All posts by Procurious HQ

Is the economic future really as small as this book says?

If we believed everything we read then the UK has had to draft in Eastern Europeans to help make sandwiches, and our mobile phones are all giving us cancer…

Being the skeptical sort we’re inclined to take The Future is Small with a grain of salt, seeing as it raises pertinent questions about the future of investing.

Freefoto.com

The book begins by placing a spotlight on the current stagnation of world economies – arguing that despite trillions of dollars of support having been injected into the global financial system, the global economy will remain moribund for decades to come.

This is irrespective of record low interest rates remaining in place, and governments running higher budget deficits for longer than originally planned.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, given the words of Dr John Glen’s still ring in our ears – what we took away from the CIPS 2014 conference.

But given Williams’ credentials maybe there is some truth in his views… Could it be that small firms are set to be the stock market outperformers of the future?

Fundamentally, Gervais believes that it is the greater growth potential of genuinely small companies that explains why many can buck a tough economic trend, whereas most larger companies with major market positions are trapped by their flat sales lines.

Gervais Williams is an award-winning equity fund manager. He received Grant Thornton’s Quoted Companies’ Award Investor of the Year in both 2009 and 2010; then in 2012 his Diverse Income Trust was recognised as the Best New Investment Trust by the Association of Investment Companies. He was also What Investment’s Fund Manager of the Year 2014.

Gervais is a respected commentator on prospective market trends. He outlined his controversial views in his book Slow Finance in 2011 and develops those ideas in The Future is Small.

Is bigger always better, or is there beauty to be found in smallness? Could this be the new dawn that the little guys have been seeking?

A question of ethics: procurement managers accused of bribery

We’re kicking-off the working week with a handful of weighty issues, namely: ethics surrounding procurement, the state of US manufacturing, and Ebola. Eyes down for our pick of the web’s biggest stories.

Bribery in procurement

Bribery tag on procurement managers ‘unfair’

  • Suggestions that bribery is rife among procurement managers in hotels is unfair, with professionals calling for more attention to be paid to the actions of suppliers and other hotel staff.
  • The issue came up in a panel session at last week’s Hotelier Middle East Procurement Summit, which took place at The Ritz-Carlton DIFC in Dubai on November 4.
  • Fairmont Dubai purchasing manager Jean Manuel said: “In each [hotel] there should be a strong policy on bribery. And it should not only be for procurement. It should be for all the organisation because it is always implied on procurement, which is really very unfair, because it should be everybody.”
  • Nair had begun discussing the issue by citing a survey of suppliers byHotelier Middle East earlier this year, in which 55% said they had been asked to offer a monetary bribe, while 72.6% said they knew of other supply firms that were using bribes.

Read more on Hotelier Middle East

Levi Strauss’ smart thinking on supply chain ethics 

  • Levi Strauss announced last week that it will partner with the International Finance Corporation to reward suppliers in developing countries who score highly on environmental, health, safety and labour standards.
  • The reward for such ethical activities will be lower cost rates on working-capital financing. The apparel manufacturer’s efforts are a great example of the economic benefits that can accrue to companies that pursue sustainability and promote ethics in their supply chains.
  • A recent study by Software Advice, an SCM software consultancy, showed that consumers would pay more for ethically made products.
  •  One group of respondents said it would pay an average of $18.50 more if the raw materials were sourced ethically. Another said it would pay $19.70 more if the product had a carbon emissions offset, and the third group said it would pay $27.60 more for a product made in a facility with good working conditions.
  • The consultancy admits there can be a gap between what survey respondents say and what they will actually do. Still, says Forrest Burnson, market research associate at Software Advice, procurement and supply chain professionals can’t ignore the fact that consumers are aware of where and how their products are made and who made them. And that awareness can even extend to perceptions of outsourcing.

Big oil cutbacks deal supply-chain pain

  • Belt-tightening by big energy majors faced with plunging oil prices is battering the finances and share prices of their suppliers, as investors reassess the sector’s ability to keep gushing cash.
  • A growing list of delayed or cancelled projects, seen by some investors as a healthy move by majors to rein in capital spend after a poor history of returns is working its way through corporate earnings; it has already pummelled the share price of some European suppliers seen as financially fragile.
  • Fugro, once seen as a blue-chip on Amsterdam’s benchmark index, has had more than 30 per cent of its stock-market value wiped out in a week since scrapping its dividend. It is seeing trade swings more suited to a small-sized firm: on Thursday its one-day gain was 28 per cent.
  • The worst of this volatility may yet be to come, analysts and fund managers warn, as the recent fall in oil prices – triggered by a supply glut as well as worries over cooling demand – and the delayed effect of capital-expenditure cuts keeps up the pressure on companies to plug balance-sheet gaps. “Oil services firms are like euro zone banks a few years ago. There’s a lot of damage in the sector and it could get worse before it gets better,” said Arnaud Scarpaci, fund manager at Montaigne Capital.

Read more at Reuters Africa

President Obama announces plans to boost US manufacturing

  • US president Barack Obama has unveiled new executive actions to strengthen the functioning of US manufacturing supply chains. Aimed at fixing what is perceived as “the innovation gap faced by small manufacturers”, the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which serves over 30,000 US manufacturers each year, will build new capabilities at its state-based centres and pilot a competition for $130 million (£81.3 million) over five years across 10 states to help small manufacturers adopt new technologies and bring new products to market.
  • As part of the Supply Chain Innovation Initiative, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) will deploy new tools to help small manufacturers access advanced technologies, new markets, and growth capital.
  • These tools will help connect small manufacturers with testbeds housed at national research facilities to test new technologies, helping small manufacturers bring to market novel products and processes.

Read more at Supply Management

CEVA and FedEx leverage expertise to help Ebola response

  • FedEx and CEVA have both been using their expertise to aid Ebola stricken countries in west Africa in recent weeks.
  • CEVA, one of the world’s leading supply chain management companies, airlifted more than 70 tonnes of urgent supplies to Monrovia, Liberia on 10 October to assist in ongoing efforts to combat the West Africa Ebola outbreak. The airlift was chartered by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the lead government agency coordinating US Ebola response efforts which has been working to expand the pipeline of medical equipment and supplies to the region.
  • Included in the shipment were infrared thermometers, disinfectant backpack sprayers, tents, and plastic fencing to be used in the construction of Ebola treatment units. The supplies were sourced by USAID from multiple locations around the world and delivered to CEVA Charter Services at Liege Airport in Belgium. From there, CEVA loaded the cargo onto a Global Africa Cargo MD-11 freighter aircraft for a direct flight to the Liberian capital of Monrovia.
  • CEVA Logistics Corporate Account Manager, Marc Burgard, said: “This was a really important charter, and we were honoured to have been able to play a part in the Ebola response.”There were several challenges along the way because of the diverse locations of the  items involved, the urgency of the job and the number of time zones concerned, but the charter arrived safely in Liberia.”

Read more at Supply Chain Digital

Supply chain woes at Tate

  • Tate & Lyle’s first-half results came hot on the heels of a profit warning in September, so the figures, though bleak, were at least anticipated. They reflect serious operational and supply chain disruption caused by the polar vortex in the US and the temporary shutdown of Tate’s Singapore sucralose factory. Tate’s logistics cracked under the pressure and it was forced to shell out £31m to get orders to customers, including sending goods by costly air freight.
  • And it didn’t help that sucralose prices fell faster, and for longer, than anticipated, slicing £18m off profit. Finally, the hit to earnings was compounded by currency headwinds.
  • Finance director Nick Hampton said Tate had been caught out by the supply chain issues and that the challenging first half had exposed cracks in the system. These are now being addressed, but Mr Hampton said Tate needed to build a more integrated and better-run global network to deal with the increasing complexity of the business, which included greater visibility over supply and demand. He said £100m is now being spent, both to boost capacity and make it more flexible, putting inventories closer to customers.

Read more at Investors Chronicle

Supply chain utilizations drop as China 4G development lags

  • Following the release of the iPhone 6 coupled with less-than-expected 4G developments in China, handset vendors in China anticipate limited 4G handset shipments throughout the end of 2014 into the second quarter of 2015.
  • Handset vendors in China had aggressive plans to push 4G handset sales in the country but as subisidies from local telecom vendors ended coupled with factors such as lagging awareness of the technology and consumers waiting for the iPhone 6, they witnessed less-than-expected 4G shipments, a trend that is expected to wither into 2015.
  • Supply chains do anticipate orders for the technology throughout the end of 2014 but believe the vast majority of orders will not come until the first and second quarters of 2015 when vendors prepare to release new units in the second and third quarters of 2015. China handset supply chain makers such as Kuangli Photoelectric Technology meanwhile have seen their utilizations drop as the trend occurs, with Kuangli’s dropping from 95% in the second quarter of 2014 to 60% in the third quarter.
  • Digitimes Research said major China-based handset vendors including Coolpad, Lenovo and Xiaomi Technology are unlikely to reach their shipment goals set for 2014 due to slow sales of 4G models in the third quarter and gloomy prospects for the fourth quarter.

Read more at Digitimes

Why collaboration is the key to effective supply chain procurement

Jacques Adriaansen, co-founder of Every Angle, shared his thoughts with Procurious around the big difference between earning money from your suppliers and earning money ‘with’ suppliers.

Working alongside your suppliers can add to your supply chain process

What do you see when you identify a supplier, as part of your supply chain procurement process? Do you see a necessary evil that must be negotiated before you can make a profit? Or do you see a potential strategic business partner that could play an active role in helping you to make money? Every day, I see examples of businesses who fail to see that there is a big difference between earning money from suppliers and earning money with suppliers. Of course, there are certain, specific cases where pressurising suppliers may be the only option available. However, in most cases, it’s clear that collaboration is by far the most effective approach.

Let’s face it – the objective of any business, regardless of its focus, sector or expertise, is to save costs, while at the same time, ensuring a consistent level of quality. This is especially true for those who find themselves dependent on a supply chain. It’s a fact that makes it even more bewildering to consider that the impact procurement can have on supply chain performance is still grossly underestimated in most organisations. Of course, most organisations keep a close eye on costs when they buy from suppliers, because after all, the purchase price is important.

However, they should also not forget that solid supply reliability is just as important – if not more so – when it comes to preventing disruptions in the production process. Remember that incomplete deliveries or deliveries that arrive too late or not at all, can have a significant and negative impact on overall business performance. All of which is why more focus needs to be placed on the role of procurement as part of overall operational excellence strategy.

Past experience shows that a lot is to be gained from streamlining delivery schedules. Meat-processing systems manufacturer, Marel, is a great example of how to do this effectively. By giving suppliers information about future demand as early as possible, it has managed to improve efficiency of its plant by as much as 40 per cent. In the past, all Marel could do was tell suppliers which purchase orders were outstanding. This meant that it had no insight into potential peak loads at their suppliers and were thus unprepared to deal with the consequences.

As a result, some suppliers were unable to deliver on time, which often resulted in a severely disrupted manufacturing schedule. By including the purchase order requisitions as well, they were able to gain a better insight into the peak loads at suppliers which they themselves generated. Based on these insights, they are now able to decide to bring orders forward or to postpone them. As a direct result, they are now able to identify which goods are delivered with greater consistency and ensure that schedules remain stable. Marel’s suppliers are now almost always able to meet the required level of demand, which means that it is now able to manufacture more efficiently and at lower costs. It’s an interesting example, as it really shows how using the available data more effectively can play a considerable role in contributing to operational excellence as a whole. 

In practice, procurement departments deal with hundreds of outstanding purchase orders every day, many of which may be overdue. Clearly, it is not cost or time-effective for them to chase all of those. Instead, they need to be able to quickly assess with purchase orders really impact production or delivery to the client. After all, why spend time and energy on things that have hardly any impact? Conducting this analysis in SAP can, however, be a complex process, requiring procurement departments to go through the same steps for every individual order. This can make establishing the relationship between a purchase order and a sales order almost impossible.

Production companies have to be aware of the fact that collaborating with suppliers and generating insight from procurement to final delivery, can have a major impact on the performance of the supply chain. By paying more attention to this element of the supply chain, a great deal can be gained in terms of efficiency, productivity and ultimate cost savings. For example, it can help you to prevent bottlenecks in the production process, reduce backlogs, detect delivery risks and optimise the workflow.

Don’t forget that procurement is not only responsible for good price agreements. It also plays an important role in improving the collaboration between supplier and client. The upshot of this is true collaboration, with suppliers being given the opportunity to contribute their knowledge and with buyers making good use of that knowledge. It’s a model that some of the best, most effective operations follow – are you following in their footsteps?

Stay up-to-date with Procurious




There is now a playable warehouse and logistics simulator…

The game (available on PC via Steam) sees you progress through various timed-based scenarios to move goods around a supermarket, warehouse and production facility.

But this isn’t just any old logistics simulator, oh no. The official website makes a big deal of the Jungheinrich affiliation – that’s an actual Jungheinrich forklift truck you’re controlling.  The company is based in Hamburg, Germany and one of the leading international companies in the material handling equipment, warehousing and material flow engineering sectors.

The game offers would-be forklift operators a variety of quests, different game modes, and realistic physics. A handful of comments from YouTubers come from those within the forklift industry itself –  complete with lighthearted observations… The simulator is presumably designed to train-up new operators right?

Stay up-to-date with Procurious




Faculty CPO of the Year mentors CIPS Young Procurement Professional of the Year

What do you get when you put two award-winning women of procurement together?

Billie Gormon, Bree Pitcher, Visna Lampasi

Inspired by the Women in Procurement panel at the 2013 CIPS Australasia Annual Conference – four women blazed a trail for a new breed of mentoring program. Just under a year later the Australasian pilot of the global Women in Procurement has become a reality – the program has been designed to connect future procurement leaders (both female & male) with female role models they don’t necessarily have access to in their sector or region. There is also hope that it will address some of the disparity found in the percentages of women in procurement roles, into the future.

Those  four motivated women were Linda Eames (Head of Group Procurement, NRMA), Sommer Baxter (Director Procurement, PwC), Carrie McCafferty (Category Manager, Westpac), and Sarah Collins (CPO, Roads and Maritime Services).

With this fresh in mind, enter Billie Gorman (Manager Procurement Excellence at Thiess), who connected the 2014 Young Procurement Professional of the Year with another award-winner – Visna Lampasi (The Faculty’s CPO of the Year).

Bree Pitcher won the CIPS Young Procurement & Supply Chain Professional Award at the recent 2014 CIPS Procurement Awards in Sydney – she will be mentored by Visna Lampasi over the next twelve months.

Procurious talked to both women following Billie’s introduction, quizzing them on their wins, the future, and importance of the mentorship program.

Procurious asks: Let’s talk the power of networks – why do you invest time in growing your network?

Visna answers: Skilful networking, which these days is far more than shaking hands and introducing yourself, is a powerful marketing approach which can accelerate the access to opportunities as well as sustain success.  From a business perspective, it provides me with the ability to identify and tap procurement talent for future hiring, as well as bringing ideas and people together that would have not otherwise crossed paths.

If fact, it was Billie Gorman (Procurement Excellence Manager at Thiess) from my network who had introduced me to Bree Pitcher at the recent CIPS Procurement Professional Awards dinner in Sydney, Australia and suggested the potential mentoring opportunity.

Procurious: What impresses you about young people starting out careers in Procurement?

Visna: These days, young people have far more resources available and they are utilising them. They are also establishing and leveraging their networks, actively seeking out Mentors (more than one in many cases) and often have a career path already mapped out for themselves which they regularly review and adjust.  When I first started in procurement, there were not many courses available in Australia.  Fortunately, the companies that I had worked for were multi-nationals which gave me access to programs offshore.

Procurious: Why mentor? What are the benefits to you? 

Visna: Mentoring gives me the ability to share my knowledge and experience, which hopefully are useful insights to assist someone with navigating the organisational landscape.   It also gives me the opportunity to give back to the procurement profession, as well as the satisfaction that I am helping someone to achieve their professional goals.

Procurious: Do you have any top tips for others wanting to position themselves as a great mentor?

Visna: Outside of being qualified on the relevant subject matter and interested in the development of others, a mentor needs to display the highest of ethical standards, be a good listener and be able to steer, guide and inspire the mentee rather than direct and control.

The American author William Arthur Ward said it best – “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires”.

Procurious: How has mentoring changed since you first started your career?  

Visna: Mentoring is utilised more nowadays than in the past.  Many organisations and professional bodies offer formal mentoring programs which are well structured.  For example, it would not be unusual for the two individual’s to enter into a Mentoring Agreement, along with having documented Mentoring Action Plans which are reviewed periodically throughout the relationship to ensure that they are on track.

Procurious: Did you have any mentors on your way up?  Do you still now? 

Visna: Fortunately for me, I did have a number of senior male mentors during my career who took me under their wing. This was particularly important to me, as the majority of my career had been spent in male dominated industries. Up until most recently, I also had a female Executive Coach assigned to me by my previous employer as part of their senior executive leadership program.  Whilst I am in between mentors at the moment, I still keep in contact with those that have helped me throughout the different stages of my career.

Bree Pitcher

Procurious asks: What does it mean to have CPO of the Year as your mentor?

Bree answers: I am very fortunate to have Visna as a mentor. It is clear that she has achieved so much in her career to date and I look forward to spending time with her and learning from her wealth of knowledge and experience. The opportunity will greatly assist me in developing further as a young professional which in turn will help me to progress my career and achieve my future goals.

Procurious: How did you get into Procurement?

Bree: I, like many others in the field, stumbled across the procurement profession. As a soon to be university graduate I by chance met a representative from the Queensland Government Procurement Office at a careers fair held on campus. As soon as I heard about what was involved I knew it was the career for me. I applied and was successful in obtaining a placement in the Queensland Government Procurement Professional Graduate Development program placed at Government Owned Corporation Tarong Energy now Stanwell Corporation.

7 Years on, I feel so very fortunate to be part of such an exciting profession. I enjoy the challenges of my role each and every day and thrive on the opportunity to make a measurable impact and difference in my organisation.

Procurious: As a millennial do you see a change in this new generation of procurement? 

Bree: It is truly exciting to see so many young, capable and passionate professionals involved in the procurement profession. From my own perspective, I am never afraid of a challenge, continuously question the norm and strive to think outside the box, all important and distinctive traits in which I see very often in many of my millennial peers. For this young and enthusiastic generation the profession really does present so many exciting challenges and opportunities to make a difference. The foundation and ever increasing profile for procurement which experienced CPO’s like Visna have worked so very hard to build and foster within business means the opportunities are plentiful and for me, procurement really is the “career of choice”.

Procurious: Networking and making contacts is a valuable career investment! To that end, how are you investing in your network?   

Bree: I cannot stress more the importance of building and fostering a professional network. I am very fortunate to be involved in professional associations such as the SCLAA and CIPS where I have had the opportunity to meet and liaise with likeminded and passionate individuals who are happy to share their knowledge, offer guidance and provide introductions to others in industry. In fact it is through my network that I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Visna.

For me the investment in my network is essential in my development as a professional, however it is equally as rewarding to give back and share my own knowledge and experience with my peers.

Procurious: How did the mentoring opportunity come about?

Bree: I was fortunate to be introduced to Visna at the 2014 CIPS Australasia Awards Dinner through the wonderful Billie Gorman, a procurement professional whom I connected with through my own professional network. Visna was delighted with the announcement that I was the winner of the CIPS Australasia Young Procurement and Supply Chain Management Professional of the Year award for 2014. She kindly offered to mentor me and we have since begun to connect. 

Procurious: What do you hope to get out of the mentoring experience?

Bree: I look forward to working with Visna to help identify areas in which I need to build upon my current skillset and experience to enable me to further progress in my career. My ultimate goal is to one day become a successful CPO leading and inspiring others to make a difference and deliver valuable outcomes for business. I know Visna as the successful professional and CPO of the year that she is will be able to share her knowledge and guide me further with my own career path.

Procurious: And finally, can you provide any tips on finding a great mentor?

Bree: Finding a great mentor and someone who is the right fit for you is not always a short and simple task. There is great potential to meet your next mentor through your professional network connections. I would also encourage those interested in finding a mentor to become involved in professional associations. In particular a number of associations (including the SCLAA) now offer formal mentoring programs whereby mentors and mentees are paired and connected. The important thing to note with regards to mentoring is that you personally have to know what you want to achieve from the experience. Your mentor is there to guide you however you only get out what you put in to the opportunity.

Procurious thanks both Visna and Bree for their time.

If you are interested in registering for the Women in Procurement program you’ll need to complete the registration survey by clicking here.

Feminist t-shirts ‘sweatshop’ row

UK politicians Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have made headlines for the wrong reasons… this and more in our weekly news-blast of procurement’s biggest stories.

Feminist t-shirt labour row

Feminist t-shirts ‘sweatshop’ row

  • A women’s rights charity behind a t-shirt campaign now caught up in controversy over claims the products were made in “sweatshop” conditions has said it will order the clothes be withdrawn from sale if the reports are proven.
  • The T-shirts, proudly worn by Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman proclaiming their feminist credentials, are made by women workers being paid just 62p an hour, the Mail on Sunday reported.
  • The paper said its investigation had found the t-shirts with the slogan “This is what a feminist looks like” were being produced on a factory on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius where the women machinists sleep 16 to a room.
  • Fashion retailer Whistles, which sells the garments for £45 each, described the allegations as “extremely serious” and said it would be mounting an urgent investigation.

Read more on MSN

Britain’s drone tech future relies on supply chain know-how

  • An interesting article has appeared in The Telegraph on the rise of drones and the economic benefit they could bring to the UK. It is penned by Michael Minall – Aerospace and Defence Director at Vendigital.

  • Developing a supply chain for drone production is such a significant challenge as the current aerospace sector is already competing for capable capacity in the supply chain. The task of making enough commercial aircraft to meet rising passenger numbers (20,000 over the next 20 years) means that many manufacturers are working at stretched capacity. To combat this, innovators of drone technology must move now to engage in supply chain mapping and open a dialogue with key suppliers regarding future business needs, communicating their requirements in terms of volumes, key capabilities and location.
  • Michael also touches on the potential skills gap, highlighting how unpopular engineering has become as a degree subject. So in order to source staff with the desired technical skills, firms should be prepared to take action at a grassroots level.

Read more at The Telegraph

CIPS Pan African Procurement Awards winners revealed 

  • The winners of the CIPS Pan African Procurement Awards 2014 were announced at a ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Awards in 10 categories were presented to organisations in the public and private sectors, and two postgraduate awards and nine certificates of recognition were also handed out at the celebration at the Premier Hotel OR Tambo.
  • The evening included a speech from Jimmy Manyi, president of the Progressive Professional Forum and former CEO of government communications and information systems for the Republic of South Africa.
  • Award highlights included: Most Procurement & Supply Orientated CPO/CEO of the Year: Garry Pita, Transnet, CIPS Young Procurement and Supply Chain Management Professional of the Year: Lindiwe Ntuli from NECSA, while Kamogelo Mampane was awarded the CIPS Fellowship.

Supply Management has published a list of the winners in full

Ben Ainslie Racing

Olympian partners with high-tech procurement company in bid to win America’s Cup

  • Ben Ainslie Racing the racing team set up by Olympian and America’s Cup winner Ben Ainslie has partnered with high-tech procurement company Matrix in a bid to win the America’s Cup with as green a boat (and surrounding infrastructure) as possible. Through buying components from within the UK, especially the Solent area close to their workshop in Portsmouth, reducing the impact on the environment and boosting the local economy.
  • The technology will enable BAR to support smaller businesses, taking advantage of the best of British tech and innovation; in contrast to other teams such as Oracle Team USA who wouldn’t tend to look for smaller suppliers, the BAR and Matrix partnership aims to support British businesses.
  • Matrix already enjoys long term relationships with around 78 local authorities and the wider public sector including the NHS, higher educational establishments, schools, police authorities and the not-for-profit sector through the procurement of temporary staffing.
  • The buying platform opens late November, with Matrix and BAR hosting  a supplier day open to all suppliers interested in working with BAR.

Read more at Ben Ainslie Racing

New security solution to protect against supply chain attacks in enterprise

  • Micron, Wave Systems, Lenovo, and PC Bios software vendor American Megatrends plan to develop enterprise-class security for enterprise class IT business systems.
  • The solutions to strengthen the BIOS specific feature called Core Root of Trust for Measurement (CRTM) to protect against current and emerging pre-boot threats within the supply chain. The companies intend for these solutions to form the basis of a new industry standard designed to ensure the integrity of the supply chain.
  • The comprehensive enterprise security suite will serve to protect memory content from its inception in manufacturing throughout a computing device’s life cycle.  It is hoped that a centrally managed security solution (working in conjunction with a client’s core root of trust for measurement) will provide client system integrity throughout the supply chain.

Read more at EE Herald

Paddy procurement halted as Punjab exhausts CCL

  • The paddy procurement in Punjab has been stopped midway as the state has exhausted its first installment of cash credit limit (CCL) of Rs. 8,000 crore received from the Centre, and the second installment of Rs. 10,000 crore has not arrived despite several frantic reminders by the state.
  • It is a crisis-like situation as the state government has not paid the farmers since ten days for the large quantity of paddy procured by Punjab. About 40 lakh tonne of paddy still remain in grain markets waiting to be procured by government agencies.
  • So far, payment has been made for 55 lakh tonne. Other farmers are awaiting payment while agencies have already obtained the grain from them.

Read more at Hindustan Times

Standardised procurement could save English fire services £18 million a year 

  • Fire and rescue services across England could save £18 million annually by standardising and streamlining the way they buy firefighting clothing and equipment, according to a joint report from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Chief Fire Officers Association.
  • A report commissioned by DCLG found fire services buying identical kit at vastly different prices, with variations of up to 200 per cent. It cited examples including a pair of protective trousers costing between £125 and £274, a fire helmet costing £105 to £131, and the price of a fire coat ranging £220 to £366.
  • Concluding that fire and rescue authorities could achieve savings of £18 million from a total spend of £127 million a year, the report suggested the savings could be even greater if applied to all purchases by all fire services, which spends an estimated £600 million each year on buying equipment and fire engines.

Read more at Supply Management

Talking point: popular discussions on Procurious

Over the last few months, there have been a number of topics and themes within our Discussion forum.

We don’t want this information to go to waste, so we have pulled together the key points from some of the most popular discussions that we have seen so far.

Most popular discussions on Procurious

What do you say when a supplier (existing or potential) asks you: “What budget do you have in mind?”

There were a number of different answers from the community, ranging from a response of “why do you want to know that?, where the buyer elicits more information from the supplier, before asking for a firm price quotation, to no suppliers would ask that because they know that they need to quote best price or the existing relationship is critical to both parties.

A number of key points were brought up in the answers. The response to the question being asked depended on:

  • The relationship with the supplier
  • What commodity is being purchased – a key commodity might have more of a discussion around a price that worked for both parties, than one that is a best price discussion
  • What quality is expected
  • When the question is being asked – is it during a negotiation, or as part of a tendering process

There was agreement in that most people wouldn’t reveal the budget, would give a figure that was a percentage of the total budget or wouldn’t answer the question, either at all or without more explanation from the supplier.

Links were given for further information reading on suppliers combating the response to this question:

Trying to improve how we do contract management at CnES. Where should I start?

There were a few answers to this question, but some that got a few of the members commenting about the quality.

Consensus was to design a framework both for the management of the contract but also the KPIs to be involved in the contract itself. The most highly rated response was Cristian Martin:

  • Agree how to categorize your contracts/suppliers so you maintain focus on the most important ones. (Krajic, ABC or both).
  • Agree the method of contract management and standardize it so that you can compare supplier performance (under performing contracts can be seen and understood across the business when the process is standardized. e.g. use only 10 KPIs on all contracts and all KPIs are marked 0-5 (a score of 30 means the contract is performing to specification, Higher recognizes excellence and lower means there are issues that need to be resolved.)
  • Standardize the reporting and ensure it is seen at senior level on a regular basis. (Provide a quarterly report along with your savings report and get the recognition for your hard work).
  • Provide the tools to contract managers for lower value/risk contracts to give contract managers practice and improve their skills in Contract Management so that when you work on contracts together, you can focus on the contract and not in their CPD.

Cristian went on to recommend that only 10 KPIs were used in his contracts. Not the same every time, but a maximum number of 10.

He also asked his suppliers as part of the tender process to suggest KPIs for the contract to establish a starting point for discussion.

How sustainable procurement can be best defined?

This is common question across the profession at the moment and one that there is no real defined answer for. The top definitions given were:

  • To ensure that all procurement includes a requirement to maximise the benefits to the Outer Hebrides and the wider world that may arise from the purchase.
  • Preserving and cultivating the human resource of relationships
  • A process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organisation, but also to society and the economy

A key learning point given from the theoretical side of the debate was the concept of the Triple Bottom Line. This breaks Procurement activities into three distinct areas, all of which should be considered by buyers:

  1. Environmental Impact
  2. Economic Impact
  3. Social Impact

Sustainable Procurement is seen as a common buzzword, but not so common in practice, but there is evidence that it can provide value. Another point raised was why should there be a separate name for these activities – shouldn’t they just fall under the normal daily activities of procurement? What do you think?

To contribute to all of these discussions and more, head to https://www.procurious.com/discussions/

10 years of supply chain CSR

We’re leading this week’s news headlines with a decade of supply chain corporate social responsibility presented in an easy-to-digest infographic. It’s like Christmas has come early…

Ten years of supply chain’s corporate responsibility

  • A new infographic which highlights the high-profile events that have driven global momentum for business and supply chain responsibility over the past decade has been created by the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex).
  • From the Morecambe Bay tragedy in the UK in 2004 to the horsemeat scandal which rocked industry last year, the Sedex infographic puts the spotlight on the events that have driven global momentum for CSR and supply chain responsibility.

View the infographic in full below (thanks to edie.net):

Infographic: 10 years of supply chain CSR

 

Carlsberg pours Office 365 into supply chain operations

  • Danish brewer Carlsberg has deployed Office 365 in a bid to help the company manage its supply chain operations around the world. The Carlsberg Group is deploying Office 365’s integrated productivity and collaboration services to underpin the Carlsberg Supply Chain (CSC), an initiative to help streamline the company’s global supply chain operations.
  • Since 2000 the company has expanded from a local production base of just six markets to servicing pubs and restaurants in over 140 markets, and the company has launched what it calls “GloCal,” an attempt to improve its operational efficiency by centralising management of its procurement, production, logistics and planning functions.
  • Etienne Dock, vice president of IT architecture and sourcing at Carlsberg said the company is using Microsoft Exchange Online for email and calendaring; Microsoft Lync Online to connect via web conferencing and instant messaging; teams are collaborating on projects using Microsoft SharePoint Online; and employees are adopting the Yammer Enterprise social networking platform for messaging and collaboration.

Read more at Business Cloud News

DHL Supply Chain wins new five-year contract with Volvo Cars

  • Under the new contract, DHL will manage four shared use local distribution centres. Deliveries will take place through the night using DHL’s Auto Alliance collaborative platform. During the day, deliveries are made through the same day service to all of Volvo Cars UK dealers. This service incorporates flexible driver departure times to even the most remote dealers, meaning an enhanced, more efficient delivery service nationwide.
  • Michael Martin, VP Business Development, Automotive, DHL Supply Chain added: “DHL is delighted to be working with one of the world’s leading automotive companies to drive forward innovative approaches for exceptional customer service. “This new contract heralds a new partnership between DHL and Volvo Cars, which will see us deliver an innovative service-level delivery network, resulting in increased efficiencies”.
  • A new fleet of increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles will be deployed, with more than 35 trucks that feature forward facing cameras, Microlise vehicle tracking to increase fleet performance, full closure tail lifts to maintain high safety standards and state-of-the-art double deck trailers specifically designed for working in the Aftermarket environment.

Read more at Supply Chain Digital

Huawei boosts European procurement spend to more than $4 billion

  • The Chinese IT company spent $3.4 billion on components, engineering and logistical services in 2013 but plans to increase this to $4.08 billion by 2015.
  • At its European Partner Convention in Germany the firm, which deals with more than 3,000 suppliers in Europe, said spending was “gathering further speed” as part of plans to expand in the region.
  • Kevin Tao, president of Huawei Western Europe, said: “Europe remains our top investment destination. “Europe’s fertile IT environment, and the trust of our valuable European partners, has enabled us to get us to get where we are today. As our engagement with the European business environment deepens, procurement will be continually increasing to fuel this expansion.”

Read more at Supply Management

Competition from China PC supply chain to remain strong in 2015

  • Although demand for PCs has started recovering recently and shipments in 2015 are expected to remain at the same level as in 2014, Taiwan’s supply chain is still facing fierce competition from China-based component makers, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.
  • The sources pointed out that the hinge industry is one of the major battlefields for Taiwan makers, as China-based manufactures such as GT Technology have been expanding their presences in the monitor and all-in-one PC industries. Although notebook hinges are still supplied mainly by Taiwan-based companies, China makers’ aggressive moves have created strong pressure.
  • In addition to hinges, the competition between Taiwan and China makers has also grown fierce for components such as batteries, cooling modules, cables and connectors.

Read more at Digitimes.com

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Jason D’Assisi

He may be a procurement superstar now, but after high school, Jason D’Assisi wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do.

Jason D'Assisi

With a little push from his family, he ended up in real estate, but when an opportunity to do something different came along, he jumped at it and took a role with an import/export organisation. He recalls working his way through the organisation and experiencing the different aspects of procurement, including commercial negotiations and sourcing strategies.

He knew he’d found his niche and in 2008 he began studying supply chain management full-time while also continuing to work full-time in procurement.

He went on to work for KPMG Australia as a procurement specialist and Myer as a category manager, where he gained valuable leadership and management experience.

These days, you can find him at Newcrest Mining, where he’s a supply specialist and category lead for engineering services, CAPEX and site services.

“I didn’t get to where I am today without having experienced teams around me to learn from and develop. Add a supportive wife to the mix and I’ve been lucky enough to have the foundations needed to help me succeed in this industry,” Jason says.

“I’m also ambitious and naturally competitive and both these traits have helped me achieve success in the last five years.”

Jason has worked with some great leaders that have helped him develop invaluable strategic sourcing, negotiation and procurement skills during his career. He’s now on the lookout for a formal mentor to ensure he reaches his full potential.

He’s been told he’s an outcome driven person, which he agrees with.

“I really enjoy reading a supplier and deciphering their real intentions in a negotiation. It allows me to expose their real needs and wants, which I can use in the negotiation process to deliver greater commercial outcomes for an organisation.”

Jason also hopes to be part of a mentorship program so he can share the story with young procurement professionals looking for guidance and career direction.

“Most of us can and do procure in some way in our everyday activities, but procurement for me is more than just the transaction. It’s about developing the skill and ability to get the most out of the negotiation in order to benefit the organisation.”

Supply chain issues on the small (and silver) screen

According to an excellent commentary from The Guardian, viral YouTube hits and blockbusting movie releases are helping to shine light on pertinent issues affecting supply chains the world over.

The Guardian cites such cinematic successes as Blood Diamond, alongside indie-documentaries like Blood in the Mobile (an expose on mobile phone production methods that are financing war in the DR Congo), and The Price of Sugar (at what human cost is sugar produced?) But there’s also a growing glut of online-only, YouTube short films – each aiming to achieve the same goals.

The Story of Stuff is a great example, as well as being something of a YouTube success story… Originally released in 2007, it’s been watched by over 44 million worldwide.

The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

Can you recommend any other videos that are making similar waves in these areas?

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