All posts by Procurious HQ

Chris Lynch: `You’ve shown me the money, now show me how we’ll get there`

Rio Tinto’s CFO, Chris Lynch offers: when you’ve got a big idea that you believe in, then don’t waste the chances you get to convince others – communication will be key.

Chris Lynch talks communication

Remember that people at the top of organisations are time poor, therefore Big Ideas, backed by courage, resonate.

So if you get the opportunity to present your idea, make sure it’s punchy and grabs their attention.

Don’t overcomplicate it. And make sure you frame it so they can quickly see how it will solve their business problems.

What should give you confidence is that pitching a Big Idea should be a lot easier than a small one.

Because you are passionate about the topic, and you have sized the prize. If not, you better make sure that you are, and that you have.

We all have our own way of communicating, but two things stand out – rehearse, prepare and test.

We can all write our best ideas on a page, and even all convince ourselves we have every angle covered.

My tip is don’t just believe in yourself, test your concept first, with family, or a friend or colleague.

They will give you the feedback, and the confidence, to make sure you have properly stress-tested your idea and your plan.

If you were presenting to me, I’d want to know: what’s different about your idea? How come we haven’t been able to capture this value before?

What resources will you need to get it done, and how long’s it going to take? Don’t underestimate the time and effort it can take to drive change through an organisation.

And importantly, make sure you know how you’re going to measure success.

So the art of communicating in procurement, as it is in any field, is, once you have shown me the money, show me how we will get there.

Communicating within your own organisation, be it up or down, is one thing, but communicating across boundaries or outside to others may help you create wealth.

For it will probably be outside our own walls that new ideas are flowering or taking hold. We need people on the inside with visibility of the outside.

To act as intrapreneurs for our business and help re-invent it.

At Rio Tinto we have 60,000 people and operations in 40 countries over 6 continents. So for us social media provides a global platform to communicate and share.

I think there is a real opportunity in eLearning. You can imagine as a CFO, I see a better ROI on that than bringing hundreds of people together for training.

We live in a world of instant communication, from email to social media, but let us not overlook face to face communication, be it real – or via satellite to save money!

You can learn a heck of a lot by picking up a phone, and you can speed up and broaden your connections through social media – it can often be the shortest route to an answer and can expand your breadth of knowledge.

In a relatively small but specialised field of procurement, communication is even more important.

Accountants, well, I hate to admit it, but there are a lot of us…and we all kind of do the same job.

But if you’re a procurement professional, you may be specialised and isolated.

Social media platforms [like Procurious] may well be your best way to connect and share learnings and the experiences of others in similar circumstances.

The short distance between two points, or a knowledge gap and a solution, maybe just a phone call or email away.

Chris Lynch on why the best Big Ideas might come from our suppliers

Rio Tinto’s CFO, Chris Lynch talks partnerships.

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Given the speed of change in business and procurement trends, no enterprise can afford to be an island.

Like the Internet, it is the speed of connection, and new partners bringing new ideas that will help define the pace of change and business reinvention.

Our partners, much like our friends, can point out things we didn’t see before.

That’s why partnership is so important, as is choosing our partners wisely.

Rarely do Big Ideas get advertised, for if they do they are probably now in the mainstream.

It is our partners who can help find the new ideas on the margins or periphery of our control that can help us reinvent business and create value.

On the hunt for the next Big Idea in the procurement world, we all know that the best ideas might come from our suppliers themselves.

I’ve always believed you should “reward the idea”.

If a supplier comes to you with a unique idea, do the best you can to work with them and recognise their suggestion.

Partnerships can be hard work, but they can also be more fertile and rewarding.

That is why we look to partnerships around the world.

The key to partnership must be a sense of shared value – even in tough times.

For example in the mid 90s when I was at Alcoa, we had to achieve a turnaround for an operation. If we could achieve this, it would be a win-win for us and our suppliers.

I called a town hall meeting… It was then that I confirmed the lesson, that suppliers want your business to survive, and even thrive, and are prepared to play a part in that success if they are brought on the journey.

Rather than seeing our suppliers as a cost that just needs to be controlled, recognise the value that can be unlocked by working together.

That might be changing a specification, introducing new innovations or standardising production processes, for instance.

Be clear about your objectives, and if you don’t have the expertise in-house to achieve them, then use them to help you choose the right partners, and build the strong alliances you need to succeed.

As Sam Walsh, our chief executive at Rio Tinto, said in a recent speech in Korea: “Innovate to grow, partner to succeed”. That is because solo genius is rare and partners make a difference.

There are inventors, and then there are entrepreneurs.

Look at the great entrepreneurs. They all had partners – be they in finance, technology, procurement, you name it.

At Rio Tinto our partners are behind our greatest successes – be it our customer partnerships for our Pilbara iron ore operations in Western Australia.

Or our supplier partners, such as Komatsu, who have helped lead the development of autonomous trucks.

These are huge 308 tonne, three storey-high robots that operate themselves, overseen from our Operations Centre some 1,500 km away near Perth airport.

They have hundreds of sensors that are continuously feeding information to the control centre. They are already some 15 per cent more efficient than our other trucks; they use less fuel and have less wear and tear.

They really are our version of big data in action. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The sensors are now appearing on all our equipment and potentially have huge benefits for the way we operate and our whole approach to maintenance and procurement.

For example, with the help of our IT experts in our Indian Excellence Centre, we can now sense the wear on individual components and better predict when a piece of equipment is going to need maintenance, rather than just using a standard hours schedule.

Ultimately the data and the role of procurement with our partners will become more important, and significantly enhance the value of the actual equipment we buy.

Technology is changing the way we operate and the way we do business, but ultimately we still need people and partners with big ideas and the commitment to getting them implemented.

In procurement it will be our partners who will help shape our future. We don’t have a view on what the future should look like, because with great partners we aim to always be one step ahead of it.

Chris was speaking at Procurious’ inaugural Big Ideas Summit as one of 40 most influential commercial thought-leaders. Learn more about the Big Ideas Summit and how to access exclusive content from the event.

David Hames: `Big Data?` Organisations should sort out their `Small Data` first

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One of the overarching themes at our Big Ideas Summit was that of technology. We quizzed Dr David Hames, Executive Chairman of Science Warehouse on e-business, Big Data, and social media. Here’s what he had to impart:

Procurious asks: E-procurement and e-business sectors have seen a surge in growth over the last few years, what advances do you predict for the next five, ten (and beyond) years?

David: We see a growing demand for user-friendly cloud-based e-procurement solutions that are easy for users to access over a wide range of technology interfaces. Users are demanding the same intuitive, fast and responsive solutions at work that they already enjoy in the B2C world. Purchasing online is now the norm in the B2C world and is fast becoming the norm at work as well. This makes sense for employers too – cloud solutions that are delivered without costly infrastructure, a workforce that needs minimal or no training to use the e-procurement solution, and active engagement by staff driving a common process and delivering process efficiencies.

But just as in the B2C world where a user quickly moves onto the next website if the current one does not have the required content, so we see content as core to delivering the full benefits of e-procurement in the business world. Good content will become an increasingly key differentiator for e-procurement success.

Looking ahead, we expect B2C and B2B (e-procurement) to continue to converge, both focusing on maximising engagement with end users. Less  B2C or B2B, more a unifying ‘Business to User’ approach – B2U!

Procurious: How can e-procurement services help CPOs manage their spending more sensibly?

David: By giving up-to-the-minute visibility of real spend – on demand and at multiple levels right down to individual order level, facilitating better planning, better informed operational management and accurate and comprehensive spend data for contract negotiations.

To deliver this successfully needs not only powerful technology but also great data.  Quite simply, spend analysis is only as good as the data being interrogated – and delivering accurate detailed spend data requires rich, consistently-classified, QC’d  product information as the source. That’s why Science Warehouse offers a fully managed eCatalogue service, producing rich accurate data to fully inform user choice at the point of purchase and to allow users to analyse spend data in a way never available before.

Procurious: As a function procurement is always under pressure to deliver results. You covered some scenarios in your recently-published Trends Survey – can you share the biggest findings with us?

David: We have seen a substantial increase in departments achieving more than 80 per cent of spend under management, but no increase in those who believe they are delivering strategic procurement – that is still stuck at a third of respondents.

Most respondents (68 per cent) see the cloud and data analytics as the future. 

Looking at e-procurement solutions, ease of use and data quality are increasingly rated as key criteria for success; up 51 per cent and 21 per cent respectively over the last 3 years.

The biggest challenge in 2015 (reported by 40 per cent of respondents) is a lack of procurement resource – mirrored by a 22 per cent increase in intentions to recruit to new roles.  This is great for candidates but bad for CPOs – concerns over talent acquisition and development have doubled since last year. 

Procurious: Is there a disparity between technology and engagement?

David: Done well, there is no disparity at all in that the technology should drive user engagement – not be a block to it.  Unfortunately, some e-procurement solutions have offered technology without the necessary engagement – proving themselves to be clunky and hard to use, or usable but without discernible benefit.  That drives users to find a way around the technology rather than engage with it and be empowered as a result. It follows that only solutions which fully engage with users and drive strong user adoption can deliver the promised efficiencies and savings to the buying organisation.

Procurious: How can procurement use Big Data more effectively, will Big Data analytics help drive a change?

David: The fact is that many buying organisations need to sort out their “small data” first. All too often the data sits in multiple silos and is not rich enough or properly quality checked to deliver detailed and accurate analytics. The lack of consistent data categorisation also often makes meaningful analysis difficult if not impossible. 

High quality consistently-mapped data is essential to delivering spend analysis that can be relied on to drive successful change.

Procurious: Let’s talk social media… What can social offer to the procurement professionals of today, and is it helping win the War for Talent?

David: Social media such as YouTube are popular for procurement training videos and demos but by far the most useful platform to date has been LinkedIn with procurement professionals collaborating, following trends, news, opinions, advice, etc.  Procurious looks set to raise the profile of procurement still further. 

In the War for Talent, social media can both help an individual get noticed (building a strong personal reputation) and create awareness around a company seeking top quality employees. Without question, fast growing companies need to harness social media to advantage.

Chris Lynch: the BIGGER the idea, the greater resistance you will face

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Lions are known for their courage – and courage is something that Rio Tinto’s CPO, Chris Lynch wants to share with Procurians today.

People whose big ideas become reality are people who have the courage of their convictions.

It’s important to persist to see your ideas through.

It might take years for your idea to come to fruition, and so in the meantime, you have to keep to your plan and keep delivering.

There’s nothing more refreshing than a fresh perspective to old problems.

I really believe that younger professionals have an enormous contribution to make, so you shouldn’t be afraid to share your thoughts. In a way, we’re relying on you to do so!

And don’t take my word for it.

Steve Jobs said it best: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

If you have a great idea, supported by good research, and a vision of how you want to get to the next stage – you are almost there.

In procurement the ideas and opportunities will be all around us. Chances are, with colleagues and friends and robust reviews, the idea can evolve to a plan.

I’ve mentioned before that at Rio Tinto we operate in 40 countries and in procurement we have $13.4 billion contestable spend and relationships with 62,000 suppliers.

That is more suppliers than we have employees.

The talent pool of ideas from employees, contractors and suppliers is immense.

So clearly there is plenty of scope for reinvention, improvement and BIG IDEAS and relationships to share.

It you have a plan all you need is the courage to execute it.

The process of securing this support is tough, but not nearly as tough as getting the whole organisation to implement your idea…a blog for another time.

What you will need is tenacity.

Sometimes the better and bigger the idea, the greater resistance you will face.

That’s because your idea is really breaking the current perspective and challenging people to look at the world in a totally different way.

This was my experience when I became the CEO at toll road operator, Transurban, and I had to convince the market and the board of a new direction, one less reliant on high gearing.

I took my plan to the board, I had a convincing argument, and what gave me confidence was the plan was backed by data, based on strong financial reasons to move forward.

Courage is a whole lot easier when you have done your homework.

Often people at the top of organisations are very time poor, and therefore big ideas with courage resonate.

They will either see the potential and passion for your idea or they won’t.

If they do, you have opened the door to new opportunities for you and your company.

If they don’t, they will still be engaged by the fact that you bring forward new ideas, new ways of thinking, new possibilities.

Today we have so many opportunities to reinvent our businesses from the inside.

To borrow new ideas, turn them to our advantage.

To borrow a sporting analogy, the football match is not won or lost until the final siren.

It is lost when the courage is gone to follow a game plan, to take measured risks, or to continuing trying.

Chris was speaking at Procurious’ inaugural Big Ideas Summit as one of 40 most influential commercial thought-leaders. Learn more about the Big Ideas Summit and how to access exclusive content from the event.

CIPS Cath Hill’s Big Ideas on bringing professional procurement into the future

CIPS Cath Hill at the Big Ideas Summit

Ahead of the Procurious Big Ideas Summit that happened on 30 April, we quizzed guest Cath Hill, Group Marketing and Membership Director – CIPS, on the future of the profession and how the Institute is using social media to capture the young procurement professionals of today.

Procurious asks: Is the membership different now, than say 2, 5, 10 years prior?

For instance – we talked a lot about ‘Intrapreneurs’ at our Big Ideas Summit, would you say those seeking membership are bringing more and varied skills to the table?

Cath: CIPS membership has seen rapid growth in the past 10 years and we have a global community of 114,000 in 150 countries. The profile of our members have also changed as we are now seeing more women as well as young people in senior roles.

The reach and scope of procurement activity is ever increasing as procurement get more involved with business strategy, complex acquisitions, enterprise development, supply chain financing.

Purchasing and supply management (P&SM) are being measured beyond savings and more forward thinking organisations are measuring procurement success on issues such as:

  • Increased bid wins, and more profitable wins
  • Social value – job creation and enterprise development
  • Winning business from better business practices – being a customer of choice
  • Intelligent spending – moving away from a spend it or lose it budgeting culture (particularly in the public sector)
  • Managing enterprise wide risks, even the ones that no one takes sole responsibility for – e.g cyber security
  • P&SM need wider skills sets.  They must sell themselves more to the business and become story tellers.
  • New business models require new supplier relationships – the Uber model where little sits on the balance sheet.

Procurement and Supply professionals not only need to raise their skill sets for new challenges ahead, but they also need to sell themselves more to the business and become storytellers. They need to be more than just procurement.  They need to understand the language of their stakeholders and network more within their business. What procurement teams really need is to create a brand and build a marketing campaign to sell their wide ranging services into the business. I have worked in marketing my entire career and the mere talk of process and policies makes me switch off.  I’d like to see procurement teams talking my language and demonstrating creative thinking when they engage with me.  What will other parts of the business want from procurement?

Procurious: Why in 2015 is it more important than ever to have CIPS membership?

Cath: Recent supply chain crisis demonstrate that professional procurement is more important than ever – Rana Plaza, food scandal.

MCIPS is the globally recognised standard for procurement and supply.  It’s your professional passport to work anywhere in the world and more and more employers are insisting that their teams are MCIPS. MCIPS procurement professionals can expect to earn more than their peers without membership, which clearly demonstrates its value.

We are working hard to encourage organisations to self regulate and insist that their teams are professionally qualified to safeguard themselves against supply chains risk such as fraud, corruption and scandals such as horsemeat or Rana Plaza.

CIPS members all sign up to our professional code of conduct and have access to our two hour elearning on ethical procurement.  Those that complete the learning annually receive the CIPS Ethical Mark.  Employers can search our website to check whether candidates are members of CIPS as well as whether they are up-to-date with their ethical training. 

Procurious: What is CIPS doing to ensure it continues to be relevant in the face of other competing institutes?

Cath: At CIPS we are constantly driving standards in procurement and supply.  The business environment and supply chain risks change at such a pace that no one can afford to stand still and think that they are relevant.   

This year we completed a piece of work where we mapped out the necessary skills and competencies required for the modern procurement team.  The CIPS Global Standard is available for anyone to download and use free of charge.  This important piece of work allows procurement leaders to determine what skills are required in their teams and the on-line tool helps them to write job descriptions and create organisational charts. No other organisation has taken this global view in one document and given it away for the good of the profession.  This is the core of our existence – to support the procurement community.  

We also received permission from Her Majesty The Queen to award Chartered Status to our members.  This membership status is recognition for those members that need to keep up-to-date with current thinking.  A professional with Chartered Status will lead procurement teams and have influence at board level as well as across supply markets by delivering innovative sourcing solutions. A higher-level status than MCIPS, those with Chartered Status will be qualified up to postgraduate degree level and be able to understand institutional risk and contingency approaches in all parts of the organisation, how the supply chain affects innovation, and risk sharing strategies throughout the business. Professionals who hold this status will be the most sought-after talent and those who will take the profession beyond its current boundaries.

Procurious: With more and more focus being placed on social responsibility, it is of the upmost importance that the profession promotes a healthy image. Should we (and can we) be doing more?

Cath: Procurement teams need to be measured on the impact of their business practices on winning business and getting the best suppliers in place, demonstrating that they are the customer of choice.

We have developed an ethics e-learning and test package for our members to complete and be awarded the ethical mark.  This is fundamental to demonstrating that our profession acts responsibly. 

The CIPS Sustainability Index helps organisations to have an overview of who responsibly their supply chains are acting.

Procurious: As a profession procurement is only now waking-up to the use of social media. What is CIPS doing in this field? (Using it to attract and retain, promote the Institute further etc.)

Cath has provided Procurious with a list of things that CIPS has done and what it’s using social media for. These include:

  • Signed up and active for a number of years on main networks
  • Response on items of topics interest, proactive activity on campaigns, partnerships support
  • Using content from networks to inform our own articles and knowledge documents to be the voice of our profession and members
  • Attracting new members by operating mostly open networks
  • Responding quickly to issues of the day and proactive campaigns e.g Chartered Status
  • Positioning Institute as a thought leader in the profession and so retaining members
  • Developing a community of anyone interested in procurement, not just members
  • Offering free resources and  other resources specifically for members
  • Use of networks to link peers in the profession
  • Promoting products and services, links to sales
  • Using networks to link with media and bloggers
  • Using networks to understand issues in the profession, community and business and answer questions in a timely and truthful, informal way
  • Offering real-time service to our customers

Procurious: How can social media be used to reimagine and refresh Brand Procurement?

Cath says that it can be used in the following ways:

  • For consistent two-way engagement with stakeholders
  • Positioning as a thought leader in the business, global economy and governments around the world
  • A useful sources of insight and topical developments in the profession and business and public sector
  • As an agile responder to real issues faced by professionals and senior business people as well a those starting out
  • To highlight a relevant profession, useful in the world, for public good as well as business
  • It’s an attractive option for young people to join the profession as it’s viewed as a mature and elite profession compared to others
  • A human ‘face’ tackling real issues, informal style
  • It can act as a consistent commentator on important issues such as fraud and slavery
  • To promote more channels to market services
  • To amplify social channels used to bring commentary and insights into the profession
  • For choosing channels carefully as managing these networks will be all you’ll have time for
  • To show procurement as a community to solve collective problems

Procurious: And finally – look forward to 2030, what’s your BIG IDEA for the profession?

Procurement will have to get a handle on big data to support their organisations and add value.

Understanding their economic environment and its impact – ie potential Eurozone triple dip.

Understanding their demanding customers – new market opportunities with new tastes, understand what these customers want and build customisable supply chain to cater for their differing needs.

Understanding their role in new business models – high tech, Uber style organisations where very little sits on the balance sheet, but network relationships are key.

And understanding the ever changing regulation and legislation demands, as well as culturally expected business models – Ethics and compliance will become more and more important to business and their customers will watch how businesses operate through the eye of the media.

Cath (and a host of other influencers) appeared at the Big Ideas Summit on 30 April.

Chris Lynch: Big Ideas on inspiring a new generation of business intrapreneurs

Rio Tinto’s CFO, Chris Lynch wants to generate an ongoing conversation that inspires a new generation of business intrapreneurs – people who can think outside the box – to drive innovation and lead change in large organisations.

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I believe we need to foster a culture of “intrapreneurship” within large organisations.

Business is evolving at such a pace, we have the capacity to reinvent our companies from the inside.

Never underestimate the value that you or a new idea can contribute.

The faster you innovate, the more intellectual property you create to steal a march on your competition, and create your own future.

So let’s support the intrapreneurs: the people who can drive innovation and lead change.

They’re the creative, cost-conscious leaders who can influence entire organisations to spend every dollar as if it were their own, and develop breakthrough solutions for reducing costs.

People at the top of an organisation usually have the strategy, a direction, and the outcomes they want to achieve, but sometimes don’t always know how to get it all done.

Success requires people with ideas on the best ways to execute a strategy, the energy to challenge, the persistence to see it through.

Procurement teams understand what makes a business tick, and this intelligence can help create new enterprises from the inside, by looking outside.

Compared to the sales teams and the accountants, who focus on the top and bottom line of the business, the procurement team knows the importance of all those middle lines.

Look to the Big Ideas that can come from new industries, new venture capital concepts, and indeed anything that will unlock or create value.

It is what retailing has been doing for many years with, say, “home” brands and what airlines have been doing with re-branded low cost carriers.

At Rio Tinto we have $13.4 billion contestable group spend with 62,000 suppliers, and 4,000 contracts, so clearly a lot of opportunity to reinvent parts of business, and act like intrapreneurs.

So clearly there is plenty of scope for reinvention, improvement and Big Ideas.

At Rio Tinto we don’t restrict ourselves to the mining industry to find BIG IDEAS, adapting or adopting new concepts.

Some of our ideas have come from sectors as diverse as the car industry (the world beating logistics of our Western Australia iron ore operations and food processing (improved sorting of ore).

Even military intelligence systems, where our Mine Automation System allows us to manage and monitor our mines from thousands of kilometres away.

Procurement doesn’t need to be necessarily locked into an engineering or risk-averse management paradigm…

Most of the world’s leading companies have “squeezed the lemon” on costs very tightly. Thus far procurement as a discipline has done a great job in leveraging spend and working with suppliers in a very constructive way.

But now we need to break through the next layer of cost paradigms.

To develop and foster a culture of intrapreneurship within our larger companies will require extraordinary people, bringing extraordinary and fresh ideas to the table.

People inside who can think outside existing limits.

Like entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship is not easy.

It will require skills, tact, diplomacy and a plan and passion.

It is important you have a concurrent plan, especially if your big idea is going to take time to come to fruition.

Never dismiss your own idea. Don’t kill it off just because it’s challenged the first time.

Make sure you have options and alternatives for when you get the call, or wish to reframe the idea for a new environment.

Now is the time to create a groundswell; for corporations and governments to develop creative, cost-conscious leaders who can develop breakthrough solutions, reducing costs and influencing whole organisations.

Spending every dollar as if it were their own but looking to new ways to reinvent supply chains and whole businesses to unlock or create value.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a disruptive technology, just disruptive thinking with the plan that goes with it.

Chris was speaking at Procurious’ inaugural Big Ideas Summit as one of 40 most influential commercial thought-leaders. Learn more about the Big Ideas Summit and how to access exclusive content from the event.

World’s brightest procurement minds collaborate at Procurious Big Ideas Summit 2015

World-first digital think tank for the procurement profession reaches millions through social media

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London, 30th April 2015: Creating a Wikipedia of global suppliers to help manage risk, engaging the millennials to win the war on talent were two of the innovative ideas pitched by 40 thought leaders at the world’s first digitally led think-tank for the procurement and supply chain profession, Procurious Big Ideas Summit 2015.

The event, a giant global brainstorm for digital delegates, sparked vigorous debate across social media with posts and discussions under the #BigIdeas2015 hashtag reaching over a million on Twitter, Facebook and over 5,000 members on the profession’s niche social network Procurious.

Thought leaders from around the world including CIPS Group CEO David Noble, Rio Tinto CFO Chris Lynch, Hackett Group Principal Chris Sawchuk and Burberry Group Procurement Manager Stuart Pemble, came together to discuss their outside-of-the-box ideas under the themes: risk, people and technology.

London Business School Fellow Jules Goddard’s big idea was to stop the pursuit of ‘best practice’ because it breads sameness, stifles innovation and limits the opportunities to grow wealth.

“The challenge for business and procurement is not to pursue best practice, it is to pursue unique-practice – our own definition of what’s right for us,” Goddard said.

Keynote Chris Lynch, said the profession needed to foster a culture of ‘intrapreneurship’.

“Intrapreneurs are the people who can drive innovation and lead change,” Lynch said. “They’re the creative, cost-conscious leaders who can influence entire organisations to spend every dollar as if it were their own and develop breakthrough solutions for reducing costs and adding value.”

Procurious Founder Tania Seary said the inaugural Big Ideas Summit highlighted the wealth of creativity within the profession and the value of sharing and collaboration to drive innovation.

“Through the ideas that have been generated today, we’ve hopefully inspired a new generation of business intrapreneurs to get their creative juices flowing, to start collaborating through networks like Procurious and then start implementing those ideas to achieve change within their organisations and the entire profession,” Seary said.

Some of the many big ideas shared by thought leaders at the summit included:

  • The procurement function might not exist in 20 years. Instead it will become the role of every employee to achieve value from third party suppliers. (Peter Smith, Spend Matters Founder and Editor)
  • Don’t wait for your CPO to manage you, take the initiative to understand what your personal values and drivers are and align them with your career as motivation. (Sigi Osagie, Author)
  • Procurement needs to transition from the clunky old manual transmission that doesn’t know what gear to be in, into a modern automatic that predicts where it needs to be, learns and grows. (Jason Busch, Spend Matters, USA Managing Director)
  • Businesses need to measure themselves on their social values driven by procurement. While previously intangible, social values can now be measured through big data, sentiment analysis and social media. (Olinga Ta’eed, CCEG Chairman)
  • Procurement needs to add market intelligence as one of its services. We need to create services that are based on our customers and become more of a pull model rather than a push model. (Chris Sawcuck, The Hackett Group Principal)
  • Procurement professionals need to sell themselves as trusted advisors with unrivaled relationships both internally and with their customers and suppliers. (Stuart Pemble, Burberry Group Procurement Manager)
  • The profession must adopt Intelligent Collaborative Ecosystems (ICE) – procurement isn’t about a transaction anymore, it’s about long term valuable relationships, ICE encourages collaboration to solve shared global problems. (Lance Younger, CEO Statess)
  • Twenty-five per cent of sales roles won’t exist in 2020 because buyers are now empowered to make informed purchasing decisions on their own through the internet. (Tim Hughes, Oracle)
  • Leveraging real-time supplier feedback and data from sources like social media can allow us to analyze and predict supply chain issues and crises before they happen, (Paul Rakovich, BP)
  • Why don’t we flip the procurement recruitment process on its head? Start with reference checks and psychometric testing to find out if the candidate matches the skills and experience needed for the role before investing in an interview. (Andrew MacAskill, EO)
  • Using Procurious to share detailed information on global suppliers we could create an online global supply chain tree, a self-governed platform like Wikipedia, freely available to the benefit of the entire profession. (Gordon Donovan, The Faculty )

If you missed the event live, it’s not too late to take part in Big Ideas 2015. Digital delegates can access exclusive speaker and panel discussions, videos, blogs and interviews and join in trending discussions for free by joining the Procurious community.

What happened at The Big Ideas Summit?

While we eagerly await the first videos from the Big Ideas Summit to appear, we recap on a jam-packed day. How much of it did you catch?

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Our man Jordan Early set the scene for all of our ‘Digital Delegates’ who followed along on Twitter, Facebook, and Procurious.

The Big Ideas Summit 2015 is live!

Sarah Trota, 2013 Personnel Today HR director of the year, talked us through creating ‘alchemy’ using people in organisations.

We captured some of her other ‘Big Ideas’

Sigi Osagie got us all thinking about changing our perspective.

Have you got a business card? Is it a business card or a blank card? Change your perspective and get thinking about the other side of things…

Click to read more of Sigi’s insights.

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Rio Tinto’s CFO, Chris Lynch took to the floor to discuss Big Ideas in Big Companies, crucially – where do Big Ideas come from?

Chris taught us not to treat your suppliers as a resource to cut costs, but someone that you can work with to generate Big Ideas… Old St Labs Mark Perera also streamed the session live on Periscope for ardent social media fans.

Keep your eyes peeled for a blog series from Chris on Procurious soon.

In the first of our ‘Big Ideas’ panel discussions Sigi Osagie, Helen MacKenzie, Andrew MacAskill and Sarah Trota took to the stage to provide their perspectives on authentic leadership, and the challenges of trekking through the procurement jungle.

This is what they said.

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Ahead of Big Ideas 2015, we ran a competition to win an iPad mini for our community to invite 10 members to join the site. The winners were announced at the Summit and they are:

Helen Rees
Natalia Urazova
Sergio Giordano
Bertrand Maltaverne
James Bush

(And there is Sergio collecting his prize in person!)

Chris Sawchuk from The Hackett Group thinks procurement can learn from UBER

Here are a few top insights from his session:

– Innovation should be seen as a top priority in the organisation
– How do we build agility into our procurement organisations?
– If we can’t predict what’s going to happen, we need to be more agile to respond
– Be responsive and put the customer at the centre of everything we do

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Jordan Early reckoned the ‘Where are our blind spots?’ panel discussion that featured Tim Hughes, Olinga Ta’eed, Giles Breault, Jason Busch, Nic Walden and Lance Younger was the best procurement panel he’d ever heard.

Read his thoughts on it

It was certainly a heated affair… the reverberations of which were felt on Twitter!

A fight erupted on Twitter around social good

Tania Seary rounded off our keynotes with a call to action to the profession to set their egos aside, collaborate, share ideas and pull together for the betterment of procurement. Procurement needs to be “ego-less, collaborative and full of T-shaped people”…

Why procurement should flex its muscle

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The day itself may now be over, but the debate and discussions are still being amplified online. Here’s a teardown we’ve done of #BigIdeas2015 reach on social thus far… What Twitter was saying about Big Ideas 

And if that’s not enough reading material for you, here’s a handy list of related stories you might have missed on ‘Big Ideas’:

Sigi Osagie`s Big Ideas On Bringing The Real You To Work

6 Big Ideas To Join Procurious By Thursday

CIPS David Noble: Big Ideas On How Procurement Will Seize The Day

Thinking the Unthinkable – Big Ideas on Supply Chain Risk

Mark Perera’s Big Ideas on startups, technology & disruptive procurement

Samantha Coombs on the challenges facing Millennials going into procurement

Is ethical fast fashion an oxymoron?

Professor Olinga Ta’eed on Turning Procurement Professionals into Agents of Change

Professor Olinga Ta’eed: Big Ideas For Helping Your CEO Understand Social Value

Winning the War for Procurement Talent with Social Media

4 Big Ideas That Transformed Procurement Technology

Help us to help you (and win 1 of 5 iPad minis)

Social influencer Tim Hughes: Big Ideas for the next Industrial Revolution

David Berry on Fixing the Innovation Supply Chain

5 of the deadliest risks facing your supply chain in 2015

`Our People Are Our Greatest Asset.` Erm… Really?!

Behind the supply chain curtain: 5 questions procurement needs to ask

Slavery in Supply Chains – A Modern Day Risk

Big Ideas 2015: How to be a Digital Delegate and get involved

What are the innovations transforming supply chains & biggest trends right now?

4 technology trends we’ll tackle at Big Ideas 2015

Big Ideas that changed the world: Communication

Why we’re talking managing talent at Big Ideas 2015

Who are procurement‘s most influential thinkers?

The digital delegate and rise of the virtual summit

Join the world‘s first digitally-led event for procurement professionals

How can we make progress through the jungle of procurement?

Big Ideas panel session

In the first of our ‘Big Ideas’ panel discussions Sigi Osagie, Helen MacKenzie, Andrew MacAskill and Sarah Trota took to the stage to provide their perspectives on authentic leadership, and the challenges of trekking through the procurement jungle.

The panel are asked: What is the role of the leader in reengaging the humanity?

Helen starts things off by offering a personal story taken from her experience of working as Head of Exchequer Services in local (Scottish) government.

We’ve been on a significant journey of change in the way we do procurement. To have a vision of where you’re going, and to get the passion into the vision.

Helen likens it to adventuring through a jungle, machete in hand, clearing the way for the team in tow. There are always blockers in business, so you must find a way for your team to make things happen.

It’s also important to act as the cheerleader – she gives the great example of winning awards, and the rallying effect this has on the team. Recognition shining through.

Andrew says that it’s always about setting the belief. When you meet C-Suite people from other organisations they are more excited about the potential.

Sarah reckons it’s more of a brand challenge. How is this achieved? By working collaboratively and changing perceptions (for instance, HR is notorious for having a bad image).

Jules: There’s a belief in the IT industry that they are under-valued.

So why is it so hard to get collaboration across the board?

According to Sigi, the one industry that never has this victimhood mindset is Finance. Dollars is the value of business – even if you’re in the charity or public sector we still measure in dollars.

This opinion proves controversial: should Finance be the poster-child, and is it not the one business function that’s first to fail? (Indeed it is usually the first function to be held accountable).

Sigi says procurement has always faced an uphill struggle. There’s legacy challenges. However it has come a long way – but progress tends to be seen first in large businesses.

In a parting statement Sigi ends on a philosophical note, claiming we’re not here to do procurement, we’re here to do business.

Sarah Trota`s Big Ideas on Bringing Your Whole Self to Work

sarah-trota at Big Ideas Summit

Sarah has over 20 years experience in the commercial sector, latterly as Employee Relations Manager for Sainsbury’s. She then joined the Board at a large not for profit Housing Group, where she spent seven successful years, enjoying broadening her areas of responsibility. Today she is sharing her insights on ‘Bringing your whole self to work’ at the Big Ideas Summit. Find out more about the Summit and gain access to exclusive videos, interviews, articles, discussions and more.

Procurious asks: Sarah, you’ve been the employee relations manager at Sainsbury’s, the HR director at Waterstones and have held a board position with the NGO Circle Homes, it’s an impressive CV, tell us a little bit about what you’re working on now.

Sarah: I have set up my own offering, sarahtrotaalchemy, which offers organisation level consultancy, executive coaching and leadership intervention. My experience enables me to quickly spot the ‘word from the trees’ which enables acceleration of positive outcomes. I have a unique approach which is commercially driven, with people as the focus of positive outcomes.

Procurious: At the Big Ideas Summit you’ll be part of a panel discussing ‘bringing your whole self to work’. Do you feel like some businesses have created a organisational culture where people are not able to be themselves at work?

Sarah: For sure. Culture is simply the collective ‘way we do things around here’. Organisations need to stay tuned in (through employee surveys and discussion) on the reality of how things are. It’s a real challenge for senior leaders, who in their very senior roles can become isolated to ‘how it really is’, and often can be surrounded by leaders who maintain the status quo. Over time this can become quite damaging when culture becomes institutionalised.

Procurious: One of the things we’ve spoken about a lot at Procurious is the need for procurement professionals to develop their own personal brand. Have you got any insights around this you’d like to share with us?

Sarah: Brand is important. Brand is the external (and internal) perception of you, your organisation and your profession. Perception is a vehicle for ‘setting your stall out’ and as we now know authenticity is really important, commercially and to drive employee engagement. Shifting perception (Brand) is the work to be done, and needs to start with a reality check of measurement. The measurement can then helpfully target and prioritise what needs doing, and also help to keep track of progress.

Procurious: You won the the HR Director of the Year at the Personnel Today awards for you role at Circle Housing. We read that one of the main projects you oversaw in your time there delivered more that 1.5 million pounds in savings through HR efficiency improvements. Can you tell us a little about that project?

Sarah: I was really fortunate last year to be a judge for the annual awards for the UK overall HR Director of the year, and the finalists had delivered some really significant outcomes across different sectors. However, most organisations are commercially driven (even in not for profit organisations that measure SROI) and HR Directors are part of an executive team that are jointly responsible for delivering commercial success. I think the award that I won, recognised the commercial benefit that had been delivered from the transformation outcomes, which in the social housing sector were leading edge at that time. The 1.5m you mention was a smaller HR project that involved a complete overhaul of the recruitment process and shifting some mandatory training to an e-learning platform.

Procurious: We’re reading a lot about more flexibility in the workplace. People are working from home more and we’re starting to see firms implement innovative HR policies like unlimited leave programs. Are these sorts of changes something that you think will become business as usual in the HR space?

Sarah: I think that as human beings we broadly do what we think is right, and what will deliver positive outcomes. Engaged people deliver successful outcomes, and organisations need to measure levels of engagement and critically, identify the levers for engagement. Most organisations have big challenges and identify what they believe will deliver positive outcomes. People are key to that agenda, and in order to tap innovation and engage the whole workforce, then different ways of working will emerge and deliver successful outcomes. The successful outcomes will then deliver change in working practices.