All posts by Procurious HQ

Amazon Prime Now Will Shake-Up Logistics Strategies

Amazon Prime Now will force retailers to reassess existing delivery strategies.

Amazon Prime Now will change the logistics industry

The success of Amazon’s new one-hour delivery service will depend on a number of factors, notably product availability, as well as the customer’s willingness to pay inflated delivery prices to secure a product and have it in their hands within 60 minutes. However, if it proves popular, it will up-the-ante on fellow retailers and put pressure on competitors to reassess their existing delivery strategies. The warning comes from Jon Gibson, Head of Logistics at global supply chain consultancy Crimson & Co, in comments supplied to Procurious.

Jon believes the key to the service, will be the retailers ability to balance additional delivery costs alongside speed of service. Critical to this will be the need to forge new relationships with unconventional partners, which can ultimately deliver the products to the consumer faster, more conveniently and at an affordable price.

Following success in the US, Amazon has recently announced that it would be launching Amazon Prime Now, a one-hour delivery service for UK Prime subscribers in designated London postcodes. If successful, further rollout will follow across the country. The launch is expected to raise the stakes amongst other online retailers keen to grab market share from bricks and mortar competitors.

Jon states that in order to compete with the new service retailers will be forced to rethink current delivery strategies. Over the last year the growth in click & collect services has seen many consumers favour convenience over speed. The move by Amazon could buck this trend and it will be the job of the retailers to react accordingly:

Speaking to Procurious Jon commented: “Historically, delivery strategies have always been a challenge for retailers. The proliferation of tablets and smartphone devices puts the emphasis very much on speed of service giving consumers instant visibility over a far wider range. Visibility of the range has driven a desire for quick access. Reacting quickly and efficiently has always been difficult for retailers, either because they are often serving the online market from retail outlets, which puts pressures on stock, or the massive peaks in online demand surges that have recently been driven by events such as Black Friday being too great for traditional transport methods to cover.  

“The emergence last year of click & collect changed that, (although, Black Friday was still a challenge many retailers failed to cope with effectively), with greater emphasis on convenience for the consumer. They can choose a destination point close to their home or work and collect their item at their leisure, often a lot quicker then if they had arranged a home delivery. This is both more convenient and cost effective for the retailer, as it leads to consolidation of delivery and fewer occasions when a delivery cannot be completed because the intended recipient is not available. Amazon’s launch of a new one-hour delivery service, however, could flip that trend.”

He continues: “For a consumer, the opportunity to buy a product online and have it in your hands within an hour is hugely appealing. The biggest barriers for uptake of this service will be the associated costs. Products will be delivered by Amazon Logistics, its own delivery business, from an east London warehouse, at a premium delivery price. Savvy retailers should therefore look at how they can compete with this.

“Key will be addressing relationships with existing suppliers as well as forming new ones with unconventional partners. Local transport businesses such as taxi firms, and even fast food delivery services could all potentially be used to maximise speed of service for the consumer at a price which is competitive against other retailers. The pressure will very much be on the retailer to ensure this is carried out effectively – those that don’t are at risk of being left behind by their more progressive competitors.”

Three-quarters of business leaders think Greece will leave Euro within the year

In the heat of the Greek banking crisis, an overwhelming majority predict Greece will leave the Euro behind.

In a survey conducted by the Institute of Directors (IoD), business leaders were quizzed on Greece’s monetary troubles. Three in four IoD members think it’s likely Greece will be forced to leave the European single currency within the next twelve months, against only 2 per cent who think it is very unlikely.

Procurious asks: What impact will a “Grexit” have on the UK economy?

The most probable outcome of “Grexit”, IoD members say, is a messy default which negatively affects financial markets and creates pressure on other Euro members. This outcome was considered likely by nearly two-thirds of the business leaders surveyed, while 45 per cent also think there was a risk of widespread bank runs in other southern European countries. Longer-term, 45 per cent of members say there is a good chance “Grexit” will be followed by other countries leaving the Euro. 

three-quarters of business leaders think Greece will leave Euro within the year

While the direct exposure of IoD members to Greece is limited, with 77 per cent having no business interests in the country, nearly half think that a Greek exit from the Eurozone would have a negative impact on the UK.

Commenting on the results, Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, told Procurious:

“British businesses are nervous about the potential knock-on effects of “Grexit” on the UK economy. They have reduced their direct exposure to Greece in recent years, but are worried that a messy divorce from the single currency would shake markets across the continent and destabilise the already fragile economies of other southern European countries. IoD members do not expect the chaotic situation in Greece they see on the evening news to end anytime soon. 

“There is a heated debate going on about whether it would be better for the Greek people if they left the Euro, but it’s clear that their decision at the referendum on Sunday has significant implications for the whole of Europe.”

three-quarters of business leaders think Greece will leave Euro within the year

Procurious asks: What impact will a “Grexit” have on the UK economy?

Where Are Procurement’s Blind Spots?

Watch the Procurious Big Ideas Panel Discussion on Procurement’s Blind Spots.

In the second of the panel discussions from the Big Ideas Summit, Tim Hughes, Olinga Ta’eed, Chris Lynch, Giles Breault, Nic Walden, Jason Busch and Lance Younger commented on the risks the profession will face in the coming years.

Watch a sample below

With hot topics like social value, procurement transformation, procurement moving away from Finance and leveraging external innovation, the conversation got a little heated… But suffice to say this is one discussion you don’t want to miss out on!

Procurious members can view the full panel discussion here. Not a member yet? Register for free.

Top Tips For Using Procurious

Looking to make more of an impact on the Procurious network? Eyes down for a handy set of tips to help you make the most out of our community.

So if you’ve ever caught yourself asking “How do I…?” Read on for our top Procurious tips.

How to use Procurious

How to join using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn

We’ve now opened registrations to Facebook and Twitter (previously we only supported LinkedIn). Just head to the sign-up page to use your preferred method.

How to add a profile picture

Procurious is a place to share your knowledge, grow your network, learn from your peers and make meaningful connections. Surprisingly enough, one of the easiest ways to do this is by adding a picture to your profile. Learn how.

How to complete your Procurious profile

Nobody likes to leave a job half-done… This also rings true on Procurious where profiles are sometimes being left incomplete.
Do it now

How to grow your network and invite people

Whether it be inviting people using the ‘Build your network’ tool, LinkedIn, or personalised email link – you’ll be expanding your Procurious network in next to no time. Get building.

How to choose which updates you see

Procurious provides you with a choice of viewing modes; choose to view updates from the ‘Whole Network’ or ‘My Network’. Make a decision.

How to add a question on the  Discussions page

The ‘Discussions’ area on Procurious is buzzing with inquisitive minds. Go ahead and ask the community! Riddle me this.

How to learn a new skill

Procurious isn’t just a place to network – you can delve into our learning resources and teach yourself a thing or two in the process. We offer both free and paid learning materials, take a look.

How to tag Procurious members in your status and posts

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. See how.

How to add additional email addresses to your Procurious account

Signing-up to Procurious to grow your professional network is all well and good, but what happens when you change your contact details, land a new role, or leave a company? Find out how.

How to RSVP to an Event

Our Events page contains both upcoming and past engagements. Here you’ll find essential info like the programme, speakers, fee, and other Procurious members who might be thinking of attending. Get your diary in order.

How to post your own Event

We’ve now made it possible for any Procurious member to post their own Event and have it displayed in our Event listings. Go here to start telling the world!

How to start your own Group on Procurious

Anybody can create their own Group on Procurious (provided it doesn’t exist already!) Groups are the ideal place for people to gather and share around a core interest. See how.

How to use Procurious on your smartphone or tablet

If you’re just visiting Procurious via your PC, laptop, or Mac, you’re missing out… Discover how to go mobile.

How to subscribe to the latest procurement and supply chain news

We want to make Procurious part of your daily online routine, so we’ve added a curated ‘News’ service . Get your daily news fix.

How to control your email notifications

If you’ve found that you’re receiving too many email notifications from Procurious (invitations, messages etc.) then follow these steps to curb the flow.

How to change your Procurious privacy settings

You can choose which details you want made available to other Procurious members on your ‘Settings’ page. This includes everything from personal details to your accounts on other social networks. Choose now.

How to find all of the Big Ideas Summit videos

We’ve collated all of our videos from the Big Ideas Summit in one place. So whether you’re after the keynotes, panel sessions or individual ‘Big Ideas’ just head here.

How to delete your Procurious account

We hope you find Procurious useful, but all good things inevitably come to an end. If you really want to leave then please send us an email – you can reach us at [email protected].

For more tips and tricks check out our expanded Frequently Asked Questions page.

Why Cyber Security Needs To Be On Your Board’s Agenda

The Confederation of British Industry has offered-up some tips to help keep your company safe.

Like any other large-scale threat to a company, cyber security must be dealt with at board level, the CBI said at its inaugural Cyber Security Conference in London.

Cyber security is nothing new, but (as Procurious was told at a recent CIPS workshop) it’s a risk that’s risen to the top of many a government’s agenda.

Matthew Fell, CBI Competitive Markets Director, offers the following says this of the threat:

“Getting cyber security right is critical for modern businesses, whatever their sector or size… With our IP, finances and our customer relationships all inextricably linked to technology, we must take steps to protect our online assets.

“Awareness of this critical business risk has risen in recent years, especially as the number of prominent cyber hacks hitting the headlines has sharply increased. Unfortunately, even as awareness in the business community has increased, with a small uptick in action, there is still a disconnect between awareness and action – especially for our high growth small and medium sized businesses, who are at just as much at risk as global brands.”

There’s no silver bullet

Matthew echoes the words of other experts in his field and reasserts the importance of businesses needing to act now in order to mitigate the scale of the impact.

“Nearly all businesses suffer cyber-attacks – 81 per cent of large businesses suffered a security breach last year alone, with the figure for small businesses at 60 per cent.

“Whilst the number of these attacks is going down, as hackers have become more sophisticated and targeted, the cost of these attacks almost doubled last year. That puts the average cost for large businesses between £600,000 and 1.15mn and for small businesses between £65,000 and 115,000.

“Like any other large scale threat to your company, the issue of effective cyber security should be firmly on the agenda of the board.

“Yet only about half of large businesses and a third of small businesses have adequate insurance cover for their online assets in the event of a breach. As the nature of liability changes in the digital age, businesses will need to rethink the assurances they have in place to mitigate financial loss.”

What you can do now

The UK government has issued ‘Cyber Essentials’ – an industry supported scheme to help organisations to protect themselves against common cyber security threats and identify risks.

The full scheme is open to UK organisations and allows them to gain 1 of 2 new ‘Cyber Essentials’ badges to show they are taking steps to protect themselves. If you’re not in the UK that’s OK, as the guidance and recommendations laid out in the ‘Cyber Essentials’ pack will help you on the right path.

What do we mean by risks?

Simply put, a risk is determined as anything that will have an impact on something we value. Don’t overly confuse yourself with lingo, instead take cyber security at face value and ask what losses would be acceptable to you?

In our case, at Procurious we want to ensure that your data is safe (membership details consisting of email addresses, password etc.), all of our content (videos, articles), social networking and online accounts, and making sure that our domain remains online. As an online business network these are all core elements to what we’re trying to achieve. We’d recommend you assess your own security needs, and in doing so tailor your approach to identify where you really need the protection.

For more information on the sources cited in this article please visit:
Cyber Essentials 

Top Ten Global Supply Chain Risks Infographic

Riskmethods have published an infographic that illustrates the Top 10 Global Risks to Supply Chains.

The infographic breaks the risks down into two categories, assessing both the likelihood and impact.

According to data obtained from the Global Risks Perception Survey 2014 at the World Economic Forum, four of the risks cross into the two categories. The risks shown below are deemed to be the ten most dangerous.

Ten Global Risks in Terms of Likelihood

Top ten global supply chain risks infographic
These ten risks are the most relevant supply chain risks globally in terms of likelihood on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is the most likely one).








Ten Global Risks in Terms of Impact

Ten Global Risks in Terms of Impact

Four of the risks are featured in both charts. Namely: water crises, interstate conflicts, failure of climate-change adaption and unemployment.

Riskmethods also looked at information supplied by Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality – here 58 per cent of people polled considered natural catastrophes the top risk when it came to supply chain disruptions.

Greek Debt Crisis: What Impact Will UK Supply Chains Feel From A ‘Grexit’?

After months of  fruitless negotiations, Greece stands less than 24 hours away from defaulting on its debt repayment to the IMF.

With reports stating that Greece’s government is running out of money, announcements that banks will be closed all week and billions withdrawn from the banks by Greeks in the past few weeks, it seems virtually impossible that the country will find the €1.5bn ($1.7bn) that it owes.

Grexit – Yes or No?

A referendum is to be held on the 5th of July in Greece to establish public support or rejection for the IMF’s latest deal offer. But, should the Greek public reject the deal, it seems increasingly likely it will signal this first exit by a country from both the Euro and the Eurozone.

With the default and huge financial impact on Greece’s own economy, many analysts believe this will also lead to Greece’s exit from the Euro – but what impact will this have on businesses and supply chains around Europe?

UK Exports and Business

The UK exported approximately £2.82bn worth of goods and services to Greece in 2013, with figures estimated to be the same for 2014. This only represents 1.2 per cent of UK exports in Europe and places Greece in 37th for UK global exports.

The UK’s main export to Greece is pharmaceutical products, with GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca two of the largest exporters. Other organisations such as Marks and Spencer, Dixons Carphone, Vodafone and Unilever all have major operations in Greece.

Vodafone, who acquired a controlling stake in Hellas Online, a broadband and fixed line provider in Greece, see around 2 per cent of overall revenues from Greece. The company risks exposure, but has publicly committed to the market and customers in Greece

Most organisations have kept details of any contingency plans in the event of the ‘Grexit’, although Dixons Carphone has revealed they have a ‘detailed plan’, without revealing whether or not they would be pulling out of the market.

There are also worries that continuing difficulties for Greece could have a major impact on UK food and drink exports. Experts believe that UK organisations would be left with a choice of dropping prices to remain competitive, or keeping them high and risking a loss of business.

Impact in the Eurozone

While the loss of business to the Greek economy will probably be covered by the organisations in question, this knock-on effect across the rest of the Eurozone is seen as the key issue. The Eurozone is the UK’s single biggest trading partner, with an additional £55bn held in trusts investing in Europe.

However, with the European Central Bank (ECB) putting approximately €60bn (£43bn) per month into the Greek economy through a quantitative easing programme, the overall impact might be limited to a slide in share prices.

Outside of the UK, there are similar concerns for organisations, with high potential impacts to the German shipping industry through lower freight demand and rates and financial impacts to banks in Germany and France (as well as the USA).

Whatever happens, the next fortnight will be pivotal for both the Euro and the Eurozone and the impacts may be wider reaching than many expect.

Are you a procurement or supply chain professional in Greece? What impact are you seeing in your role? We’d love to hear your side of the story, so get in touch with Procurious today.

Meanwhile, here are the other key headlines from the procurement world this week.

Unilever to crowdsource solutions to global sustainability challenges

  • Unilever has announced plans for a major new online crowdsourcing platform, dubbed Foundry IDEAS, which aims to get customers involved in its efforts to combat environmental and social problems.
  • The multinational consumer goods giant is to run the platform through its Unilever Foundry innovation initiative and will invite people to share their solutions to a range of ‘grand challenges’, such as climate change.
  • The project is designed to help speed up the delivery of the company’s Sustainable Living Plan, which was first launched in 2010 and aims to halve the environmental impact of its products, as well as improve the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of people across the world, by 2020.
  • The first of the initiative’s ‘grand challenges’ will ask people to present their ideas to combat issues relating to sanitation, hygiene and nutrition. The best proposed solutions may be piloted and implemented, while one-on-one mentoring will be offered to companies or organisations coming forward with viable proposals.
  • Unilever has already made significant strides towards reducing its carbon footprint in recent years, having reached its million tonnes saved milestone earlier this year thanks to a wide range of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, including a recent programme to use waste materials from the production of Marmite and Flora to generate low-carbon energy.

Read more at Business Green


Food supply chain needs protection in Calais crisis

  • Food manufacturers should protect their supply chains from the “warzone” created by the strike action and illegal migrant crisis unfolding at the port of Calais, warns a leading risk management consultant.
  • Queuing lorries and cars ran the gauntlet of hundreds of illegal migrants, as they strove to board vehicles bound for Britain. The migrants sought to take advantage of disruption at the port caused by striking French ferry officials.
  • The chaotic scenes at the port – described by one driver as being like a “warzone” – underlined the need for planning, said risk consultancy firm Aon Risk Solutions. “These events have highlighted a genuine need for scenario planning,” said its head of business continuity practice Vince West.
  • “While it is unlikely businesses can negate the entire impact of that type of event, arrangements on shipping, contractual protections and flexible commercial relationships with hauliers can be the difference between a bottleneck causing asphyxia [to a food manufacturing business] or allowing your company to breathe easy.” Strike action was one of the most “singularly uninsurable perils” and is excluded on most insurance policies, Vince added.
  • “With memories still fresh of French truckers blockading motorways on both sides of the English Channel in 1997 and 2002, the potential for distribution to come to a standstill is real.” Capacity can quickly become exhausted when there are few alternative freighting options. Some manufacturers in markets, such as electronics, have switched to air freight, but, for many businesses the costs are prohibitive, he said.

Read more at Food Manufacture

Zambia adopts e-procurement system to curb corruption

  • Zambia has joined the growing list of countries in Africa that are adopting electronic procurement systems in an effort to curb rampant corruption in bidding for public contracts, especially in the telecom and construction sectors.
  • Kenya was the first country in Africa to implement an automated, end-to-end procurement and payment system in an attempt to enhance transparency, accountability and fairness.
  • The World Bank, a major funder of telecom and construction projects in Africa, is providing financial and technical support for e-procurement initiatives in several African countries including Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Mauritius, Cameroon, Uganda and now, Zambia.
  • Zambia and Kenya have recently been forced to cancel telecom tenders worth millions of dollar because of corruption in the manner in which senior government officials awarded contracts to suppliers. The central problem is that government officials take kickbacks from vendors to award contracts and inflate project costs.
  • Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) Director General Chibelushi Musongole said the country’s e-procurement system will reduce malpractice and improve efficiency in monitoring bids and contracts. Interested bidders, Musongole said, will be able to submit their offers from anywhere in the world through the ZPPA website. Bidders will have automated compliance validation during bid submissions.

Read more on PC Advisor

Healthcare Supply Chain Transparency May Save Billions in Waste

  • Steve Kiewiet, Vice President of Supply Chain Operations at BJC HealthCare, spoke to provide an expert overview of the current state of healthcare supply chain and its greater implications on revenue cycle.
  • Steve commented the healthcare supply chain industry is currently not at the same level as many other industries in terms of efficiency, collaboration, transparency, and connections. “We have a lot of ground to cover to make the changes necessary to live in the new healthcare economy growing out of healthcare reform and the Affordable Care Act.”
  • To help cover more ground, Steve says the healthcare supply chain must focus on end-to-end visibility. Supply manufacturers are disciplined in their supply chain efficiency as raw materials progress towards finished goods. However, once a finished good is produced, “from that point up until it’s used for a patient, we haven’t focused on efficient tracking like we need to,” he explains.
  • “Due to vertical internal structures, supplies and supply data historically have been siloed and firewalled so that information important for efficient business operations is fragmented. We end up spending billions of dollars of inventory within these various silos because we live in a world where you can never run out of anything ever, in the interest of what is best for the patient.”

Read more at RevCycle Intelligence

And Finally, Take Part in Social Media in Procurement Survey

  • Social media is everywhere in the 21st century, with customers and companies using it to communicate, share ideas, seek for information, build brand images or sell products.
  • The importance of developing, managing and maintaining business networks is, next to other tasks, seen as a key task for procurement, but the use of public social networks for work (and not for private reasons) is rarely researched.
  • This study, by Maastricht University, aims tries to analyse two concepts related to social media – how does social media use at work affect a procurement professional’s performance and why some managers are using social media for work in procurement intensively and others not.
  • The results of the survey could open up some interesting areas of research into the use of social media across procurement and how professionals can leverage and benefit from its use.

Read more and take the survey here

Your shameful email sending habits have been revealed in a new survey

An independent study into email user habits has revealed that a worrying number of professionals find it hard to drag themselves away from work email.

A new study has found that work-related email is disrupting everything from holidays to funerals as employees struggle to cope with volume and culture of ‘always-on’ working.

GFI Software (the masterminds behind the study) wanted to gauge how employees interact with email and the main obstacles to effective workplace email use.

Of those surveyed, some 47 per cent admit to checking work email at least once a day in their personal time, up six per cent, while 33 per cent admit checking multiple times a day or in real-time through pre-work mornings, evenings, weekends and days off. Furthermore, 43 per cent regularly check their work email after 11pm at night.

Key findings from the survey include:

• Monitoring of work email outside of work hours is inescapable, with 73 per cent of those surveyed regularly checking their work email at weekends.
• A further 58 per cent admit to checking work email while on holiday.
• Almost one quarter (24 per cent) feel compelled to reply to work emails within 15 minutes of receipt.
• In total, 72 per cent of respondents reply to work emails in under one hour, while just under three per cent take more than a week to reply.
• Down five per cent from 2014, the survey found that 23 per cent of workers surveyed use their work email account for personal activities. The drop suggests increased concern over company monitoring of workplace email and Internet use.
• Nearly 29 per cent of work email users surveyed do nothing to organise their email, including archiving, leaving all incoming mail in their Inbox.
• Just under 18 per cent have had an argument at home due to them checking work email during family time.

“Setting and maintaining realistic boundaries between work and personal life is important to health, happiness and productivity. This balance is becoming harder than ever to accomplish due to the growth of tablets, smartphones, and now smart watches and in-car communications – all of which keep people wired into work even after they go home of an evening,” said Sergio Galindo, general manager of GFI Software.

The survey revealed a substantial level of work leaking into personal and family occasions. For example:

• Almost five per cent have checked email during a wedding
• Nearly three per cent have gone through work email while attending an event at their child’s school
• More than one per cent have actively checked email while either they or their partner was in labour
• … and just under one per cent have checked email during a funeral

The research was also conducted among the same survey sample in the US, with broadly similar results. Differences of note did include a higher proportion of users preferring instant messaging (eight per cent), a higher proportion of email checking during funerals (three per cent) and during child birth (four per cent), while fewer (12 per cent) have argued at home over checking work email out of hours.