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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.

 

How can we make progress through the jungle of procurement?

Big Ideas panel session

In the first of our ‘Big Ideas’ panel discussions Sigi Osagie, Helen MacKenzie, Andrew MacAskill and Sarah Trota took to the stage to provide their perspectives on authentic leadership, and the challenges of trekking through the procurement jungle.

The panel are asked: What is the role of the leader in reengaging the humanity?

Helen starts things off by offering a personal story taken from her experience of working as Head of Exchequer Services in local (Scottish) government.

We’ve been on a significant journey of change in the way we do procurement. To have a vision of where you’re going, and to get the passion into the vision.

Helen likens it to adventuring through a jungle, machete in hand, clearing the way for the team in tow. There are always blockers in business, so you must find a way for your team to make things happen.

It’s also important to act as the cheerleader – she gives the great example of winning awards, and the rallying effect this has on the team. Recognition shining through.

Andrew says that it’s always about setting the belief. When you meet C-Suite people from other organisations they are more excited about the potential.

Sarah reckons it’s more of a brand challenge. How is this achieved? By working collaboratively and changing perceptions (for instance, HR is notorious for having a bad image).

Jules: There’s a belief in the IT industry that they are under-valued.

So why is it so hard to get collaboration across the board?

According to Sigi, the one industry that never has this victimhood mindset is Finance. Dollars is the value of business – even if you’re in the charity or public sector we still measure in dollars.

This opinion proves controversial: should Finance be the poster-child, and is it not the one business function that’s first to fail? (Indeed it is usually the first function to be held accountable).

Sigi says procurement has always faced an uphill struggle. There’s legacy challenges. However it has come a long way – but progress tends to be seen first in large businesses.

In a parting statement Sigi ends on a philosophical note, claiming we’re not here to do procurement, we’re here to do business.

Sarah Trota`s Big Ideas on Bringing Your Whole Self to Work

sarah-trota at Big Ideas Summit

Sarah has over 20 years experience in the commercial sector, latterly as Employee Relations Manager for Sainsbury’s. She then joined the Board at a large not for profit Housing Group, where she spent seven successful years, enjoying broadening her areas of responsibility. Today she is sharing her insights on ‘Bringing your whole self to work’ at the Big Ideas Summit. Find out more about the Summit and gain access to exclusive videos, interviews, articles, discussions and more.

Procurious asks: Sarah, you’ve been the employee relations manager at Sainsbury’s, the HR director at Waterstones and have held a board position with the NGO Circle Homes, it’s an impressive CV, tell us a little bit about what you’re working on now.

Sarah: I have set up my own offering, sarahtrotaalchemy, which offers organisation level consultancy, executive coaching and leadership intervention. My experience enables me to quickly spot the ‘word from the trees’ which enables acceleration of positive outcomes. I have a unique approach which is commercially driven, with people as the focus of positive outcomes.

Procurious: At the Big Ideas Summit you’ll be part of a panel discussing ‘bringing your whole self to work’. Do you feel like some businesses have created a organisational culture where people are not able to be themselves at work?

Sarah: For sure. Culture is simply the collective ‘way we do things around here’. Organisations need to stay tuned in (through employee surveys and discussion) on the reality of how things are. It’s a real challenge for senior leaders, who in their very senior roles can become isolated to ‘how it really is’, and often can be surrounded by leaders who maintain the status quo. Over time this can become quite damaging when culture becomes institutionalised.

Procurious: One of the things we’ve spoken about a lot at Procurious is the need for procurement professionals to develop their own personal brand. Have you got any insights around this you’d like to share with us?

Sarah: Brand is important. Brand is the external (and internal) perception of you, your organisation and your profession. Perception is a vehicle for ‘setting your stall out’ and as we now know authenticity is really important, commercially and to drive employee engagement. Shifting perception (Brand) is the work to be done, and needs to start with a reality check of measurement. The measurement can then helpfully target and prioritise what needs doing, and also help to keep track of progress.

Procurious: You won the the HR Director of the Year at the Personnel Today awards for you role at Circle Housing. We read that one of the main projects you oversaw in your time there delivered more that 1.5 million pounds in savings through HR efficiency improvements. Can you tell us a little about that project?

Sarah: I was really fortunate last year to be a judge for the annual awards for the UK overall HR Director of the year, and the finalists had delivered some really significant outcomes across different sectors. However, most organisations are commercially driven (even in not for profit organisations that measure SROI) and HR Directors are part of an executive team that are jointly responsible for delivering commercial success. I think the award that I won, recognised the commercial benefit that had been delivered from the transformation outcomes, which in the social housing sector were leading edge at that time. The 1.5m you mention was a smaller HR project that involved a complete overhaul of the recruitment process and shifting some mandatory training to an e-learning platform.

Procurious: We’re reading a lot about more flexibility in the workplace. People are working from home more and we’re starting to see firms implement innovative HR policies like unlimited leave programs. Are these sorts of changes something that you think will become business as usual in the HR space?

Sarah: I think that as human beings we broadly do what we think is right, and what will deliver positive outcomes. Engaged people deliver successful outcomes, and organisations need to measure levels of engagement and critically, identify the levers for engagement. Most organisations have big challenges and identify what they believe will deliver positive outcomes. People are key to that agenda, and in order to tap innovation and engage the whole workforce, then different ways of working will emerge and deliver successful outcomes. The successful outcomes will then deliver change in working practices. 

Andrew MacAskill`s Big Ideas on Dinosaurs In The Boardroom

Andrew MacAskill was once Managing Director at The Source, a sister company to Procurious and The Faculty. Andrew built the organisation from scratch into a leading procurement and supply chain industry search practice. A move to London saw him take the helm at Executives Online, the aim? To Transform Executive Recruitment.

Andrew will be attending the Big Ideas Summit on 30 April, to hear his Big Ideas on attracting and retaining talent join the Group!

Procurious asks: We particularly liked your post [on Procurious] about dinosaurs in the boardroom – could you talk about what needs to be done, the profession’s inability to change etc? 

Andrew: Firstly, business leaders need to confront the brutal facts and have acceptance that the world of work has changed for good.  This can be hard when your previous successes were built on previously considered solid and proven foundations that no longer exist.  However, to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs it is entirely necessary for the progression of yourself, your team and your organisation that you are agile and adapting to change constantly.

Procurious: At Executives Online (your Executive Recruitment & Interim Management Company) you are using science, craft and technology to de-risk critical hires, and to attract top talent. Those are some suitably Big Ideas! Can you tell us more? 

Andrew: Executive Search is a classic example of an industry that is rife with dinosaurs!  In essence at EO we believe that the traditional search model is broken and have spent the last 18 months disrupting the industry with a fresh approach that de-risks our clients critical leadership hires through the use of our executive-intro™  platform.  The platform is accessible via an app that allows you to review a shortlist confidentially from anywhere in the world and provides candidate insight through the use of video’s, role specific behavioural testing, benchmarking and competency testing. 

Procurious: How does social media and networking play a role in today’s hiring procedures/and then retaining said talent?

Andrew: Social media now plays a vital part on both sides of the hiring equation.  When we are headhunting top leadership talent for our clients the first thing that the potential candidate does (often whilst we are still on the phone call) is to start researching the hiring client and leadership team online.  This means that everyone should invest in social media all of the time to build strong personal and company brands – it is far more than just a job hunting channel for candidates and can help you establish your group as an employer of choice that holds on to their superstars.

Procurious: How is people management and culture changing? We’re hearing more and more about changing attitudes to flexible working, charity work, other incentives etc.

Andrew: People management is becoming more transparent, less autocratic and more authentic.  The changing world requires a collegiate bond and trust across the workforce to gather together and succeed in the challenges and opportunities ahead.  Culture is becoming an ever more important factor in how candidates select employers – generation Y in particular also favour those organisastions who they view as good “corporate citizens”.

Procurious: What value can truly strategic procurement bring to organisations? 

Andrew: A huge amount – procurement leaders are uniquely placed to take a view and add value across the full value chain.  Having a CPO at the table during risk management strategy discussions, mergers and acquisition events and strategic alliance engagements is vital to commercial success. 

Procurious: Which companies are innovating right now? (Whether that be in procurement technology, people management etc.)

Andrew: Inspired by the likes of Basecamp and WhatsApp the tech start-ups in London across areas such as Old Street and Shoreditch are throwing out the traditional people management rule book and work completely against outcomes.  They are flat in structure, have no dresscode, no fixed hours, no fixed holiday allowance and minimal internal meetings.  The approach is obviously working as tech start-ups in London are receiving more funding than ever and attracting top talent from the larger players. 

Procurious: Why should other professionals make time in their diaries to participate in the Big Ideas Summit?

Andrew: The Big Ideas Summit is an industry first that will benefit all involved.  Dedicating time to explore ideas with peers and dream a little is healthy and allows you time to reflect on the industry, your career and the future.  I have known the team behind the Big Ideas Summit for many years and can recommend the investment of time for any serious procurement professional with absolute confidence.

Procurious: And finally, gaze into the crystal ball. What’s your Big Idea for 2030? What can be achieved, what has the potential to be a true game-changer?

Andrew: My big idea for 2030 is to turn the talent acquisition industry on its head through focussing primarily on behaviours over technical skills.

Hear from 40 of the world’s biggest influencers and thought-leaders. Join the Big Ideas Group to access exclusive content from the event. 

Procurious Big Ideas Summit FAQ

Big Ideas Summit FAQ

What is it?

The Big Ideas Summit is the world’s first digitally-led think-tank for procurement and supply chain professionals. It is powered by Procurious.

When is it?

30 April 2015. Expect to see most of the action between 09.30 – 17.00 (GMT) However the thought-provoking discussions and lively debate will continue long after, and we’ll also share video footage throughout the month of May on Procurious.

Where is it?

Although the event itself will be held in at a central location in London, due to its digital nature Procurious members will still be able to get involved.

How can I join in?

You’ll need to be a registered member of Procurious – join here for free if you haven’t already. Then simply access the Big Ideas Summit Group page (which can be found here) to soak-up thoughtful opinions, participate in insightful discussion, and share your own Big Ideas with the Procurious community.

We’ll also be live tweeting throughout the day, so make sure you’re following @procurious_ to share and respond to our tweets.

Will it be live-streamed?

Procurious boasts a global audience of 5000+ procurement professionals from more than 100 countries. If we were to cater to all of these timezones, it would be a tough job – so rather than live-streaming (and making you keep awkward hours) we’ll instead share video with those who’ve registered.

I’m on the fence – why should I take part?

We’ve listed 6 of the most-compelling reasons here.

Who are the ‘Influencers’?

The term ‘influencers’ refers to the specially-invited thought-leaders who will be sharing their Big Ideas with the room and you – the Procurious community.

Our experts span the worlds of procurement, technology and social media. There will be CPOs from organisations including:  Burberry, NHS, AstraZeneca, Hovis Ltd, and Exchequer Services, media from Spend Matters and Redactive, and experts  representing the bleeding-edge of tech. As well as CIPS, McKinsey & Co, The Hackett Group, Jules Goddard from London Business School, and Rio Tinto’s CFO, Chris Lynch.

The full list is available to view at bigideassummit.com.

I’ve got a Big Idea of my own…

Great to hear! You can Tweet us your Big Ideas @procurious_ remembering to use the hashtag #BigIdeas2015.

Leave your Big Idea on Facebook – you can find us at www.facebook.com/procurious

And of course you can tell the Procurious community all about it by joining the Big Ideas Group page and posting it to the community feed.

Who is behind Procurious?

You can read all about us in Our Story. 

Where can I learn more?

We’ve created a special website to promote the Big Ideas event, visit it at bigideassummit.com

Plus you might be interested in the following stories:

Sigi Osagie`s Big Ideas On Bringing The Real You To Work

6 Big Ideas To Join Procurious By Thursday

CIPS David Noble: Big Ideas On How Procurement Will Seize The Day

Thinking the Unthinkable – Big Ideas on Supply Chain Risk

Mark Perera’s Big Ideas on startups, technology & disruptive procurement

Samantha Coombs on the challenges facing Millennials going into procurement

Is ethical fast fashion an oxymoron?

Professor Olinga Ta’eed on Turning Procurement Professionals into Agents of Change

Professor Olinga Ta’eed: Big Ideas For Helping Your CEO Understand Social Value

Winning the War for Procurement Talent with Social Media

4 Big Ideas That Transformed Procurement Technology

Help us to help you (and win 1 of 5 iPad minis)

Social influencer Tim Hughes: Big Ideas for the next Industrial Revolution

David Berry on Fixing the Innovation Supply Chain

5 of the deadliest risks facing your supply chain in 2015

`Our People Are Our Greatest Asset.` Erm… Really?!

Behind the supply chain curtain: 5 questions procurement needs to ask

Slavery in Supply Chains – A Modern Day Risk

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

What are the innovations transforming supply chains & biggest trends right now?

4 technology trends we’ll tackle at Big Ideas 2015

Big Ideas that changed the world: Communication

Why we’re talking managing talent at Big Ideas 2015

Who are procurement‘s most influential thinkers?

The digital delegate and rise of the virtual summit

Join the world‘s first digitally-led event for procurement professionals

The Big Ideas Summit Infographic

Want to sum up the Big Ideas Summit in one neat, easy-to-digest page? We’ve created this infographic especially for you.

View the infographic below, or click here to see it as a full-size PDF. Know someone who would be interested? Why not share the infographic to whet their appetite?

Big Ideas Summit 2015 infographic

Join the Big Ideas Group page on Procurious to participate on the day, and gain access to exclusive content. Want more reasons to join? Here’s 6 of the best!

Sigi Osagie`s Big Ideas On Bringing The Real You To Work

Sigi Osagie, author of Procurement Mojo

Sigi Osagie arrived in the UK as an African immigrant with holes in his shoes, penniless and no address book. Fourteen years later, he was a global director in a FTSE250 blue-chip multinational. Today he works as a writer, speaker, business adviser and coach, drawing on insights from his atypical life journey and career success to inform and inspire others.

Ahead of Procurious’ Big Ideas Summit on 30 April, we caught up with Sigi to get his opinions on the development of a procurement brand, to discuss his thoughts on bringing the ‘real you’ to work and find out more about his new book, Procurement Mojo – Strengthening the Function and Raising Its Profile. An excerpt of said book is available to read here.

Procurious asks: You’ve just released a new book titled Procurement Mojo. Tell us about the title of the book. What exactly is Procurement Mojo?

Sigi: “Mojo” is about our ability to be the best we can be and attain success. And we should all be aiming for that; because we only get one life to live, and life is not a dress rehearsal – we won’t get the opportunity to live life again.

Most of us will spend most of that lifetime at work. So bringing out our best selves in the work we do is part of our personal success.

For Procurement folks in particular, it’s vital; because purchasing is a people-centric activity – our ability to manage ourselves effectively and nurture productive relationships with others is a critical component of our work success.

The title “Procurement Mojo” brings those two things together – finding our mojo in the Procurement work we do. That’s exactly what the book does: it shows readers how to up their game and get the Procurement function firing on all cylinders.

Procurious: In your book, you discuss ‘procurement effectiveness’ as one of the key tenants to procurement success. Can you provide us with some background to this concept?

Sigi: In Procurement Mojo I explain that ‘Procurement effectiveness’ is the route-path to sustainable functional success. Effectiveness is central to success in any realm of life. It means doing the right things to achieve our desired outcomes.

In some senses, it’s quite a simple notion to grasp: if your desired outcome is to head off to your right, then you take a step in that direction; if you want a clean car, you wash it yourself or take it to the carwash; if you want some dangerous excitement in your marital life, you get a lover.

The outcomes most Procurement functions want are not as simplistic as having a clean car or marital excitement. But the same basic tenet applies – do the right things, or take the right actions, to achieve what you want.

Procurement wants more relevance and recognition in the enterprise. Many Procurement functions still focus their actions entirely, or principally, on “cost savings” and other rudimentary elements of purchasing. Or they invest significant resources on “transformations” centred on process or systems enhancements. But they pay scant attention to what matters most: people.

The challenges that hold most Procurement functions back tend to be people-related or ‘soft’ issues – organisational cultures that don’t adequately recognise Procurement’s value; egotistical or ineffective executives who make short-sighted decisions; talent gaps inside Procurement; territorial stakeholders outside the function; and so on.

If the actions we’re taking in our Procurement approach don’t address these root-cause issues robustly, then they are not the right actions to focus on!

This is one of the simplest indicators of the inherent level of Procurement effectiveness.

Procurious: One of the issues that really jumped out at us from your book was the discussion around developing a procurement brand. Can you provide some insight into the importance of developing a procurement brand both within a business and externally with suppliers? 

Sigi: A superb Procurement brand is the pinnacle of functional success. Nurturing a credible Procurement brand requires an integrated approach internally and externally, which is part and parcel of improving effectiveness.

Everything we do properly in the first 4 steps to enhance Procurement effectiveness – the organisation; the enablers; the supply base; and the performance framework – helps nourish the Procurement brand, within the enterprise and with suppliers. Additionally, it is necessary to be organisationally savvy and apply some marketing approaches, like incorporating customer-centricity to Procurement’s ethos and leveraging effective PR.

It is important for Procurement people to grasp this, because perceptions can often be more important than reality. And it is the perceptions people have of Procurement that shape Procurement’s brand image.

Procurious: Some of our member have suggested that the ‘pay to stay’ scandals at Premier Foods and the ongoing saga with Tesco’s supply chain has damaged the procurement brand across the board, do you feel this way?

Sigi: I understand those sentiments. And I agree with the requirement for ethical practices. However, I’m not sure how damaging it’s been for Procurement as a profession; because the average man on the street knows “Tesco” but doesn’t have a clue what “Procurement” is.

I think some people in the professional class might have raised an eyebrow, but I imagine many of them are mature enough to recognise that such ethical issues are likely to stem from, or be sanctioned by, the top team, not just the department functionally responsible. A fish rots from the head down; and I think most people know this.

It’s more likely that Premier Foods and Tesco have suffered much greater corporate reputational damage than any damage the Procurement brand might have sustained. 

procurement-mojo-by-sigi-osagie-og

Procurious: At the Big Ideas Summit you’ll be discussing “Authentic Leadership and the Importance of Bringing the Real you to Work”. Can you provide us some background on this concept and why you believe that encouraging people to be themselves at work will facilitate a more effective work place? 

Sigi: I’ll be talking about the importance of ‘people’ issues to Procurement success, under the summit theme you mention. I’ve somewhat indicated why this is important in my response to your first question.

I should add that when we manage organisations in ways that don’t release people’s enthusiasm, energy, excitement, emotion, effort and expertise – what Charles Handy called the ‘E’ factors – it’s a ‘lose-lose-lose’ situation.

It’s a loss for the individual who gives us more of their lifetime than they spend with their family, because we don’t help them expose their true potential and abilities to excel. It’s a loss for the organisation, because we miss out on the opportunity to leverage those abilities for enterprise success. And it’s a loss for society at large, because, in the end, societal development is dependent on our collective abilities and efforts.

We can certainly do more in this regard, and attain greater success for more organisations by helping more people find their mojo.

Sigi will join 40 influencers and thought-leaders at the Big Ideas Summit on 30 April. You can attend ‘digitally’ by registering on our Group page. Stay tuned for exclusive video interviews, articles, discussions and more.

6 Big Ideas To Join Procurious By Thursday

6 Reasons To Join Procurious Before Thursday

Have you registered for our digitally-led Big Ideas Summit on 30 April? No? Then read on…

If you’re still on the sidelines we’ve listed six compelling reasons to join your fellow Procurians and stake your claim to the wealth of knowledge on offer.

1. A Private Audience With 40 Influencers

If you’re scratching your head at the mere mention of ‘Big Ideas’, then the following primer should get you up to speed: Procurious to host world’s first digitally-led  event for procurement professionals.

Join our ‘Big Ideas Summit’ Group and become a “fly on the wall” – by doing this you’re being granted money-can’t-buy access to a diverse collection of some of the most influential thought-leaders in procurement, technology and people management. Want to know who’s coming? We’ve got CPOs from organisations including:  Burberry, NHS, AstraZeneca, Hovis Ltd, and Exchequer Services, media from Spend Matters and Redactive, technology experts  representing the bleeding-edge of tech, and authorities in social media. As well as CIPS, McKinsey & Co, The Hackett Group, Jules Goddard from London Business School, and Rio Tinto’s CFO, Chris Lynch.

2. Get Your Questions Answered By World-Class Experts

Take advantage of the unique opportunity to submit your questions via Procurious’ Big Ideas Summit Group to our influencers and see how they tackle your toughest challenges on the spot. Want to quiz CIPS Chairman David Noble on the challenges facing accreditation bodies in the future? Hear what Chris Lynch has to say about cost consciousness? Or Professor Olinga Ta’eed on social good? Click to view the full lineup of Big Ideas influencers.

3. Make Powerful New Contacts Around The Globe

This might sound obvious, but don’t overlook the value of networking with your global peers. Someone out there knows the answer to your most pressing procurement questions. They’ve walked in your shoes… So why not tap into their experience, for free?

The Big Ideas Summit is as much about championing the use of social media as it is the big issues. Maybe you’re new to the community and just joined Procurious, or you might be a long-time member and (until now) been content with standing at the back. It’s not too much of a leap to suggest that by being a ‘Digital Delegate’ you want to be on the top of your game. Whether that be by keeping up with the latest trends, issues, or innovations – chances are your fellow delegates will be hungry to devour and analyse the ideas presented through the day. Procurious will also be on the lookout for those ‘Digital Delegates’ with the biggest, best ideas – and by leveraging our network of thought-leaders we can work together to develop these ideas, introduce influential contacts to your network and help make them a reality.

4. Share Your Own Big Idea

In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes – Andy Warhol

As well as hearing our influencers’ Big Ideas, by registering you’ll be able to submit your own. We believe everyone has a unique vantage point in the industries, communities and businesses they work in. So here is an opportunity to get your Big Idea across, and boost your own personal brand. How? Join our Big Ideas Summit Group and make a post to the community feed. We’ll also be keeping a careful eye on Twitter for your Big Ideas, just Tweet us @procurious_ using the hashtag #BigIdeas2015.

5. Access Exclusive Content & Learnings

Expand your knowledge, stay informed, and be inspired through swathes of exclusive content only available to Procurious members. On the day we’ll be updating the Group page with photos from the event, highlights from our sessions,  and updates on the discussions. In the days following you’ll be able to watch full videos from our think-tanks, as well as hear all of our influencers’ Big Ideas, digest articles and interviews from those who were in attendance.

6. Win An iPad mini

We’ll be announcing the winners of our iPad mini competition. If you haven’t already, don’t panic as there’s still time to enter! Simply invite 10 of your peers to join Procurious before 11.59PM (GMT) on 29 April to be in with a chance of winning 1 of 5 iPad minis. Full terms and conditions can be viewed on this page.

CIPS David Noble: Big Ideas On How Procurement Will Seize The Day

CIPS David Noble will be speaking at the Procurious Big Ideas Summit

David Noble was appointed Group Chief Executive of The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS for short) on 1 June 2009. He’ll be appearing as one of our 40 thought-leaders at Procurious’ inaugural Big Ideas Summit.

Click to get involved and submit your questions to David

Procurious asks: How is the new Chartered Procurement and Supply Professional status encouraging professional development?

David: CPD is critical to Chartered Status.  There is a need for some roles in procurement, particularly at a senior strategic level to raise their skill levels beyond MCIPS and keep abreast of new thinking in the profession.  A professional with Chartered Status will lead procurement teams and have influence at board level as well as across supply markets by delivering innovative sourcing solutions. A higher-level status than MCIPS, those with Chartered Status will be qualified up to postgraduate degree level and be able to understand institutional risk and contingency approaches in all parts of the organisation, how the supply chain affects innovation, and risk sharing strategies throughout the business. Professionals who hold this status will be the most sought-after talent and those who will take the profession beyond its current boundaries.

Procurious: Is corporate social responsibility still relevant in a world of stringent budgets?

David: Being commercial and sustainable go hand in hand. To have a long-term sustainable successful business, CSR, responsible procurement, and environmental issues have to be considered.  Most of all it just makes good business sense to keep our energy bills to a minimum, or reduce our landfill costs.

It’s a reality of modern life that we have to take into account sustainability and CSR. Not doing so is a risk in itself which could result in damaged reputation, loss of market etc. It is imperative in the public sector – there are targets to reach in local government action plans and at national level. In economic terms, it is far better for a country as a whole to adjust and adapt now to become more sustainable and take into account environmental and CSR issues than to deal with them further down the line. There are already increases in tax on landfill waste, fuel, and disposables. These taxes will become greater as time goes on, as will the fines imposed on companies for abusing the evolving laws relating to environmental and CSR issues.

And then there’s consumer pressure. You only have to look at what happened to Nike when it was revealed to consumers that further down the supply chain, workers in the Far East were working in horrendous conditions. It resulted in mass marches and demonstrations outside NIKE stores in the US, resulting in a damaged reputation and a considerable loss of market share.

It’s time to consider what it is your company cares about; what it’s objectives and key drivers are; and how can these be achieved and strengthened to achieve the most sustainable outcome. How can you prioritise and find an opportunity to do things differently?

It’s not commercial issues versus sustainability issues; it’s the same sort of argument as commercial versus quality. Implementing sustainability itself is not an end point. Nothing is sustainable indefinitely. What should be achieved is a more sustainable option. It needs to be continuously monitored, updated, and improved. There has to be a balance, and it’s about the best balance with regards to the priorities and situation of your organisation. Anything that reduces resources, reduces waste, and increases efficiency is a win/win in terms of optimising sustainable and commercial benefits.

Procurious: In this time of economic uncertainty what can organisations do in order to mitigate risk down the line? 

David: I firmly believe that having professionally qualified people in these roles will help to safeguard organisations against risk.  Procurement professionals are required to horizon scan, and do deep dive audits into their supply chains to get under the skin of what’s really going on.  More than ever, it’s important that we understand our political and economic environment and its impact on business.  Recovery from the 08/09 recession has been one of the biggest challenges of the past century for business.  As the Eurozone faces a potential triple-dip recession and China and Brazil’s growth is slowing, it’s clear that we are still nowhere near out of the woods.

We have worked on risk tools over the past few years to better equip procurement professionals to understand their environment and manage risk.  The CIPS Risk Index quarterly reports helps you to understand the risks to which your supply chains are exposed. You can use the CIPS Risk Index Quarterly Report as an early warning of changes in the macro environment that may affect suppliers and your supply chain. You can then drill down from a global, quarterly, headline figure to a regional and country level perspective, enabling you to develop robust risk management strategies and mitigate against risk.

Procurious: Can you discuss the impact of supply chains in modern-day slavery? (David was invited to the Vatican to witness the signing of a bill to eradicate slavery by 2020, and the recent stories in the media surrounding the Indonesian fishermen). And looking forwards to procurement in 2030, what struggles do you hope we’ll have overcome?

David: Like most professions, old parameters are changing and there is a need to adapt to survive.  Procurement and supply is especially so and in our belief it has reached a significant crossroad.

Two hundred years ago accountancy was strictly regulated because there was a burning platform: incorrect submissions of company accounts led to investor misery and fraud, so the government acted.  Our burning platform is the supply risk side getting further out of control and people being harmed. In that sense, this profession is no different to accountancy – in fact you could argue the public good is more directly affected.  Poor quality food, modern corporate slavery and procurement fraud affect many more people across the planet and the institute does not believe the issues we hear about on an almost daily basis will ever be solved until licensing is embedded.

With the hard work and dedication of thousands of procurement and supply chain professionals, our perspective has now changed beyond all recognition, as global companies experience seismic shocks to their earnings and share prices when a supply malfunction occurs.

We have witnessed some unprecedented events in recent years, from natural disasters such earthquakes and floods alongside numerous product recalls based on faulty component parts and therefore putting consumer safety at risk.  Fraud, corruption and the mis-management of supply chains have caused untold issues and reputational damage for organisations as well as endangering human lives.  Certain sectors have become synonymous with poor supply chain practice from the garment industry through to conflict minerals in our mobile phones and laptops.  According to the World Bank corruption undermines our prosperity by imposing a cost equivalent to 5 per cent of global GDP (or $2.6 trillion –World Economic Forum) every year. It adds up to 25 per cent of the cost of procurement contracts in developing countries and can add up to 10 per cent to business costs globally. They estimate that over US$ 1 trillion is paid in bribes each year. Corruption also facilitates organised crime and terrorist activity.

Accountability for inadequate or exposed supply chains now goes right to the top, with the company’s reputation on the line.  Good corporate supply chain governance demands accountability and to have accountability means the appropriate authority and capability to act.

What does all this mean in terms of removing some of the poor practices we are still witnessing across global supply chains – whether it’s child labour, inhumane working conditions, forced labour and slavery and not least the ever rising issue of procurement fraud?  There is no doubt that the procurement and supply profession has a unique opportunity to step up to this challenge and effect real change – stepping up as a professional community.

Procurious: And finally, is there anything you fear will hold us back?

David: We’re not always very good at shouting out about our successes.  Procurement has much more to offer beyond savings and a clear communication channel must be forged with the CEO.  But this kind of communication between CPO and CEO is still relatively rare in business. Booz and Co in a recent report highlighted that less than 5 per cent of Fortune 500 companies have a CPO in their C-suite. In a separate report, Ardent Partners Supply Management Experts highlighted that less than 20 per cent of CPOs globally report to their CEOs.

So, if you work in one of the 80 per cent of companies where procurement has no direct line of communication to the top, you need to find a way to make yourself heard.

Procurement professionals need to talk the language of the business, get out more and become story tellers to demonstrate the wide reaching value they offer. Understand how your organisation  defines value and growth. This goes way beyond the terminology and knowledge you need for your day-to-day job. It extends to learning what is important to customers and to the other people who work in your organisation – particularly in areas that generate the most revenue.  There is a real opportunity for procurement to seize the day.

For more information about CIPS head to their website.

Discover who else will make up our 40 influencers at the Big Ideas Summit on 30 April. Click to join the Group on Procurious and get involved.

Thinking the Unthinkable – Big Ideas on Supply Chain Risk

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2030 may seem like a long way away right now, but if you are planning your procurement strategies, you need to be thinking that far ahead. But what are the unpredictable risks in the supply chain that represent your ‘blind spots’?

As the news broke over the weekend about another avian flu crisis in the United States, North American organisations and supply chains could be forgiven for thinking that they have already had their fill in 2015.

In what is seen as the most significant outbreak of avian flu in over 30 years in the US, 16 states have declared states of emergency and are now quarantining affected farms. At Sunrise Farm in Iowa, one of the biggest farms in America, over 4 million birds will be lost, accounting for over 1 per cent of all the egg-laying hens in America.

Poultry exports are worth over $5 billion to the US economy, but the overall cost, as well as the knock-on effect to businesses further down the supply chain, is difficult to estimate. In Iowa alone, farmers are already predicting losses of $850,000 each, assuming that the outbreak can be contained.

2015 – A Bad Year

And this is just the latest in a long line of supply chain issues that have had a major impact in North America in 2015.

  • Winter Storm Juno – hit the Eastern United States in January, causing record snow falls and transportation disruption
  • Port Strikes – West Coast ports shutdown due to strikes, costing the US economy $2 billion per day
  • Tornados – the Midwest was hit by tornados, causing widespread destruction and killing 2 people

However, it’s not just North America that is seeing supply chain disruption on a greater scale than normal. A ‘once in a decade storm’ hit New South Wales last week, closing roads, cancelling ferries and causing massive disruption.

Unpredictable Risk

While 2015 has been hard on a number of supply chains, these are by no means isolated incidents. Friday the 24th of April was the second anniversary of the disaster at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. A building collapse killed 1,134 people, the vast majority of whom were involved with making clothing for western markets.

While conditions are improving and better measures are in place to stop something similar happening again, progress is slow, while the demands for so-called ‘fast fashion’ hampers ethical considerations and makes wholesale change difficult.

However, all of these issues, all the risks are outlined above are unpredictable, making it extremely difficult for organisations to protect themselves completely from the fall out.

Protecting the Supply Chain

One of the themes of the Big Ideas Summit will be what procurement’s ‘blind spots’ are. While risks occur in an unpredictable fashion, organisations cannot let them be ‘unthinkable’ and need to understand what could be done in order to mitigate emergent risks.

  • Map your supply chain – know where your suppliers are and where your products are coming from. Where are the potential issues of getting your product from its creation to your end customer?
  • Identify transportation weaknesses – consider the port strikes in America as an example. Where are your products routed through? Can you find good alternatives in the event of a crisis? Is it worth splitting that load now?
  • Calculate costs – if you can understand the potential cost to your business of a failure in the supply chain, then you can use these figures to build support in the business for your plans.
  • Prioritise your risks – is there a particular item that is critical in the supply chain? Know everything there is to know about these items so that you can prioritise correctly.
  • Plan and prepare – Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. This is exactly what will happen if you haven’t spent some time carrying out analysis and understanding where your risks might come from.

There is no such thing as ‘no time’ to do this. The time you spend now may save you time and money further down the line.

Have you got any other suggestions? Can you think of any other ‘blind spots’ that exist for procurement and supply chain? Visit the Procurious Group for Big Ideas and tell us what you think – we’d love to use some of these to quiz our experts later this week.

Meanwhile, here are the other stories making headlines this week.

US Defense sustainability embrace a goldmine for Aussie innovators

  • The US Department of Defense’s multi-billion-dollar Net Zero Fund offers a huge potential market for Australian energy efficiency and sustainability companies.

  • Net Zero is a significant undertaking by US Defense to, in effect, green the military and supply chains. It aims to bring civilian sustainability measures into the defence arena and as the Defense literature states this can be done “while also maximising operational capability, resource and availability and wellbeing”. The funds being made available for Net Zero are therefore to be allocated to improving not just the energy usage of the US military, but also to retrofitting a potential 200,000 installations globally in an environmentally sustainable manner. The value of the installations alone is put at a conservative US$141 billion.
  • This presents a massive potential market for Australian applied research and Australian companies to offer environmentally sustainable solutions and energy efficiency to the US defence industry and the workshops aim to facilitate such contracts…

Read more at The Fifth Estate

Apple Watch: supply chain strain is the new norm

  • This week sees the launch of the Apple Watch. However, with rumours of 1 million pre-orders in one day in the US alone and the firm now pushing estimated delivery times for its product into June, speculation is rife that its supply chain may not be able to keep up with demand.
  • This type of speculation ahead of a big launch is nothing new. Recently Samsung was forced to admit that it may be unable to fulfil the 20 million pre-orders received for the new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
  • Reports indicate that shipping of the product started in the US a week ahead of the April 24 launch date. It is also likely that the company’s procurement leaders have taken the required steps to achieve supply chain agility and where possible, spread risk across multiple suppliers.
  • This ‘supply chain strain’ has become the new norm in the consumer- driven world of high-tech gadgetry, where all eyes are on the newest and most innovative devices. For some companies, the struggle to meet demand is regarded as an endorsement of a product’s popularity. In fact, from a reputational perspective, a stock surplus would probably be more damaging to the company’s brand, than a supply shortage.

Read more at The Telegraph

Could the Groceries Code Adjudicator increased powers change procurement?

  • Founded in 2013, the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) is a supermarket watchdog set up to regulate the relationship between food retailers and their suppliers. Its intention is to ensure the fair treatment of suppliers to reduce their exploitation.
  • We were met with news earlier this year that Tesco is facing a formal investigation by the GCA, after suspicion arose that it breached regulations on supplier contracts. After Tesco overstated its profits, the GCA looked into the supermarket chain and found ‘reasonable suspicion’ that it had breached the code of practice for grocers. It’s not just retailers that have shown unethical treatment of suppliers: world-famous food brand Heinz has come under fire for reportedly doubling the length of time it takes to pay suppliers.
  • The GCA has been granted increased power through new legislation and now has the power to fine retailers up to 1 per cent of its annual UK turnover. That means that the GCA could sting Tesco with fines of up to £400 million. Suppliers may soon enjoy a more equal relationship with retailers and the tough terms that they have previously had to cope with could ease. Food retailers may need to modify how they operate to ensure compliance and the procurement process could well be among these changes.

Read more on Supply Chain Digital

Top-performing supply chains: Pharmaceutical companies

  • Supply Chain Insights studied balance sheet patterns for over 2,000 public companies and shared those results with over 150 executive teams.
  • Progress in driving supply chain excellence in this sector is stalled. The reason? With a growth agenda and intense investment in research and development (R&D), growing regulation, and the building of global capabilities, the last decade has been a time of change for the global pharmaceutical companies. Their progress has not been equal to that in the consumer goods or food and beverage industries. The many mergers and acquisitions among companies in this category have also slowed progress in achieving supply chain excellence.
  • With a focus on both performance and improvement, which company did best? In the pharmaceutical industry, it is tough to judge which company is the leader—that is, who has the best metrics. The company posting the best performance in the portfolio of metrics is AstraZeneca; however, the company is not improving (as measured by the Supply Chain Index for the two periods studied). The companies making the greatest improvement are Biogen Idec and Novo Nordisk. Moreover, most companies in this sector are making progress on individual metrics, but not on the entire portfolio.

Supply Chain Insights: Best pharma companies

Read more on Supply Chain Insights

What are our procurement ‘blind spots’? Register for the Big Ideas Summit and contribute to the discussion with 40 influential thought-leaders and our 5000+ strong Procurious community.