All posts by Procurious HQ

Helen Mackenzie talks procurement reform in Scotland

Meet Helen Mackenzie: The self-confessed motorbike racing buff is pictured here sitting on Ian Hutchinson’s Supersport bike (incidentally the only rider to win 5 races at the Isle of Mann TT,’s). Helen dreams of buying some lovely race bikes from Yamaha or Honda for a racing team!

Helen hails from Stornoway in Scotland  and is the next in our #firstmovers series. Reach out to her – here, and say howdy!

Helen Mackenzie

Procurious asks: What is the procurement profession like in Scotland? How do you think procurement differs as opposed to elsewhere in the world?

Helen Mackenzie: Not sure about the Scottish private sector but public procurement in Scotland is really buzzing at the moment.  The Scottish Government’s just got the new Procurement Reform Act through the Parliament and so sustainable procurement is high up on our agenda.  

There’s never been a better time to be in public procurement.  At last many of us are getting to take up our seat right in the heart of corporate management and decision making.  Exciting times ahead.

Procurious: Should Scotland win independence in the forthcoming referendum, how do you see your business changing/will it be affected?

Helen: I don’t think there will be much difference for public procurement if Scotland votes yes.  We already have a different way of operating, different legislation etc.  

What might affect us is the whole question of whether Scotland stays in the EU and also whether we retain the pound.  To be honest I haven’t decided how I’ll vote yet.  I’ll have to get off the fence soon though! 

Procurious: Tell us a little bit more about your department/team (and do you envisage them getting on Procurious too?)

Helen: We’re a small council in the far North West of Scotland but we’re doing well in terms of procurement improvement and helping our colleagues to reduce costs and improve outcomes.  

I can see lots of public procurement people in Scotland using Procurious.  We’ve got a knowledge hub for Local Government but it’s a bit dry.  

I think the interaction that Procurious provides will be just what those of us who can’t get enough of procurement need to feed our passion and discuss ideas.

Procurious: Are you usually an early adopter? (Perhaps you’ve been a “first mover” with something else…) 

Helen: I must admit I have been a bit of a tail ender when it’s come to social media. I finally succumbed to doing a bit of Facebook and more recently LinkedIn but Twitter has been my main place for hanging out for a few years now.  

I love motorbike racing and so like a bit of Twitter banter with fellow fans.  I was a founding member of a network called Phinkit which operated for a bit last year.  It was like Procurious in structure but more general.  I think the general nature of it was its downfall in the end.

Why did you join Procurious?/How does it differ from other social networks currently out there?

Helen: I was desperate to find somewhere to hang out with other people who love procurement but wasn’t finding a lot of action on Twitter or LinkedIn.  Imagine my joy when I found Procurious!  At last a place just for buyers like me to talk about supply chains, contract management, invitations to tender and community benefit clauses.

You also get the feeling that people are actually listening to what’s being said.  What I’ve found with other networks like LinkedIn is that people post things, people answer but no-one is really engaging with each other.  Just a long long list of replies that no-one’s reading.  I haven’t come across that yet on Procurious. 

Procurious: What are you doing to help your peers to join the network? 

Helen: I’ve invited people I’m connected to on LinkedIn to join.  I’ll also be promoting Procurious through the Scottish Local Government Procurement Forum which I currently chair.  I’m mentioning it to anyone I know who’s into procurement.  Hopefully the word is spreading.

Meet our other #firstmovers:
Harold (Hal) Good
Farshad Bahmed
Sergio Giordano
Paul Smith
Richard Allen
Happymore Mambondiani
Jannine Wood

Why your business card is a piece of crap…

What’s your business card like?

We don’t know about you, but we like to feel quality between our fingertips. You can keep your flimsy sub 350gsm paper, we won’t settle for anything but your finest paper stock…

The business card is an important part of your relationship-building arsenal, if you’re wanting to create a lasting impression your card better be up to the task. If your calling card is sub-standard, it doesn’t say much about the quality of the service or products you’re flogging.

However let’s not get bogged down in talk of gsm, this Kickstarter project has gone one better. The swivelCard fuses the traditional business card with cutting-edge technology to create a truly smart card.

Not only does it feature a USB interface, but it provides you with remote access to the card (so you make changes to the card’s content on the fly, view usage info etc.)

That’s not a business card

This is a business card… Here are some of our favourites (thank you Internet!):

Sommelier business card

Now that’s a business card that every sommelier would be proud of… *hic*

Folding chair business card

This folding model chair was used to promote a London business which specialised in vintage/modernist furniture. Swish.

Divorce lawyer tearable business card

What better way for a divorce lawyer to sell his/her services to those with broken hearts?

Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook business card

Read the story behind Mark Zuckerberg’s infamous business card – here.

And finally: No-one knows whether the Chinese Tycoon Chen Guangbiao was being serious when he put in an order for 100+ of these beauties…

Chen Guangbiao business card
Image: Business Insider

Join Procurious Today – The online business network for Procurement & Supply Chain Professionals

Let’s talk about social networking

Social networking infographic

Which social network?

Choosing your social network(s) of choice is not a decision you should make lightly… Once you begin to invest some time, build your profile, and expand your influence, you might as well have it tattooed down your arm.

Game of Thrones fans might liken it to pledging their allegiance to a house of their choosing (without the inevitable bloody wedding…)

Each comes with its own strengths and weaknesses – and we’re certainly not here to pit one against another, instead we’ll share some of our learnings

Twitter is arguably the most powerful online network of all (and the one that boasts the largest worldwide reach). News stories are broken on it, feuds are played out in front of the eyes of the public, and then there’s Nyan Cat.

Twitter also provides (almost instant) access to some of the biggest companies, celebs, businesspeople – such is its influence Germany’s World Cup win drew 280m interactions across the network (more than 2013 Super Bowl) with a peak of 618,725 Tweets a minute.

twitter.com/procurious_

Google+ has always been the butt of many jokes, but as this rather brilliant Forbes article points out – its usefulness should not be overlooked by Internet personalities and businesses alike.

Google pretty much owns the Internet so it should come as no surprise to learn that its own G+ pages rank very well among the rest of the clutter. Procurious’ very own G+ page has only been active a couple of weeks, and already it’s amassed a few thousand views. Testament to the power of ‘el Goog.

plus.google.com/+Procurious

Shakira - most popular celebrity on Facebook
Shakira – her hips don’t lie

Facebook is probably one of the more friendly and approachable networks. More so than others, Facebook users are also likely to become heavily invested in Instagram and Pinterest too.

Professionally-speaking Facebook has proved a particularly successful breeding ground for lifestyle brands and musical artists. In-fact Shakira just became the world’s most-liked Facebook celebrity – with over 100 million likes to her name.

facebook.com/procurious

And then there’s Procurious… but we’ll leave you to write this next chapter yourselves.

Shouldn’t you really be opting-in to more social networks, than out? Follow the links we’ve supplied and you’ll be well on your way.

Ignore this bustling social netherworld at your peril…

And the top 10 industrial supply chains are?

No more inky fingers! We’ve compiled the headlines so you don’t have to. Like what you see? Check out the freshly-pressed Procurious news service – you can find it here.

Factory (Jorge Franganillo)
Jorge Franganillo

Gartner announces top 10 industrial supply chains

  • After releasing the core top 25 list at its supply chain executive conference in May, Gartner has in the past few weeks also named its top 10 “industrial manufacturing” supply chains list.
  • Just three companies Gartner classifies as industrial manufacturers made the overall top 25 supply chain list this year, and all somewhat near the bottom of that list. Therefore it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that these take the top 3 positions in the new ranking…
  • Caterpillar comes in on pole position, while 3M and Cummins rank second and third respectively.

To view the top 10 in its entirety – pay a visit to SC Digest

Forrest Review is good news for Indigenous business 

  • Within the last few days, the Forrest Review has been presented to Australian Government. The 256-page report advocates for the Federal Government to purchase at least 4 per cent of its goods and services directly from Indigenous businesses.
  • The report recommends that this should be implemented over a four year period, with an annual increase of 1 per cent per year. Indigenous businesses could be contracted directly or through subcontractors.
  • The Forrest Review also pushes for tax-free status for Indigenous run businesses.
  • Another recommendation focuses on the establishment of a ‘Top 200 Employers’ policy. This recommendation states that the Federal Government should provide the top 200 companies in Australia, with a strong Indigenous employment record, with tailored contracts to increase the proportion of Indigenous employees within their workforce.

Source: Supply Nation
Read The Forrest Review in full – here

Supply chain and logistics vacancies climb 45 per cent

  • Jobs in UK supply chain & logistics are increasing sharply, according to new research from one of the UK’s leading professional specialist recruiters.
  • Q2 data from the Robert Walters UK Jobs Index, which charts vacancy numbers posted to online platforms, shows year-on-year openings for supply chain & logistics professionals rising by 45 per cent.
  • With this confidence building across the wider economy, projects that had been put on hold are being implemented, creating fresh demand for supply chain professionals.

Read more at Supply Chain Digital

ArrowStream employee shoots CEO

  • Tony DeFrances – the chief technology officer at supply technology firm ArrowStream, mortally wounded his company’s CEO after receiving a demotion.
  • The firm was in the process of downsizing and had demoted a number of people.
  • Steven LaVoie founded ArrowStream in 2000, and DeFrances had been with the firm “virtually since its inception,” according to the company’s website. ArrowStream was named one of Chicago’s best and brightest companies to work for by a business trade group earlier this year, an honour it had received every year since at least 2012.

Read more at Chicago Tribune

China bans Symantec and Kaspersky

Foreign security software off China’s govt procurement list

  • A Chinese government procurement agency has excluded Symantec and Kaspersky, two foreign security software developers, from a security software supplier list.
  • According to a report from Beijing Youth Daily, all the five antivirus softwares in the list are from China, including Qihoo 360, Venustech, CAJinchen, Beijing Jiangmin and Rising.

Read more at Ecns.cn and The Inquirer

Price is most important factor for consumers

  • 80 per cent of consumers believe it is important for companies and brands to behave ethically, however the most significant factors when shopping are price, value and quality.
  • The findings come from online sourcing and optimisation specialists Trade Extensions – and reveal UK and US consumers’ attitudes towards ethics and sustainability.
  • Despite consumers’ relatively low ranking of ethical and sustainability concerns, over 70 per cent say they are more likely or much more likely to buy from companies with strong and proven policies on sustainability and ethics.

Read more on Business Wire

And finally…

 Supply chain headache inspires £1m investment

  • A Norfolk glass manufacturing business frustrated with slow suppliers is chartering a fresh route to growth by investing £1m into a new production plant.
  • Alastair Clayton, managing director of Seaglaze Group, said: “When it became clear that the lack of a reliable supply chain was starting to jeopardise our production schedules we decided to take control of our own destiny.”
  • The new factory – based in a 5,000sq ft unit close to its headquarters – will produce toughened glass for the marine industry, creating six jobs.

Read more on EDP24

Here come the Millennials: Life as a junior category buyer

Today’s #firstmover is a true Millennial! Say hello to Jannine Wood – and go add her to your network while you’re at it. Read our article on Millennials – here.

Jannine Wood #firstmovers

Procurious asks: Procurement is a far cry from English Literature and Film Studies… When did you decide on procurement as a profession, and what attracted you to it?

Jannine: To be honest, procurement is something that initially I just fell in to. I had been floating around different admin jobs since university and couldn’t quiet decide what I wanted to do. I started working at Valueworks nearly two and half years ago and this is where I gain an interest in procurement.  

It was during my time at Valueworks that I realised that procurement was something that interested me and I had finally found my niche. I think the main attraction for me, is creating and building relationships with suppliers and clients.

Procurious: Could you explain your role within PfH?

Jannine: I’m the category buyer for finance and commercial category and there are five frameworks within the category. These include, debt management, bill payment services, decorating vouchers, vehicle lease and vehicle purchase.

I’m predominately responsible for vehicle lease and purchase.

Procurious: Some would argue that procurement suffers from an image problem; do you feel that there needs to be more education around the profession?

Jannine: I would agree that there needs to be more education around the profession, I think a lot of people are unsure of what procurement entails and often leaves them confused. However once you explain to what is it, the process and what the outcome is, I think it can be really appealing.

Procurious on social procurement: Do you feel that websites like Procurious help connect the procurement community/What have you used it for so far?

Jannine: I think websites like Procurious and LinkedIn are great for the procurement community and help build relationships with others (outside your inner circle). I have actually used Procurious to help build existing and new relationships.

Procurious: As a young female procurement professional – do you feel like there’s added pressure on you, or certain expectations?

Jannine: At times I feel there is certain expectation, especially within the vehicle industry (I worked predominately as a buyer for vehicle lease/purchase), which can be a male dominated industry at times. However I mostly feel pressure from myself, as I want to excel in what I do.

Procurious: We’ve recently written a piece on the millennial workforce [aka Generation Y – those born between 1980 and 2000], and discovered that young people often wrestle with career advancement. Do you have a different view; is there a clear path at PfH?

Jannine: I found career advancement difficult in the beginning, coming out of university and not having much work experience, I found it difficult to progress for the first few years.

However over the past two years I have found it easier to progress in my career and there is definitely a clear progress path at PfH.

Procurious: Is there a particular aspect of your role that provides you with job satisfaction? And can you recall your proudest moment?

Jannine: Seeing my relationships grown and develop over time is something that gives me great satisfaction, especially with the suppliers. Another aspect that is rewarding is helping a member resolve an issue/problem.

I think my proudest moment so far has been helping one of members conduct a mini competition in a very short space of time and working with the suppliers to ensure that the bids were completed quickly yet efficiently. The member was very grateful that the process had been completed so quickly.

Procurious: What’s your best advice for young people thinking of following in your footsteps?

Jannine: My best advice would be to any kind of work experience to begin with, although I didn’t get in to procurement for a while, the skills that I developed during my time in my other roles really benefitted me once I did move in to procurement and gave me great confidence when starting out in the industry.

We’d like to thank Jannine for taking the time to talk to us – and if you’d like to get involved too, send us a message.

24 of the most mesmerising machines

Working in procurement you are closer than most to the thing that ultimately ends up rolling off the production line. But have you ever thought to yourself ‘how DID that come to be?’

Lucky for you then that the inquisitive minds over at How It’s Made, and those kings of the viral tap – Buzzfeed, have put together a little video that shows 24 examples of the world’s most awe-inspiring machinery.

We bet you can’t  identify what all 24 of them do…

Start spreading the news… (as long as it is on Procurious)

This week’s Procurious blog update will focus on a number of valuable additions that our developers have been tinkering with behind the scenes.

Curated news service

Curated content and news-aggregation are all the rage these days… From companies spending millions to grass-root startups on a shoestring. Procurious.com falls into the latter, and we’re quite proud of our ‘News’ service. Go on, do take a look…

“Read all about it”

We want to make Procurious part of your daily online routine, so we’ve added a curated ‘News’ service [find it in the main navigation above]

Here you can digest the latest headlines from around the world, as well as specialized topics like business, technology, science, environment, and sports.

It updates every day to bring you the stories we think you’ll be looking for. No more scouring the Internet (or social media) for scrappy titbits or false leads, just stick with us and we’ll see you through.

Updates in discussion feed

Your social updates

Elsewhere on Procurious, we’ve given everything a bit of a tuck and polish. Spend enough time on your Community feed and you’ll be alerted whenever someone in your network makes an update.

Clever URLs

Post to the Community feed, in a discussion topic, or reply to a blog post, and (if it’s a web address) Procurious will automatically turn it into a clickable link. For instance, you don’t have to preface the URL with http:// or www just type ‘twitter.com’. A small addition we think you’ll agree, but a handy one.

Inline comments

Inline replies are go!

If you’ve been dipping in and out of our Discussions area, but wondered why you couldn’t leave inline comments – then we have good news! Inline replies are now active across all discussion topics.

What’s more, everyone in the discussion receives a notification if new replies are posted.

Edit your Procurious profile

Edit your profile in a jiffy

Sometimes you just want to make an edit on the fly – that’s why we’ve granted you the ability to quickly change your job title/position directly from your profile page. Just click the ‘edit’ button, tap away and hit ‘save’ to immediately apply the changes.

We’re social, are you?

And finally, don’t forget that we’re on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn (you might have noticed the new social icons towards the bottom of your page). So come and follow us!

Australian Egg Corporation left with egg on its face?

The yolk’s on them…

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC for short) has been trying to crack a hard-boiled mystery…

Cartel investigated in Australian egg probe

Talk of cartels is usually something we leave to the boys on Sons of Anarchy, but it looks like it’s reared its ugly head and triggered an egg pricing war down under.

Cartel arrangements come about when competing firms instigate anti-competitive measures – in this instance the aim was to reduce the supply of eggs to customers and businesses.

Examples of anti-competitive conduct include price fixing, rigging bids (from suppliers and buyers), sharing markets, and other such practices that seek to control the market and increase the profits of all involved.

Allegations were aimed at The Australian Egg Corporation Limited (along with two egg producers), that implied all were aware of such a scheme.

A presentation made to Australia’s top 25 egg producers in Feb 2012 included slides that pertained to disrupting the supply chain. Messages included:

“Dispose of eggs by either donating eggs to one or many charity groups or dumping/burying eggs.”

“Reduce the number of laying hens by culling birds (there is currently capacity with the major processors). Use of an independent auditor?”

And: “Increase demand? (AEC has invested $1 million above budget to assist ‘move’ volume).”

In related news, Qantas and Virgin Australia Holdings have also wandered into the ACCC’s sights over carbon tax. Read more on The Sydney Morning Herald

Brr! DHL enhances its cold chain logistics

It may be a glorious summer across Europe, but the latest news from DHL might send temperatures south… Enjoy that and stories about Amazon, NHS, Johnson Controls, Apple, plus more – below.

Johnson Controls makes new appointment

  • Johnson Controls has appointed Michael Bartschat as its first CPO to develop ‘world-class global procurement function’
  • Bartschat will report to Bruce McDonald, executive vice president and chief financial officer.
  • The company said Bartschat will “optimise cost and value” of purchased materials, products and services. There will also be a focus on supporting the company’s ongoing transformation to a “true multi-industrial through operational and manufacturing excellence across its business units”.

Read more on Supply Management


Amazon second quarter sales up

  • Amazon.com has announced financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2014. All-in sales are up 23 percent to $19.34 billion.
  • Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com said: “We continue working hard on making the Amazon customer experience better and better.
  • “We’ve recently introduced Sunday delivery coverage to 25 percent of the U.S. population, launched European cross-border Two-Day Delivery for Prime, and launched Kindle Unlimited, an eBook subscription service.”

Read more on Supply Chain Digital

State of NHS procurement in UK

A Guardian article on poor NHS procurement has sparked fierce criticism from an NHS procurement director. You can read arguments from both sides at this link.

  • Among the narrative we learn that the NHS procurement price comparison shows that some trusts pay over 135% more for certain products, such as white paper.
  • And despite some excellent initiatives, the procurement community as a whole has failed to produce a strategy to deliver the savings that are needed

DHL

DHL enhances its cold chain logistics

  • DHL Global Forwarding has enhanced its cold chain logistics offerings through the transport of shipments at frozen or cryogenic temperatures.
  • Designed for customers from the life sciences and healthcare industry with an increasing need for sophisticated cryogenic logistics solutions, this service is maintained by LifeConEx, DHL’s temperature management specialist, in collaboration with Cryoport, a provider of complete global frozen shipping services.
  • David Bang, CEO LifeConEx said: “It is specifically designed for customers who require that cryogenic temperature be reliably maintained during storage and transportation of their materials. It also relieves them from more precarious shipping methods such as dry ice or use of hazardous liquid nitrogen”

Read more on Supply Chain Digital

US brand scolded over deceptive labeling

  • The Federal Trade Commission has announced that the Made in the USA Brand, LLC, which provides a “Made in USA” certification seal to marketers, has agreed to drop its certification claims.

Read more on Sourcing Journal Online

Ryder selects LLamasoft Supply Chain Guru

  • Ryder has selected LLamasoft Supply Chain Guru as the primary application for supply chain design and vehicle route optimization throughout the company’s global enterprise.
  • Ryder specializes in fleet management, supply chain management and dedicated transportation services and had revenues in excess of $5 billion in 2013.

  • “We selected LLamasoft for its holistic approach to supply chain design,” said Tom Kroswek, senior director of supply chain excellence, Ryder Global Supply Chain Services. 

Read more on MarketWatch

Apple iPad

Apple ramping up supply chain for mysterious new release?

  • Apple is understood to be working on a slimmed-down iPad Mini Air, as well as a 12.9-inch model so says the company’s Far East manufacturing partners.
  • The new small-screen device will use the Air moniker, like the current flagship iPad, and is understood to be 30 per cent thinner than the 2013 iPad Mini. It will feature Apple’s new A8 processor, which is expected to debut in the iPhone 6.
  • As for the 12.9-inch tablet, United Daily News quoted David Hsieh – Vice President of market research firm DisplaySearch – as saying the device should hit shelves in 2015, motivated by increased competition in the segment from Samsung and other vendors.

Read more on Cable.co.uk

Digital supply chain (in)security

Dave Lewis, a contributor who writes for Forbes, has penned a thoughtful piece on the dangers (and effects) digital technology could have on supply chains the world over.

You can read Lewis’ piece in full here – but in it he cites a Gartner report that predicts “by 2017, IT supply chain integrity will be identified as a top three security-related concern by Global 2000 IT leaders” is actually a real concern in 2014.

Elsewhere Lewis warns companies: “Don’t forsake security in a effort to make a deadline. The cost could be higher in the long run.”