All posts by Procurious HQ

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

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

business mentors

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

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

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

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

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

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

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

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

4. How valuable have mentors been in your career?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global Trade Growth Slowdown a Wake-up Call for Nations

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

global trade

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

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

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

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

Decelerating Global Trade & Growth

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

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

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

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

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

Protectionism Hurting Growth

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

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

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

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

Job and Economic Growth Risk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Activists Block Palm Oil Operations

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

Read more at Maritime Executive

US Craft Beer Brewers Outpace Supply Chain

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

Read more at the Wall Street Journal

Inquiry Launched Into UK Defence Procurement

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

Read more at Supply Management

Silicon Valley Alive to Truck Potential

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

Read more on The Financial Times

Only 24 Hours in a Day – Manage Your Time Wisely

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

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

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

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

  1. Work to your full potential

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

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

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

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

  1. Complete your most important task first

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

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

  1. Plan your work

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

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

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

  1. Delegate

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

  1. Leave time for yourself

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

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

  1. Have an accountability buddy

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

  1. Use a time tracking tool

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

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

Big Ideas Summit 2016: Big Idea #16 – Everyone Can Contribute

You might not be a “Game Changer”, but you, and everyone else, can contribute to the success of an 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.

Everyone Can Contribute

Nathan Ott, CEO e.g.1 Ltd and Director at The GC Index Ltd, argues that while not everyone is a ‘Game Changer’, everyone is capable of making a game-changing contribution, from the top to the bottom of the organisation.

However, in order to do this, organisations need to create a culture where it is safe to fail, and these ‘Game Changers’ are not seen as disruptive, pigeon-holed, or made to conform. Only by doing this can organisations create real step change.

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!

Contribute to Change

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

Coming on Monday, on Day 11 of Career Boot Camp, Nathan discusses how each and every procurement professional can make a disproportionate difference.

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

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

Be a Procurement Polygon – Learning From All Sides

Procurement pros get to experience all sides of their organisation –  and that’s the key to learning!

learning styles

Megan Sunderland, Vice President Global Procurement / CPO of Beam Suntory, considers the opportunities enjoyed by procurement professionals, who have access to diverse elements of business to help boost learning, both inside and outside their organisations. 

Megan also identifies some of her organisation’s key competencies, lauds the value of having external career mentors, and explains why you need to first believe in yourself, before you can do the job properly. 

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

  1. A Cheesemaker for King Island Dairies – This was fate given that my last name used to be Cheesman!
  2. Production Supervisor with Nestle Confectionery
  3. Food Technologist R&D with Nestle Foods

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

I wish I’d always had the self confidence to know that you earn a  job because of who you are and the experiences that you have learnt along the way.  It’s important to listen to the role demands but also believe in yourself that you have the goods to make it successful.

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials?

By highlighting the many facets to Procurement.

Every project is different; you get to touch and work with every part of not only your business, but also other vendor businesses. This provides great opportunities for learning and development. 

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

Beam Suntory have identified 10 competencies that are important for procurement professionals.  Project management, analytics, results focus and professionalism are among the most critical. 

5. How valuable have mentors been in your career?

I have had various mentors throughout my career.  I still keep in touch with many of them and use their pieces of wisdom almost daily.  Having a mentor who is external to your organisation can provide alternate perspectives. 

This provides the ability for you to become objective and perhaps see things from an angle that you would have never considered otherwise.  To keep your eyes wide open and being able to stop, think and challenge is invaluable.

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

Cultural fit is very important in every business. Specifically though, I look for a continuous improvement mindset and courageous behaviours. I like to see people who are not afraid to have the difficult conversations.

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!

The Five Hour Rule – Learning One Hour At A Time

Ditch the workload for the ‘Five Hour Rule’ and instead find innovative, alternate ways to enrich your mind and learn something new in just one hour per day.

five hour rule

Are you frantically working to the last minute of every day?  Do you measure your daily achievements on how much of your work-load you get through?

As your procurement career progresses do you feel your responsibilities mounting and any personal development goals being sidelined?

If the answer to any of those questions if yes then Procurious is here to tell you that you’re doing it wrong. It’s time to adopt the ‘Five Hour Rule’.

What Is The Five Hour Rule?

The Five Hour Rule is a widely adopted practise which involves participants dedicating one hour of the working day to doing something entirely non-work-load-related.

Notable entrepreneurs, artists, business leaders, politicians, and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, have endorsed the strategy. They believe that devoting just one hour of purposeful distraction to their day, each weekday, can pay huge dividends to their intelligence and business success.

Putting aside your daily routine can be a valuable technique for expanding your mind.

Let’s take a look at Benjamin Franklin. An apprentice from the age of 10, Franklin didn’t seem to be a gifted academic. However, he’s now one of the most recognisable names in history, famous for his inventions, writing, and entrepreneurial projects.

Franklin adopted the art of constant learning throughout his adult life. He took at least one hour out of his busy schedule every weekday to learn a new skill, read, write, set goals or experiment.

Constant learning is the key to success.

Top Tips for Sticking With It

  • Set aside the time. The same time each day can be a good approach.
  • Plan out the learning. Set some goals for what you want to learn, rather than just goals for what you want to accomplish.
  • Solve problems as they arise. Don’t sweep issues under the carpet that are hard to solve. Set aside time to address them before they grow into big problems.
  • Implement your learnings. Picked up something new? Implement it straight away.

How Should I Spend My Golden Hour?

This is one of those rare times when there is no right or wrong answer – so embrace it! Think of something you’ve always wanted to do, a topic you’re curious about or somewhere you’d like to go.

The more obscure the better. You’ll return to your desk with a fresher perspective and your mind enhanced with the new things you’ve learnt.

If you’re still lacking inspiration we’ve come up with a few ideas.

Do Something Active

Sign up to a gym class, go for a run, or walk to a park. If solitary exercise doesn’t appeal, join a sports club. Switching your mind off for an hour from your current workload gives you the chance to revisit it with a new perspective.

Learn Something New

Try learning something new and totally unrelated to work. Read a book: an autobiography of someone you admire; 100 pages of that novel you keep meaning to finish; a political magazine; a non-fiction history book.

Challenge yourself to memorise every state in the USA, and when you’ve done that, every country in the world. Listen to a podcast about a topic which interests you, watch a documentary. Take an online language course or have a piano lesson.

Take Up a Hobby

Why not start writing a blog or a book? Buy an art tutorial book and learn to paint from scratch. Do a floristry class or a photography course. Start cooking or baking.

Volunteer to teach disadvantaged students, join a charity and start doing activist work. Find a debating society and argue with others over things you care about.

Visit Somewhere Different

Go somewhere close to your workplace that you’ve been meaning to go, a coffee shop, a restaurant a gallery, a museum, a shop-  explore the area.

Use the time to think about something – anything other than work. Don’t force yourself to focus on your immediate goals or to- do list. It’s not productive.

The Eureka Moment

Is all of this sounding a little too romanticised and self indulgent?  The truth is, you never know when and where you might have that life-changing “Eureka moment”.

Slogging away, hunched over your computer screen isn’t necessarily conducive to coming up with a career-changing, innovative idea.

Author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, Elizabeth Gilbert, was struggling with a failed draft of her memoir, so took up gardening to clear her head.

There, pulling up tomato vines, she suddenly realised how to fix her book. She washed her hands, returned to her desk, and within three months, she had completed the final version of her book, Committed. It subsequently spent over a year at the top of the New York Times’ non-fiction best sellers list.

Pick something that interests, excites or motivates you and immerse yourself in it.

You could also adopt the five hour rule to help with your professional development. As part of your hour, take part in the Procuruous Career Boot Camp.

You’ll spend your time listening to podcasts from our expert coaches, reading articles from global thought leaders, and join in on discussions with over 17,000 fellow procurement and supply chain professionals.

You never know where it might lead you!

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!

It’s The Final Countdown: Introducing Week 3’s Career Coaches

We’re into the final week, the home stretch. But there are still five top coaches waiting for you in Week 3.

personal-trainer final countdown

We’ve sprinted, sweated, shouted and stretched our way through two weeks of Career Boot Camp. Our limbs may be aching, our cheeks might be red, but it’s all been worth it, as we start to see the career plans of 17,000+ procurement professionals taking shape.

The Procurious community has trained hard so far, but now is not the time to get complacent. To reap the benefits from Boot Camp it’s important to commit to all fifteen days in order to emerge with a fully toned skill set.

Ready for the Final Push

Let’s make the final push a big one and end Career Boot Camp on the highest high.

Coming up in Week 3 are podcasts from Procurious’ General Manager, the CEO of London’s leading women’s health club, and the founder of a first of its kind, online assessment tool which identifies organisational Game Changers.

These coaches will be addressing the importance of achieving a work/life balance, why you should be sharpening up your social media profile and how to be a game-changer.

DAY 11 – Monday 3rd October

nathan-ott‘Change the Game: Make a Disproportionate Difference’ – Nathan Ott, Co-creator of the Game Changer Index for Identifying High Potential Employees

Preferred Post-Work-Out Snack: Rare steak

It’s crucial for organisations to focus on the impact and contribution that their individual employees make. Nathan Ott asserts that every team member should aspire to being a game-changer in their own right and why it’s wrong to focus entirely on the spotlight-stealers.

As CEO and Co-Founder of the Game Changer Index and director at eg.1, Nathan works across all practice areas balancing his time between the needs of clients, the development of the team, and the growth and direction of eg.1.

In his podcast, Nathan will explain how to capitalise on your individual strengths, and, as a leader, how to value the unique potential of every individual.

DAY 12 – Tuesday 4th October

chris-sawchuk‘How to be the Most Valuable Player: Build Your Personal Scorecard’ – Chris Sawchuk, Principal & Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader, The Hackett Group

Favourite Team Sport: Dodge-ball

Earning “most valuable player” status at your organisation takes time, diligence and focus. Chris Sawchuk shares the playbook in Day 12’s podcast with some top tips on building your personal scorecard.

Chris has nearly 20 years’ supply management experience, working directly with Fortune 500 and mid-sized firms around the globe. He has even been recognised by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine as one of its “Pros to Know.”

Learn, from Chris, what it takes to become a trusted advisor, execute with agility, and make an invaluable contribution to your business. Chris also addresses the importance of maintaining a happy workforce in order to increase the levels of productivity.

DAY 13 – Wednesday 5th October

kate-percival‘Fit for Business, Fit for Life: Regain Your Work/Life Balance’ – Kate Percival, CEO, Grace Belgravia – London’s leading Women’s Health and Wellness Entrepeneur

Proudest Career Coach Moment: Motivating hundreds of procurement pros to work-out together and re-shape their future career plans.

With the new demands facing procurement professionals who are now on the go 24/7, how can you create the right work/life balance for yourself? Kate Percival has been CEO of Grace, London’s leading health, well-being and lifestyle club for women, since 2012.

She completed her masters thesis on the convergence of medicine and the global spa industry, which provided the basis of her business plan. Grace is a space that is a sanctuary for women, supporting them in health and well-being as well as in mind and soul.

Kate will offer her guidance on how to stay focused and energised to trigger greater success in the workplace.

DAY 14 – Thursday 6th October

carin-warner‘Brand You: Perfect Your Elevator Pitch’ – Carin Warner, Founder, Warner Communications – Strategist for 30 under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars

Post Workout Cool-Down Routine: Stretch it out. Have a hot stone massage followed by an ice bath. Enjoy a green smoothie.

What’s your personal brand, and do you really need one to advance in procurement?

Carin Warner believes the answer is a resounding yes! Carin’s podcast draws on her 20 + years of experience working with blue-chip clients on brand positioning and national recognition.

Today, she concentrates her expertise on brand image development, corporate communications, crisis communications and leading Warner Communications forward with a passion for creativity and desire for excellence.

On Day 14 of Career Boot Camp, Carin will delve into why procurement and supply chain professionals need to take control of their own personal branding to set themselves up for long-term success.

She’ll teach you to share what you know, share what you’ve learned and inform your peers and supervisors about all of the innovative things that you’re doing.

DAY 15 – Friday 7th October

lisa-maloneGet involved. Get ahead. Social media as Your Career Secret Weapon’ – Lisa Malone, GM Europe, Procurious – The World’s First Online Procurement Network

Advice for the final week of Career Boot Camp: This is the final hurdle so we need to see one last push to the end!

If you’re rolling out the same, old excuse that you’re “simply too busy” to fully capitalise on social media, Lisa Malone’s podcast is the one for you!

Lisa will convince you that just 15, well-spent minutes a day on social media is all you need to advance your career.

Having spent eight years working with professional services businesses to develop and lead communications strategy, refresh brand image and lead teams, Lisa knows a thing or two about branding.

She is a convert to the power of social media having spent the last two years as Procurious’ General Manager. She now works with commercial leaders to leverage this trend to amplify and affect change.

Lisa will explain the importance of building your personal brand, getting connected, key social media skills you should have mastered and how to implement a daily habit.

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!

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