All posts by Procurious HQ

How do your products define your purchasing behaviour?

Jacques Adriaansen, ‎co-founder of Every Angle, explains the importance of tailoring your purchasing strategy to get the best possible results.

The phrase ‘horses for courses’ is one that’s well worn, but it’s nonetheless particularly applicable for those looking to develop a robust purchasing strategy.

 How do your products define your purchasing behaviour?

Let’s be clear about this – getting your purchasing strategy right is an important part of the operational processes undertaken by any organisation, and yet it seems to be one that many devote an insufficient amount of time to. Too many organisations seem content to fall back on a ”one size fits all” approach, leading to them paying over the odds and having insufficient supplies in place when they are most needed as a result.

So what’s the answer?

The truth is that when people think of purchasing, they often think of hard, tense negotiation and bartering as an integral part of the process. It’s a huge misconception, and one that can lead to significant problems further down the line. The key thing to remember is that it can be just as important to tailor your approach in purchasing as it is in other walks of life. For example, just as it wouldn’t be appropriate to turn up to a gala dinner event dressed in a t-shirt, shorts and sandals, you wouldn’t necessarily think of entering a period of intense negotiation with a supplier over the price of a pack of staples!

Clearly, there’s little risk in not getting staples or nuts and bolts in on time

Broadly speaking, there are four different types of product to consider when identifying a purchasing strategy. Each of these product types requires different behaviours when it comes to the procurement process, based on balancing cost against risk. Firstly, you have products that are easily available and which a great deal of money is spent, due to large volumes and/or high purchase prices. A good example of this might be standard sheet metal, which can be bought at various suppliers. Because this product type has such a relatively high cost associated to it, it puts those in charge of purchasing decisions in a strong position to negotiate. The fact that they are so easy to obtain means that there is very little risk involved in doing so, which means that these products will always be heavily negotiated as part of the purchasing process.

Secondly, there are products, like the staples mentioned earlier or standard nuts and bolts, which are cheap and easy to obtain. Clearly, there’s little risk in not getting staples or nuts and bolts in on time, but the cost is so low that it would be a waste of time to negotiate it. Thirdly, are high impact products, like very specific engines used by machine builders or upper quality lithography lenses for computer chips production. High impact products are only available from a select few suppliers, but which, if you do not have the products available, could significantly harm your ability to perform as a business. In this case, both the cost and associated risks involved are high, which means that the balance of power lies with the supplier. What’s needed, as a result, is a more collaborative, considered approach to purchasing, with limited negotiation and a focus on ensuring that the product is available for you to use when you need it.

Finally, there are very niche products that, although cheap, can only be supplied by one or two experts. A part for an important piece of machinery that helps your factory to operate is a good example of this. These products need to be ‘buffered’. What this means is that it helps to ensure that there is always a supply in stock, as the consequences of, say, your factory having to close because you have to wait for a new part to arrive don’t bear thinking about!

Because this product is so important, and relatively inexpensive, you once again see very little in the way of negotiation. I once had a customer that couldn’t ship a very expensive machine, because purchasing decision makers had blocked one specific part that was needed for it to work. The reason: the supplier of that specific part had increased the sales price of his product by 50 per cent, without contacting them! The new price of the material was a mere US$ 7.50!

These four different product types, and the costs and risks associated with them have to be factored into any purchasing decision. It’s a model that is well known in purchasing circles, and which was first devised by Peter Kraljic, who suggested that a purchasing strategy can only be effective if each of these elements is closely examined. Although Kraljic’s model was originally conceived by Kraljic for purchasing, it can also be successfully applied to managing logistical and production processes (consider determining production series volumes, for instance).

However, although the model acts as a good guideline for decision-making in operational processes, it’s important to remember that there are no hard and fast rules. Before making any decision, you will also need to consider all other necessary information, such as the anticipated sales, prices and other factors that could influence it.

So how do you make the best choices as to the right purchasing approach for you? Perhaps the best way to achieve this is by first asking yourself what you want to achieve, and then considering how you want to achieve it. Clearly, some products will always be in high demand, while others will be in lower demand, but require a different level of negotiation. The important thing is to modify and adapt your purchasing behaviour in line with your desired outcome. By selecting the right horse for the right course, you can guarantee that your purchasing strategy is successful – and improve your business performance as a result!

Where next for the automation revolution?

This is a guest post by Sandeep Kumar, Vice President at ITC Infotech and Head of the Business Consulting Group.

The increasing automation of the supply chain has become a major talking point in recent years as technology continues to play a pivotal role in the way operations are run.

Supply chain automation

The buzz is easy to understand – automation enables businesses to address the need to scale their operations without having to add to their workforce, with a more streamlined, flexible and efficient operation that drastically reduces errors.

Although it continues to dominate headlines today, the supply chain technology revolution actually started in the early 1980s with the advent of powerful computing models in MRP and MRP II. This later evolved into the next generation supply chain software that helped bring in advanced planning and optimisation capabilities as well as strong functional automation of warehouses and factories. The equation has been shifting ever  since then, with newer technology becoming more affordable, the cost benefits of tool driven automation became extremely attractive and application of smart tools came to be realised as a critical competitive advantage.

Many geo-political events and technology breakthroughs have contributed to this trend. The oil crisis of the 70’s triggered multiple innovations in cost reduction and efficiency, and the opening up of China and the Far East in the 80s made the making and selling of products across different continents not only possible, but cost effective. The end of the Cold-War and increase in globalisation led to rampant consumerism in the 90s – driving product proliferation, miniaturisation and reduction of life cycles, digitisation of information exchange , and increasingly stringent statutory requirements for safety and ethical practices.

The forces of globalisation have continued to drive newer themes which dominate the agenda today, such as the globalised supply chain, cost and profitability improvement, value chain integration, integrated planning and optimisation, global supply chain analytics and more. Technology has helped shape business evolution at each step.

In essence, what we see today is the supply chain being more and more digitalised and therefore more intelligent. By setting up a centralised supply chain analytics centre, for instance, businesses can benefit from processes like demand forecasting, replenishment planning, inventory analytics and sales and operations planning support in a shared services model. In this way, they can extend the benefits of standardised processes and analytics across multiple business divisions without having to increase human resources.

The impact of growing automation in supply chains has been widespread across industries. Among those most affected by transformation in supply chains are high tech OEMs and consumer electronics OEMs. These are largely sectors where cost efficiencies are paramount and technology adaptation is helping to lower the cost of product operations, and this demand has made them the pioneers in adopting new advanced capabilities that disrupt the supply chain models.

In these sectors, functions such as designing, sourcing and distribution have gone through transformational change. Companies like Cisco, for example, operate a business model that uses technology as a powerful integrator of supply chains. The automotive, aerospace and industrial manufacturing industries have also undergone similar transformation.

This evolution does not come without challenges.

In addition, the CPG, fashion apparel and retail industries are good examples of how global supply chain models bring together raw materials and ingredients from across the world, before products are manufactured and then distributed to global markets. Wal-Mart’s Retail Link, for instance is a great case of how a retailer manages its huge supplier base through a supply chain Information portal.

This evolution does not come without challenges. In this case, the challenge lies primarily in staying ahead of the curve. Early adopters of supply chain risk management like Cisco and Ericsson, for example, have been pushed into investing in such capabilities based on environmental factors putting their supply chains at risk. Wal-Mart and Lego are other examples where supply chain sustainability and codes of conduct are being put in place as a consequence of management not being live to bad supplier practices.

Another concern has been the decreasing relevance of human labour in the face of growing automation. Although, it is clear that this transformation does impact manual work content by changing the way certain tasks are performed, arguing that it subsequently leads to the removal of people from supply chains would be quite an overstatement.

Sandeep KumarWhat however needs to be reinstated is that despite the rapid technological developments, humans have always and will continue to be the drivers of these processes. Even though specific roles will keep changing, supply chains will continue to depend on technology-savvy people. Supply chain technology is moving human tasks from more repetitive data entry and crunching tasks to more intelligent supply chain decision making, enabled by smart data and technology support.

This is an interesting time for supply chains as a series of innovations and technological shifts such as mobility and the rise of digital commerce will drive further change in the coming years. Supply chain risk management, sustainability, global integrated planning capabilities, and the use of instrumented intelligence are becoming key areas of interest that will help increase in-process visibility and enable the quicker business turn around on key operations. Fast-paced change in this area means there is plenty of space for players to claim the “pioneer status”. Businesses that want to succeed and reap the benefits of supply chain automation need to be forward-looking and brave enough to take the extra step ahead of their competitors.

How to manage your email notifications

Here at Procurious we like to keep you informed, that’s why alongside network invites (and website notifications) you’ll also receive a selection of email newsletters designed to help you get the most from the site.

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You’ll already receive the weekly ‘Best of the blog’ newsletter. Here we highlight three of our biggest articles from the past week – great if you took a few days off Procurious and you need to catch-up.

Remember, you receive all our newsletters by default – there’s no action required on your part. If you don’t think you’re getting them, try looking in your junk folder. Add us to your address book to ensure safe delivery next time.

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Eagle-eyed members might have noticed a new addition to the newsletter family.

Our news, views and commentary mail provides members with the latest happenings on Procurious – every week we’ll lead with our take on a topical issue in the news. Elsewhere you’ll find a recap of the top discussions, details of upcoming events, something from the blog, and suggestions for members to add to your network.

How to manage your email notifications

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IBM quizzes procurement role models in leading 2014 study

Procurious comments on the week’s top headlines

The IBM Institute of Business Value (IBV) 2014 Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Study examines the “journey to value” for procurement organisations. The survey covers more than 1,000 CPOs and senior procurement executives at global companies across 41 countries and details the specific procurement strategies that drive positive business results and bottom-line impact.

IBM 2014 CPO Report

The study took a closer look at “procurement role models,” the 100+ companies that achieved the most impressive revenue and profit performance relative to their industry peers. The results were then mapped to identify common attributes that separated the role models from the rest of the pack.

These high-performing procurement organisations:

  • Focus on improving enterprise success, not just procurement performance.
  • Engage with stakeholders to understand and anticipate their needs and values.
  • Embrace progressive procurement practices and technologies to drive results.

Download the full report here.

At a time where Procurement sometimes struggle to communicate the value that they bring to an organisation, and many departments are not afforded a seat at the executive table, this study gives some excellent pointers to CPOs and senior procurement professionals as to how they can catch up with leading organisations.

The procurement role models provide a blueprint for high performance – take a wider view of the whole organisation and how procurement fits into that, understand the stakeholder map and make sure that you engage both internally and externally, and be a first mover or early adopter with technologies that will assist with management, risk and efficiency.

Here at Procurious, we expect 2015 to be a pivotal year for procurement departments being recognised for adding value to organisations. The ever-increasing use of technology and social media will help to support this, while research like IBM’s will continue to provide a benchmark we should all be looking to reach.

Even as IBM’s report emphasised the requirement for engaging stakeholders, other news highlighted that procurement departments often forget that suppliers are stakeholders too. Reports of ‘bullying’ in supply chains and treatment of suppliers by Premier Foods show both a lack of trust and long-term vision.

Costs can certainly be cut in the short-term by squeezing suppliers, but real value can only be realised by building relationships and engaging with suppliers early on. We all have the responsibility to ensure organisations conduct business responsibly and it’s perhaps time for procurement to step up and put their foot down. Having research to point to should help back up our point!

One in five firms face supply chain bullying, says FSB

  • Almost a fifth of companies face unfair supply chain practices, including “pay-to-stay”, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). The FSB said it had found “alarming evidence of supply chain bullying” in a survey of about 2,500 of its members.
  • It found that 5 per cent of businesses had been asked to make a payment by a customer or face being taken off a supplier list.In a “pay-to-stay” arrangement, a company demands that suppliers pay a fee to continue doing business with the firm. In the last week Premier Foods backtracked on its controversial “pay-to-stay” policy.
  • “When the public think of their favourite brands, they are unlikely to connect them with the sort of immoral payment practices which are becoming all too common across an increasing number of industries,” said FSB national chairman John Allan. “However, it is clear that whenever these examples come to light, the public shares the same sense of moral outrage as the small firms that have to put up with them on a daily basis.”
  • Further “sharp practices” included retrospective discounts, where firms seek to apply discounts to outstanding money owed to a suppler, late payment and discounts for paying on time, FSB said. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said: “This behaviour is unacceptable and we want it to stop.”

Read more on BBC News

Taiwan supply chain claims Apple Watch production will begin in January

  • A supply chain leak out of Taiwan is claiming that Apple and Quanta have solved yield issues that will allow Apple Watch production to ramp up starting in January. United Daily News reported (via MacRumorsthat the first wave of Apple Watches will number in the 3-5 million mark, with 24 million scheduled for all of calendar 2015.
  • The report indicates that Apple would be in a position to ship Apple Watch earlier than competing rumors and analyst reports have indicated—perhaps towards the end of the first quarter. Analyst Brian Blair from Rosenblatt Securities issued a report in October claiming that Apple had to push back release of the Apple Watch due to problems in the supply chain.
  • UDN also claimed that Quanta has increased its Apple Watch-related workforce from 3,000 employees to 10,000. The company is reportedly aiming to have between 30,000 and 40,000 people working on the device when full-scale production begins.
  • Apple has said only that Apple Watch will ship in “early 2015.” Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Sales for Apple, intimated in a note to her retail employees that Apple Watch would ship “in the spring.” Spring officially begins on March 20th and lasts until June.

Read more on Mac Observer

Seahorse Club celebrates excellence in freight transport journalism

  • The Seahorse Club held its Annual Awards and Christmas Party, in association with Associated British Ports (ABP) in London on 9 December. Professionals from the freight transport sector, as well as those from the forwarding and logistics fraternity were all represented.
  • International Editor of the Year (sponsored by PSA International) was awarded to Paul Avery, editor of World Cargo News.
  • The Geodis Wilson sponsored Supply Chain Journalist of the Year was Gavin van Marle of The Loadstar for his consistently relevant piece on e-Returns, a challenge of growing proportions across numerous retail supply chains.
  • Bob Jaques of Seatrade Global was named Seahorse Club Journalist of the Year for a range of articles on diverse subjects including over-capacity in the supply chain, and safety at sea following a spate of high-profile maritime casualties.

To view the full list of winners head along to All About Shipping

Belgium national strike causing major transport disruption

  • Belgian trade unions have called a national strike to voice their discontent over government plans to implement austerity measures and hike the pension age.
  • The strike, which commenced at midnight on 14 December and will continue through to midnight on 15 December, has been called by national unions to protest against new measures being taken by the Belgian Federal Government.
  • ISS Antwerp has reported that the unions represented in the National Joint Committee for the Port of Antwerp have called upon their members to participate. Severe disturbance to services in the Port of Antwerp, such as shortages of gangs and possible closure of the locks, are therefore anticipated. All Belgian ports are likely to be similarly affected, as will the Belgian railway and Belgian Customs.

Read more on Supply Chain Digital

Is there humour in your supply chain?

“Comedy is acting out optimism.” – Robin Williams

“Humour is everywhere, in that there’s irony in just about anything a human does.” – Bill Nye

We’ve probably all been exposed to Jim Carrey showing the funny side of a supply chain risk in the classic Ace Ventura… But here’s a few other examples you might not have seen.

These videos all use comedy to highlight (and in some cases, solve) problems in the supply chain – taking in everything from sourcing to logistics.

Supply chain blackhole? Better check the stock room…

A group of MBA students use skills learned in their Supply Chain class to point out the inefficiencies of the latest “green” bathroom remodel at ASU’s WP Carey School of Business.

Like any good MBA students, they don’t just point out the problem, they offer solutions…

Greg tries to outsmart Diego and find a cheaper Less than Truckload (LTL) freight solution in the pilot episode of Logistically Challenged.

Have you come across any other humorous examples? Highlight your video picks in the comments below.

Why are we making it so hard for the next generation?

Bright young things are turning well-worn tropes on their head – sound familiar?* 

*Procurement had an image problem – that’s why we created Procurious.

Female engineers recognised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

The engineering industry is facing an uphill struggle…

Promising, young procurement professionals will find common ground in the lack of careers advice, visibility and fractured career pathways that female engineers are all experiencing.

Which leads us to pose the question: why are we making it so hard for the next generation?

Engineers are the backbone of our operations, their work can be felt in everything from production and manufacturing processes, through to transport and logistics solutions. And as they’re increasingly being exposed to more modern technologies – 3D printing being one such example – our reliance on these wunderkind will only increase.

This week saw three outstanding female engineers recognised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for their professional achievements and the work they do encouraging other young people into engineering.

28-year-old senior hardware engineer Naomi Mitchison from Selex-ES has been named the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year, and will play an ambassadorial role for the profession in the forthcoming months.

20-year-old Jessica Bestwick, who works for Rolls Royce, was presented with the IET’s Mary George Prize for Apprentices, and 27-year-old Lucy Ackland who works for Renishaw PLC in Stone, Staffordshire won the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Award.

Recognising outstanding female engineers has never been so important after the IET revealed worrying new statistics charting skills and demand. The survey showed that women represent only six per cent of the engineering workforce – the lowest percentage in the whole of Europe. If this trend continues, the UK will be in a significantly weakened position to find the 87,000 new engineers it is estimated the country will need each year over the next decade (according to Engineering UK 2014, the state of engineering).

Michelle Richmond, IET Director of Membership, and a former YWE winner, said: “The lack of women in engineering is a huge problem for this country, contributing to skills shortages which threaten the economy. It also means that women are missing out on interesting and rewarding careers.

How to tag Procurious members in your status and posts

UPDATED: You’re probably already familiar with tagging from using it on the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn… Well here’s how to use tags on Procurious.

How to tag friends in a status or post

We’ve had a lot of people asking if they can tag their contacts/other Procurious members in posts on their page. The short answer was “sorry that’s not possible”, however if you stuck around for us to elaborate we’d have told you “OK it’s not possible right now, but don’t worry – it’s coming!”

What is tagging and how does it work?

To take advantage of this new feature simply begin to write a new post as usual. Then (at the desired location), tap the @ key – now start typing and Procurious will suggest other members in your network based on the keystrokes made.

When you’re done, just post the status as you normally would and wait for those you’ve tagged to see their notifications. (Notifications will appear in the usual location).

Tagging is supported site-wide, – no matter where you are: Tag Procurious members in your Community Feed when posting a new status, or when commenting on another status, directly in a new Discussion topic, or responding to another member’s question.

Tag other Procurious members

Say you want to congratulate a team for a big win, have a question that you know people in your network can help with, or maybe you want to brighten someone’s day by sharing a funny video. Whatever the use may be – tag you’re it!

There are countless more uses that put this cool new functionality to good use:

Maybe you’ve seen an Event that is right-up Lisa Malone’s street, have stumbled across a discussion that could really do with Euan Granger’s input, or you took a funny picture of Jack Slade at #bringthedonuts?

Try it out now – tag someone from your network in the comments below!

 What can you post on Procurious?

This also provides us with the perfect opportunity to highlight a little addition you may have missed. As well as posting text and image-based updates to your Community Feed, you can now also choose a document to share with your network. Just select ‘Choose File’, perhaps include a little explainer too, then hit ‘Post’. Magic.

Stay up-to-date with Procurious




Recommended reading: your procurement bookshelf

Need something to put on your Xmas list for Santa? The Procurious community can lend a hand… here’s some of the most popular choices.

Well, come on, we all know that Santa must have excellent procurement skills including elf negotiation, stakeholder management (keep your reindeer happy) and customer relationship management (seeing all those kids needs to be worth the effort!), as well as managing one of the world’s most complex supply chains (it’s not like he gets all his materials for toy making by magic, you know…).

So, Saint Nick will be well up on his procurement literature and here are a few ideas from the Procurious community of what you can ask him for:

  • Winning! – Clive Woodward (leadership)
  • Poorly Made in China – Paul Midler (production and ‘games’ in China)
  • The CPO – Schuh and Strohmer (supply transformation)
  • The Procurement Value Proposition – Chick and Handfield (supply management)

Getting To Yes

  • Getting to Yes – Fisher and Ury (negotiation)
  • Procurement 20/20 – Spiller and Reinecke (supply entrepreneurship)
  • Procurement and Supply Chain Management – Farrington and Lysons

Shackleton's Way

  • Shackleton’s Way – Morrell and Capparell (leadership)
  • The Complete Guide to Business Risk Management – Sadgrove
  • Leadership and Self Deception: Getting out of the Box – Arbinger
  • Good to Great – Jim Collins (change)
  • Negotiation Series – Herb Cohen
  • Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals – Barner and Jones

Who Moved My Cheese

  • Who Moved My Cheese – Spencer Johnson (change)
  • Strategic Global Sourcing – Sollish and Semanik
  • The Purchasing Chessboard – Strohmer, Perez and Triplat
  • The Straight to the Bottom Line: an executive roadmap to world class supply management – Rudzki, Smock, Katzorke and Stewart

And if all else fails, read the complete works of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan-Doyle.

Happy reading!

Have more? Leave your recommendations in the comments below.

Selling secrets of the supply chain

There’s nothing sexy about selling secrets – it’s just silly… as our top story demonstrates:

Selling secrets in the supply chain
Ex-Apple supply chain manager fined, sentenced to 1 year in prison for kickback scheme
  • Former Apple Global Supply Manager Paul Devine — who ran afoul of the law in 2010 for selling details of upcoming Apple products to Asian manufacturers — has been sentenced to one year in prison and fined $4.5 million for his role in the conspiracy.
  • Devine plead guilty to the crimes in 2011, but was only sentenced this week. He will begin serving his prison term — which will be followed by three years of supervised probation — on Feb. 19, 2015.
  • Alongside Singaporean partner Andrew Ang, Devine was charged in 2010 with 23 counts including wire fraud, kickbacks, and money laundering. Devine used his position as a senior supply chain manager to pass information about upcoming products to Apple suppliers, which used the information to gain leverage in negotiations with Apple and paid kickbacks to Devine and Ang.

Read more on Apple Insider

Agencies urged to raise concerns over Premier Foods’ investment payment scheme

  • Agencies that work with Premier Foods are being urged to contact the Marketing Agencies Association’s Pitch Watchdog anonymously to flag concerns over controversial ‘pay to stay’ payments, as it calls on government to take action.
  • The MAA has urged agencies to come forward to raise concerns over the practice, after it emerged food giant Premier Foods, which owns brands including Mr Kipling and Oxo, had been making “millions” of pounds from investment payments made by suppliers into the business.
  • Premier Foods launched an investment payment scheme 18 months ago as part of its strategy to consolidate its supplier base and invest in innovation, promotion and marketing by asking suppliers to make an upfront investment in the business. Suppliers accused the business of forcing them to make payments, or risk being cut off of its supply base.
  • Premier Foods backtracked over the controversial scheme over the weekend and said it would “simplify” its strategy to recoup money and discounts from its suppliers, claiming there was widespread misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the scheme. However, it defended the scheme as “standard business practice.”

Read more at Marketing Magazine

Reshoring boosts British manufacturer’s supply chain

  • A British manufacturer claims to have strengthened its supply chain and boosted local jobs by reshoring production from China. Vent-Axia, which produces fan and ventilation systems, has brought its manufacturing back to the UK, investing £350,000 in tooling for new production lines and associated building works.
  • The move has enhanced innovation in its products, sped up the research and development cycle and improved the company’s responsiveness to customers. Reshoring has also reduced its carbon footprint, the company told the Sussex Manufacturing Forum.
  • “We are now much closer to our market,” said Jenny Smith, marketing services manager. “We have cut our lead times from three months to a matter of weeks, which not only means that we have less cash tied up in inventory, it also enables us to respond much more quickly to market opportunities.”

Read more at Supply Management 

Hospitals eye mHealth to reduce supply chain costs

  • As health systems look to trim costs in 2015 to address the impact of the Affordable Care Act, they’ll want to look at the supply chain. And mHealth could come in handy.
  • That’s the opinion of Jump Technologies, an Eagan, Minn.-based developer of cloud-based inventory management solutions, which recently issued its list of predictions for the coming year.
  • The company sees mobile supply chain management solutions as an important part of the healthcare budget – especially as health system administrators focus on more important matters like EMRs, meaningful use, ICD-10 and regulatory issues. It references a 2014 survey by Jamie C. Kowalski Consulting, which found that nine out of every 10 hospital C-level executives and supply chain adminstrators see supply chain management as one of the top three areas for reducing expenses.

Read more at mHealthNews

Cyber criminals are targeting smartphone supply chains, warn researchers

  • A new mobile trojan dubbed “DeathRing” is being pre-loaded on to smartphones somewhere in the supply chain, warn researchers at mobile security firm Lookout.
  • DeathRing is a Trojan believed to be of Chinese origin that masquerades as a ringtone app, but can download SMS and browser content from its command and control server to the victim’s phone.
  • This is of concern to original equipment makers (OEMs) and retailers because the compromise of mobiles in the supply chain could have a significant impact on customer loyalty and trust in the brand. Mainly affecting lower-tier smartphones bought in Asian and African countries, this is the second significant example of pre-installed mobile malware that Lookout has found on phones in 2014.
  • Researchers said this signals a potential shift in cyber-criminal strategy towards distributing mobile malware through the supply chain.

Read more at Computer Weekly

Most popular discussions on Procurious

After a successful wrap a last month, there has been a fantastic increase in the number of new discussions, top answers and flow of information on the boards.

Off the back of this, we felt it was time to wrap up some more of the most popular discussions on Procurious.

Most popular discussions on Procurious

What trends do you think are going to be big in the Procurement world in 2015?

There have been a number of articles written on this subject in media and across the procurement space and this provided Procurious with its most popular discussion to date.

The most popular answer on the boards was Relationships, including strategic relationships, supplier relationships and stakeholder relationships, as well as the management of them all.

Comments on this answer also included systems to manage these relationships and ensuring that the relationships are open and that employees have the required skills to manage relationships effectively.

Other answers included:

  • Risk Management and Ethical Procurement
  • Using technology tools to enhance the procurement process
  • The use of social media (like Procurious…!) for procurement to engage in conversations, knowledge transfer and suppliers management
  • The basics – are organisations getting these right?
  • Linking the value that procurement generates to companies’ bottom lines
  • Deliverables and delivering the value obtained at the front end in relationships and contract management
  • An appreciation of cultural fit
  • The formation of ‘high performing’ procurement teams
  • Social and sustainable procurement
  • Cost reduction and outsourcing
  • Big data
  • The migration from Low Cost Country to Best Cost Country

A link was shared to a new initiative by Shropshire Council (UK) using WhatsApp to communicate with local people on a whole raft of matters (https://shropshire.gov.uk/news/2014/11/council-to-trial-the-use-of-whatsapp/)

One of the other ways to keep track of trends over the course of 2015 is to stay connected, either through Procurious or other social media. Make sure you are connected with 24 of the most influential people in procurement, as listed by Procurious – https://www.procurious.com/blog/procurious-news/24-of-the-most-influential-people-in-procurement

How does social media change the way you work in Procurement?

On the topic of social media and staying connected, this topic raised the question of what social media has offered that wasn’t available before and how it has changed the way people operate in procurement, individually or for their company?

The two most popular answers covered the immediacy of availability of information, both in finding out about suppliers, individual experiences and procedures, as well as across the wider procurement space. Social media helps the individual to easily find information that might have been harder to come by otherwise.

Another answer highlighted the power that it gives to customers to voice concerns on issues from service in stores, through to the full scope of a firm’s activities. All decisions are open for wider discussion in the social media environment, for positive or negative.

The answer also highlighted that organisations need to have a social media strategy in place to deal with and respond to these commentaries and deal with any ‘trolls’. But, it’s also important to make sure that any responses cover what they need to but can also be interesting and witty to help instil confidence in users.

Other answers covered the ability to have access to information that can then be validated later information that is found, as well as considering social media a tool that can be used to used to our advantage, while always maintaining an individual presence (don’t be a follower, make sure there is a human side!) and deciding for yourself which platforms to use.

Other thoughts:

To contribute to all of these discussions and more, head to https://www.procurious.com/discussions/