All posts by Procurious HQ

Your shameful email sending habits have been revealed in a new survey

An independent study into email user habits has revealed that a worrying number of professionals find it hard to drag themselves away from work email.

Email sending habits revealed in new survey

A new study has found that work-related email is disrupting everything from holidays to funerals as employees struggle to cope with volume and culture of ‘always-on’ working.

GFI Software (the masterminds behind the study) wanted to gauge how employees interact with email and the main obstacles to effective workplace email use.

Of those surveyed, some 47 per cent admit to checking work email at least once a day in their personal time, up six per cent, while 33 per cent admit checking multiple times a day or in real-time through pre-work mornings, evenings, weekends and days off. Furthermore, 43 per cent regularly check their work email after 11pm at night.

Key findings from the survey include:

• Monitoring of work email outside of work hours is inescapable, with 73 per cent of those surveyed regularly checking their work email at weekends.
• A further 58 per cent admit to checking work email while on holiday.
• Almost one quarter (24 per cent) feel compelled to reply to work emails within 15 minutes of receipt.
• In total, 72 per cent of respondents reply to work emails in under one hour, while just under three per cent take more than a week to reply.
• Down five per cent from 2014, the survey found that 23 per cent of workers surveyed use their work email account for personal activities. The drop suggests increased concern over company monitoring of workplace email and Internet use.
• Nearly 29 per cent of work email users surveyed do nothing to organise their email, including archiving, leaving all incoming mail in their Inbox.
• Just under 18 per cent have had an argument at home due to them checking work email during family time.

“Setting and maintaining realistic boundaries between work and personal life is important to health, happiness and productivity. This balance is becoming harder than ever to accomplish due to the growth of tablets, smartphones, and now smart watches and in-car communications – all of which keep people wired into work even after they go home of an evening,” said Sergio Galindo, general manager of GFI Software.

The survey revealed a substantial level of work leaking into personal and family occasions. For example:

• Almost five per cent have checked email during a wedding
• Nearly three per cent have gone through work email while attending an event at their child’s school
• More than one per cent have actively checked email while either they or their partner was in labour
• … and just under one per cent have checked email during a funeral

The research was also conducted among the same survey sample in the US, with broadly similar results. Differences of note did include a higher proportion of users preferring instant messaging (eight per cent), a higher proportion of email checking during funerals (three per cent) and during child birth (four per cent), while fewer (12 per cent) have argued at home over checking work email out of hours.

The cost of maintaining a supply of ethically sourced coffee

Starbucks contributes $30M to supplier development fund

Starbucks contributes $30M to supplier development fund

Global coffee chain Starbucks has announced it will contribute a further $30M USD to its Global Farmers Fund, more than doubling the company’s investment in this initiative. The fund, established back in 2008, is designed to provide support for farmers in the company’s supply chain.

In the announcement Starbucks claimed that its investment aligned directly with the firm’s global sourcing strategy. Starbucks purchases coffee from more than 30 countries across the globe. Many of these suppliers are located in the developing world and do not have access to the infrastructure and financial support to secure the longevity of their operations.

“By providing access to capital, farmers have the ability to make strategic investments in their infrastructure, offering the stability they need to manage ongoing complexities so that there is a future for them and the industry.” Said Craig Russell, executive vice president of global coffee for Starbucks.

Recent years have seen the coffee industry undergo a series of supply shocks due in large to adverse weather conditions. This year’s prediction of an el Niño weather pattern could potentially impact the output of coffee producers. Starbucks investment should better prepare farmers for these sorts of events.

It is thought that by investing its supply base, Starbucks will not only improve its security of supply, but also the quality of its product, its environmental impact and ultimately its profitability.

Richard Rhinehart, Executive Director SCAA Specialty Coffee Association of America made this statement following Starbucks announcement; “Traditionally smallholder coffee farmers depend on a single payment at the end of the harvest season to cover their expenses for an entire year. They are most often viewed as too high risk or lack access to any conventional loan facilities, and are captive to a cycle of sustained poverty. In order to break this cycle, these producers need to be able to make investments in their farms, households and communities that will deliver long-term benefits. Such investments require credit, and buyers who are willing to extend credit and share risk with farmers are not only stabilizing their own supply chains but contributing to the resiliency of coffee production globally.

2014 Best Year for Supply Chain and Logistics since Great Recession

The revelation comes from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) 26th Annual “State of Logistics Report.

This year's State of Logistics Report

This year’s State of Logistics Report revealed that the supply chain industry experienced its best year since the Great Recession. The report examined the economic vitality and associated challenges facing each segment of the logistics industry. It also tracked and measured all costs associated with moving freight through the U.S. supply chain since 1988.

According to the research the transportation sector grew by 3.6 per cent in 2014 due to stronger shipment volumes rather than higher rates. The U.S. economy was on solid ground. New job creation was consistent, real net income and household net worth inched up, inflation was low-to-moderate and gas prices tumbled, providing consumers with additional buying power.

The report revealed total U.S. business logistics costs rose to $1.45 trillion in 2014, a 3.1 per cent increase from the previous year. However, the growth rate for logistics costs was lower than the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), resulting in a slight decline in logistics as a percent of GDP from 8.4 per cent to 8.3 per cent.

Costs for the water sector rose 8.9 per cent, the second highest growth sector in 2014. Inland waterway traffic rebounded due to successful agricultural harvests, higher demand for coal and an expansion of petroleum transportation by barge. Shipments through the nation’s ports increased, with East Coast ports seeing the largest percentage of gains due to congestion and delays at West Coast ports caused by protracted labour issues.

And in 2014 air cargo sector costs declined 1.2 per cent as competition from other modes kept rates down; however, in 2014, a record $968 billion of high value merchandise was moved by air—$443.8 billion in exports and $543.3 in imports.

“Today’s market-leading companies use their supply chains to drive innovation and competitive advantage,” stated Marc Althen, president of Penske Logistics. “This in-turn drives demand for logistics providers. While demand for logistics is increasing, the industry faces a talent shortage and needs more logistics engineers, technology professionals, warehouse workers, and truck drivers to meet the needs of current and evolving freight fulfillment models businesses and consumers rely on for their goods and services.”

What Does It Mean To Be An Authentic Leader?

Watch the Procurious Big Ideas Panel Discussion on Authentic Leadership

In the first of the panel discussions from the Big Ideas Summit, Sigi Osagie, Sarah Trota, Helen Mackenzie and Andrew MacAskill discuss what it means to be an authentic leader in procurement.

Watch a sample below

From the power of public sector procurement and the figure of the leader clearing the path through the procurement jungle, to the brand of the profession and setting the belief, the discussion created some fascinating points.

Procurious members can view the full panel discussion here. Not a member yet? Register for free.

Uncovering The Truths Behind Supplying The Supermarket Giants

Supplier Rebates to be Discussed at Tesco Shareholders Meeting

Tesco supplier rebates under scrutiny

This Friday, Dave Lewis has the unenviable task of addressing the Tesco shareholders at the firm’s annual meeting. As the firm’s new CEO, the responsibility for explaining the company’s fall from grace over the past 12 months falls at his feet.

There is a lot to talk about. But it’s likely that the majority of the shareholder’s concerns will revolve around the £6.4 billion in pre-tax losses that were reported for the year ending February.

Who audits the auditor?

Serious concerns have been raised around Tesco’s relationship with its previous auditor, PwC. This relationship (which was terminated last month) appeared to have turned septic and has been used to explain some of the accounting discrepancies that contributed to company’s recent woes.

While it is easy to focus on the firm’s recent poor performance, perhaps the greatest challenge for Lewis will be explaining that the worst is potentially still to come.

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office has opened an inquiry into the supermarket chain over an accounting scandal that saw the retailer inflate its reported profits by £263m through incorrectly logging supplier rebates. Not only has this scandal cast doubts over Tesco’s reporting standards, it has brought the company’s ethics and supplier relationships into question.

Dodgy accounting brings dodgy supplier relationships into focus

Supplier rebates are nothing new in the supermarket space. In fact, it’s believed that this behaviour has existed since the 1970’s. However, in recent years the practice has been stepped up significantly. Suggestions have been made that UK supermarkets make as much money from supplier rebates as they do from operating profits.

Supplier rebates, which see suppliers making compulsory contributions to supermarkets in return for prime shelf space (or the allocation of marketing effort), have faced scrutiny for the way they are reported. These payments have traditionally not been well defined and recognised through financial reporting systems. In the wake of the Tesco rebate fiasco, the Financial Reporting Council has announced it will look more closely at the way rebates are managed from an accounting point of view.

The supplier rebate scandal not only carries implications for the firm’s reporting credibility; it has been a public relations nightmare. The mass media has jumped on the issue of supplier rebates and customers are now fully aware that supermarkets insist on large payments from suppliers, not only to market their products but also to secure in-store shelf space (this stuff fills column inches). In an era of increased supermarket competition (firms like Aldi are stealing significant market share from Tesco) these PR scandals are crippling.

Lewis’s moment of truth will come this Friday. Tune into Procurious on Monday, as we’ll be providing a review of the shareholder meeting, including an analysis of the way Lewis responded to the supplier rebate scandal.

Celebrating National Women in Engineering Day

National Women In Engineering Day is hoping to change perceptions and inspire more women engineers.

Supporting National Women in Engineering Day

What is it?

National Women in Engineering Day (NWED) was launched in 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), as an inaugural event to celebrate the achievements of women in engineering and encourage more girls to consider engineering as a career. 

Who’s involved?

Approximately 400 schools and colleges across the UK are expected to take part in NWED celebrations this year with over 100 events listed on the NWED website www.nwed.org.uk. The organisations hosting the events include universities, schools, engineering societies, and multinational organisations, such as Ford Motor Company, Amec Foster Wheeler, Qinetiq, Atkins, DECC, BT, Pepsi, Selex ES, Dyson, Arup, DuPont, BP, Siemens, BAE Systems, TFL, Crossrail, and many more.

Is it just a UK initiative then?

Nope.

This year NWED has also gained interest on an international level with events happening all over the world to celebrate achievements of women engineers on a global level. For example, the Institution of Engineering and Technology in Kuwait are hosting a conference on NWED with talks from guest speakers, networking activities and awards.

How did it come about?

The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) is a not for profit organisation which was established in 1919 after the First World War to inspire and support women in engineering. For more information visit www.wes.org.uk.

Dawn Bonfield, Founder of National Women in Engineering Day and President of the Women’s Engineering Society said ‘We were absolutely amazed by the enthusiasm for National Women in Engineering Day last year, but this year the day has grown even more and we have seen an enormous number of organisations getting involved with the celebrations. This really is testament to the change in perception of women in engineering, and we need to do all we can now to maintain this activity throughout the year to ensure that girls see engineering as a real career choice for them.’

How many female engineers does it take to set a world record?

Among the events, a Guinness World Record has also been planned to coincide with NWED with the aim to have the largest gathering of women engineers on NWED 23 June at Horse Guards Parade.

Worrying Number of UK Organisations Lack Supply Chain ‘Plan B’

Nearly two and a half years since the oft reported ‘horsemeat scandal’ and many organisations are still lacking a Plan B for a supply chain crisis, according to a survey by CIPS.

Most organisations don't have a plan B

CIPS quizzed senior supply chain managers from across the globe on a number of topics, with the research throwing up a number of surprising statistics, all of which show that many organisations are just not learning the lessons of past failures in the industry.

No Risk Mitigation

At the most basic level when considering a subject like a supply chain scandal is the concept of risk mitigation strategies. These can be for ensuring continuity of supply in the event of a natural disaster or alternative suppliers if sourcing has to be changed due to ethical issues.

CIPS found that two-thirds of the respondents didn’t have, or weren’t aware of, a mitigation strategy covering all tiers of their supply chains. Compounding this is a lack of close relationships with suppliers (only 11 per cent) and the majority (65 per cent) of the managers only having relationships with Tier 1 suppliers or not at all.

Not Managing Relationships

With procurement often focused on reducing cost, reducing supplier lists and eliminating tail spend, relationships can often be overlooked with larger, more critical suppliers. These relationships can help to build trust, maintain ethical standards and can also help to reduce cost in the long-term.

And the statistics back this up too, with the survey results showing a big difference in organisations suffering a supply chain crisis in the past year.

  • 67 per cent with relationships with Tier 3 suppliers and beyond highlighted zero supply chain crises
  • Only 45 per cent with Tier 1 supplier relationships could say the same

Supply Chain Fog – Low Visibility

When considering supply chain transparency (reported recently on Procurious here and here), these relationships can also be a key pillar for buyers in avoiding disruptions. According to the survey:

  • 56 per cent with relationships with Tier 3 suppliers and beyond had complete visibility of their supply chain
  • A worrying 13 per cent with only Tier 1 supplier relationships were able to say the same

A similar difference is seen with malpractice and ethical violations in the supply chain too.

  • 49 per cent with Tier 3 supplier relationships could be certain of no supply chain malpractice, compared to just 16 per cent with Tier 1 supplier relationships
  • Of these, 62 per cent with Tier 3 relationships would take responsibility for malpractice, versus 32 per cent with Tier 1 relationships

Taking Responsibility

In light of these results, David Noble, Group CEO of CIPS, stated that it was time for UK organisations to take responsibility for the conditions in which their goods were being produced.

“As UK companies are increasingly using suppliers in emerging markets to maintain their price competitiveness, they are becoming more exposed to reputational risks such as poor health and safety standards for workers or even enforced slavery, bribery and corruption, as well as environmental degradation.

Having visibility and strong supplier relationships at the first tier of the supply chain is clearly no longer enough, as these risks do not always exist in the first tier, but often further down supply chains.”

Procurious wants to make it easier for companies to do this, and has proposed the idea of a ‘Supply Chain Wiki’, which would enable organisations to have access to the full picture in their supply chains. It’s only by working together that the profession can create something like this and allow us to get to the stage where transparency is a given, rather than an option.

Do you want to get involved with helping build a Supply Chain Wiki? What examples of the practices above have you seen? Get in touch with Procurious and let us know.

Meanwhile, some light reading for you all with your weekly procurement and supply chain headlines.

Supply chain wary as Airbus and Boeing push output envelope

  • Suppliers to Airbus and Boeing are worried they might lose out if they invest to meet higher commercial jet production targets that ultimately prove unsustainable
  • The manufacturing giants plan to raise production rates of best-selling single-aisle planes by 25 percent to 50-52 a month in 2017-18, with the possibility of output going up to 60 or more
  • This prompted public pushback from major suppliers such as GE and partner Safran, who said they needed to secure the start of a steep rise in output before committing to even higher targets
  • Concerns were also raised over how long any higher production rates may last, although Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier dismissed talk of a bubble

Read more at Business Insider

Made in Britain: Booming UK automotive industry must re-shore IT to future proof supply chain

  • The UK automotive industry is back on track after years of decline, with many pointing to the important role it plays in improving the economy
  • According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) UK car plants last year produced more than 1.5 million vehicles, the highest number since 2007
  • One of the factors underpinning the increase has been the decision by car makers to re-shore many of the processes, including production, that have been systematically transferred overseas over the past couple of decades
  • The survey found that cost was but one driving factor, and was in fact eclipsed by the desire to improve quality, create shorter, more responsive supply chains and streamline communication with customers

Read more at IT Pro Portal

Mattel looks to overcome supply chain talent shortage

  • Mattel Inc. is revamping its supply chain operations but says there is a limited pool of people with the right skills
  • Companies are looking inward to find people to manage increasingly complex supply chains, amid a shortage of skilled labor
  • Peter Gibbons, the company’s chief supply chain officer, said in an interview, “Finding really good people who’ve been there and done it before is a challenge.”
  • The company is now hiring college grads directly from supply chain or business programs in hopes of moulding them into supply chain leaders down the line. It has also changed the metrics it uses to evaluate its supply chain managers to take a more “holistic” view of the job function

Read more at Wall St Journal

US to import egg products from Netherlands to ease shortage

  • With an increasing egg shortage due to the widespread bird flu outbreak, the United States will soon allow imported egg products from the Netherlands to be used for commercial baking and in processed foods.
  • It’s the first time in more than a decade the U.S. has bought eggs from a European nation, and comes as consumers are seeing a surge in shell egg prices and a Texas-based supermarket began limiting purchases.
  • The H5N2 virus — which began to spread widely through Midwest farms in the early spring, including in Iowa, the nation’s largest egg producer — has left nearly 47 million birds dead or dying
  • “Our members are not able to get their hands on enough eggs to continue their production. It’s very much a crisis for us right now,” said Cory Martin, director of government relations for the American Bakers Association, a trade group representing wholesale bakeries including cookie and cracker maker Pepperidge Farm, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corp., and White Plains, New York-based Linden’s Cookies.
  • Prices for egg products used by food manufacturers and bakeries jumped more than 200 percent in the past month, and even large bakeries have been forced to buy eggs by the carton and crack them individually to continue production, Martin said.

Read more at US News and World Report

Industry body launched to support timber supply chain

  • The ethical, social and environmental risks in the timber supply chain are to be addressed by a newly-formed umbrella organisation which aims to provide a unified voice for the timber industry and ultimately grow the UK’s low-carbon economy.
  • The Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI) will represent the timber supply chain from forest to end-of-life recycling and energy recovery; consolidating and enhancing the various links in the timber supply chain and building more relationships with new industry partners.
  • Dr Peter Bonfield, chief executive of BRE, launched the CTI. He said: “This Industry has needed a stronger joined up voice for a very long time. This is a great moment for the Timber Industries to demonstrate their combined strength and showcase the Industry.
  • The timber supply chain contributes substantially to the UK’s construction and manufacturing industries; providing jobs across the skills spectrum and adding value of around £20bn to the UK economy. It is among of the most complex in the world with a huge diversity of operations worldwide and a downstream process that involves many steps from harvesting through to sawmill, wood processing and distribution.

Read more at edie.net