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What Can Olympians Teach CPOs About Leadership?

CPOs and Olympians gather to discuss leadership.

Taking the road less travelled
Success is about taking a path you believe in.

During the month of August, The Faculty Roundtable once again took to the road. Sessions were held with leading Australian CPO’s in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. What stood out from this series of events was the changing role of the CPO. As we highlighted in this article, the rapid change of pace in the procurement landscape is challenging CPOs to lead and motivate their teams in entirely new ways.

During its August session, The Faculty Roundtable brought together a group of elite Australian CPOs as well leaders from the business world and the sports field to discuss the changing face of leadership in Australian procurement.

The points below present a summary of these discussions.

An Olympic Perspective

Jenn Morris, the guest speaker at our Perth event, has a truly impressive record in leadership. Jenn is currently a partner at Deloitte, a director at the Fremantle Dockers Football Club, the Commissioner of the Australian Sports Commission and a dual Olympic gold medallist. So when Jenn speaks about leadership, she is provocative, challenging and it pays to listen.

Drawing on fascinating examples from both her corporate career and time with the Olympic gold medal winning Australian hockey team, Morris’s discussion on leadership highlighted some truly valuable lessons for Australian CPOs. She spoke on the importance of leaders setting the bar for performance within an organisation. It is the responsibility of CPOs to define what ‘high performance’ is and ensure the workplace is structured in a way to deliver this kind of performance.

Morris also described the importance of leaders sticking to their guns, suggesting that it takes courage to develop a plan and stick it through thick and thin. This statement was given some context with the example of the Fremantle Football Club, a team that for 15 years was perceived to be underperforming. The organisation undertook a top-to-bottom strategy change. Many of the decisions made in this process drew criticism from the clubs fans and footballing media. However the leadership team stuck to their plan and this year the team has finished the season on top of the ladder. Morris, a director at the club, emphasised the importance of not being distracted as a leader, suggesting that success is about setting a path that you believe in and having the courage and faith to stick to it.

New Projects that Challenge Procurement’s Traditional Modus Operandi 

Perhaps one of the most innovative initiatives we’ve seen come out of the Roundtable in recent times was a project that saw a number of firms in the same industry (traditional competitors) working together to develop a joint supplier pre-qualification process. The CPOs involved in this fascinating project were able to put traditional rivalries behind them and work together on a project that would be mutually beneficial for all involved.  This project perfectly highlighted the need for CPOs to challenge their traditional thinking to come up with solutions that will provide optimal benefit for the business.

Hurdles to effective leadership

A dramatic discussion in Sydney led by managing director of Transfield Holdings, Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, highlighted the role that external forces (such as governments) play both in hindering and enabling corporate leadership in Australia. Belgiono-Nettis is a passionate follower of disruptive models and spoke of his work in exploring random citizen selection as a community change tool that challenges traditional notions of power in the political process.

CPOs discussed the challenges that they felt stood in the way between themselves and optimal leadership. Belgiorno-Nettis challenged CPOs to try and understand what is was that brought people together in a collaborative manner and to harness a culture that encouraged this. Also highlighted, was the fact that true leaders are unfazed by taking new approaches to old problems. Drawing references to current political systems, Belgiorno-Nettis suggested that sometimes a complete rethink of power and leadership structures is necessary to impact positive change.

Linking Procurement Activity with Board Strategy

Annabel Chaplain, a non-executive director at Downer, highlighted that as procurement continues to move into the corporate spotlight, the function’s leaders are realising the importance of taking actions towards achieving corporate objectives set by the board rather than their own ‘procurement objectives’. Knowledgeable boards are now seeing procurement as a legitimate avenue for competitive advantage and the CPO is viewed as the conduit between board level objectives and procurement activity. It is the leadership of CPOs that will ensure corporate objectives are met.

Chaplain’s presentation pointed out that the leadership qualities shown by CPOs need to go both up and down the chain. Truly successful CPOs are able to lead their teams to achieve corporate goals but are also able to educate board members about the opportunities and challenges that lie within the businesses they are tasked with guiding.

2015 FLiP Ambassador Talks Future Of The Procurement Function

Procurious interviews 2015 FLiP Ambassador – Ryan Kirgan.

The future of the procurement function

Ryan Kirgan is a Portfolio Category Manager at Downer, a leading provider of services to customers in markets including Transportation, Mining, Energy and Industrial Engineering, Utilities, Communications and Facilities.

At the recent Future Leaders in Procurement (FLiP) event, Ryan was awarded the position of FLiP Ambassador for 2015. Procurious recently caught up with Ryan to discuss his ambassadorship, the FLiP event and the future of the procurement function. 

Procurious asks: Ryan firstly, congratulations on being recognised as the FLiP (Future Leaders in Procurement) 2015 ambassador and carrying the flag for the next generation of procurement leaders. Could you give us some background into the FLiP group and what it hopes to achieve?

Ryan answers: The FliP group is a collection of young leaders in the procurement function. Our meetings are held in conjunction with The Faculty’s CPO Forum. When we meet, we undertake an intensive program of discussions, presentations and networking with the ultimate goal of developing the next generation of procurement leaders and furthering the procurement profession.

FLiP put on a fantastic series of events. Through the relationship with The Faculty, we are able to attract a good number of truly outstanding speakers. This, and the chance to network with our peers in other businesses, presents a fantastic opportunity to develop our skills not only as procurement professionals, but also as leaders.

Procurious: How have the FLiP events helped develop you as a leader within your business?

Ryan: The most critical link I think, in developing the functions future leaders has been the access FLiP has granted us all to senior procurement leaders.

We have been given backstage access to a huge number of influential CPOs. All of these leaders have been very approachable and accessible. They’ve opened up on discussions and events that are impacting the function at the moment. To have access to this level of seniority has been huge. We’ve all been able to benefit from people who have already had long and successful careers in procurement.

What has been really great is that rather than discussing the technical capabilities of procurement staff, which most other conferences do, FLiP is pitched much more around soft skills with a younger audience in mind. That’s something I haven’t come across at other conferences. The program is really tailored to what we’re doing as young procurement professionals.

Procurious: Aside from the speakers and CPO access, were there any other intangibles you were able to take away from the event?

Ryan: The event was fantastic for market intelligence. When you put people who are making similar decisions in the same room you’re bound to learn something.

It was a great opportunity to understand my suppliers, not just from a procurement perspective, but also more broadly around what they are trying to achieve as a company. That sort of insight is priceless.

The general openness and willingness to impart knowledge and help out as much as possible is fantastic. It’s not like you’re making a cold call and asking for insight. It is senior level procurement professionals who are there with a genuine interest in helping out and developing the function.

Obviously, networking is what you make of it, but I’ve had great engagements off the back of the conference. A few days after the event, another delegate contacted me to discuss fleet management, a category that my organisation sources well. I was happy to share my experiences. A few weeks later my help was reciprocated when the person I spoke to was able to assist me with some queries I had about supplier relationship management.

Procurious: Have you been able to transfer any of the learnings from the FLiP conference into your job at Downer?

Ryan: At the end of the conference Gordon Donovan (Principal Consultant at The Faculty at the time) challenged us by saying that he would be calling each attendee 50 days after the conference to see what changes we’ve made based on what we took away from the conference.

This is something that I got down to right away. The day I got back to the office, I called a meeting with the corporate affairs manager. We spoke a lot about alignment with corporate objectives at the conference and I wanted to ensure my activities were contributing directly towards our corporate success.

Downer has recently refreshed its corporate identity. This has involved a shift towards a greater customer focus. Our tagline is “relationships creating success”.

During this discussion I found myself asking, “how does my work as a procurement professional align to the corporate vision?” I quickly realised that I had a fairly deep understanding of our relationships with our top 100 suppliers, however knew little about our engagement with all but a handful of our key customers. This seemed ridiculous.

I grabbed all the guys in the team and went through a process of aligning each of our category plans to the corporate vision and to our end customers. I also initiated our team’s ownership of managing revenue data reporting in addition to spend data; all of which helps bolster our presence as commercial leaders within the company. Unless I’d gone to the conference, I don’t think we would have gone through that process.

Procurious: As part of your ambassadorship you were given the opportunity to take part in a panel discussion at The Faculty CPO Forum. Can you tell us about that experience?

Ryan: It was a great opportunity to speak in front of such an experienced procurement audience. I feel that those sorts of opportunities are a valuable part of our professional development as leaders.

To sit alongside three highly experienced CPOs and to come off the stage and be told that I didn’t seem out of place up there was very humbling and flattering.

We spoke about ensuring alignment of procurement activities to the wider business. It was reassuring to see that across industries, procurement teams are taking on similar programs and facing similar challenges. As I mentioned earlier, this initiative is something that I acted on as soon as I got back to the office.

Procurious: At Procurious we’re passionate about social media and its role in the development of the procurement function. What have been your experiences as a procurement professional on social media?

Ryan: The opportunities that lie within social media are truly eye opening. I think the biggest challenge is staying on top of everything. The speed that things are changing is so rapid.

Social media is becoming standard practice for procurement; it’s no longer a fringe activity. We need to leverage our relationships with suppliers, co-workers and colleagues and social media is the most effective way to do this.

Social media gives us access to knowledge sharing and best practice thinking from across the globe. All of this builds out our capability as professionals.

Access to sites like Procurious means that good ideas don’t remain hidden for very long. If one person asks a question, you’ll get 30 people responding. There is so much knowledge and wisdom out there and Procurious is connecting all of that.

At Downer, we use Yammer as well and I’d be one of our most active Yammer users. I’ve established a group to discuss our fleet services; the 80 stakeholders across the business for fleet services are in this group. It’s a brilliant way for us educate and connect with the stakeholders. We get great engagement on there.

Procurious: Thank you for taking the time to speak with Procurious and again, congratulations on your ambassadorship for 2015. Any final thoughts you’d like to leave us with?

Ryan: I’d like to thank FLiP and The Faculty for the opportunity they’ve given me. The exposure to all of The Faculty’s programs has given an insight into just how switched on they are. Having programs that develop procurement people at each stage of their professional development is brilliant. They are great advocates for the profession.

Smart Supply Chains – Gazing Into The Not-So Distant Future

The term ‘Smart Supply Chain’ might not be that familiar to you, but most people will have heard of, and understand, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data. With the supply chain, and the processes within it, evolving, what are the key trends you need to be aware of?

Smart supply chains of the future

The topics of Big Data, 3D Printing and Technological Change have been discussed on Procurious independently recently, but it is the connection between these concepts within the Smart Supply Chain that organisations will be able to take advantage of over the next 12-18 months.

Some of these concepts demonstrate supply chain thinking coming full circle, while others are newer and yet to be fully embraced by organisations on the whole.

Keeping ahead of, or at least up to date with, these trends will be crucial for supply chains in order to remain flexible and competitive globally. We consider the three outlined below to be the most interesting for supply chain development, however there are many others that also could be considered.

Distributed Manufacturing

More recently, organisations have begun to bring much of their manufacturing back in house, reversing the trend for outsourcing to low cost regions. The next step in this process for many is the idea of Distributed Manufacturing.

In Distributed Manufacturing, products are manufactured across multiple geographical locations by either the primary organisation or a local partner. These locations are closer to key consumer markets, and make use of local experts for the final assembly stage of production.

Key advantages of this approach include a reduction in logistics costs, a more agile supply chain and access to a global network of experts. In late 2014, Jaguar Land Rover opened a plant in Changsu in China, aimed specifically as servicing the Chinese market. This allows a better service to a major market for Jaguar, but enables them to ensure that production quality remains high.

Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing is essentially 3D Printing by another name. Although still more expensive in comparison to traditional methods, the AM process allows for faster creation of prototypes, greater tailoring of sizes and shapes of products and much lower scrap rates.

Earlier this year, Rolls Royce announced plans to flight-test the largest ever 3D-Printed aerospace component. The company have said that the process has cut like-for-like manufacturing lead times by 30 per cent, representing a considerable saving in terms of time and cost.

A combination of Distributed Manufacturing and Additive Manufacturing could potentially allow organisations a considerable competitive advantage in a supply chain, with faster, more agile manufacturing allied with shorter lead times to consumer markets.

However, to make this a reality, we need to consider the impact of the third of our trends.

IoT, Big Data and Demand

Consumer demand is a tricky beast to pin down. With consumer behaviours constantly changing and the increased availability of products online, which can then be delivered the following day, simply using historical trends to predict demand is no longer an option for supply chains.

Now, organisations are looking towards connected networks and systems, capturing up to the minute data on where, when and how products are bought and which markets are the most profitable to service. The use of the IoT and Big Data is opening up a new way of predicting demand.

Big Data is being used in the automotive industry to do just that. Now, sales can be seen anywhere in the world instantly and companies who have traditionally operated ‘Just-in-Time’ systems now can keep up with this, ensuring the right parts are in the right place at the right time.

Distributed Manufacturing relies on this interconnected network of systems for exactly this reason. This improved demand planning can then be used to reduce excess stock and wastage and at the same time, provide all the data required for effective Additive Manufacturing.

The Not-So Distant Future

As these technologies advance further, and organisations become more adept at using them effectively, there is a potential for a major change to the way supply chains are organised.

And what will this mean for procurement? Beyond the increased complexity of providing for a global supply chain, could we see the advent of Distributed or Remote Procurement? Or will the profession be split up and placed wherever the need is greatest? It’s certainly a question worth considering.

Have we missed any game-changing supply chain trends? Are you working in an organisation where Distributed Manufacturing is a reality? Procurious would love to hear your experiences!

Eyes down for the other big stories we think you should be aware of this week…

Oil prices steady after U.S. drilling cut but oversupply still weighs

  • U.S. crude futures were trading at $44.67 per barrel at 8:00 IST, up 4 cents from their last settlement, pushed by a slight fall in drilling activity. “Baker Hughes reported US oil rig count fell 10 to 652 last week. The consecutive second decline suggests a low price environment coupled with low oil price hedge is starting to impact U.S. supply,” ANZ bank said.
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday that a cut in production from non-OPEC suppliers, especially from the United States, would lead to a rebalancing of the market by next year.
  • Despite this, the outlook for global oil markets remained weak due to strong production clashing with stalling demand, creating a market in which more oil is produced than needed.
  • The global crude benchmark Brent was trading at $48.95 a barrel, virtually flat from its last close.
  • ANZ said strong supply from the Middle East remained a concern on the supply side, while Macquarie bank noted that falling auto sales in August were acting as a drag on demand.

Read more at The Economic Times/IndiaTimes

Allianz warns of storm impact on transport and supply chains

  • With a severe El Nino event forecast and the cyclone season approaching, insurer Allianz has highlighted transport and supply chain interruption as a consequent threat for international and domestic transport and logistics. The global insurer’s Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) section has marked the recent 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in the US with an analysis of storm-related losses, trends and global businesses preparedness for such events in future.
  • But its local operation points to issues here and in Asia that have the potential to cause financial hardship, particularly for the unprepared. “The general consensus of scientists is for an increased severity rather than frequency of windstorm events, such as Australia has experienced this year,” Allianz Risk Consulting Pacific regional manager Iain Ritchie says. “Further, with the current growing El Nino in the Pacific, climatologists are predicting even more intense weather phenomena in the immediate future, which requires risk assessment and planning.”
  • Ritchie adds that “not only is pre- and post-loss risk management crucial in mitigating the impact of increasing windstorm losses, risk management should also focus on loss minimisation during windstorm events. “Business continuity planning must also incorporate direct as well as indirect supply chain exposures to be effective.”

Read more at Fully Loaded

Tianjin explosions to affect supply chains for months

  • The deadly explosions that rocked Tianjin could create logistical delays and other supply chain problems for months to come, even as operations at the port itself return to normal, according to a new report by Resilinc, a supply chain technology firm.
  • Day-to-day operations have largely resumed at Tianjin’s port, roughly a month after two explosions killed over 100 people and caused widespread damage. However, Resilinc found a number of factors that will have a lasting impact on companies with supply chains tied to Tainjin. Chief among them: uncertainty over how China’s government will respond to the incident, which was caused by the improper storage of hazardous chemicals and is still being investigated.
  • Shippers of materials classified as hazardous should expect delays from additional scrutiny of their cargo, and stricter regulation and punishments, Resilinc said.
  • A logistics center that processed much of the port’s paperwork suffered severe damage from the explosions, causing forwarders, haulers and other logistics players to deal separately with individual terminals, putting a strain on those terminals’ capacities to handle administrative tasks. And blockages are preventing the delivery of in-bound raw materials, which impact local factories, and effects could last longer than six to eight weeks on companies within a ten-mile radius of the blast.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Glencore Queensland to save AUS$300 million through procurement outsourcing

  • Glencore has hired Accenture to provide sourcing and procurement services for its Australian copper and zinc business.
  • The six-year contract with Glencore Queensland, a subsidiary of the diversified natural resource company, is expected to deliver cost savings of more than $300 million over the period.
  • Under the deal, Accenture will provide end-to-end sourcing and procurement services including cloud-based sourcing, category management and procure-to-pay tools, as well as market sourcing insights and analytics to help Glencore maximise procurement and sourcing benefits. “Mining clients continue to grapple with cost pressure in the ongoing environment of low commodity prices,” said Joost van de Meent, managing director, resources, at Accenture. “Our solution will extend Glencore’s existing procurement capability to improve spend management and reduce transaction costs, while improving visibility across Glencore’s businesses.”

Read more at Supply Management

Why the threat from avian influenza isn’t just a load of hogwash

Pigs might fly, but when it comes to avian flu… it’s no laughing matter.

The threat from avian influenza on supply chains

Pigs and poultry might be more closely linked than you realised… discover how they are impacting supply chains on a global level.

China’s incredible shrinking hog herd

The astonishing drop of the Chinese hog and sow herd is expected to impact the entire global pork market for the remainder of 2015 and into 2016 according to a recently published report by Rabobank Group.

Chinese pork production is forecast to plummet by 3.7 million tonnes (6.5 per cent), to 53 million tonnes in 2015.

Over the last 18 months, China’s pork industry has experienced one of the largest culls on record—the ramifications of which are just now being felt globally. To put this change into perspective: the decline of nearly 100 million head in China’s hog herd and 10 million in its breeding herd is equivalent to the U.S., Canadian and Mexican pork sectors all disappearing from global supply in a span of less than two years.

However, explains Rabobank Animal Protein Analyst William Sawyer – “This will be supported by a 600,000 tonne increase in imports – primarily from the EU, the U.S. and Canada – in the second half of 2015… This surge in pork trade could not come at a better time, as the global pork sector is in the midst of a supply glut after many regions have recovered from the porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus outbreak of 2014, and a number of trade bans have depressed pork prices and producer margins.”

Indeed, this export opportunity is very attractive to a sector that has been under pressure in recent times. Capitalising on the opportunity will require processors and traders who have the right product at a competitive price; who can deliver in the coming months; and who can readily mobilise their supply chain.

Avian influenza outbreak to hit regional markets

China’s porcine problem might also have knock-on effects for poultry production…

In a separate report from Rabobank, analysts believe the outlook for late 2015 and 2016 is bullish. Feed prices are still expected to remain at low pricing levels, and global breeding stock supply will be very low in regions with avian influenza-related import restrictions, such as China and South-East Asia. The expectation that China will face a shortage in poultry and pork supply next year could especially become a major swing factor for the global poultry industry. The expected further spread of AI to key U.S. chicken production areas is a major wild card for the industry outlook in the second half of this year.

The report states: “The performance in most regions is currently improving, but the industry should have optimal biosecurity as its first priority, as avian influenza pressure is still significant. Any new case can have a big impact on regional and global trade streams, as we have seen in the past months, in which Brazil and Thailand have taken further market share in global poultry trade from the U.S. and China”. Yet it notes that both Australia and South America have yet to fall foul of new outbreaks.

Procurious Big Idea #40 – Helping CPOs With Change

Jade Campbell, Senior Consultant with The Faculty says CPOs are working in a constantly changing environment and need to be able to lead their teams through it.

Jade believes all procurement professionals have a role to play in supporting the CPOs in dealing with these changes.

See more Big Ideas from our 40 influencers

Like this? Join Procurious for FREE and meet like-minded procurement professionals from across the world.

IT departments revealed as ‘maverick spenders’

New research suggests IT decision makers like to go it alone when making purchasing decisions.

IT departments are to blame for maverick spending

According to a recently-published survey, billions of pounds of business IT spend is being put at risk annually by IT teams that skirt corporate procurement rules and processes. The survey reveals that (crucially) most IT leaders dismiss the value of the procurement function out of hand.

In the Procurement Perceptions research, which surveyed 200 procurement professionals and their colleagues by Redshift (on behalf of Wax Digital), an overwhelming 78 per cent of the IT professionals surveyed suggested that procurement hindered rather than helped their department, with one in three admitting to bypassing official purchasing processes as a result.

Where procurement is involved in the process only 19 per cent of IT respondents said that the procurement team actually led on IT cost savings initiatives. This is compared to 43 per cent of procurement claiming that they did. 

The two departments are also found to have a polarised view of spending priorities for IT, as procurement focuses its support on front-end technology devices and hardware, while IT places greater importance on infrastructure and security.

In a spend category which typically deals in high value multi-year agreements, supply chain risk was at least one area where IT and procurement teams are more closely aligned. Almost half (46 per cent) of IT respondents identified the most important contribution from procurement was in the areas of supplier risk and negotiation. 

Daniel Ball, director at Wax Digital, comments: “IT is a complex spend area, but that is all the more reason that procurement expertise and rigorous policies are brought to bear here. The fact that IT departments often spend without procurement’s oversight makes maverick over-spending likely and could open the organisation up to severe financial and reputational risk. Let’s face it, it’s an industry littered with project failures, therefore it’s critical that these two departments look to collaborate more effectively than is obviously the case in many organisations.”

Zero hours contracts represent a small but useful part of flexible labour market

Latest figures from the ONS indicate that the number of workers on zero-hours contracts has risen by 6 per cent.

The ONS has revealed a 6 per cent increase in zero-hours contracts

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces biannual estimates of the number of contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours.

These estimates are based on a survey of businesses and the measure complements the figures from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) which indicates those workers on a “zero-hours contract”.

The latest estimates reveal that:

  • The number of people employed on a “zero-hours contract” in their main job was 744,000 for April to June 2015. This represents 2.4 per cent of all people in employment – compared to 2 per cent in the same period during 2014.
  • Number of contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours where work was carried out was 1.5 million for the fortnight beginning 19 January 2015. This is some 6 per cent higher than the estimate of 1.4 million for the fortnight beginning 20 January 2014, though the increase is not statistically significant.
  • On average, someone on a “zero-hours contract” usually works 25 hours a week.
  • Around 40 per cent of people on “zero-hours contracts” want more hours, with most wanting them in their current job.
  • People on “zero-hours contracts” are more likely to be women or in full-time education. They are also more likely to be aged under 25 or 65 and over.

Commenting on official statistics  James Sproule, Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“Although zero hours contracts have drawn much political attention, only a very small proportion of the total workforce have one for their main job, less than 2.5 per cent of the total. It is also important to note that statisticians at the ONS say it is not possible to tell whether this is simply because of increased awareness created by media exposure. 

“Zero hours contracts offer businesses and employees an important degree of flexibility. For skilled professionals, a degree of flexibility can boost their earning power, while flexibility also suits students and older people – the main users of zero hours contracts – who cannot commit to a set number of hours each and every week. 

The ONS has revealed a 6 per cent increase in zero-hours contracts

James continues: “Flexible working arrangements helped preserve jobs during the downturn and protected the UK from double-digit rates of unemployment. As businesses began to create jobs at a record pace, attention on the quality of those jobs and concerns around zero hours contracts boomed. This helped make sure practices like exclusivity clauses – something which run contrary to the very flexibility zero hours contracts were designed for – were stamped out.”

The new findings come with a caveat in that the number of people saying they are employed on “zero-hours contracts” depends on whether or not they recognise this term. It is not possible to say how much of the increase between 2014 and 2015 is due to greater recognition rather than new contracts.

Half Of Supply Chain Managers Lack The Skills To Do Their Jobs

A new poll from CIPS reveals that half of supply chain managers lack the necessary skills.

Supply chain professionals lack the skills needed

If the results of a new survey undertaken by CIPS are anything to go by, almost half of supply chain managers fear they lack the necessary skills to carry out their jobs.

The poll found that 45 per cent of respondents felt they had not received the necessary training.

The survey was made up of 460 CIPS members who hailed from the UK, Australia and South Africa.

Commenting on the results, David Noble – CIPS’ chief executive, believes that the recovery of the UK economy is being threatened by a lack of skills. “Supply chain managers are the first line of defence for British consumers and businesses.”

He continues: “They protect shoppers from harmful products, stop our businesses from being ripped off and keep slavery out of Britain’s supply chains.

“These new figures show that our tentative recovery is being undermined by a lack of skills. Without them, we risk building our growth on human rights abuses and malpractice abroad. Supply chain professionals are doing the best they can with insufficient training but as the threats to British supply chains continue to evolve, so skills must be continuously renewed to keep up.“

Confidence takes a knock

60 per cent went on to add that procurement (as a profession) is not looked upon favourably within their business.

The figures set a worrying precedent indeed, as those without training are unlikely to conduct annual supplier audits, and just 16 per cent stated they have eyes on their entire supply chain.

Out of those polled, those who felt inadequately trained also revealed their fears over malpractice in the supply chain.

Do you agree with the results of this survey, and if so do you share the same fears? If so, what do you think can be done to improve the outlook in the short/long term?

If you haven’t had time to check out the big stories in the procurement and supply chain space this week, here are some of the main headlines.

Procurement Bill to correct ‘unsound’ practices in Zimbabwe

  • In a State of the Nation address last week, Robert Mugabe announced a new Procurement Bill would be drafted and tabled in Parliament before the end of the year.
  • The Bill will incorporate COMESA procurement guidelines which emphasise devolution of power to award tenders to procuring entities. These organisations will include government ministries, parastatals, state enterprises and local authorities, Mugabe said.
  • The State Procurement Board will also be transformed into a new non-executive procurement authority tasked with setting standards and guidelines as monitoring compliance by procurement entities and act as advisor to the government on Public Procurement Policy.
  • President Mugabe said economic growth was expected to be 1.5 per cent in 2015, instead of the initially projected 3.2 per cent, which he mainly blamed on the negative impact of drought in the agriculture sector.

Read more at Supply Management

Fast fashion is becoming a family affair

  • Step aside, H&M, there’s a new fast fashion king in town, and it’s not just for teens and 20-somethings buying $8 crop tops and $18 skinny jeans.

  • Primark, an Irish retailer owned by Associated British Foods, is the latest European so-called fast fashion brand to dive into the U.S. market. The retailer will open its first U.S. store on Sept. 10, 2015, in Boston and it has confirmed the opening of a second store in King of Prussia, Pa., this fall, with plans for seven more over the next two years.

  • The chain, with more than 285 stores across Europe – and amazingly, no e-commerce presence – is set to compete with other fast fashion European brands that are household names in the U.S., including Sweden’s H&M, Spain’s Zara, and U.K.-based TopShop.

Read more at Yahoo! Finance

UK Police forces wasting millions by paying 10x more for items

  • Police forces are wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money because of the chaotic way they buy supplies, with some paying up to 10 times more for similar items.
  • Mike Penning, the policing minister, said that it makes “no sense” for forces to continue buying almost identical items separately when they can save money by acting together.
  • The Home Office published figures revealing huge disparities in the amount paid for basic equipment ranging from shirts and batons to high performance vehicles and radio sets.
  • Mr Penning said: “For too long the police have approached the market in a fragmented way, buying equipment in small amounts and to varying specifications.

Read more on The Telegraph

The most important procurement agreement you’ve never heard of

  • Australia is seeking to be admitted to an international trade group on government procurement. The agreement will mean local suppliers will gain access to the government procurement markets of all member states, which include the 28 members of the European Union and the US.
  • The group is called the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA). The WTO – the World Trade Organisation – initiated the GPA in 1981 as the ‘Tokyo Round Code on Government Procurement’. It has been expanded and renegotiated ever since, with the most recent round concluded in 2014.
  • The Government says that joining the GPA will mean “legally-binding access to government procurement markets estimated at US$1.7 trillion”, a number so large it is difficult to comprehend. China, which is also seeking to join, could add another trillion dollars to the sum.

Read more at Government News

iPhone supply chain makers set to see strong sales in September

  • Makers in the iPhone supply chain are set to see strong sales in September thanks to incoming orders for new iPhone devices which are due to be unveiled in early September, according to sources from the supply chain.

  • Most suppliers have become more positive about shipments of the updated iPhone devices recently due to higher than expected orders from Apple, which were originally perceived to be affected by sluggish global economy and weakening smartphone demand in emerging markets, said the sources.

  • Incoming parts and components orders for the new iPhones are even stronger than orders for the iPhone 6 devices in the corresponding period of a year earlier, indicated the sources, adding that shipments of updated iPhones will once again squeeze sales of other vendors including Samsung Electronics, Sony Mobile Communications and LG Electronics, commented the sources.

Read more at Digitimes

Procurious Big Idea #39 – Creating Awareness At University Level

Huey Chan, Analyst at The Faculty, believes a lack of awareness at the university level is harming procurement’s ability to attract the right talent.

Huey says this talent drought can be combatted by CPOs spending time getting in front of students and talking about what a job in procurement entails.

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Why Collaboration May Encourage Corporate Corruption

A new scholarly study has looked into the collaborative roots of corruption, and the results may come as a surprise…

New research claims that collaboration may encourage corruption

New research from Nottingham University suggests that collaboration encourages corrupt behaviour.

“Collaborative settings, not just greed, can provide fertile ground for corruption, as typified by recent scandals in the football and banking worlds. But while much is known about individual immoral behaviour, little is known about the collaborative roots of corruption,” researcher Dr. Ori Weisel said in a statement.

Weisel and his team focused on cases where working together meant violating moral rules, by lying, at a possible cost to the larger group, or the organisation to which they belong.

For the study, researchers created a die-rolling game in which study participants could adhere to one of two competing moral norms: collaborate or be honest. In the main experiment, the outcomes of the two players are perfectly aligned.

“Humans are an exceptionally cooperative species, which is at least partly driven by deeply ingrained moral sentiments that help to build trust and achieve mutual beneficial outcomes. However there can be tension between two fundamental moral obligations — to tell the truth or to join forces in collaboration,” said Weisel, a research fellow who specialises in group cooperation and decision-making.

Researchers found that the highest levels of corrupt collaboration occurred when parties shared profits equally, and were reduced when either player’s incentive to lie was decreased or removed.

Weisel said the findings support the view that collaboration might have been a liberating effect, freeing people to behave unethically.

The researchers suggest that organisations may be paying a (corruption) premium for having their employees team-up and work together.

“From the point of view of an organisation seeking to reduce corrupt behaviour, assuring a decent base salary that does not depend on performance can reduce the likelihood that its employees engage in brazen lying,” Weisel added.

4 key collaboration takeaways that will make your job easier