg. Gutenberg is traditionally identified as the first European to print with hand-set type cast in moulds.

Carrier pigeon

Carrier Pigeon is the name given to a breed of the common rock pigeon originally developed in England for its homing instincts. It was typically used for transporting messages, but over time has gradually lost its homing instincts.

They are most regaled for their work during World War I and World War II, where their bravery was awarded. Nowadays the humble homing pigeon continues the carrier’s work, proving that pigeon post isn’t just a load of old feathers.

Radio waves

Believe it or not but the origins of radio are not of this world. Radio is a system of communication using electromagnetic waves propagated through space. Despite its more popular leanings as a means of broadcast entertainment, radio waves can also be found in television, radar, telephone and space communication.

We cannot attribute the discovery of radio to one singular event, developments in the study of radio spiralled after Heinrich Rudolf Hertz discovered electrical waves. Then in 1896 an Italian inventor named Guglielmo Marconi transmitted a signal that exceeded 1.6 km (1 mi). In 1904 John Ambrose Fleming developed the first ever radio valve.

Telephone

The first telephone capable of sending and receiving speech transmission was introduced and patented by a Scottish inventor named Alexander Graham Bell.

The science behind telecommunications involves the conversion of sound waves into electrical signals. In modern usage the telephone references a system which allows the sending of not only a user’s voice but also data, pictures, or any other information which can be encoded and converted into electrical energy.

Morse code

Morse code is the original telegraph alphabet devised by the American inventor Samuel F. B. Morse.

It delivers messages via rhythm; a message is comprised of short and long elements that each represent letters, numerals and punctuation among other special characters. These are sometimes referred to as “dots” and “dashes” or “dits” and “dahs”. Morse code saw active use within the sea and naval community until 1999 when it was retired to make way for radio and satellite systems.

Sputnik 1

Satellite

Sputnik 1 was launched by the USSR in 1957. It was the first in the line of early artificial satellites. Sputnik was essentially an aluminium sphere that ensconced a radio transmitter. The transmitter allowed itself to be tracked by sending signals back to Earth.

This pioneering early exploration paved the way for further communications satellites which have since graced us with modern-day telephony, satellite television, satellite internet and satellite navigational systems.

Facsimile (Fax)

A facsimile transmission or fax is the electrical transmission of printed and written material, photographs, or drawings. Facsimile transmission is achieved by radio, telephone, or undersea cable.

Nowadays it is considered something of a dying breed; computers are now able to replicate the functions of the fax machine and with the advent of e-mail, the usefulness of fax could soon be made redundant.

Instant Message (IM)

We’ve come a long way since the transmission of the first message sent at 10.30PM on October 29 1969. The message was written by Charley Kline and supervised by UCLA Professor Leonard Kleinrock and consisted of the letters ‘lo’. The transmission was supposed to read ‘Login’ but due to a system crash only two letters made it through! The message was successfully resent an hour later.

Email

The first email message was sent in 1971 by an engineer named Ray Tomlinson, one of the pioneers of the internet. He showed how a messaging facility that could be used by several users on a single computer could be extended so that it worked between a number of computers. Tomlinson decided that the @ sign should be used to designate the receiving machine, and so email as we know it was born.

Short message service (SMS)

SMS is a text messaging service that allows for the sending of messages up to 160 characters in length between mobile phones and pagers. Due to the length constraints texters compose their messages in text speak, or txt spk (note here the adaptation of the English language).

Got a Big Idea yourself? We want to hear about it! Tweet your Big Idea using #BigIdeas2015 and visit bigideassummit.com to become part of something very special.

Secrets of the Orient: uncovering Singapore’s frothy supply chain

Singapore is consuming more wine than ever before

The popularity of booze in Asia is growing – in a recently published report it was revealed that alcohol consumption in China is increasing at such a pace it has left Britain, the US, and even the Irish in the dust.

Elsewhere within Asia, (southeast to be precise) alcohol has been hitting the headlines for similar reasons… Singapore has come a long way from Tiger beer; buoyed by a buzzing craft beer movement and the exemption of duty on imported wine and liquor in 2009, Singaporeans are quaffing back more bubbles than ever.

Evidence of such an upsurge can be observed through the announcements of policy-makers, for instance The China Morning Post reports on how Singapore is clamping down on late-night public drinking. According to Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean the booze controls are a response to consistent complaints from Singaporeans about drunkenness in the common areas of housing estates.

During our time at Procurement Week 2015 in Cardiff we spoke to Peter Woon about the evolving procurement landscape in Singapore and across Asia. Peter serves on a multitude of different professional boards including the Supply Chain Asia Board of Advisors, and Advisory Council for IACCM Board of Directors.

Peter on the changing face of Singapore’s supply chains

It’s a hub for almost everything – from manufacturing hi-tech goods to bio-pharmaceuticals, chemicals, aerospace, MROs, and most-recently in the last five years it has become a regional wine hub… The consumption of wine in Asia is growing, all through Hong Kong, and Singapore… It’s a very different ball game altogether.

What has caused this newfound popularity? And more importantly, why Singapore?

You have all the big players, all the logistic players, and the flagships in Singapore. Big companies are moving their central procurement teams here [from India], global headquarters, regional headquarters – they are then flying out of Singapore and moving things within the region.

As you know 40 per cent of the world’s manufacturing from Europe and the US has moved over to Asia. It has started moving to South Asia and then China, from China to India and Vietnam.

Singapore has so far done well – it has found a niche. It is smart, nimble and fast, so has developed something of a competitive edge. And it’s not just been achieved by having these hubs, to have the hubs you need to have support – the infrastructure support. Being centrally located is great, but you also need the financial support – having all of the banks in Singapore makes transactions easier. Plus all of the big insurance companies are there, so the jurisdiction, legislation, and contract management is all transparent – you’ve got everything you need to do business. If you don’t have all of this support, then you’re not attractive enough…