Category Archives: In The Press

Three Key Steps To Getting Brexit Ready

It’s been over two years since the UK voted to leave the EU. But beyond the exit date of 29 March 2019, little is known about the details of the Brexit agreement…
Negotiations between Brussels and Whitehall are rumbling on with little sign of a breakthrough. And the longer they continue the less likely it seems a deal will be struck.

A recent EU exit impact study conducted by Efficio for a UK central government department indicated a potential 8 per cent increase in costs as a result of Brexit.

Yet a poll of 800 business leaders carried out by the Institute of Directors has revealed that 49 per cent of businesses do “not anticipate drawing up nor implementing any contingency plans for Brexit”.

Similarly, a Survation survey commissioned by Maritime UK found that nearly half of businesses polled have done ‘very little’ or no preparation in anticipation of the UK leaving without a deal – despite two-thirds of business leaders believing such a scenario is ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’. Only 27 per cent  consider it ‘unlikely’, with another 8 per cent saying they are unsure.

Stick or twist?

Few can argue that these are unprecedented times, the likes of which Europe has never seen before. There’s no blueprint for untangling member states from the union – a situation made more complex by the need for Brussels to safeguard the EU project and potentially make the UK pay a high price for ‘independence’.

The majority of public and private sector organisations appear to be biding their time, waiting to see the terms of an exit agreement before they invest time and money in putting contingency plans in place. Is this a deliberate, tactical approach? Or could it be that procurement teams are unsure of what action to take and/or lack the capacity to deal with the task ahead?

Whatever the situation, now is not the time to hunker down and do nothing. On the contrary, businesses should be using these crucial few months to assess the scale of the impact on their supply chains and ready themselves to respond to what lies ahead.

Sourcing strategies, suppliers, contracts

Organisations should start by considering three core pillars of procurement, namely existing contracts, sourcing strategies and current suppliers.

1. Contracts

Form a clear understanding of your contract risk profile. Identify your risks against a hierarchy of needs. Examples of potential risks may include EU funding reliance, lack of freedom of movement restricting labour availability and driving wage increases or foreign exchange and tariffs creating cost pressure. Examine key contract clauses linked to EU exit readiness, such as termination, cost pressures and continuity resulting from legal change to determine where further risks may lie.

2. Sourcing strategies 

Review your existing category strategies to understand category objectives, sourcing strategies and the pipeline of work. Identify which elements will be affected by the EU exit and, where this impact is significant, determine how to take account of EU exit activity in your category plans.

3. Suppliers

Engage your suppliers and assess the wider market to pinpoint cost and risk drivers in key categories. Work with your suppliers to review expected pressures resulting from Brexit, their current mitigation plans and their view of the company’s main risks. Then encourage them to implement effective business continuity plans.

Deep knowledge of these areas, coupled with strong contingency plans to deal with change, are essential to manage risks and seize opportunities.

Act now to get ahead

Efficio is working with a number of public and private sector companies, including large central government departments, to carry out detailed readiness analysis ahead of the EU exit. The service is designed to prepare organisations to make fast, structured change and mitigate risk when the time comes.

To find out how we can support you in getting Brexit-ready, visit our website.

Take the Nuclear Option at UPMG2018

Not many procurement conferences include a guided tour of a nuclear facility! Be sure to check out UPMG2018, the premier conference for utility purchasing managers.

Go nuclear

Remember the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster in 2011? As part of the international review that took place after the event, the United States instituted the “SAFER” program. National SAFER Response Centres (NSRCs) house emergency backup equipment for all commercial nuclear plants in the U.S., ensuring the ability to move emergency equipment to affected nuclear plants within 24 hours by truck, plane and helicopter.

At ISM’s UPMG2018 conference (9th to 11th September, Scottsdale AZ), attendees will have the opportunity to tour a SAFER Response Centre under the guidance of the Southern Nuclear Operating Company.

Speaking of disasters, Michael Menges of Edison Electric Institute will be presenting a review of the mutual-assistance effort coordinated by electric trade associations, where multiple utilities aided in Puerto Rico’s restoration following Hurricane Maria. A panel of industry subject matter experts will discuss the supply chain impact around logistics of fleet mobilisation in Puerto Rico, the work management process necessary to coordinate the restoration effort, and material needs and challenges. 

Get to grip with a rapidly changing environment

Utilities Purchasing is a category that never stands still, as the landscape keeps shifting with breakthrough technologies and disruptive forces including climate change. UMPG2018’s agenda includes sessions to ensure attendees are kept up-to-date, such as:

  • Shifting Business Models in the Power Industry (featuring David Jacoby, BSI Energy Finance)
  • Innovation in the utility space
  • Supply chain disruptors
  • Actionable information to better understand economic conditions (insights from ISM’s Report on Business)
  • Blockchain application for utility industry.

Tap into the talent pipeline

This year, UPMG2018 has a strong focus on up-and-coming talent, with sessions including:

  • Attracting Millennials to Supply Chain (featuring a panel of young talent from Intel, Black Hills Corporation and Exelon)
  • How to Build a Successful Career in Supply Chain
  • University Student Presentations.

The Utility Purchasing Management Group (UPMG) exists to exchange information and provide a forum for divergent views, all directed toward increasing the knowledge of purchasing as it applies to and affects both utility purchasing management and their suppliers. Officers, managers, and employees of gas, electric, and telecommunications utilities – either investor-owned or government-owned, as well as consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, public power districts, and public utility districts – who are directly involved in purchasing or materials management make up the membership of the UPMG. Register for UPMG2018 now at http://upmg.org/.

 

In other news this week:

Reshoring in Reverse Again

A.T. Kearney’s most recent Reshoring Index has revealed that despite the Trump administration’s “Made in America” focus, imports from traditional offshoring countries are at a record high. Some compelling findings include:

  • The largest one-year increase in imports from Asia to the US, a staggering $55 billion dollars (up 8% from 2016), since the economic recovery in 2011.
  • The Reshoring Index has dropped 27 basis points since rising to a 5 year high in 2016.

Download the report: http://bit.ly/2ubCZ3a

Demystifying The 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant For Procure-to-Pay Suites

Gartner named Basware a Leader in the 2018 Magic Quadrant for Procure-to-Pay Suites for the third time – but it’s not as mysterious as it seems. Read on for a demystification of the Gartner Magic Quadrant evaluation process.

Everett Collection/ Shutterstock

It’s Not Magic – It’s Basware

I’m not sure why it’s called the Gartner Magic Quadrant but I’m sure that there’s no magic behind our recognition as a Leader. In my role as Senior Analyst Relations Manager, I have the unique opportunity to interface with nearly every aspect of our global business from research and development to product management to customer support to sales and marketing, and I can tell you our success boils down to 2 things – we’re 100 per cent obsessed with customer success and we work hard to deliver.

Why is Gartner so influential and how are purchase-to-pay vendors evaluated?

With over 15,000 employees and over $3 billion in annual revenue, Gartner is a massive research and advisory firm that has a strong reach in the purchase-to-pay market, particularly with CIOs. Its reports are widely read, and the Magic Quadrant is regarded as a useful tool in creating vendor shortlists. The report comes with a graphic that depicts the purchase-to-pay market using a two-dimensional matrix that evaluates vendors based on their ‘Completeness of Vision’ (horizontal axis) and ‘Ability to Execute’ (vertical axis).

‘Ability to Execute’ primarily focuses on the caliber of the vendor’s products and services, including core pieces of purchase-to-pay functionality such as e-procurement, catalog management, e-invoicing, and accounts payable invoice automation. Another key piece of execution is customer experience, which takes into account feedback gathered via online surveys, inquiries into Gartner, and calls between Gartner and purchase-to-pay customers.

‘Completeness of Vision’ is an appraisal of the vendor’s ability to map the direction of the market and outflank competitors, as well as innovate to meet customer needs. Vendors are evaluated around vertical/industry strategy and the speed with which they can bring innovation to their offering (e.g. robotic process automation, advanced analytics and machine learning).

Gartner’s evaluation of vendors is supported by inquiry calls, face-to-face meetings, survey tools, product demos, and briefings. We feel they are looking to understand how solution providers appeal to CPOs, CFOs, and CIOs and how the product meets the needs of those key stakeholders. Gartner first issues an online survey and then talks to two different customers verbally for each provider.

How are solutions evaluated?

Gartner uses surveys, customer interviews, and extensive solution demos, to evaluate the provider’s vision and their ability to execute on that vision by bringing innovation to life within the product.

Through our experience with the process, we believe that the following capabilities are being assessed:

  • Core procure-to-pay functionality from e-procurement through ok-to-pay
  • Global deployment suitability to maximize the value across the world
  • Platform capabilities like mobile features
  • AI & machine learning and smart technology applications
  • Integration to ERPs and other back-office systems
  • e-Invoicing sophistication and network reach
  • Customer support and implementation aspects
  • Packaged analytics
  • Supplier information management tools
  • Source-to-settle solution integrations
  • Personal consumable workstream support for configuring complex workflows
  • Requisition MRO workstream support to automate more processes
  • Contingent work force procurement to automate the requesting of labor
  • SOW services governance and procurement
  • Direct order support
  • Travel & expense capabilities to capture more enterprise spending
  • Supply chain finance to support cash flow management

What factors make Basware a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Procure-to-Pay Suites?

Based on the information contained in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Procure-to-Pay Suites, we believe our 30+ years of industry expertise, strategic vertical approach, market-leading products and obsession with customer success landed us in the Leaders’ quadrant for the third time.

Our number one goal as a company is customer success. We empower customers to simplify operations and spend smarter to reach competitive agility by getting 100 per cent spend visibility through on-boarding 100 per cent of suppliers, capturing 100 per cent of invoices and achieving 100 per cent user adoption of e-procurement.

So, I think it’s important to call out four areas that Gartner commented on in the report that best demonstrate our 100 per cent promise:

  • Global deployment suitability to connect, streamline and strengthen operations with ease for enterprises across the world, helping them collect 100 per cent of financial data from all locations
  • World-class products that enable organizations to capture 100 per cent of invoices and achieve 100 per cent user adoption of e-procurement to leverage the power of their financial data and create a competitive advantage
  • Ease of integration using standard APIs and tools so companies can easily connect the solutions they already have for more visibility and value
  • An extensive global e-invoicing network that connects small and large businesses world-wide to on-board 100 per cent of suppliers.

Read more here 

Gartner Inc., Magic Quadrant for Procure-to-Pay Suites, Desere Edwards, William McNeill, Magnus Bergfors, Patrick M Connaughton, Kaitlynn N. Sommers, May 29, 2018.

Life Without Beer, Bacon and Crumpets?

Beer, bacon supplies at risk as a national shortage of food-grade carbon dioxide (CO2) threatens a whole range of everyday consumables.  

Image: Lukasz Engel/Shutterstock.com

Why is there a CO2 shortage in the UK?

Food-grade CO2 in the UK is sourced from European ammonia plants, which usually close for maintenance in the summer months when demand for fertiliser is lower. This year, five producers in Europe and a number of bio-ethanol plants have shut down at the same time, leading to shortages not only in the UK, but across Europe. The situation is a result of a combination of planned shutdowns and unexpected equipment failure.

Who has been affected?

  • Brewers – C02 is needed in the bottling and kegging of beer. A Europe-wide beer shortage is particularly noticeable in the middle of a World Cup.
  • Soft drinks and carbonated water.
  • Packaged foods such as bagged lettuce and crumpets that use “modified atmosphere packaging” to extend product shelf-life.
  • Slaughterhouses use CO2 to kill pigs and poultry.

Is there an alternative?

According to Wired, there’s currently no alternative to CO2 that offers its range of benefits, such as its ability to prevent microbial growth and its inertness. It is also safe to transport and doesn’t affect the flavour of a food.

The good news? Two ammonia plants are expected to come back online this week, with supplies returning to normal within a fortnight.

Presumably the affected producers will be working with suppliers to ensure the same situation doesn’t occur in the summer of 2019.

Brexit: What Happens Now?

Brexit is complicated and it’s very, very messy. And what happens during the next couple of years will be determined by a number of political factors…

At last month’s CPO roundtable Anand Menon, Director of the UK in a Changing Europe based at Kings College London, spoke to us about the long-term causes of Brexit and their future implications.

“Hand on heart I don’t know [what’s going to happen]” he said. “If I could answer that I’d be rich and famous!”

It’s the most uncertain moment in British politics since World War Two and what’s striking is that, two years on from the referendum, nothing has been decided.

A key reason for such uncertainty is the nature of the referendum itself.  As Anand explained, the referendum packaged so many different options and outcomes into a binary choice: leave or remain.  No one understood quite what they were signing up for and since the result, Brexit has largely been defined in terms of the different adjectives applied to it; black Brexit; white Brexit; hard Brexit; soft Brexit; white red and blue Brexit… the list goes on.

“Brexit was a vote against globalisation and it was a vote against the economic status quo. Subsequently, it’s interesting  to see that the South of England has noticed the North and we’ve had a chance to address issues that never got air time under old centrist, liberal politics.

“More profoundly, the referendum and its outcome have taught us about us. In the same way that Trump has been a wakeup call for the U.S, the fallout from Brexit should be a wakeup call to our politicians to think about the real problems confronting the country. ”

And how to best to manage negotiations as we ready to leave the EU.

Does the UK want to establish a relationship with the EU similar to that of Norway’s or maybe more like a more distant partner?

Anand admitted that due to Brexit being such a complex and all-consuming process, there is no avoiding it being a messy one at that! What happens during the next couple of years will largely be determined by the following three political factors:

  1. Theresa May

The UK Prime Minister relatively quickly defined what she meant by Brexit (leave customs market, end free movement etc) and her position has remained relatively unchanged since. Whilst she is unpopular with many in her party, it is unlikely her critics will choose to get rid of her yet. As long as she in place, she is a powerful force for stability.

  1. The Conservative Government

There are a significant number of Tory MPs who want a much softer Brexit than the Prime Minister is proposing so it’s possible they will vote against May’s Brexit deal. However, if May loses this vote there is no question that she has to go; after all, her whole mission as Prime Minister is Brexit. If that happens, the Conservative Party will either elect a new leader or the UK will face a new general election. And the one thing no Tories want is another general election.

  1. The Labour Government 

In the last general election, Labour picked up votes from both remainers and leavers. As such, the party have been careful to keep their Brexit policies ambiguous. Whenever Corbyn speaks about Brexit, he speaks in ambiguities.

Does Anand believe there is any chance of a second referendum? “The beauty of Britain at the moment is that any outcome is possible – I can imagine us crashing out with no deal or a great deal but I can also imagine a scenario where the first referendum is overturned.”

“No one knows what would happen to public opinion at this point – we could vote Brexit again. Or, imagine second time around the UK votes to remain 52-48 per cent. We’ll find ourselves in a political groundhog day. There would need to be a huge swing in vote for it to carry much weight.”

Ultimately, Anand warns, the real danger for the UK’s economy is that the negotiations go pear shaped, the UK crashes out of the EU in March 2019 and they end up with no wiggle room to extend the UK’s transition period.

His advice to procurement organisations trying to prepare? Plan for a World Trade Organisation outcome from 2021 – “That, I think, is the most likely outcome.”

A Shark at the 2018 Asia-Pacific CPO Forum

Shark Tank star, entrepreneur and talent expert Andrew Banks presented at the 2018 CPO Forum as a guest of our Premium Sponsor, American Express. Here are the highlights for this top-rated speaker.

There’s no single, agreed-upon definition of what leads to career success. If you pose the question on Google, you’ll find opinions ranging from salary levels, to happiness, to work-life balance, to growth opportunities.

It was refreshing, then, when Andrew Banks stood on the stage at the 2018 CPO Forum and announced that he had discovered the following formula: career success lies at the sweet spot between:

  • what you are passionate about
  • what you are good at, and
  • what the world

Banks is a modern-day polymath who might have delivered a fascinating speech on any number of topics, but knowing that he had over 60 CPO-level delegates in the room, he chose to speak about leadership and talent. Drawing upon his experience as a co-founder of Morgan & Banks, he spoke about motivation, attributes, values and purpose, and the winning combination when hiring talent. 

Motivation

“Intrinsic motivation is desirable, but extrinsic motivation helps direction”, says Banks. His point is that although a self-driven professional is admirable, a savvy leader will tap into their teams’ innate competitiveness and desire for rewards. He recommends driving performance and out-of-the-box thinking by:

  • creating competitions and prizes for teams and company-wide goals
  • making the rewards special (outside of normal rewards that are a part of the job)
  • making it open to all (anyone can play!)
  • setting specific targets and timelines to drive a sense of excitement and urgency.

Attributes Beat Skills and Knowledge

Banks is a strong believer in the power of psychometric testing and its ability to predict future job performance. Psychometric tests soon became a key differentiator for Morgan & Banks, with candidates tested across areas as diverse as cognitive ability, personality, interests, and attitudes. His message is similar to that of U.S. media figure Arianna Huffington, who tells businesses that no matter how brilliant an employee may be, the company should no longer tolerate “brilliant jerks” in the workplace.

Cultural Leadership

Banks quoted Peter Drucker’s famous observation that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” before delving into an explanation of what cultural leadership looks like. It involves:

  • a constant rally around a ‘noble purpose’ – remembering that part of Bank’s definition of career success is “what the world needs”
  • highlighting core values daily/weekly.
  • being interested in your team, not interesting
  • providing inspiration and expecting the best.

The Winning Combination When Hiring Great Talent

If you can find a candidate with the combination of both passion and ability, you’re onto a winner. Banks comments that in job interviews, there are ways to ascertain what people want, opposed to what they think they want. Get them to explain the why within questions such as “What’s the best job you’ve ever had?”, and “Where do you excel?”

Similarly, when you’re writing a job description, always describe the behaviours and qualities you seek, not the role – just as you would describe the driver, not the car.

According to Banks, an ideal team member understands the business model and displays curiosity, thinks for themselves and innovates naturally, gets on well and never settles, has extra capacity for the next challenge, and makes their boss’s life easier.

In summary, if a leader is able to:

  • keep yourself refreshed by staying curious, seeking new input and inspiring the team,
  • motivate with games and rewards for out-of-the-box thinking,
  • get the team culture right around noble purpose and values,
  • start with the right raw materials …

…you’ll get superior performance!

Visit Chief Future Officer for more thought-leadership from The Faculty CPO Forum Premium Partner, American Express.

7 Procurious Influencers Who Are Smashing Modern Slavery

Not all heroes wear capes! But surely there are few people more deserving of a superhero’s recognition than the procurement pros fighting against modern slavery day in, day out….?

Last week, a heavy-hitting list of 100 modern-day abolitionists was splashed across social media following the 2018 Annual UK Top 100 Corporate Modern Slavery Influencers’ Index Recognition Dinner in London – and the team at Procurious was delighted to see at least seven Procurious members featured in the Index.

Developed by BRE and Sustain Worldwide, the #Top100Index recognises individuals from all business sectors, media and academia who are influential leaders in raising awareness to end modern slavery and labour exploitation; those who advocate for robust ethical sourcing and human rights recognition and practices in UK direct business operations and global supply chains.

The Index was based on a combination of influence on social media (as measured by Klout scores) and advocacy – policy impact, speaking and media engagements – in public life, aggregated via a proprietary algorithm and verified by an independent panel.

Influence is the key word here. While only a few of the Top 100 would be physically involved in busting modern-day slavery at the coalface, this group is arguably making a greater impact through addressing the source of the problem by raising public awareness and getting cut-through with he decision-makers in government and business who can really make a difference.

Procurement and supply management is well-represented in the Top 100, even though the scope of the award went well beyond this profession. This proves, once again, that any efforts to eradicate modern slavery must involve – and often be spearheaded by – procurement and supply professionals.   

Who are the Procurious members in the #Top100Index?

Congratulations to the following members of our online community. Connect with these highly influential professionals here on Procurious by following the links below.

  1. Andrew Wallis OBE of UnSeenUK
  2. Andy Davies of Greater London Authority (GLA) Group
  3. Dax Lovegrove of Swarovski
  4. Katie Jacobs of Supply Management
  5. Professor Jacqueline Glass of Loughborough University
  6. Rob Knott of Virtualstock
  7. Olinga Ta’eed, Entrepreneur

More from Olinga Ta’eed on Procurious:

In other news this week:

Deadline Passes with no renegotiated NAFTA

  • Parties to the NAFTA renegotiations have failed to reach a deal before the Congressional deadline of May 17 passed last week.
  • The deadline was in place due to the upcoming Mexican presidential election, which may introduce a new set of variables depending on the winner’s stance on trade.
  • US House Speaker Paul Ryan has said Congress is willing to vote on a deal within a few weeks, but commentators predict the negotiations are likely to drag on into next year.

Read more: https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/NAFTA-May-17-deadline-talks-extend/523811/

Gig economy in the spotlight

  • New research has revealed the explosive growth of the gig economy in the UK since 2010, with ‘non-employer businesses’ (businesses that only hire on a gig-by-gig basis) growing by 8,431% in the transportation and storage sector, and 1,464% in the accommodation and food service sector.
  • The number of self-employed people in the UK has risen by 41% since 2001, with 15% of the UK labour force classed as self-employed last year. The private sector has seen a 25% increase in non-employer businesses since 2010.
  • Recommendations from the Taylor Review of the gig economy include ensuring a balance between worker’s rights and those that are self-employed, sectoral strategies to ensure people do not face insecurity, and stronger incentives for firms to treat “dependent contractors” fairly.

Read more: https://www.premierline.co.uk/knowledge-centre/the-gig-economy.html

US-China Trade War “On Hold”

  • China and the US have agreed to drop tariff threats while working on a wider trade agreement, according to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
  • Washington has demanded that China narrows the $US335 billion annual US goods and services trade deficit and has proposed tariffs of $US50 billion on Chinese goods. China responded with its own measures targeting US agriculture.
  • The two economies have reportedly agreed to set up a framework for addressing trade imbalances in the future.

Read more: Washington Post

Arianna Huffington: No More Brilliant Jerks In the Workplace

#ISM2018 keynote Arianna Huffington is on a mission to end the collective delusion that burnout is the price we pay for success.

In 2007, Arianna Huffington collapsed in her office. “I hit my head on my desk, broke my cheekbone, and came to in a pool of blood. I asked myself the question: is this what success looks like?”

By any of the usual metrics, Huffington is an undeniably successful businesswoman and a role model for many. The Greek-American author and syndicated columnist has written 15 books and is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, later acquired by AOL for US$315 million. She is a regular inclusion in lists such as Forbes’ Most Influential Women in Media, The Guardian’s Top 100 in Media, and Forbes’ Most Powerful Women in the World.

But, as Huffington tells the audience at #ISM2018, having money and power as your only metrics of success is like trying to sit on a two-legged stool. A third leg is required if you’re going to attain balance – and that’s where the concept of “Thrive” comes in.

The size of the prize

We’re currently operating in the midst of a global epidemic of burnout and stress. “What’s sad is that it’s completely unnecessary,” says Huffington. “When we take care of ourselves, we’re more effective in what we’re doing.”

Issues which used to be the province of health magazines are now entering the mainstream. Businesses are increasingly recognising that performance improves when employees take care of themselves. The three pillars of self-care are nutrition, movement and – Huffington’s favourite topic – sleep.

Sleep is the best performance-enhancing drug

Ever heard the phrase “we can sleep when we’re dead”? That kind of attitude, according to Huffington, only brings forward the time when we’ll actually be dead. Sleep affects your well-being, your cognitive performance, and subsequently your company’s bottom line. Not long ago it was common to see business leaders competing in terms of who can operate on the least amount of sleep. U.S. President Donald Trump, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and television personality Martha Stewart all reportedly operate on 4 hours of sleep or less.

Huffington knows that when she’s exhausted, she is “the least good version of herself”. Lack of sleep translates into lower creativity, a lack of empathy, more reactive behaviour, a greater likelihood that she’ll take things personally and miss red flags. Similarly, former President Bill Clinton famously said that every one of his major mistakes was made when he was tired.

Here’s the good news. High-profile CEOs are “coming out” as champions of a good nights’ sleep, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Bezos wrote a piece about why getting eight hours of sleep is a top priority not only for him personally, but for Amazon’s shareholders, as a well-rested CEO is much more likely to make good-quality decisions.

Fix your culture to reduce attrition

“Taking care of your employees is no longer just a ‘nice’ benefit,” says Huffington. “It directly affects the business metrics.” Burnt out employees are highly likely to change jobs, with their companies bearing the brunt of attrition costs. Lower engagement, reduced productivity and higher healthcare costs are the other risks faced by companies that run on burnout.

When we prioritise a healthy culture, says Huffington, we’re much more able to deal with problems as they emerge, and respond to crises quickly. “A thriving culture means that everybody knows you cannot sacrifice empathy and caring on the altar of hyper-growth”, she says.

Huffington uses Uber as an example, where from her position on the Board she has seen first-hand the negative effects of a hyper-growth culture that is fuelled by burnout. “The idea that everything will be forgiven if you’re a top performer is no longer sustainable. I promised Uber that going forward, no more ‘brilliant jerks’ will be allowed in the organisation. The truth is that no matter how brilliant you are, if you’re not there to support colleagues, be empathetic, and be humane, in the long term you’ll have a deleterious impact on the business.”

Why do people become jerks? “When employees are burnt out,” says Huffington, “they act out.”

Thrive

In the age of machine-learning, artificial intelligence and continuous disruption, it’s more important than ever to protect and project our uniquely human qualities – namely, empathy and creativity. Huffington singles out these two qualities as they cannot be replaced by AI. She notes that although we regularly celebrate advances in the field of augmented reality, we need to prioritise and cultivate “augmented humanity”.

Alibaba Founder Jack Ma spoke in Davos recently where he introduced the concept of LQ (Loving Quotient), or how people treat one another. In business this will become increasingly important as maturity develops beyond IQ, through EQ, and finally to LQ.

Put the smartphone down

“The next stage of technological disruption will involve technology that will help you disconnect from technology,” says Huffington. She speaks persuasively about the negative effect devices have on people’s wellbeing, and the importance of taking the phone out of the bedroom to ensure a proper night’s sleep. “Your phone is the repository of every problem that you’re dealing with,” she says. It certainly shouldn’t be the last thing you see before sleeping, or the first thing you see when you wake in the morning.

“Learning to manage relationships with our phones is key, but putting boundaries on technology doesn’t mean we don’t love technology. At present our culture values people who are always on, always texting back,” she says. “Where we put our attention determines our lives.”

Huffington leaves the audience at ISM2018 with the image of the three-legged stool. The third leg – the Thrive leg, is built from a sense of well-being, connectivity with your own wisdom, giving back, and feeling a sense of wonder about life, she says. “So often, we don’t even look up.”


Are you at ISM2018? Visit Procurious in the Exhibitor Hall – Booth #207!

Don’t miss out on Procurious Founder Tania Seary’s inspirational & informative ISM2018 Session titled “From The Amazon to The Moon: The Possibilities for Procurement” on Tuesday 8th May, 3.45-4.45.

Navigating The World’s Largest Procurement Conference

ISM2018 is nearly upon us! With an action-packed agenda featuring no less than 100 educational sessions to choose from, it’s vital that attendees arrive in Nashville with a plan.

I’ve made the 22-hour journey from my home town of Melbourne all the way to the sequin-studded city of Nashville, Tennessee, to report on the jewel of the international procurement calendar, ISM’s Annual Conference.

No matter where you’re travelling from, it’s crucial to understand your key conference objectives in advance. Why? Because this isn’t a conference with a linear agenda where you simply sit back and watch a series of presentations without having to make any choices. On the contrary, there are 100 sessions packed into four days, with many of the sessions running concurrently. That means that at any one time, you may have to make a decision between nine simultaneous sessions.

My advice is to make your conference plan right now. It’s not ideal to pick your sessions over breakfast at the conference itself, and certainly don’t try to make the decisions in the 5-minute breaks between each session!

Naseem Malik, Managing Partner of MRA Global Sourcing and member of the ISM2018 Conference Leadership Committee, told Procurious that it’s essential to have a plan when you get here. “There are a lot of learning tracks, lots of great presentations, but there’s only a finite number of sessions you can attend. It pays to have an attack plan before you go. You can target a specific learning track, or mix and match.”

SVP of Procurement at NFP, Lara Nichols, has similar words of advice. “Chart a course through the sessions. Read ahead, and think about how to spend your time. Plan it out like you would do before going on vacation! If you’ve done some pre-planning, you’ll have filters in place to help you pick well when you’re presented with a choice.”

To further complicate the decision-making process, this isn’t just about you. Most people who attend ISM2018 will be there as a representative of their wider team, so it’s critical that the sessions you attend are also relevant for your colleagues back in the office.

As such, try to keep these criteria in mind:

  • Does the session align with my personal objectives?
  • Will the session be relevant to my company?
  • Will the session have actionable takeaways?

Have a conversation with your manager or your colleagues who are still in the office about what they would like you to bring back from the conference – whether it’s market intelligence, new contacts or benchmark information. It’s also important to agree on the format that this information will take – do they expect a written report? A formal presentation? Or just an informal update when you’re back at your desk?

So – to take my own advice, I made a plan of the sessions that I’m doing my best to attend at ISM2018. Here it is:

The Keynotes

ISM always attracts impressive keynote speakers who usually provide the highlight of the conference. This year, Arianna Huffington (Founder of Huffington Post and CEO of Thrive Global) will present on how to “thrive” in the digital age and build a culture to win the future. For procurement professionals interested in how the power of social media can help them professionally (hello, Procurious!), this should be a fascinating session.

Everyone is talking about Amazon, which is why John Rossman, a former Amazon executive with wisdom to share on making your supply chain a golden asset, will definitely be speaking to a packed house. Rossman will share the key to scaling, Amazon’s secrets to drive accountability, how to achieve operational excellence, drive innovation, and deliver what customers truly desire.

American politician Mitt Romney was scheduled to complete the keynote line-up, but withdrew after announcing his candidacy for the 2018 Senate election in Utah. But never fear – Romney has been replaced by two giants of the American Intelligence community, General Keith Alexander (CEO and President of IronNet Cybersecurity, Former Director of the NSA and First Commander of U.S. Cyber Command – and John Brennan, Director of the CIA 2013-2017, and former US Homeland Security Advisor. Personally, I’ll be fascinated to see their comments in light of Edward Snowden’s now-famous absconsion from the NSA, and the current White House’s prickly relationship with intelligence agencies.

The Signature Sessions.

If they haven’t been booked out already, the nine signature sessions listed in the agenda will soon fill up, so make sure you register soon. Highlights include:

  • A CPO Town Hall and Networking Event featuring four CPOs who will answer questions on procurement transformation, providing value in M&A activity, innovation, stakeholder alignment, managing risk and retaining talent. (Update: ISM tells me that there are still some places available for this session.)
  • A session on the Evolution of Procurement and the future of the CPO, featuring SAP Ariba’s Chief Digital Officer, Dr Marcell Vollmer and Futurist Tom Raftery.
  • Elevating Employee Engagement – featuring leadership expert and executive coach Dima Ghawi, who will talk about how to tackle generation gaps, virtual teams and the global workforce.

Other Sessions

Still feeling overwhelmed?

The good news is that ISM has provided plenty of tips to guide attendees through the maze of sessions, including Learning Tracks, information on how each session is aligned to certain competencies in the Mastery Model, and proficiencies based on years of experience.

Don’t forget to drop by the Procurious Booth #207 to learn how to supercharge your procurement career through the power of online networking!  

Digital Transformation Skill Gap Shock

Only six per cent  of CPOs possess the strategic leadership trait of being able to lead digital and analytical transformation in their organisation. What’s going on with the skill gap?

pathdoc/Shutterstock.com

It seems that everyone’s talking about digital transformation. Every procurement team globally lies somewhere on the maturity curve that begins at one end with 1990s-style manual processes, to world-beating teams who are embracing tech enablers such as predictive analytics and cognitive technology. Procurement publications (including this one) are writing article after article about the wave of exciting new technology coming down the Industry 4.0 pipeline, while the profession’s biggest conferences always have digital transformation experts high on the agenda.

Key findings in Deloitte’s 2018 Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey, however, suggest that digital transformation isn’t as high as priority for CPOs as we might think. When just over 500 procurement leaders across 39 countries were asked to identify the most common leadership traits in procurement, they listed:

  • acting as a role model – 23 per cent
  • collaborating internally and externally to deliver value – 20 per cent
  • delivering results – 14 per cent

Yet, as the report points out, strategic leadership traits are not widely evident:

  • positive disruption – 5 per cent
  • leading digital and analytical transformation – 6 per cent
  • innovation – 8 per cent

Similarly, modern technology usage is low, with only one-third of those surveyed using technologies such as predictive analytics and collaboration networks. Only one-third of procurement leaders believe that their digital procurement strategy will enable them to deliver on their objectives and value, even though analytics was nominated as the single factor that will have the most impact on procurement in the next two years.

The authors call out these disappointing results twice in the report:

“Progress and adoption has been slow over the past year and the survey findings show that procurement leaders remain hesitant about investigating new digital tools and technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain.”

“Despite recognising digital technologies, their impact and imminent uses, few organisations appear to be progressing at the rate that their c-suite executives consider necessary for achieving overall goals. Indeed, in the majority of areas, the level of impact has declined and the forecast application of new technologies is low … The level and speed of digitalisation across procurement functions is lower than expected and needed.”

So, what’s going on? The answer might be found within the report itself, across the following three areas:

  1. CPOs don’t know where to begin

The main barriers to the effective application of digital technology identified in the report include a lack of data integration (46 per cent), quality of data (45 per cent) and a limited understand of data technology (27 per cent). This suggests that one of the reasons for the disappointing adoption of technology is that CPOs are still coming to terms with the overwhelming task of getting their house (their data) in order before they can effectively roll out a tech enabler such as cognitive procurement.

  1. CPOs are losing faith in their digital strategy

Deloitte found that only 4 per cent of procurement leaders believe that procurement has a big influence in delivering their organisation’s overall digital strategy. Only 6 per cent believe their digital strategy will help them to fully deliver on their objectives and improve enterprise value, while only 18 per cent have a digital procurement strategy supported by a complete business case. The trend in the report appears to be that procurement leaders are struggling to understand the impact of digital technology. One of the stand-out pieces of commentary in the report contains the following:

“Applying digital technologies to the procurement function will enable strategic sourcing to become more predictive, transactional procurement to become more automated, supplier management to become more proactive, and procurement operations to become more intelligent.”

 3. CPOs are not investing in digital capability

Remember last year’s report? The main callout in 2017 was that 60 per cent of CPOs didn’t believe their teams had sufficient capabilities to deliver on their procurement strategy. This figure has improved slightly and now sits at 51 per cent, yet digital skills still remain a red flag. The report found that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said that their procurement teams possess little or no capability to maximise the use of current and future digital technologies, but only 16 per cent of procurement leaders are focusing on enhancing the digital skills of their teams. Overall, 72 per cent of CPOs are spending less than 2 per cent of their operating budgets on training and development programs for their teams.

Download the full report here: https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/operations/articles/cpo-survey.html


In other news this week:

 

Procurious celebrates International Women’s Day – Get Involved!

  • Women account for just 20-35 per cent of procurement association memberships, represent just 30 per cent of procurement conference attendees and 20 per cent of speakers, and earn up to 31 per cent less than their male counterparts
  • To address this disparity, we founded Bravo, a Procurious group that celebrates and promotes the contributions of women in procurement last year
  • Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8th March 2018 Procurious are running a new campaign, “A Wise Woman Once Told Me…”.  We want procurement pros across the globe to take part and  finish that sentence.  Write the best advice you’ve been given by a woman, be it a colleague, mentor, friend or family member and share your advice on both Twitter (Tagging @Procurious_ and #Bravoprocurement) and in the Bravo group on Procurious 
  • We’ll be amplifying all of your great advice to the global procurement community and, to encourage more procurement pros to join Bravo Movement, we’ll donate £1 to Action Aid for every person that joins Bravo before 10th March 2018

Contact Laura Ross via [email protected] to request your  “A Wise Woman Once Told Me…” digital kit.

 

KFC Supply Chain Cock-Up Continues

  • KFC has yet to reopen all of its UK stores after nearly 700 of the the fast food chain’s 900 stores were shut down after the company ran out of chicken last week.
  • Speculation about what went wrong has focused on DHL, which had taken over the contract only one week previously. DHL has one centralised warehouse in contrast to the previous contractor, Bidvest, which operated from six.
  • The hashtag has been trending on Twitter, while KFC’s marketing team has been praised for its handling of the crisis.

Read more: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/kfc-chicken-crisis-shortage-supply-chain-logistics-experts

 

Trump announces steel and aluminium tariffs

  • President Trump has announced a 25 per cent tariff on imported steel and a 10 per cent tariff on imported aluminium.
  • The tariffs are designed to punish China for what the White House has described as unfair trade practices, while reducing blue-collar job losses and wage stagnation.
  • U.S. steel production has fallen from 100 million to 82 million metric tonnes over the past decade, with imports increasing in consequence.

Read more: Reuters