All posts by Procurious HQ

Procurement at forty thousand feet – Qantas in the spotlight

Qantas has a fleet of procurement professionals keeping the iconic Australian brand in the air, and Cassie Mackie is a key part of that team.

Cassie Mackie from Qantas Airlines

As Portfolio Category Manager – Aircraft Cabin, she’s responsible for the end-to-end procurement and lifecycle management of Aircraft Cabin product categories including seats, inflight entertainment, connectivity, cabin electronics and cabin interior.

It’s a mammoth role, which puts her in charge of procurement on behalf of the Qantas Group Aircraft, including Qantas Domestic, Qantas International, Jetstar Branded businesses and other Qantas Group airlines.

The Sydneysider is in charge of a team of category management professionals, who all work with her to develop and deliver on all aspects of the source-to-contract and contract-to-supplier relationship management processes.

Cassie has been with Qantas since 2008 in a range of procurement roles.

“I can see a tangible connection that my role has on the business and specifically on our customers. I love that no day ever feels like ‘groundhog day’ and that I’m constantly challenged. Most of all, I love that I work with a diverse group of people that are incredibly talented at what they do and are always in pursuit of excellence.”

Like many, Cassie fell into procurement when living in London. She had the experience to consider a job in the field, with a Bachelor of Arts in Asian and International Studies under her belt. She also speaks Mandarin Chinese.

“I distinctly remember seeing a job advertised on the Australian High Commission website for a Procurement Officer with Defence Material Organisation. At the ripe old age of 20, I phoned Dad back in Australia, and asked him what procurement was. He told me it was basically like shopping, and that was it. Now, 10 years later, I’ve never looked back.”

She credits her parents for mentoring her and always being there to remind her that the world is her oyster. “They’ve always told me that as long as I work for it, I can have whatever I’ve ever wanted. I’ve had formal and informal mentors and inspirational people who have helped me to progress through my career and contemplate the future. I’ve also had some not so inspirational leaders in past experiences that have helped me see exactly what I don’t want to be, which I’ve learned from.”

She advocates the importance of good relationships with business partners and suppliers, and says some of the most challenging and difficult negotiations have ended up being the most rewarding.

Procurement crisis? Social media can save the day!

Steven Lewis of Sydney-based Taleist on social media and procurement

How to use social media in procurement

Social media can be an erratic and angry beast. One minute your company is being praised, and the next it’s under fire for a minor procurement program that’s somehow landed in serious hot water.

To stay out of trouble, make sure you are prepared for any social media crisis well before there’s any sign of trouble.
Start by working up to a worst case scenario by considering what could go wrong, recommends Sydney social media trainer Steven Lewis of Taleist.

Consider who is going to be called in from other duties to lend a hand if trouble hits, he says.

“The first step in handling a crisis is to be prepared for the eventuality in the first place. If you’re prepared, you’ll know who’s going to speak, what they need, and you’ll have your channels and processes in place and tested. Having thought about those things in advance frees you up to think strategically when dealing with the specifics of a crisis.”

Conduct a risk assessment on each of your processes so you know how they might be questioned or attacked, and by whom, Lewis advises.

“Create a tailored response to each process that allows you to give clear justification, preferably with supporting evidence. If, for instance, you’re accused of using a supplier who uses child labour, what policies, inspections or assurances from the supplier can you cite and what would your response be to an accusation?”

People expect their corporate citizens to have human qualities, so don’t be afraid to respond on with some emotion, he offers.

If you don’t know something you’re being asked, say so.

“It’s not good for a clothing brand, for example, to say it’s never even considered there might be child labour in its overseas supply chain, but you might not have all the facts to hand immediately. But an empathetic response and a promise to investigate with a deadline will help.”

In this example, he suggests a response such as: ‘We care deeply about child labour too and we’d be horrified to find we’d supported it even directly.”

Furthermore, it’s becoming increasingly important to respond online, he notes.

“You need to be in the channels in which you’re being discussed. If you’re being attacked on Twitter, it’s not enough to put up a media release on your website. How will the people on Twitter know it’s there?”

Remember, a social media crisis seldom involves a rational exchange of views:

“Essentially, you have to be prepared for the emotion of a crisis. If you plan to deal with the crisis only through the cold exchange of facts, you won’t put out the fire.”

Lewis also stresses the need to get your side of the story up quickly and in the relevant media.

“You’ll likely have supporters and the more you can give them to share and get your side out, the better.”

However, be prepared to wear the criticism, he warns.

“In social media as in politics, it’s often the cover-up that will get you. People don’t like having their comments deleted.”

Leading female entrepreneurs front government export drive

The UK Trade & Investment arm of the UK government has just distributed ‘From local to global’. The guidance has been collated and published in aid of the GREAT Britain campaign – a campaign that encompasses the very best of Britain’s businesses, tourism, and educational offerings.

Kelly Hoppen offers export advice

Kelly Hoppen was chosen to pen the forward to a new online document that delves into the logistics and economics of the huge export market.

Kelly boasts an enviable track record, with over 30 years of first-hand experience building businesses.

“Language, logistical and cultural barriers can all be business obstacles. However, these barriers can be overcome with the right support, guidance and people to cheer you along throughout the journey,” she says. To that end here are a number of tips to help first timers thinking of entering the export business:

Know the currency

Understand the currencies you will need to deal with. Talk with your foreign exchange provider early, as they can give you insights into the potential currency risks.

Start small

It’s tempting to pursue multiple markets. Don’t. Begin by focusing on one or two markets.

Appreciate cultural differences

Failure to take account of different cultures can lead to damaging and costly mistakes. This could range from causing offence by not observing correct protocol to inappropriate packaging and marketing.

Get paid

It’s easy to overlook the risk of non-payment. Establish the credit rating of potential clients and guard against non-payment through letters of credit or credit insurance. If you’re a UK business, UKEF (UK Export Finance) can provide advice and insurance where the private market can’t help.

Business skills and networking

Kelly isn’t the only one offering her advice. Here’s Heather Melville, Director of Strategic Partnerships at RBS, on networking internationally:

Learn your markets

Use the experiences of your new contacts to get under the skin of new markets. Learn about the opportunities and the challenges. Ask questions to get the right answers.

Immerse yourself in the culture

Tap into the expertise of your local contacts. They can advise you on what to wear, what traditions to respect and even teach you some local dialect to throw in!

Know the business card etiquette

Be aware of business card customs when networking abroad. In Japan, for example, the business card is often embossed and represents a significant part of the process. Present your own card with both hands, and take the time to receive a card warmly.

Importing and exporting advice

Tips for using digital to sell overseas

The final part of the published guidance revolves around the notion of ‘selling while you sleep’.

Remember these top tips: 

Distance isn’t a barrier

Asian consumers, for example, are more connected because of their love of smart phones, meaning there are vast opportunities to extend the reach of your brand.

Spot common trends

Engage with your customer using the common trends in their market. Learning how different markets operate is simple but extremely effective.

Cost of digital

Weigh up the options of ‘digital only’ vs ‘digital and physical presence’ within a new market.

Know whether to scale up or down

Scalability is easy and affordable. Whether you want to sell into one country or 101, e-marketplaces allow you to trade across multiple countries via one platform.

Engage with social networks

Be more social. Consumers expect to be able to engage with you or other shoppers before purchasing.

Commodity changes affect market conditions

This week we are looking at technology and how the recent commodity pricing changes has affected both the size of organisations as well as their strategies.

Microsoft Tops Exxon as 2nd Biggest Company on Oil Drop

  • Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) ceded its title as the world’s second-largest company to Microsoft Corp. after the five-month oil rout cut $47 billion from its market value.
  • Apple (AAPL) Inc., the Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker, retains its rank as the world’s biggest company. Its shares have rallied 41 per cent in 2014, the 33rd biggest gain in the S&P 500, as the company bought back shares and extended a streak of beating analyst earnings estimates to eight quarters.

Read more at Bloomberg.com

The desperate struggle at the heart of the brutal Apple supply chain

  • The most valuable corporation on Earth has the power to make or break a company through its supplier relationships.
  • A $578m deal signed between Apple and GTAT in November 2013 looked as though it would not only bring sapphire screens to iPhones, but also create thousands of jobs in the US, salving a sore point with legislators critical of Apple’s use of foreign assembly for almost all its products, especially the iPhone and iPad.
  •  But it ended in October 2014 with GTAT filing for bankruptcy, hundreds of people put out of work, and GTAT’s chief executive and chief operating officer facing questions about insider dealing after they sold millions of dollars’ worth of GTAT stock before Apple’s iPhone announcement in September.
  • Though it doesn’t actually own any factories, Apple pours gigantic amounts of money – about $12.5bn in the past four quarters – into “plant, property and equipment”, the majority equipping its suppliers to make its products.

Read more at The Guardian

Economic volatility, low commodity prices to hurt mining industry

  • Global economic challenges, the strengthening US economy and an imbalance of supply and demand have had a devastating impact on the commodities market.
  • Current slump in prices was reflecting the cyclical nature of the industry.
  • For gold companies, while the long-term view was above current spot prices, volatility remained the key issue.
  • For base metal producers, a growing global population that would have greater overall need for products such as cars, computers and household goods, had helped support current prices.

Read more at Mining Weekly

Still Avoiding Social Media? You’re Losing Business

  • 74% of adult internet users use social media platforms.
  • Regardless of whether you are a business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) organization, your company can utilize the power of social media to see a real return-on-investment (ROI).
  • However, if you are not on social media then you are missing an opportunity to not only increase sales, but also provide better customer service to your existing clients.
  • What Percentage of People are Social Based on Income?
    Less than $30,000/year—79%
    $30,000-$49,999/year –73%
    $50,000-$74,999/year –70%
    $75,000+/year –78%
  • One thing is certain, your target audience is social. However, if your business is not on the social media platforms where potential customers are, then you are simply missing out on opportunity

Read more at Business 2 Community

Accenture previews digital disruption

  • Accenture has promised to continue to enhance digital transformation and business efficiency through the application of relevant solutions and technology.
  •  The rise of social media platforms has changed the game, stressing that data has become another source of revenue for telcos after revenue from voice appears to be peaking.
  • New emphasis on data and new sources of value: attention, identity, reputation, social graph, machine intelligence, robots, genetic modelling, new buyer values, change in control points and a winner takes all phenomena.

Read more at Biztech Africa

G20 climate challenge calls for a rethink of economics

  • Focusing on growth, the Brisbane G20 leaders’ summit has not grappled with three key issues.
  • How much more growth can the planet survive?
  • How can poorer nations raise their living standards to parity with the “developed” world?
  • How can a fairer distribution of the benefits of growth be realised?

Read more at The Conversation

Strategies to limit backdoor or maverick buying

Procurement Professionals on LinkedInThis guest blog was written by Dr. Tom DePaoli and originally posted in the Procurement Professionals LinkedIn group. It has been redistributed with their permission.  Read more on Procurement Professionals LinkedIn group at: http://linkd.in/1uupe8p or Twitter: @ProcurementProf

Backdoor or maverick buying is a perplexing problem that plagues many purchasing organizations. The methods to counteract this behavior are highly dependent upon the cultural climate and ethical standards of your organization. There is no universal solution.

Strategies to Limit Backdoor or Maverick Buying

 

People’s behaviors are influenced by consequences. If there are no consequences for backdoor buying the behavior will continue and grow. Some of my suggestions are drastic, others are more reasonable. Purchasing professionals must use their judgment to select the appropriate actions that fit their particular organization.

An important aspect to solving this issue is to remain objective and to try to gather data on the costs of backdoor buying. These could include lost discounts, lost rebates, and extra transactional work by purchasing and others. Many purchasing organizations know the average transactional cost of a regular transaction with an approved supplier. Try to calculate the extra cost with an unapproved supplier. Always control your emotions when discussing this issue.

Here are some reasonable tactics to create an organizational atmosphere and climate that helps discourage backdoor buying. In my experience the biggest offender is usually the engineering department. So involve engineering in cross-functional supplier selection teams and standardization initiatives. Make them a stakeholder in approving suppliers. Get the vice president of engineering on board with OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) standardization and have them participate in OEM standardization processes.

Consider establishing a policy of no gifts or gratuities to be accepted from suppliers by both purchasing and all other employees (zero tolerance). This discourages lunchtime promises or promise buys to suppliers by non-purchasing employees. Another alternative is to have purchasing have their own modest budget to entertain, socialize and conduct work sessions with suppliers.

Get your compliance employees on board with your policy i.e., your legal department and accounting. Craft an approved supplier only purchasing policy and make it clear that unauthorized purchases will not be honored by accounts payable. Keep the list of approved suppliers visible and updated. Use your software safeguard controls to limit buying privileges and cross reference the approved supplier list. Many purchase cards can be limited to specific approved suppliers and or categories of goods. Meet with your approved preferred suppliers and ask them to use the grapevine to communicate any purchases from unauthorized suppliers directly to you. Most will gladly do this.

One of the most effective drastic actions occurred when I worked for a global chemical company. The company had just spent over $200 million on a worldwide ERP system. The CEO sent out a strong memo saying that all purchases must be made on the ERP system and only from the approved suppliers in the ERP system.  Employees were required to use the new ERP system. The very first day four employees went off system to purchase some items from a non-approved supplier. The CEO personally fired them and publicized the results of the incident to all employees. Needless to say there were no more such purchases.

Do your networking and informal work before you institute your policy. Meet one-on-one with stakeholders or in small meetings to explain your reasons for your policy and get their buy-in before you roll it out.

Establishing a policy against backdoor buying requires some deft maneuvering by purchasing that correctly judges the culture of your organization. Instituting the appropriate policy will help reduce backdoor buying. More important, you must enforce the policy and reprimand employees who violate it. A backdoor buying policy unenforced, is both hollow and meaningless.

Is the economic future really as small as this book says?

If we believed everything we read then the UK has had to draft in Eastern Europeans to help make sandwiches, and our mobile phones are all giving us cancer…

Being the skeptical sort we’re inclined to take The Future is Small with a grain of salt, seeing as it raises pertinent questions about the future of investing.

Freefoto.com

The book begins by placing a spotlight on the current stagnation of world economies – arguing that despite trillions of dollars of support having been injected into the global financial system, the global economy will remain moribund for decades to come.

This is irrespective of record low interest rates remaining in place, and governments running higher budget deficits for longer than originally planned.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, given the words of Dr John Glen’s still ring in our ears – what we took away from the CIPS 2014 conference.

But given Williams’ credentials maybe there is some truth in his views… Could it be that small firms are set to be the stock market outperformers of the future?

Fundamentally, Gervais believes that it is the greater growth potential of genuinely small companies that explains why many can buck a tough economic trend, whereas most larger companies with major market positions are trapped by their flat sales lines.

Gervais Williams is an award-winning equity fund manager. He received Grant Thornton’s Quoted Companies’ Award Investor of the Year in both 2009 and 2010; then in 2012 his Diverse Income Trust was recognised as the Best New Investment Trust by the Association of Investment Companies. He was also What Investment’s Fund Manager of the Year 2014.

Gervais is a respected commentator on prospective market trends. He outlined his controversial views in his book Slow Finance in 2011 and develops those ideas in The Future is Small.

Is bigger always better, or is there beauty to be found in smallness? Could this be the new dawn that the little guys have been seeking?

A question of ethics: procurement managers accused of bribery

We’re kicking-off the working week with a handful of weighty issues, namely: ethics surrounding procurement, the state of US manufacturing, and Ebola. Eyes down for our pick of the web’s biggest stories.

Bribery in procurement

Bribery tag on procurement managers ‘unfair’

  • Suggestions that bribery is rife among procurement managers in hotels is unfair, with professionals calling for more attention to be paid to the actions of suppliers and other hotel staff.
  • The issue came up in a panel session at last week’s Hotelier Middle East Procurement Summit, which took place at The Ritz-Carlton DIFC in Dubai on November 4.
  • Fairmont Dubai purchasing manager Jean Manuel said: “In each [hotel] there should be a strong policy on bribery. And it should not only be for procurement. It should be for all the organisation because it is always implied on procurement, which is really very unfair, because it should be everybody.”
  • Nair had begun discussing the issue by citing a survey of suppliers byHotelier Middle East earlier this year, in which 55% said they had been asked to offer a monetary bribe, while 72.6% said they knew of other supply firms that were using bribes.

Read more on Hotelier Middle East

Levi Strauss’ smart thinking on supply chain ethics 

  • Levi Strauss announced last week that it will partner with the International Finance Corporation to reward suppliers in developing countries who score highly on environmental, health, safety and labour standards.
  • The reward for such ethical activities will be lower cost rates on working-capital financing. The apparel manufacturer’s efforts are a great example of the economic benefits that can accrue to companies that pursue sustainability and promote ethics in their supply chains.
  • A recent study by Software Advice, an SCM software consultancy, showed that consumers would pay more for ethically made products.
  •  One group of respondents said it would pay an average of $18.50 more if the raw materials were sourced ethically. Another said it would pay $19.70 more if the product had a carbon emissions offset, and the third group said it would pay $27.60 more for a product made in a facility with good working conditions.
  • The consultancy admits there can be a gap between what survey respondents say and what they will actually do. Still, says Forrest Burnson, market research associate at Software Advice, procurement and supply chain professionals can’t ignore the fact that consumers are aware of where and how their products are made and who made them. And that awareness can even extend to perceptions of outsourcing.

Big oil cutbacks deal supply-chain pain

  • Belt-tightening by big energy majors faced with plunging oil prices is battering the finances and share prices of their suppliers, as investors reassess the sector’s ability to keep gushing cash.
  • A growing list of delayed or cancelled projects, seen by some investors as a healthy move by majors to rein in capital spend after a poor history of returns is working its way through corporate earnings; it has already pummelled the share price of some European suppliers seen as financially fragile.
  • Fugro, once seen as a blue-chip on Amsterdam’s benchmark index, has had more than 30 per cent of its stock-market value wiped out in a week since scrapping its dividend. It is seeing trade swings more suited to a small-sized firm: on Thursday its one-day gain was 28 per cent.
  • The worst of this volatility may yet be to come, analysts and fund managers warn, as the recent fall in oil prices – triggered by a supply glut as well as worries over cooling demand – and the delayed effect of capital-expenditure cuts keeps up the pressure on companies to plug balance-sheet gaps. “Oil services firms are like euro zone banks a few years ago. There’s a lot of damage in the sector and it could get worse before it gets better,” said Arnaud Scarpaci, fund manager at Montaigne Capital.

Read more at Reuters Africa

President Obama announces plans to boost US manufacturing

  • US president Barack Obama has unveiled new executive actions to strengthen the functioning of US manufacturing supply chains. Aimed at fixing what is perceived as “the innovation gap faced by small manufacturers”, the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which serves over 30,000 US manufacturers each year, will build new capabilities at its state-based centres and pilot a competition for $130 million (£81.3 million) over five years across 10 states to help small manufacturers adopt new technologies and bring new products to market.
  • As part of the Supply Chain Innovation Initiative, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) will deploy new tools to help small manufacturers access advanced technologies, new markets, and growth capital.
  • These tools will help connect small manufacturers with testbeds housed at national research facilities to test new technologies, helping small manufacturers bring to market novel products and processes.

Read more at Supply Management

CEVA and FedEx leverage expertise to help Ebola response

  • FedEx and CEVA have both been using their expertise to aid Ebola stricken countries in west Africa in recent weeks.
  • CEVA, one of the world’s leading supply chain management companies, airlifted more than 70 tonnes of urgent supplies to Monrovia, Liberia on 10 October to assist in ongoing efforts to combat the West Africa Ebola outbreak. The airlift was chartered by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the lead government agency coordinating US Ebola response efforts which has been working to expand the pipeline of medical equipment and supplies to the region.
  • Included in the shipment were infrared thermometers, disinfectant backpack sprayers, tents, and plastic fencing to be used in the construction of Ebola treatment units. The supplies were sourced by USAID from multiple locations around the world and delivered to CEVA Charter Services at Liege Airport in Belgium. From there, CEVA loaded the cargo onto a Global Africa Cargo MD-11 freighter aircraft for a direct flight to the Liberian capital of Monrovia.
  • CEVA Logistics Corporate Account Manager, Marc Burgard, said: “This was a really important charter, and we were honoured to have been able to play a part in the Ebola response.”There were several challenges along the way because of the diverse locations of the  items involved, the urgency of the job and the number of time zones concerned, but the charter arrived safely in Liberia.”

Read more at Supply Chain Digital

Supply chain woes at Tate

  • Tate & Lyle’s first-half results came hot on the heels of a profit warning in September, so the figures, though bleak, were at least anticipated. They reflect serious operational and supply chain disruption caused by the polar vortex in the US and the temporary shutdown of Tate’s Singapore sucralose factory. Tate’s logistics cracked under the pressure and it was forced to shell out £31m to get orders to customers, including sending goods by costly air freight.
  • And it didn’t help that sucralose prices fell faster, and for longer, than anticipated, slicing £18m off profit. Finally, the hit to earnings was compounded by currency headwinds.
  • Finance director Nick Hampton said Tate had been caught out by the supply chain issues and that the challenging first half had exposed cracks in the system. These are now being addressed, but Mr Hampton said Tate needed to build a more integrated and better-run global network to deal with the increasing complexity of the business, which included greater visibility over supply and demand. He said £100m is now being spent, both to boost capacity and make it more flexible, putting inventories closer to customers.

Read more at Investors Chronicle

Supply chain utilizations drop as China 4G development lags

  • Following the release of the iPhone 6 coupled with less-than-expected 4G developments in China, handset vendors in China anticipate limited 4G handset shipments throughout the end of 2014 into the second quarter of 2015.
  • Handset vendors in China had aggressive plans to push 4G handset sales in the country but as subisidies from local telecom vendors ended coupled with factors such as lagging awareness of the technology and consumers waiting for the iPhone 6, they witnessed less-than-expected 4G shipments, a trend that is expected to wither into 2015.
  • Supply chains do anticipate orders for the technology throughout the end of 2014 but believe the vast majority of orders will not come until the first and second quarters of 2015 when vendors prepare to release new units in the second and third quarters of 2015. China handset supply chain makers such as Kuangli Photoelectric Technology meanwhile have seen their utilizations drop as the trend occurs, with Kuangli’s dropping from 95% in the second quarter of 2014 to 60% in the third quarter.
  • Digitimes Research said major China-based handset vendors including Coolpad, Lenovo and Xiaomi Technology are unlikely to reach their shipment goals set for 2014 due to slow sales of 4G models in the third quarter and gloomy prospects for the fourth quarter.

Read more at Digitimes

Why collaboration is the key to effective supply chain procurement

Jacques Adriaansen, co-founder of Every Angle, shared his thoughts with Procurious around the big difference between earning money from your suppliers and earning money ‘with’ suppliers.

Working alongside your suppliers can add to your supply chain process

What do you see when you identify a supplier, as part of your supply chain procurement process? Do you see a necessary evil that must be negotiated before you can make a profit? Or do you see a potential strategic business partner that could play an active role in helping you to make money? Every day, I see examples of businesses who fail to see that there is a big difference between earning money from suppliers and earning money with suppliers. Of course, there are certain, specific cases where pressurising suppliers may be the only option available. However, in most cases, it’s clear that collaboration is by far the most effective approach.

Let’s face it – the objective of any business, regardless of its focus, sector or expertise, is to save costs, while at the same time, ensuring a consistent level of quality. This is especially true for those who find themselves dependent on a supply chain. It’s a fact that makes it even more bewildering to consider that the impact procurement can have on supply chain performance is still grossly underestimated in most organisations. Of course, most organisations keep a close eye on costs when they buy from suppliers, because after all, the purchase price is important.

However, they should also not forget that solid supply reliability is just as important – if not more so – when it comes to preventing disruptions in the production process. Remember that incomplete deliveries or deliveries that arrive too late or not at all, can have a significant and negative impact on overall business performance. All of which is why more focus needs to be placed on the role of procurement as part of overall operational excellence strategy.

Past experience shows that a lot is to be gained from streamlining delivery schedules. Meat-processing systems manufacturer, Marel, is a great example of how to do this effectively. By giving suppliers information about future demand as early as possible, it has managed to improve efficiency of its plant by as much as 40 per cent. In the past, all Marel could do was tell suppliers which purchase orders were outstanding. This meant that it had no insight into potential peak loads at their suppliers and were thus unprepared to deal with the consequences.

As a result, some suppliers were unable to deliver on time, which often resulted in a severely disrupted manufacturing schedule. By including the purchase order requisitions as well, they were able to gain a better insight into the peak loads at suppliers which they themselves generated. Based on these insights, they are now able to decide to bring orders forward or to postpone them. As a direct result, they are now able to identify which goods are delivered with greater consistency and ensure that schedules remain stable. Marel’s suppliers are now almost always able to meet the required level of demand, which means that it is now able to manufacture more efficiently and at lower costs. It’s an interesting example, as it really shows how using the available data more effectively can play a considerable role in contributing to operational excellence as a whole. 

In practice, procurement departments deal with hundreds of outstanding purchase orders every day, many of which may be overdue. Clearly, it is not cost or time-effective for them to chase all of those. Instead, they need to be able to quickly assess with purchase orders really impact production or delivery to the client. After all, why spend time and energy on things that have hardly any impact? Conducting this analysis in SAP can, however, be a complex process, requiring procurement departments to go through the same steps for every individual order. This can make establishing the relationship between a purchase order and a sales order almost impossible.

Production companies have to be aware of the fact that collaborating with suppliers and generating insight from procurement to final delivery, can have a major impact on the performance of the supply chain. By paying more attention to this element of the supply chain, a great deal can be gained in terms of efficiency, productivity and ultimate cost savings. For example, it can help you to prevent bottlenecks in the production process, reduce backlogs, detect delivery risks and optimise the workflow.

Don’t forget that procurement is not only responsible for good price agreements. It also plays an important role in improving the collaboration between supplier and client. The upshot of this is true collaboration, with suppliers being given the opportunity to contribute their knowledge and with buyers making good use of that knowledge. It’s a model that some of the best, most effective operations follow – are you following in their footsteps?

Stay up-to-date with Procurious




There is now a playable warehouse and logistics simulator…

The game (available on PC via Steam) sees you progress through various timed-based scenarios to move goods around a supermarket, warehouse and production facility.

But this isn’t just any old logistics simulator, oh no. The official website makes a big deal of the Jungheinrich affiliation – that’s an actual Jungheinrich forklift truck you’re controlling.  The company is based in Hamburg, Germany and one of the leading international companies in the material handling equipment, warehousing and material flow engineering sectors.

The game offers would-be forklift operators a variety of quests, different game modes, and realistic physics. A handful of comments from YouTubers come from those within the forklift industry itself –  complete with lighthearted observations… The simulator is presumably designed to train-up new operators right?

Stay up-to-date with Procurious




Faculty CPO of the Year mentors CIPS Young Procurement Professional of the Year

What do you get when you put two award-winning women of procurement together?

Billie Gormon, Bree Pitcher, Visna Lampasi

Inspired by the Women in Procurement panel at the 2013 CIPS Australasia Annual Conference – four women blazed a trail for a new breed of mentoring program. Just under a year later the Australasian pilot of the global Women in Procurement has become a reality – the program has been designed to connect future procurement leaders (both female & male) with female role models they don’t necessarily have access to in their sector or region. There is also hope that it will address some of the disparity found in the percentages of women in procurement roles, into the future.

Those  four motivated women were Linda Eames (Head of Group Procurement, NRMA), Sommer Baxter (Director Procurement, PwC), Carrie McCafferty (Category Manager, Westpac), and Sarah Collins (CPO, Roads and Maritime Services).

With this fresh in mind, enter Billie Gorman (Manager Procurement Excellence at Thiess), who connected the 2014 Young Procurement Professional of the Year with another award-winner – Visna Lampasi (The Faculty’s CPO of the Year).

Bree Pitcher won the CIPS Young Procurement & Supply Chain Professional Award at the recent 2014 CIPS Procurement Awards in Sydney – she will be mentored by Visna Lampasi over the next twelve months.

Procurious talked to both women following Billie’s introduction, quizzing them on their wins, the future, and importance of the mentorship program.

Procurious asks: Let’s talk the power of networks – why do you invest time in growing your network?

Visna answers: Skilful networking, which these days is far more than shaking hands and introducing yourself, is a powerful marketing approach which can accelerate the access to opportunities as well as sustain success.  From a business perspective, it provides me with the ability to identify and tap procurement talent for future hiring, as well as bringing ideas and people together that would have not otherwise crossed paths.

If fact, it was Billie Gorman (Procurement Excellence Manager at Thiess) from my network who had introduced me to Bree Pitcher at the recent CIPS Procurement Professional Awards dinner in Sydney, Australia and suggested the potential mentoring opportunity.

Procurious: What impresses you about young people starting out careers in Procurement?

Visna: These days, young people have far more resources available and they are utilising them. They are also establishing and leveraging their networks, actively seeking out Mentors (more than one in many cases) and often have a career path already mapped out for themselves which they regularly review and adjust.  When I first started in procurement, there were not many courses available in Australia.  Fortunately, the companies that I had worked for were multi-nationals which gave me access to programs offshore.

Procurious: Why mentor? What are the benefits to you? 

Visna: Mentoring gives me the ability to share my knowledge and experience, which hopefully are useful insights to assist someone with navigating the organisational landscape.   It also gives me the opportunity to give back to the procurement profession, as well as the satisfaction that I am helping someone to achieve their professional goals.

Procurious: Do you have any top tips for others wanting to position themselves as a great mentor?

Visna: Outside of being qualified on the relevant subject matter and interested in the development of others, a mentor needs to display the highest of ethical standards, be a good listener and be able to steer, guide and inspire the mentee rather than direct and control.

The American author William Arthur Ward said it best – “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires”.

Procurious: How has mentoring changed since you first started your career?  

Visna: Mentoring is utilised more nowadays than in the past.  Many organisations and professional bodies offer formal mentoring programs which are well structured.  For example, it would not be unusual for the two individual’s to enter into a Mentoring Agreement, along with having documented Mentoring Action Plans which are reviewed periodically throughout the relationship to ensure that they are on track.

Procurious: Did you have any mentors on your way up?  Do you still now? 

Visna: Fortunately for me, I did have a number of senior male mentors during my career who took me under their wing. This was particularly important to me, as the majority of my career had been spent in male dominated industries. Up until most recently, I also had a female Executive Coach assigned to me by my previous employer as part of their senior executive leadership program.  Whilst I am in between mentors at the moment, I still keep in contact with those that have helped me throughout the different stages of my career.

Bree Pitcher

Procurious asks: What does it mean to have CPO of the Year as your mentor?

Bree answers: I am very fortunate to have Visna as a mentor. It is clear that she has achieved so much in her career to date and I look forward to spending time with her and learning from her wealth of knowledge and experience. The opportunity will greatly assist me in developing further as a young professional which in turn will help me to progress my career and achieve my future goals.

Procurious: How did you get into Procurement?

Bree: I, like many others in the field, stumbled across the procurement profession. As a soon to be university graduate I by chance met a representative from the Queensland Government Procurement Office at a careers fair held on campus. As soon as I heard about what was involved I knew it was the career for me. I applied and was successful in obtaining a placement in the Queensland Government Procurement Professional Graduate Development program placed at Government Owned Corporation Tarong Energy now Stanwell Corporation.

7 Years on, I feel so very fortunate to be part of such an exciting profession. I enjoy the challenges of my role each and every day and thrive on the opportunity to make a measurable impact and difference in my organisation.

Procurious: As a millennial do you see a change in this new generation of procurement? 

Bree: It is truly exciting to see so many young, capable and passionate professionals involved in the procurement profession. From my own perspective, I am never afraid of a challenge, continuously question the norm and strive to think outside the box, all important and distinctive traits in which I see very often in many of my millennial peers. For this young and enthusiastic generation the profession really does present so many exciting challenges and opportunities to make a difference. The foundation and ever increasing profile for procurement which experienced CPO’s like Visna have worked so very hard to build and foster within business means the opportunities are plentiful and for me, procurement really is the “career of choice”.

Procurious: Networking and making contacts is a valuable career investment! To that end, how are you investing in your network?   

Bree: I cannot stress more the importance of building and fostering a professional network. I am very fortunate to be involved in professional associations such as the SCLAA and CIPS where I have had the opportunity to meet and liaise with likeminded and passionate individuals who are happy to share their knowledge, offer guidance and provide introductions to others in industry. In fact it is through my network that I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Visna.

For me the investment in my network is essential in my development as a professional, however it is equally as rewarding to give back and share my own knowledge and experience with my peers.

Procurious: How did the mentoring opportunity come about?

Bree: I was fortunate to be introduced to Visna at the 2014 CIPS Australasia Awards Dinner through the wonderful Billie Gorman, a procurement professional whom I connected with through my own professional network. Visna was delighted with the announcement that I was the winner of the CIPS Australasia Young Procurement and Supply Chain Management Professional of the Year award for 2014. She kindly offered to mentor me and we have since begun to connect. 

Procurious: What do you hope to get out of the mentoring experience?

Bree: I look forward to working with Visna to help identify areas in which I need to build upon my current skillset and experience to enable me to further progress in my career. My ultimate goal is to one day become a successful CPO leading and inspiring others to make a difference and deliver valuable outcomes for business. I know Visna as the successful professional and CPO of the year that she is will be able to share her knowledge and guide me further with my own career path.

Procurious: And finally, can you provide any tips on finding a great mentor?

Bree: Finding a great mentor and someone who is the right fit for you is not always a short and simple task. There is great potential to meet your next mentor through your professional network connections. I would also encourage those interested in finding a mentor to become involved in professional associations. In particular a number of associations (including the SCLAA) now offer formal mentoring programs whereby mentors and mentees are paired and connected. The important thing to note with regards to mentoring is that you personally have to know what you want to achieve from the experience. Your mentor is there to guide you however you only get out what you put in to the opportunity.

Procurious thanks both Visna and Bree for their time.

If you are interested in registering for the Women in Procurement program you’ll need to complete the registration survey by clicking here.