All posts by Procurious HQ

Teamwork is Procurement Dreamwork

Divide the task and multiply the success – why teamwork is just as critical for procurement success as individual brilliance.

teamwork

Sue Steele, Senior Vice President Global Supply Management for Jacobs, asserts the value of collaboration and teamwork for procurement success.

Sue also reveals what skills she looks for when hiring at Jacobs, discusses the critical importance of mentoring, and outlines the key skills procurement professionals need.

1. What were your first 3 jobs

  1. Student Activities Advisor at Auburn University
  2. Energy Conservation Consultant at Florida Power & Light (FPL)-Miami, Florida
  3. Power Services Representative-FPL, Miami, Florida

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

I wish I’d known that teamwork and collaboration are just as important as individual performance.

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

  • Strategic Sourcing
  • Systems Savvy
  • Cost Leadership.

4. How valuable have mentors been in your career?

Mentors are absolutely critical for career success. Throughout my career I have benefited from mentoring by executives, career coaches and peer to peer mentors.

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

Jacobs is a technology, engineering, and construction firm so skills in those fields are preferable. We also look for experience with our clients or competitors in the Engineering & Construction industry.

Leadership, teamwork, good communication skills and innovation are other qualities we rate most highly. 

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!

Innovate & Create Your Way To A Better Procurement Future

Why should the ability to create novel solutions for issues be second nature to procurement teams in the coming years?

create

Donna Trowbridge is an accomplished Sourcing Manager with more than seventeen years of international experience. She has been the Group Head of Procurement at DBS bank for the past three years.

In our sixty-second-interview she explains why it is so important to approach problem solving with creativity, using the wealth of resources at our disposable within supply chains. Experimentation and adaptation are critical skills for the procurement industry.

Donna offers some great tips on recruiting, and draws on her experiences of living in Asia and working with millennials to offer some valuable insights.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

My first ever job during the school holidays was as a caller in a bingo hall. I used to call out numbers for the customers to mark off their cards.

My career after graduation started with Honda. I initially applied for a quality assurance roll on the manufacturing line at Honda. They decided I would be best suited to procurement. 

At first I was a little shocked I would be paid to shop just shows – how little I knew! looking back it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

After 6 years in direct procurement at Honda, I wanted to explore more of the indirect procurement and so moved to a role at Barclays Bank in London as Head of Corporate Real Estate Procurement.

This was the start of a very long and fulfilling career in Financial Services Procurement, which has also facilitated me living in Singapore for the last 10 years.

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

When we recruit, we are more often than not drawn to people who are very similar to ourselves. I struggled with this in the first few years of my career.

Now I realise that team diversity in skill and style is key to success, my aim in recruitment is to hire people that are better than me, and not be afraid of that.

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials?

A lot has been said I think a little unfairly about millennials: lazy, unable to focus, need instant gratification, to name a few. The “blame” if any of these things are true is with the manager of the millennial not the entire generation.

Millennials are attached to things they are passionate about. Interestingly for me on a recent recruitment drive, I found all of the Millennials interviewed had a genuine passion for social responsibility.

This one for procurement is easy. We all have CSR but with the help of our millennials we have taken it a step further and we help social enterprises who are customers of our bank in all of their negotiation needs. Millennials are providing their unique skills to help a social cause which provides a very important feel-good factor.

Retain is another matter. Employers should provide the tools and training millennials are accustomed to as a bare minimum. They also need to be constantly challenged and given opportunities to grow.

However, nowadays, a job or company for life doesn’t exist. If you can get 5 good years before they move on, then I think that’s ok. We just need to have a strong pipeline of talent to step up to roles as people leave.

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

Its 100 per cent perception. Especially for me living in Asia, as the population of Asia is in the billions, and it’s normal for graduates to have masters degrees. How can we then say there is a talent gap?

The problem is in fact caused by CPOs who create the gap by being so specific about the experience they require. I recruit on skills not experience.

I work in a bank with one of the best teams I have ever managed. In my team I have a dentist, a soap opera star, a bank manager, and a person who used to buy chicken for subway. Diversity for me is definitely key.

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

100 per cent attitude. Everything else can be taught.  After all, we buy things, not build space rockets.

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

Business aptitude. We must talk to the business on their terms, not ours, and understand the problems they have, and help to solve them.

A mindset of innovation – always thinking how to create novel ways of solving problems by leveraging the huge resources we have in our supply chain. Not being afraid of failure, learning to experiment and change and adapt ideas, and an understanding of data are also important.

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!

Is the Age of the Tech Unicorn at an End?

Once, every tech start-up wanted to be a unicorn? But could the age of the unicorn be at an end? And what will replace them?

unicorn

For the past few years, much of the talk for new technology start-ups has been about achieving the moniker of a ‘unicorn’. Many have tried, plenty have failed, but there are as many that have succeeded.

However, as many people warned, the constant rise of the ‘unicorn’ was always going to come to an end. And even some of the big name unicorns from the past few years have lost this particular title.

So, is the age of the unicorn at an end? And what is coming next to take their place?

Rise of the Unicorn

For those of you still unfamiliar with the term, a unicorn is a technology start-up company, which reaches a valuation of over $1 billion. The companies are characterised by rapid growth, and are generally privately funded, either through VC, or other routes.

The issue with unicorns, one that investors were aware of from the start, is that they are not profitable. Well, at least to begin with. Most unicorns aim to prove concept, and grow market share, before making any money.

Valuations tend to be based on future projections of worth, which is why truly defining a unicorn is tricky. Currently, the Wall Street Journal lists 155 unicorn firms, Fortune 174, and VentureBeat 229.

There are plenty of recognisable names on these lists. Uber, Airbnb, SpaceX and Dropbox, to name but a few. Many of these companies also appear on lists of organisations still considered to be disrupting their respective industries.

It’s probably easier to argue that companies like Facebook and SpaceX, unicorns of the past, have surpassed that title by being profitable in their own right. And profitability, after all, is surely the key.

Pop! Is that a Bubble Bursting?

When we first visited the topic of unicorn organisations a little under a year ago, we did highlight vulnerabilities in this set up. Venture capitalists and their investments are as much susceptible to market changes as any other business.

And given the global uncertainty that has been prevalent in 2016, many investors are looking for safer options. And this decrease in available funding has already seen a major impact amongst unicorns.

The pre-IPO investment firm Sharespost published an analysis in August that concluded that 30 per cent of all unicorns would lose their billion-dollar net worth. Some already have, and some have been pushed down that road in the past 9 months.

Big name companies like Theranos (once a unicorn, now subject of media interest for all the wrong reasons) and Evernote have already had valuations written down. Even Twitter and Uber have lost some of their valuation (though not enough to take them under the magic $1 billion mark).

Rise of the…Cockroach? Really?

Yes, really. Well, if you’re looking for a survivor, it’s well known that cockroaches could probably survive the apocalypse!

It might not be as glamorous a title, or an image, but the cockroaches are here to stay. Cockroach organisations differ from unicorns by having slow and steady growth, a closer eye on spending, and steady profits.

Cockroaches exist where funding doesn’t come as easily, but they can be smaller, more agile, and better prepared for uncertainty. And with smaller budgets, they are regarded as being more creative than their unicorn counterparts.

For investors, this represents a safer option, and a potentially better return in the long-run for them and their clients. While some unicorns will make it, and make it big for their investors, cockroaches are seen as a safer investment, something that is welcome in volatile markets.

Where will we be in another year? Who knows. We can’t predict which companies will still have their unicorn title, and which will be falling back. However, the chances are that the cockroaches are here to stay.

Cockroach or unicorn – which would you rather be involved with? Is the age of the unicorn really at an end? Let us know your thoughts below.

While you ponder that, here are this week’s procurement and supply chain headlines to keep you going.

Bangkok Fire Trucks Belatedly Enter Service

  • A fleet of 176 fire trucks are to finally enter service in Bangkok, a full 10 years after they were purchased.
  • The trucks have locked up in a warehouse for over a decade due to a prolonged legal dispute.
  • The Austrian-made trucks were locked up soon after delivery as part of a wider corruption scandal involving senior government ministers.
  • Due to their age, the trucks require extensive maintenance before they can be put to use.

Read more at The Nation

Self-Driving Delivery Boats to Ply Amsterdam’s Canals

  • The Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan Solutions plans to use the city’s extensive  canal network to trial a fleet of autonomous boats.
  • The floating robot vehicles will deliver goods and provide driverless transportation for people along the canal network.
  • The boats can also be linked together to provide on-demand bridges and stages.
  • Amsterdam’s research into robot canal boats parallels the proliferation of self-driving cars in the US and elsewhere.  

Read more at The Verge

Amazon Business Hires White House Procurement Head

  • Amazon has hired the former head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Anne Rung, in a bid to increase its sales to government agencies.
  • The role, titled Global Leader of Public Sector Sales, will focus on helping Amazon win government purchasing contracts.
  • Rung will work closely with government buyers to purchase goods and services more efficiently.
  • In her Federal role, Rung reportedly saved taxpayers more than $2.1 billion in procurement spending by reducing duplication.

Read more at B2B eCommerce World 

30 Under 30 Programme Goes Global

  • ISM and THOMASNET.com’s 30 Under 30 Supply Stars programme has returned for its third year.
  • The programme celebrates the achievements of young professionals in Procurement and Supply chain, with the goal of attracting more Millennials into the profession.
  • This year, for the first time, the competition has expanded beyond the US to include nominations from around the world.
  • Judges are looking for multitalented professionals who are influencers and trailblazers in their organisations.

Read more and Nominate at THOMASNET.com

Cloud, Not Laughter, The Best Procurement Medicine

A spoonful of Cloud makes the medicine go down. Healthcare patients in England could benefit from a move to Cloud eSourcing.

laughter medicine

This article was written by Daniel Ball, Director at Wax Digital.

Healthcare organisations are under constant scrutiny to deliver high quality care to patients. In England, it’s The Care Quality Commission which regulates all health and social care services to ensure fundamental standards of quality and safety are met.

The findings of its reviews are published to the general public. This puts organisations not coming up to scratch at risk of suffering from a negative public reputation.

Improving Quality of Care

However, help is at hand from The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP). The organisation works with healthcare organisations to identify areas where quality of care can be improved.

The HQIP is an independent organisation responsible for managing clinical audit contracts on behalf of NHS England. It was launched to promote quality in healthcare, and, in particular, to increase the impact that clinical audits can have on healthcare quality improvement.

Commissioning and managing clinical audits means having to source a range high quality external experts to carry them out. To do this, HQIP recognised that best practice procurement tendering processes were needed to to run an audit.

HQIP saw the value in moving to an eSourcing platform so that it could speed up the procurement process. It knew that if it was able to source experts quicker and do away with paper-based, manual tender processes, it could save itself valuable time and resources.

Moving to the Cloud

HQIP decided to go with Wax Digital’s cloud based web3 eSourcing. This allows the organisation to publish tenders electronically and make use of existing templates. It also enables suppliers to submit responses online.

The system also offers a mix of automated and manual scoring facilitates, with subsequent contract awards also taken care of electronically via web3.

Its project management function also allows HQIP to plan its eSourcing activities so that all relevant information is stored in one central place, which can be easily accessed by system users.

Judith Hughes, interim Head of Procurement at HQIP said: “As we’d aimed for, Wax Digital web3 has greatly improved our processes. Moving away from paper-based tendering has significantly reduced the time it takes to review and award teams for projects.

“It has also helped further ensure our quality guidelines are upheld and we now have a much more efficient way of engaging with our suppliers and them with us.”

An increasing number of healthcare organisations can benefit from the speed and efficiencies offer by cloud-based software. Innovation starts within the supply chain. By rolling out eSourcing technology, HQIP enjoys a more efficient supply chain for audit management. This in turn can aid healthcare organisations meet required care standards, and improve the quality of service for patients.

Big Ideas Summit 2016: Big Idea #15 – Thinking the Unthinkable

Modern leaders, in the C-suite and in Government, aren’t equipped to deal with unthinkable events due to a lack of skills, or sense of denial.

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.

Managing Unthinkable Events

Nik Gowing, visiting professor at King’s College, London, says that we are seeing a very human sensation of feeling “overwhelmed”. This is happening to executive level leaders in both the public and corporate sectors.

Building on his ‘Thinking the Unthinkable’ study, Nik argues that leaders aren’t equipped to deal with ‘unthinkable’ events, either through a lack of appropriate skills, or through denial, or wilful blindness.

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 16,000 like-minded procurement professionals from across the world.

Fools Rush In – Take the Time To Be Cautious

Being cautious doesn’t mean you’re not ambitious. It’s not always a good idea to throw caution to the procurement wind.

be cautious

Miguel Caulliez, Chief Procurement Officer at Nokia, explains why it doesn’t always pay to make spur-of-the-moment, opportunistic decisions as far as your career is concerned. We should be cautious and take the time to assess what is right.

Miguel, who has worked for Nokia since 2010, values innovation and diversity in the talent he employs and lauds the benefits of having solid career mentors.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

  • Financial Analyst at Auchan
  • Category Manager at GE
  • E-Business Leader at GE

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

I think it’s important to try to not be too opportunistic. Take the time to be cautious when choosing which industry you want to work in. Changing function is a challenge, but changing industry could be an even bigger, and unwelcome, challenge.

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

Procurement pros need to be curious and have a willingness to disrupt. They should also fully understand what innovation means and be able to work innovatively.

4. How valuable have mentors been in your career? 

Mentors have been essential throughout my career. I could not and would not have achieved what I have done without, particularly two of, my mentors.

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

 Opportunities are unlimited at Nokia, so I am always looking for talent who can find their own way and work independently.

I see it as my responsibility to give a framework to my teams, but I very much appreciate the diversity in opinions, backgrounds and methods.

The Procurious Career 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!

All Hard Work and No Networking Equals Incomplete Career

All the hard work in the world won’t compensate for a lack of networking skills. It’s your network that’s going to take you to the top.

hard-work

Johanne Rossi, CPO at Caltex, and The Faculty’s ‘CPO of the Year’ for 2016, asserts the importance of procurement professionals honing their networking skills as a career-boosting priority.

She also discusses her approach to motivating and retaining employees, lists the key skills procurement professionals require and explains why the perception of procurement as an “un-sexy” profession is responsible for the talent gap.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

  • Management Consultant with Accenture in France, UK and the USA
  • Head of eSourcing with CPGmarket (consortium between Nestle, Danone and SAP)  in Germany and Switzerland
  • Supply Chain Lead with Nestle in Australia and South Africa

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

One thing? There are so many things I wish I knew about myself, about others and about the corporate world. The ride would have been so much smoother and quicker!

One thing that really stands out for me is the realisation that working very hard is only going to get you so far. Networking and influencing is the true currency for career success.

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials?

Millennials or not, my main focus is people. Most of the people I work with are millennials anyway!

I try to work with the following ideals in mind:

  • Inspire people to come to work and have fun.
  • Care about people: listen to who they are and let them focus on what they love, are good at or have an interest in.
  • Embrace and share with employees the fact that I am vulnerable and a bit crazy.
  • Share with my employees my vision, which has to be ambitious, aligned to the corporate vision and make them proud to be part of the team.
  • Recognise accomplishments and praise people in front of others.
  • Develop people and keep them excited.
  • Don’t tolerate poor performance.
  • Don’t treat everyone equally, encourage and recognise the top performers.
  • Focus on people and relationships, not process and rules.

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

The gap may lie in the fact that Procurement is not yet viewed as the sexy profession it actually is, and as such the most talented people are not coming to us in spades.

Having said that, things are changing. More and more incredibly well-rounded and brilliant people are joining the Procurement ranks. This is super exciting to watch!

Procurement is an amazing way to solve business issues, get leadership visibility and learn new skills while making a difference to organisations.

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

Definitely mindset. We need people with a growth mindset, who “embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the path to mastery, learn from criticism and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others”[1].

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

I feel procurement professionals need to be well-rounded with the following competencies:

  • Influencing and communicating well.
  • Facilitating and working cross-functionally.
  • Seeking results and being accountable.
  • Building relationships.
  • Solving problems and thinking strategically.
  • Managing total value chain costs, being analytical and understanding risks.
  • Being humble, innovative and ethical.
  • Being agile and handling complexity and ambiguity.

[1] Source: Taken from Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

The Procurious Career 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!

Feel the Burn! Introducing Week 2’s Career Coaches

Repeat after me: I Can Do This. You don’t fail Career Boot Camp, until you quit. And these career coaches won’t let you.

career coaches

Career Boot Camp got off to a flying start last week. Our 17,000 Procurious athletes were pumping iron every day thanks to some top tips from our week one career coaches.

It’s understandable if your muscles are starting to ache now, but stick with us until the end of the boot camp programme to reap the benefits of a strengthened and honed career plan.

Don’t Abandon Your Regime Now!

Euan Granger, Procurious’ Community and Content Manager, is confident that the Procurious boot-campers will stay committed, even as we approach the half way mark.

“People abandon their exercise regimes for many reasons. However, stereotypically it comes down to lack of time, lack of enjoyment and lack of motivation. We’ve crafted a programme that is succinct, snappy and easy to access for those who are short on time and, crucially, maintained a communal, interactive environment for those taking part.

“Procurious members can learn and share ideas or responses to our podcasts with 17,000+ others. It’s the perfect way to keep motivation and positivity at a high.”

It certainly helps that our Week Two career coaches are no less qualified. Coming up are podcasts from the Chief Executive of a B2B marketplace with over fifteen million listed items, and a widely-published, and very recognisable, speaker and procurement author.

The podcasts will, again, cover a range of diverse topics including networking, online presence, personal branding and Big Ideas.

DAY SIX – Monday 26th September

gabe-perez‘Incubate Your Big Idea on the Job’ – Gabe Perez, VP, Strategy & Market Development, Coupa Software

Biggest Boot Camp Achievement: Holder of the World Record for number of Procurement-Push-Ups in one hour

Your biggest and best ideas can not only improve your organisation, they can catapult you into more impactful roles. Gabe Perez draws on his experience in sales, implementation and solutions consulting, to develop go-to market strategies across Coupa’s solutions portfolio.

Whilst with Coupa, Gabe has held a number of diverse roles including project managing and running the pre-sales team globally.

In his podcast, Gabe will discuss how to incubate your big ideas, why so many ideas don’t get executed correctly, or at all, and how to ensure that yours does. 

DAY SEVEN – Tuesday 27th September

stuart-brocklehurst‘Coach of the Year: Become the Manager Every Team Wants’ – Stuart Brocklehurst, Chief Executive, Applegate Marketplace

Tips for Staying Motivated in Week 2: Believe in yourself. Acknowledge the achievements you have made so far. Don’t compare yourself to others. This is YOUR boot camp journey.

 Who are the best managers? Is it the ones who win popularity contests? Or the straight-shooting, confident leaders with a “magic formula” for bringing out the best in their people?

Stuart Brocklehurst shares the skills it takes to stand out as a successful leader, while also earning the respect, and trust of your team.

Based on his widely diverse career so far, Stuart will also be offering some top management tips, including why it’s important to say no, how to articulate your vision, and gaining the trust of your employees. 

DAY EIGHT – Wednesday 28th September

tania-seary‘Use the Force: Network Your Way to the Top’ – Tania Seary, Founder, Procurious – the world’s first online procurement network

Choice of Work-Out Snack: Hard-boiled-eggs and spinach

You never know when effective networking is going to enhance your career, your personal life, or unearth a key connection that could add millions of dollars in value to you or your company.

With her passion for all things supply management, Tania is changing the way procurement professionals learn, advance and exert their influence.

In her podcast, Tania will discuss creating relationships, how to network authentically, and how to balance social and formal networking.

DAY NINE – Thursday 29th September

jason-scheer-a‘How to Make Yourself More Valuable Online’ – Jay Scheer, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at THOMASNET.com

Mentor Muscle Mass: 99%

If we’ve learned anything in this digital age, it’s that establishing a strong, social presence is critical to getting ahead in your career.

Jay’s role at THOMASNET.com, the go-to resource for supplier discovery in North America, includes overseeing content creation, website optimisation and social media. As such, he is a font of knowledge as far as the value of online presence is concerned.

Jay will discuss what procurement professionals can do to improve their presence online. This includes dispelling the notion that personal and professional accounts should be separated, and how to showcase your individuality.

DAY TEN – Friday 30th September

sigi-osagie‘Unleash Your Procurement Mojo’ – Sigi Osagie, Leadership Advisor, Mentor & Author

Favourite motivational Song: Eye of the Tiger

How do you harness the mojo you were born with to reach your fullest potential in procurement? Sigi Osagie arrived in the UK as a penniless immigrant. before forging a successful corporate career. He draws on his personal experiences to inspire readers and audiences through his writing and speaking.

Sigi’s thought leadership has been featured in several publications including Supply Management, Engineering and Technology and Lean Management Journal.

His podcast will address how to invest your most critical resources in your career development, how to build and manage your persona brand and why the importance of believing in yourself should not be underrated.

Find Career Boot Camp a little too fast-paced last week? You can catch up on any missed podcasts here.

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!

Knowledge is Power – And The Path To Success

Knowledge is power and the path to proactive procurement. If you don’t have the facts and knowledge, you can’t make the right decisions.

knowledge-is-power

Laura Faulkner, Head of Supply Chain Services at RBS, explains how understanding stakeholder needs can help procurement be much more proactive. Having the knowledge of all stakeholders and the strategies of your organisation with regards to customers, products and innovation.

She also touches upon the benefits of mentoring, why the basics of good procurement shouldn’t be forgotten and the significance of curiosity as a key skill for procurement professionals.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

My first job was at Polaroid as a Materials Buyer for their Film Division which I started as soon as I finished university. I  worked closely with the Planning department and the Production Lines.

I joined GSK two years later as a Facilities Buyer initially focusing upon Soft Services and then the Fit Out and Servicing of the new HQ GSK House.

Following that, I joined Ernst & Young to work on the development of their new HQ at London Bridge. This was all before I grew my career at RBS from 2002 to where it is today.

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

When I set out I believed that as long as you understood the needs of the stakeholders you worked with, then you could deliver the right supply chain solution. I soon discovered that this approach is too reactive.

It’s also important to know as much as possible about the organisation you work for, including its strategies for customers, products and innovation. 

It’s only possible to truly and proactively add the most value and deliver a supply chain that ensures long term success once you have the knowledge of what is driving the general business. We need to help our organisations join up the dots across all areas.

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials?

CPOs need to be flexible and offer as broad an experience of the profession and the organisation as they can. It shouldn’t be seen as a failure if, after a time in Procurement, a graduate decides to take up an opportunity in another area of the business.

Instead, look at this as Procurement being a bedrock of talent development and an exporter of young talent. And always offer a return ticket!

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

Having curiosity and an inquisitive mind are key. Procurement professional can keep learning about their organisation, supplier capabilities or technological trends. This will help to offer insight and add true value to your business.

As ever, understanding your Stakeholders is the key to success. Take the time to map out key relationships and assess current status, including what’s needed to make them the best they can be.

Finally, we need to focus on getting the basics right, from contractual rigour to KPI compliance. Push the boundaries of what we can offer through SRM and technology innovation, but don’t forget the basics of good procurement.

5. How valuable have mentors been in your career?

Mentors have been, and continue to be, absolutely key in my career. I have valuable people I reach out to inside and outside my current organisation, and I am always keen to consult with these people before any big decision.

6. What are you looking for in high potential recruits for RBS?

Curiosity, intellect and enthusiasm. What more could you ask for?! 

The Procurious Career 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!

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.

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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