All posts by Procurious HQ

Cheese-in-a-can inventor turns to procurement

According to legend, when captors of Saddam Hussein searched his bunker, they discovered a high calcium cheese-in-a-can developed by Australian man Peter Force.

Peter Force

While not entirely a procurement project, it’s a story Peter recounts with pride and a wry smile because it shows how far and wide his rather unusual invention was sold around the world.

The product came about while Peter was working in research and development for Kraft, before he got his break in procurement at Parmalat.

Peter actively sought a procurement role with the FMCG behemoth after realising that career progression opportunities were severely lacking in the research and development field.

His Parmalat boss told him he needed to study business to get a break in procurement, which he did. He already had a Bachelor of Food Science and Technology, where he gained honours for inventing a fat-free cheese.

Then there’s the Advanced Diploma in Business Management and a Diploma in Project Management, a Graduate Diploma in Purchasing and Supply and a Graduate Certificate of Writing, Editing and Publishing. Whew.

“I told the procurement manager at Parmalat I wanted to work for him. He took me seriously after he happened to catch me in a heated debate with someone in marketing, saying he could see I had the backbone for the job. When a job became available, I applied for it and was successful, so switched to the dark side.”

He recalls a trip to China for Parmalat to audit the quality of strawberries destined for the company’s Vaalia-branded yoghurt. “I told my mates I went to China to pick fruit, which was kind of true.”

The keen angler has also worked in rail, government, mining and energy industries. He now works for AGL in the merchant energy division, which is one of Australia’s leading renewable energy companies.

Procurement is a fine balance between getting what you want, and being nice, he explains.

“I like people, and sometimes they like me back. Either way, my aim is to get a better deal with a supplier, but I also know we’ll need to continue working together, so I don’t want to upset the relationship.

“Other times, I need to tell suppliers when their bid has been unsuccessful, but I always want to bid next time I go to market so I’m nice about it.”

Our takeaways from the CIPS 2014 Conference

Procurious headed to Kings Place to take in the sights, and hear from a wealth of insightful speakers at the biggest procurement event of the year – the 2014 CIPS Conference and Exhibition.

Having survived the global economic crisis, this year’s theme (unsurprisingly) focused on ‘standards, ethics and innovation’ within what CIPS calls ‘a new procurement future’. 

With Craig Lardner chairing proceedings, delegates were treated to a packed day full of talks, break-out sessions, and a distinguished guest from the world of broadcasting.

CIPS Conference 2014
Facebook.com, CIPS

Some of our highlights from the day included:

Dr John Glen’s opening session was an early highlight of the day. John is an economist for CIPS, and lectures at the Cranfield School of Management. If you’ve ever struggled to grasp economics, the good Dr offered a brilliantly accessible half hour. He also suggested that the next big challenge for supply chains would be to adopt the business model that’s made Uber into such a success story.

IKEA’s Environmental and Sustainable Development Manager – Charlie Browne, revealed how the business has reduced supplier count in a bid to maximize effectiveness. Sustainability is also in IKEA’s blood – with the retailer’s efforts dating back to 1990s.

Tesco’s Frances Goodwin offered her thoughts on the role of ethical trading in procurement. She left us with a surprising nugget around procuring a banana – in that the supply chain is (on average) 5 layers deep.

Rita Clifton – President of the Market Research Society and former Chair of Interbrand presented a light-hearted session on the power of branding. Rita distilled the ingredients that make a strong brand, and revealed some of the brands that she thinks have got it right. She also confirmed something we’ve been saying for a while: Procurement has an image problem. Do a Google Image search for procurement and see what we mean…

In what was possibly the biggest announcement of the day – Babs Omotowa, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria LNG Limited was announced as the incoming CIPS President. Babs will take the mantle from Craig Lardner four weeks from now.

Our favourite break-out session was delivered courtesy of Clive Lewis – Founder and Managing Director of Illumine Training. Clive guided us through 5 different methods to help boost creativity, and approach problems differently.

Elsewhere, Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board) and Selex ES talked about building strong supplier relationships. The latter having previously been crowned the overall winner at CIPS Supply Management Awards 2014 for their work with Research Electro-Optics (REO).

To cap a busy day off, influential food writer (and occasional TV personality)  – Jay Rayner, provided a thought-provoking (and at times, hilarious) commentary on food supply chains. With insights like: full service supermarkets cannot compete with discounters – and in the end it’s the suppliers that suffer. We suspect he may have also snuck a few plugs for his book in there too…

Twitter also provided some key takeaways – here is what some of the other attendees were saying:

CIPS Conference 2014

CIPS Conference 2014

CIPS Conference 2014

CIPS Conference 2014

CIPS Conference 2014

Sears mimics Zara’s fast fashion approach

Fast fashion is a bit of a buzzword around these parts, so we’re somewhat surprised to find it hasn’t featured more heavily in our weekly news roundups. Of course now our lead-item has just gone and bucked that trend… Eyes-down for that and more:

falling_in_fashion_de_sears_8726_900x656

Sears mimics Zara’s fast fashion approach

  • Carlos Slim, following the lead of fellow billionaire Amancio Ortega, is freshening up his Sears outlets in Mexico with an of-the-moment sense of style in a bid to boost profits.
  • The retailer is joining the ranks of Ortega’s fashion empire Zara by introducing new brands that quickly convert the latest runway styles of clothes and accessories into cheaper, mass-distributed goods. It’s a change of pace for Sears, which opened its first store in Mexico City in 1947 and whose 82 Mexican locations are now owned by Slim’s Grupo Sanborns SAB.
  • Sanborns aims to benefit from the 30 percent growth in Mexican consumer spending that PricewaterhouseCoopers projects through 2017. Slim is betting that his “fast-fashion” strategy will help lure new, young consumers who favor retailers such as H&M and Forever 21, which opened its eighth store in Mexico last month.

Read more at Business of Fashion

Qatar Airways and IAG Cargo considering expanding capacity sharing agreement

  • Qatar Airways Cargo, and the cargo handling division of the International Airlines Group, IAG Cargo, are considering expanding a capacity sharing agreement signed in May to cover additional Asian destinations.
  • Under the agreement’s current terms, Qatar Airways operate five weekly B777-F flights between Hong Kong and London Stansted via Mumbai International, Chennai, Delhi International and Dhaka on various routings, on behalf of IAG Cargo.
  • IAG entered the agreement after British Airways (BA, London Heathrow) prematurely terminated a lease contract with Atlas Air for three B747-8Fs operated by Global Supply Systems (GSS, London Stansted). The two parties are now considering expanding the deal to include points in Pakistan. Dave Shepherd, Head of Commercial at IAG Cargo, has said that the decision to expand the agreement is a result of its ongoing success adding that it could be a model for other carriers to follow.

Via Supply Chain Digital

Procurement in the UK

Metropolitan Police uses P2P system to transform procurement

  • The Metropolitan Police has introduced a purchase-to-pay (P2P) system to transform the way it procures goods and services.
  • Vicky Morgan, director of procurement operations at the service, said the iBuy system has helped improve customer service, reduce processing costs, improve financial reporting and balance costs. Speaking at the eWorld Purchasing and Supply conference in London, Morgan explained that she thought introducing such a system would be the main part of the transformation project. But she soon found out business process and change management were bigger hurdles.
  • To further improve the system, Morgan launched iBuy Plus to introduce “a very different way of working”. Staff are now required to make every purchase order themselves, and Morgan has reduced the numerous levels of approvals. Before this system, an order would have to be approved by around three people.

Read more at Supply Management

Whitehall mandates supply chain cyber security standard for suppliers

  • The UK government wants to improve cyber security in its supply chain. From next week on 1st October, all suppliers must be compliant with new “Cyber Essentials” controls if they are bidding for government contracts which involve the handling of sensitive and personal information and the provision of certain technical products and services.
  • The UK government has developed Cyber Essentials in consultation with industry, and according to the government, it offers “a sound foundation of basic cyber hygiene measures which, when properly implemented, can significantly reduce a company’s vulnerability.” The scheme’s set of five critical controls is applicable to all types of organisations, of all sizes, giving protection from the most prevalent forms of threat coming from the internet.
  • Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: “It’s vital that we take steps to reduce the levels of cyber security risk in our supply chain. Cyber Essentials provides a cost-effective foundation of basic measures that can defend against the increasing threat of cyber attack. Businesses can demonstrate that they take this issue seriously and that they have met government requirements to respond to the threat. Gaining this kind of accreditation will also demonstrate to non-government customers a business’ clear stance on cyber security.

Read more at Government Computing

Taiwan losing its grip on iPhone supply chain

  • Production of the hot-selling iPhone 6 is bringing business to a number of Taiwanese technology firms and boosting factory orders on the mainland, although supplier competition and sourcing changes at Apple have taken a bite out of the region’s dependence on the popular handsets.
  • Apple has contracted Taiwanese tech giant Hon Hai Precision to make all its iPhone 6 Plus handsets and 70 per cent of basic iPhone 6 orders, analysts say. Pegatron, based in Taipei, will assemble the other 30 per cent, the Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute in Taiwan estimates.
  • “Most of the worldwide assembly for the iPhone 6 range will take place in China, because that is where the lowest costs and biggest factories are located,” said Neil Mawston, global wireless practice executive director at Strategy Analytics in Britain.
  • But as Apple changes specs from earlier iPhone models and has the pick from a bigger field of suppliers worldwide, mainland and Taiwanese companies are getting fewer orders compared to older iPhones. “The components for the iPhone 6 portfolio come from a very globalised supply chain,” Mawston said. Taiwan will pocket just US$25 to US$30 from the total US$245 to US$255 manufacturing bill of materials from each iPhone 6 handset, according to the Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute.

Read more at SCMP.com

On a mission to challenge procurement’s misconceptions

A few months into a year-long work placement role with Mercedes-Benz, Emily Gloyns admits she was ready for a new challenge.

Emily Gloyns

“The challenge was no longer there, so I began shadowing buyers to better understand their roles. I expanded my role by supporting them with drafting RFx documents and analysis tasks.”

Her initiative paid off. Emily was promoted to Graduate Buyer seven months into the work placement and before completing her Bachelor of Business. As Graduate Buyer, she was responsible for the entire marketing and travel categories for the luxury car marque.

She thrived in the role, which allowed her to work with lead buyers in Germany on major global contracts.

Emily was tapped on the shoulder by EnergyAustralia a couple of years later, where she’s currently the Category Lead for ICT, looking after telecommunications, software and hardware. In the next few years, she hopes to be in a managerial role.

While Emily is grateful she was curious enough to follow around those Mercedes-Benz buyers and ask questions, she admits to being frustrated by the misconception that the procurement industry is filled with either dull or grumpy people with the solitary goal of saving money for the business, regardless of whether it compromises on quality or end result.

“What I love about procurement is that it’s so easy to change these misconceptions. It’s all about the approach you take with your stakeholders and vendors. It’s fun to work with a diverse stakeholder group and vary your approach depending on their personality and their objectives in their role.

“I guess you could say I love the people side of procurement, as it can be the most challenging. And I love a good challenge.”

Her main focus this year is stakeholder management and category strategy planning. She also plans to invest more time in keeping up to date with the ICT industry.

Outside of work she loves cooking, and admits to being a serious chocoholic. “I love having a holiday planned too, whether it’s an overseas trip or a visit to somewhere local I haven’t been before.”

Do you have events coming out of your ears?

How’s your calendar looking these days? Busy schedule? Yeah us too…

Procurious Events listings

We’d love nothing more than to alleviate your calendar clashes, but we wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we didn’t offer you a tempting timetable of the hottest events in procurement to swallow all of your free time…

Regular Procurious users will already be well-versed in the benefits of the Events hub, but for those who are yet to dabble here’s a primer:

How? Just pay a visit to our Events page to view all future listings. Clicking on an event will take you to a dedicated page where you can discover more about the day(s). Think essential info like the programme, speakers, fee, and other Procurious members who might be thinking of attending.

What’s more, all Events on Procurious are searchable – utilise the search box to narrow down your options and hone-in on your event of choice.

Your RSVP

State your intentions by RSVPing to an event. Thinking of putting in an appearance? Just select the ‘I am going’ or ‘maybe’ options. If you really don’t think you’ll make it, there’s no shame in declining the invite.

Your RSVP will also be viewable to the other members of Procurious via a post that appears in their Community feed.

All Event listings are archived too, so if you’re feeling nostalgic you can also view past events. This is a great place to catch-up with attendees – you can reminisce by leaving comments on the page.

Apps to the rescue!

When it comes to managing your time digitally, you’re better off ditching your phone’s default calendar and embracing one of the excellent third-party alternatives…

We couldn’t resist making a few recommendations:

For iOS: We’d scrimp for either Sunrise or Fantastical (now in its second iteration).

Sunrise calendar app

Android user? Good news! Sunrise is also available for Android devices – we’d also point you in the direction of both aCalendar and Today Calendar.

For the Windows Phone users among you, Chronos is certainly worth a look-in. In addition the default app has also just been updated with new features, so if you have a moment to spare – check it out.

Procurement profession “relieved” following Scotland no vote

The last seven days have played host to one of the biggest news stories of 2014 – suffice to say Procurious can’t ignore it! Hence we lead with Scotland, but things have been happening further afield too… Read on for all the details:

What does the Scottish referendum mean for procurement?

Supply chain “relieved” by referendum result

  • The people decided the country will remain united and Cameron ensures promises to Scotland will be honoured. Supply chain experts are “relieved”, say result “removes risk to employment” and that it’s “business as usual”.
  • Bernard Molloy, global industrial logistics director at Unipart Group, comments; “No doubt logistics and supply chains would have to be rebalanced if the Scottish Referendum was yes. Costs and return-on-investment on distribution are currently fairly reasonably spread nationally; this would have been a different story if the vote was yes.”
  • Chris Sturman, chief executive of the Food Storage & Distribution Federation, says; “I believe this a good decision for all the inhabitants of the UK. It maintains the economic and logistical whole, removes risk to employment, enables  stable costs and prices for all citizens and removes the instability of change, especially after the uncertainty of the recession.

Read more on SHD Logistics Magazine

Supply Management also carried this article – it includes quotes from John Milne, a procurement consultant at Hampco based in Aberdeen:

  • “There’s a sense of relief and a vindication because much of the media were supporting the hype of the nationalists who were giving an unfeasible argument. It’s a relief for the oil and gas sector too, we know which regime we have to negotiate with now.
  • “For procurement, it has taken the fear factor away – the changes would have cost a lot of money. So procurement will heave a sigh of relief that they won’t have to take on the changes.”

India’s artillery procurement saga

  • There is little doubt that the Indian Army’s artillery is in urgent need of modernization. But delays in procurement are hindering the process.
  • India hasn’t purchased a new system since the Bofors in 1980s. Senior Indian army officials have also raised concerns over shortages of modern artillery systems, which they believe would be a crucial drawback in any future conflict. The Army has been notably lackadaisical when it comes to acquiring these types of guns, with tenders cancelled in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
  • in 2012 the Ministry of Defence cleared a $647 million deal to acquire 145 M777 155-mm 38-caliber howitzers under Washington’s Foreign Military Sales program. In October 2013, however, it was reported that British multinational BAE Systems would be closing the U.S. factory that manufactures the gun, due the “absence of any order or commitment from New Delhi.” If New Delhi wants the guns, it will have to pay to reopen the line, raising the price to as much as $885 million. A recent strengthening of the U.S. dollar makes the deal even more expensive. Washington points out that if India had been able to move more quickly, it could have had the guns at the lower price.

Read more at The Diplomat

Top procurement groups deliver 7x return on investment

  • In a combined initiative to bring common value management visibility and practices to the procurement profession, three organizations – A.T. Kearney, the Institute for Supply Management, and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply – released the results of the inaugural ROSMASM Performance Check Report “Building the Brand of Procurement and Supply.”
  • The report found that leading procurement teams are delivering significant value to their organizations, but without a credible standard allowing companies to consistently track and score procurement performance, many CFOs question the performance of and benefits delivered by their procurement teams.
  • In an independent survey of CFOs and financial function leaders the study found that only 10 per cent of procurement functions have established recognition with their CFOs regarding how procurement contributes value and that the benefits are real and measureable. The report is distilled from more than 400 completed, qualified, and accepted cumulative benchmarks along with more than 170 submissions focused on 2013 results.

Read more at EBN Online

At McDonald’s, sustainability is job 1, 2 and 3…

  • McDonald’s sustainability efforts focus on verifiable sustainable coffee, fish, fiber, palm oil and beef with “beef being Priority Number One, Two and Three.”
  • Bob Langert, McDonald’s Global Sustainability VP, said their sustainability efforts are based on collaborations within their respective industries.
  • “We want to do this right and to do it right we have to collaborate and get the right measures in place. We are determined to let science lead the way, but we are also determined to start purchasing (beef) in 2016.”

Read more and watch the video interview at The Pig Site

Snapdeal to spend over $100 million on its supply chain in 2014

  • Online marketplace Snapdeal has become one of the largest clients for ecommerce logistics companies in India. The Delhi-based company, unlike rivals Flipkart and Amazon, outsources its entire logistics.
  • Snapdeal’s co-founder and chief operating officer, Rohit Bansal said: “We had earlier mentioned that we would end up spending Rs 450 crore in supply chain this year. But, with the kind of sales happening, we may well end up spending somewhere between $100-125 million (Rs 600-760 crore) in supply chain.”

Read more in The Economic Times

‘Don’t be intimidated by the people you respect’

Marissa Brown features in the next of our Generation Procurement series.

Marissa Brown

A bold approach and hard work has seen Marissa Brown go far in the nine years since she joined the procurement profession.

She showed strong initiative early, applying for a role as a senior contracts manager at BAE Systems after university, knowing it was out of league.

“I wrote a marketing piece on myself as the cover letter. It worked. Although they didn’t offer me the role, they wanted to meet me, and offered me a procurement role, as they were developing a graduate program. I was the first to start six months later. ”

Next, she moved into BAE’s communications division, managing the procurement requirements and relationships with major suppliers.

“There were lots of travel perks, including trips to the UK or US every three months visiting facilities that manufactured satellite communications infrastructure for high priority maritime platforms and ground based networks.”

She’s also worked for Leighton Contractors and Suzlon Energy Australia, and now holds a Market Senior Lead Role at BP, which puts her in charge of retail capital expenditure for BP service stations across Australia.

“It’s different from previous roles because I drive past BP sites every day, knowing I play a significant part in driving change that impacts the look and feel of a site and enhances the customer experience,” Marissa says.

“There’s never a dull moment, and you’re constantly interacting with people from varying industries and professions. I don’t think I could do a job where I just sit in an office every day working in isolation. Procurement gets you interacting with senior leaders, and enables you to drive changes that have fundamental impact on the business, not just to the bottom line, but operational efficiencies and improving the customer experience.”

With a commerce degree under her belt, she set a goal to complete her Masters of Supply Chain Management (gaining honours) before she was 30, which she finished in 2013.

She’s most certainly bold, explaining that when in the same room as speaker and well-respected procurement professional Stephen Rowe at a CIPSA event six years ago, she had to introduce herself. Stephen still mentors her today.

It’s important not to be intimidated by senior leaders that inspire you, she says, urging others never to underestimate the value of a mentor.

“Since meeting Stephen, I’ve made connections with other senior leaders, who have also been informal mentors to me. I can’t put into words how valuable this has been not only from a professional perspective, but more importantly, from a personal development perspective.”

Tania Seary talks Procurious in the media

Over the course of the last few weeks, Procurious founder Tania Seary has been quoted in Australia’s Marketing Magazine. We’ve provided some choice excerpts from the conversation below.

Tania Seary Procurious

In part one of a two-part article she says:

“10 or 12 years ago, procurement used to be in the back room in the brown cardigan, but now they’re very much in the boardroom.”

“Globalisation’s driven a lot of the development, and a lot of it is about brand reputation and risk management.”

The article continues:

Advertising agencies need to “get with the program” and start quantifying the value they produce for businesses, she says with a provocative grin.

Seary has made her career founding a string of successful businesses to develop the procurement industry, including professional development educator The Faculty, recruitment service The Source and, most recently, industry social network, Procurious.

“10 years ago procurement wouldn’t have been seen anywhere near advertising agencies because that was the holy grail; that was the secret herbs and spices. What business leaders have to grapple with is they want to reduce their marketing costs, but where do they do it?”

Read the article in full here.

The second part of the article talks about how procurement can add value to an organization.

It begins: Tania Seary has a bundle of catchphrases she pulls out to explain why marketers should value procurement professionals’ input into their decision-making.

One of these is “Process is liberating” – and she says it convincingly.

Despite marketers such as Chorus Executive’s Christine Khor and DDB’s John Zeigler describing procurement’s systematisation and financial pressures as stifling to creativity, Seary argues that proper processes actually allow creative freedom.

“It’s all very structured and the guidelines are set up very well if procurement’s involved and people know what they’re dealing with.”

Seary is adamant that procurement professionals, “If they’re doing their jobs right”, simply act as value-adding helpers to decision-making, rather than taking away control in the way marketers often perceive.

Tania on why procurement people look at the value of agency relationships in a variety of dimensions other than pure financials:

“There’s no use being a cost reduction guru when your CEO’s looking for growth. You need to be managing costs but you need to be thinking about how you work with suppliers to grow the business with new products, new geographies, whatever. But if your CEO’s like, ‘Right, we’re under pressure here, it’s about reducing costs,’ well everyone should be in sync with what the business strategy is and supporting each other, ideally.”

Don’t forget: You can read the article in full on the marketingmag.com.au website.

How to add additional email addresses to your Procurious account

Signing-up to Procurious to grow your professional network is all well and good, but what happens when you change your contact details, land a new role, or leave a company?

Adding email addresses to Procurious

In all of the above cases you’ll be required to jettison your email address of old, and adopt a new digital moniker. Of course this means that any services, mailing lists, or websites previously accessed using these details will need to be updated with the new address. Websites are increasingly making it harder for users to change such hard-baked particulars – sure you can change your secondary email address, no problem! How about that main email, you know, the one that’s tied to your account? Well slow down there pardner, that’s going nowhere.

An email impasse

Well it seems we have arrived at something of an impasse… Happily this isn’t the case if you’re a Procurious user! You can now associate up to three different email addresses with your Procurious account

The Settings page is your new best friend, here you can add two additional email addresses, and even specify which one you want as your default. Just hit ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu next to your name.

Enter a new email address in the box provided, and click ‘Add email address’ to confirm the change.

Keep tabs on your inbox, as you’ll need to open an email to confirm the new address.

Choose your primary email address

Your primary (or default) address is the one you’ll use to log into Procurious, and it’ll also be the place where you’ll receive any mail relating to your Procurious account.

If you have more than one email address on file you can specify the one you wish to use as your primary by clicking the ‘Make this address primary’ option.

Don’t worry, additional email addresses won’t be visible to other Procurious members.

5 more common procurement myths busted

Procurious.com – busting procurement myths since 2014.

We arm you with another handful of myth-busting one-liners to help you educate your workplace.

Procurement myths
It’s not just all about buying you know…

Myth: Procurement is just a fancy word for what was once known as the purchasing function within a business.

Reality: Procurement operates in a constantly changing environment and continues to evolve to meet business needs. Whilst its basic practice has always been around, procurement’s role and responsibilities and the skills required have significantly developed over time. What was considered purchasing is not the procurement of today, and the same may be said of the procurement of the future..

Myth: Anyone can get a job in procurement.

Reality: Procurement benefits from professionals with diverse backgrounds, and like no other profession is more active in seeking a mix of knowledge and experience. Procurement professionals are a good reflection of the industry sectors and business functions they work in and across. And yet, procurement still has a skillset that is distinct and requires specific training and development focus.

Myth: Most people end up in procurement as a career by accident.

Reality: There’s a new generation of procurement professionals that have actively chosen procurement as their career of choice. This surge will continue.

The shift is a result of businesses realising the potential opportunities for investing in dedicated procurement and procurement becoming more widely known and recognised. Just take a look at the new programs developed specifically for procurement in the education and training sector.

Myth: Procurement people don’t communicate effectively with other levels of the business.

Reality: Procurement people have the tough job of communicating messages and making changes across vertical and horizontal levels of the business. Often it’s the message, reasons and impacts of communication that is difficult.

Myth: A good chief financial officer can do procurement tasks just as well.

Reality: Procurement considers a wide outlook in decision-making and is in a good position to do this objectively. Finance is a highly important factor but must be weighed up against other business needs (such as service, risk and innovation).

Want more? Read the original 5 procurement myths