All posts by Procurious HQ

3 Key Steps to Effectively Improve Manufacturing Operations

As the name suggests, reducing manufacturing complexity is no simple task. Success in this area requires careful planning, analysis and implementation.

Manufacturing Operations

Simplifying manufacturing operations should always be done in a way that doesn’t adversely impact product performance or customer preferences. Top performing organisations typically take the following three key steps to identify opportunities to reduce complexity:

  1. Analyse drivers of complexity and key market trends

Higher customer expectations for customisation and service have increased manufacturing complexity. These expectations demand greater flexibility in operations, but can also improve overall revenue opportunities.

However, increasing complexity has also been highlighted as the cause of  significant cost increases. These cost increases can be attributed to lower performance levels, or increased inventories of materials or finished goods.

In order to reduce complexity, it is important for organisations to understand the key market trends that are driving demand. Once trends are understood, they can then be analysed in order to develop new manufacturing strategies.

  1. Examine best practices of top performing organisations

Understanding what top performing organisations are doing is a key way to establish industry best practice. However, best practice should typically act as a guideline rather than a hard rule. Any strategy for complexity reduction should be tailored to fit an individual organisation. What works for one organisation may not necessarily work for another.

It is often difficult to replicate the best practices of top performing organisations, as best practice will be linked to a number of factors. However, by using this as a guideline, organisations will be able to identify where changes can be made.

Data on best practice is not always readily available. You can use the Hackett Group’s repository of key best practices is a good place to start gathering data. This will ultimately allow you to carry out your analysis and plan new strategies.

  1. Benchmarking against Key Performance Indicators

Many potential metrics and KPIs are available to measure the performance of an organisation’s manufacturing complexity. Using these KPIs will allow organisations to benchmark themselves against industry leaders.

Of all the available metrics, there are several that The Hackett Group recommends using to indicate the overall effectiveness of complexity reduction initiatives:

  1. Production Rate as a percentage of Maximum Capacity
  2. Total Inventory Turns (Raw, Work in Process (WIP), Finished Goods)
  3. Finished-Product First-pass Quality Yield
  4. Scrap and rework costs as a percentage of sales (see below)

Manufacturing Complexity Reduction_Slide 6

As with all metrics, it’s important to be measuring the right things. The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) rule will also help you ensure that good data is output from them. You should be looking to limit the number of KPIs to around 6 or 7.

The Hackett Group’s Perspective

Reducing manufacturing complexity is a crucial element of a successful supply chain. Through reducing complexity, organisations will typically see a number of improvements. These include:

  • Reduced overall product cost
  • Stock Keeping Unit rationalisation
  • Improved product performance
  • Reduced product development cycle
  • More motivated and specialised workforce
  • Increased manufacturing flexibility
  • Better product planning and scheduling
  • Improved supplier relationships and performance

Reducing manufacturing complexity is a crucial performance indicator in itself for the supply chain. By driving changes across operations, organisations will start to see improvements in their supply chains, and will move towards being a top performing organisation.

If you want to learn more about trends, best practices and metrics you can use in manufacturing complexity reduction, download the Hackett Group Supply Chain Insight Report here.

Marcos Cominasa is a Director in The Hackett Group’s Strategy and Business Transformation Practice. He has over 18 years of management consulting experience, and specialises in improving supply chain operations for Fortune 500 companies.

How is Big Data Relevant to Procurement?

Or perhaps better still – what on earth is big data?

Big Data

Open up any industry magazine and you’ll inevitably find a story referencing Big Data or the ‘Internet of Things’. Consultants use the terms in their sales pitches and product offerings, but there’s frequently a lack of understanding of exactly what Big Data is, and how it is relevant in a procurement context.

In this series of articles, we are looking at a few questions which should serve to give us a better understanding of this topic, and why and how it is relevant in the procurement environment.

But let’s start at the beginning…

Can Anyone Properly Define Big Data?

After a little research, it seems the answer to our first question is a resounding “No”.

If you were to ask ten procurement professionals what big data is, the likelihood is that you’ll get ten different responses. Ask ten IT professionals, and chances are you’ll get another ten, completely different, responses.

There is a great article by Gil Press on Forbes titled ’12 Big Data Definitions: What’s Yours?’. The crux of this article is that Big Data is, by its very nature, a subjective term.

While writing a much quoted research paper, US-based global consultancy firm McKinsey offered the following definition:

“Datasets whose size is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage, and analyze,”

This definition came with the following caveat: “This definition is intentionally subjective and incorporates a moving definition of how big a dataset needs to be in order to be considered big data.”

The Oxford dictionary has defined the term as “data of a very large size, typically to the extent that its manipulation and management present significant logistical challenges.”

But the question here remains: what is a “very large size” and who determines if its “manipulation and management present significant logistical challenges”?

Agree to disagree

Regardless of how we define big data, there is a common understanding that over the last decade there has been an explosion of information (most of it digital). As we continue to do business and live our through digital interfaces, that volume of data is only going to grow.

Whether we call it ‘big data’, or simply ‘data’ as we have for the previous few hundred years, is a question for the marketers and tech journalists out there. The fact is that today we have access to more data about more people in more places than ever before.

The challenge is, how do we harness this mountain of data into information that we can use to make better business (or procurement decisions)?

This point was highlighted expertly by group of computer science researchers back in 2008 in this paper. While failing to define what big data actually is, the paper highlights that big data computing will “transform the activities of companies, scientific researchers, medical practitioners, and our nation’s defense and intelligence operations.” Evidently they were correct.

If that hasn’t brought us closer to understanding exactly what big data is, it’s certainly given a broad foundation on which to work. But how does this all relate to the procurement profession? That’s the question we’ll be answering in the next part of the series.

The Cost of Breaking Health and Safety Laws Just Went Up

It might seem like a fairly obvious objective for organisations, but ensuring the health and safety of employees pays off.

Health and Safety Worker

As of the 1st of February, Crown and Magistrates Courts in England and Wales are bound by tough new guidelines when sentencing offenders who have been convicted of breaking health and safety law.

For the first time, courts in England and Wales will be required to follow comprehensive sentencing guidelines. They will be required to take into consideration a new set of factors to determine the level of fines for offenders: the degree of harm caused, the culpability of the offender, and the turnover of the offending organisation.

The new legislation has been described as the biggest change in Health and Safety legislation since the introduction of the ‘Health and Safety at Work Act’ in 1974.

Increasing Fines

The changes will also result in increased fines for offenders, although not across all organisations and all prosecuted cases. Instead, fines will be proportionate to the size of the organisation and their financial means.

For large organisations with a turnover of £50 million or more, penalties for health and safety breaches could total in excess of £10 million, with companies found guilty of corporate manslaughter facing fines of upwards of £20 million.

Neal Stone, Policy and Standards Director at the British Safety Council, said: “We broadly welcome the new guidelines and in particular that in future that three factors will be key in determining fines for health and safety offences: the degree of harm caused, the culpability of the offender, and the turnover of the offending organisation.

“Having consulted our members we were able to say in response to the Sentencing Council’s proposals that there was overwhelming support for this change which would help ensure greater consistency in the sentencing practice of our courts and a level of fines that fit the crime.”

Long Overdue

Stone continued by stating that there was a consensus that the changes to the regulations were “long overdue”, particularly when in the past the fines that have been handed down have not matched the seriousness of the offence.

In the UK, the largest fine handed out for breaking existing health and safety legislation is £15 million, given to Transco in 2005, following an explosion in Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, which caused the deaths of four people. With these changes now in place, this fine may be exceeded in the near future.

Business have been urged to make changes to the way they deal with health and safety procedures, especially to those firms which have cut training budgets as a way of cutting costs. As a result of potentially larger fines, businesses can no longer rely on paying a small fine occasionally versus proper investment in H&S training.

Stone concluded, “The new guidelines, which will in some cases, result in far greater fines than courts are currently imposing, reflects a shift in not only public opinion but concerns among certain members of the judiciary, including Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice. As he has made clear in recent appeal court decisions the purpose of fines is to reduce criminal offences, reform and rehabilitate the offender and protect the public. 

“If the changes in sentencing practice do not help achieve these objectives – particularly ensuring compliance and discouraging law breaking – then they count for nothing. What we will need to see is clear evidence that the new guidelines have played their part in improving health and safety. Extra money through increased fines going into Treasury coffers should not be the name of the game. The objective must be to reduce the deficit of fatal and major injuries and occupational ill health.”

Building Capabilities to Do Business in Diverse Cultures

How an Australian Procurement and Supply Chain Management specialist has built the qualities and capabilities to do business in diverse cultures.

Diverse Cultures

With incredible business opportunities offered to Australia by a growing regional supplier base, developing the capabilities required to drive personal and business conversation with traders from diverse cultures is key in enabling successful negotiations.

Ahead of the 2nd annual Women in Procurement 2016 conference, we have interviewed Nelli Kim, an Australian supplier management specialist based in Hong Kong (and keynote speaker at the event) with up close and personal experience operating in a very different and challenging culture.

Nelli has excelled in her career and in 2015 was nominated as the CIPS Young Procurement Professional of the Year. She will be sharing her experiences at the event on 21 – 23 March 2016 in Melbourne. Read her interview below:

WiP: How have you approached your career progression? And what qualities and capabilities have you built that supported you in doing business in a male dominated culture?

NK: “My approach to career progression has been to ensure that I propagate my own agility, allowing me to not only respond positively to opportunities as they present themselves but also to seek opportunity in my chosen directions.  The qualities and capabilities that I have built over the last twelve months in particular are resilience, flexibility and boldness.”

WiP: What are the biggest challenges you and your organisation are facing in procurement at the moment?

NK: “The biggest challenges I face in procurement at the moment are about ensuring that my responses to situations, requests, requirements and demands of my position are proportionate to the potential outcome.  It’s not just about prioritising but also about the amount of time I can realistically assign to each task while maximising returns for Telstra and our stakeholders.”

WiP: How can attendees benefit from your presentation at the Women in Procurement 2016 conference?

NK: “Attendees can benefit from my presentation at the Women in Procurement 2016 Conference by coming with an open mind about my interpretation of working in an environment that may be perceived as male dominated.  I hope to challenge attendees to connect with each other and grow support networks that will enable rather than block their future development.”

To read Nelli Kim’s bio and find out more about Women in Procurement 2016, please visit the website here.

Tackling Exploitative Conditions in Global Supply Chains

Hardly a week goes by in the world of procurement without news of slave labour, corruption and exploitative working conditions within supply chains and, sadly, this week is no different.

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has revealed that Syrian refugees, including children, are being exploited in the fashion industry in Turkey.  

The organisation has asserted that clothing brands are not doing enough to ensure supply chains are safeguarding Syrian refugees fleeing conflict into Turkey. It has urged companies to take further action, and ensure that desperate refugees are not escaping into exploitative working conditions.

No Targeted Approach

Last week, Turkey’s government decided to issue work permits to Syrian refugees in order to help minimise exploitative labour practices. However, many refugees will remain in Turkey illegally, and join the ‘informal’ workforce, where they will be at their most vulnerable.

Some of the clothing brands questioned in the survey are actively taking steps to prevent these exploitative conditions, for example, in cases of child labour. However, most do not have a targeted approach to the treatment of refugees.

The Centre has has urged brands to develop action plans, increase scrutiny, and work more closely with Turkish partners in order to protect vulnerable Syrians.

Palm Oil Supply Chains

The Guardian has also drawn our attention to the plight of palm oil workers in South-East Asia. According to research published by US-based NGO Verité, palm oil plantations are rife with exploitative practices due to their remoteness and size.

Workers on the plantations are often trafficked, undocumented individuals which makes them vulnerable to, amongst other things, being paid below minimum wage, having their passports removed, and physical abuse.

On the 17th of February at 10am, The Guardian are hosting a live chat on how to improve the livelihoods of these workers. As preparation, you can read what Procurious has written on the subject in the past.

Positive Signs

However, we are also looking to the positives, and fortunately there are a few! The UK is leading the way as one of the first nations to sign an agreement to combat exploitative conditions, such as forced labour, people trafficking and other forms of modern slavery.

The International Labour Conference’s agreement, which has also been signed by Niger and Norway, will require signatories to “take steps to prevent forced labour, provide victims with protection and access to effective remedies and to carry out due diligence to prevent and respond to the risk of forced labour.”

It’s hoped that the UK’s move will encourage other countries to get on board and sign the agreement. ILO director-general, Guy Ryder, believes that this “is a clear sign that global momentum is building in the fight against these abhorrent practices that demean and enslave millions around the world”.

Simplifying Sustainability

Alongside this, it is also fantastic to see the work that SEDEX are doing to drive change ahead of their  ‘Simplifying Supply Chain Sustainability’ conference next month.

Sedex is a not for profit organisation, which strives to improve working conditions and encourage global supply chains to share ethical data more effectively. Next month’s conference will feature speakers from the Kellogg Company and Mars, and aims to help organisations take a fresh approach to managing supply chains issues.

CEO of Sedex, Jonathan Ivelaw-Chapman, spoke with Pioneers Post this week about supply chain sustainability, cleaner supply chains and his five-year-goals. You can read the full interview here.

It’s great to see different organisations and governments contributing to ending exploitative working conditions worldwide. Hopefully these positive steps can inspire others to make changes in their supply chains.

Meanwhile, here are some of the other stories making waves in procurement and supply chain this week…

Shanghai Moving to Greener Future

  • The city of Shanghai has launched a programme calling for enterprises from all industries to work out their own plan on a green supply chain campaign
  • The programme invites multinational companies, state-owned enterprises, and private firms in Shanghai, to submit proposals for their green supply chain projects to the city’s environmental authorities before March 31st
  • Fang Fang, deputy chief of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, said “Promoting green supply chain management is an effort to use market forces to promote higher environmental standards among enterprises.”
  • Shanghai has set a goal of cutting down on the density of PM2.5 particles — a major contributor to air pollution — to 42 micrograms per cubic meter by 2020, down from 53 last year.

Read more at Shanghai Daily

New Solar Plant for Morocco

  • Morocco’s agency for solar power, Masen, has opened the tender for project developers for a 400MW solar plant in the centre of the country
  • The projected Noor Midelt site will cover around 6,000 acres 15 miles Northeast of the town of Midelt. Construction is expected to start in 2017.
  • The move comes just weeks after the completion of the first phase of the country’s ambitious project to generate half its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
  • Simon Gray, World Bank country director for the Maghreb said “apart from creating jobs, the construction of the plant and the development of Morocco’s Solar Plan will establish a future source of reliable green energy,” Simon Gray, World Bank country director for the Maghreb.

Read more at Supply Management

Amazon Targets Bookstores and Drones

  • Amazon dipped its toe into the waters of brick-and-mortar stores with the opening of a bookstore in its home city of Seattle in November.
  • The expansion of bookstores, which the company has not confirmed, would be a surprise reversal from the online retailer credited with driving physical booksellers out of business.
  • US regulatory impediments have made it difficult for the e-retailer and others to roll out drone tests. In April, the Internet retail giant sent the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) a letter that urged it to ease up on its drone testing regulations.
  • While the Dutch government may have agreed to allow drone testing, it has adopted an innovative approach to anyone that breaks the rules – white eagles!

Read more at Supply Chain 24/7 and Supply Chain Digital

Nigeria Introduces New Procurement Pricing Guidelines  

  • The Nigerian government hopes to save at least N12 billion annually from the services of the newly-established Efficiency Unit (E-Unit) of the Federal Ministry of Finance.
  • The head of the unit, Patience Oniha, explained that the government would introduce price guidelines and shared services policy among MDAs to increase transparency in the procurement process.
  • The E-Unit will aim to generate savings for the Government from procurement, elimination of wastage, excess capacity and minimising duplications
  • The head of the E-Unit said such savings would be channelled to priority projects, to improve infrastructure, encourage domestic production and attract fresh investors.

Read more at Premium Times

Will Online Video Trump TV Advertising at Super Bowl 50?

Global brands are beginning to question how worthwhile Super Bowl adverts are, thanks to the rising consumption of online videos.

Nicescene/Shutterstock.com

On Sunday, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, will play host to arguably the biggest event in American sport. Super Bowl 50, featuring the Carolina Panthers facing off against the Denver Broncos, is expected to draw an audience of over 114 million people.

Traditionally, and as we reported this time last year, TV advertising slots during the game are a much-coveted entity. And there is plenty of opportunity with the game lasting over 3 hours, with regular breaks in play and an extended half-time interval.

However, just as technology is disrupting industries around the world, it appears that online video is changing the advertising game.

Jaw-Dropping Prices

With the main event just a few hours away, a few brands have already paid for their advertising slots. This combined spend comes in at a staggering (and record) $377 million. Each 30-second slot is costing advertisers a jaw-dropping $5 million – just over an 11 per cent increase on 2015.

And many marketers will see this as money well spent. With the size of the global TV audience, and the Super Bowl being broadcast to all corners of the earth, it represents a unique opportunity to get their brand into the public consciousness. It is also frequently referred to as the last “safe bet” in TV advertising.

The adverts themselves can make or break a marketing effort for a brand or product. Come Monday morning, anyone not talking about the final score of the match will be discussing the adverts. Do it right, like this selection from 2015, and it can have a phenomenal impact on sales.

Changing the Game

However, in the aftermath of last year’s Super Bowl, research was released showing that over half of people who viewed a Super Bowl ad, viewed it exclusively online. The findings also showed that the adverts were shared online more than ever, with the best advert getting shared 9 million times.

This disruption of how we consume advertising could potentially spell the end for the huge advertising revenues that surround the Super Bowl. Brands have now realised that there is great potential in the online market, which at the same time, saves them considerable sums of money.

By moving away from the traditional TV advertising, marketers can put their money into creating more reactive, up-to-date campaigns, directly related to the game itself.

“Dunk in the Dark”

The first brand to hit the right note when it came to the online advertising around the Super Bowl was Oreo. Back in 2013, Super Bowl 48 was halted after the lights failed in the stadium. Within minutes, Oreo had created an advert that caught people’s attention:

Super Bowl 48

Simple, catchy and very shareable, Oreo’s advert was probably the most memorable that year. And it was only ever created for use on social media. Seeing the success of Oreo, other brands appear now to be trying to follow suit.

Christoph Pleitgen, Senior Vice President, Sales and Business Development, EMEA and APAC, of Wochit said: “Consumers, on average, watch more than five hours of video per day, making video the single most popular media activity. In addition to this, video advertising is starting to seriously threaten this status quo and is considered to be just as, if not more, effective as TV advertising, at a fraction of the cost.

“Ever since Oreo monumentally stole the online show with their simple ‘Dunk in the Dark’ Super Bowl stunt, other brands have been scrambling to follow. Many will forgo the huge costs associated with a paid-for super bowl ad-slot and instead put their budgets and efforts into ensuring they are ready to grab public attention with responsive video content, based around the game.”

 Game On

Super Bowl 50

Is this a sign of the times? Or will marketing and advertising cope with the disruption and come out stronger? It remains to be seen whether or not this will create a trend. There is always a possibility that savvy advertisers will work out how to best leverage both channels within their budget.

After all, it’s the biggest party of the year, and you wouldn’t want to be the only brand not attending.

Did the CFO set Procurement up for Failure in Marketing?

The news last year that Pepsico had disbanded its Marketing Procurement function has been met with mixed reactions.

This article has been reproduced with kind permission from Darren Woolley, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 Marketing Consultants.

The ANA was quick to explain that this was not evidence of the failure of Procurement in marketing, which they said from their polling “was here to stay”. Likewise the WFA said that the Pepsico move was evidence of the need for a more responsive and customer centric focus to their strategy.

And while I do not believe this is the end, it does concern me that in the past 15 years there are a number of examples which suggest procurement has often been set up for failure when it comes to marketing. And I believe the person responsible is usually the Chief Financial Officer. The CFO is, after all, responsible for the financial management of any organisation, and is often the C-suite executive the procurement team report to.

Not the first marketing procurement function to disappear

While the Pepsico decision is the most high profile example of a marketing procurement function disappearing, it is not the first, and likely not to be the last. During 2007, we were working with a procurement team of a food company, who were recruiting to build a specialist marketing procurement function within procurement.

The team of three were very successful in the first year of engaging with marketing and identifying a number of major projects that resulted in significant savings including packaging design and print, media and agency fees.

In the second year, the team delivered only moderate savings as their focus shifted to process optimisation and risk mitigation as further cost cutting alone was agreed to be potentially detrimental to marketing effectiveness. In the third year they were disbanded. The reason given was the projected savings did not justify the cost of maintaining the procurement team.

The short termism of a savings focus strategy

I remember one of our procurement clients providing me with their contract that they were intending to use with the successful agency of the tender they were managing. They asked us to review the contract to see if it was suitable.

I noticed that there was a clause that the agency was responsible for identifying and delivering a 5 per cent improvement in efficiency each year of the contract with a corresponding reduction in fees and costs.

When I bought this to their attention and the fact that the efficiency of the process depended on the brand team as well, considering it was a co-creation process, they looked quizzical. They explained that this was a fairly standard manufacturing clause and wasn’t the agency manufacturing advertising?

In our discussion I was able to highlight where this metaphor did not hold up to interrogation. If you consider it to be a manufacturing process, then it is one where the product goes through iterations of design until the final product design is approved. Then a prototype is produced which again goes through iterations of approval before the project is delivered. Then the whole slate is wiped clean and the process starts again from scratch.

Ultimately, while I made the point well, it failed, as the 5 per cent reduction was already budgeted by finance to be delivered no matter if the agency was able to deliver it or not.

Is there no value in performance management?

We have found that where procurement is focused on delivering cost reduction, either to justify their existence and ensure their survival, or to deliver the objectives of the CFO, there is an underlying belief that the marketing function is a cost and not an investment.

But the fact is that technology, and especially digital marketing, means there are increasing ways to be able to track and manage the performance of the marketing plan against marketing and business objectives.

Giving procurement a broader commercial focus, and not just a cost reduction focus, would position the function as the ideal commercial partner in this accountable marketing world. The procurement team could be aligned to marketing, to manage the measurement and optimisation of the marketing function, to improve performance and return on marketing investment.

Who is focusing on risk management and contract compliance?

Technology has had another impact on marketing and that is an increase in workload. This comes as marketers are often increasing the number of specialist agencies and suppliers to implement the marketing plan across and increasing number of channels.

With a growing roster of suppliers, it means that the marketers also have an increased burden in managing the agencies and their contracts. Compounding this is the increased burden of managing issues such as intellectual property issues, consumer legislation compliance and the like.

Again, procurement as a commercial partner is ideally placed to assist marketing manage these issues to minimise risk by ensuring compliance to contracts and government legislation. It means that instead of just counting savings, there is an opportunity to account for the avoided costs that would arise through poor or non-existent compliance management.

Before anyone says it is not a big issue, most commercial lawyers will tell you that these issues are on the rise, it is just that the advertisers involved will pay significant sums and take extraordinary measures to ensure the issue does not become public.

The role of Math Men and Mad Men in marketing today?

There has been a lot of discussion about the rise of the Math Men, replacing the traditional Mad Men (and Women of course) of advertising. This conversation usually relates to rise of data scientists and econometric modelling. But in fact there is a role for a more commercially focused function within marketing.

Procurement is usually positioned within organisations as the sourcing function, but increasingly procurement has a broader role of identifying commercial opportunities to improve the financial performance of the organisation, while identifying and mitigating risk and ensuring compliance.

That is until it comes to marketing, where it appears that the CFO agenda is to use procurement simply as a razor gang on the marketer’s budget. The problem is this focus on costs is, as we have shown, is a short term strategy and overlooks the wider opportunity of having procurement act as the analytical and commercially focus partner to the marketing team. In a way they become part of the Math Men within marketing to complement the Mad Men.

Procurement is a commercial function not simply a financial one

The increasing complexity of marketing and the impact of technology has already seen the rise in the need for a more analytical approach. Rather than the CFO using procurement as a razor gang on marketing, beyond the first cut to remove obvious excesses, the role should be to assist marketing in managing and measuring performance.

After all, who better to work in partnership with marketing and help report the effectiveness of the marketing investment to the CFO and the C-suite than the procurement team? The best procurement professionals are commercially aware and analytical and able to work with their marketing colleagues to provide the increased level of analysis required in this digital and data driven world.

Ultimately it achieves the longer-term goals of any business in driving profit as no-one is able to slash their cost to growth.

Celebrating 10,000 Members – Procurious Power Profiles – Part 2

We’re continuing our series of articles celebrating reaching the milestone of 10,000 members on Procurious. 

Procurious-10K-Banner1

In case you missed it, you can catch up with Part 1 of our Procurious Power Profiles here.

We want to recognise some members of our community who are using Procurious to its fullest and hope to inspire the community to all get involved with sharing their knowledge and experience working in procurement and supply chain around the world.

Nausheen Aullybux, Marketing and Communication Lead, Ecovadis

Power-Profiles-Nausheen-Aullybux

Nausheen only recently joined Procurious, but has already become a highly active member of the community. Nausheen was attracted to Procurious by the opportunities to connect with procurement practitioners, keep a pulse on how decisions are made and see how sustainability is fitting in to global procurement functions.

Nausheen would recommend Procurious to other professionals for the endless, global networking opportunities, sharing of insights, opinions and resources, and hopes in the future to keep connecting with like-minded people and have more conversations about their experiences in merging sustainability and procurement functions – goals, challenges, how they were overcome, collaborations, innovations.

Tom Derry, CEO, Institute for Supply Management

Power Profiles - Tom DerryAs CEO for a global organisation like ISM, Tom knows what works for procurement and supply chain. For him, Procurious enables professionals to leverage the immediacy of a social network in an appropriate medium, while adding value through allowing members to build their knowledge base, as well as their professional brand.

Tom’s favourite area of the site is the Discussion board, where he feels there is strong, practical value in the communications. Members are able to leverage the experience of their peers to facilitate real results.

As ISM becomes more engaged with Procurious, Tom hopes that more of its own members will get involved. The ability to connect to each other, as well as other non-members already on Procurious, opens up great opportunities for potential collaboration.

Elaine Porteous, Senior Associate, Caliba Group

Power Profiles - Elaine PorteousTo begin with, Elaine wasn’t convinced that Procurious would work, but gave the site a chance, and has helped to grow the community in her native South Africa, as well as writing original content for the site too.

Elaine believes the strength of Procurious lies in it not having an allegiance to any organisation or group, allowing a wide range of opinions and discussions to thrive on the site. These discussions help to provide learning opportunities for the network on trends and burning issues, plus help and advice from a global community.

Building on this in the future, Elaine hopes to see more learning opportunities on the site, as well as the members collaborating across borders and cultures, to allow procurement professionals to learn from others with different experiences.

Chris Cliffe, Senior Procurement Category Manager, Circle Housing

Power Profiles - Chris CliffeChris first joined Procurious after seeing the team at an event in London during 2015, and was inspired by the message of the benefits of social media in procurement to register, and to use social media more.

For Chris, the biggest advantage of the site is that it enables procurement professionals to connect with like-minded peers, and share experience and best practice. Chris believes the best thing about Procurious is the learning section, which has the potential to foster a profession-wide team spirit, regardless of organisation or geography, through the sharing of best practice.

Helen Mackenzie, Head of Procurement, Scottish Local Government

Power Profiles - Helen MackenzieHelen has been one of Procurious’ biggest advocates since joining the site, helping to spread the word across the public sector in Scotland. Helen initially came to Procurious to find an online platform to engage with people who shared her passion for procurement.

Since joining the site, Helen says the best thing about Procurious is the sense of community, of people helping others, commenting on posts and sharing advice. Helen has had people share their templates and experience with her and has also been able put people in touch with each other, most recently someone looking for advice on mobile phone procurement.

Helen says that Procurious is “a brilliant thing to be part of and very inspiring.”

Eddie Gibson, Senior Manager, East of England Local Government Association (EELGA)

Power-Profiles-Eddie-Gibson

Eddie works for the EELGA, a group working on behalf of the 52 local councils in the East of England to harness collective strength across the organisations, including in procurement. Eddie found Procurious through the videos and content from the Big Ideas Summit 2015, resources that he believes are the best thing about the site.

Eddie believes that the biggest advantage of being part of the Procurious community is that the network is more focussed than sites like LinkedIn, that new content is being posted every day, and because it’s dedicated to procurement, individuals know they’re sharing with and talking to like-minded professionals who they can expect to be helpful and supportive.

The Power of Networking

Networking is a breeze thanks to the proliferation of social media platforms out there, but when it comes to networking in the flesh, some of us freeze. Here’s how to handle it like a pro and make the most out of the opportunity. 

Networking-Event

Depending on your point of view, networking events can either be viewed as a waste of time, or present a huge opportunity for procurement professionals. While you may not always be in the mood for heading out to a networking event, there’s no denying that a good reliable network of contacts is various industry groups is paramount.

Sydney PR professional Catriona Pollard says some people are a little nervous about networking because they’re not entirely sure what is expected of them.

“Bear in mind that networking isn’t about going in to the centre of a room armed with a megaphone and blindly talking about yourself. Networking is about building relationships, not just promoting what you do. Remember, people are more likely to do business with people they trust.”

Facilitate the Introductions

Focus on building relationships and think about how you might be able to help others. For instance, if someone you’re talking to is struggling with AdWords and you know a great contact, you can introduce them. This will pay back in kind, Pollard says.

“It’s as simple as asking a series of open questions so that people talk about themselves, she says. Get the ball rolling by asking how their week has been and what they’re doing on the weekend, and go from there,” Pollard says.

Also be sure you’re turning up to an event that will provide you with maximum networking opportunities.

Think about it from a marketing perspective to consider who your audience is and whether you want to align with peers or potential business targets. If you’re more likely to pull out at the last minute, set yourself some networking intentions to get along to one event a week, or month. Also set some intentions about the event, such as having five good conversations and exchanging business cards, or meeting at least one person you want to have a follow-up coffee with, Pollard says.

“You need to apply some strategic thinking to find the events that will best meet your own business targets. Look up the website and look at their past events, the type of audience the event usually attracts, how many people usually attend, the style of the event and who’s hosting it, Pollard says.

Importance of Networking Diversity

Janine Garner, CEO of The Little Black Dress Group agrees.

A like-minded networking event limits the breadth of conversation, she points out. Ideally, you want to be in a room with a diverse network that consists of people with differing levels of expertise, age, gender and experience, she says.

“Lawyers sit in a room with lawyers sharing their legal experience from the industry of law. CEOs play golf with CEOs, fashion industry PR experts mingle with other fashion industry PR experts.

“Imagine instead, the colour of the conversation if instead you had lawyers, accountants, creatives, athletes, marketers and business owners discussing the various solutions to a problem. Imagine the different perspectives shared, the varying insights, the depth of conversation that would stretch thinking and push perspective wider,” Garner says.

Meanwhile, remember that going along with a friend isn’t a good idea, because you’re more likely to spend the entire event catching up rather than networking.

Leave Your Comfort Zone

People are very open to approaches when you’re alone, because everyone is generally in the same boat at a networking event. This can play to your advantage, points out the managing partner of Brown & Chase Talent Acquisition & Advisory in Australia, Nerissa Chaux.

“Attending events alone also pushes you out of your comfort zone and you don’t waste the opportunity by spending the entire event chatting to your friends,” Chaux says.

She’s attended hundreds of events, and says you can get the best out of networking by making sure that you’re attending events where people will generally be similarly-minded and your interests align, she adds.

“Also, arrive on time. It’s always great to be the first one at an event, as you have the best opportunity of meeting everyone who comes through the door.”

Also, don’t wait for others to introduce themselves, Brent Duffy, director of Sydney leadership consulting firm, Maximus International.

“Be genuinely interested in others. It should be an equal 50/50 conversation. Treat the event as if your CEO was in the room, and see it as an opportunity to learn and hear about different perspectives rather than trying to gain quick wins for yourself, Duffy says.

“People love to share their learnings. Asking for advice demonstrates humility, your ability to listen and be open minded,” Duffy says.

“It’s more important to be an attentive listener who comes across as authentic and trustworthy, rather than someone who speaks candidly or excessively about themselves or their business. True listeners are rare, and people will remember you for this,” he says.

Remember the Follow-Up

The follow-up is crucial to ensure actually attending the event was worthwhile. This can take many forms, depending on the connection that you’ve had.

Janet Culpitt has been networking as a small business owner of www.focusonwealth.com.au for 16 years, and now teaches others how to get the most out of networking.

She recommends connecting on social media the same day of the networking event. Also check out any other social media groups they’re involved with, and request to join those if they’re relevant to you.

Culpitt will choose to send an ecard, a handwritten note, send a text message or sometimes she will make a phone call to their office to leave a message of thanks for talking the other day with their receptionist.

“Emails are fine, but they’re so common these days that I like to mix it up with other communication tools.”

Celebrating 10,000 Members – Procurious Power Profiles – Part 1

All the team at Procurious HQ would like to thank each and every one of our members for helping us grow our network and reach the milestone of 10,000 members.

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We’re so excited about reaching the milestone as it represents a landmark number for us that we have reached less than two years after we launched the site. It’s fantastic to see our community grow and evolve, and to watch all our members grow their networks, build their own brands on social media, and use what Procurious has to offer in order to develop professionally.

As part of our celebrations for reaching this milestone, we’ll be using this article, as well as one other later in the week, to recognise some members of our community who are using Procurious to its fullest and should inspire you to do the same!

Helen Rees, Procurement Manager, Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service

Power Profiles 1 - Helen ReesHelen was one of the first movers on Procurious and has helped to promote the community from the beginning. Helen says she is a great believer in the power of networking (and has a network of almost 4,500 herself on Procurious), which was the main reasons she signed up to Procurious in the first place, as well as what she sees as the biggest advantage of the site.

Helen is an avid reader of the Procurious blog and thoroughly enjoys reading about other people’s experiences. She feels it is an excellent form of personal development as you learn about things that you may not have encountered within your own working environment. To find out more about Helen’s experiences, you can read her article on what procurement is like in Wales.

Bertrand Maltaverne, Senior Business Consultant, POOL4TOOL/Alengis

Power Profiles 1 - Bertrand MaltaverneBertrand highlights wanting to keep up with the current issues and challenges in the procurement space as the reason he joined Procurious, and felt that Procurious was the place for this as the first open, online, global community dedicated to the profession.

The people who make up the community, and their willingness to contribute and share, are what Bertrand enjoys the most about Procurious, with the global nature of the network bringing a diversity of perspectives that gives access to opinions from practitioners from all over the world. And, as Bertrand says, if you’re not a member now, then soon you might be the only procurement professional who isn’t!

Georgia Brandi, Category Lead, Newcrest Mining

Power Profiles 1 - Georgia BrandiGeorgia was attracted to the concept of Procurious as the initial setup of the site called for input from procurement professionals, highlighting that the functionality and focus reflected expectations and requirements of the community. Georgia has helped to shape the site with her fellow professionals, and continues to reap benefits from being part of the community.

The relevance of the content, news and discussions are what keep bringing Georgia back to the site, as well as why she would recommend it to others. She says that there isn’t the same dilution of the message due to irrelevant content, and the dedication to procurement has actually enabled her to solve a work-related issue through an answer she received in the Discussion forum.

Just the sort of success story in knowledge sharing that Procurious was built for!

Justin Plokhooy, Director of Procurement, USAA

Power Profiles 1 - Justin PlokhooyJustin is one of the more recent members of the community, but has certainly gotten involved whole-heartedly, particularly in the Discussion forum, which he says provides an invaluable learning experience for both him and the community, due to the ability to interact with other Procurement professionals in real time on real world topics.

A community of like-minded professionals who he could leverage and share with was what attracted Justin to Procurious, and he says other professionals should get involved because having access to a true community of professionals, all facing the same problems as you, plays a big part in the value you can bring to your organisation and, ultimately, to your career.

Anna Spady, Marketing Manager, RFP365

Power Profiles 1 - Anna SpadyAnna is one of the many providers into the profession who have joined the Procurious community but are also giving back by sharing their experience from the supplier side of the table. Connecting with, and learning from, the procurement community and influencers, as well as accessing thought leadership and joining discussions were the key reasons Anna joined Procurious initially.

Anna says that the biggest advantage of the site is the knowledge shared through the articles and posts, as well as the helpfulness and eagerness of the community to get involved, answer questions and share their insights. In Anna’s words, the best thing about the site is knowing “that there is a one-stop-shop for procurement.”

Kevin Collon, International Procurement Consultant, APIBS

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Kevin has been an active member of the community for a while now, regularly contributing to discussions, as well as sharing content for the Procurious blog. Kevin enjoys the most that Procurious brings together people starting out in their career and experienced senior members all in one place.

Kevin finds Procurious to be a great place to share or discuss ideas with these like-minded professionals, in a thoughtful and respectful community, dedicated to Procurement. He also says he recommends Procurious to all procurement professionals if they haven’t already joined the site, as it’s a good place to pick up the latest news and trends and connect with others anytime and any place.

Make sure you check out our Power Profiles in the community and connect with these guys. Plus, stay tuned, as later in the week, we’ll be showcasing some more Procurious Power Profiles.