All posts by Procurious HQ

Order and procurement progress in Brazil

We quizzed Procurious members Luiz Paganini and Elaine Santana on the state of procurement in Brazil. Here is what they had to say…

Procurious asks: How do you think procurement differs in your country, as opposed to elsewhere in the world?

Luiz: I believe that procurement in Brazil is still in its early stages. Our business culture is not used to have a person dedicated to Strategic sourcing and another person dedicated to spot processes, what we see most in companies is a person responsible for both jobs, which in my opinion, affects the performance in both cases. Saying that, Brazil does not have a good logistics infrastructure, despite its great potential to have it. Besides that, the experience you gain working in this area is really unique, because, you can work with many types of materials, in many types of industries and basically, if you have experience in procurement, you are able to work with many different materials and products.

Elaine: Brazil is now looking for strategic sourcing specialists, which was not something considered important about 5 years ago. And it seems that only the major companies are looking for this specific skill…

Do you know how many other procurement professionals are in your country?

Luiz: It really depends on the importance companies give to procurement departments, the company’ size and the material’s complexity. As an example, I have worked in teams with almost 60 buyers and contract managers, and I currently work in a team with 3 buyers, which manage contracts and issue POs.

How did you get started in procurement?

Luiz: My first internship was in a chemical company and I was the international purchasing intern. The funny thing about it is that I really wanted to get a job where I could use my English, because I really enjoy speaking it. When I started I used English every day – what made me fall in love with procurement was my first manager, who explained to me the importance of procurement for a business and what benefits can be reached by doing an efficient job in this area.

Elaine: I was in an automotive company as an assistant in Logistics. The role evolved to Foreign Trade and then Purchasing.

What do you see in procurement’s future in your country and how can social media play a role?

Luiz: I reckon that Brazil is moving forward regarding procurement techniques and tools and I suppose that this movement will lead to a huge transformation where we will see more contract managers, giving the necessary quality and generating better results in companies all over the country.

Regarding social media, I believe that it has strengthened our relations with another professionals all over the word, which results in exchanging and sharing experiences, updating these professionals and making them to want change (which in my opinion, is a really good thing).

Elaine: I’ve noticed that Engineers are being targeted [specifically] in this area – and mainly those in the automotive industry. So it looks like people are looking more and more for technical skills in this area.

Why did you join Procurious?

Luiz: Being able to connect with other procurement professionals from many different countries has been really good to me, because it makes me see that I can be the change needed in this area. Besides the fact that I really would like to build an international career, so I reckon that building a strong network in the procurement area is a huge step for me to achieve it.

What are you hoping to get out of the network?

Luiz: Knowledge, contacts, jobs opportunities and partnerships.

Elaine: I hope to get to know more people and learn how procurement works in other countries.

If you’d like to be featured in a future instalment and are keen to fly the flag for your country, why not drop us a line here?

550 enslaved fishermen freed from remote Indonesian island

The Indonesian government announced this week that it is making moves to return foreign fishermen (mostly from Myanmar) to their home country after an Associated Press (AP) report revealed they were being held under conditions of slavery.

The report detailed the plight of hundreds of men and women, who were trapped in the Indonesian village of Benjina. It is alleged that the men and woman were moved (in some cases sold by slave traders) to Indonesia to work on fishing boats. The working conditions on the Indonesian fishing vessels were dire. The AP reported that workers were not paid, were forced to drink unclean water, work 20-22 hour shifts without days off and are beaten if they try to rest or complain.

Once the boats return to port, their catch is emptied and then shipped to Thailand where it enters global seafood supply chains. The AP report highlighted several high profile American brands that were carrying products sourced from the same Thai factories that were buying seafood from the slave vessels. The organisations named included Kroger, Albertsons, Safeway, Wal-Mart, and the nation’s largest food distributor, Sysco. As well as distributing to the US the report also highlights that seafood from these factories is making its way to Europe and Asia.

US government leaps to action

This case, (one among others), has prompted action from the US government, with Barack Obama signing an executive order that recently came into effect, requiring all government contractors to ensure their supply chains did not utilise slave labour.

It also looks likely that U.S Rep. Carolyn Maloney will reintroduce her proposed legislation that will force large firms (those with over $100 million in global receipts) to spell out their policies for ensuring slave labour stays out of their supply chains.

Speaking on the complexity of managing global supply chains Jeff Tanenbaum, a partner at Nixon Peabody’s labor and employment practice said: “It is a difficult aspect of supply chain management and compliance operations. When talking about potential illegal and or horrific behaviours it can be very difficult to uncover them, and it is hard to effectively address them until they are uncovered.”

While the news that workers from Benjina are being sent home is good, it seems likely that for as long as companies and consumers in the US, Asia and Europe demand the lowest possible prices for their seafood that products sourced through slave labour will find their way into the supply chain.

Until supply managers alter their approach to purchasing seafood and create more collaborative approaches to these problems with their suppliers, it seems certain we will continue to hear reports of such incidences. The quote below sums up this sentiment effectively…

If Americans and Europeans are eating this fish, they should remember us. There must be a mountain of bones under the sea – Hlaing Min, runaway fisherman Benjina

Big Ideas 2015: How to be a Digital Delegate and get involved

Big Ideas Summit 2015 - how do I get involved?

Chances are if you’ve visited Procurious in the last few weeks you’ll have seen mention of something we‘re calling the Big Ideas Summit 2015 that‘s due to kick-off in London on 30 April. Good for you, but why should I care?‘ you might ask…

You’ve read all about our Influencers, the issues affecting procurement and supply chains in 2015, maybe even come-up with a question or two – but now you want to be a part of it.

It just so happens we’re billing the Big Ideas Summit 2015 as a ‘digitally-led’ conference. So it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can still get involved as a Digital Delegate and catch the day’s discussions as they happen. Interactivity is key!

How can I participate?

If you haven’t already make sure you’ve joined our Big Ideas Summit 2015 Group on Procurious. Click on the link or find it by visiting the ‘Groups’ area.

Beforehand make sure to submit your questions for the various sessions (and Influencers) on the Big Ideas Group page. You can get all of the schedule details here so there’s still plenty of time to come up with a question.

In the run-up to 30 April we’re posting articles that shed light on our key topics of risk, talent, technology and cost. As well as interviews with our Influencers, group discussions, and guest blog posts.

On the day: Keep your eyes peeled – the Group will be THE place for getting the updates from London as they happen.

We’ll also be live-tweeting from the event. Join in by following along with our tweets, and Tweet us @procurious_ using #BigIdeas2015 so we can pick your questions up!

Facebook user? We’ll be updating Facebook throughout the day with photos of key moments and our Influencers in action.  You can like Procurious on Facebook here.

Keeping the discussion going: Following the event we’ll be posting footage from our sessions, and our Influencer’s very own 3-minute ‘Big Ideas’ videos.

Once again, the only way to access these videos will be to join the Group.

Invite others: The more people that join the discussions and get involved, the better!

Use the Procurious ‘Build your Network’ feature to send invitations to your LinkedIn and email contacts. Tweet your Twitter followers (remembering to use #BigIdeas2015), post to your LinkedIn network, or Facebook news feed.

Mergers and acquisitions in Transport sector set to supersede 2014 levels

In 2015, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the Transport and Logistics sector will supersede the levels seen in 2014, according to KPMG’s latest Transport Tracker.

The first quarter of 2015 has already seen completed global transactions worth £6.7 billion, and further acquisitions valued at £6.7 billion have already been announced. In 2014 the increase in the volume of transactions resulted in £39.6 billion worth of deals.

The report found that purchase prices rose which meant that the average business valuation of transactions in the transport sector increased in 2014 to 11.9x of EBITDA, compared to 9.0x in 2013. This was due to the increase in strategic acquisitions and the increased appetite for takeovers of transport companies combined with low availability of suitable target companies that are for sale. The trend is set to continue in 2015.

Other key trends that the analysis has revealed as drivers for the continued increase and high level of M&A activity in 2015 include:

  • Consolidation, geographical expansion and vertical specialisation remain the predominant reasons for transactions in the sector, as evidenced by the bid by FedEx for TNT Express.  This is an example of a classic geographic play to strengthen FedEx’s European ground and air network. The relatively high multiple/premium to share price suggests that FedEx sees significant synergies in this deal.
  • The increase in private investment in transport infrastructure operators in the sector will remain a key driver of business transactions. Governments in both emerging and mature markets increasingly lack the financial flexibility to ensure sufficient investment in infrastructure. This increasingly comes from private investors, who are in turn in search of stable sources of income.
  • M&A activity has evolved in the context of the increasing digitization of the transport industry and the strong influence of the growing e-commerce business. To develop new business opportunities, many large logistics companies are increasingly targeting shares into specialized IT and e-commerce enterprises. Even the more traditional maritime industry has recognized the trend for targeted investment in IT companies. In the future, transactions of this model will increasingly characterise the M&A events in the transport sector.

UK head of transport at KPMG, James Stamp, said: “Total deal values of transport & logistics transactions in 2014 amounted to £39.6 billion and we expect this figure to be superseded in 2015. In addition to high-volume transactions for the purpose of inorganic growth (particularly by US companies as a result of the strength of the US dollar) we expect selective acquisitions of specialized IT and e-commerce companies will increasingly shape the M&A strategies of transport companies.”

4 technology trends we’ll tackle at Big Ideas 2015

4 technology trends for 2015

New innovations in technology have the potential to transform supply chain management, whether that be through streamlining inventory, improving accountability, or providing your existing operations with a shot in the arm… But it’s a tough job to constantly stay ahead of the curve – how are you supposed to know if the trend you’re picking is going to be a winner, and not just some flash-in-pan?

At the Procurious Big Ideas Summit on April 30, Oracle’s Tim Hughes (along with other industry experts) will explain the current state of play and give Procurious’ digital delegates an insight on what’s to come next.

Today we’re climbing into our driverless cars and talking all-things Tech. Here are four big tech trends that have the potential to drastically change the face of procurement forever.

  1. Big Data

We are a society of data producers and like it or not, our entire digital activity is being carefully monitored and recorded. In 2013 Facebook was recording in excess of 4.5 billion ‘likes’ everyday. That number has likely skyrocketed since. Interactions like this and billions of others across the globe are being captured, stored and utilised to build a more accurate picture of how we behave and interact with our environment. So far, so Orwellian. Big Brother is always watching.

But we shouldn’t fear this omnipresence… Big data has already been utilised successfully to track the spread of disease, predict election results and assist in emergency management situations. For procurement professionals big data can be harnessed to forecast market trends, understand supplier risk, identify new savings, create collaboration with suppliers and understand how environmental factors could impact supply.

  1. Apps

Despite early adopters integrating mobile technologies into their business processes over the last five years – the mobile business sector is only just starting to find it feet. Apps have surged to prominence in recent years with mobile web users spending a staggering 86 per cent of their browsing time in apps, opposed to only 14 per cent in traditional mobile web browsers. With the gap between these statistics widening year upon year, the age of the app is well and truly upon us.

We’ve become so accustomed to checking our phone in our personal lives; it should come as no surprise that more importance is being placed on the mobile in our working lives too.

As workplace apps reach new levels of capability and maturity we can expect to see procurement teams leveraging mobile devices to better streamline tried and tested (but sometimes archaic) processes. How about approving purchase orders for offsite staff on the fly? Utilising cameras for receipt and barcode scanning in warehouses? Generating real-time reports on the go, or utilising GPS positioning to understand precisely where is inventory is flowing? These suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg…

  1. The Sharing Economy

Thanks to companies like Airbnb, Uber, Hassle and Netflix we are seeing a fundamental shift in the way consumers pay for products. No longer do we ‘buy and own’ products – instead we’re borrowing and renting with a much higher frequency.

These changes in the way we consume films, taxis and hotel rooms are being reflected in the corporate world as more firms look to leverage ‘pay-as-you-go’ ownership models. This is a structural change in purchasing habits that procurement managers will likely have to manage more frequently in the future. We’ve already seen an emergence in the IT procurement space with the prominence of cloud computing and software as services, the big question is – which spend categories can we turn our eye to next?

  1. Social Media

Clearly, this point is close to our heart at Procurious. Social media has well and truly embedded itself in our personal lives and its importance is starting to be realised in our professional lives as well.

In 2014 the number of Internet users worldwide stood at a colossal 2.4 billion. 2 billion of those were also frequent social media users.

On Twitter more than 500 million tweets are sent in a single 24-hour period, meanwhile two people sign-up to LinkedIn every second, and 50,000 job applications are submitted over the course of a day. Every one of these statistics is astonishing in isolation, but it’s not just the big boys that are dominating our social habits – specialist vertical networks such as Spiceworks (for IT pros), OilPro (for oil and gas professionals), and Procurious are starting to find their own followings.

In-fact many of the large ERP’s (SAP, Oracle, IBM Emptoris etc.) have already integrated social media technology into their standard offerings. The strategic importance of this technology is illustrated by SAP’s acquisition of Ariba and recently Fieldglass.

While you often think of social media as a place for just sharing compelling content, short and snappy anecdotes, and authentic stories, it’s actually much more than that… Procurement and supply chain professionals are already well accustomed to working globally, often in a virtual team environment with cross-cultural suppliers and stakeholders.  Social media actually makes this process easier by facilitating networking, strengthening the sense of personal brand, and providing the collaborative tools to facilitate more effective work. Along with ongoing advancements in Cloud technology, social media certainly has a very important role to play in the future days of procurement.

What’s your Big Idea? On 30 April, Procurious will host a world-first cost leadership think-tank at The Soho Hotel in London that will be amplified to our 4500 members across 100 countries through a mixture of videos, interviews, social media and feature-writing. Discover more at www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your Big Idea using #BigIdeas2015

The Easter Supply Chain – Optimisation and Collaboration

Did you over-indulge at the weekend? Did all the kids’ Easter eggs make it to the Sunday morning Easter Egg Hunt? Whether your Easter delicacy of choice is the humble egg, sweets like jelly beans and marshmallows, or something more like a Spanish torrija, you may not realise the complicated supply chain that is required to help the Easter Bunny complete his deliveries.

In the UK, Easter sales of chocolate make up 10% of the figures for the entire year. According to the National Confectioners’ Association in the USA, around 70% of the Easter sweets purchased are chocolate, which works out to a whopping $2.1 billion spend.

And it’s not just the confectionary market that will see an increase in sales over the Easter period. According to a survey by Evans Distribution Systems, $2.9 billion will be spent on clothing and fashion, while a combined $2.7 billion will be spent on flowers, greetings cards and decorations.

Delivering all this chocolate, sweets and other items to stores requires a mammoth effort from logistics organisations around the world. Shipping efficiency, customer location, order quantities and supply chain management all have to be reviewed in order to keep up with the demand.

In the USA, Hersheys opted to optimise their supply chain around the elements of customer geographical location and grouping stock-keeping units with product groups. It is estimated that by doing this, and using off-the-shelf software, the organisation has saved itself in excess of $15 million per year.

Just Born, a confectionary manufacturer who are responsible for America’s favourite non-chocolate treat, the Peep, changed their supply chain strategy in order to cope with the huge demand for their products at Easter.

The organisation now uses distribution centres and 3PL to break bulk orders for more efficient delivery to retailers. Just Born also shares these centres with other organisations, with this collaboration further reducing the costs associated with deliveries.

An increasing use of technology for inventory management and planning is making life easier for organisations too. Barcodes can be used to manage inventories more efficiently, while also allowing for real-time tracking of stock at both distribution centres and retail outlets.

Further advancements in technologies such as ERP and MRP systems will allow organisations to further increase efficiencies, while increased collaboration will benefit not only the whole industry, but also the consumer.

So just remember, the next time you crack open that chocolate egg, there’s more than a simple process required to get it from manufacturer to shelf (and that’s before the Easter Bunny gets involved!).

If you have any ideas about the technologies being used in procurement and supply chain, or any advancements that could make a difference in the profession, let us know and we’ll add it to the discussion at the Big Ideas Summit. Or why not tell us by joining our Procurious group, or Tweeting your Big Idea using #BigIdeas2015.

Read on for the big procurement and supply chain headlines making the news this week.

Jamaican Government to spend $51m on eProcurement

  • The money will be spent on its electronic procurement system to strengthen its public procurement for purchasing and tendering agencies and suppliers.
  • The purchase will enable all of these activities to be automated and integrated in a single portal.
  • Just over $31 million will go towards the hosting server and electronic procurement system, scheduled to be in place by July.
  • Other amounts include $1.47 million to be set aside for training, $575,000 for a final project evaluation and a project audit costing of just over $1 million.

Read more at Supply Management

Advanced announces place on NHS SBS procurement framework

  • Healthcare software provider, Advanced Health & Care, has been named as an approved supplier on the NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) Healthcare Clinical Information Systems framework.
  • Advanced is one of 26 suppliers to have been chosen for the framework
  • The new framework, which has been divided into six lots, is valued at up to £1.25 billion.
  • It will operate for four years with a potential two-year extension and is free for any NHS organisation to access.
  • The aim is to offer providers a more cost effective means of procurement when tendering for healthcare systems.

Read more at Shared Services Link

Businessfriend – a new way for execs to do business

  • Businessfriend was one of the new technologies that had been launched at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
  • The app allows multiple networks and platforms to be pulled together into one place, decreasing the time taken to manage all of them
  • It has already been described as “Facebook meets LinkedIn, with a little of Office365 sprinkled in there…”
  • The programme boasts up to 2 gigabytes of free cloud storage, video chat, instant messaging, as well as adaptability to contract management systems that can be linked up into the functionality

Read on at Supply Chain Digital

Companies focusing on supply chain innovations in food and beverage industry

  • Organisations are looking to their supply chains in order to find success in food and beverage
  • Mondelez, Diageo and Nestle are just some of the big names looking at their practices to find new innovations
  • These include reduction of packaging, commitment to sustainability and reducing waste
  • It is hoped that more will follow suit when the savings from these activities become clear

Find out more at fooddive.com

Big Ideas that changed the world: Communication

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

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…

Digital is easy: talking digital transformation

nmedia/Shutterstock.com

Digital transformations are underway at most large businesses as they respond to customers’ adoption of smart devices, with organisations working hard to harness the efficiency gains arising from channelling as much as possible through websites and apps.

However, in its latest research, Coeus Consulting warns that its experience shows many such initiatives are failing through too much focus on creating a shiny new veneer of webpages and apps, with not enough thought going to the core of the business, its culture and back office systems.

The research identifies four key areas that need attention in order for any organisation to execute a successful digital transformation:

  1. Legacy IT systems: legacy IT systems and the interfaces into them require transforming, to ensure new technology is not held back by slow-moving central IT.
  2. Operational change: business transformation and process change.
  3. Culture: organisational-wide cultural change is needed to support the new ways of working (including ensuring the necessary behaviours, skills and approach)
  4. Execution: strong governance, as well as project and programme management, are needed to ensure the transformation stays focussed, on track and delivers the required benefits.

Ben Barry, Head of Strategy at Coeus Consulting and co-author of the report comments, “The pace of digital transformation is moving like never before. For companies to succeed we believe they must understand their existing landscape as well as the challenges from the complexity of new interfaces into their existing IT systems, the changes needed to business processes together with employee behavioural change.

“These all need to be addressed in order to execute a digital strategy successfully. However, we have seen these elements often get looked at late in the process, or after new technology is live, meaning little or no return on the investment.”

Matthew Headford, Head of Technology and Architecture at Coeus Consulting, also warns that “the back offices which support the shiny new digital platforms are often neglected and therefore put under strain.” 

However, Coeus says that there are nonetheless huge prizes for businesses who achieve digital success. Examples of these include:

  • Bookmaker Paddy Power has transformed itself from owning a host of local gambling organisations to becoming a successful international gambling platform.
  • Tesco surpassed the expectations of its customers by providing a new iPhone bar-code scanning app. It is a great example of a brand that stretched the use of technologies to provide greater utility to customers than even they might expect.
  • Aggregators such as comparethemarket.com and moneysupermarket.com have made shopping online for highly regulated services simple and effective (and highly profitable for these businesses in the process).

Procurious will be putting technology under the spotlight on 30 April at the Big Ideas Summit. Find out how you can get involved by joining our Procurious group, and Tweeting your Big Idea using #BigIdeas2015

How do these 130 countries rank when it comes to supply chain disruption?

FM Global (one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers) published its Resilience Index on Tuesday.

The Resilience Index is claimed to be the first “data-driven tool and repository that ranks the business resilience of 130 countries and territories to supply chain disruption.”

The tool is intended to provide supply chain managers an understanding of the risks involved in operating a supply chain in countries they’re not familiar with.

In order to achieve a resilience score (100 being most resilient and 0 being least resilient) countries are analysed across 9 key drivers of supply chain risk. These drivers are further classified into three high level categories: Economic, Risk Quality and Supply Chain Factors.

Norway’s Up and Venezuela’s Down

This year saw Norway come out on top of the rankings and Venezuela pick-up the unfortunate 130th and final ranking. Ukraine and Kazakhstan saw the largest year-on-year falls (both dropping 31 places). The former related “directly to Russian military intervention there” according to a statement that accompanied the report. The index also highlighted the ongoing conflict in Arab region with Islamic State and the Ebola outbreak of late 2014 as areas of significant concern.

Taiwan Soars

The year’s biggest climber was Taiwan, the island nation climbed 52 spots and now sits 37th overall after improving its commitment to managing natural hazards.

“This rise shows an increased awareness of the natural hazards and fire risk exposures inherent to the country, the building of new facilities to a higher level of quality and greater acceptance of risk management measures that can better existing protect facilities,” said Bret Ahnell, executive vice president at FM Global.

Speaking on the importance and relevance of this index the vice president and manager of research of FM Global said, “All of us live in a global environment now. Our daily lives are dominated by the global economic landscape that’s become increasingly brittle. The Resilience Index has been put in place to help address this issue of global risk.”

Find out more about the Resilience Index here