All posts by Procurious HQ

Where next for the automation revolution?

This is a guest post by Sandeep Kumar, Vice President at ITC Infotech and Head of the Business Consulting Group.

The increasing automation of the supply chain has become a major talking point in recent years as technology continues to play a pivotal role in the way operations are run.

Jenson/Shutterstock.com

The buzz is easy to understand – automation enables businesses to address the need to scale their operations without having to add to their workforce, with a more streamlined, flexible and efficient operation that drastically reduces errors.

Although it continues to dominate headlines today, the supply chain technology revolution actually started in the early 1980s with the advent of powerful computing models in MRP and MRP II. This later evolved into the next generation supply chain software that helped bring in advanced planning and optimisation capabilities as well as strong functional automation of warehouses and factories. The equation has been shifting ever  since then, with newer technology becoming more affordable, the cost benefits of tool driven automation became extremely attractive and application of smart tools came to be realised as a critical competitive advantage.

Many geo-political events and technology breakthroughs have contributed to this trend. The oil crisis of the 70’s triggered multiple innovations in cost reduction and efficiency, and the opening up of China and the Far East in the 80s made the making and selling of products across different continents not only possible, but cost effective. The end of the Cold-War and increase in globalisation led to rampant consumerism in the 90s – driving product proliferation, miniaturisation and reduction of life cycles, digitisation of information exchange , and increasingly stringent statutory requirements for safety and ethical practices.

The forces of globalisation have continued to drive newer themes which dominate the agenda today, such as the globalised supply chain, cost and profitability improvement, value chain integration, integrated planning and optimisation, global supply chain analytics and more. Technology has helped shape business evolution at each step.

In essence, what we see today is the supply chain being more and more digitalised and therefore more intelligent. By setting up a centralised supply chain analytics centre, for instance, businesses can benefit from processes like demand forecasting, replenishment planning, inventory analytics and sales and operations planning support in a shared services model. In this way, they can extend the benefits of standardised processes and analytics across multiple business divisions without having to increase human resources.

The impact of growing automation in supply chains has been widespread across industries. Among those most affected by transformation in supply chains are high tech OEMs and consumer electronics OEMs. These are largely sectors where cost efficiencies are paramount and technology adaptation is helping to lower the cost of product operations, and this demand has made them the pioneers in adopting new advanced capabilities that disrupt the supply chain models.

In these sectors, functions such as designing, sourcing and distribution have gone through transformational change. Companies like Cisco, for example, operate a business model that uses technology as a powerful integrator of supply chains. The automotive, aerospace and industrial manufacturing industries have also undergone similar transformation.

This evolution does not come without challenges.

In addition, the CPG, fashion apparel and retail industries are good examples of how global supply chain models bring together raw materials and ingredients from across the world, before products are manufactured and then distributed to global markets. Wal-Mart’s Retail Link, for instance is a great case of how a retailer manages its huge supplier base through a supply chain Information portal.

This evolution does not come without challenges. In this case, the challenge lies primarily in staying ahead of the curve. Early adopters of supply chain risk management like Cisco and Ericsson, for example, have been pushed into investing in such capabilities based on environmental factors putting their supply chains at risk. Wal-Mart and Lego are other examples where supply chain sustainability and codes of conduct are being put in place as a consequence of management not being live to bad supplier practices.

Another concern has been the decreasing relevance of human labour in the face of growing automation. Although, it is clear that this transformation does impact manual work content by changing the way certain tasks are performed, arguing that it subsequently leads to the removal of people from supply chains would be quite an overstatement.

Sandeep KumarWhat however needs to be reinstated is that despite the rapid technological developments, humans have always and will continue to be the drivers of these processes. Even though specific roles will keep changing, supply chains will continue to depend on technology-savvy people. Supply chain technology is moving human tasks from more repetitive data entry and crunching tasks to more intelligent supply chain decision making, enabled by smart data and technology support.

This is an interesting time for supply chains as a series of innovations and technological shifts such as mobility and the rise of digital commerce will drive further change in the coming years. Supply chain risk management, sustainability, global integrated planning capabilities, and the use of instrumented intelligence are becoming key areas of interest that will help increase in-process visibility and enable the quicker business turn around on key operations. Fast-paced change in this area means there is plenty of space for players to claim the “pioneer status”. Businesses that want to succeed and reap the benefits of supply chain automation need to be forward-looking and brave enough to take the extra step ahead of their competitors.

How to manage your email notifications

Here at Procurious we like to keep you informed, that’s why alongside network invites (and website notifications) you’ll also receive a selection of email newsletters designed to help you get the most from the site.

Sign up to the Procurious newsletter

You’ll already receive the weekly ‘Best of the blog’ newsletter. Here we highlight three of our biggest articles from the past week – great if you took a few days off Procurious and you need to catch-up.

Remember, you receive all our newsletters by default – there’s no action required on your part. If you don’t think you’re getting them, try looking in your junk folder. Add us to your address book to ensure safe delivery next time.

Hey Procurious member – you’ve got new mail!

Eagle-eyed members might have noticed a new addition to the newsletter family.

Our news, views and commentary mail provides members with the latest happenings on Procurious – every week we’ll lead with our take on a topical issue in the news. Elsewhere you’ll find a recap of the top discussions, details of upcoming events, something from the blog, and suggestions for members to add to your network.

How to manage your email notifications

We hope you enjoy receiving and divulging our weekly Procurious newsletters. But if you want to limit the amount of mail you see from us it’s easy to update your email preferences.

How? Locate a Procurious newsletter in your inbox and scroll to the very bottom of the mail. Here you’ll find links to ‘Unsubscribe’, ‘Manage your email notifications’, or ‘Forward to a friend’.

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Obviously we’d love you to keep receiving stuff from us, but if you’re finding yourself buried under a deluge of email then we’ll understand (begrudgingly).

Driving home for Christmas: the best road warrior tech

A selection of nifty gadgets, accessories and app for those on the go this festive period.

Whether you’re melting in the Australian winter heat, navigating through dark icy highways, or winging it back to your family in business class – there’s something here for all types of traveller.

Best protective case for your smartphone/tablet

After a military-grade cocoon for your precious smartphone/tablet? Look no further than Griffin’s Survivor range of protective shells.

The All-Terrain model offers an impressive four layers of protection to safeguard against drops, knocks, scrapes, as well as all manner of environmental threats.

And if you’re worried about fumbling for your phone in your oversized gloves, the chunky design of the shell will ensure it remains in place. Scratch-resistant polycarbonate looks after your screen, while a fingerprint scanner beefs up your security detail and prevents unauthorised access.

Give your phone an extra life by ordering yours for £30. The All-Terrain variant is available for a wide selection of different handsets and iPads – check yours before setting your heart on it.

G-Form XTREME case

Alternatively: The XTREME range from G-Form offer seriously beefy protection for all forms of smartphone and small-factor tablets.

All G-Form products offer Reactive Protection Technology with a rigid outer polycarbonate shell and an inner shock-absorbing TPE insert.

Prices start at around the £20 mark.

Roberts Travel Pad review

Roberts Travel Pad

Need something to keep you entertained on the road? Roberts punchy portable speaker will ensure the music never stops.

Although it’s compact enough for travel, its chunky frame (185mm w x 80 h x 25 d) and satisfying weight (336g) means you won’t be carrying it around in your trouser pocket.

It outputs via Bluetooth, so you can stream from your tablet, mobile or PC for a full 12 hours. Charging is achieved via a micro USB charging socket.

Place it on a wooden tabletop and the Travel Pad sounds commanding. It offers a deep and robust sound. Plus the non-slip base will protect it from any unfortunate accidents.

There’s also a dedicated button to answer calls from your mobile – the inbuilt microphone providing you with a convenient hands free solution.

It’s available now from around £80.

Bluesmart connected suitcase

The best luggage solution for the tech savvy

We’re not sure whether the Bluesmart really is the would’s first ‘connected’ suitcase but it certainly stands out in the identikit world of traveller’s baggage.

It’s pretty smart too – proximity sensors will lock it if it travels too far from your sight, and should you ever get separated (or rerouted through the airline system) you can track your bag’s location using a partner app. Want to know if your over your weight allowance? The built-in scale serves as a handy extra.

The drawback? You’ll have to wait until Aug 2015 for the first Bluesmart units to roll off the production line. Register your interest at bluesmart.com, and get ready to put down your $280.

Portable Pebble Charger and Speaker

Best power bank for portable electronics

You never want to find yourself caught short… Out of power that is.

The Pebble Aria is not just another portable charger, oh no, – it offers much more. It’s cylindrical design packs in (and admittedly tiny) speaker too, and the 3500mAh capacity will replenish your devices on up to two different occasions.

If you’re after some aural escape then you can always take advantage of the inbuilt 2W amplifier to soundtrack your ride.

Available from Firebox.com for £39.99.

MIPOW Power Cube 7800 Portable Charger

An alternative choice might be the MIPOW Power Cube 7800 Portable Charger

The Power Cube has a capacity of 7800mAh, with a maximum 2.4A output. That’s more than enough juice to bring your mobile phones or tablet back from the brink several times over, and is good for 500 discharge/recharge cycles.

What’s more it supports the charging of two devices at the same time, making the 5-7 hour recharging time that little bit sweeter.

UPP hydrogen fuel cell

Got a bit more cash to splash? The innovative Upp hydrogen fuel cell not only gives you a truckload of extra power but access to an innovative app to control all aspects of your battery usage.

The Upp battery solution works by connecting the Upp fuel cell to a replaceable Upp fuel cartridge. Empty fuel cartridges can be refuelled or exchanged at various points across your city.

The Upp app is free to all Upp users. Look under its hood and you’ll discover a wealth of fuel cell statistics and interactive charging data.

Upp is currently only available in the UK through Apple retail stores. Head to beupp.com for the latest developments. £149.

Jabra Stealth Bluetooth

Best gadget for communicating on the go

Harking back to the days when it looked like everyone was talking to themselves… the Jabra Stealth takes aim at the dwindling Bluetooth headset market with the ultimate accessory for the travel weary.

The stealthy headset has been blessed with something Jabra calls microPOWER technology – more or less a fancy way to say it benefits from extended talk time, achieving 6 hours in total. Jabra products have also become adept at blocking troublesome background noise – the headset’s Noise Blackout dual microphone works well, plus its light frame means it sits comfortably (even after long periods).

It can be picked up for £69 at various online outlets.

IBM quizzes procurement role models in leading 2014 study

Procurious comments on the week’s top headlines

The IBM Institute of Business Value (IBV) 2014 Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Study examines the “journey to value” for procurement organisations. The survey covers more than 1,000 CPOs and senior procurement executives at global companies across 41 countries and details the specific procurement strategies that drive positive business results and bottom-line impact.

The study took a closer look at “procurement role models,” the 100+ companies that achieved the most impressive revenue and profit performance relative to their industry peers. The results were then mapped to identify common attributes that separated the role models from the rest of the pack.

These high-performing procurement organisations:

  • Focus on improving enterprise success, not just procurement performance.
  • Engage with stakeholders to understand and anticipate their needs and values.
  • Embrace progressive procurement practices and technologies to drive results.

Download the full report here.

At a time where Procurement sometimes struggle to communicate the value that they bring to an organisation, and many departments are not afforded a seat at the executive table, this study gives some excellent pointers to CPOs and senior procurement professionals as to how they can catch up with leading organisations.

The procurement role models provide a blueprint for high performance – take a wider view of the whole organisation and how procurement fits into that, understand the stakeholder map and make sure that you engage both internally and externally, and be a first mover or early adopter with technologies that will assist with management, risk and efficiency.

Here at Procurious, we expect 2015 to be a pivotal year for procurement departments being recognised for adding value to organisations. The ever-increasing use of technology and social media will help to support this, while research like IBM’s will continue to provide a benchmark we should all be looking to reach.

Even as IBM’s report emphasised the requirement for engaging stakeholders, other news highlighted that procurement departments often forget that suppliers are stakeholders too. Reports of ‘bullying’ in supply chains and treatment of suppliers by Premier Foods show both a lack of trust and long-term vision.

Costs can certainly be cut in the short-term by squeezing suppliers, but real value can only be realised by building relationships and engaging with suppliers early on. We all have the responsibility to ensure organisations conduct business responsibly and it’s perhaps time for procurement to step up and put their foot down. Having research to point to should help back up our point!

One in five firms face supply chain bullying, says FSB

  • Almost a fifth of companies face unfair supply chain practices, including “pay-to-stay”, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). The FSB said it had found “alarming evidence of supply chain bullying” in a survey of about 2,500 of its members.
  • It found that 5 per cent of businesses had been asked to make a payment by a customer or face being taken off a supplier list.In a “pay-to-stay” arrangement, a company demands that suppliers pay a fee to continue doing business with the firm. In the last week Premier Foods backtracked on its controversial “pay-to-stay” policy.
  • “When the public think of their favourite brands, they are unlikely to connect them with the sort of immoral payment practices which are becoming all too common across an increasing number of industries,” said FSB national chairman John Allan. “However, it is clear that whenever these examples come to light, the public shares the same sense of moral outrage as the small firms that have to put up with them on a daily basis.”
  • Further “sharp practices” included retrospective discounts, where firms seek to apply discounts to outstanding money owed to a suppler, late payment and discounts for paying on time, FSB said. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said: “This behaviour is unacceptable and we want it to stop.”

Read more on BBC News

Taiwan supply chain claims Apple Watch production will begin in January

  • A supply chain leak out of Taiwan is claiming that Apple and Quanta have solved yield issues that will allow Apple Watch production to ramp up starting in January. United Daily News reported (via MacRumorsthat the first wave of Apple Watches will number in the 3-5 million mark, with 24 million scheduled for all of calendar 2015.
  • The report indicates that Apple would be in a position to ship Apple Watch earlier than competing rumors and analyst reports have indicated—perhaps towards the end of the first quarter. Analyst Brian Blair from Rosenblatt Securities issued a report in October claiming that Apple had to push back release of the Apple Watch due to problems in the supply chain.
  • UDN also claimed that Quanta has increased its Apple Watch-related workforce from 3,000 employees to 10,000. The company is reportedly aiming to have between 30,000 and 40,000 people working on the device when full-scale production begins.
  • Apple has said only that Apple Watch will ship in “early 2015.” Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Sales for Apple, intimated in a note to her retail employees that Apple Watch would ship “in the spring.” Spring officially begins on March 20th and lasts until June.

Read more on Mac Observer

Seahorse Club celebrates excellence in freight transport journalism

  • The Seahorse Club held its Annual Awards and Christmas Party, in association with Associated British Ports (ABP) in London on 9 December. Professionals from the freight transport sector, as well as those from the forwarding and logistics fraternity were all represented.
  • International Editor of the Year (sponsored by PSA International) was awarded to Paul Avery, editor of World Cargo News.
  • The Geodis Wilson sponsored Supply Chain Journalist of the Year was Gavin van Marle of The Loadstar for his consistently relevant piece on e-Returns, a challenge of growing proportions across numerous retail supply chains.
  • Bob Jaques of Seatrade Global was named Seahorse Club Journalist of the Year for a range of articles on diverse subjects including over-capacity in the supply chain, and safety at sea following a spate of high-profile maritime casualties.

To view the full list of winners head along to All About Shipping

Belgium national strike causing major transport disruption

  • Belgian trade unions have called a national strike to voice their discontent over government plans to implement austerity measures and hike the pension age.
  • The strike, which commenced at midnight on 14 December and will continue through to midnight on 15 December, has been called by national unions to protest against new measures being taken by the Belgian Federal Government.
  • ISS Antwerp has reported that the unions represented in the National Joint Committee for the Port of Antwerp have called upon their members to participate. Severe disturbance to services in the Port of Antwerp, such as shortages of gangs and possible closure of the locks, are therefore anticipated. All Belgian ports are likely to be similarly affected, as will the Belgian railway and Belgian Customs.

Read more on Supply Chain Digital

Is there humour in your supply chain?

“Comedy is acting out optimism.” – Robin Williams

“Humour is everywhere, in that there’s irony in just about anything a human does.” – Bill Nye

We’ve probably all been exposed to Jim Carrey showing the funny side of a supply chain risk in the classic Ace Ventura… But here’s a few other examples you might not have seen.

These videos all use comedy to highlight (and in some cases, solve) problems in the supply chain – taking in everything from sourcing to logistics.

Supply chain blackhole? Better check the stock room…

A group of MBA students use skills learned in their Supply Chain class to point out the inefficiencies of the latest “green” bathroom remodel at ASU’s WP Carey School of Business.

Like any good MBA students, they don’t just point out the problem, they offer solutions…

Greg tries to outsmart Diego and find a cheaper Less than Truckload (LTL) freight solution in the pilot episode of Logistically Challenged.

Have you come across any other humorous examples? Highlight your video picks in the comments below.

Why are we making it so hard for the next generation?

Bright young things are turning well-worn tropes on their head – sound familiar?* 

*Procurement had an image problem – that’s why we created Procurious.

Female engineers recognised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

The engineering industry is facing an uphill struggle…

Promising, young procurement professionals will find common ground in the lack of careers advice, visibility and fractured career pathways that female engineers are all experiencing.

Which leads us to pose the question: why are we making it so hard for the next generation?

Engineers are the backbone of our operations, their work can be felt in everything from production and manufacturing processes, through to transport and logistics solutions. And as they’re increasingly being exposed to more modern technologies – 3D printing being one such example – our reliance on these wunderkind will only increase.

This week saw three outstanding female engineers recognised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for their professional achievements and the work they do encouraging other young people into engineering.

28-year-old senior hardware engineer Naomi Mitchison from Selex-ES has been named the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year, and will play an ambassadorial role for the profession in the forthcoming months.

20-year-old Jessica Bestwick, who works for Rolls Royce, was presented with the IET’s Mary George Prize for Apprentices, and 27-year-old Lucy Ackland who works for Renishaw PLC in Stone, Staffordshire won the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Award.

Recognising outstanding female engineers has never been so important after the IET revealed worrying new statistics charting skills and demand. The survey showed that women represent only six per cent of the engineering workforce – the lowest percentage in the whole of Europe. If this trend continues, the UK will be in a significantly weakened position to find the 87,000 new engineers it is estimated the country will need each year over the next decade (according to Engineering UK 2014, the state of engineering).

Michelle Richmond, IET Director of Membership, and a former YWE winner, said: “The lack of women in engineering is a huge problem for this country, contributing to skills shortages which threaten the economy. It also means that women are missing out on interesting and rewarding careers.

How to tag Procurious members in your status and posts

UPDATED: You’re probably already familiar with tagging from using it on the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn… Well here’s how to use tags on Procurious.

How to tag friends in a status or post

We’ve had a lot of people asking if they can tag their contacts/other Procurious members in posts on their page. The short answer was “sorry that’s not possible”, however if you stuck around for us to elaborate we’d have told you “OK it’s not possible right now, but don’t worry – it’s coming!”

What is tagging and how does it work?

To take advantage of this new feature simply begin to write a new post as usual. Then (at the desired location), tap the @ key – now start typing and Procurious will suggest other members in your network based on the keystrokes made.

When you’re done, just post the status as you normally would and wait for those you’ve tagged to see their notifications. (Notifications will appear in the usual location).

Tagging is supported site-wide, – no matter where you are: Tag Procurious members in your Community Feed when posting a new status, or when commenting on another status, directly in a new Discussion topic, or responding to another member’s question.

Tag other Procurious members

Say you want to congratulate a team for a big win, have a question that you know people in your network can help with, or maybe you want to brighten someone’s day by sharing a funny video. Whatever the use may be – tag you’re it!

There are countless more uses that put this cool new functionality to good use:

Maybe you’ve seen an Event that is right-up Lisa Malone’s street, have stumbled across a discussion that could really do with Euan Granger’s input, or you took a funny picture of Jack Slade at #bringthedonuts?

Try it out now – tag someone from your network in the comments below!

 What can you post on Procurious?

This also provides us with the perfect opportunity to highlight a little addition you may have missed. As well as posting text and image-based updates to your Community Feed, you can now also choose a document to share with your network. Just select ‘Choose File’, perhaps include a little explainer too, then hit ‘Post’. Magic.

Stay up-to-date with Procurious




Recommended reading: your procurement bookshelf

Need something to put on your Xmas list for Santa? The Procurious community can lend a hand… here’s some of the most popular choices.

Well, come on, we all know that Santa must have excellent procurement skills including elf negotiation, stakeholder management (keep your reindeer happy) and customer relationship management (seeing all those kids needs to be worth the effort!), as well as managing one of the world’s most complex supply chains (it’s not like he gets all his materials for toy making by magic, you know…).

So, Saint Nick will be well up on his procurement literature and here are a few ideas from the Procurious community of what you can ask him for:

  • Winning! – Clive Woodward (leadership)
  • Poorly Made in China – Paul Midler (production and ‘games’ in China)
  • The CPO – Schuh and Strohmer (supply transformation)
  • The Procurement Value Proposition – Chick and Handfield (supply management)

Getting To Yes

  • Getting to Yes – Fisher and Ury (negotiation)
  • Procurement 20/20 – Spiller and Reinecke (supply entrepreneurship)
  • Procurement and Supply Chain Management – Farrington and Lysons

Shackleton's Way

  • Shackleton’s Way – Morrell and Capparell (leadership)
  • The Complete Guide to Business Risk Management – Sadgrove
  • Leadership and Self Deception: Getting out of the Box – Arbinger
  • Good to Great – Jim Collins (change)
  • Negotiation Series – Herb Cohen
  • Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals – Barner and Jones

Who Moved My Cheese

  • Who Moved My Cheese – Spencer Johnson (change)
  • Strategic Global Sourcing – Sollish and Semanik
  • The Purchasing Chessboard – Strohmer, Perez and Triplat
  • The Straight to the Bottom Line: an executive roadmap to world class supply management – Rudzki, Smock, Katzorke and Stewart

And if all else fails, read the complete works of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan-Doyle.

Happy reading!

Have more? Leave your recommendations in the comments below.

Selling secrets of the supply chain

There’s nothing sexy about selling secrets – it’s just silly… as our top story demonstrates:

Selling secrets in the supply chain
Ex-Apple supply chain manager fined, sentenced to 1 year in prison for kickback scheme
  • Former Apple Global Supply Manager Paul Devine — who ran afoul of the law in 2010 for selling details of upcoming Apple products to Asian manufacturers — has been sentenced to one year in prison and fined $4.5 million for his role in the conspiracy.
  • Devine plead guilty to the crimes in 2011, but was only sentenced this week. He will begin serving his prison term — which will be followed by three years of supervised probation — on Feb. 19, 2015.
  • Alongside Singaporean partner Andrew Ang, Devine was charged in 2010 with 23 counts including wire fraud, kickbacks, and money laundering. Devine used his position as a senior supply chain manager to pass information about upcoming products to Apple suppliers, which used the information to gain leverage in negotiations with Apple and paid kickbacks to Devine and Ang.

Read more on Apple Insider

Agencies urged to raise concerns over Premier Foods’ investment payment scheme

  • Agencies that work with Premier Foods are being urged to contact the Marketing Agencies Association’s Pitch Watchdog anonymously to flag concerns over controversial ‘pay to stay’ payments, as it calls on government to take action.
  • The MAA has urged agencies to come forward to raise concerns over the practice, after it emerged food giant Premier Foods, which owns brands including Mr Kipling and Oxo, had been making “millions” of pounds from investment payments made by suppliers into the business.
  • Premier Foods launched an investment payment scheme 18 months ago as part of its strategy to consolidate its supplier base and invest in innovation, promotion and marketing by asking suppliers to make an upfront investment in the business. Suppliers accused the business of forcing them to make payments, or risk being cut off of its supply base.
  • Premier Foods backtracked over the controversial scheme over the weekend and said it would “simplify” its strategy to recoup money and discounts from its suppliers, claiming there was widespread misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the scheme. However, it defended the scheme as “standard business practice.”

Read more at Marketing Magazine

Reshoring boosts British manufacturer’s supply chain

  • A British manufacturer claims to have strengthened its supply chain and boosted local jobs by reshoring production from China. Vent-Axia, which produces fan and ventilation systems, has brought its manufacturing back to the UK, investing £350,000 in tooling for new production lines and associated building works.
  • The move has enhanced innovation in its products, sped up the research and development cycle and improved the company’s responsiveness to customers. Reshoring has also reduced its carbon footprint, the company told the Sussex Manufacturing Forum.
  • “We are now much closer to our market,” said Jenny Smith, marketing services manager. “We have cut our lead times from three months to a matter of weeks, which not only means that we have less cash tied up in inventory, it also enables us to respond much more quickly to market opportunities.”

Read more at Supply Management 

Hospitals eye mHealth to reduce supply chain costs

  • As health systems look to trim costs in 2015 to address the impact of the Affordable Care Act, they’ll want to look at the supply chain. And mHealth could come in handy.
  • That’s the opinion of Jump Technologies, an Eagan, Minn.-based developer of cloud-based inventory management solutions, which recently issued its list of predictions for the coming year.
  • The company sees mobile supply chain management solutions as an important part of the healthcare budget – especially as health system administrators focus on more important matters like EMRs, meaningful use, ICD-10 and regulatory issues. It references a 2014 survey by Jamie C. Kowalski Consulting, which found that nine out of every 10 hospital C-level executives and supply chain adminstrators see supply chain management as one of the top three areas for reducing expenses.

Read more at mHealthNews

Cyber criminals are targeting smartphone supply chains, warn researchers

  • A new mobile trojan dubbed “DeathRing” is being pre-loaded on to smartphones somewhere in the supply chain, warn researchers at mobile security firm Lookout.
  • DeathRing is a Trojan believed to be of Chinese origin that masquerades as a ringtone app, but can download SMS and browser content from its command and control server to the victim’s phone.
  • This is of concern to original equipment makers (OEMs) and retailers because the compromise of mobiles in the supply chain could have a significant impact on customer loyalty and trust in the brand. Mainly affecting lower-tier smartphones bought in Asian and African countries, this is the second significant example of pre-installed mobile malware that Lookout has found on phones in 2014.
  • Researchers said this signals a potential shift in cyber-criminal strategy towards distributing mobile malware through the supply chain.

Read more at Computer Weekly

Most popular discussions on Procurious

After a successful wrap a last month, there has been a fantastic increase in the number of new discussions, top answers and flow of information on the boards.

Off the back of this, we felt it was time to wrap up some more of the most popular discussions on Procurious.

What trends do you think are going to be big in the Procurement world in 2015?

There have been a number of articles written on this subject in media and across the procurement space and this provided Procurious with its most popular discussion to date.

The most popular answer on the boards was Relationships, including strategic relationships, supplier relationships and stakeholder relationships, as well as the management of them all.

Comments on this answer also included systems to manage these relationships and ensuring that the relationships are open and that employees have the required skills to manage relationships effectively.

Other answers included:

  • Risk Management and Ethical Procurement
  • Using technology tools to enhance the procurement process
  • The use of social media (like Procurious…!) for procurement to engage in conversations, knowledge transfer and suppliers management
  • The basics – are organisations getting these right?
  • Linking the value that procurement generates to companies’ bottom lines
  • Deliverables and delivering the value obtained at the front end in relationships and contract management
  • An appreciation of cultural fit
  • The formation of ‘high performing’ procurement teams
  • Social and sustainable procurement
  • Cost reduction and outsourcing
  • Big data
  • The migration from Low Cost Country to Best Cost Country

A link was shared to a new initiative by Shropshire Council (UK) using WhatsApp to communicate with local people on a whole raft of matters (https://shropshire.gov.uk/news/2014/11/council-to-trial-the-use-of-whatsapp/)

One of the other ways to keep track of trends over the course of 2015 is to stay connected, either through Procurious or other social media. Make sure you are connected with 24 of the most influential people in procurement, as listed by Procurious – https://www.procurious.com/blog/procurious-news/24-of-the-most-influential-people-in-procurement

How does social media change the way you work in Procurement?

On the topic of social media and staying connected, this topic raised the question of what social media has offered that wasn’t available before and how it has changed the way people operate in procurement, individually or for their company?

The two most popular answers covered the immediacy of availability of information, both in finding out about suppliers, individual experiences and procedures, as well as across the wider procurement space. Social media helps the individual to easily find information that might have been harder to come by otherwise.

Another answer highlighted the power that it gives to customers to voice concerns on issues from service in stores, through to the full scope of a firm’s activities. All decisions are open for wider discussion in the social media environment, for positive or negative.

The answer also highlighted that organisations need to have a social media strategy in place to deal with and respond to these commentaries and deal with any ‘trolls’. But, it’s also important to make sure that any responses cover what they need to but can also be interesting and witty to help instil confidence in users.

Other answers covered the ability to have access to information that can then be validated later information that is found, as well as considering social media a tool that can be used to used to our advantage, while always maintaining an individual presence (don’t be a follower, make sure there is a human side!) and deciding for yourself which platforms to use.

Other thoughts:

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