All posts by Procurious HQ

Supply Chain Review Pressure Following Chicken Scare

Public confidence in supermarkets and their supply chains has taken another hit, following a scare about contaminated chicken.

chicken

A recent report has found that one in four chicken samples bought from major supermarket chains contain antibiotic-resistant E.coli. The findings are again putting pressure on supermarkets to tighten their supply chain quality assurance processes.

While supermarkets have worked hard to improve supply chain traceability, this report shows there is much work to be done. It also serves to highlight a wider issue in the food supply chain – the use of antibiotics.

There is on-going criticism about the overuse of antibiotics by humans, but use of the drugs on livestock is contributing to increased resistance to antibiotics by so-called “super-bugs”.

Issues Raised in Chicken Testing

The study of chicken samples was carried out by the University of Cambridge. It revealed that from 92 chicken pieces, including whole chicken, thigh pieces, drumsticks and diced breast meat, 22 pieces contained potentially deadly bacteria.

The “superbug” strain of E.coli was found in chicken samples from all leading UK supermarkets, including Tesco, Waitrose, Aldi and Morrisons. Similar strains were found in supermarket pork samples tested in the same study.

The findings raise concerns about the quality of factory farming in the UK, as well as the end-to-end supply chains of the big retailers.

Dr. Mark Holmes, part of the research team that conducted the study, suggested that more resources needed to be put into assessment of antibiotic resistance in animals in the supply chain.

“These results highlight the need for improvements in antibiotic stewardship in veterinary medicine,” Holmes said. “The levels of resistant E.coli that we have found are worrying. Every time someone falls ill, instead of just getting a food poisoning bug they might also be getting a bug that is antibiotic resistant.”

Supply Chain Quality Assurance

Quality control software experts InfinityQS suggest that, while the supermarkets themselves might argue that their quality assurances are sound, the findings suggest this is not the case.

“It’s clear that a disconnect exists across these supermarkets’ supply chains. It’s likely they’ll have stringent procedures in place for their own food traceability, but it’s imperative these are adhered to amongst their suppliers.”

The company suggested that closer relationships with both suppliers and farmers was necessary. This could mean a more pro-active approach to site visits to where they source food from, and understand how they could help farmers to make improvements.

“An effective supply chain process will ensure that controls are in place to manage the necessary people, activities, resources and data throughout the supply chain.

“If done correctly, that product will be delivered with the correct documents, with an agreed quantity, adhering to a set quality standard and all sent at the right time to the right place.”

Antibiotic Overuse Creating Resistance 

The report also serves to highlight the wider issue of overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals. As well as depleting global supplies of antibiotics, systematic overuse is creating resistant strains of potentially deadly bacteria, including E.coli.

It’s predicted that, by 2050, one person will die every 3 seconds around the world from antibiotic resistant bacteria. Globally, 70 per cent of bacteria have now developed antibiotic resistance, including to traditionally ‘last line of defence’ treatment.

It’s estimated that around 40 per cent of antibiotic use in the UK is for animals in the food supply chain. The drugs are frequently given to large groups of completely healthy animals, with the intention of stopping the spread of infections. Mass medication accounts for an estimated 90 per cent of all animal antibiotic use in the UK.

Intensive farming practices, and keeping large groups of animals in close quarters, is to blame for such practices. In such crowded conditions, even one unhealthy animal can have devastating consequences.

However, as farming practices change, and retailers aim to ensure higher animal welfares standards, this issue may be lessened. Retailers have also been urged to pay a higher price for meat such as chicken and pork. This would relieve productivity pressures on farmers, and reduce intensive farming too.

Will this change your dietary habits? How can procurement get more involved in changing the underlying issues? Let us know in the comments below.

careerbootcamp-logo-final

Career Boot Camp Reminder!

The Procurious Career Boot Camp kicks off in earnest this morning with the release of our first podcast! Today, as well as every day for the next 15 work days, we’ll be releasing a podcast at 9:30am (BST).

You can access everything you need to enlist for Career Boot Camp here. If you have any questions, read this, or get in touch.

We’ve been on the look out for all the top stories in procurement and supply chain this week. And here they are…

Bailout Rejection Makes Hanjin Liquidation Likely

  • The chances of a bailout for stricken shipping company Hanjin look unlikely, increasing the possibility of liquidation.
  • The bailout was needed to help the company combat $5.4 billion debts, and allow it to unload cargo at ports.
  • However, with decisions still to be made, the South Korean Government criticised the company for “economic irresponsibility”.
  • The company is conducting sales fund the release of $14 million worth of stock currently stuck on its cargo ships.

Read more at Supply Chain Dive

Sewing Robots to Join Garment Workforce

  • A company called Sewbo has developed a robot that can sew, and intends to replace humans in the garment manufacturing process.
  • The machine uses stiffened, pre-cut garment pieces and feeds them into a sewing machine, before dropping the completed garment into hot water to remove the non-toxic stiffener.
  • Automated clothing production provides a potential solution to labour abuses and sweat-shop conditions in the developing world.
  • However, large-scale automation would also put millions of people in the garment industry out of work.

Read more and watch the video at Engadget

Study Says Petrol Must Be Phased Out by 2035

  • According to a Climate Action Tracker report, the last petrol powered car will have to be sold by 2035 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • A ceiling of 1.5 degrees was the most stringent goal set by world leaders at the Paris summit last December.
  • Current projections suggest that electric vehicles will make up only 5 per cent of the world’s car fleets by 2030
  • This means aggressive measures will be required to shift rapidly away from fossil-fuel powered vehicles much earlier than expected.

Read more at Fortune

“Poor Procurement” To Blame For Detention Centre Cost Blowout

  • Australia’s scandal-ridden offshore detention centres for asylum seekers have come under intense scrutiny once again.
  • An audit of the centres revealed “serious and persistent deficiencies” in the relevant department’s management of the contracts.
  • It identified failures in the open tender process for security, cleaning, catering and welfare services, with costs blowing out from a $351 million contract in 2012, to a current $2.2 billion contract.
  • The report also criticised the original open tender process, and negotiations that took place with suppliers in 2012.

Read more at The Guardian

Are Employees the Weak Link in Company Cyber Security?

Are your employees leaving the door open for cyber attacks? Here’s how to help them reduce the cyber security threat.

employees weak link

Employees are a significant risk to their employer’s cyber security according to research by specialist global executive search and interim management company Norrie Johnston Recruitment (NJR).

The research forms part of NJR’s cyber security report, ‘How real is the threat and how can you reduce your risk‘. The report shows that:

  • 23 per cent of employees use the same password for different work applications.
  • 17 per cent write down their passwords.
  • 16 per cent work while connected to public Wi-Fi networks.
  • 15 per cent access social media sites on their work PCs.

Such bad habits and a lack of awareness about security mean that employees are inadvertently leaving companies’ cyber doors wide open to attack.

This research is supported by a report which incorporates the advice from fifteen experts in the field. In it, Benny Czarny, Founder of OPSWAT, discusses the top tips to avoid massive data breaches.

With Sony recently setting aside $15M to investigate the reasons for, and remediate the damage caused by, last year’s data breach, many of our customers—from large enterprises to small business—are wondering what they need to do to make sure they aren’t the next big data breach headline.

The good news is that most data breaches can be prevented by taking a common sense approach, coupled with some key IT security adjustments.

1. Employees’ security training is an absolute necessity. 

I cannot emphasise this point enough, as your network is only as safe as your most gullible employee. Even the most sophisticated security systems can be compromised by human error. The Sony breach started with phishing attacks.

And people still also use USB devices from unknown sources, which is allegedly how the Stuxnet worm was delivered.

2. Access to executable files should be limited to those who need them to complete their duties. 

Many threats are borne via self-extracting files. Therefore, limiting the number of employees who are allowed to receive this file type limits your exposure.

Your IT department absolutely needs the ability to work with executable files. Bob in accounting? Not so much!

3. MS Office documents and PDFs are common attack vectors. 

Vulnerabilities are identified in MS Office and Adobe Reader on a regular basis. While patches are typically released very quickly, if the patches are not applied in a timely fashion the vulnerability can still be exploited.

As an everyday precaution, document sanitisation is recommended to remove embedded threats in documents.

4. Data workflow audits are essential. 

Data can enter your organisation through many different points – email, FTP, external memory device, etc. Identifying your organisation’s entry points and taking steps to secure them is a critical step in avoiding data breaches.

At a minimum, scanning incoming and outgoing email attachments for viruses and threats, and implementing a secure file transfer solution, should be considered.

5. Store sensitive data in separate locations. 

Simple data segregation could have mitigated the impact of the Sony breach. The hack exposed both internal communications and unreleased video files.

Had the videos and emails been stored on two separate systems some of the damages may have been prevented.

6. Internal and external penetration tests are critical. 

Internal testing is a valuable tool, but hiring an outside party to attempt to breach your network will identify security holes your team may have missed.

7. Keep your security architecture confidential. 

You may be excited about your innovative networking solution or new cloud-based storage system, but think twice about making any of that information public!

8. Remember that traffic generated internally to your security system may still be suspect. 

For example, the Sony malware connected to an internal security system to impersonate legitimate traffic to disguise its malicious nature.

9. Multilayer defence is needed. 

I like to describe defence in depth by comparing it to the defence systems you might see at a castle. It could be defended by a large stone wall, followed by a deep moat, followed by a draw-bridge, followed by an iron gate, etc.

A single layer of defence is not sufficient for your data. It must be protected by multiple systems working in parallel. That way if one layer is breached your data is not exposed.

10. Finding your weakest security link is your top priority. 

Every office has one, and it will vary wildly from organisation to organisation. It might be the employee with their passwords taped to their monitor. It might be the deprecated Linux server everyone seems to have forgotten about.

You might not be looking for those weak links, but rest assured that cyber attackers are. The question is: Who will find them first?”

To read more useful and practical insights into topics including how to assess the scale of your risk level and managing the immediate aftermath of a security breach, download the full report.


Looking for an introduction to Cybercrime? Check out this article from Cloudwards. 

Big Ideas Summit 2016: Big Idea #14 – Procurement Must Evolve

Procurement must evolve if it’s going to survive. It needs to leave its comfort zone and showcase real value for the organisation.

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.

Evolve to Survive

Dapo Ajayi, CPO at AstraZeneca, believes that procurement as a profession must evolve in order to remain relevant.

Dapo argues that procurement needs to stop being process-based, and leaders must develop new skills in order to deal with ambiguity, and enable evolution into a profession that can work with the business to enable value.

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!

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.

Irresistible Procurement Candidate? Have A Finger In Every Pie

Why cross-divisional experience will make you an irresistible procurement candidate.

irresistible procurement candidate

Rhonda McSweeney, Group Manager of Procurement and Contract Management at CS Energy,  tells us why cross-divisional experience and team diversity are so important in the procurement function by drawing on her twenty years of corporate experience.

Considering her background in medical science, Rhonda explains how she has grown to value the transferable skills she learnt in the early stages of her career before moving into procurement roles and how this has influenced how she recruits and builds teams.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

I didn’t work in procurement at the beginning of my career and, in fact, started out as a medical scientist.

I later took on the position as a regional manager for a global diagnostic firm before progressing, within that firm, to national sales and marketing manager.

My third position was at The Global Travel Group where I was a business leader in acquisition and integration.

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

I have learnt that medical science, and science generally, as an undergraduate degree wasn’t irrelevant to the GM Commercial roles I’ve filled in the latter half of my career.

The ability to think analytically, understand concepts, and also to understand problems and carry out root cause analysis, is very applicable in a business environment and not unique or exclusive to a career in science! 

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials?

Millennials need help from CPOs to understand how procurement can provide a very unique and privileged view of a business.  Procurement offers insight into to all aspects of a business; from operations and business services, to manufacturing and sales, to marketing, and beyond.

Gaining this insight helps to create a very well rounded business individual. I like to promote it as “free business learning”, being able to have insight into the other divisional areas that you wouldn’t necessarily be subjected to otherwise.  I think this is a great fit in the era of millennials who are typically on the “fast-track”. 

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

Depending on your procurement mindset, it could be a combination of the two. I like to attract a diverse team in which there are cross-divisional backgrounds, for example, engineering, operations, or sales to name a few, while also ensuring a mix of individuals with strong commercial, contract, and/or supply chain backgrounds.

I have always tried to achieve this mix and have found that I can up-skill, and cross-skill, when necessary. I look for strong behavioural attributes on all accounts  to trump any technical learnings with the firm belief that these can be taught.  Having an enquiring mind, grasping concepts, working successfully across boundaries and establishing relationships and strong communication cannot be taught!

5. What’s more important for a candidate – attitude or aptitude?

It is important to have a mix of both. If I had to have a bias, I would sway slightly towards attitude. The ability to ask the right questions, and acknowledge that you do not have all the answers,  can resolve any aptitude gaps.

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

Cross-divisional experience is fundamental in procurement. It is so beneficial for employees to complete rotations within a business, therefore experiencing as many aspects as possible.

This will produce a well-rounded, commercial individual, who will create a compelling candidate for the procurement industry. This experience, balanced with the right behavioural attributes, will be essential going forward.

Do You Know a Rising Supply Chain Star?

Judges are looking for your nominations for a rising supply chain star for ’30 Under 30′ 2016. A multi-talented, young professional who is an influencer and trailblazer in their organisation.

rising supply chain star

ISM and THOMASNET.com’s 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars recognition programme returns for its third year, with nominations opening this week.

The programme was first launched to address a worrying lack of Millennials choosing Procurement and Supply Chain as a profession. This was particularly an issue in an environment where an entire generation of Baby Boomers were expected to retire in the next three to five years.

Together, ISM and THOMASNET.com are celebrating and broadcasting the achievements of young professionals in an effort to bring more Millennials into the profession, while also preparing them to step into senior roles earlier than expected.

Going Global

The big change this year is that the competition has been scaled up to the international level. This means we’ll see even more diversity in personalities, professionals and organisations represented by the 30 winners.

According to THOMASNET.com’s Director of Marketing and Audience Development, Donna Cicale, opening the programme up globally is an acknowledgement of where the supply management industry has been in the past, and where it’s heading in the future.

“Many supply management professionals today are managing global suppliers, responding to global issues, and thinking ahead for global growth. Young professionals all over the world are facing enormous challenges and accomplishing a huge amount.

“It makes sense to extend this fantastic recognition opportunity to these talented individuals, and learn as much as we can from one another.”

Who are the Millennials?

Research organisations and government bodies can’t seem to agree on the age range of Millennials. Typically, however, the term refers to anyone born between 1980 and 1995.

This means the youngest Millennials turn 30 in 2025, when they will make up 75 per cent of the global workforce. They’re followed by Generation Z, the oldest of whom turn 20 this year. They are now beginning to filter out of educational institutions and also enter the workforce.

What does it take to become a Supply Chain Star?

According to Cicale, judges will look for three main characteristics in the next batch of Rising Supply Chain Stars. Individuals need to be:

  • Multi-talented: “We look for people who demonstrate and excel at a wide range of skills beyond business acumen. We’re searching for fast learners, effective communicators, quick thinkers and natural leaders.”
  • Influencers: “Supply chain stars must be ‘movers and shakers’ in their organisations. They need to be skilled in getting others engaged, bringing colleagues on-board, and working towards common goals.”
  • Trailblazers: “We’re looking for individuals with ‘firsts’, or accomplishments not previously realised by their organisation. A ‘first’ can relate to timing, budget, initialisation, integration or adoption.”

Procurious caught up with inaugural 30 Under 30 winner Nick Ammaturo for his view of the essential attributes needed to win.

“When I look at the previous years’ fellow winners, I see a ton of common traits between us. There’s definitely a shared level of passion for supply chain and procurement, coupled with the motivation to advance skills and careers through challenging roles and continuous learning.

“Most importantly, 30 Under 30 winners all display curiosity. They all have a genuine interest in how their roles fit into the bigger picture.”

What prizes will the 30 winners receive?

30 Under 30 winners all receive a complimentary one-year ISM membership, as well as free admittance to ISM2017 in Orlando.

One lucky “Megawatt” winner will also have an all-expenses paid (up to $5000) trip to the same conference. Each winner also receives a THOMASNET.com Supplier Discovery and Evaluation “lunch and learn” session for their teams, and any other teams in their organisations.

Most importantly, the winners will gain widespread recognition from managers, companies and peers, as their achievements are celebrated and broadcast through industry journals, blogs, magazines and newspapers locally and globally.

Essentially, the programme identifies 30 “ones to watch” every year. Make sure you keep an eye out for the winners. They could be a future procurement leader in a company near you. And soon.

Do you have a Millennial supply chain star in mind for the 30 Under 30 awards? Nominations are now open – visit THOMASNET.com for more information.

Reporting For Duty! Meet the Career Coaches Getting You In Shape

Reporting for Boot Camp, Sir! Meet the Career Coaches who will be putting you through your paces in Week One.

meet the coachesWe’ve managed to secure procurement experts of the highest calibre to ensure you’re learning valuable insights from the most experienced professionals.

Our coaches include a Global Broadcaster with an audience of two million listeners; a Cultural Intelligence Advisor to Forbes 500 companies; and the CEO of the profession’s peak body, ISM. These leaders will be offering invaluable advice and whipping you into shape during Career Boot Camp!

Why Career Boot Camp?

Tania Seary, founder of Procurious, draws a parallel between career development and training regimes.

“When you go to the gym alone, it’s easy to get sidelined and hard to motivate yourself. You just don’t work as hard. As soon as you add a group of fellow gym-goers and a killer personal trainer, you’ve got the extra boost you need to succeed.

“This is the idea we’re embracing with Career Boot Camp. 17,000 procurement professionals, learning together from the best in the business. That’s how you achieve career results.”

Our Coaches are ready to start dragging any Career Couch Potatoes off the sofa, and up the next rung of the career ladder. But first, we wanted to introduce you to the trainers who will be getting you in shape throughout Week One:

DAY ONE – Monday 19th September

tania-seary‘The Warm Up’ – Tania Seary, Founder, Procurious

Top tips for staying motivated: Think positive, take it one day at a time, and believe in yourself and your career goals.

We’re kicking off with an introductory podcast from Tania Seary, Founder of Procurious, to get those muscles warmed up and your heartbeat racing. 

DAY TWO – Tuesday 20th September

tom-derry‘5 Surefire Ways to Become a CPO’ – Tom Derry, CEO, ISM

Favourite Boot Camp Moves: Career Crunches, Procurement Planks, Sourcing Squats, Buyers Burpees, Leadership Lunges

If your goal is to make a major impact on your company, there’s no better role to strive for than Chief Procurement Officer. CPOs typically sit on 64 percent of their firm’s total cost structure, making their decisions incredibly important.

Tom has substantial experience in product development, cross-border acquisitions, and foreign joint ventures, and spent nine years with the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).

Given the many years he has spent interacting with top CPOs on a daily basis, Tom knows exactly what it takes to get your career on the path to success.

In his podcast, Tom will outline five key skills to master as procurement professionals, such as earning a reputation for reliability and mastering your craft.

DAY THREE- Wednesday 21st September

tom-verghese‘Become a Global Player’ – Dr. Tom Verghese, Fortune 500 Cultural Intelligence Advisor

Favourite Motivational Quote: Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done.

Do you have the cultural savvy it takes to be considered a global player? Think you could benefit from some expert guidance?

Dr. Tom Verghese has been an independent cross-cultural consultant for more than 25 years, and will share the four key components of cultural intelligence. Tom will explain the importance of having cultural intelligence in order to succeed as a global procurement professional.

He will also discuss why it is advisable to learn more about different cultures, and how to deal with different people effectively.

DAY FOUR- Thursday 22nd September

charlie-wigglesworth-a‘Take your conscience to work: Finding meaning in your procurement career’ – Charlie Wigglesworth, Social Enterprise UK – £1 billion corporate social procurement programme

Nutritional Advice: To get through three weeks of Career Boot Camp, you’re going to need to stock up on protein shakes, rare steak and lots of spinach.

Do you feel like you’re making a social difference in your procurement role? Is your conscience telling you that you could do even more? If so, Charlie Wigglesworth’s podcast is for you.

Charlie has worked with clients across the public, private and third sectors delivering events on public policy issues. He also has extensive experience in business development, having delivered bespoke packages for a wide variety of clients from small charities to multinationals.

In his podcast, Charlie will explain why it is so valuable to generate more meaning in the work we do, the importance of working with social enterprises, and how this can be embedded into the core of business.

DAY FIVE – Friday 23rd September

jon-hansenAt a Crossroads – 3 Career Questions to Ask Your Boss – Now! – Jon Hansen, Global Procurement Broadcaster, 15,000 monthly listeners

Army Coach Credentials: Chief Career Corporal

Jon Hansen, expert blogger, writer and speaker will outline three questions to put to your boss to be sure you can evolve and advance together. 

He believes ambitious procurement professionals need strategic, forward-thinking leaders to help them grow. With over two million listeners, and five books and 3,000 articles published on topics as diverse as supply chain practice and social media, Jon is a force to be reckoned with.

His podcast will discuss why it is crucial to have innovative leaders with clear vision and a solid approach to dealing with stakeholders. Are you and your boss a match made in heaven? Or is it time to start thinking about going your separate ways?

Introductions over! Hopefully you’re feeling prepared and ready for Career Boot Camp Week One. Stay tuned for the low-down on our Week 2 coaches, coming soon.

There’s still time for you to register to take part in Career Boot Camp! Find out all you need to know, including more about our coaches, by visiting the website

Born Ready or An Old Hand? Balancing Attitude and Aptitude

Skills can be learned, but attitude is something you’re born with. But when it comes to creating your rockstar procurement team, should one really be prioritised over the other?

experience vs attitude

This article was written by Dee Clarke, Davidson Projects & Operations.

“Please find me procurement professionals who have an equal balance of personality and drive and skills and experience.”

I hear this statement from my clients on an almost daily basis. It’s a significant move away from the days when clients would state the five mandatory fields for candidates as:

  • Education;
  • Experience;
  • Years with a company;
  • Size of projects; and
  • Reference checks.

Now, those are just the start of the conversation, and the first step in developing the success profile of potential candidates.

Furthermore, the same clients are asking for psychometric assessments (personality testing) to be conducted on all potential candidates before the shortlist is even sent to them. In the past, this would have only been carried out when the shortlist had been confirmed, if at all.

These key facts point to the rising trend within the procurement profession of companies looking beyond the CV.

Natural Attributes or Learned Skills

So why is attitude so important? And can it really outweigh experience and qualifications when looking at a future recruit?

With strategic partnerships and vendor management a strong focus for procurement teams, there is an increased need for individuals to have effective stakeholder engagement, influencing skills and, overall, a great attitude.

Many within the profession believe skills can be learned. However, attitude is something you are born with. It is, therefore, the more important quality to look for when hiring a new employee.

I personally believe it all comes down to the role in question, and how that person and the role fits into the objectives of the organisation.

Attitude vs. Aptitude – Pros and Cons

Let’s look at some key factors when it comes to recruiting attitude over aptitude.

Cultural Fit

Ensuring a new employee fits with the company culture is important. Not just for the organisation, but also for the candidate to feel comfortable in their surroundings, and ensure they perform to the best of their abilities.

This is where personality testing can come in handy to look at this before they even get to the final stages of interviews.

Communication

The right attitude in a key procurement project lead can make or break the outcome of the project. With the need to liaise with a variety of different stakeholders, both internally and externally, how they interact and communicate with these people is essential to the success of a project.

Training & Support

Hiring someone with limited experience in procurement, but who has the drive and passion to progress their career in this area, needs a large amount of support, mentoring and access to training to become a loyal employee.

This leads me to ask, does your company have that internally, or via connections externally?

Team Balance

In order to be able to hire someone based on attitude over skills, you need to ensure there is already a high level of experience within the team. You need to balance the pendulum, or else you may have a great team culture, but no success to go with it.

Managing Expectations

One of my greatest concerns when a client hires a new employee based on attitude over aptitude is ‘expectations.’ When I take a role brief, we discuss the role and candidate expectations and what will the candidate have to do.

Measuring Success

What will the candidate have to achieve in six to 12 months to be successful in the role? These are usually decided on before potential candidates are interviewed. Once a decision is made to recruit a less skilled person, expectations of the role may need to be adjusted.

Speed of Learning

While, yes, skills can be learned some people develop skills at a slower pace than others so you need to ask yourself before making the final hiring decision, can the role expectations be adjusted?

And how much time can you allow for the individual to develop the skills they are lacking?

Clear Cut Decision?

I do agree that attitude is probably more important than aptitude, but only slightly.

As you can see above, it’s not a clear cut decision or process for future recruitment strategies.

It goes further than a question of balancing attitude vs aptitude. The answer lies in the internal processes you have to support this, and the time you will allow that person to develop required skills.

Arthur Freudiger, Procurement Solutions Manager at Charles Kendall, sums it up best. “While culture and attitude is critical, there needs to be the right balance depending on the position to ensure projects and KPIs are met. Otherwise it’s all pointless.”

Dee Clarke, is a Senior Consultant within the Davidson Projects & Operations team, which delivers the right technical and project expertise for any stage of a project or asset’s life cycle.

She has more than 10 years’ experience in recruitment across the Australian and Irish markets. During this time, Dee has forged a strong expertise in Procurement and Contracts and is an Affiliate Member of CIPSA.

Get in the Best Career Shape of Your Life – Here’s How

Are you stuck in a career rut? Need to give your procurement skills a boost to grab your dream job? Then pay attention!

career boot camp

The research is in, and the procurement leaders and CPOs have spoken. Nearly 80 per cent of supply chain executives believe it is critical for new hires to have leadership and professional competencies.

But how can procurement professionals achieve this? And how can they fit professional development into already busy lives? This is where the Procurious Career Boot Camp comes in.

If you missed our launch last week, or are bursting with questions about it, read on. We have all the information you need!

What is the Procurious Career Boot Camp?

The Procurious Career Boot Camp “Get in the Best Career Shape of Your Life” is a global professional development event for procurement and supply chain professionals hosted on procurious.com. It is designed to help you build vital skills, networking and advancement opportunities for your career.

How does it work?

The series will feature daily podcasts with tips and insights from some of the leading experts and influencers in the procurement space – our “Career Coaches” – to help you flex your career muscle (see more below on who some of these influencers are!). We’ll accompany these podcasts with daily blogs from our “Career Coaches” and vibrant group discussions on Procurious.

Why this topic?

Procurement is the fastest growing profession in the world, with more than four million practitioners worldwide. It’s also a profession that offers tremendous growth and advancement opportunities over the long term. However, not all professionals have access to formal, targeted training or mentoring.

This first of its kind Career Boot Camp aims to support this by helping our members to improve their career fitness! There is a wealth of research that shows the benefits of professional development.

APICS, a professional association for supply chain management, has highlighted just a few, including allowing procurement and supply chain professionals to expand their outlook on the field, foster new ideas for the workplace, set them apart from other candidates, demonstrate their commitment to the industry, and increase their confidence.

Are the podcasts available to everyone? 

We will let you sample one episode for free via email, but you do need to be a member of Procurious to take part in the full Boot Camp.

For non-members, this is a great time to sign up for Procurious. The skills you learn during the Boot Camp will help your next discussion with your boss on that raise or promotion you’re looking for. It’s very easy to register – just click here and sign up!

Is it really free?

Yes! Once you sign up to become a member of Procurious, you’ll have access to all of the content around the Boot Camp, as well as all of the resources on Procurious, including featured classes, e-learning videos, podcasts and much more.

How long does it last?

Boot Camp is 15 days. Each of the podcasts is available for one day only. The podcasts will be accompanied by daily blogs from your “Career Coaches” and group discussions on Procurious.

Why do Boot Camp every day?

Just a few minutes a day can make the difference between standing still, or moving quickly into more impactful roles. Studies have found that a majority of business leaders said hiring people with both technical and leadership skills was important to their companies.

Toning up on your career fitness a few minutes a day will help you get in the rhythm of this important, daily habit of investing in your career advancement, skill development and professional networking.

Who are some of the “Career Coaches” taking part?

We’ve brought together a unique and interesting group of “Career Coaches” who are experts in their fields to help you flex that career muscle! Don’t miss this opportunity to tap into the insights from these leading influencers around the world, including:

  • Jon Hansen, Host, PI Window on the World Show and Writer and Speaker, Procurement Insights
  • Charlie Wigglesworth, Director of Business & Enterprise, Social Enterprise UK
  • Chris Sawchuk, Principal and Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader, The Hackett Group
  • Carin Warner, President and Founder, Warner Communications
  • Tom Verghese, Consultant, Presenter, Executive cultural coach, Author and Founder of Cultural Synergies
  • Tom Derry, CEO, Institute for Supply Management
  • Gabe Perez, Vice President, Strategy & Market Development, Coupa Software
  • … and many others!

I’m on the fence – why should I sign up?

An increasing number of CPOs at leading companies have direct access, and a strategic input into, the CEO. Procurement is a profession where you can make a business-critical impact, from addressing supplier disruptions to improving innovation.

But, with globalisation and technological change disrupting every aspect of the profession, making time for career development, training and up-skilling is critical if you want to get ahead!

With Boot Camp, you can soak up the insights from the global community that will help you develop those skills and advance your career.

I’ve got some career ideas of my own – how can I get more involved?

Great to hear! You can Tweet us @procurious_ or reach us on Facebook. Or you can share your own ideas with the Procurious community by joining the Boot Camp Group page and posting to the community feed.

If I’m not a member of Procurious already, how can I sign up?

Just click here to sign up to become a member of Procurious!

How do I access the podcasts?

If you’re a member of Procurious already, you can visit our dedicated Career Boot Camp page to sign up for daily delivery of the podcasts to your email inbox.

Stimulating Competitive Bidding With Traffic Light Feedback

What does a traffic light have to do with the sourcing process? When you’re considering sharing information, it might be a good way to retain a balance.

Traffic Light

RFX processes can be frustratingly opaque for suppliers, particularly in the private sector.

Submitting a bid can be like trying to play a game of darts in the dark. After the dart leaves your hand there’s simply no way of knowing if you’ve hit anywhere near your target. And frequently there’s no response until the buyer informs you that your bid hasn’t been successful.

Don’t Give Away Too Much

Why are buyers typically so hesitant to give feedback? It may be due to a perception that knowledge is power, and giving away too much information will cause you to lose your advantage. To a certain extent, this is true. Too much granularity might allow the supplier to determine the target price necessary to win.

Similarly, giving away too little will cause your supply base to become frustrated and disengaged with the sourcing process. What buyers need to achieve is a balanced response, giving just the right amount of feedback to stimulate the supplier into giving a further discount.

A little bit of ambiguity can go a long way towards stimulating aggressive bidding behaviour, especially for suppliers who are aware that they’re in second or third place.

In a thoughtful article on the pros and cons of supplier transparency, Charles Dominick explains that a high level of transparency (through feedback) will help suppliers focus on what your needs are, instead of having to guess.

Transparency fosters open communication, collaboration and continuous improvement, and will help build your reputation for fairness and impartiality.

Finding a Better Way

Speaking at SciQuest’s Next Level Conference in Nashville, solution consultant Jason Hochreiter explained his organisation’s “Expressive Feedback” feature, which is a part of the Advanced Sourcing Optimizer module.

“Buyers need to get into the mindset of suppliers during the RFX Process”, he says. “Greater visibility of how their bid compares may actually help stimulate competitive behaviour and potentially lower bid prices during a sourcing event.”

SciQuest’s Expressive Feedback is named as such because it’s highly configurable, meaning that the buyer can choose when, how and what feedback to give suppliers during the sourcing event.

For example, the buyer may choose to only give feedback after the second round of bids, either sending out specific comments or using a green, yellow and red traffic light system to show at a glance if the bid is competitive, non-completive or significantly non-competitive.

Using the Traffic Light For Fast Decisions

Colours are a powerful tool to show suppliers at a glance how competitive they are, and if used intelligently, can encourage suppliers to make an impulsive decision to lower their bid.

Green: Consider what you need for the traffic light to show “green” – what does this actually mean? It could signal that the supplier’s price is within 10 per cent (or whatever percentage the user configures) of the target price. Or it could mean that they’re within the top five bids, without giving away their actual ranking.

Keep in mind that you wouldn’t want to alert a supplier to the fact that they are the cheapest, as it would almost certainly stop them from putting in a lower bid.

Yellow: This is where the psychology of feedback comes in. Hochreiter explains that it’s human nature to care about the loss of something (such as moving the traffic light from “green” to “yellow” status). This may prompt a fast decision to attempt to regain that status.

A supplier, seeing that they’ve slipped from the green bracket into the yellow bracket, may quickly submit a cheaper bid without considering the longer term implications of this action.

Red: Hochreiter cautions against using “red” for a supplier that you are interested in retaining. “If they see red, it’s likely that they won’t update their bid but assume instead that they are out of the race. Adjust the range as needed, so they’ll see yellow and will be more likely to compete.”

For more information about Advanced Sourcing Optimizer, please visit SciQuest website or contact SciQuest.

Lisa Malone, General Manager Procurious, was reporting from SciQuest Next Level 2016 last month, bringing you all the best bits.

Time to Panic? Climate Change Driving Coffee and Chocolate ‘Extinction’

Like to start your day with a latte? Make the most of it while it lasts, as climate change threatens extinction of the coffee bean.

coffee climate change

No, it’s not scare-mongering. And yes, there are more important things in the world than a daily espresso. However, the possible extinction of the coffee bean could have a wider-ranging, and more devastating, impact than you think.

And that’s not all. Climate change is also threatening a number of other popular foods and drinks, including chocolate, wine and beer.

Climate Change Destroying Farmland

A new report by the Climate Institute has shed light on a number of worrying facts. They argue that, should global warming continue at the same rate, wild coffee could be “extinct” by 2080.

In addition, rising global temperatures, and increasing pests and funghi could halve the available farmland suitable for growing coffee by 2050.

And it’s not just gourmet beans, and your local Starbucks’ supply of arabica beans that are set to be impacted. With a global temperature increase of 3 degrees as a result of climate change, even instant coffee is going to suffer.

Climate change is also causing the spread of pests and funghi to coffee growing areas not previously affected.  Coffee Leaf Rust, a fungus, and the coffee berry borer, a pest, have destroyed crops in South America, and have started to appear at higher altitudes, impacting a greater number of crops.

Coffee – Supply Chains and Livelihoods

Around the world, people drink more than 2.25 billion cups of coffee each and every day. In the UK alone, 70 million cups of coffee are consumed each year. And by 2020, it’s predicted that there will be 21,000 coffee shops around the country.

Coffee is a major export for a number of developing countries. An estimated 120 million people would be impacted by the total extinction of coffee crops. In countries like Burundi, coffee makes up 59 per cent of its exports, while it accounts for 33 per cent of Ethiopia’s.

However, climate change is already taking its toll in a number of other coffee producing countries. In Tanzania, where 2.4 million people work in the coffee supply chain, output has dropped by 50 per cent since the 1960s.

In 2012-13, the spread of coffee leaf rust in South America destroyed 85 per cent of Guatemala’s coffee crop, caused damage worth $500 million across the region, and cost 350,000 people their jobs.

And while some growers can move crops to higher altitudes to mitigate this risk, it’s not an option for small farmers who make up 80-90 per cent of total coffee growers.

Making a Difference

However, there is still time to make a difference and help sustain the livelihoods of the millions of people who rely on coffee for an income.

Helping to reduce emissions is a good place to start. Limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees could make a major difference to coffee producers. On your daily coffee run, use a reusable cup – one paper cup has the equivalent carbon footprint to 811 passenger vehicles.

Consumers can also buy brands that give a good deal to small farmers. These funds can then be used to help the farmers adapt their practices and mitigate future risks.

Not Just Coffee…

Sadly for all the foodies out there, coffee isn’t the only crop that is under threat from climate change. Avocados, chick peas, honey, and bananas are all on the food equivalent of the ‘endangered’ list if current trends continue.

And what’s more, chocolate, wine and beer may also be at risk. Chocolate is suffering from over-demand (70,000 more tonnes were consumed than produced last year), and cocoa supplies could be exhausted in the next 16 years.

As for wine, with current temperature rises, an estimated 73 per cent of land in Australia, and all of the Bordeaux region, will be unsuitable for grape crops by 2050.

As consumers it’s time to change our habits, or face running out of some of our staples and luxuries. It’s high time we all make some changes.

Away from a world without coffee, chocolate and wine, we’ve been collecting the big stories in procurement and supply chain this week…

Hanjin Bankruptcy Continues to Disrupt Supply Chains

  • The fallout from the bankruptcy of South Korean shipping company, Hanjin, has continued throughout the week.
  • Despite a US Court granting Hanjin ships access to ports, there are still concerns that delays will create significant bottlenecks for retailers.
  • Companies including Samsung, Hugo Boss, and Nike have all reported having to source alternative logistics options due to shipping delays.
  • Hanjin Group has made an offer of 100 billion won ($92 billion) to help contain supply chain disruptions.

Read more at The Globe and Mail

Australia Asks Chinese Shipping Company to Pay Clean-Up Costs

  • The Australian government has asked Shenzhen Energy Transport to pay $120 million towards the clean-up of a 100-acre area of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • One of the company’s ships ran aground on the southern edge of the reef in 2010 after going off-course.
  • According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the ship caused severe physical damage and considerable contamination by toxic chemicals, including the now-banned anti-fouling agent tributyltin.
  • Shenzhen is fighting the bill, arguing the costs are unrealistic, and that the Great Barrier Reef is “self healing”.

Read more at Mashable

UK Local Government “Off Message” on Cloud

  • A new report from Eduserv suggests that UK local council procurement teams are “off message” on the Government’s G-Cloud software.
  • Only one in three councils say they have both a cloud IT strategy and a procurement policy which allows them to use G-Cloud.
  • Over 27 per cent claim they have an in-house procurement policy that doesn’t let them use G-Cloud at all.
  • The report has suggested that councils need to bridge the gap between IT and procurement to drive G-Cloud usage.

Read more at UK Authority

Coupa Moves to Register for Public Offering

  • Cloud-based spend management platform Coupa Software has publicly filed a registration statement with the U.S. SEC for an initial public offering.
  • The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined.
  • The company has announced plans to raise $75 million in IPO.
  • Coupa intends to list its common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market under the ticker symbol “COUP.”

Read more at VentureBeat