All posts by Procurious HQ

How to develop your skills in just 5 minutes

Ahead of some fairly-sizeable changes to Procurious next week, we thought we’d take a moment to highlight some of the smaller things that might have passed you by.

Learning resources

Have you seen what’s behind the ‘Learning’ menu?

There are two different types of learning material available on Procurious. Free and paid. You’ll be able to immediately differentiate between the two – as all paid videos will clearly display their price upfront.

However, all paid videos offer a short 30 second sampler (so you can see what you’re getting before you commit).

From the Learning homepage simply select a video of your choosing

Watch training videos on Procurious

Click the ‘Free enrol now’ button to add the selected video to your basket and unlock all the lessons associated with it.

Should you select a paid video instead, you’ll see a ‘Add this class to cart’ button.

If a video is made-up of multiple parts (or lessons), you’ll see the contents of the video in the handy ‘Lesson tree’ to the left of the player.

Discussions on ProcuriousDiscussions

Discussions can be accessed from the ‘Discussions’ button on the main navigation – you’ll also see the latest conversations appear to the right of your ‘Community’ feed too.

We’re working making the hottest topics even more discoverable around the site, but it’s encouraging to see that more and more of you are getting involved!

Twitter

Did you know that we’re also on Twitter?

You can find Procurious tweeting regularly, so head on over and follow @procurious_ for all the latest.

Supply chains need to take action to fight ‘fast fashion’

Young women working in a sweat shop

The fast fashion dilemma

The move toward ‘fast fashion’ is putting major pressure on those working in the procurement departments.

Fashion can cycle in and out of retail stores across the globe in a matter of weeks; putting those in procurement under constant pressure to ensure their supply chain is clean.

For many professionals working in this field, it’s a perpetual battle to balance the insatiable appetite for the latest dirt-cheap fashion with the constant demand that retailers stop the rag trade. Though perhaps not surprisingly, it’s pretty much impossible to find anyone willing to go on the record about how they tackle this issue to ensure their fast fashion supply chain is clean.

There are industry whispers that many procurement missions to places like China can result in more questions than answers. Often, a myriad of ‘agents’ acting on behalf of other sections of the supply chain make it extremely difficult for those in procurement to truly understand who they’re hiring, and whether they’re the sort of ethical supplier you’re hoping for.

This cry for help was found sewed into a Primark garment earlier this week.
This cry for help was found sewed into a Primark garment earlier this week. Darren Britton/Wales News Service

Most recently in Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued a warning about a dangerous dye found in jeans on sale in Australian stores.

Tests uncovered clothes with high concentration of the dyes, which sparked recalls of more than 121,000 items from retailers including Myer, Target, Rivers, Trade Secret and Just Jeans. A number of children’s clothes, including jeans from Myer, Just Jeans and Target, were included in the recall.

This situation will no doubt have caused major headaches for someone working in procurement, somewhere along the line. It’s also an example of why it’s so important for those in procurement to know where and how garments are being made.

After all, it doesn’t take much more than a few questions to be asked and some information to be shared on social media for a major brand to cop a beating over a supplier that’s possibly a long way down the supply chain.

However, some of the big brands have been working hard to clean up their act.

H&M, which is now in Australia, wants to prove to consumers that it’s doing the right thing. According to media reports, H&M has put a plan in place to avoid sourcing fabrics from endangered forest and also promote the use of fabrics that come from Forest Stewardship Council certified plantations. The company will also work to build traceable and sustainable production of these fabrics in its own supply chain.

For other major brands, the answer lies in innovation.

Stephen Denning, supply chain expert and author of the book Radical Management says brands like Zara have solved the problem of how to get disciplined execution with continuous innovation. “The way they lay out their factories, the design team is right in the middle of the factory, so that the whole process of learning from the manufacturers and vice versa is horizontal,” Denning was quoted as saying in The Business of Fashion.

People of Procurious, where do you stand on this “fast fashion” fixation? Make your voice heard and  leave your comments below.

What’s it like to be a procurement professional in Dubai? Farshad Bahmed speaks

Ladies and gentlemen please be upstanding for Farshad Bahmed.

Our #firstmovers series profiles those members who we feel truly embody Procurious, and go to show just how “rich” and global our network is becoming.

Farshad is a senior consultant for A.T. Kearney, and works out of Dubai. You can find out more about him – here.

Farshad Bahmed speaks of strong demand for procurement professionals in GCC countries
Farshad Bahmed speaks of strong demand for procurement professionals in GCC countries. Look at him go!

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

Farshad: I work mostly for clients in the GCC. As opposed to other parts of the world, especially EU and US, the Procurement functions here are still in a developing phase. That’s why quite a lot of focus is on developing the internal capabilities i.e., people, processes, etc., Obviously driving cost savings is expected from any Procurement function and hence strategic sourcing programs are also picking up very fast.

Overall, I believe organizations in GCC are realizing the value of Procurement beyond their operational work and depending on them to create value in terms of cost savings, innovation, product development and other critical value generating areas.

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

Farshad: The demand for Procurement professionals is immense in GCC partly owing to the fact that very few academic programs cater to Supply Chain / Procurement in this region and hence there is still a lot of dependency for “importing” this critical skill set from outside the region.

The Procurement teams are growing and becoming more influential, which is good news for the profession.

Procurious: Are you usually an early adopter? (Perhaps you’ve been a “first mover” with something else…)

Farshad: I work mostly for other companies (my clients) on Procurement consulting projects and usually “adoption” of global best practices has been a little delayed. But as I mentioned earlier, organizations are now waking up to the importance of having an efficient and effective Procurement function. And the fact that I can help different companies in their journey towards Procurement excellence gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Procurious: Why did you join Procurious?

Farshad: Procurious attracted me as it is probably the first genuine social network for Procurement professionals.

I believe it is important for Procurement as a profession to create a strong identity and social networks such as Procurious can go a long way in helping popularize Procurement and help it get the deserved due credit.

Procurious: How did you find out about us?

Farshad: I am a frequent reader of Supply Management (both the website and magazine) and this is where I got to know about Procurious.

Procurious: What are you hoping to get out of the network?

Farshad: Connecting with other like-minded Procurement professionals, share and learn more about the profession and contribute in any way I can to market this interesting profession further.

Procurious: And finally, are you going to invite your peers?

Farshad: I will try in a personal capacity.

Many thanks to Farshad for contributing and answering our questions.

If you would like to be considered for a future profile, please drop Matt Farrington Smith a line – he’d love to hear from you! (Bribes may or may not be encouraged…)

Meet our other #firstmovers:
Harold (Hal) Good

Are limes leaving a bitter taste in your mouth? Find out why…

*We never claimed to be experts of all-things green, but we can tell you a thing or two about supplies…

The past seven days has delivered bad news for Tequila fans… Beats headphones were banned from World Cup, and adidas have been eyeing-up sustainable solutions. It’s all going-off…

Here’s the news in-brief:

Prices of Mexican limes have quadrupled following poor harvest

Supply Chain Prices

· Heavy rains and a poor winter crop has caused a spike in the price of Mexican limes, quadrupling since the beginning of the year

· Mexico exports 467,000 tons of lemons and limes each year globally and these prices will affect the USA in particular

· It’s also bad news around the rest of the world for anyone who drinks tequila or Corona…

Read more at Spend Matters

Sustainability (Germany)

· The adidas Group announced a strategic partnership with bluesign technologies to drive sustainable solutions in their supply chain

· The partnership will include environmental auditing on chemical management processes, as well as provision of information on the use of sustainable materials in manufacturing

Read more at Sustainable Brands

Ethics (UK)

· The UK government has been called upon to create a program reinforcing the requirement for ethical standards in public service contracting

· The Committee on Standards in Public Life also called upon government departments to consider ethics as a “professional commercial capability requirement” in all contracts

Technology (UK)

· Procurement professionals should fully embrace new technology as part of the transformation from a transactional to strategic function

· ‘The Buying Game’ roundtable in Manchester said that there needed to be a shift in culture in order for professionals to get full benefit from the technology

Read more at Supply Management

Consumer News

· The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has won a court case against Australian supermarket Coles

· Coles’ claim that all their bread was baked fresh in store daily, was successfully challenged as some of their par-baked products were actually produced off-site

Read more at ABC News 

Technology (USA)

· Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk, has written an open blog to all companies allowing them to use the company’s patents in their own products

· Musk believes that by sharing the technologies it will drive more companies to produce electric cars to the benefit of the environment

Read more at Supply Chain 24/7

Beats have been banned in stadiums around Brazil

Brand Marketing

· FIFA have banned Beats headphones from inside stadiums at the Football World Cup in Brazil

· Beats, owned by Apple, are popular with public and athletes alike, but as Sony are a partner sponsor of the tournament, the move has been made to protect their market

Read more at CNet

World-class Procurement (Canada)

· Kurt Albertson of The Hackett Group has highlighted how organisations should be focusing on innovation to grow their revenue

· However, an issue cited was how innovation is being defined, with a number of different definitions offered by CPOs

Read more at Purchasing B2B

Child Labour

·  As World Day against Child Labour (12th June) was marked, Human Rights Watch challenged companies to prevent child labour throughout their supply chains

· Throughout the world, there are still organisations conducting business with companies using child labour either knowingly or through not asking questions of their own suppliers

Read more at Huffington Post 

E-Invoicing

· Billentis has released its 2014 e-invoicing report

· The full report is available on the Billentis website and covers, amongst other things, China’s attempts to use e-invoicing to combat tax evasion

Hal Good fills us in on procurement in the United States

Meet Harold (Hal) Good, one of our #firstmovers

Following on from our last infographic-filled blog post, this is the first entry in a new series that will profile selected members of the community. These are all members who we feel are truly embracing the site, and go to show just how “rich” and global Procurious is becoming.

Say hello to Harold (Hal) Good. Hal is a career procurement professional with over 30 years experience in venues including airport, convention center, city, county, emergency services, hospital, public safety, public works, state, utility and public-private partnerships.

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

Hal at All Military Academies Ball held at Union League Hotel PhilaHal: I think that procurement has developed a bit differently in the United States because procurement professionals had to choose among paths to receive credentials and professional recognition.

Private sector procurement professionals were most likely to be influenced by the credentialing systems and continuing education provided by National Association of Purchasing Managers, (NAPM), now ISM, which relied heavily on manufacturing and supply chain roots.  State and local government procurement professionals tended to be drawn into the educational programs sponsored by the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, (NIGP), and its credentialing programs administered by the UPPCC.  

Contractors doing business with the US Federal Government, are committed to utilization of the FAR program which gave rise to the National Contract Association (NCMA) and its educational programs and credentials.  

This has spawned a difference in terminology and to some extent practices within the profession in the USA itself, as well as with the rest of the world.  That is probably due to the vast influence of CIPS in the international arena.

It should be noted that in the medical profession, procures are pretty much universally called the same thing.  In procurement however there is a wide variance in what is meant by something as elementary as tendering vs. bidding or tendering versus requesting proposals.  It is a situation ripe for someone to propose a universal standard that would be accepted by all. 

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

Hal: No, I don’t.  It depends on the definition of a “professional”.  In 2008, according to the Department of Labor, there were 68,000 “purchasing mangers” employed in the US.  The latest Bureau of Labor statistics estimated 504,600 “jobs” for Purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents.

Procurious: Are you usually an early adopter? (Perhaps you’ve been a “first mover” with something else…)

Hal: I have always been an early adaptor! Example: I was head of the first city procurement department in the US to do online bidding.  I pride myself on being on the cutting edge of new technology and methodology.

Procurious: How did you find out about Procurious?

Hal: I found out about it from Stephen Ashcroft of Brian Farrington Ltd.

Procurious: What are you hoping to get out of the network?

Hal: An opportunity to improve the procurement profession globally. Proactively do what it takes to make it more strategic and less function based, more emphasis on overall value and contribution to the organizational mission, less cost driven.  Also become an influential global driver for the standardization of terminology, methodology and position descriptions.

Procurious: And finally, are you going to invite your peers?

Hal: Yes!

Procurious would like to thank Hal for his time, and for answering our questions.

If you would like to be considered for a future profile, please drop Matt Farrington Smith a line – he’d love to hear from you! (Bribes may or may not be encouraged…)

Somebody just paid $1 million to say “Yo”… Is this the most pointless app ever?

Can a simple “Yo” change the way we communicate? This new Android/iOS app thinks it can…

YoApp

‘Yo’ describes itself as a “single-tap zero character communication tool” – yes, it sounds impressive when you put it like that – but peer behind its faceless purple façade and you might be left scratching your head.

What is a ‘Yo’?

Good question. When we delved into the Yo app, we initially questioned how it has managed to amass a whopping $1 million in funding (yep, you read that right). Its simplicity is clear from the start – its kaleidoscopic colour scheme reinforces this playful, carefree aesthetic. In-fact the hardest part is probably downloading and importing the unlucky recipients of your Yos (your contacts).

When you send a Yo, your contact is alerted via a push notification on their mobile, along with an audible ‘Yo’ greeting. The first few times it’s kind-of funny.

A Facebook ‘poke’ for a new generation?

While Facebook’s pokes could be easily ignored, Yo has the potential to get in your face. And as you might have guessed – this could get old, real fast.

Still, it must be doing something right. For an app that took 8 hours to create, it’s already home to 50000 users, who’ve collectively sent four million Yos (plus there’s that $1 million in funding in-case you’ve forgotten…) So as well as rising up-and-up the app charts, it’s forging ahead in the venture capital rankings too…

It’s easy of course to write it off as some trivial, throwaway app – but Yo does cause us to ponder the validity of push notifications and their potential usefulness both inside and outside of the workplace.

Jesse Pinkman - Breaking Bad. Copyright AMC
Breaking Bad’s Jesse Pinkman was known for yelling “Yo!” a lot. We reckon he’s downloaded it already.

The importance of push notifications

Push notifications (sometimes known as push messaging) are nothing new – if you own a mobile phone then you’ll have no-doubt come across push services at some point. Push is linked to a publish/subscribe model – so if you’ve ever signed up to a news service (or channel), it’s highly likely you’ll have received the content through push messaging.

Could an app like Yo therefore be used to our advantage? Imagine this, what if we could send a Yo (or push alternative) to a buyer/purchaser/supplier to inform them of the following scenarios: Stock is low – need to re-order, alert to quality issue, goods have been delivered, goods have not been delivered, etc.

Of course there are other potential uses for good – we think it would work effectively in emergency situations, with Yos being sent to relevant parties to take action.

What do you make of Yo: Is it just another flash in the pan, or is there the potential for interesting use elsewhere?

Yo can be downloaded for free from both the Google Play and iOS store  – there appear to be two listings however, look for the one made by Life Before Us LLC.

Procurious is like the 2014 World Cup – so is your country represented?

Copyright: Flickr
Procurious truly has World Cup fever…

Here from our crow’s nest at Procurious HQ it’s clear to see that London has gone football crazy. Fever for the FIFA World Cup 2014 is infectious, sweeping the nation, leaving many a hangover in its wake. But it doesn’t just end there… It’s traversing oceans, hot-footing over deserts, grappling-up mountains and more.

We’d be foolish if we didn’t liken Procurious to this major global event… although wholly different in context, we are quietly spreading our membership far and wide, and making headlines for all the right reasons.

After a star-turn in Supply Management, we’re happy to report that Procurious has enjoyed a surge in sign-ups (that’s over 250 new members) – so thanks to all who’ve hopped onboard of late.

Read the Supply Management article

Procurious goes global – 83 countries in 36 days

Procurious-Insights-infographic-v02
Click on the infographic to view full size.

We tasked our design wizards to come up with something that perfectly charts Procurious’ global reach – and we think this infographic speaks volumes about our growth to-date.

Please feel free to share this across social media (whether that be Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or even here on Procurious).

That’s not all – over the next week we will be running profiles on selected members of the community to show just how “rich” and global Procurious is becoming.

Generation Procurement: Paul Holland

Paul Holland

Like so many, Paul Holland didn’t have specific ambitions to work in procurement. But after his boss pulled him away from his usual duties to work on a procurement project, he found his niche.

“I had no idea how in-depth procurement was at first, and what value you can create for your organisation through the role. It gives you so much scope to explore other aspects of the business.”

The Melburnian works for transport provider Transurban, where he’s been stepping into bigger shoes every year or two since 2007.

He’s managing the current procurement transformation project within the corporate behemoth. The company has chosen the Ariba solution and is part-way through implementing a full end-to-end solution including sourcing, contract management, supplier performance management, spend analysis and requisition to pay functions. This will be complemented by a new procurement operations team, which Paul is also in the process of building.

“This is a huge undertaking for us and will bring major efficiencies and automation to the business. We’re also growing the role that procurement plays within the company, which is why we need to be smarter in the way we operate,” he says.

The implementation will take around 10 months and once complete, will mark his biggest professional achievement to date.

“In the past, we were rubber stamping the procurement process within the company, but now we’re making huge changes to that and the business is now realising the real value that a procurement team can deliver.

“I love the fact that the job changes every day and we can influence and change entire processes to make them more efficient at all levels within the business.”

Paul isn’t sure what his professional future might bring, but says as long as he’s still being challenged by new opportunities and enjoying his role, he’ll be happy.

He plays football on weekends and is a young father, which he names as his biggest achievement in life. He’s also working towards an Executive MBA, which he expects to complete by the end of the year.

 

Why are supply chain disruption and sustainability our hot topics of the week?

Marks and Spencer

Hello and welcome to your one-stop shop for everything Procurement news-related.

Find out which e-procurement organisation Selectica has acquired… UK darlings of fashion and homeware, Marks and Spencer (M&S) – talk about sustainability, and we learn which countries are most at risk from supply chain disruption.

So without further ado, lets see what’s been going on in the world…

Key Skills for Procurement
• Continuing the blog from the previous week, CPO Rising highlights skills that are required for procurement
• Business Consulting skills can help procurement professionals define scope, manage projects and capture requirements more effectively

Read more at CPO Rising

Iasta acquisition (USA)
• Contract management software provider Selectica has acquired e-procurement organisation Iasta in a deal worth US$7m
• Selectica plan to use the new acquisition to enhance their customer offering by integrating the contract management and e-procurement offerings for enterprises

Global Sustainability (UK)
• UK company Marks and Spencer plan to take their ‘Plan A’ sustainability scheme global
• Plan A 2020, will include new targets around worldwide sourcing principles around issues such as human rights and gender equality

Supply Chain Disruption (Global)
• The FM Global resilience index shows which countries are most susceptible to disruption in their supply chains
• Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Kyrgyzstan were named as the countries most susceptible to disruption
• Norway, Switzerland and Canada topped the list of nations most resistant to such disruption

Read more at Supply Management

Impact of Leadership (USA)
• Guest blog from Samir Patel (Director, GEP) on the Impact of Leadership on Procurement Organisations
• Emphasises the need for strong leadership in Procurement functions and alignment with the wider organisation when considering strategy
• Also gives some good recommendations beyond leadership for optimising the procurement organisation

Read more at the SIG Industry Blog 

Tips for Negotiation (USA)
• Some tips are offered for negotiating when you are in a weak position and how to make the best business case you can
• Tips include being fully prepared, asking questions and listening and keeping cool during the negotiation

Read more at Harvard Business Review

Procurement Focus (USA/UK)
• New study shows that procurement focus is shifting from just cost reduction to innovation and influence
• The Hackett Group study found that only half of the executives surveyed said that cost reduction was their key strategic focus for this year
• 69% of the organisations highlighted a focus on supplier innovation in the coming year

Read more at SDC Executive

How did you get into procurement? Tell us your story

Empty profile page
Make that little guy happy… fill-out your profile

Here at Procurious we believe procurement has an image problem. As a profession it’s been saddled with ‘uncool’ and outdated stereotypes – the time has now come for us to join forces and become more collectively valued.

This is where you come in… Your Procurious profile is the place to show-off your wares to the world, so why not flesh it out and tell your story!

Let other Procurious members know about your journey; was it a straightforward career path, or did you take some wild turns along the way?

Check out what some of our members have already revealed in the Generation Procurement blog series:

Tony Huang
Jason Ng
Georgina Portelli

Let us know if you would like to be profiled and featured on Procurious for all to see!

Fleshing out your ‘My Story’ page

Your ‘My Story’ page is where the magic happens.  Just click on your profile picture, and hit the ‘Edit profile’ button (or locate the drop-down menu). So no matter where you are on the site, you can update your profile with ease.

Edit profile

From here you are able to detail professional information such as your function, industry details, level of responsibility, and procurement system used.

You can also let other members view your education history (along with relevant qualifications), and work experience.

Just click inside a text box to add, remove or amend details as you see fit.

If you want to make yourself freely contactable to other Procurious members, why not also fill-out your contact details too? You can specify an email address, phone number, and Skype username.

Get the most out of Procurious

Here on the blog, we post helpful tips and guides on all-things Procurious every week. Here’s some you might have missed:

Add a picture to your profile
Control your notifications
How to use the ‘User list’

And finally… everybody loves an infographic

The Faculty spoke to more than 100 CPOs and Procurement Managers – here’s what they said:

Faculty infographic

Read more here

Come back next week to learn more. Cheers!