All posts by Procurious HQ

Generation Procurement: Susannah Thelander

Susanne Thelander

Susannah Thelander admits she had a sneaky peak in the dictionary on her first day of work in the procurement industry eight years ago. Because she wasn’t particularly sure what it meant.

She had landed a role with the tenders and contracts department of Victoria Police as part of the Victorian Graduate Scheme, where participants rotate through three government departments over a 12 month period.

Since then, Susannah has worked in private sector, public sector, consulting and now on a major infrastructure project at the Port of Melbourne Corporation.

She’s never been one to shy away from hard work. With a Bachelor of Arts (politics and philosophy) and a Bachelor of Science (maths and environmental science) under her belt when starting out, she’s since completed a Juris Doctor Masters of Law (with distinction) part-time, while holding down a full-time job.

She has her sights set on being a CEO or a senior executive in operations, perhaps, where she could broaden her knowledge of business and organisational challenges.

“I love the exposure procurement gives you to interesting activities across a business, and the opportunity to support these.”

However, the continual misconception that procurement folk simply follow process without considering whether their structures support the business frustrates her.

“Though in all fairness, that’s probably still true in some places. Procurement can often help with some of these pressures, but how well it’s implemented often comes down to the individual. If you’re passionate and engaged, you can find ways to be creative and show the value procurement can offer, even if you operate in the most constrained environment.”

Outside of work, Susannah likes snowboarding, bike riding, cooking and reading. She’s also about to start a group for young business women who want to learn to play golf.

And while she claims she’s not a great cyclist, she made the 210km ride to raise more than $3000 for the Smith Family to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds with their school expenses last year. Monumental, in anyone’s books.

“I’m passionate about the work of the Smith Family, and am looking for ways to be more involved with them this year, as long as it doesn’t involve me riding my bike a really, really long way again!”

The Procurious Files: Weekly Community Update

Welcome to the first of our Procurious community updates – a place to fill you in on all of the news, developments, and announcements from Procurious HQ.

Procurious is currently in ‘beta’ – you’re helping us to make it better and iron out the bugs (hopefully there aren’t too many!) If you spot anything untoward or have an idea for a new feature, just drop us a line or comment below.

Hello to our 400+ members!

At the time of writing Procurious is only a couple of weeks young and we’re buoyed by your support so far.  Here’s some quick facts:

  • On each visit the average user has spent 10 minutes on Procurious.
  • Procurious is proving popular in Australia, but we’re also attracting users from the UK and US too.
  • We’ve amassed over 26k page views to-date.

In February 2004 Mark Zuckerberg spoke out about a little-known social network. Something that was known simply back then as thefacebook.com…

Zuckerberg mused: “The nature of the site is that each user’s experience improves if they can get their friends to join it.”

Here at Procurious we believe the same thing is true, that’s why we’re keen to shine a little light on the inner-workings of the network.

Get others to join your network

To really get the most from the network you’ll need some buddies to share the experience with you. Fortunately we’ve made this easy: just click on the green ‘Invite contacts’ button to add connections from your LinkedIn account.

Invite your LinkedIn contacts
Invite your LinkedIn contacts

Once you’ve given Procurious permission to access to your LinkedIn account, select contacts to invite by clicking the tick box next to their name.

You’ll also be able to add a customised message to your invites before you send them. When done just hit ‘Send invitations’ and await their confirmation.

(Note: there’s a limit of 10 invites per day).

New feature: ‘User list’

New feature: How to view the Procurious user list
New feature: How to view the Procurious user list

As Procurious grows we’ll be building-in new functionality and adding cool new features. The first of which is the ‘User list’.
Here you can see a list of every registered Procurious user, and choose who you want to add to your network.

The User list can be found in the drop-down menu, under your profile name.

We’re also working on implementing an ‘invite by email’ feature – we’ll share more news on this soon.

Flesh out your profile

So you’ve successfully signed up to Procurious – congratulations! But what next?

Have you connected your LinkedIn profile?
Have you connected your LinkedIn profile?

An empty profile is no fun for anyone. If you’ve already connected your LinkedIn account, you’re at least halfway to a richer personal page. Procurious imports most of your LinkedIn details, but you’ll need to update your dates of employment, and remember to save these changes before finishing.

If you haven’t added a profile photo, now would also be a good time to do it. People like to see who they’re talking to, and put a face to a name.

Have you checked out our learning videos yet?

Procurious isn’t just a place to network – you can delve into our learning resources and teach yourself a thing or two in the process.

You'll need to add your chosen video to your cart - but all are free of charge.
You’ll need to add your chosen video to your cart – but all are free of charge.

All of the videos you’ll find on Procurious are available to view free of charge (we won’t ask you for credit card numbers or anything scary…)

Head on over to the ‘Learning’ page and check out the videos on offer. Each video offers a bite-size preview, so you can decide beforehand if you think you’ll enjoy the content within. Like what you see? Then it’s simply a case of clicking the ‘Add this class to cart’ button – remember, you won’t be charged a dollar/penny.

And finally…

Tell your friends, seek us out on Twitter (@procurious_), leave us a comment below, and add the Procurious team to your network(s): Matt Farrington-Smith, Jack Slade, Chantelle Genovezos, and Tania Seary.

Until next week folks, Matt.

Tag, you’re it! Can you spot yourself?

We’ve posted up a choice selection of photos from The Faculty’s recent FLiP 2014 event. Set against the glorious backdrop of Sydney harbour the event offered procurement’s brightest stars a valuable learning experience that was both engaging and interactive.

Our man Jack Slade talked to the assembled throng about all-things Procurious – talking through its inception, encouraging sign-ups and providing a guided tour.

Stay glued to Procurious.com if you want to be among the first to hear about forthcoming activities.


Spotted yourself? Share photos with your network by hitting the share button.

Video highlights from The Faculty’s CPO Forum

The procurement industry’s finest gathered in Sydney recently for a double-header of insight and opinion.

Now the tables have been cleared away and the last sausage roll eaten, we take a look back at some of the highlights. Quick, fetch the popcorn!

The Faculty ‘Tough Love’ Highlights from Orsino Media on Vimeo.

Enjoy what you saw? Then we’d love you to share it with your friends on Procurious.

Meanwhile in London… (at the World Procurement Congress)

Credit: Steve Budd (@stevembudd)
Credit: Steve Budd (@stevembudd)

The World Procurement Congress 14 as told by Twitter.

Over 19-20 May London played host to the World Procurement Congress. Now in its second year the event brought together CPOs and thinkers in procurement and supply chain management from all over the world.

Here is what attendees have been saying about it on Twitter:

@AlanGleeson Standing room only for Bernd Huber & David Natoff from Google #WPC Prioritisation a key challenge.NB of category knowledge & responsiveness

@XchProcurement Where do #TailEndSpend savings come from? – Spend reclassification, compliance, demand management and automated processes, says Olivier

@HarryJohn_PL #WPC performance roundtable hosted by @Beroe_inc. Want to empower #procurement? Align with finance.

@AlanHollandCork Cynthia Dautrich talks about unleashing the power of the supply base at The World Procurement Congress

@LizmaffeiPL More great insights from Cynthia Dautrich: Experience drives 70% of learning ability, exposure drives 20% & education final component

@Nightingale_PL Women in Procurment…leave perfection at the front door #WPC

@AlanGleeson Hans Melotte CPO @JNJNews advocates greater diversity amongst the #procurement community

‏@markperera 4-5 trillion of spend represented at the World Procurement Congress – wow

@stevembudd The word procurement will disappear in 10 years…CPOs will turn into Value Creation Officers. Clive Heal at Roche #wpc

‏@HarryJohn_PL  How can we make it easier to work with #procurement? @Beroe_inc on the merits of an external view on performance.

@tburt85  Save The Children tell #WPC breakout session that 90% of products it buys are sourced locally.

The 5 must-have attributes of a procurement superstar

Attributes of a procurement superstar

Procurement professionals need plenty of key attributes to be a real superstar.

We’ve called out five skills that are vital for anyone working in procurement. If you feel any of these skills are still an area for development, then it’s about time to skill up…

1 The ability to innovate

An innovator is someone that’s extremely creative, highly motivated and a leader able to visualise the big picture. They also understand that the key to a growth strategy is to develop and implement disruptive ideas.

Often also known as a pioneer, these people are often inventing new ways to do things and know how to solve problems by coming up with new ways to do things.

And in today’s hyper-competitive global marketplace, there’s a pressing need for procurement professionals to consistently remain ahead of the growth curve.

2 A serial strategist

Strategists are the ones in the workplace that understand that there are ways to work smarter, and set about finding ways to make that happen. They also believe in hard work.

Having a strategy in place rather than racing headlong into a major project is a major part of the job in procurement. Above all else, you need the ability to create a strategy and communicate it to the team.

3 A major influencer

Sure, you may be the boss, but a title isn’t enough to get people to do what you ask. Your ability to command others may be further diluted when you work in a team or across boundaries, which is why personal influence is such an important leadership skill.

Influence is the power and ability to affect others’ action, decisions, opinion or thinking. And it’s a vital part of the job for those in procurement.

4 A natural leader

Being out front and leading a team isn’t a skill that comes naturally to everyone. Good leaders can delegate, are good communicators, they’re confident and committed to their role. They are the role models in an organisation that others look to for professional inspiration, and are worthy of respect. Above all else, they’re knowledgeable in their field.

5 True commercial nous

This is something that all companies want their employers to have, but it can often be difficult to pin down exactly what commercial nous actually means.

Put simply, it refers to a person being commercially minded and able to translate their performance into tangible and demonstrable outcomes. It also means they’re aware of the issues and current affairs influencing their industry.

When making business decisions, those with commercial nous usually go one step further by providing actual figures or metrics that demonstrate how well they can monetise their actions.

We want to hear from you. Can you add to the list? What other attributes to procurement professionals need?

No normal team-building exercise…

Tikes on Bikes team-building eventWhen your company motto reads “we don’t do group hugs” – you know you’re in for something a little different…

Unsuspecting delegates at the 7th Asia-Pacific CPO Forum took part in an emotional team-building exercise under the Sydney sunshine. Their task (should they choose to accept it) to assemble a brand new bicycle, but under the assumption someone from within the team will race the box-fresh bike. Little did they know what lay in store!

The teams built the bikes as normal using the supplied tools, parts, instruction manuals, pumps and other bits. However, before these grown-ups were let loose on their new wheels the big reveal was made and the new owners of the bikes were revealed…

Pinnacle Team Events works with schools and organisations that look after underprivileged children, and it is these children that are the recipients of the day’s bikes.

Tikes on Bikes

Belinda Toohey (Program Manager Training & Events) from The Faculty Management Consultants spoke to Procurious before the event proper. She explained:

“All along I had hoped to find an activity that wasn’t just about the delegates but would be community minded.  The Faculty has a strong Social Procurement philosophy and we encourage good corporate social responsibility so I thought this activity would be a great fit, provide a touching moment for everyone involved and also give delegates the opportunity to network and work together to achieve an outcome.”

You can discover more about Pinnacle Team Events – the masterminds that made the magic happen, on their official website.

Geoffrey Garrett’s love-letter to Australia

Geoffrey Garrett

Former dean of the Australian School of Business (at UNSW) – Geoffrey Garrett captivated delegates in Sydney, just a few short months before he makes a move to the other side of the world.

Back in March it was announced that Garrett would take the helm at the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania). The School will welcome its new dean on 1 July 2014.

Before joining UNSW, Garrett served as dean of the Business School at the University of Sydney and as founding CEO of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

The United States Studies Centre is an important hub that brings together scholars of business, economics, politics and the humanities to deepen understanding of contemporary American issues across Australia and the Pacific Rim. As such, Garrett’s address to the delegates straddled entire continents and looked to America (in-particular) for inspiration.

During the session Garrett made the point that Australia is a taker and not a maker. Broadly speaking, Australia doesn’t pick up on what the US does well – which is to be the most innovative country in the world. Australia has been getting away with uncompetitive policies for years, and has largely managed to avoid all the tough stuff due to its ties with China.

Geoffrey Garrett speaking at CPO Forum

Elsewhere Garrett placed emphasis on the role that the private sector plays, and that it is one of increasing importance. We learnt too of the long-held political assumption that raw materials are an anti innovation sector, and we should be calling for questions around this belief.

The great orator also warned that world interest rates can be expected to increase as a result of the rise in US monetary policy. But the jury’s still out on how this might affect Australia – which is such a vibrant and rich federation because of its income tax breaks.

Steve Vamos on Tough Love and Technology

Steve Vamos

Steve Vamos brought more than thirty years’ experience of the Information Technology and online Media industry with him to the 2014 CPO Forum. And with this editor being an ex-Microsoftee, I was bummed I couldn’t be there myself!

From January 2007 to September 2008 Vamos lead Worldwide Sales and International Operations for Microsoft Corporation’s Online Services Group (OSG). There he was responsible for the organization’s international business in more than 30 countries around the world.

Steve was Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Australia and New Zealand from 2003 to January 2007.  But before that he put in stints at ninemsn, Apple, and IBM.

All you lucky Forum delegates will recall Steve Vamos’ pearls of wisdom. But for those who didn’t make it to Sydney here’s what Telstra’s Director had to say:

Harness the knowledge and creativity of your workforce. There’s a need to act obsessively about the alignment of our people and business – we must pay attention to our stakeholders and the world changing around us.

The underlying theme of this year’s Forum was ‘tough love’. Vamos said that the key to alignment and change is this very same notion. But what does tough love really mean? According to Vamos it’s the ability to have difficult conversations and to make tough choices/decisions.

Steve Vamos @ The Forum

Throughout his session Vamos also highlighted the importance of empowerment within the workplace and emphasized a need to end the stifling practice of micro-management.

He rationalized that having a difficult conversation can be made a lot better when you actually care about the person you’re talking to.

In-keeping with the personable theme one of our favourite takeaways was this nugget – you’re a danger to humanity if you’re in management and don’t care about people!

Most of us could also do better when giving others feedback on their performance. We need to change our mindset, as it’s often not simply a case of I’m good and they’re bad.

Change was another pertinent theme: Vamos reminded us that the world has changed and with it comes significant implications. Therefore we need to think differently, and this could spell doom for companies with established practices, as they will be the ones to reject change in a strong way. It is therefore important that you don’t let your thinking fall out of step with the world around you.

In closing Vamos reiterated that knowledge is everywhere. Technology has opened up the available channels of communication and effectively amplified our potential. We are now in a position to connect with an unlimited amount of people.

Play the game like your life depends on it

Angela Giacoumis

We recently had the pleasure of Angela Giacoumis’ company, and she shared some pretty valuable insights with us.

Not wanting to keep them to ourselves we thought it’d be fun to relay it to you in the style of Baz Luhrman’s “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”. Well why not eh?

Put yourself first

Be unreasonable

The greatest level of service is to serve yourself

We’re reacting to life, we need to choose, be proactive

You get to choose where you start, where you go, where you finish your day

Play the game like your life depends on it

Share your insights

Get out of the stands

Choose yourself

Angela Giacoumis is a leadership educator and Managing Director of Careerlink Training & Recruitment Services. You can follow her on Twitter @agiacoumis https://twitter.com/agiacoumis