All posts by Procurious HQ

Not Worth The Money – Will Entrepreneurs Avoid Business in Britain?

The Great British Pound is in trouble again this week and it’s making budding entrepreneurs think twice about their business plans.

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Talk of a Hard-Brexit Sparks Global Concern

The pound plummeted to a 31-year low last week sparking global concern. The crash followed Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement on Sunday 2nd October, which revealed a firm timeline for triggering Article 50 and the beginning of Brexit. Extra fuel was added to the, already well-stoked, fire when the media reported that she would opt for a complete break from Europe- a “hard brexit”. Reports  already suggest that a “hard brexit” could result in a loss of 70,000 jobs and cost £10bn in tax receipts.

With the pound sitting at $1.27 against the US dollar, chancellor Philip Hammond scuttled to New York with the hope of reassuring America’s biggest banks about the consequences of Brexit. He will try to convince the Wall Street powerbrokers that London will maintain its position as the world’s leading financial centre once the break from the EU is complete.

The pound is also falling against the euro this week, hitting a five-year low and continuing to escalate concerns.

Weak Pound Triggers Rise in UK Services Sector Prices

The dropping value of the pound is already affecting the UK services sector as input prices rose to a three and a half year high in September 2016.

David Noble, group CEO, CIPS, said: “Firms raised their prices in response, to counteract increased costs for fuel, food and elevated wage bills and as the weaker pound had an effect.”

Companies demonstrated their concerns at the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit implications through their reluctance to forge ahead with confidence.

“It’s clear that the pace of expansion has cooled since the first half of the year, reflecting widespread concern about the potential future impact of Brexit”, David commented.

Is Brexit Scaring Off Entrepreneurs?

The aftermath of Britain’s Brexit referendum back in June 2016 saw a strong display of optimism from many entrepreneurs. Indeed, a survey conducted by the Financial Times confirmed that the majority of founders and investors had confidence in London retaining its status as Europe’s biggest center for start-ups. But, is there a change in the wind?

Diana Paredes, CEO & Co-founder at Suade Labs and passionate entrepreneur spoke with Business Insider last week about the effects Brexit will have on entrepreneurship.

She questions why anyone would opt to start a business in the UK given the current economic climate. Operating in London adds a premium in terms of housing and talent and people often see the many business opportunities on offer as a justifiable compromise for quality of life. However, with the future so uncertain, is it worth the risk and sacrifice?

Existing organisations might also be keen to relocate their bases to elsewhere in Europe where it is cheaper to operate, less isolated and they can continue to be regarded as a European company and not simply a British one. 

If you’re an entrepreneur, what are your thoughts? Is the dropping value of the pound enough to make you run a mile from UK business? Let us know in the comments below.

Find out what else has been happening in the world of procurement and supply this week…

Samsung in Trouble Again

  • It’s been a month since Samsung recalled its new flagship phone, the Galaxy Note 7, following several cases of it exploding and injuring customers.
  • The company have been issuing replacement devices to customers who bought Galaxy Note 7 phones.
  • However, a Samsung recently started smoking uncontrollably on a flight before takeoff, forcing the cabin crew to evacuate the plane. This could lead to a second recall and a disastrous outcome for Samsung.
  • Google announced its Pixel smartphone this week and could be well placed to steal a whole host of disappointed Samsung’s customers.

Read More at Business Insider

Uber’s Self-Driving Cars

  • Uber’s self-driving car pilot program may want to fasten its seat belts after the bumpy beginning it has reportedly gotten off to.
  • The cars have reportedly gotten into accidents and ignored traffic signs during testing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • Whilst it is still very early days for self-driving cars, it’s believed that they are, ultimately, inevitable given the overall, enticing end-game which should see the cars combatting road deaths.

Read more at Tech Radar

Supply Chain Leaders Pressured to Embrace Climate Change

  • Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) meets next month in New York with the current cri de Coeur being “bold climate action”.
  • Analysts have observed that multinationals must raise their ambitions by investing in climate finance, transition to renewable energy, and find more innovative was of ensuring resilient supply chains.
  • As well as encouraging change in organisational culture to embrace clean energy and other climate solutions, BSR insist that supply chain managers join Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) managers in becoming .intrapreneurs.
  • Supply chain managers can – and must – play a major leadership role in addressing the alarming consequences of aberrant global weather conditions.

Read more at Supply Chain 24/7

Drones Tested for Emergency Cell Service

  • Verizon Communications is testing the deployment of large-scale drones to provide mobile connectivity in emergency situations when the land-based cellular network has been damaged.
  • The drone which is being flown by American Aerospace Technologies, is nothing like the small, quad copter devices flown by amateurs at home. With a 17-foot wingspan, Verizon’s drone more resembles the types of unmanned aircraft used in the military.
  • Data gathered in Thursday’s trial will be shared with the FAA in order to help craft future rules regarding drones, Verizon said.

Read more at Fortune

Time Poor at Work? There’s An App For That!

We’re all aware of the concept of ‘time poor’. At least in a work setting, there’s an app or two to help you out.

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Do you frequently feel like you’re short of time at work? Most people start the day with great intentions of how much they’re going to get done. But throw unexpected meetings, phone calls, e-mails and tasks into the mix, and all of a sudden time feels like it’s running out.

Happily, there’s a plethora of apps on the market that can actually bolster your efficiency levels at work. Everything from note-taking, file-sharing, to expense claims and networking can be easier with the help of an app.

And, of course, if you need an app to help with your procurement knowledge and networking, you can download the Procurious iOS app!

Dropbox

Digital storage and file sharing has been revolutionised by Dropbox. It has simplified the way people work together by allowing people to securely store and share files and collaborate on work, whether they’re working alongside each other or on other sides of the world.

Dropbox Business comes with as much storage as a company needs.

Slack

Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool launched in August 2013. It helps teams communicate and carry out everyday activities like filling out expense reports or scheduling meetings.

As well as cutting down on inter-company e-mails, it also saves valuable time from switching around different applications to do everything you need to handle at work.

Locomote

Companies of all sizes use Locomote to simplify corporate travel and to save costs. Locomote enables organisations to ditch the long email threads and spreadsheets to authorise bookings and claim expenses on any device anywhere in the world.

Feedly

This app enables to you monitor content on industry websites using websites’ RSS feed. The site allows you to collate everything you need to be reading in one spot.

Google Drive/Google Apps

This is a safe place for all your files, photos and videos and include a suite of productivity tools utilised by executives around the world.

Asana

Team and task management tools such as Asana and Basecamp make it easier than ever to track who needs to handle what aspect of a project, and where each project is at. Give your team access and empower them to update the management tool at each stage of the project.

Evernote

A great place to capture what’s on your mind, whether that’s the minutes from a meeting, today’s ‘to do’ list and share your ideas on any device. Great for note-taking on your phone and then emailing to your PC.

Way We Do

This app helps businesses get teams to consistently and diligently follow procedures in their day to day workflow. The app allows you to organise one to 1,000 team members to create and use an operations manual, meaning you can make policies and procedures a daily routine.

LastPass

This is a great app to help you improve online security while also removing the hassle of remembering passwords. It allows you to create complex passwords that you don’t have to remember, with the app logging you in securely.

Buffer

The app that enables you to multi-stream content across social media. This is a great tool if you or your team needs to schedule company social media content for the month ahead.

Cozi

This app allows everyone in your team, or family perhaps, to access the shared calendar app. This means you can put appointments in the calendar that everyone can see, and you can see what others will be doing next Wednesday so you don’t double-book, for example.

Expensify

This app helps simplify your accounts by allowing you to import scanned receipts, which can be matched to expenses. This means you no longer have to manually type in expense details.

You can also import your cash, credit card and other billable expenses, or directly import your bank account details to manage your business and personal credit cards from your mobile device.

LinkedIn

A successful business owner needs to keep on top of your competition and networking. The LinkedIn app is a great way to do this.

You can network with people in your industry by connecting to other relevant people, businesses and groups.

BRiN

Created in collaboration with over 250 business experts around the world, this provides free business advice and access to a video and audio library covering 80 topics, with more updates to come.

This chat interface enables BRiN to understand and pinpoint your business problems and give you solutions and recommendations within micro-seconds.

Pocket Save

This app, previously known as Read It Later, allows you to ‘save’ an article or web page to read later. This means that next time you come across an article, video or link you really want to read, but you’re about to step into a meeting, you can save it to read later.

You can also save articles from your email and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Big Ideas Summit 2016: Big Idea #17 – Harness the Crowd

Stuck for innovation ideas? Need help with your next project? Maybe it’s time for you to harness the power of the crowd.

At the Big Ideas Summit 2016, we challenged our thought leaders to share their Big Ideas for the future of procurement.

From ideas that have the potential to change the very nature of the procurement profession, to ones that got the assembled minds thinking about the profession’s impact outside of the organisation, the response we received was amazing.

Harness the Crowd

Lisa Malone, GM – Europe at Procurious, talks about how procurement can lead organisations in harnessing the power of the crowd, and the concept of ‘hackathons’ in order to drive innovation.

‘Hackathons’ provide an opportunity to work on the business, rather that in the business, and give employees the change to take time out and come up with new ideas, and communicate and collaborate with people they would not have the opportunity to do this with otherwise.

Catch up with all the delegates’ Big Ideas from the 2016 Summit at the Procurious Learning Hub.

Want to find out more about Big Ideas 2016? And maybe what we have planned for 2017? You can visit our dedicated website!

Get Your Career in Harness

If you enjoyed Lisa’s Big Idea and you want to hear more from her, then you’re in luck! Lisa was one of the career coaches for the Procurious Career Boot Camp.

You can hear Lisa’s podcast on using social media as your secret weapon in your career, and how social media platforms are fast becoming an indispensable tool for procurement professionals.

Also, if you’ve missed the other podcasts, then all is not lost. Enlist here, and you can catch up on topics from becoming a CPO, to taking your conscience to work.

If you like this (and you haven’t done so already) join Procurious for free today. Get connected with over 17,000 like-minded procurement professionals from across the world.

There’s More to Public Sector Procurement Than Red Tape

Public sector procurement frequently evokes the image of red tape, governance, and over-the-top bureaucracy. The truth is something else entirely.

red tape public sector

This article was written by Kate Brown, Head of Procurement for the Eastern Shire Purchasing Organisation (ESPO)

It’s that time of year again when the new students are heading off to University. And as usual, perennial favourites such as IT, law and sociology remain the courses in most demand for another year.

Sadly it would seem that procurement hasn’t made the top 10 most popular courses list again. I would imagine it would struggle to make the top 20. So what needs to be done to raise procurement’s profile and help attract new, exciting talent to our profession?

We all need to do our bit to help raise the profile of our profession. It’s not uncommon for those at graduate entry level to come for an interview with us with little understanding of what the role of a procurement officer actually entails.

So clearly there’s a job to be done to help educate school leavers and graduates as to what a career in procurement has to offer – beyond buying things and saving money. As we all know, it’s a challenging and varied career and CPOs are increasingly becoming important members of most boardrooms.

Challenging the Public Perceptions

In the public sector, we have a reasonable pool of procurement talent available. However, attracting new and experienced professionals from outside of our sector has always been a challenge. It’s fair to say that in our experience, we see limited movement from private to public sector or vice versa.

There’s always been the perception that the public sector is less challenging, but far too bureaucratic. The Government’s continuing spending squeeze isn’t helping things either. Many candidates are keen to avoid the public sector altogether because of fears over long-term job security.

However, the public sector has a lot to offer both those starting out in their procurement careers, and experienced practitioners alike.

For example, as a professional buying organisation for the public sector, we work with and provide national solutions for a wide variety of customers. These include local and central government, schools, universities, hospitals and charities, through to unique organisations such as the House of Commons and the Royal Opera House.

Our procurement officers procure a vast range of goods and services. From asbestos removal services to biomass, from catering equipment to domiciliary care, from training services to wheeled bins, and everything in between. So it’s a diverse and challenging environment in which to work and requires a whole raft of commercial skills.

Of course, salaries are always going to be part of the debate for anyone considering taking a role in procurement, but there are obvious advantages here too.

As you would expect, everything in the public sector is transparent. There’s a published salary for each pay grade, and a clear pathway for moving up the career ladder. And flexible working is offered to allow for a better work-life balance.

Growth and Success

In a bid to attract graduates to ESPO and grow our own talent we launched our graduate recruitment scheme in 1984.

Each year we take three or four individuals on to our graduate programme to train to work as procurement officers. Each trainee is assigned to a team and is given a mentor to support their progress through the scheme.

Our graduates work with us full-time and one day per week they attend university to study for their MCIPS qualification. This training is funded by us and our graduates are also given time to study and sit for their exams. We currently employ 30 of our past graduates and five current trainees. This makes up a total of 74 per cent of our procurement staff.

I am a graduate of the scheme and worked my way up to my current position as head of procurement. Our first ever trainee is now our head of catalogue and supply chain, so we’ve both proved that career progression within the public sector is possible.

Hope for the Future

There are many advantages to working in public sector procurement. It can be an attractive place for people to come and learn the trade, receive the support they need to further their training, and enjoy a diverse and challenging career.

Business and management was the most popular university course chosen this year. Surely there’s hope that procurement’s popularity will start to rise in future.

Clearly its profile needs a shake up and regardless of whether you choose to be in public or a private sector organisation with the right focus and enthusiasm, both paths will offer a challenging and rewarding career for those starting their working life.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Myth or Reality? Minding the Talent Gap

Is the procurement talent gap a real concern? Or is it a false perception thanks to a talent shortage instead?

minding the gap

David Lyon, Head of Procurement at Cancer Research is quick to dismiss the idea of a procurement talent gap. He explains why the real problem is a lack of depth, and what we should be doing to address this.

David also highlights the importance of keeping millennials engaged and excited, what he’s learnt about the benefits of good project management and why aptitude and attitude go hand in hand.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?  

I started out as an assistant merchandiser at a Hong-Kong-based clothing manufacturer before acting more formally as the in-house, UK-based representative for the same company within the, as was, Burton Group.

I subsequently moved into the sourcing of clothing and textiles, where I predominantly sourced for womenswear at a major UK-based manufacturer. 

2. What’s one thing you know now, that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

Firstly, I wish I’d known the value of having a clear direction and plan from the outset.

Secondly, the vital importance that good project management plays in bringing an organisation onside, when conducting any complex activity involving more than one person. 

Even in a senior leadership position, I find myself looking back to effective planning as critical in charting the course of procurement’s development in the organisation.

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials? 

The best way to retain millennials is by providing them with constant exposure to new experiences.  Millennials typically want to grow and learn in short bursts. They rely on technology for the operational basics, which would have traditionally been developed over a longer period.  

Millennials expect to access information in a user-friendly format, at their fingertips, and a dynamic and fun working environment.  Without these factors, retention will become increasingly difficult for organisations that want to have the best talent. 

4. Does the procurement talent gap exist? Or is it just as perception problem?

There is not so much a talent gap as a talent shortage. We have a number of really skilled procurement professionals in many organisations. However, we lack the depth in these areas, which means that there feels to be a gap between where we are now and where we want to be. 

We need to continue to promote and advertise the function to attract some of the right skill sets from other functions.

5. What’s more important for your hires – attitude or aptitude?

Both. Attitude is important with regards to the way employers go about what they do. Aptitude is needed in order to be able to deal with difficult circumstances.

I believe technical knowledge to be of lesser importance. I can buy those skills in as necessary, or train or develop, which is often a great investment in induction and personal development when we have a new hire.

The Procurious Career Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you stand out from the crowd.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Don’t Lose Career Direction – Get a Career Coach

Do you want a clarity and vision in your career? Do you have a life plan and a coach? Maybe it’s time to start looking for one.

coach

Without a clear vision and a plan to back it up, where are you going?

After coaching executives for the past 15 years, speaking nationally at conferences and authoring books, I have seen an incredible increase in employees hiring a life coach or strategist to enable them to become better versions of themselves both professionally and personally.

We are not taught at school vision creation, life and the wellness skills that are the foundation piece on which we can grow, evolve and flourish.

We tend to go into the work force, work hard for years and end up in places sometimes by chance. Or we follow a pathway and lose that connection to ourselves, and our why, and feel like we are on the treadmill of life.

Successful People

Successful athletes, business owners, CEOs, entrepreneurs all have a great team around them in order to shine. They invest in their skills, gain support from their coaches and generally want to be their best both on and off the field.

The United Kingdom Coaching Strategy describes the role of the sports coach as one that “enables the athlete to achieve levels of performance to a degree that may not have been possible if left to his/her own endeavours.”

Why Have a Coach?

When it comes time to build your personal brand, create a business plan, life strategy and gain clarity on what you really want to do moving forward a coach is a very powerful asset to have.  Just some of the benefits of working with are coach are:

  • Increase self confidence
  • Gain clarity on your direction and what is essential for you
  • Understand you own set of values as a decision making tool
  • Improve your time management
  • Better work life balance
  • Creation of boundaries
  • Improve communication skills
  • Have accountability to someone
  • Declutter your life and get rid of the drainers you have
  • Find the blind spots that may trip you up in the future
  • Create a proper life plan to avoid making wrong decisions
  • Find the shortcuts through using their expertise
  • Gain more insight into yourself
  • Work and conquer your limiting beliefs
  • Did I say clarity clarity clarity!
  • Simplify your thoughts and put into a plan of goals and actions for 1-5 years

Why I Personally Have a Coach

A coach should have a coach! It is a bit like being a personal trainer but not training yourself. I think it is essential that the coach be coached to stay sharp, up-skilled, and to really know and understand what it feels like to be coached.

Plus, we all need to grow, we all need to constantly learn and move with the times, so it is an investment for me that is critical for my own success.

I employ a coach for 6 months of the year, each and every year. It is a non negotiable for me as a business owner, wife and mother. The coach keeps me true to myself, never allowing me to lose the balance, give up what is important to me as I might get swept away in my career. They help with really identifying what is essential for my business to be a great success and really work for me.

I learn from my coach, my boundaries and comfort zones are explored and tested, and each year I want to grow both personally and professionally.

Without a coach, I know I would not be where I am today. And if I had tried to do it all on my own I wouldn’t have advanced so quickly. I am committed each day to growing and evolving and to being a better version of myself and the coach can assist with the tools, support and accountability that I need to be this person.

Also, it is incredible to have someone on my team that is 100 per cent behind me!

What’s Stopping You?

As we’ve seen during the Career Boot Camp, the value of coaching and mentoring in procurement is obvious. Our Career Coaches have talked about it, and our leading CPOs have highlighted the value in their 60 Second Interviews.

Just because you are progressing in your career, doesn’t mean you don’t need a coach or mentor. And it’s great to see that, in procurement, so many of our senior people have had great coaching and mentoring experience. And what’s more, they’re willing to be a mentor for someone else too.

As they say, the best in the world have a coach so why don’t you?  What is the cost of not having a coach come in and up-skill, support and open up your world?

Shannah Kennedy is a life coach and best-selling author, who has worked with a number of high profile global organisations. Find out more about Shannah’s work on her website, and check out her best-selling book, ‘The Life Plan’ here.

The Procurious Career Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you stand out from the crowd.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Forget Money – Health is Wealth

Don’t get hung up on material wealth, and don’t allow your working life to take over. Your health is the best investment you can make.

kate-percival health

There is so much pressure on us all to be able to juggle so many things in our lives and sail through it all, without batting an eyelid.

The complexities of who we are, how we maintain authenticity in the workplace, our sense of responsibility – these pressures manifest in stress, pressure, no time for our families and friends, let alone ourselves, no head space, no space to breath.

The net result of which is – yes – poor health, and a really compromised quality of life, regardless of how glamorous it might appear to everyone else.

However, the world is changing. Our values are changing.  We are questioning the pursuit of money, financial and business success. We know they do not necessarily bring happiness or good health.

Give Up The Guilt!

I tell women every day to take some me time.  Give up the guilt! It’s the wrong attitude to see spending an hour on yourself as pampering.

If we don’t start to look after ourselves, put that hour and a half of “me time” as a business meeting, cut down on the wine, eat healthily, and get our hearts beating, then our bodies will give out as well as our minds.

Exercise is linked to lower rates of cancer. It even helps in treating depression. Emerging studies show that exercising 3 times a week in your older years can cut the risk of Alzheimers by as much as 40 per cent.

For me the big game changers are all within our control. So many women say to me “I just don’t have the time…”. We do – we just have to be as determined about making it as we are in making the deal, making the business succeed, making our families happy.

Let’s look at some hard facts:

  • If you are getting less than 6 hours sleep a night you increase your chances of a heart attack by 60 per cent.
  • Sugar is the new cocaine. It is a killer, it causes cancer, obesity, diabetes. The World Health Organisation estimate that in the UK, 36 per cent of men and 33 per cent of women will be obese by 2030. That’s a 10 per cent rise in the incidence of obesity in under 2 decades.
  • Put down the electric gadgets. Kindles, iPads, iPhones, TVs all use blue light that messes with our circadian rhythms and our eyesight.

We have to be very tough on ourselves, to be disciplined, to give ourselves “me time”, because if we don’t, the consequences are devastating.

Fight or Flight

The body is programmed to react to life-threatening stress with a “fight-or-flight” response.

In this state, the brain triggers a cascade of chemicals and hormones that speed the heart rate, quicken breathing, increase blood pressure, and boost the amount of energy (sugar) supplied to muscles.

Unfortunately, the body does a poor job of discriminating between grave, imminent dangers, and less momentous, ongoing sources of stress, such as financial difficulties, job strain, and even worries about potential problems that haven’t yet arisen. When the fight-or-flight response is chronically in the “on” position, the body suffers.

We have known since the 1950s that job strain can cause cardiac problems.

Type A personalities (these are people who are more ambitious, impatient, and have an exaggerated commitment to work) had a 2 fold increased risk of developing coronary artery disease compared to those of a more relaxed personality type.

Arianna Huffington pointed out in her book ‘Thrive’ that women in highly stressful jobs had a 40 per cent increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks. The pathophysiology behind this thought to be that stress may aggravate inflammation in coronary arteries, leading to blood clots that can trigger a heart attack.

Stress also makes it harder to practice heart-healthy habits, such as exercise, a good diet, not smoking, and adequate sleep. It’s hard to tell what proportion of heart attack risk is due to psychological stress as opposed to, say, smoking or lack of exercise.

And some women may be predisposed (genetically or from early life experience) to react less effectively than others to stressors.

Creating Healthy Habits

So what can you do to make sure you foster good habits, and take care of your health?

  • Foster mutually supportive relationships with friends, family, and co-workers.
  • Get regular exercise. It’s good for the heart, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves sleep.
  • Limit intrusions (such as work-related e-mails) on your life outside of work.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, or visualisation.
  • Eat healthily – no processed food, reduce sugar, bad fats and generally eat less.
  • Do things that make you laugh or smile – get those endorphins flowing
  • Affirmations (they work!) – be positive, enjoy life and live a happy healthy one.

Try to bring back your work-life balance. We all need to get the balance right, and be strong in the conviction that there is another way of working. It’s not about giving up on your dreams, just managing your life better to ensure you’re around long enough to enjoy them!

Remember, we can have it all. We just can’t have it all of the time!

Kate Percival is London’s Leading Women’s Health and Wellness Entrepreneur. She is the co-founder and CEO at Grace Belgravia, London’s leading health, wellbeing and lifestyle club offering a fully-integrated service for members.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Great Mentors – You’ve Got a Procurement Friend in Me

Needing a confidence boost? Finding great mentors who support you and bolster your self-belief is the shortcut to success. 

business mentors

Jean-Yves Rotté-Geoffroy, Global SVP Procurement and Chief Procurement Officer at GlaxoSmithKline, praises the supportive mentors he’s had throughout his career.

Jean-Yves divulges what he looks for in his new hires, which key skills are critical for the procurement function and asks professionals to craft their own career path instead of blindly following career advice.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

  1. Navy Officer in French Polynesia
  2. Analyst at the Société Générale in Frankfurt
  3. Global Purchasing Manager at Procter & Gamble in Brussels

2. What’s one thing you know now, that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

Don’t listen too much to career advice, follow your own path,

3. What key skills are critical for procurement in the next 5 years?

Business acumen, data and analytical skills are the most critical in my opinion.

4. How valuable have mentors been in your career?

I received thorough, effective mentoring from my first P&G boss and from our Global Vice President at P&G.  This was a confidence booster at a formative stage and helped me believe I could always raise the bar.

5. What does it take to work at GSK? What are you looking for when you hire talent?

It takes drive and agility to bring into this great pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare company the challenges and changes needed to increase supplier contribution, with a view to serving better our patients, consumers and shareholders. A great mission!

We are looking for individuals who possess these qualities and are up for the challenge.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Global Trade Growth Slowdown a Wake-up Call for Nations

Global trade growth has slipped to its slowest rate since the 2009 financial crisis, sparking concerns for jobs and economic growth.

global trade

The World Trade Organisation has released figures showing that global growth has fallen to 1.7 per cent in 2016. This is well below the forecast 2.8 per cent growth in GDP outlined by the WTO at the beginning of the year.

It’s expected global GDP growth will remain around 2.2 per cent for 2016, which would represent the lowest figure since the financial crisis in 2009.

The slowdown in growth has been driven by a sharp decline in merchandise trade volumes. These fell in Quarter 1, and then didn’t rebound as expected to the middle of the year.

On top of this, the WTO has also revised its 2017 forecasts downwards, from 3.6 per cent, to between 1.8 and 3.1 per cent.

Decelerating Global Trade & Growth

Falling global trade and growth is also in part due to slow growth and performance in major world economies, such as China and Brazil.

North American growth, the strongest in the world in 2014-15, has also slowed. A reduction on imports into the USA has been partly to blame for this.

The volatility in the global economy, as well as a backdrop of increasing uncertainty, has been a major consideration for many countries in their trade.

Disagreements over global trade partnerships, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, have not helped the situation. Both US Presidential candidates oppose the agreement, and have stated they will end US involvement in it after November’s election.

The WTO have also warned that uncertainty around the UK’s ongoing relationship with the EU following June’s Brexit vote may lead to even slower growth in coming years.

Protectionism Hurting Growth

After an extensive period of global trade growth through globalisation, many countries are now looking to pull both manufacturing and supply chains back within their borders.

A separate report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) highlighted the role of protectionism in the slowdown. While tariffs on trade are regulated by the WTO, other measures, such as reducing quotas and increasing subsidies for in-country manufacturing, can be used to reduce exports.

This then has a knock-on effect on global trade volumes, and can inhibit development of global supply chains.

Roberto Azevedo, the WTO’s director-general, said, “The dramatic slowing of trade growth is serious and should serve as a wake-up call. It is particularly concerning in the context of growing anti-globalisation sentiment. We need to make sure that this does not translate into misguided policies that could make the situation much worse.”

Job and Economic Growth Risk

The global slowdown in trade has also raised concerns about job creation, and general health of the world economy. Both economic growth and job creation have long been linked to open trade.

Efforts to re-shore manufacturing and supply chains have an impact on global employment. Though it must be said that many organisation are seeing economic benefits from bringing manufacturing back in-house. These benefits are passed on to the both the local and national economies in turn.

However, for many developing countries and smaller companies, the slowdown in trade will hit harder. Roberto Azevedo called on countries to “heed the lessons of history“, and re-commit to open trading to boost economic growth.

Though some positive signs have been seen in the past month or so, the uncertainty remains. The US Presidential Election could fundamentally change the way one of the world’s largest economies interacts with the rest of the world.

And with other major economies not showing signs of quick recovery, it remains to be seen when or if the global slowdown will be arrested.

What are you seeing in relation to global trade in procurement? Is your supply chain suffering from the slowdown? Let us know below.

We’ve taken time out from getting you fit with Career Boot Camp to check out the top headlines this week. 

Activists Block Palm Oil Operations

  • Greenpeace activists are blockading operations of IOI, one of the world’s biggest producers and traders of palm oil.
  • A group of ten people, including two Indonesian farmers affected by forest fires related to palm oil operations, are blocking access to IOI’s refinery in Rotterdam.
  • The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is also preventing palm oil from being unloaded from incoming tankers.
  • Greenpeace is demanding that IOI commits to a sustainable palm oil supply chain before they lift the blockade.

Read more at Maritime Executive

US Craft Beer Brewers Outpace Supply Chain

  • US hops farmers are struggling to fulfil orders for a rapidly growing number of craft breweries,
  • The industry has doubled in size over the past five years, as consumers look to smaller companies for their beer.
  • Farmland devoted to varieties of hops has increased by 65 per cent in the same period. However, the number of small customers makes it difficult for farmers to keep up with demand.
  • As a result, production has slowed for the first time after several years of rapid growth.  

Read more at the Wall Street Journal

Inquiry Launched Into UK Defence Procurement

  • An inquiry into the UK’s military acquisition and procurement policy has been launched by the House of Commons Defence Committee.
  • The review was prompted by a report published last year by think-tank Civitas that argued for an overhaul of the MOD’s acquisition process.
  • The committee’s inquiry will look into whether emerging acquisition systems are offering value for money.
  • It will also look at the implication of Brexit will have on the UK’s defence industry.

Read more at Supply Management

Silicon Valley Alive to Truck Potential

  • Silicon Valley tech organisations are looking more closely at why trucks have jumped ahead of cars in driverless technology.
  • Software companies are also looking at the technologies that could be used in passenger cars in future.
  • Uber demonstrated its interest in lorries when it announced the acquisition of Otto, a start-up focused on self-driving technology for trucks.
  • It has been argued that such technology is used on commercial vehicles first, as there is potential for faster ROI.

Read more on The Financial Times

Only 24 Hours in a Day – Manage Your Time Wisely

Time. The one thing we could all do with more of, but relentlessly slips past. Are you spending your day wisely?

time-managementTick, tock, tick, tock. The seconds tick past, even while you’re reading this article on using your day efficiently. Have you allowed for some personal development in your day? Or are there more important things you need to be doing?

There are 24 hours in a day, but it never seems to be enough for busy people. To achieve what we want to in a day, we have to become better at managing our time. It is possible to find more time in a day, or even in an hour, if you put in place some simple strategies.

Here are 7 tips for getting more done in your working day.

  1. Work to your full potential

Do you notice how you accomplish more in a few days before you’re due to head off on annual leave than what you do in the weeks prior?

This is because you’re driven to complete the tasks in time. You’re fully engaged and focused on the tasks at hand. Putting the same energy into your work every day will achieve a major boost to your productivity.

To do this, forget time-wasting activities like checking your emails and social media accounts constantly throughout the day. Turn off your phone, where possible. Scheduling large chunks of the day to the major tasks you have to complete and eliminating distractions will enable you to fully concentrate on the job at hand.

You’re more likely to finish the work in far less time than it usually takes.

  1. Complete your most important task first

Sounds simple but we can easily fall into the trap of putting off the most crucial task of the entire day. As more emails, phone messages and issues crop up, it becomes even more difficult to tackle that important task.

Instead, make it your top priority. Put it first and complete it. That way, you’ll accomplish an important task each and every day. You’ll never have an unproductive day again.

  1. Plan your work

Keep a diary or to-do list, either on paper or in digital form such as an app, which allows you to map out your work day.

Prioritise your tasks for the day and schedule the time it will take you to complete them. Schedule in a time slot to get on top of your emails and messages and stick to it. Disconnect from emails and phone calls at all other times.

This way, you won’t be letting emails and phone calls cut into the time you’ve allocated for the work that you want to complete. Keep your to-do list up-to-date – cross off your tasks as you complete them and add new tasks as they arise. You’ll be able to see progress in your productivity and remain organised.

  1. Delegate

Delegating tasks is not a sign of weakness. The reality is that one person cannot achieve everything. Consider where you can use your employees’ capabilities and skills to your advantage. Delegate more and you’ll be able to focus your attention on other important goals.

  1. Leave time for yourself

You’ll be far more effective in your work if you also schedule in time for yourself on a regular basis – whether it’s going out for coffee or lunch or ensuring that you get to an exercise class or another personal commitment.

Block out that personal time as if it were a business appointment. The productivity of your business depends on it.

  1. Have an accountability buddy

Someone you check in with who is able to ask the hard questions on whether you’re meeting your own targets can be hugely useful. This could be an executive coach or someone you work with, for example.

  1. Use a time tracking tool

It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re swamped with work. Consider using a time tracking tool, which can ensure you know exactly how long you spend on a task.

Check out Toggl, for example. But don’t fall victim to irony in this respect and spend too much time marking how long you’re spending on things. It’s a guide, not a military operation.