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

Professor Olinga Ta’eed on the ‘God Metric’, social innovation, the work of the Big Society, and his ideas for 2030.

Professor Olinga Ta'eed interview on social value

Professor Olinga Ta’eed  is just one of our 40 influential thought leaders appearing at Procurious’ inaugural Big Ideas Summit on 30 April. To hear Olinga expand on some of the ideas presented in this interview, why not become a ‘Digital Delegate’ and register for the online event? You can do so here.

If you missed part one of our interview with the Professor, you can read it here:
Professor Olinga Ta’eed’s Big Ideas For Helping Your CEO Understand Social Value

Procurious: You’ve spoken at The Vatican, and have been called ‘The Angel of Social Value’ – does religion have a big role to play, and do we need it to instil a sense of greater good?

Olinga: I must say it was ironic for S/E to be called the “God Metric” by the Vatican Press. Embarrassing and flattering. Financial value is older than organised religion. Religion has long conveyed sentiment long before Facebook ‘likes’ and LinkedIn ‘connections’ appeared. Religion can help set the mood music, and give us attributes to aim at. But it has turned out that religion is a very poor vehicle to articulate in the language of each stakeholder why they should change. It tends to be pious and judgemental – we are good versus they are bad – and so I think the influence is limited but the aspiration is immense.

Procurious: Social innovation: can you tell us what it is, and why it matters?

Olinga: No one, especially me, gives a fig about metrics. It’s the outcomes and what we can do with it that matters. Social Innovation is about delivering positive change in society. It is unfair on procurement professionals that everyone is turning to them to be the agent of change in society merely because they deal with the largest budgets. So we need to arm procurement with instruments that make it easy for them to do their job.

We are now the go-to metric for the Social Value Act 2012 and Modern Slavery Act 2015. Let’s drill down how it works. For the public sector we have UK£ 12 billion of procurement under management in the UK, launching in Spain and other countries, and we only started this in September 2014 after publishing a 250 ‘bible’ on Social Value in Public Procurement! Our proposition was a unique win-win-win-win for all sectors involved. Basically we charge 1 per cent of a contract value to deliver 20 per cent social value.

Our first contract for UK£ 385m in February 2013 for social housing –  we delivered 14 per cent of that value as social value according to independent government reports. The public sector pays nothing so they are delighted. The winning bidder pays 1 per cent which is nothing given variation of contract after award is typically 19-20 per cent. The third sector NGO’s are the multipliers that multiply any resource they receive and thus deliver say 10x the social value that a private company could do for the same UK£ 1. And finally the community are the recipients of all this goodwill.  What has enabled this social innovation – the S/E metric without which procurement would have surveys and narratives to compare oranges and apples.

What we offer for our 1 per cent is measurement, reporting, compliance against your legislation, ideation of social innovation, monitoring of the contract on a monthly basis displayed on a SaaS dashboard, but above all delivery of up to 20 per cent social value. It’s hard to argue against it and for this reason we have a very open door internationally.

Similarly, other social innovation ideas need instruments to make them work. Social Investment Bonds (SIB) are basically a financial bet on a social outcome. But without measuring outcomes and what good looks like, then it’s not possible to accelerate and embed social innovation around us. 

Procurious: Will the outcome of the UK General Election impact on the work of the Big Society?

Olinga: Social innovation industry has trends like all industries. A hundred years ago it was good old philanthropy – you makes pots of money and mercifully feed the poor. About 20 years ago it became Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) which is transactional – then 10 years ago moved to Sustainability  – now it’s Social Impact because it’s the suffering we have now that matters, and already there is a shift towards Citizenship. Barclays, Nationwide, Imperial Tobacco, John Lewis etc abandoned CSR departments and now call them Citizenship. Whilst in the UK we call blended solutions ‘Big Society’ you will find the term will not be heard again after the elections. It has helped develop our understanding of what works and what doesn’t work, but we have to build on our experience and articulate using more precise language and numbers.

To capture this burgeoning Zeitgeist we have embarked on capacity development initiatives such as the journal of Social Value & Intangibles Review, The World Intangibles Conference 2015 X – Series: a disruptive set of conferences navigating the noise in the social impact market, a free MOOC (massive open online learning) system, heading up EU SEiSMiC Social Value and EU PROCUREMENT Social Value & Transparency in Supply Chains, etc. We are fortunate that no one would dare voice concerns supporting Modern Slavery, or against added Social Value. This is why we have enjoyed cross-parliamentary support in all our work and elections will affect the future. 

Procurious: Finally – in-keeping with the theme of the Big Ideas Summit, looking forward to 2030… What’s your BIG IDEA? 

Olinga: To establish a currency to articulate intangible values. We  consider that Total Value to be the sum total of Financial Value and Social Value. As the $ is the currency of financial value, social impact is the currency of social value. The globally accepted single number index to financial value is called the Price Earnings Ratio (p/e); I have developed the corollary to this – the Social Earnings Ratio (s/e). It is open source (Creative Commons 4.0), free for non-commercial applications and is provided for us all to share in understanding, articulating and making a better future for us all.

If you missed part one of our interview with the Professor, you can read it here:
Professor Olinga Ta’eed’s Big Ideas For Helping Your CEO Understand Social Value

McDonald’s commits to remove deforestation from its supply chain

Fast food giant McDonald’s announced on Tuesday that the firm would take action to end deforestation across its supply chain operations.

McDonald’s commits to remove deforestation from its supply chain

The company detailed the following eight points as the cornerstone of its commitment to halting deforestation:

  • No deforestation of primary forests or areas of High Conservation Value,
  • No development of High Carbon Stock forest areas,
  • No development on peatlands, regardless of depth, and the utilization of best management practices for existing commodity production on peatlands,
  • Respect human rights,
  • Respect the right of all affected communities to give or withhold their free, prior and informed consent for plantation developments on land they own legally, communally or by custom,
  • Resolve land rights disputes through a balanced and transparent dispute resolution process,
  • Verify origin of raw material production and
  • Support smallholders, farmers, plantation owners and suppliers to comply with this commitment.

The commitment is expected to mean big changes within the company’s supply network, with more than 3,100 of the firms suppliers expected to be impacted by the new code.

Michele Banik-Rake, a sustainable agriculture expert at McDonalds, said that the initiative for the new code was actually driven largely by the firms supply base. “The question that was coming back to us was, ‘As suppliers, we have stronger commitments than you do as a company, so why don’t you make the same commitment?’ I couldn’t argue with that logic, right?” she said.

Questions have been raised as to where the responsibility for McDonald’s commitment to deforestation starts and ends. It’s one thing for McDonald’s to have a policy that impacts the firm’s direct suppliers, but perhaps the biggest challenge will come from ensuring that the third party plantations and farms that McDonald’s do not hold a direct relationship with will abide by these practices.

McDonald’s commitment to deforestation mirrors moves made by others in the fast food space recently including Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts and Yum Brands. David McLaughlin, the vice president of agriculture at the World Wildlife Fund (who advised McDonald’s on its new commitment) was quoted as saying: “McDonald’s brings size and scale to the debate of sustainable sourcing. Their reach is large, they are global, they work closely with the suppliers and so this outreach can only help.”

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

Professor Olinga Ta'eed on procurement and social good

Professor Olinga Ta’eed has led a life spanning private, public and third sectors which perhaps is most accurately described as “entrepreneur, investor and social activist” (Professor Conlon, Dean of University of Notre Dame,  April 2011). And despite embarking on plans to retire from a successful business career at 48, Olinga remains active and is instrumental in championing social good throughout business and industry.

Olinga is just one of our 40 influential thought leaders appearing at Procurious’ inaugural Big Ideas Summit on 30 April. To hear the Professor expand on some of the ideas presented in this interview, why not become a ‘Digital Delegate’ and register for the online event? You can do so here.

Procurious asks: You’ve spearheaded the Social Earnings Ratio initiative that will see the annual reporting of social value of 1 billion organisations by 2020. First of all can you explain to the uninitiated what this is, and why its important. 

Olinga: Currently there are very sound robust metrics around financial value based around UK, USA and international GAP (general accounting principles). Financial value is measured because it matters. Increasingly all the ‘other soft stuff’ is starting to also matter– social value, personal value, consumer index, provenance in products, modern slavery in our supply chains, animal cruelty, impact investment, arts, etc. So in 2011 we set about developing metrics as robust as financial value to articulate these intangible values. As we know, in business if you can’t measure it – you can’t bill it and so it is with other values in our society.

Modern society is built on sentiment, about how we feel, about our values. It drives consumer purchasing right through to contracts being awarded based not only on price, speed and quality but also on delivering created social value. For example in public sector procurement, as government funds recede they are increasingly looking towards the private sector to deliver the same services into the community through third sector agencies; this is at the centre of UK The Social Value Act 2012, 2 per cent CSR Law in India, Indonesia 2 per cent CSR Law, 2.5 per cent Zakat in the Islamic countries, the Italian 0.5 per cent Cinque Mille, … the so called Big Society concept. To articulate between these blended solutions requires a common currency. We developed that common currency to translate sentiment into financial value. As governments utilise legislation and procurement to transform society, we found ourselves right in the centre of that need to articulate non-financial values.

Our mission is to translate complex inputs into simple, singular measurements of true intangible outcomes, the Social Earnings Ratio or S/E Ratio. 

Procurious: Regarding the 2020 deadline: Is this realistic/what needs to happen to make this achievable?

Olinga: We currently conduct yearly UK or US GAP (general accounting principles) audits of 35 million companies in USA, 165 million in USA, 40 million in China … c. 1 billion organisations in the world.

Unfortunately using traditional social impact metrics (there are 1153) means surveys, translation proxy tables, etc which cost UK£ 5,000 to UK£ 200,000 to conduct and 3-18 months. This has proven to be a  very significant barrier to resourcing the measurement of social value. Imagine the supply chain of a city like Birmingham with 34,000 suppliers, or a housing association with 18,000 suppliers, or of a food retailer with 35,000 suppliers. Who is going to pay for to evaluate these organisations, projects and processes? In any case no one has the time. The typical turnaround from a formal PQQ/ITT to contract award is a matter of days so this is simply not possible.

We set about building the first Model-T Ford of Social Value – fast, cheap, high consistent quality, fit for purpose, accessible to all, and in a lot of cases does not even require the intervention with the target company. Big Data, Social Media and Sentiment Analysis have changed the world of social value measurement. Shockingly, our disruptive metric takes 10  seconds and costs UK£ 5, and can be undertaken on a SaaS platform, Seratio.com, allowing 1 billion organisations to be measured by 2020. This is why we have been labelled as “the fastest adopted social impact metric in the world” (Vatican press, January 2015).

Procurious: How can procurement help CEOs understand social value?

Olinga: Changing CEO sentiment is a 100 year task but changing behaviour is a lot simpler. For example, if s/he wants to get that UK£ 1.5 billion contract, EU directive now says that impact funds must deliver 20 per cent social value. No ifs, no buts. So the driver here is easy. CEO’s are becoming bewildered by the range of KPI’s they have to perform to. It used to be simple – shareholder value and everything else was a slave to that. But now they find if they cough wrong in one part of the world, customers can walk away in other parts of the world due to social media, governments can pick on them for avoiding tax for example, suppliers don’t want to be associate with their toxic brand, etc.

But it’s not only about self-preservation, it’s about good business. To do that you have to articulate ‘good’ in terms that CEO’s understand. So we give them 3 distinct metrics – social value as a percentage of their capitalization ie what it means to their bottom line; and S/E Ratio which is an efficiency score just like the P/E Ratio – they could spend less but get more impact. Finally, and most importantly, we benchmark them against sectors, competitors, globally – no one wants to be at the bottom. 

Procurious: Modern-day slavery and supply chains are intrinsically linked. Do we need greater transparency? 

Olinga: Let’s not mix up transparency with ethics; they are not the same. When a company demands say 3 per cent cut in supplier remittance, they are making a conscience decision to transfer value. In a capitalist framework, financial value is an artefact between the board and shareholders; everyone else is a ‘slave’ to that. Customers, suppliers, community, statutory bodies, environment, staff … detract from dividends. Pay them more (eg tax, CSR spend, suppliers) and you have less to share with your shareholders and your own bonus. But we now recognize that we operate in a multi-stakeholder Citizenship framework, where all this ‘other stuff’ is social value – and they can contribute towards the total value.

So when a company takes out 3 per cent from their suppliers they have made a deliberate and conscience decision to take out value from their supply chain and give it – usually – to their shareholders. What they are saying that their success is contingent on someone else being deprived of their value ie. underpay, poor conditions, etc in their supply chain in a developing country. We however are not here to admonish companies but merely to measure them. Being university backed we are neutral, non-partisan, no agenda of our own. We merely point out that we can measure that you have taken value from the supply chain and perhaps increased your shareholder value by the same. It may be however, that they give the value to their community initiatives – that’s why  we don’t judge. We simply allow them to measure value so they can track transference.

To hear from Olinga (and many others), watch exclusive videos, read more interviews, and contribute to discussions please register as a ‘Digital Delegate’ on our Big Ideas Summit page.

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We need you! We hope you’ve been enjoying all the great content on Procurious and the benefit of connecting with other people like you. If you’ve got a minute, we need your help to attract even more procurement professionals to become members.

By growing our community we elevate the profession:  in-turn we all benefit from richer discussions, more knowledge sharing and better career prospects for Procurement.

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As a thank-you for helping us out, we’re offering 5 iPad minis to a handful of randomly-drawn winners.

To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is invite 10 people to join Procurious before 11.59pm (GMT) on 29 April 2015.

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How much are you worth? Average UK procurement salary on the rise

According to The CIPS/Hays Salary Guide and Procurement Insights Report 2015 published last week, the average salary for all UK procurement and supply chain professionals has increased again, and by more than the national average. But what impact will this have in the ‘War for Talent’?

How much are you really worth?

The annual survey, involving more than 3000 procurement and supply chain professionals, looks at salaries and rewards across the profession. In 2015, it found that the average pay award in procurement was 2.5 per cent, considerably higher than the national average of 1.7 per cent.

Top Salaries, No Equality

In real terms, what this means is an average salary for procurement and supply chain professionals of £41,661. When looking at the individual job roles, the average salaries are now:

  • Procurement Director – just over £89,000
  • Head of Procurement – £64,000
  • Category Manager – £42,000
  • Senior Buyer – £35,000
  • Buyer – £27,000

Although salaries are on the increase, there is still a lack of equality between men and women in the profession. At all levels apart from tactical roles, salaries for men were higher than those for women, with the greatest inequality at the advanced professional level, where the difference was as much as £10,300.

The salary also found that professionals who held MCIPS accreditation earned on average 23 per cent more than their peers without the qualification.

Junior Roles on the Rise

What might be surprising to many people is that the biggest annual increase was seen in junior procurement roles. Assistant Buyers gained on average a 4.2 per cent increase in their salaries, while Procurement Directors reported only a 3.3 per cent increase.

The rise in the wages of junior roles highlights an important issue for procurement, even in light of it being one of the fastest increasing professions in the world. A lack of professionals starting in the junior roles means that organisations now have to work harder to attract and retain their employees.

The War for Talent

The ‘War for Talent’, as coined by McKinsey in the 1990s, is still firmly in place in the procurement profession. The number of procurement jobs available has increased significantly, with Hays Recruitment seeing a 40 per cent increase this year alone.

This increase has left many employers struggling to find the right, skilled employees to fill these roles. Of the number of avenues open to organisations when looking to attract new talent to their organisations, social media is one of the most powerful.

Platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Procurious can help employers check out potential employees, get to know them in more detail and also be noticed as an ‘employer of choice’ in the industry. But social media is by no means the silver bullet for procurement recruitment. Without new ideas, the work that procurement has done to get to the executive table may be undermined.

‘People’ is one of the key topics at the Procurious Big Ideas Summit on April 30th. Procurious has gathered 40+ of the biggest influencers in procurement and will be getting their ideas on the future for ‘people’ in procurement (among a host of other topics). Join in, ask questions, watch exclusive video content and contribute to all the discussions by here

In the meantime, here are some of the top stories making the headlines in procurement this week.

Exploitative fashion retailers named and shamed

  • Australian fashion companies lack transparency around their supply chain or do not have full knowledge of where their raw materials are being sourced from, leaving workers including children at risk of exploitation, an audit has found.
  • The Australian Fashion Report 2015, launched by  international development organisations Baptist World Aid and Not For Sale, which aims to empower consumers with the knowledge needed to purchase fashion ethically – this year assessed the ethical practices of 219 clothing brands — and found that popular retailers including Rockmans and Lowes are some of the worst offenders.
  • Many brands now produce in Bangladesh, which in recent years has become wildly popular for ready-made garment suppliers and where the wage is approximately $39 a month, 75 per cent cheaper than China.
  • Corporate governance researcher with the University of Technology in Sydney and a researcher with the thinktank Catalyst Australia, Martijn Boersma, said: “For Australia, the bulk of our imports come from the Asia-Pacific region where it is estimated 78 million children are involved in child labour. The deeper supply chains are, the more difficult it is for them to be monitored.”

Read more at Mamamia and The Guardian

Hilton hotels to improve animal welfare in supply chain

  • Hilton Worldwide is to implement new measures to improve the welfare of animals in its global food supply chain. The hospitality company said it would begin to eliminate the use of cages for egg-laying chickens and gestation crates for breeding pigs.
  • All hotels in the Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton and DoubleTree by Hilton brands, will ensure that chickens are not confined in cages by 31 December 2017. By the end of the year after that, all pork products will have to be come from suppliers that house breeding pigs in groups, rather than gestation crates.
  • The changes, announced in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States, will initially apply in 19 countries and will be adopted in other markets as supply becomes available. Jennifer Silberman, vice president, corporate responsibility for Hilton Worldwide,  said the company was committed to addressing key issues throughout its business and supply chain.

Read more at Supply Management

Internet of Things will deliver US$1.9 trillion boost

  • DHL and Cisco have jointly released a new Trend Report focused on the Internet of Things (IoT) at the DHL Global Technology Conference in Dubai. DHL and Cisco Consulting Services are also collaborating on a joint IoT innovation project that will improve decision-making in warehouse operations with near real-time data analytics based on Wi-Fi connected devices.
  • Ken Allen, CEO DHL Express and board sponsor technology, said: “At Deutsche Post DHL Group we have a deeply held belief in the positive powers of global trade. There is huge potential for countries to further increase their connectedness and prosper through trade, integration and technology. We believe the Internet of Things will be a primary enabler of this transformation.”
  • The Trend Report, which estimates that there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020 compared to 15 billion, looks at the potential impact this technological revolution will have on business.
  • The value at stake, combination of increased revenues and lower costs that is created or will migrate among companies and industries when new connections are made, reveals the huge potential when the Internet and networks expand their connections to warehousing, freight transportation and other elements of the supply chain.

Read more at m2mnow

‘SWL Australia’ opens for business

  • Science Warehouse is a leading provider of on-demand procurement and managed catalogue solutions that deliver purchasing efficiencies and control, spend visibility and drive savings. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution boasts dozens of clients across the UK public sector including higher education and the NHS, as well as corporate clients in the construction sector.
  • During the past 2 years it’s been developing a presence in Australia, working in partnership with the leading Australian spend analytics provider, Purchasing Index ANZ.  The Charles Perkins Centre (CPC) at the University of Sydney has been live with the Science Warehouse solution since 2014 and has already seen CPC users buying from over 2 million live products.
  • In response to very positive feedback from other potential Australian customers, a new subsidiary (SWL Australia) has been formed with offices in Melbourne.
  • Richard Shine, Science Warehouse Sales Director said – “This is a fantastic opportunity for Science Warehouse to really showcase a market-leading solution.”

Cabinet Office procurement plans almost “perverse” and “draconian”

  • Reaction has been swift to a reported move by the Cabinet Office to include two subtle but radical provisions in the government’s Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act which could shake-up local government procurement.
  • The Act, which became law last month, is said to contain two clauses which appear to give the Cabinet Office authority to investigate and challenge local authority procurements. The majority of the Act does not affect procurement, but two clauses appear to have relevance.
  • Responding to the bill’s provisions, the ICT leader at one London local authority said, “At a time when we’re looking to devolve spending decisions and empower local communities the Cabinet Office have introduced provisions which could, somewhat perversely, do exactly the opposite. Not sure why these powers were introduced.”
  • The National Outsourcing Association (NOA) has described the proposals as “almost draconian.” Kerry Hallard, chief executive of the NOA said, “Now that the government has the ability to implement measures relating to public procurement as it sees fit, it is imperative that this new power is not used callously.

Read more at Government Computing

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

Tim Hughes will be speaking at the Procurious Big Ideas Summit

Procurious is gathering 40 of the brightest, most-influential figures across procurement, technology, and social media for the Big Ideas Summit on 30 April.

We quizzed Tim Hughes, social media extraordinaire and Go to Market in the UK for Oracle’s Cloud Accounting and Procurement solutions on the future of the sharing economy, procurement, and technology. You can follow Tim @Timothy_Hughes on Twitter.

Procurious asks: In your Twitter bio you call yourself a pioneer of Social Selling – could you distil it for the uninitiated?

Tim answers: It’s not a self proclaimed title, I’ve been called it many times.  My background is 27 years in sales, so what I do (always) is try and push the Social Selling debate forward.  How can I find new ways of using social and technology to forward an organisations sales strategy.  At the end of the day, it is all about using Social Selling to enable a sales person over achieve their quota quicker.

Last year I was mentioned in Forbes as one of the Top 100 Global Social Sellers, this year an Influence Marketing company, Onalytica, came up with a list which positioned me as the number 2 most Influential Social Seller Worldwide.  The only person from the UK on that list.

My Twitter @Timothy_Hughes has over 100,000 followers and my Blog https://timothyhughesuk.wordpress.com/ I’m told is a “must read” for people involved in Social Selling as it generates so many new ideas and debate.  My most recent blog “Using Twitter to Make C-Level Meetings” went viral.  Something I am very grateful for.

Procurious: Mastering social selling – if you were to promote best practice, what would be your top 5 tips?

Tim: On my blog I provide written materials and webcasts where I talk about the 5 Pillars of Social Selling to offer organisations a strategy.  In terms of day to day things you can do, here are 5 suggestions.

  • People need to have a “Buyer Centric Profile” on LinkedIn.
  • People need to Identify their customers and Influencers.
  • Listen.
  • Build Relationships and Engage.  Don’t Spam!
  • Measure.

Procurious: Innovation in the social space – your thoughts on the likes of Periscope and Meerkat. Will they stick around, what do they offer social storytellers etc.

Tim: I’ve not used them myself, but I’m sure they can.  You always need to go to where your audience is more comfortable.  With C-Level people now being on Twitter and LinkedIn, they is no reason, why a brand or a sales person does not stream video.  For example, a user conference, demonstration or webinar.  Video is becoming more and more a medium that people are comfortable with.  I’m currently working with a sales person to use video for demand generation as inmails on LinkedIn and emails don’t get the right traction.

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race last weekend used Snapchat, so why not look at new ways to reach your audience or even reach a new audience?

Procurious: What else is disrupting the online, social space right now? (And how could this tie into procurement)

Tim: SMACT (Social, Mobile, Analytics (Big Data), Cloud, Internet of Things) are the main disrupters I see right now.  People except to come to work and access systems the way they do at home, via mobile and for them to have the same “look and feel” as Facebook.  This is causing major disruption to people that have IT systems that don’t support this.  To that end, we are seeing that IT departments just cannot keep up because of the speed of innovation, that is where they are pro-actively using public cloud to support the business.

People are moving away from text to visual content.  Photo and video.  Instagram is the big platform for people and brands right now.  At a recent procurement event I attended somebody said they couldn’t see how Instagram was relevant and I said, why send out an RFP, why you could post a photo on Instagram and say “who can supply me one of these?”.

Procurious: Gamification – is it important/how can it be used to effectively breed user loyalty?

Tim: Gamification should not be a “shoot from the hip” solution.  Different people react to Gamification in different ways.  While many of us are naturally competitive, often people will just “take our bat and ball and go home”.  It has been used for years by Tesco (Club Card) and Sainsbury (Nectar) to enable them to understand customer behaviour.  I’ve used it in the sales environment for cold calling days, I’ve also used it for Demand Generation via social media (See my blog for details).

Procurious: Why should we be encouraging procurement professionals to face their fears and get on social networks?

Tim: 20 years ago us sales people were able to talk to who we liked in an organisation.  Then people introduced all kinds of technology, like voice mail to stop us getting to company executives.

I have a friend who last week made 12 appointments with C-Level people through Twitter.  A number of us think it’s the “golden age” again.  If executives (in any department) do use social media, how will they understand it?  There was a theory it would just go away.  It won’t.  The argument around social media use in business and the ROI of social media was won two years ago.  We use social media internally, it gives us Competitive Advantage and has increased employee efficiency by 25 per cent.  Why wouldn’t you?

Procurious: Can you recommend some actions to help social-networking newbies spread and grow their online influence?

Tim: The first thing when you get online is to breath. You don’t have to be somebody you are not, just be yourself.  If you are using social media just to get a hang of it, then just do, post photos of what interests you; sailing, cars, book reading.  If you want to grow your influence then be interesting, add value and engage.  Find influencers and engage with them.  

And finally, look forward to 2030. How will the social landscape have changed, what’s your Big idea for social?

Tim: Change will accelerate, as mobiles get faster, can hold more data and the battery live is longer.  Wearables will move from watches and bracelets to be woven into the fabric of your clothing.  Through the Internet of Things (IOT) everything will be connected to the internet and will collect data.  The amount of data we store will get bigger and bigger.  The decision making from this data will revolutionize  society and the way we think and act.  This is already being used by Netflix and dating sites.

The Sharing Economy
The Sharing Economy

The Sharing Economy will move from the edges to be the “norm” with 25 per cent of the NASDAQ having disappeared already, more company will go as new entrants will take their place.  Uber has no taxis, AirBnB has no rooms.  The first question VCs ask start ups now is “What Industry will you Kill?”.

But this will all be surpassed by Artificial Intelligence (AI), while sensors are being seen as the fourth wave of the Industrial Revolution, AI is the 5th.

5 steps of the Industrial revolution
Tim Hughes believes that AI will be the 5th step in the Industrial Revolution. The original appears here http://bit.ly/1Dr3cYX

Want to hear what Tim has to say at the Big Ideas Summit? Follow along by joining this Group.

David Berry on Fixing the Innovation Supply Chain

How an efficient supply chain can transform innovation on both the individual and industry levels.

Procurement innovation

Thanks to David Berry for granting Procurious permission to republish this article. David is a partner at the venture capital firm Flagship Ventures.

As a graduate student at MIT, I had the opportunity to work with Professors Robert Langer and Ram Sasisekharan in an environment rife with innovative thinking. We asked what could be possible, and were driven to pursue revolutionary technologies that were widely considered impossible. This experience instilled in me a simple but powerful credo: think big.

Innovation is difficult. If one is willing to traverse the boundary of the unknown, one should pursue the course that promises the greatest potential impact.

In exploring a wide range of subjects – energy, agriculture, medicine, and more – one approach has, in my experience, emerged as the most effective: begin with the end in mind. By identifying the problems and envisioning the preferred solution, one can define the set of constraints into which technological innovation fits, and establish a clear, albeit often difficult, path to its realization.

A fundamental requirement of this approach is an open mind, unconstrained by the subject’s idiosyncratic dogma. Those who are immersed in a field have an established view of what is possible, based on some combination of previous successes, citation bias, current limits of knowledge, and truth – and it is often difficult to distinguish these sources. But the newcomer asking the most basic questions begins to notice logical inconsistencies, from which the real constraints on solutions and technological limits arise.

Breakthroughs lie at the intersection of technological possibility and market pull. An understanding of these forces enables innovators to optimize the direction of invention. With well-defined constraints, a clear path for developing innovative technologies – one that accounts for both the known and the unknown – can be planned. This unconventional approach has consistently produced groundbreaking technologies that, if successfully implemented, revolutionize a field.

What might be more interesting, however, is the response that such progress often elicits: “This seems so obvious. Why hasn’t someone done it before?” Early in my career, this reaction troubled me; it made me wonder whether I had, in fact, overlooked something obvious. But, as my experience with entrepreneurial innovation has grown, I have realized that the response is rooted in the fact that most people are trapped in a specific doctrine, which obscures the innovative solutions that lie beyond its borders.

Companies exhibit similar behavior when it comes to acquiring innovative technologies, adhering to ineffective, restrictive processes, despite an ostensibly obvious alternative: the efficient systems that manufacturers use to secure inputs for production. In order to establish a clear, low-risk path to producing their goods at a predictable (and profitable) cost, companies employ teams dedicated to securing the relevant supply chains, controlling inventory, managing the production process, and so on – from the point of origin to the point of consumption.

In many cases, this involves maintaining relationships with a dedicated network of suppliers, with which producers share detailed product specifications. Doing so ensures that producers get exactly what they need, and that suppliers are able to deliver the correct inputs. The result is a well-defined, highly productive, and mutually beneficial working relationship.

By contrast, the innovation supply chain (the process by which companies obtain and/or develop future products and improve on their current products) tends to be characterized by inefficiency, ambiguity, and competition. And, in many cases, no supply chain is in place.

Most pharmaceutical companies, for example, lack effective innovation supply chains. But only about 15% of the drugs that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved recently were developed by the same company that markets and sells them, meaning that many major pharmaceutical companies depend on the innovation ecosystem to advance their products.

Drug companies often lament that the firms from which they are sourcing innovations do not perform clinical trials to their specifications, forcing them to repeat the work. Nevertheless, they are reticent about providing such specifications in advance – even when innovators request them – perhaps to protect their market position or internal efforts. Moreover, the same companies compete directly in the supply of innovative technologies. The result is a broken supply chain.

Just as individual innovators must challenge conventional wisdom, companies must replace the established approach to the innovation supply chain with one that more closely resembles how they create and maintain a manufacturing supply chain.

If market incumbents are willing to share “innovation specifications” (which should not be confused with innovation methods), they can develop an effective network of innovation suppliers, thereby increasing the reliability of the product-development engine. And, as with effective manufacturing supply chains, the supplier and the purchaser must build a reciprocal relationship, in which they do not compete with each other, practically or economically, in the specific activities that they are performing.

An efficient supply chain can transform innovation on both the individual and industry levels. Indeed, a common approach – defining key market needs, coupling them with solution constraints, and pushing the boundaries of current thinking – applies to all kinds of innovation. With an innovation ecosystem organized along these lines, “obvious” advances could occur significantly faster. How obvious is that?

Procurious has gathered 40+ of the biggest influencers in procurement and will be discussing innovation (among a host of other topics) at the Big Ideas Summit 2015 on 30 April. Join in, ask questions, watch exclusive video content, and contribute to all the discussions by RSVP’ing here

5 of the deadliest risks facing your supply chain in 2015

Are you prepared to manage (and ultimately overcome) these challenges head-on?

5 biggest supply chain risks

Today we’re talking risk…

As a profession we’re getting better at managing common supply chain disruptions – supplier performance management and demand forecasting used to be the cause of week-long headaches… But the advent of new technology and implementation of streamlined processes are taking some of that strain. However we are not (yet) very effective at managing the less frequent, higher impact events that effect our operations.

On Thursday 30 April, Procurious will host a world-first cost leadership think-tank at The Soho Hotel in London that will be amplified online to our 4500 members across 100 countries through a mixture of videos, interviews, social media and feature-writing. Follow along on Procurious by RSVP’ing here, then get ready to Tweet your questions and join-in with the discussion!

Below we’ve listed 5 key risks that procurement and supply chain staff face in 2015 and beyond.

  1. Cyber threats

2014 was the year that cyber attacks got real. The recent attacks on Sony Pictures exemplified that hacking has moved from a nuisance to a full-scale criminal operation. Cyber attacks not only cause significant business interruptions they also have an extremely detrimental effect on brand reputation. According to the Edelman Privacy Risk Index 71 per cent of customers say they would leave an organisation after a data breach.

We’re not only seeing a increase in the frequency and severity of cyber attacks, but companies appear to be grossly underestimating the risks attached to these attacks. The Allianz Risk Barometer suggests that 29 per cent of organisations are ill prepared to deal with cyber threats – a figure that is significantly higher than any other risk category.

  1. Health concerns 

2014 saw the largest outbreak of Ebola in written history. Over 10,000 deaths were recorded over the course of a few short months. In addition to the horrific human cost of this epidemic, it provided us with a sobering glimpse into what a global health pandemic might actually mean for our supply chains. While Ebola was contained largely to a small number of West African nations, cases began to show up in Spain, United Kingdom and the USA. Fortunately Ebola, while an incredibly deadly disease, is not highly contagious and the outbreaks were all suitably contained.

Had the outbreaks taken hold and spread further around the world, it would have likely had crippling effects on economic activity and trade flows. Nations may have been forced (as Sierra Leone was) to enforce lock-down periods where highly populated areas like shops, markets, and places of worship were shut down and people ordered to stay at home for significant periods of time.

As well as the human and economic impact of diseases, procurement and supply chain managers should also consider the impact these events have on the security of commodity supplies. The troubles in West Africa last year impacted the supply of raw materials such as cacao, rubber and aluminium ore.

  1. Weather

Extreme weather slows procurement progress. The economic impact of last years extreme weather events are summarised brilliantly in this chart produced by the Bank of America for the World Economic Forum in Davos. For some sense of perspective, the combined financial impact of 2014’s 10 most extreme weather events totalled more than $27 billion USD (that’s just slightly more than the GDP of Ecuador).

With extreme weather events apparently occurring more frequently and causing more harm to our operations, what exactly are procurement teams doing to plan for these sort of events?

  1. Brand reputation and value

Consumers are taking a far greater interest in where their products are coming from. As a result, organisations and indeed procurement and supply chain professionals are increasingly vulnerable to public scrutiny of their corporate practices.

A recent Chartered Global Management Accountant survey highlighted that 76 per cent of global finance chiefs now say that their company is prepared to lose short-term profit in order to protect its long-term reputation. The same number suggested there should be more emphasis placed on reputational risk this year. This is in stark contrast to responses collected in previous years.

Despite these suggested commitments there appears to be gap between the promise and the practice of brand protection. 60 per cent of those surveyed admitted they had no formal processes or models in place to calculate the financial impact of not managing reputational risk.

  1. Political instability

Political instability and war continue to pose threats for organisations with international operations. Events in the Ukraine, Russia, the Middle East (and a normally peaceful Hong Kong) have gone some way to destabilise the confidence of business operations in those regions.

Being the naturally curious sort we’re on the lookout for the hot topics, and big questions that influence the decisions supply chain managers will be making over the coming year. We want to know how the corruption allegations in Brazil will play out, what the drop in oil prices mean for the conflict in the Ukraine, and whether election results in Israel will bring stability to the region?

In its recently-published Reliance Index, FM Global listed Venezuela as bottom, while Norway came out on top. Read more on this story here.

Whether it’s war, hacking, weather, terrorism or brand destruction, risk will continue to play a pivotal role in the success of supply chains and indeed organisations as a whole. The question is are you prepared to manage (and ultimately overcome) these challenges head-on?

Are we facing a productivity crisis?

Are we suffering from a productivity crisis?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released its latest report and with it come grave warnings for China, Brazil and others. However, the UK comes bottom of the pile when it comes to measuring productivity.

According to the new World Economic Outlook:

[The] analysis suggests that potential output growth in advanced economies is likely to increase slightly from current rates… In contrast, in emerging market economies, potential output growth is expected to decline further, owing to ageing populations, weaker investment, and lower total factor productivity growth as these economies catch up to the technological frontier.

Yes, although demographics are catching up with some of the larger developing economies, China’s working-age population is set to shrink rapidly – to cite but one example.

Static productivity

As much as technology gives – it too takes away. In fact the report claims that it’s one of overriding factors contributing to falling productivity levels around the world.

When advanced economies once saw a  boost in productivity through the use of technology,  the effects of such a boost have been in decline for a long time since (even before the economic crisis). Now however, emerging markets are becoming more turned on to technology – which, the IMF noted may curb the potential for new growth.

The Economist notes: Productivity growth will also weaken in future, both because the developing world has less room to catch up with rich economies and because productivity slowdowns in America tend to spill over to other countries. Economic disappointment is an increasingly global affair.

You can read the report in full here.

The latest [March] findings from BDO’s Business Trends Report compounds matters further, revealing that productivity in the UK is 21 per cent lower than the average amongst the G7 countries, including Germany, the US and France. Stating that Britain’s workers were less productive in the final quarter of 2014, with output per worker falling 0.2 per cent.

On the UK’s continuing poor labour productivity performance, BDO partner Peter Hemington said:

“While it is encouraging to see strong business confidence, the UK’s continuing poor labour productivity performance is a very significant concern.”

“Although employment growth in recent years has been strong, much of this has been in part-time jobs,” he said. “Productivity ultimately determines our prosperity so it is a crucial area that must be addressed. Policymakers of all persuasions must take on this productivity puzzle.”

The Daily Telegraph’s assistant editor Jeremy Warner makes the controversial point that: “the fall in productivity might have something to do with an apparently inexhaustible supply of cheap workers, both from mass immigration and greater employment participation, particularly among the elderly. Employers have chosen cheap and easy-to-get-rid-of man hours over the capital cost of investment. In this sense there is a downside to Britain’s flexible labour market.”

He further compares the predicament to that of the United Kingdom’s closest European neighbours – France. “One of the reasons for relatively high rates of French productivity is that the labour market is so hedged around by protections that there is a positive incentive for French companies to employ as few people as possible. The costs of making workers redundant act as a powerful deterrent to taking them on in the first place. This is not an affliction that British businesses are likely to suffer from.”

Do we have a productivity problem? Over to you!

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

Our people are our greatest asset - Sigi Osagie

This is a guest post by Sigi Osagie – Sigi is a leading expert on effectiveness in Procurement & Supply Chain Management. He helps organisations and individuals achieve enhanced performance growth to accomplish their business and career goals.

A recent post by Stephen Ashcroft reminded me of a point I raised at a leadership round-table discussion a while ago. I smiled to myself as I remembered the looks on the faces of my co-panellists when I started talking about the ubiquitous phrase, “Our people are our greatest asset”. 

It’s one of the most common statements found in company annual reports and regurgitated by many senior executives. Yet, as soon as those same companies hit financial difficulties their people are the first thing they jettison, typically through redundancies, plant closures, etc.

Strange. And interesting.

Why would you get rid of your “greatest asset” so readily in difficult times?

It’s a bit like me being in a canoe on a river, paddling along merrily with my super-duper 4K-UHD TV and my wife, who I claim is my greatest asset*. And then I discover that the canoe has a hole and is taking on water – we risk getting submerged and drowned with the weight the canoe is carrying. I need to reduce the weight quickly for any chance of survival!

What do I get rid of: my 4K-UHD TV or my wife? Hmm… she does weigh more than the TV… but she’s my “greatest asset”

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Financial difficulties are often complex challenges for most organisations. And I’m sure quite a few resort to headcount reductions only as a last resort. But, perhaps, it’d be better for more companies to be more honest and say that their people are their “most dispensable assets”.

Actions do speak louder than words. So if people are really companies’ greatest assets, companies must demonstrate this not in words but in actions: let your corporate mandates and leadership actions show what you truly think of your people.

CPOs may not be the executives who make such “greatest asset” claims in company annual reports. But they face the same challenges of balancing ethical leadership sensibilities with the realities of organisational life. Procurement leaders at all levels must ponder key underlying questions, like;

  • Are my people really my greatest asset in my Procurement function?
  • How vital are my people to my personal success and the success of the enterprise, relative to other things like strategy, processes and systems?
  • How do I show that I value my people and their contribution to our collective success in my everyday leadership style?

These may be difficult probes for some Procurement leaders to contend with. Others may feel confident and justified in their personal modus operandi. Whatever the case, it’s a truism that most of us will spend the majority of our lifetime at work. So finding our mojo, or bringing out our best selves, in the work we do is a big part of our fulfilment and success.

Leaders have a unique role to play in helping people reveal their abilities to excel and succeed. This holds true for whole enterprises as for functional areas like Procurement. Yet, sadly, but in truth, majority of organisations don’t do enough to expose and leverage the capabilities of their people.

When we manage Procurement functions, or any other organisations, in ways that don’t release people’s enthusiasm, energy, excitement, emotion, effort and expertise – what Charles Handy called the ‘E’ factors – we fail the individuals and we fail the organisation. An effective leadership approach that nurtures individuals’ talents and provides opportunities to grow is one of the critical conduits to sustain the psychological contract between employee and employer. It’s a vital mechanism to foster staff motivation and engagement, which, ultimately, fuel performance success.

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Procurement organisations that are able to unlock the performance capabilities of their people are always places of great effervescence. They fizz with the collective passion of the purchasing people, the same people who do the work and deliver performance outcomes that enhance Procurement’s enduring success.

People are indeed the greatest asset of any Procurement organisation. And their harnessed talent is the lifeblood of the function. But ask yourself this: Does our approach to managing our Procurement function bring out the best in our people?

NOTES

*In truth, my wife is not and never will be “my asset”; she’s my co-pilot in life.

We’ve identified Sigi as one of procurement’s key influencers – he will be appearing at our inaugural Big Ideas Summit 2015 on 30 April in London. We hope you can join (digitally!) – catch all of the day’s action here on Procurious and get access to exclusive interviews, video content and discussions. RSVP now and get ready to submit your questions.