All posts by Procurious HQ

‘Don’t be intimidated by the people you respect’

Marissa Brown features in the next of our Generation Procurement series.

Marissa Brown

A bold approach and hard work has seen Marissa Brown go far in the nine years since she joined the procurement profession.

She showed strong initiative early, applying for a role as a senior contracts manager at BAE Systems after university, knowing it was out of league.

“I wrote a marketing piece on myself as the cover letter. It worked. Although they didn’t offer me the role, they wanted to meet me, and offered me a procurement role, as they were developing a graduate program. I was the first to start six months later. ”

Next, she moved into BAE’s communications division, managing the procurement requirements and relationships with major suppliers.

“There were lots of travel perks, including trips to the UK or US every three months visiting facilities that manufactured satellite communications infrastructure for high priority maritime platforms and ground based networks.”

She’s also worked for Leighton Contractors and Suzlon Energy Australia, and now holds a Market Senior Lead Role at BP, which puts her in charge of retail capital expenditure for BP service stations across Australia.

“It’s different from previous roles because I drive past BP sites every day, knowing I play a significant part in driving change that impacts the look and feel of a site and enhances the customer experience,” Marissa says.

“There’s never a dull moment, and you’re constantly interacting with people from varying industries and professions. I don’t think I could do a job where I just sit in an office every day working in isolation. Procurement gets you interacting with senior leaders, and enables you to drive changes that have fundamental impact on the business, not just to the bottom line, but operational efficiencies and improving the customer experience.”

With a commerce degree under her belt, she set a goal to complete her Masters of Supply Chain Management (gaining honours) before she was 30, which she finished in 2013.

She’s most certainly bold, explaining that when in the same room as speaker and well-respected procurement professional Stephen Rowe at a CIPSA event six years ago, she had to introduce herself. Stephen still mentors her today.

It’s important not to be intimidated by senior leaders that inspire you, she says, urging others never to underestimate the value of a mentor.

“Since meeting Stephen, I’ve made connections with other senior leaders, who have also been informal mentors to me. I can’t put into words how valuable this has been not only from a professional perspective, but more importantly, from a personal development perspective.”

Tania Seary talks Procurious in the media

Over the course of the last few weeks, Procurious founder Tania Seary has been quoted in Australia’s Marketing Magazine. We’ve provided some choice excerpts from the conversation below.

Tania Seary Procurious

In part one of a two-part article she says:

“10 or 12 years ago, procurement used to be in the back room in the brown cardigan, but now they’re very much in the boardroom.”

“Globalisation’s driven a lot of the development, and a lot of it is about brand reputation and risk management.”

The article continues:

Advertising agencies need to “get with the program” and start quantifying the value they produce for businesses, she says with a provocative grin.

Seary has made her career founding a string of successful businesses to develop the procurement industry, including professional development educator The Faculty, recruitment service The Source and, most recently, industry social network, Procurious.

“10 years ago procurement wouldn’t have been seen anywhere near advertising agencies because that was the holy grail; that was the secret herbs and spices. What business leaders have to grapple with is they want to reduce their marketing costs, but where do they do it?”

Read the article in full here.

The second part of the article talks about how procurement can add value to an organization.

It begins: Tania Seary has a bundle of catchphrases she pulls out to explain why marketers should value procurement professionals’ input into their decision-making.

One of these is “Process is liberating” – and she says it convincingly.

Despite marketers such as Chorus Executive’s Christine Khor and DDB’s John Zeigler describing procurement’s systematisation and financial pressures as stifling to creativity, Seary argues that proper processes actually allow creative freedom.

“It’s all very structured and the guidelines are set up very well if procurement’s involved and people know what they’re dealing with.”

Seary is adamant that procurement professionals, “If they’re doing their jobs right”, simply act as value-adding helpers to decision-making, rather than taking away control in the way marketers often perceive.

Tania on why procurement people look at the value of agency relationships in a variety of dimensions other than pure financials:

“There’s no use being a cost reduction guru when your CEO’s looking for growth. You need to be managing costs but you need to be thinking about how you work with suppliers to grow the business with new products, new geographies, whatever. But if your CEO’s like, ‘Right, we’re under pressure here, it’s about reducing costs,’ well everyone should be in sync with what the business strategy is and supporting each other, ideally.”

Don’t forget: You can read the article in full on the marketingmag.com.au website.

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?

Adding email addresses to Procurious

In all of the above cases you’ll be required to jettison your email address of old, and adopt a new digital moniker. Of course this means that any services, mailing lists, or websites previously accessed using these details will need to be updated with the new address. Websites are increasingly making it harder for users to change such hard-baked particulars – sure you can change your secondary email address, no problem! How about that main email, you know, the one that’s tied to your account? Well slow down there pardner, that’s going nowhere.

An email impasse

Well it seems we have arrived at something of an impasse… Happily this isn’t the case if you’re a Procurious user! You can now associate up to three different email addresses with your Procurious account

The Settings page is your new best friend, here you can add two additional email addresses, and even specify which one you want as your default. Just hit ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu next to your name.

Enter a new email address in the box provided, and click ‘Add email address’ to confirm the change.

Keep tabs on your inbox, as you’ll need to open an email to confirm the new address.

Choose your primary email address

Your primary (or default) address is the one you’ll use to log into Procurious, and it’ll also be the place where you’ll receive any mail relating to your Procurious account.

If you have more than one email address on file you can specify the one you wish to use as your primary by clicking the ‘Make this address primary’ option.

Don’t worry, additional email addresses won’t be visible to other Procurious members.

5 more common procurement myths busted

Procurious.com – busting procurement myths since 2014.

We arm you with another handful of myth-busting one-liners to help you educate your workplace.

Myth: Procurement is just a fancy word for what was once known as the purchasing function within a business.

Reality: Procurement operates in a constantly changing environment and continues to evolve to meet business needs. Whilst its basic practice has always been around, procurement’s role and responsibilities and the skills required have significantly developed over time. What was considered purchasing is not the procurement of today, and the same may be said of the procurement of the future..

Myth: Anyone can get a job in procurement.

Reality: Procurement benefits from professionals with diverse backgrounds, and like no other profession is more active in seeking a mix of knowledge and experience. Procurement professionals are a good reflection of the industry sectors and business functions they work in and across. And yet, procurement still has a skillset that is distinct and requires specific training and development focus.

Myth: Most people end up in procurement as a career by accident.

Reality: There’s a new generation of procurement professionals that have actively chosen procurement as their career of choice. This surge will continue.

The shift is a result of businesses realising the potential opportunities for investing in dedicated procurement and procurement becoming more widely known and recognised. Just take a look at the new programs developed specifically for procurement in the education and training sector.

Myth: Procurement people don’t communicate effectively with other levels of the business.

Reality: Procurement people have the tough job of communicating messages and making changes across vertical and horizontal levels of the business. Often it’s the message, reasons and impacts of communication that is difficult.

Myth: A good chief financial officer can do procurement tasks just as well.

Reality: Procurement considers a wide outlook in decision-making and is in a good position to do this objectively. Finance is a highly important factor but must be weighed up against other business needs (such as service, risk and innovation).

Want more? Read the original 5 procurement myths

Procurement and supply chain apprenticeship launches in Scotland

Out of the loop? Join us as we reveal what’s been happening in the world of procurement during the last seven days.

L’Oreal completes five year supply chain transformation

  • The world’s largest manufacturer of beauty products, French company L’Oréal, has been on a five-year plan to completely overhaul its supply chain to cope with new trends in consumer behaviour and new purchasing technologies.
  • The group’s global supply chain employs around 7,000 people serving 130 markets, fulfilling about 16m orders annually. It operates 150 distribution centres globally serving some 40 factories, with around half operated in-house and half by third-party logistics providers.
  • Key to the efficiency improvements was the closer involvement in supply chain executives in the sales forecasting activities that are normally the preserve of sales and marketing teams.

Read more at The Load Star

Procurement and supply chain apprenticeship launches in Scotland 

  • A new apprenticeship to encourage young people into a career in purchasing and supply chain has been launched in Scotland.
  • City of Glasgow College has opened its first “industry academy” for procurement and supply chain, a teaching model that makes sure students’ experiences replicate working environments. The curriculum has been developed, and is updated regularly, with help from procurement professionals, and has the support of CIPS.
  • The college’s new industry academy and the modern apprenticeship in procurement and supply chain will attract young people into an industry that benefits Scotland’s economy and businesses while providing good long-term career prospects.

Read more at Supply Management

IT Sourcing not just an isolated procurement activity

  • While many people talk about IT sourcing as just buying hardware or software, leading commercial companies know that IT sourcing is far more complex than just “buying stuff.”
  • The IT Supply Management process has four closely interconnected dimensions. They are IT Supply Strategy, IT Category Management, IT Relationship Management,  and IT Sourcing Strategy,
  • The commercial sector’s experience in IT sourcing offers a number of lessons learned that the DoD can adapt as it builds an IT sourcing strategy.

Read more at C4ISRNET

Bank Branch Shake-Up To Test Procurement

  • Growing demand among the global population for online and mobile banking means that the traditional bank branch is changing.
  • Bank branches of the future will move away from simple transactional tasks and will act as a platform for upselling to customers. There will be an increase in the use of self-service machines to cut labour costs and time spent on lower-value transactions.
  • Ensuring contracts for fixed-term agreements with suppliers are detailed is vital as additional work will rack up expenditure significantly in an already cost-sensitive project.

Read more at Procurement Leaders

Improving the value procurement delivers can generate €7.6m in revenue

  • A well-managed supplier relationship management programme can save top performing businesses €22.8m in spending and generate €7.6m in revenue per €1bn of annual spend, according to research by The Hackett Group.
  • Established procurement specialist Xoomworks claim to have built an innovative framework called Complete Procurement which helps high turnover organisations in finance, insurance and retail make significant savings through improving returns on current investments in people and technology.
  • The balance between solid mechanics and positive behaviours allow organisations to break through the frustrations often experienced when only the mechanics are in focus, thereby allowing the procurement function to acquire new levels of added value for their organisations.

Read more at Retail Times

Has RFID technology revolutionised logistics?

This video from IBM demonstrates how RFID technology could revolutionise logistics services… But this isn’t from 2014, instead it’s been sitting gathering dust on YouTube since 2006.

So what’s happened in the preceding years? Honestly, not as much as you’d have thought… RFID has faced a number of challenges despite its advantages and usefulness within industry. But not from lobbyists with privacy concerns, conspiracy theorists, or lunatics who believe RFID has something to do with the Mark of the Beast. Instead it is feared that RFID technology has the potential to place significant complications on organisations as it opens them up to external (often invisible) risks.

Sports manufacturer Adidas has just attracted considerable attention by sewing RFID tags into the jerseys of national football teams.

In a statement to Deutsche Welle, Adidas said: “As part of a logistics project we have tested for the first time an RFID label with a virtual number. It is a read-only label without any additional data. The label is not tied to the article number, size or color of the article and we also can’t link it with end customer data. It is of course up to customer of this product to cut out the RFID label along the dashed line and throw it in the trash”.

So just what is RFID anyway?

RFID is short for radio-frequency identification, it transmits data wirelessly through the use of electromagnetic fields. There are many benefits for adopting RFID technology into your products, not to mention its barely-there proportions, and teensy price-tag (in-fact EPCglobal is campaigning for the cost to fall to just 5 cents). When applied it functions as a tracking device (of sorts), allowing the producer to keep tabs if they so wish.

Today you can find RFID tags being commonly used across storage and logistics industries. Retail is also catching-on, so it’s not surprising to learn of Adidas’ dabbling.

The participants at this Canadian yoga event confirmed their attendance at a RFID-fitted kiosk. And the library at Sydney’s University of Technology is looked after by robots – how is this possible you ask? Through RFID of course…

Problem solver by nature? Procurement’s for you

A career in procurement has opened countless doors for Ashish Srivastava.

Ashish Srivastava

The Chicago-based career professional recently transitioned into a new role that puts him in charge of ICT Parts & Service in North America, where he spends his time sourcing and buying technology services and products.

This year, he wants to build and grow a North American-focused IT organisation that’s fully capable of delivering to his business needs.

The new role comes after a decade of industry experience in managing and delivering large and complicated system integration and transformation programs for Fortune 500 clients in financial services, healthcare and automotive sectors.

It’s no wonder he landed such a remarkably complex role. He’s well versed in client relationship management, and can practically develop a strategic roadmap with his eyes shut.

Procurement appeals because he’s a problem solver by nature. He loves his role because of the high levels of ambiguity and the large scope he’s given.

He names integrating the technology platforms of two large US banks after a merger as his greatest professional achievement.

“This was a very long and complicated process of leading multi-platform, geographically distributed technology and process landscape. And 18 months later, everything worked like magic.”

Ashish is an enterprising type. While at Melbourne Business School, he noticed that the career opportunities were geographically limited to Australia. So, he developed a program called Asia Career Track, which sent students interested in a career in Asia on a short trip to meet various potential employers and engage in a productive dialogue with them.

The program was hugely successful, enabling some graduates to land jobs in companies like Apple, Standard Chartered and Louis Vuitton. His program has now been adopted as an ongoing initiative run by the Melbourne Business School.

When he’s not at work, you can find Ashish strumming his guitar, reading a book or listening to topics on world affairs, economics or business trends.

“I’m most comfortable in the company of people who like to discuss a variety of topics over drinks, coffee or dinner.”

What your profile picture says about you

When God created man he made everybody equal. He also saw to it that no two people looked the same (well apart from identical twins, but stay with us here).

Uploading a profile picture helps other Procurious users put a face to a name, and makes them more inclined to learn more about you. No face, no dice.

It’s easy to achieve too. If your profile is currently sans face, just click on that sad empty placeholder and select ‘Edit profile’ (alternatively click on your name to uncover the just-as-handy drop-down menu).

From here you are free to select a picture at your leisure, and upload it for the rest of the community to see. So choose your best winning smile and away you go!

The importance of profile pictures
Oh hey! You don’t have a face?! Me too!

A strong profile picture can open all sorts of doors for you, but make sure it’s not a misrepresentation – after-all, the carpet should match the drapes…

What not to do

That teasing slither of flesh might help you make new friends, but maybe not in the way you intended… Same goes for those ‘come hither’ bedroom eyes, practice your smouldering, steely gaze for sure, just make sure the only protection other Procurious users need is for their browser.

Hello Mr X, I’ve not been expecting you (because I don’t know what you look like).

Been hitting the gym? Yes you might have a beach body but this isn’t Tinder people, the only thing you should be showing off is your bulging contact book.

Love pets? Of course you do. But that doesn’t mean you should take on the likeness of Mr Bumblepuss. The same goes for pictures of your newborn – adorable as their cheeks may be, it’s just not appropriate OK?

And while abstract pictures and pop-culture icons are nice, you don’t want to be left waiting for Walter White to knock…

The logistics behind Zurich 2014 European Athletics Championships

This guest post was penned by Sarah Robey. Sarah represents a UK-based logistics finding service.

22nd European Athletics Championships - Day Three

Making the magic happen

The 22nd European Athletics Championships in Zürich last month was a splendid success, both in terms of attendance and their overall social goals. The CEO of Zürich 2014, Patrick Magyar, said that in the final analysis they managed to increase children’s and young people’s interest and participation in athletics. Equally important, at least from a financial perspective, the games were an excellent opportunity to increase the visibility of Zürich in general, and assist in the marketing of the 2000 year old financial centre as a tourist destination and as a place of business.

As you surely know, staging an event such as this with world-wide aims and aspirations is no small feat of logistics. Six large evening and afternoon events, ten stadium sessions (and just shy of 81 per cent of sold out at that), six-figure crowds at the road races and a City Festival with nearly a quarter million attendees – Zürich 2014 was no small exploit, and the organisers should be proud.

CEO Magyar thanked his volunteer team for the hard work they did rising to the logistical challenge, as well as the local police, the City and Canton of Zürich, the Protection and Rescue Service and the Swiss Armed Forces. A few very important organisations were left out of the spotlight though. An event of this size could not take place without thousands of hard working logistics specialists and dozens of 3PLs and other logistics organisations. I’d like to give just one example of a company that helped make this event happen.

Organisation of one particular logistics company 

Conceptum Sports Logistics, a German logistics company, was Zürich 2014’s official logistics partner. Over the course of the games, more than 1400 athletes and thousands more coaches and personal support personnel converged on Zürich. Conceptum was there to get participants, coaches, gear and equipment where they needed to be and when they needed to be there. Organising chaos is a logistics organisation’s bread and butter, and Conceptum Sports Logistics performed at least as well as the winning athletes. Maybe CEO Magyar could have spared a bit of praise for them?

Then again, the perfect logistics professional is a bit like the perfect butler – out of sight and out of mind, managing events behind the scenes and only visible when they are needed. Perhaps the fact that Conceptum didn’t feature is another testament to their skill. If so, I have no doubts that their performance at Zürich this year will keep them in clients for some time to come.

So what about your logistics needs? Perhaps you won’t be spending £23 million putting on a sports festival this year. Perhaps you only need to find a better LTL carrier for the extra orders you expect this Christmas. Perhaps you need a better place to store inventory. Britain boasts thousands of 3PLs and logistics companies that would be thrilled to help.

Sarah Robey represents www.whichwarehouse.com. Whichwarehouse offers a logistics finding service that carries listings of many logistics providers from all over the UK.

MasterCard & Basware create new platform to speed-up supply chain payments

Hungry for your weekly news fix? Join us as we reveal what’s been happening in the world of procurement during the last seven days.

Basware and MasterCard launch an automated supply chain finance platform

  • Basware has the largest electronic invoicing network in the world — one million organizations generating 80 million transactions a year, worth $500 billion, and growing at 50 per cent annually. MasterCard has one of the largest payment networks, and it is fully global.  They’ve joined forces and created Basware Pay.
  • The solution connects buyer’s and supplier’s payment processes through the Basware Commerce Network which provides an open and interoperable network that only authenticated buyers and sellers can use. Once the invoice is approved by the buyer it becomes available for payment through a virtual MasterCard account number. The combination automates invoice processing and ties the invoice information to the payment, all within a secure, closed environment using MasterCard’s single-use Virtual Account Numbers (VANs) for protection.
  • Hany Fam, President, MasterCard Enterprise Partnerships, said the opportunity is huge: “This market is nascent and in size it is bigger than the entire consumer market. It is very under-penetrated electronically. While the consumer space is 85 per cent non-electronic, this is north of 90 per cent.”
  • “MasterCard is global and none of the others operated globally. We can offer a global solution.” MasterCard is brand agnostic — it will accept payments from Amex and Visa, wires, or even cash, and it works with other business networks, like SAP ’s Ariba.

Read more on Forbes.com

Gartner reveals best regional supply chains

  • Gartner has published its annual list of leading supply chains in Asia Pacific with ten regional companies making the list.
  • Gartner Research Director James Lisica says that Asia Pacific supply chain leaders continue to create agile and lean supply chains capable of dealing with regional challenges. “We have observed some key themes across most industry segments that include building customer-centric supply chains, aligning to local markets while still serving global customers, strengthening risk management processes, improving cross functional communication, driving operational excellence to achieve fiscal discipline and prioritising talent management programs,” he says.
  • The top three is made-up of the likes of Samsung, Lenovo, and Toyota.

View the list in full at Techday.com

Jamaica to benefit from regional procurement system

  • The Regional Integration Electronic Public Procurement System, which is to be implemented across Caricom member states, is geared towards the liberalisation and integration of the regional market for trade in goods and services. This involves establishing and maintaining a regime for the free movement of goods and services within the CSME. The programme is being implemented by Caricom, with funding support from the European Union.
  • Ivor Carryl, programme manager for the CSME at the Caricom Secretariat, disclosed that a regional approach to public sector procurement, supported by a regional procurement system, can bring many benefits to the Caribbean region, and can be one of the key pillars for the advancement of the Caribbean integration process and the CSME.
  • “You are looking at a market that is somewhere in the vicinity of US$17 billion annually and for a region of five and a half million people (with the exception of Haiti). That’s a lot of money,” he added.

Read more on Jamaica Observer

Is Apple’s supply chain a risk to the company?

  • If the rumors are to be believed, Apple‘s newest product, the iWatch, will be announced at its Sept. 9 event but possibly won’t ship until 2015 because of supply chain issues. This was originally reported by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and subsequent memos have pushed back the launch date from October to early next year.
  • Based on a thorough analysis of Apple’s supply chain, Kuo has been relatively accurate on delays. He predicts a delay in Apple’s larger-size version of its newest iteration — the iPhone 6, a 5.5-inch “phablet” model — pushing the release date for that unit back to 2015 as well.
  • A slightly ironic point is that these issues seemed to crop up after Tim Cook took the reins. Widely considered a “supply chain maven” among the analyst crowd, Cook started his Apple career as a senior vice president for worldwide operations. Through a relentless focus, he quickly fixed the supply chain, eliminating lags from months to days. Cook was promoted to chief operating officer before becoming the company CEO in the wake of Steve Jobs’ declining health.

Procurement has traditionally had ‘low status’ in UK government

  • The National Audit Office (NAO) said the government “fails to recognise the value of contract management” and “it is doubtful that the government can improve its capability to be able to have the best contract managers on all its contracts”.
  • In Transforming government’s contract management the NAO said current reforms were “going in the right direction” but there is “a lot still to be worked out”. “Too often contract management has been seen as delivering the deal that was agreed when the contract was signed. This has meant that contract management has been seen as a way to avoid things going wrong, rather than unlocking value,” said the report.
  • Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “For several decades, governments have been increasing their use of contracts with the private sector to provide goods and services. This has produced successes but also thrown up major new challenges, which are not easy to surmount. “Not the least of these is the need to build up the commercial skills of contract management staff, both in departments and in the centre, and enhance the status and profile of their role.

Read more on Supply Management

Businesses urged to register for supply chain programme (Durham, UK)

  • NEPIC’s BASME (Business Acceleration for SMEs) programme was set up in 2012 to help regional firms which are keen to increase sales to companies within the sector.
  • So far the programme, which is financed by the Regional Growth Fund, has supported the creation of 450 direct and indirect jobs in the North East and 360 businesses have registered to be part of it.
  • Felix O’Hare, BASME Project Manager at NEPIC, said: “NEPIC launched BASME to help SMEs in the process industry supply chain to develop their sales to the sector. Using a mentoring approach with some of the sector’s most experienced managers, businesses are able to learn more about what companies look for when sub-contracting work so they can be in the strongest possible position to succeed.

Read more at BDaily