All posts by Procurious HQ

Future Proofing Procurement – Social Sourcing and Supplier Networks

Traditional procurement processes and methods are being overtaken and replaced. While they still have a role to play, how can you make sure your procurement organisation is ready to meet the future head-on?

A few weeks ago, I was involved in a Twitter chat on behalf of Procurious on the subject of social media, supplier networks and social sourcing. It got me thinking about how procurement can prepare for an expanding strategic role in the coming years.

Social media is well established for connections and networking for individuals, and forward-thinking procurement teams are ensuring that their brands are positioned to take advantage. But where should they be going next?

Supplier Networks

Supplier Networks are built on the premise of using social media to create a pool of organisations, which have the same or very similar requirements, and combine resources in order to achieve favourable rates on large-scale purchases.

The favourable conditions are not just for the buying organisations. Suppliers who are part of the network are able to access more organisations, combine orders (allowing for more efficient manufacturing or production processes) and reduce their own costs too. Think of this as a ‘win-win’ situation.

It was on this thinking that Innovo was created. Innovo is a free online business-to-business (B2B) marketplace for all goods and services. The platform aims to connect buyers and suppliers on the basis of requirements.

Buyers outline what they need and suppliers are notified when buyers are looking for their products. The site then facilitates volume sharing between buyers, rebating savings for bulk purchasing across the group, and enables suppliers also to share volumes and reduce their own prices.

While not directly linked to the ‘traditional’ social media platforms, sites like Innovo are facilitating online relationships and allowing procurement to both add value for organisations through improved supplier relationships, but also deliver savings for the bottom line.

Social Sourcing

Social sourcing is defined as buyers or purchasing organisations using social media platforms, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, to access a wider supplier market, where new solutions, supplier innovation and alternative products can be found.

What may be holding procurement back in this regard is the need to be open in a public environment with requirements or products issues. While this is not something that has been widely done in the past, there are a few organisations that are using social media to good effect in this regard.

This openness tends to be around lower value, non-critical products currently, but the possibilities of using this more widely will grow as more organisations become comfortable with it.

Currently there are a few examples of good practice in the market, but we’ve highlighted two of the best here.

  • LV= (Liverpool Victoria): The UK-based financial services organisation realised that they could use social media to share issues and ideas and attract responses from a wider community of small to medium sized suppliers.

This approach, seen as less formal and more flexible, has enabled LV= to have more collaborative discussions with a much wider community and benefit from innovative thinking.

  • GE and Quirky: General Electric and Quirky, a crowd-sourced innovation platform, to create a new platform to enable innovation. The platform enables crowd submission of new products and small-team designs, giving suppliers access to GE and GE a ‘renewable’ source of crowd innovation.

These smaller organisations also have the advantage of being able to access retail relationships that would have been difficult previously, as now they have the support of GE.

(Note – Quirky filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this year. However, their innovation journey continues on Wink.)

Securing Procurement’s Future?

Procurious are big advocates of using social media as part of the procurement process. Through conversations we have been having with procurement professionals around the world, as well as technological and industry experts, we believe that these are the conditions the majority of procurement will be carried out in the future.

Adopting a new approach to procurement is a big transformation for organisations, however, in order to ensure that procurement remains relevant, adds value for organisations and retains a strategic presence, the profession needs to keep up with the times.

The benefits of social media are there to see – you don’t need to jump in with both feet straight away, but can ease into it slowly in order to make a smoother transition. Our challenge to you would be – what could you be doing differently in your procurement process? Why not be the one to take the first step and ultimately get ahead of your competitors and up your social media game.

If these organisations are leading by example, what is yours doing? Is your organisation future-proofed? We’d love to hear more from you if you have a great example to share!

New FSB Service Could Help SMEs Cut Energy Bills

Small businesses can reduce average energy bills by almost a quarter with the new FSB Energy service.

K. Geijer/Shutterstock.com
  • FSB launches new service where members could reduce the cost of gas and electricity bills by 23 per cent, shaving nearly £1,000 per year off the average company bill
  • 70 per cent of businesses experience difficulty comparing energy tariffs and 43 per cent have never switched supplier
  • Main obstacles to businesses becoming energy efficient are working from leased or rented premises, lack of concern around energy costs and lack of capital for energy efficiency investment

Experts in business, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), is launching a new service to help its members reduce their gas and electricity bills. Members using the service could cut approximately a quarter (23 per cent) off their annual energy bill.

FSB’s new Energy Service (www.fsbenergy.org.uk) is part of a concerted drive by FSB to help smaller businesses reduce their energy costs. The organisation is also representing the interests of smaller businesses by responding to the Competition & Markets Authority’s (CMA) investigation into the energy market and creating a resource hub on its new website offering advice on energy efficiency measures.

Making Energy Easier 

The new service enables FSB members to obtain advice on competitive rates for their utilities, identify the annual saving achievable by switching tariffs and even have new contracts arranged for them if requested. It is born out of research suggesting that smaller businesses are being failed by the energy market, with 70 per cent of these businesses experiencing difficulty comparing energy tariffs and 43 per cent saying they have never switched supplier.

The new service will be run on behalf of FSB by business cost saving champion ‘Make it Cheaper‘.  It could generate annual average savings of 23 per cent for new customers switching their gas and electricity provider, equivalent to £973 off the £4,243 average annual energy bill of an FSB member. 

FSB Energy will also take care of the paperwork involved in switching – such as terminating existing contracts on behalf of members – saving them time and hassle in the process. And the service reminds members when their fixed price periods end to make sure they never ‘default’ on to more expensive rates.

SMEs Suffer Higher Costs

The CMA, which is preparing to conclude its investigation into the energy market, says SMEs in the UK pay around £500 million more a year than if competition was functioning effectively. It has voiced concern that 45 per cent of SMEs have been placed on a default tariff – one that has not been actively negotiated – which can be more than twice as expensive as a negotiated tariff. 

Dave Stallon, Operations Director at FSB, said: “Energy is an increasingly important issue for smaller businesses. There are many ways they can make substantial savings through the implementation of energy efficiency measures as well as ensuring they get the best tariff they can on their gas and electricity. Many smaller businesses, however, either don’t believe they can make substantial savings or haven’t trusted the market and the system enough to engage in the process.

“Our new service is designed to give smaller business owners easy to use advice they can trust, to enable them to make savings with the minimum of fuss. We are also very actively engaged with the CMA to improve the energy market for smaller businesses and are offering resources and advice on energy efficiency. In combination, we are confident that our initiatives can help to make a significant difference to smaller businesses’ energy bills.”

Energy Efficiency

In parallel with the establishment of FSB’s new Energy service, the organisation is promoting the benefits of smaller businesses introducing energy efficiency measures. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) estimates that the average SME could reduce its energy bill by 18-25 per cent by installing energy efficiency measures with an average payback of less than 1.5 years. 

However, while FSB research demonstrates that 90 per cent of businesses want to be energy efficient and 58 per cent of businesses surveyed have already made changes to improve their energy efficiency, there are major obstacles that need to be overcome. 

Almost half (45 per cent) of businesses identified operating from leased or rented premises as one of the biggest obstacles preventing companies becoming energy efficient.  Other barriers identified include a lack of concern around energy costs (45 per cent) and a lack of capital for energy efficiency investment (29 per cent).

The most widely reported energy efficiency measures already taken were: the installation of more efficient lights, lamps and bulbs (40 per cent); the introduction of switch off/turn down policies (23 per cent); and improved insulation (23 per cent). 

For the high level details on the research, check out the infographic below:

20151201 Energy Efficiency infographic FINAL

Established over 40 years ago to help its members succeed in business, FSB is a non-profit making organisation that’s run by members, for members.

FSB offers membership packages from £130. Members get an exclusive package of great value business services including advice, financial products and support. These cover a wide range of benefits such as tax, legal and HR, local network groups, business banking and mentoring.

Paris Climate Conference Emits Cautious Optimism

As the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) rolls into its second week, there is a sense of cautious optimism that the meeting in Paris may produce a global agreement on climate change.

VladisChern/Shutterstock.com

The meeting kicked off last week with 190 countries in attendance, with the aim of coming to a universal agreement on climate change and how to handle it. This might seem like a big, if not impossible, ask, but it’s important to remember that this is a world problem and ten years of collaboration has produced some positive results.

Positive Steps

In the past, outputs from the Climate Conference have suffered due to the high number of diverse interests from different countries. When the meeting was held in Copenhagen in 2009, strong differences between the US and China on commitments to minimise rising global temperatures caused a breakdown in negotiations.

However, many observers have said that the countries are in a much better position this year than in many previous years, but also that there is greater collaboration between cities, collectively known as the C40, who are sharing information and achieving outcomes on issues such as food waste collection and urban climate change.

Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City and UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, stated, “We’re in better shape going into Paris than we were going into Copenhagen, largely because of the progress cities have made, and C40 cities have helped lead the way. It’s a great example of the power of cooperation.”

And this spirit of collaboration has been seen in the talks between the key countries, with representatives already issuing a first draft of the agreement, leaving a full week for negotiations to take place and the agreement to be finalised.

The ministerial negotiations are where the real challenge lies, as each country approaches them with different goals in mind. Negotiations will focus on helping poorer countries reduce their emissions, how richer countries can contribute financially to make this work, and how global temperature rises can be capped or reduced.

Action Stations

What has been agreed upon is that it is time to act. The meeting has representatives from Kiribati and the Marshall Islands, both countries where rising sea levels have submerged large areas of land. With a focus on the future, it’s now down to see what the actions need to look like.

Alexander Howard, Senior Editor for Technology and Society at The Huffington Post,  notes that much of the focus thus far has been on ‘response’ (e.g. developing crisis management systems), rather working towards low-carbon cities. He acknowledges that this is a difficult goal which could potentially mean, amongst other things, spending a fortune to incentivise the public to alter their lifestyles.

This week will be vital in ensuring the future of countries’ actions against climate change, as any agreement will still have to be implemented. And this is where procurement should come into play.

Howard goes on to explain how “…tech giants like Apple have worked to shift to renewable energy sources. Cities can do the same. Mayors and city councils can use procurement reform to ensure that vendors compete to host the next generation of digital city services in greener data centres powered by clean energy sources instead of coal-fired plants.”

There is potentially a major role for procurement organisations to play in any implementation. It’s now time for procurement to be looking fully ahead to the future and ensuring that sustainability is embedded in processes, helping to support ongoing initiatives.

What are your thoughts on the issue of Climate Change and how it relates to procurement? Get involved on Procurious today!

We’ve also compiled a short selection of the top headlines in procurement and supply chain this week to share with your friends over morning coffee…

Trinidad and Tobago Under Pressure to Reform Procurement Laws

  • Purchasing legislation introduced by Trinidad and Tobago’s government less than a year ago has already faced criticism due to its perceived loopholes and limitations
  • The law, which aimed to create a “comprehensive database of information on public procurement” and “set training standards and competence levels for procurement professionals” was implemented by former Prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, but has since been challenged by the People’s National Movement
  • The amended bill will be put to a committee, with revisions seeking to establish a Public Procurement Review Board, with the role of reviewing decisions made by the Office of Procurement Regulation
  • It is hoped that changes will help to strengthen the existing laws

Read more at Supply Management

LAX Announces $5 billion Procurement Programme

  • The procurement programme seeks to modernise the Los Angeles airport, the fifth busiest in the world
  • The Landside Access Modernisation Programme will include an automated people mover covering 2.25 miles, which will connect the central terminal area with a car rental area and a station connecting the airport to the LA Metro
  • The eight-year programme aims to relieve traffic congestion within the terminal area and on surrounding streets
  • It is hoped that using a strategy of “Design, Build, Finance, Operate, Maintain” (DBFOM) will help with efficiencies in running the project

Read more at Airports International

Department for Transport (DfT) Receives CIPS Certification

  • The DfT recently transformed their procurement function which has seen procurement’s profile raised across the DfT
  • A “Procurement Centre of Excellence”, which operates across the entire department, was also created and procurement governance processes were strengthened, with new guidance issued across the organisation.
  • Melinda Johnson, director of group commercial services at the department said the ‘achievement of this certification has enabled us to assure our ‘best practice’ guidance, make changes as necessary and given us pointers for further improvement.’

Read more at Supply Management

Samsung/Apple Patent Dispute Continues

  • Samsung has agreed to pay Apple $548 million in court ordered damages in their long-running patent dispute
  • It is the first meaningful transfer of money as part of the dispute, which began when Apple sued Samsung for perceived copyright infringements relating to the iPhone
  • Following a jury ruling in Apple’s favour, the US-based organisation were awarded over $1 billion in damages
  • There is a further case pending next year, worth $400 million, relating to the same charges

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Procurious Big Ideas Keynote #2 – Big Ideas in Big Companies

The second keynote from the Big Ideas Summit was delivered by Chris Lynch, CFO at Rio Tinto, who picked out the key theme of risks and blind spots in procurement.

Chris spoke about fostering a culture of “intrapreneurship” within large organisations and understanding that the bigger your idea is, the more resistance it will face.

However he went on to state that by persisting with your idea, taking ideas from other sources, including suppliers, and showing the outcomes, you are more likely to succeed.

Watch the full keynote here.

See all the keynotes and panel discussions from the Big Ideas Summit, plus Big Ideas from our 40+ Influencers.

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

Automating Procurement Management Is A Way to Drive Efficiency

Procurement management is a critical process and technology has been playing a major role in driving its efficiency.

The procure-to-pay cycle, which involves everything from requests-to-suppliers to final payments, requires solid control and faster turnaround. It helps improve organisational efficiency by a big margin. According to FSN, an independent research and publishing organisation, “Automating the procure-to-pay process will be the easiest way to drive significant benefits for any organisation, whether it is a large public sector company or a small trading firm.”

The traditional or manual procure-to-pay process is exceptionally labor and document intensive. It involves processing mountains of paperwork, cutting through bureaucracy for purchase-order placements, gaining budget approvals and managing payments. That’s time-consuming and error-prone and brings low supplier satisfaction. But with automated procure-to-pay systems, work becomes much simpler.

The Benefits of Automation

Procurement efficiency can trigger a chain reaction that leads to better efficiency and a healthy return on investment. Experts point out that organisations using automation have an average of two-day purchase-order cycles, compared to the 7-day cycle for firms that use the manual process.

Automation of the procure-to-pay cycle streamlines the process and delivers key benefits like:

  • Faster communication with suppliers

Automation provides real-time interaction with the suppliers, which reduces time-consuming paperwork. Suppliers can instantly access the documents, contracts and the information that helps them understand the process completely. Employees get to access best practices online, deliver faster decisions and select the best course of action. Faster decision-making helps to improve efficiency of the procure-to-pay cycle.

  • Quicker cycle times with purchase orders and approvals

In most organisations, workers spend most of their time drawing up contracts and reworking them to incorporate changes. But with automation of contracts, management becomes easier. Online templates, where minor changes can be easily incorporated, help to save time.

You need not reinvent the wheel all the time by creating contracts from scratch for every supplier. Existing contracts can be stored and reused as and when required. Receipts, invoices, account information and other documents can be easily replicated with appropriate templates readily available within the system.

  • Instant data capture

The procure-to-pay cycle is extremely paper intensive. Online invoices, receipts and bills, which can be easily mailed to suppliers, reduce the effort and time spent on manualkeying. With the proliferation of mobile devices, apps can be used by employees to validate documents and upload relevant information from any part of the company. Therefore, an employee from the warehouse can easily send real-time information, which can be monitored by the accounts department instantly.

  • Better audit trail

The use of standard templates, online interactions and real-time document uploads create an audit trail that can be instantly identified. All communication with suppliers and other pipeline partners is captured. It can be referred to in case of disputes. Multiple stakeholders and departments can simultaneously view the interactions, and thus facilitate greater visibility and transparency.

  • On the go authorisation

Once the invoice has been generated, it requires approvals from different departments. Automation can trigger electronic authorisation and the data can be immediately entered for final processing. Multiple approvals can be configured within the system. Mobile access authorisation helps fast-tracking the approvals for users on the go. The system also sends email alerts for pending work, thus reducing the cycle time.

  • Faster payment cycles

Automated procure-to-pay has reduced supplier lead times, creating better trust for company actions. Executives can streamline company strategies to ensure that employees and stakeholders are trained to access and utilise the system for better outcomes.

Organisations that have automated procure-to-pay systems have clear advantages over those who continue with manual processing. Automation helps in driving up efficiency and utilising your workforce for developing effective strategies.

Ashly J is veteran industry expert working as a Marketing Operations Manager in India. She focuses on growing Expenzing procure-to-pay systems as an open source product, and communicates the value of identity to customers, partners, and the larger community, by targeting specific markets through segmentation and analysis.

Getting it Right on Social Media – 10 Do’s and Don’ts

Even for a seasoned pro, or ‘Master’ as we like to say at Procurious, social media can be a minefield to negotiate.

One wrong word, one misplaced link, or even something as small as a spelling mistake, can have you people clicking “Unfollow” in droves.

Like with reputation or trust, a social media following takes a long time to build, but can be undermined and disappear in the blink of an eye. But what can you do to ensure that you are getting social media ‘right’, and providing value for your followers.

We’ve pulled together a list of Do’s and Don’ts for you to remember the next time you are linking, tweeting or social networking.

Do

  1. Add Some Personality

Some platforms more naturally lend themselves to being a bit more creative with your profile, while others are very much more suited to a more professional outlook.

It’s important to make this distinction when creating your profile. You can still add some of ‘you’ to a professional profile, but try to get the balance right. Inject some personality into your profile and people will naturally engage more with it.

  1. Use Accounts Wisely

Use your profiles in a sensible fashion, but also in a way that suits you best. Want to use Twitter to gather information, rather than post yourself? Great – look for people to follow and stay up to date.

If you do post, do this in a logical way. Don’t post a dozen times one day and then nothing for the next week. It’s a sure fire way to stop people following you. Whatever you do, don’t create a profile and leave it to stagnate – it’s probably worse than not having a profile at all.

  1. Post Sensibly

Facebook is great for keeping up to date with your friends; Instagram is awesome for photos you want to share; Twitter is amazing for condensing your message; LinkedIn can help you get ahead professionally.

Your friends probably don’t need to see your CV, in the same way peers, and potential future employers, don’t need to see photos and videos of your children/pets/wacky family. Keep the message in line with the feel of the platform.

  1. Shorten Your URLs

There are few things more off-putting on Twitter than a post that is more URL than content. Long URLs are hard to read and interrupt the flow of your message.

There are great tools out there like bit.ly and tinyurl that can help with this – plus they’ll also help to steal a few characters back for you.

  1. Change Your Public (Vanity) URL

Surprisingly few people take advantage of this on Facebook and LinkedIn. When you first create a business account, your public URL will be a stream of unintelligible letters and numbers. However you can change this to your name, or the name of your business.

This will make it easier for people to find your profile and will be significantly easier for you to remember too.

Don’t

  1. Overuse Hashtags

People still use hashtags on Facebook, although they don’t work well, while Twitter and Instagram are the key platforms for them. Limit your hashtags to between 1 and 3 in each post, no more. Use too many and people will stop following you, or reading any of your posts.

Try also to fit them into a sentence or post so it makes sense and reads well. Don’t use them on LinkedIn. Ever.

  1. Connect with Everyone

You might want to seem like you are a master-networker and one of the most connected people on social media. However, you should be mindful of who you are connecting with. Are they going to give you value? Will you ever have a meaningful interaction with them?

Make sure you’re connected with key colleagues, peers, suppliers, even competitors, but keep it relevant.

  1. Auto-post Across All Platforms

Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are brilliant. Using these tools wisely to schedule content can save you a huge amount of time and effort in getting your message on to social media.

However, remember that each platform displays messages differently, and a post good for Facebook probably won’t work well on Twitter. It’s worth creating tweets separately, as usernames and hashtags you have included won’t display well on other sites.

  1. Just Advertise

People have probably followed you based on the strength of your profile, or the value of your message. However, these people don’t just want to hear you advertise your own goods, services or brand.

Other people in your industry will have good messages too, and content that has value too. Help share it across your network and you might find that it increases your own following too.

  1. Give Up

Social media can be hard to get to grips with, especially if you are trying to do too much, across too many platforms. Pick the one(s) you are most comfortable with and build them up in order to get the most value from them.

Don’t worry if you aren’t getting hundreds of followers or connections either. Keep trying and posting good content and it’ll happen. Remember, even the best users started at zero.

There you have it – our 10 tips to get it right on social media. If you think we’ve missed something, or you disagree with any of this, please get in touch. We always love to learn!

Why Procurement’s Time is Now: An Interview with Tony Megally

The Source’s new Managing Director, Tony Megally, shares his views on the state of Australian procurement talent and what it takes to set up an effective retention scheme. 

Tony Megally

 

 

 

 

 

It seems that Australian businesses have begun to realise the value that a highly functioning procurement team can bring to an organisation.

Obviously, this is reliant on the ability of procurement leaders to attract the right talent to the function. How do you feel about the current stocks of procurement talent in Australia?

There is definitely a short supply of high quality procurement professionals across the local market. It seems that organisations are either doing their best to retain top procurement talent or competing to attract talent. Industry related experience in some sectors, for example FMCG and Retail is increasingly becoming an essential requirement, and that is adding further challenges in the recruitment process.

Organisations are focussing on the talent shortage by looking to hire from offshore markets. We are increasingly receiving mandates from our clients to reach out to procurement communities across the UK and South East Asian regions.

As the procurement function continues to mature, what do you see as the critical skills and capabilities that procurement professionals need to possess today?

No matter how technical and analytical your skills are, employers are looking for commercially minded procurement professionals with strategic agility and strong business acumen who can communicate, influence and add value to stakeholders.

A great procurement function serves the whole business and the traditional procurement skill set is not enough. Procurement professionals should look to continually develop their interpersonal, strategic thinking, networking, influencing and leadership skills.

There is a lot of talk about Millennials at the moment, both in terms of how to attract them and once you’ve done that, how to motivate them to perform. Do you have any insight into how procurement teams might manage employees from different generations?

I think the challenge for many CPO’s and Senior Procurement Leaders is understanding which generations are represented in their team and what their expectations are, and how they will best perform and progress their careers. This will all help with succession planning or more broadly, talent management.

For example, Gen Y/Millennials will probably respond well to becoming a “champion” of a particular project or subject matter, having a strong mentor, a clearly defined career path and access to senior decision makers. We are starting to see an interesting management trend emerge with Millennials acting as social media advisors to their less digital savvy Gen X and Boomer leaders.

This reverse mentoring role is enabling greater collaboration and innovation amongst diverse generations in the workplace and giving Millennials a sense of empowerment and ownership.

Holding onto great talent is as important as attracting the right people to work in your business in the first place. There is no point signing great talent if you don’t have a plan in place to keep them.

Do you have any observations as to what makes a good talent retention policy? Is there anything in particular that the top talent is looking for in order to stay?

Having interviewed thousands of candidates over the years, it’s very clear that money alone won’t retain top performers.   People want to feel valued, trusted and respected. They are looking for on-going personal and professional development opportunities and to work within a flexible team focussed environment where they can make a meaningful difference, and be recognised for their contribution to a team’s or organisation’s goals.

Poor leadership is one of the top reasons many people leave, even top performers. A good talent retention policy is certainly nice to have however in a fiercely competitive market not everyone will stick around. I strongly believe that CPOs and Senior Procurement Leaders who are inspirational, engaging, communicative and authentic will win in the end!

Black Friday over as Nestle reveals darkest of supply chain disclosures

Another week, another procurement scandal. It came as quite a shock when Nestlé self-vilified and admitted to slave labour within their supply chain.

Whether you’ve heralded them for their honesty or condemned them for not doing enough, we can at least be glad that the issue of slavery within supply chains is once again at the forefront of people’s minds and being addressed. 

In other news, The Digital Market place has launched G-Cloud 7 and we’ve made it through another Black Friday (thank goodness). 

To get you up to speed or just to refresh your memory we’ve compiled a succinct summary of a week in procurement. 

1) Nestlé admits to slavery within its supply chain

Nestlé has self-disclosed the presence of slave labour used to catch fish in Thailand that ultimately ends up in its supply chain. It’s a bold move from the organisation and has been widely regarded as a positive one-  both to hold their hands up and admit fault and to endeavour to put something in place to ensure it stops happening.

Nestlé launched a year long internal investigation last December, after a number of their fish products were linked to unregulated working conditions. 

Verité, a non-profit organisation whose mission is to ensure “that people around the world work under safe, fair, and legal conditions” were commissioned by Nestlé to produce a report for this investigation and interiewed over 100 people. One worker told the organisation “Sometimes, the net is too heavy and workers get pulled into the water and just disappear. When someone dies, he gets thrown into the water.” 

It is rare for a company such as Nestle to report on such negative findings and not surprising that their move has been applauded. Mark Lagon, president of the non-profit Freedom House, a Washington-based anti-trafficking organization has described the move as “exemplary” and he is not alone. 

Others have been more cynical. Does Nestles implementation of an “Action Plan” to tackle this issue prove their genuine engagement with and commitment to ending slave labour and improving working conditions across all of their supply chains?

Articles referenced:

http://www.verite.org/research/promoting-responsible-labor-practices-fishing

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/nov/24/nestle-admits-forced-labour-in-seafood-supply-chain

http://in-cyprus.com/all-companies-have-slave-labour-in-supply-chains-tesco/

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-business/european-business/nestle-admits-slave-caught-seafood-present-in-its-supply-chain/article27445511/

2) Did you succumb to the pressure of Black Friday?

Black Friday is a fairly established tradition in the USA and fast becoming so in the UK (and other countries) with an estimated  £810 million spent in 2014. For retailers and supply chain managers Black Friday coupled with Cyber Monday (who knew that was a thing?) presents a logistical nightmare- and you thought being the shopper was the stressful part? 

Shops are expected to be well-stocked, well-staffed and well-run. We live in an age where selling out is absolutely not an option and supply chain managers need to prepare accordingly with contingency plans in place. 

Articles referenced:

http://www.supplychaindigital.com/supplychainmanagement/4176/Planning-for-Black-Friday

http://www.supplychaindigital.com/supplychainmanagement/4168/Supply-chains-under-pressure-as-Black-Friday-looms

3)  UK Government launches G-Cloud 7 

On Wednesday 25th November, G-Cloud 7, which caters to suppliers selling cloud-based services, went live and the government announced the 1,616 suppliers who have been appointed to the framework (an 11.2% increase in suppliers from February’s sixth iteration).

Government frameworks are time and cost effective for both public sector organisations and those supplying to them, excusing the need for individual procurement contracts. The 

A Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS) framework, the first of its kind, has opened for submissions in the hope of making the procurement of technology services ever more efficient and fair. This framework is set to go live in April 2016 and will allow public sector organisations to compare and buy digital inclusion training services and assisted digital support. As with G-Cloud frameworks, organisations will be able to “buy services more quickly because they don’t have to run a full OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) tender.”

The Digital Market Place has explained the reasons for launching the DOS: “Suppliers told us that the application process for the Digital Services framework was demanding. Buyers told us that they wanted to evaluate suppliers against their specific needs. The need for digital services across the public sector are so diverse that we decided the most appropriate place for in-depth evaluation of a supplier is at call-off stage, against the specific buyer problem.” Because suppliers will be able to informally respond to buyers before competition starts, the process will allow the buying process to be “open, fair and transparent.”

Articles referenced:

http://www.cloudpro.co.uk/leadership/5597/g-cloud-7-goes-live-with-new-services-in-digital-marketplace

http://central-government.governmentcomputing.com/news/g-cloud-7-goes-live-as-procurement-reforms-continue-4736146

https://assisteddigital.blog.gov.uk/2015/11/19/digital-training-and-support-framework-is-open-for-submissions/ 

https://digitalmarketplace.blog.gov.uk/2015/11/20/themes-from-supplier-responses-to-draft-documents/ 

4) Renewable Energy Procurement

 – China RE100,  an initiative committed to 100% renewable electricity, held a workshop to educated business on renewable energy procurement. 

– “The gathering brought together representatives from a variety of associations, companies and financial institutions and sparked discussion around ‘Financial Models and Risk Management for Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement’ in China.”

– “Corporate demand for renewable energy is rapidly increasing in China, now the largest investor in the market worldwide – in 2014, the total amount of investment increased by $US89.5 billion. “

-“Wang Weiquan, Deputy Secretary of CREIA spoke of renewable energy policy and legislation in China, and Peng Peng, Policy Lead of CREIA went into further detail about tariffs, subsidies and direct purchase options for renewable power in China.” 

– Discussed options for a greener and more sustainable society.

Articles Referenced

http://there100.org/re100

http://www.theclimategroup.org/what-we-do/news-and-blogs/businesses-learn-about-renewable-energy-procurement-in-beijing/

5) MSPs to call in IT firms after criticism of public sector procurement system

The Public Audit Committee will take evidence from Scottish Government permanent secretary Leslie Evans in two weeks’ time after claims were made claims there is “something very wrong” with the procurement system in central government. 

https://www.holyrood.com/articles/news/msps-call-it-firms-after-criticism-public-sector-procurement-system

Procurious Big Ideas Keynote #1 – The Chefs in your Procurement Kitchen

The Big Ideas Summit’s first keynote was delivered by Sigi Osagie, coach and author of Procurement Mojo.

Sigi’s focus was on the people side of procurement, and he spoke passionately about how, while processes and technology are critical enablers for procurement success, ultimately it’s people that make the real difference.

Watch the full keynote here.

See all the keynotes and panel discussions from the Big Ideas Summit, plus Big Ideas from our 40+ Influencers.

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Are We Still in Love with Black Friday?

With Thanksgiving over, consumers and businesses now turn their attention to the start of the festive shopping period – beginning with Black Friday. But are people falling out of love with this shopping day?

 Originally an American phenomenon, Black Friday is the semi-official start of the festive retail period. There’s no consensus as to why Black Friday is called Black Friday, although one compelling theory is that it represents the day where retailers start to earn a profit.

It’s easy to see why that might be the case. In America alone, approximately 249 million people will purchase something on Black Friday, with the total spend in 2015 estimated at $50.9 billion. Black Friday first appeared in the UK 2 years ago, and total spend this year in the UK is expected to exceed last year’s total of £1.5 billion.

Give it a Miss?

Despite the obvious draw of low priced goods at a time of year when many are budgeting for Christmas, some have begun to look upon Black Friday as a symbol of a highly consumerised society and something that adds stress in an already stressful part of the year.

From needing to be in line well before midnight to get the best deals, to the big name brands not being on sale at all, and the potential to get caught up in unsavoury scenes similar to those that played out in shops across the UK last year, there are compelling reasons for giving the shops a miss on Friday.

Alternatively people will look for other options, such as shopping online on Friday (where many retailers have the same, if not better deals), or choosing to wait until Cyber Monday to make their purchases.

Retail Fatigue

It also appears that retailers are beginning to fall out of love with Black Friday too. Far from boosting profits, statistics have shown that many retailers actually lose money on Black Friday, with sales not being sufficient to outweigh the slim margins they have to cope with. It’s also believed that increased transactions are as a result of consumers waiting for these sales, rather than purchasing earlier in the year.

Even Asda, owned by Wal-Mart (attributed with introducing Black Friday to the UK), has decided that they will give the sale day a miss this year, citing customers’ “shopping fatigue” and electing to spread out their seasonal offers over a longer period of time.

Supply Chain Strain

Organisations that aim to maintain high customer service levels for online operations face having to hire additional employees and increase logistics capabilities to keep up with demand.

Organisations need to ensure that their supply chains are up to scratch, with consumers likely to go elsewhere if products are either out of stock or unable to be delivered in good time. And if supply chain issues have been present during the year, customers may not return to the retailer at all, in spite of the deals being offered.

Being able to cope with increased demand, and being flexible enough to react to changing trends, is key for organisational supply chains. This includes being able to assess demand in real-time and potentially move stock between locations in order to satisfy customer wants.

The End for Black Friday?

In spite of all this, it’s unlikely that Black Friday will cease to exist entirely. Retailers who have their strategies well planned and the ability to meet customer demand, will want to remain in a good position to take a share of the billions of dollars spent.

However, as more organisations extend their Black Friday sales, either by starting earlier in the week, or extending them over the holiday weekend and beyond Cyber Monday, it is possible that it might be the last we see of these sales in their current format.

Is your organisation having a Black Friday sale? Are you involved in ensuring the supply chain is able to meet demand? Get in touch and tell your story.