All posts by Procurious HQ

£30m Reasons Why UK Businesses Should Recycle Ink Cartridges

According to new research, British businesses stand to save up to £30 million per year if they recycle their used ink and toner cartridges.

Recycle Ink Cartridges

UK printing firm CartridgePeople.com surveyed 1,000 UK workers on their recycling policies and processes within their organisations.

The research found that just 11 per cent of these organisations currently recycle ink and toner cartridges by sending them to a recycling centre, or refilling with ink to reuse in the business. This is an increase of 5 per cent from a previous survey carried out in 2014.

And, based on recycling costs provided by recycling organisation, Empties Please, these habits could be costing UK businesses approximately £30 million per year.

Business Falling Behind

More than 40 million ink cartridges are dumped each year in the UK, instead of being reused or recycled. If disposed of in general waste, ink cartridges can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.

CartridgePeople revealed that businesses in the UK are failing to reduce their carbon footprint in the office, despite the increase in household waste being recycled in the UK.

When questioned on the reasons for not recycling ink cartridges, 38 per cent of respondents confessed that there are currently no processes in place to encourage recycling at work.

The survey also revealed that 1 in 20 employees in the UK choose to ignore the recycling policies that do exist in workplaces, and put everything in general waste.

CartridgePeople.com spokesperson, Andrew Davies, said: “Many businesses and workers are unaware of the savings and extra revenue that can potentially be made from recycling ink cartridges. Ink cartridge recycling firms can pay up to 75p for original branded, or even remanufactured, ink cartridges.

“An individual ink cartridge can be reused or remanufactured by an ink cartridge recycling centre up to seven times, which reduces the amount going straight into landfill. We work with many companies in the UK to help reduce their carbon footprint and wastage, by supplying ink cartridge refill kits and tanks amongst other recyclable office supplies including LED bulbs and stationery.”

In the UK, the industries with the most green office policies are:

  • Design, Media and Marketing
  • Education
  • Manufacturing
  • Food and Catering
  • Administrative and support services

The financial and legal sectors currently have the fewest green policies of all the industries covered in the survey.

Reducing Carbon Footprint

CartridgePeople offered the following tips to businesses to help reduce their carbon footprint, and encourage recycling within the office environment.

  • Green Printing

To reduce financial and economic damage during the printing process, businesses can recycle or refill ink cartridges, use recycled paper, and keep hardware such as printers up to date. A new printer will be more energy efficient, in addition to producing an improved quality of print.

  • Switch Off and Unplug

Encourage all staff and employees to switch everything off at the end of the day, including all lights and equipment. This will not only save money on energy bills, but reduce overall consumption.

  • Which Bin Is It In

Make it easy for your company to recycle, by introducing paper and plastic bins for workers in which they can easily recycle their waste. In addition to this, businesses produce technological waste such as mobile phones, cameras, obsolete laptops and computers, which can be toxic for the environment when sent to landfill. There are many companies that will recycle and refurbish old tech.

CartridgePeople.com is a leading UK retailer of high quality printer ink cartridges, supplying home users, businesses and public sector organisations including schools and Government departments.

Happy Birthday – Procurious Is Two!

It hardly seems like any time at all, but it’s been two years to the day (nearly!) since the launch of Procurious. While wishing the site a happy birthday, we look back at how far we’ve come.

2nd Birthday Cake

On May the 14th 2014, the Ebola epidemic was sweeping through East Africa, Ukraine was on the “brink of civil war”, Scotland had scored a chart double with Calvin Harris and Paolo Nutini at number 1, and Donald Trump was still considered a celebrity/businessman, rather than a US Presidential candidate.

And under the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, at the 7th Annual Asia-Pacific CPO Forum, hosted by The Faculty, Jack Slade stood up and announced the launch of Procurious to the assembled audience.

Getting Started

In the room that day, amongst a Who’s Who of Asia-Pacific CPOs and Procurement leaders, were two future Procurious employees, and a host of people who would be the site’s first movers. At the time, the site was just finding its feet as a community-based, niche network for Procurement and Supply Chain professionals.

The idea of Procurious, originally conceived as a procurement news service, took flight in late 2013, and was steadily developed and streamlined until the site you see today was formed (well, the first iteration at least!).

It took just under 6 months for the site to add its first 2000 members, with first movers coming from across the globe as the word spread. By Christmas 2014, the site had over 3000 members, was engaging with professionals from around the world, and over half of these members returning to the site on a monthly basis.

Making Strides

From that point on, there’s been no stopping Procurious. Earlier this year we celebrated our 10,000th member, but didn’t stop there. As it stands now, the Procurious community numbers nearly 14,500 people from over 140 countries, at an average of 6 per cent week on week growth.

You can see some of our stats in the infographic below:

Happy Birthday Procurious

At the heart of Procurious we want to help build the image of procurement, share learnings and provide a platform for information gathering and collaboration. In the past two years we have seen the following on the site:
  • A truly global community of over 42,000 people across Procurious and our social media channels
  • Coming up on half a million unique sessions from over 220,000 users
  • Over 2 million page views since May 2014, and over 690,000 page views since the start of 2016
  • Over 1,000 high-quality, original blog articles published on topics ranging from procurement systems and sustainability, to community empowerment and breathing techniques
  • 771 discussion questions asked; over 3,500 community answers provided
  • Over 100 free eLearning resources published to the site (with over 100,000 views on YouTube collectively)
  • Over 600 procurement and supply chain events listed

And that’s not to mention two very successful, and well regarded Big Ideas Summits in 2015 and 2016, with more events to follow this year, and Big Ideas 2017 already in the works!

The Future

We’re already excited to see what the next year has in store for Procurious, and are looking forward to taking the site to the next level with your help.

All that is left for us to say is thanks for all your help in making Procurious what it is today. Join us in making a Happy Birthday toast to Procurious, and have a glass of bubbly and a slice of virtual cake on us!

What is the Biggest Challenge Facing Procurement?

From talent management, to ethics and transparency, there are some major challenges facing procurement in the current environment. But which is the biggest challenge?

Biggest Challenge

When considering the potential issues and risks that procurement professionals need to be aware of in their day to day work, it’s difficult to single out one in particular requiring greater focus than the rest.

In fact, if you were to ask the question of what is the biggest challenge currently facing procurement, the chances are high that you would get a considerable number of topics listed. However, that is exactly what Deltabid did with a survey of over 500 procurement professionals. More on this shortly.

Blind Spots

During the Big Ideas Summit 2016, Procurious asked its delegates to tell us what they considered to be procurement’s blind spots, and major areas of risk, in the coming years. Our panel of experts highlighted these areas:

  • Too great a focus on savings
  • Dealing with the wider business
  • Talent attraction and management
  • A lack of ambition in procurement
  • Working with legal teams

A contributor to the Procurement Leaders blog commented that, “CPOs face one of the most complex roles in an organisation”, and highlighted skills required for the future including a focus on strategic relationships, management of global supply chain risk and use of big data.

At the 9th Annual Asia-Pacific CPO Forum, The Faculty will be discussing the need for procurement to leverage supplier-enabled innovation, and a focus for procurement on SRM in order to make this a reality.

And when you consider the prevalence of stories and news reports on sustainability and supply chain transparency, it seems we are reaching a point where not only can we not reach a consensus on what the biggest challenge is, but also facing a lack of understanding about how we tackle these challenges.

Making Progress?

The other issue to consider is whether or not the procurement profession is making progress dealing with its biggest challenges. A quick search reveals a number of articles from the past couple of years asking a similar question of procurement leaders, including this one from Spend Matters.

In it, the top 5 challenges for CPOs are highlighted, including mitigating spend creep, the visibility of realised savings, compliance, technology, and procurement skills and capabilities to deliver on strategies. Starting to sound familiar?

What procurement must do is set out to tackle these challenges, and actually make some progress on them, instead of moving on to the next thing. And also to realise that these challenges don’t go away – it’s going to be a continuous process.

Biggest Challenge

This circles back to being able to identify the biggest challenge facing the profession, and perhaps assessing an order for them to be in, and a plan of attack for meeting them head on. This is where Deltabid’s research can help.

A survey of over 500 procurement professionals found that the biggest challenge was supplier-related issues, including finding and qualifying suppliers and maintaining consistent supply, with strategy selection, and cost reduction making up the top three. You can see the full results in the infographic below:

Procurement Biggest Challenge

While the results may not be surprising, they go some way to helping generate a consensus on the biggest challenge facing procurement. It’s now down to the profession as a collective entity to work out the best way to tackle these challenges.

One of the best ways of doing this is by collaborating openly, sharing knowledge, information, and lessons learned, and flexing our collective muscle in order to change the profession for the better.

If you have any comments, ideas, thoughts, or anything else you would like to share, please let us know in the comments below. If you have also had successes in dealing with any of these challenges, then we would love to tell your story!

Crewless Drone Ships Look Set to Uberize the High Seas

From crewless drone ships, to matchmaking between procurement and marketing departments, there are game-changing strategies afoot!

Drone Ships

In the past week, SpaceX have successfully landed a rocket on a drone ship, and both Coca-Cola and Target are playing match maker between procurement and marketing departments.

Uber-izing the High Seas

It’s a hot topic in the news when a rocket lands on a drone ship. Last year Amazon raised eyebrows when it announced plans to start drone deliveries. More recently they released a video showcasing a prototype of one if its delivery drones.

Drone technology is rapidly evolving and just this Friday, SpaceX successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket on a crewless drone ship at sea. This is an even more impressive feat, given that the odds of a successful soft-landing were slim, due to the mission requirements for this particular launch.

Even SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, expressed his doubts ahead of the launch on Twitter:

Drone Ships

To date, SpaceX has completed two successful rocket recoveries on a moving drone ship, and another when they successfully landed a rocket on a landing pad on stable ground.

The next important step, of course, is reusing a recovered rocket, which Musk has stated they hope to do in the next three or four months.

Remote Control

And while drone deliveries have been making the headlines for sometime, remotely controlled drone ships are just as much a game-changer for the shipping and logistics industry.

It’s a bet FTSE 100 Company Rolls-Royce are willing to make, backed by Tekes, Finland’s technical research funding agency. Rolls Royce is working with offshore engineer Deltamarin, marine certification body DNV GL, and Inmarsat, to develop the technology needed for commercial drone ships.

Speaking to The Guardian, Oskar Levander, Head of Innovation for Rolls Royce’s marine unit, says: “Drone ships will will support existing players to make their businesses more efficient and enable new entrants with new business models to the sector, with a potentially similarly disruptive effect to that caused by Uber, Spotify and Airbnb in other industries.”

Matchmaking Marketing And Procurement

Marketing is often seen as the creative, playful, visionary behind a big brand, while procurement is all too frequently positioned as it’s more serious, strict counterpart.

Marketing wants to spend the money on the big idea, while procurement wants to save as much money as possible. If marketing and procurement can’t see eye to eye, one party is bound to suffer.

Speaking at the ANA’s Financial Management Conference, Target EVP and CMO Jeffrey Jones acknowledged a serious cultural difference between marketing and finance and called out addressing this divide as “one of the top three issues [the business] has to solve.”

Jones criticised marketing departments for not really understanding how their own company makes money, which is a fundamental problem for a department with one of the highest spends in most organisations.

Jones believes that Marketing needs to take account of every dollar it spends in order to demonstrate greater cost consciousness. By taking this strategy, it allows Procurement to be part of the process.

However, Jones also believes that Procurement could loosen up a bit, and understand that sometimes monetary investment is required in order to deliver results, and time is needed to deliver proof of concept.

Jones highlights a simple solution: “Marketing needs to learn more about business; and finance – and through it, procurement – needs to take risks they can’t always calculate.”

A United Front

While Target continues to work out the kinks between marketing and procurement, Coca-Cola have already put the wheels in motion to unite the two departments.

Christina Ruggiero, CPO, Coca-Cola, has taken the step to move her marketing procurement team from the procurement department, into the marketing department. This has facilitated cross-functional learning opportunities, and enabled Procurement to get a grasp on Marketing’s priorities.

As a drone and robotic technology continue evolve, is this innovative technology disruptive to the supply chain. And what will be the repercussions on procurement? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Meanwhile, we’ve been scouring the news to find the top procurement and supply chain headlines this week…

Maersk Predict Meagre Growth in 2016

  • The parent company of shipping giant Maersk Line is projecting meagre growth in demand this year.
  • Danish conglomerate, A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S’s shipping unit, the world’s biggest container line, saw underlying earnings of $32 million in the first quarter, far below the $710 million contribution a year ago.
  • Maersk’s shipping volume grew 7 per cent in the quarter, against 1 per cent growth for the broader industry, and
  • Group Chief Executive Nils Andersen says there is no relief for weak demand and falling freight rates on the horizon, and admitted the carrier will look more to the spot market to provide a revenue boost.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal

Billions Stolen in Nigerian Fraud

  • $15 billion, equal to about half the country’s foreign currency reserves, has been stolen from Nigeria’s public purse through fraudulent arms-procurement deals.
  • Africa’s top oil exporter is going through its worst economic crisis in decades due to the drop in global crude prices, and ministers say these problems have been exacerbated by the impact of fraud under previous administrations.
  • Endemic corruption over decades has enriched a small elite but left many Nigerians mired in poverty despite the country’s oil wealth.

Read more at the African Independent

Nordic Defence Procurement Agreement

  • Representatives of the major Nordic nations have come together to sign a new agreement relating to defence procurement.
  • An update to an agreement originally signed in 2015, it aims to promote joint development between Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.
  • The agreement does not obligate a country to sign to any specific deal, but allows for greater collaboration between the nations.

Read more at Jane’s Defence Weekly

Small Businesses Suffering Brain Drain

A lack of employee benefits has been cited as one of the key reasons employees leave small businesses every year.

Small businesses employee benefits

Small businesses are suffering a staff brain drain, with nearly one in five workers quitting each year for new jobs blaming poor employee benefits, research from new online provider Pure Benefits shows.

The study by Pure Benefits found that 18 per cent of staff – around 450,000 a year – have switched in the past five years, saying a lack of benefits was a major reason.

Sourcing Employee Benefits

Small businesses with fewer than 50 staff employ more than 12.4 million people across the UK, and have total annual turnover of more than £1.2 trillion. However, these business often struggle to source employee benefits such as life insurance, income protection and private medical insurance for staff.

The Pure Benefits research found that 63 per cent of small business owners are confused by the employee benefits options on offer, and don’t know how to find cost-effective solutions for staff. More than a fifth of owners (22 per cent) say they do not offer any benefits.

Pure Benefits enables business owners to source cost effective benefits including life insurance, income protection, dental insurance, business travel insurance, critical illness and key person cover from leading providers including Unum, Aviva, Vitality, National Dental Plan and Millstream.

The company’s online service is designed to be quick and efficient and to address administrative and compliance issues for small companies focused on growing their businesses and protecting staff.

Employee Benefits Requirements

While there are some benefits that organisations are required by law to grant to employees, such as holiday allowance, minimum wage, working hours and sick leave, going beyond this for small businesses can be difficult.

In fact, starting this year in the UK, small businesses will be required for the first time to provide employees with a pension, something which is aimed at ensuring future provision for all workers in the country. However, in America, this still isn’t a requirement.

Other benefits, such as maternity or paternity leave, also differ from organisation to organisation, and country to country. In the UK, employees are entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, but in the USA, employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

The strength of employee benefits will often swing a decision on where an individual’s next job is going to be. The promise of incentives (bonus, car, etc.) or benefits (pensions, leave, etc.) is said to be one of the deciding factors for employees, beyond company brand or other, intangible, factors.

Valued Staff

Stuart Gray, founder and chairman of Pure Benefits says: “The small business brain drain is a growing issue for small companies with nearly one in five staff leaving every year simply because they are not receiving the benefits the big firms provide

“That is a major brake on the ambitions of small business owners who our research shows are committed to expansion. Around 80 per cent of companies told us they want to grow, while 47 per cent say they want to protect their business.

“Well-designed and cost-effective employee benefits are a major driver in enabling businesses to grow and ensure staff feel valued and are more productive as a result.”

The table below shows the benefits on offer at firms employing up to 50 staff:

Small Businesses Employee Benefits

Rio Olympics Focus on Global Supply Chain Sustainability

A focus on supply chain sustainability gives the Rio Olympics the opportunity to revolutionise global sustainability, and create a lasting legacy in Brazil.

Rio Olympics Supply Chain Sustainability

The Rio Olympics’ commitment to supply chain sustainability (with 100 per cent recovery, disposal and use of goods and waste) has the capacity to revolutionise supply chain sustainability worldwide as well as creating a legacy for positive change in the region, says supply chain consultancy Crimson & Co.

Despite a backdrop of political and economical uncertainty, Brazil has promised that the first South American-hosted Olympic and Paralympic Games, taking place in less than 100 days, will bring permanent changes to the city of Rio de Janeiro, with benefits spread throughout the country. Central to this has been the drive to ensure all suppliers are adopting sustainability practices.

“Most Sustainable” Olympics Ever

The London 2012 Olympics was billed as ‘the most sustainable ever’ but associations with key sponsors including BP, Rio Tinto, Dow Chemical and McDonalds, provoked a backlash from a coalition of campaign groups, keen to highlight the negative social or environmental impact of these firms.

In the run up to the Games in Rio, event organisers have been keen to ensure that all suppliers adopt sustainable practices, including managing waste, minimising the use of harmful substances, making conscious use of energy and water and maintaining ethical labour practices. Additionally, businesses are invited to participate in training sessions on sustainability as part of the bidding process.

For Richard Gurney, General Manager of Latin America for Crimson & Co, this commitment to sustainability represents the positive impact the Games can have on Rio and further afield:

“Sustainability throughout the Games’ management cycle – from initial planning to after the event – has been in the DNA of the Rio proposal since it first announced its interest in hosting the greatest sporting event on the planet.

Learning from Past Mistakes

“Brazil’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2014 was not without controversy. More than $3 billion was spent on building five new stadiums and renovating seven existing ones, but many of these so-called white elephants are as likely now to collect dust as they are to generate ticket receipts. Brazil does not want to see a repeat of this and that is why there is such a huge emphasis on sustainability.

“When the Games finish, and until 2017, the Olympic Operations Committee will manage the dissolution process. This includes closing contracts, selling property assets and managing donations and returns. This planning, i.e. what will be done with each item after the Games, was part of the purchasing process and is considered part of the total cost of acquisition in purchasing decisions. The goal is 100 per cent recovery, disposal and use of goods and waste.”

Gurney continued: “In addition to reducing the environmental impact and the volume of waste after the Games, the initiative informed producers about how to get more sustainable alternatives to their products.

“Companies were invited to participate in training sessions as part of the bidding process to win contracts. Many companies still have the perception that sustainable products are more expensive. In fact, more often than not, the price of a product or service can be greater, but the cost reductions and elimination of waste in the value chain through sustainable practices lead to a lower total purchase cost.

“Time will tell on the impact of these decisions for Rio but, if carried out effectively, it has the capacity to revolutionise supply chain sustainability as well as creating a legacy for positive change. If that is the case, it will certainly have cause to rival London 2012 for the most sustainable Olympics ever.”

Australian Shines Spotlight on Unethical Supply Chains

Australian fashion brands are bearing the brunt of increasing unwanted attention for unethical supply chains.

Fashion Unethical Supply Chains

No-one wants to talk about it. But if you’re working in procurement for the fashion industry, you’re in the hot seat.

Fuelled by consumers’ love affair for fast fashion, the fashion industry is finding ways to produce faster and cheaper apparel than ever before. The latest example of this is Kmart and Target producing school uniforms for $2 an item, in a marketing campaign that made recent headlines for all the wrong reasons, given that factory workers are paid below levels that can cover basic living expenses.

The broader industry is digging its own grave, and, in years to come, the fast fashion industry will cease to exist, warns an Australian fashion industry authority who has worked on both sides of the fence.

A Different Way to Do Fashion

Catherine van der Meulen (formally Taouk) worked her way up in her father’s teen, fast fashion brand SUPRÉ for 15 years, which specialises in mass-produced, cheap fashion. During those years, the potential issues of unethical supply chains never crossed her mind.

She’s since realised the error of her ways, designing the Raw to Store movement to educate businesses about the spectrum of impacts generated by the fashion industry globally.

“Since leaving SUPRÉ, I’ve realised that there’s another way to do business, and it’s not this ruthless, cut everyone down to make money style of business that’s operating in the fashion world today,” van der Meulen says.

“I wish I’d have known back then what I know now about ethical fashion and conscious capitalism in my days at SUPRÉ. I wish I knew that the impact of our decisions can have a negative impact on others without me even knowing it.”

Raising Awareness

But she’s making up for lost time. Late last year, van den Meulen landed the role as head of corporate sustainability at Clean Cut Fashion – Australia’s industry body for ethical and sustainable practice. The organisation connects Australia to the global sustainable fashion movement and encourages national retailers to be more mindful of their supply chain.

She has only been in the role a few months, and is starting by raising awareness and contacting the industry’s worst offenders in search of a commitment.

“I’m starting with exemplifying the ones that are doing well in creating positive impact in the industry. We want to empower the great work of the brands that are committed to change and use that to teach other brands,” she says.

Issues associated with unethical supply chains include building an entire brand on an unsustainable business model, bad publicity, consumers turning to social media to vent about brands doing the wrong thing and, of course, knowing that you’re paying workers less than they need to live on in their own countries.

Collective Responsibility

Cath-van-den-Meulen - Unethical supply chains

Cath van den Meulen

“It’s my job to look at the supply chain of these fashion brands here in Australia and open up discussions around what’s being done to improve the processes. There’s plenty of room for improvement out there. But there’s generational corporate resistance to work through,” says van den Meulen.

She hopes to bring about change among Australian fashion brands that rely on mass sales by producing ‘loss leaders’ (extremely cheap items that are highly publicised), which are commonly mass-produced in unethical supply chains and manufacturing establishments in third world countries, she says.

To highlight the sheer size of the issue of unethical supply chains in Australia, she points to the Australian Fashion Report prepared by Baptist World Aid Australia, which last year named and shamed Australian fashion brands that haven’t cleaned up their supply chain or protected workers overseas.

The report was released two years after the fatal Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, which saw the lives of 1,129 factory workers die. This event has put a black mark against the collective fashion industry, and van der Meulen says everyone needs to take responsibility.

Australian Offenders

The Baptist report named iconic Australian fashion brands as worst performers, such as the Just Group (owner of Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Dotti, Peter Alexander and Portmans), fast retail brands like Ally, Valley Girl, Temt and Industrie, and low cost suppliers like Lowes and Best & Less.

These companies each received D or F grades because there was little evidence they were doing much, if anything, to protect workers overseas. Many had little or no publicly available information and/or didn’t respond to requests to engage with the research process.

Oxfam Australia also released a report late last year naming the Australian brands dodging workers’ rights. The report named Best & Less as making the least progress of all the companies Oxfam has been engaging and assessing. The Just Group was also named in the report as another company sourcing from Bangladesh, which has so far refused to sign the Fire and Safety Accord.

“The truth is that you can create a profitable and sustainable business model while also doing the right thing as a corporate citizen. And yet there’s so much toxic fashion out there that consumers can purchase clothing for the price of a coffee is utterly obscene. Everyone needs to take responsibility for there to be change.”

Procurement – Authentic and Transparent

And while almost impossible to put a figure on the cost of cleaning up unethical supply chains, she recommends that procurement professionals approach this mammoth task in an authentic and transparent way.

Procurement professionals need to take responsibility for what’s happening further down the supply chain, starting with an independent audit to uncover and document the issues, she says.

“Where the cotton is from that you’re using, for example, can have one of the biggest impacts on the cotton industry globally. These are questions procurement people should be asking that demand answers.”

“I recommend that fashion brands start out by doing the B Corp assessment, which take just 90 minutes and gives you a rating out of 200 to see where you stand today,” she says.

Next, work out where you can make the most impact within your supply chain, and commit to starting an improvement program.

“Just focus on one thing that will improve your supply chain by 1 per cent this year. This could include improving energy consumption or waste water, changing suppliers, or sourcing more ethically produced products,” van der Meulen says.

Good News-Bad News Week for Global Tech Giants

The good news is that one of your favourite social networks is booming, the bad news is that one of your favourite tech companies is not.

Good News Bad News

It’s been something of a good news, bad news kind of week for a number of major global organisations this week. On one hand, alongside the success of the Big Ideas Summit 2016 (we couldn’t resist one last mention…), Facebook is bucking the trend for growth in 2016.

On the other hand, continuing (and very public) supply chain issues, as well as declining sales, put Apple firmly in the bad news column. And outside of the tech industry there was bad news in global manufacturing, as it became clear that lessons don’t appear to have been learned in Toyota’s supply chain following recent earthquakes in Japan.

Golden Quarter

At a time when other technology companies are beginning to feel the pinch, and slow growth is causing some real concerns, Facebook appears to be bucking the trend with its good news announcement on its first quarter growth.

Q1 of 2016 was the company’s strongest single quarter growth since 2014, with an overall revenue increase of 51.9 per cent. Combined with an increase in user activity (it’s estimated that two-thirds of Facebook users are on the site or app every day), it served to place Facebook far out in front of its competitors in both the social media, and tech, fields.

The revenue growth has been put down to a marked increase in the sales of mobile advertising on both its original platform, and on Instagram, which it purchased for over $1 billion in 2012.

What’s more, there is plenty potential for more good news, as Facebook is yet to release advertising for it’s other 2 major platforms – its Messenger service, and Whatsapp. There is also the release of Oculus Rift, the company’s virtual reality headset, to be taken into account, although this is unlikely to happen until next year.

‘The Fruit’ in Decline?

Facebook’s good news came as welcome relief for investors and markets, particularly in light of other first quarter announcements from the large technology companies came in under expectations.

Twitter’s earnings fell short of Wall Street predictions, with $595 million, compared to an expectation of over $607 million. Bigger problems for Twitter were a less than expected growth in user numbers, hindering the platform’s ability to drive advertising revenues.

However, the biggest news (though some might say not as surprising) came with the quarterly announcements from Apple. For the first time in 13 years, Apple reported a fall in quarterly sales, at nearly 13 per cent, to $50.6 billion. The tech giant expects this trend to continue in Q2, with estimated sales falling to around $41 billion.

Apple were not alone in feeling the effects of the slowing Chinese economy, where its sales dropped by more than a quarter. However, there was some good news for Apple fans. CEO Tim Cook told analysts that, “The future of Apple is very bright”, with a 20 per cent growth in revenue from Apple Music and App Store areas of the business.

However, many analysts are concerned that, in a market saturated with smartphones, unless the iPhone 7 is a game changer, then this decline could continue. With an announcement, and launch, expected later this year, it seems we will just have to wait and see.

Vulnerable Supply Chains

Technology wasn’t the only bad news area this week either. Toyota have come under fire for not learning the lessons of Japanese earthquakes in 2011, with their supply chain again showing severe vulnerability following earthquakes in the country in recent weeks.

Following the events of 2011, Toyota set out to create an “earthquake-proof” supply chain, working with suppliers to create the RESCUE (REinforce Supply Chain Under Emergency) system, aimed at spreading the risk in the event of future natural disasters.

The new supply chain was put to the test in April, and despite early promise, it seems that the same vulnerabilities in the supply chain still exist. The manufacturer shut 26 of its 30 Japanese production facilities in the middle of April, only reopening 5 at the tail end of the month.

With both Honda and Nissan now operating at full capacity, with minimal shutdowns, it seems that Toyota has yet to learn its lesson.

Do you work in the technology industry? What do you make of the latest announcements from Facebook and Apple? We’d love to hear from you – you can get started in the comments section below.

As ever, we’ve been keeping an eye on all the major headlines just for you…

Congress Votes Yes on Russian Rocket Purchase

  • US Congress have voted to purchase $540 million worth of Russian rocket engines, despite a ban on trading
  • The intention of the 2014 procurement ban was to end US reliance on Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines
  • The US relies on these engines to launch national security satellites into orbit, as the US-built engines are still under development
  • Critics say the $540 million will be spent by Russian on modernising its military

Read more at Space Daily

Japan Fury at Australia-France Deal

  • Australia has awarded France the submarine ‘deal of the century’
  • The $AUS50bn submarine contract is the largest defence deal in Australian history, but the move has infuriated Japan.
  • Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries submarine had been seen as early favourites for the contract.
  • In an unusually blunt criticism, Japan’s defence minister Gen Nakatani described Australia’s decision as “deeply regrettable”.

Read more at The Telegraph

Slow Progress on US-EU TTIP

  • Progress is slow on negotiations for a comprehensive Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, between the EU and the USA
  • Negotiators said they would push for a comprehensive TTIP before US President Barack Obama leaves office in January.
  • Among the deepest divides concern Europe’s food safety rules that exclude American beef raised with hormones, genetically modified foods and Europe’s many local food naming rules.
  • The deal exclude European demands for greater access to US federal, state and local government procurement, which often carries “buy American” or local content standards.

Read more at Euractive

Gorman Failing Overseas Workers

  • Australian fashion brand Gorman has come under fire for not doing enough to protect overseas workers in its supply chain
  • The 2016 fashion report by Baptist World Aid Australia graded Gorman as an ‘F’ for policies on preventing exploitation of workers in overseas factories
  • Although the organisation has an ethical compliance statement on its website, fans and wearers of the brand have reacted angrily to the company’s alleged lack of action
  • The company’s founder, Lisa Gorman, has now stated that they will be publishing supply chain audit reports on its website in the coming months to help prove transparency

Read more at The Guardian

Innovating the Last Mile of the Supply Chain

From Amazon delivering your groceries, to a host of companies delivering your dinner, the competition for the last mile of the supply chain is heating up.

Last Mile Supply Chain

At the Big Ideas Summit 2016 last week, there were a whole host of discussions around the future of the supply chain. Paul Markillie discussed the future trends in manufacturing (and you can watch Paul’s Big Idea video too), while Lucy Siegle discussed the increasing need for transparency and ethics in the supply chain.

Ahead of the Summit, we also asked the Procurious community about their Big Ideas for the future of the supply chain, and logistics, industries.

David Weaver, Online Marketing Manager, INFORM GmbH

Big Ideas Supply Chain - David WeaverIt truly is an exciting time to be involved in the supply chain industry. Over the course of 2016, technological advancements in the field of robotics will continue to reshape manufacturing and warehouse facilities.

Based on what I saw at some of the events I attended in 2015, I believe picking bots in large warehouses will become a reality, sooner rather than later. Additionally, the migration of supply chain planning into the Cloud will continue to expand and the implementation of advanced analytics to successfully plan across all supply chain functions will experience an upward trend.

Furthermore, companies will have to get creative with their methods for increasing transparency across their value network. However, in order for companies to be successful, the 4 important T’s of transparency must be fulfilled:

  • The topic must have traction within the organisation,
  • Internal and external trust must be established,
  • Appropriate supplier training programs should be in place, and
  • Today’s available technology needs to be implemented.

Next to all of these leading topics, I expect some of the biggest ideas to be aimed at solving the “last mile” logistics problem. Over the last few years we have seen several last mile logistics providers introduce their innovative approaches to solving the problem (Doorman, Roadie, Deliveroo, etc.).

I expect the fight for control of this market to continue, and as a result of the high level of competition, we will continue to see new, innovative problem-solving methods. 

Even although the event itself is over, there’s still time for you to get involved with the Big Ideas Summit 2016. Visit theBig Ideas Summit website, join our Procurious Group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing exclusive and unique thought leadership, Big Ideas, and discussion that will shape the future of procurement. Don’t miss out – get involved, register today.

Procurement Recruitment – Find the Needle in the Haystack

According to the experts, procurement recruitment can sometimes be like finding a needle in a haystack. But what are the trends in this area in the coming years?

Procurement Recruitment

One of the key topics at the Big Ideas Summit 2016 was people, and more specifically, how to attract and retain the best talent in procurement. Our experts and influencers discussed a number of ideas and concepts procurement could consider. You can read all about them here.

However, we also wanted to hear what the Procurious community thought were the Big Ideas in procurement recruitment, now and in the coming years. Here is what they had to say.

Tony Megally, General Manager, The Source Recruitment

Big Ideas - Tony MegallySpecialist roles – Procurement needs to consider promoting the profession as an exciting career path to non-procurement professionals already in relevant commercially focussed roles. For example, finance and legal (great for contract management), and possibly agency recruiters specialising in procurement.  

Commercially focussed accountants are highly numerate, analytical and offer great business partnering skills, and, in some cases, they are supporting sales teams with commercial analysis of bids and tenders. In house legal advisors are often partnering with Procurement overseeing contract terms, and could transition well to contract management roles.

Procurement recruitment consultants are generally great at negotiating, building relationships, are equipped with sound knowledge of the profession, and maintain strong soft skills all round. (I’ve know of a couple of recruiters who have made a career change to Procurement!).

The challenge will be getting CPOs and Procurement Heads to think outside the norm of recruiting just from our profession. Non-procurement pros are not typically thinking about procurement as a career change. But if we promote it on both sides this could change!

Senior and Exec Leadership Roles – Procurement should be recruiting for senior and executive leadership capability, rather than technical expertise. We have a great recent example in Australia, where Qantas has appointed a new CPO, Lisa Brock.

Lisa previously occupied executive roles with Jetstar as Chief Commercial Officer, and previously with Qantas in Strategy and Corporate Development, and she has a background in Corporate Finance at Ernst and Young.

She knows the business, is highly people focussed, is a great change agent, is financially literate and has built strong relationships across the organisation at a senior level. Perhaps this is easier to achieve with internal leaders with a proven track record of leading cross functional teams.  

Succession Planning – Succession planning is crucial for future leadership capability. There is a lot of material out there on this topic but it is relevant. The point to be made is around the changing demographics of the workforce, and the fact that Millennials now make up a significant number of the workforce. They generally want faster career progression  and development opportunities.

If we want to retain outstanding talent then it’s necessary for CPOs to actively identify a strong bench of potential leaders, and to actively provide opportunities that will enable a future leadership development path to those who are capable of attaining it.

Anna del Mar, Head of Learning & Development, Future Purchasing

Big Ideas - Anna del MarWith enormous pressure on businesses to streamline their operations and find ways of driving performance in increasingly competitive environments, the need to improve capability and maximise returns from L&D investment is critical.

A leading private equity firm confirmed to us that more than 75 per cent of value creation in their portfolio of companies comes from operational performance improvement.

Procurement has a large contribution to make to any performance improvement programme and increasing capability is often a critical step achieving this.

The procurement recruitment market remains increasingly challenging, and finding people with both the technical and change management skills to create performance improvement is often likened to ‘finding a needle in a haystack’. Future Purchasing is not a recruitment agency and as such we cannot comment on the state of the recruitment market. We can however, observe the methods our clients are deploying to get the best talent.

We have seen three interesting trends:

1. We are seeing some organisations recruit from other functions, and train individuals in Procurement approaches. The behavioural skills required to drive change and implement real category management are so important and less easy to learn than procurement process skills. Whilst that can work in some cases, in practice the value of real experience in commercial scenarios cannot be underestimated.

2. Finding people who will drive real change can be made much easier by using Network Analysis. This approach lets recruiters assess the level of connectivity and impact people have across the networks in which they work. Those people who are well networked, are often well suited to change management roles, as it is their natural tendency to drive change.

3. Thirdly we see procurement organisations recruiting excellent skills from other markets, in particular central Europe. One leading CPO who has outsourced transactional activities to Poland sees this location as a real talent pool for the rest of the global team.

Food for thought!

Tell us what you think about the future of procurement recruitment on Procurious. Even although the event itself is over, there’s still time for you to get involved with the Big Ideas Summit 2016. Visit theBig Ideas Summit website, join our Procurious Group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing exclusive and unique thought leadership, Big Ideas, and discussion that will shape the future of procurement. Don’t miss out – get involved, register today.