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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

Visna Lampasi receives The Faculty’s ‘CPO of the Year’ title

Leighton Contractors Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Visna Lampasi was last night awarded the prestigious title of CPO of the Year by leading procurement advisors The Faculty.

Announced at the Asia Pacific CPO Forum’s annual gala dinner held at Luna Park, Ms. Lampasi was selected from a pool of some of Asia Pacific’s top performing CPOs who collectively influence over $100 billion of expenditure each year.

Visna Lampasi

Ms. Lampasi is responsible for delivering value across a major annual spend for the company in excess of $5 billion including the management of a cost reduction program worth more than $100 million.

Sponsored by Pacific Brands WORKWEAR, the award highlights the importance of the CPO role in organisations by recognising CPOs who hold strong functional and technical expertise, realise commercial outcomes, demonstrate leadership influence and leverage the value of procurement across their businesses.

Ms. Lampasi came out on top as a result of creating major cost reduction initiatives including the consolidation of warehousing arrangements, winning back client contracts, and establishing a program committed to social procurement.

This program resulted in the company significantly increasing its expenditure with certified indigenous suppliers; which as of March 2014 was double the entire annual spend of 2013.

Ms. Lampasi’s ability to demonstrate the value of procurement across the organisation captured the independent judging panel’s attention in particular, with the company’s CFO nominating her for the award.

Judging panel chairman Dr. Karen Morley said: “Procurement has been the unsung hero within organisations but management is increasingly recognising the impact it can have on positive cultural change across the business.

“Visna has not only realised commercial outcomes that are being replicated across related companies in the construction industry, she’s also created effective sustainability initiatives (such as engaging indigenous suppliers).”

Established in 2012, the awards program, a flagship initiative of The Faculty, was created to recognise and celebrate the achievements of procurement professionals across Asia Pacific.

According to Pacific Brands WORKWEAR Group General Manager Matthew Claughton, despite procurement being one of the fastest growing professions, it is still undervalued making these types of awards programs vital.

CPO of the Year 2014

“The CPO of the Year award provides much needed recognition of the important role that procurement plays in driving real business outcomes. The CPO role is not just about the purchasing process, but includes building or protecting brand reputation, and providing that competitive edge.

“Showcasing the achievements of industry professionals like Visna shines a spotlight on the procurement function within businesses.”

The Faculty’s Founding Chairman Tania Seary added: “Visna is known for having established the leading procurement team within Leighton Contractors which is no mean feat. Project leaders are now coming to seek her recommendations, recognising the business value she contributes.

“We congratulate Visna and her team on their accomplishments, and encourage more procurement leaders to share their success stories to teach and inspire the emerging leaders in the profession.”

For more information on the Faculty’s CPO of the Year Award, please visit here. More photos of the event can be viewed on the CPO Forum event page

Brand You: how to create your own personal brand

Kate O'Reilly

Brand You: because no one knows you better…

FLiP 2014 may have been and gone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reflect on some of the inspirational talks given. One such session saw Kate O’Reilly advise attendees on the art of shaping their own personal brand – Brand You (if you will).

Kate was formerly a Deloitte Director whose work with the Deloitte Inspiring Women program led to her winning finalist for the Deloitte Business Woman of the Year and being appointed to the Deloitte Emerging Leaders Council. Kate’s experience extends to the global public and private sector – she can currently be found heading-up Optimiss, a firm that concentrates on the retention and promotion of women throughout business.

Over in Sydney we had our ear to the ground and took away the following learnings:

What you say, how you say it, how you look is really important. Just look at powerful and famous people of influence – they meticulously craft their personal brand and stick to it religiously. And if you want to distil what makes a brand, it can be broken down into the following: Behaviour, Presentation, and Communication.

In order to build a better brand there are a number of things you need to know (or be mindful of). These include:

  •  Your top three personal strengths and talents.
  • Also think about your core area of expertise, as you’ll need to be prepared to demonstrate the value and experience you can deliver. What is it that you can do better than others?
  • Be clear who exactly you are targeting, and think about what they need to hear.
  • Look out for your brand and be prepared to manage conversations about yourself – you need to control how the world sees you. Consider what you want people to say about you, and help this along by being consistent in your messaging.
  • And finally, always search for ways you can actively build and grow your brand.

You can follow Kate on Twitter @Optimiss_Sydney  https://twitter.com/Optimiss_Sydney

Is this the workplace of the future?

Yes we know… The company’s San Francisco office is a thing of modern beauty too!
Yes we know… The company’s San Francisco office is a thing of modern beauty too!

If you attended FLiP 2014 you’ll know that the underlying message was ‘shake up your professional outlook’. Today we’re turning our focus towards a business that’s been shaking things up in their own way – step forward Atlassian.

This enterprising Australian software company is disrupting the staid and tired workplace culture of old – and it must be doing something right as Atlassian has ranked high consistently year-after-year in numerous ‘Best Place to Work’ surveys.

Being a fast growing and dynamic company – Atlassian is passionate about developing innovative HR practices and building awesome workplace cultures. Obviously talent and culture are the key drivers of the businesses’ future success.

Pay a visit to the company’s website and you’ll see glimmers of this philosophy peeking through – as fresh and as tantalising as a crisp spring morning.

‘Open company, no bullshit’ starts us off, ‘build with heart and balance’ grounds us and reminds employees about their emotional core. ‘Don’t #@!% the customer’ comes next (sage words that underpin the working relationship), ‘play as a team’ follows, before the inspirational ‘be the change you seek’ leaves us with food for thought.

Atlassian preach quite a mantra we’re sure you’ll agree… One that reminds us that these aren’t your typical corporate values – with such an open and honest approach it’s hard not to applaud these mavericks and smile.

Now it’s over to you: what do you make of this daring approach? Let us know in the comments below.

Generation Procurement: Georgina Portelli

Georgina Portelli

Procuring a Bombardier Global Express XRS500 business jet was a once in a lifetime experience for Georgina Portelli, who names this procurement project as her greatest professional achievement so far. She was working at the Casino division of Tabcorp at the time, and needed a flash mode of transport for the VIPs.

“Procurement tends to be mainly indirect goods and services, so putting together a deal for a moveable asset was a key achievement. I’m pretty certain that’s as glamorous as it’s going to get, and I can cross flying on a private jet off my bucket list, which may be considered an achievement in itself,” Georgina laughs.

The general manager of procurement for the country’s largest aged care provider reckons there will be many more days of equally dizzying heights ahead.

For her, procurement has given her the skills to negotiate her way through life.

She hopes to move into a global procurement role in the next five years. Long term, she dreams of running a high-end resort in the Greek Islands.

Emulating greatness doesn’t work, she says. “A very wise woman once told me that people that work hard tend to be lucky and that’s no coincidence, and that’s stayed with me.”

Georgina has been in procurement just over a decade, after originally planning a career as a psychologist. A year into the study, she decided it wasn’t for her.

However, she’s not the type to not finish something she’d started, so completed the degree and used the opportunity to study the greats, discovering her passion for travel and taking a corporate role at Myer. A Bachelor of business followed, with a major in HR management, then an MBA.

Georgina applied for a procurement role at Myer head office post-graduation, and the rest is history.

The CIPSA and The Faculty member attends regular industry events, relishing the opportunity to network with peers.

“The value networking brings to me is the solace that we all face similar challenges with the maturing role and expectations of procurement. It has evolved into a true partnering role, which is very exciting. Maybe it’s the safety in numbers thing, but it always makes me feel positive about the profession as a whole and my position in it.

“I love that my role is valued and gives me the ability to influence buying decisions across the organisation, building on a commercial culture.”