Category Archives: Procurement News

Straw houses: no need to fear the Big Bad Wolf

We’re all familiar with the tale of the three little pigs and how the Big Bad Wolf blew down the first little pig’s house, a questionable dwelling built entirely from straw.

First straw house goes on sale in UK

Apart from having us wonder how it stood up in the first place without a frame, we all grew up knowing that a house made of straw was a bad idea.

However, an engineering research project in the UK is showing that maybe the little pig was ahead of his time in construction innovation. This week, the first straw houses offered on the open market in the UK are up for sale.

So huff and puff as much as you like, but you’re going to have to try harder than that to blow these houses down!

Building with bales

The research project was the brainchild of the University of Bath and Modcell, a specialist architectural firm. The hope is that the research, and the subsequent sale of the houses in Bath, will lead to the wider use of straw bales in construction.

The benefits of using straw are worth noting. Straw bale houses are more environmentally friendly to build and maintain than traditional brick houses and with proper care, the house will last for up to 100 years.

As straw is a natural material, the requirement for the production of raw materials will be reduced. This will in turn lead to a lower carbon footprint for the supply chain as the processes for manufacturing cement and firing bricks, both of which require high energy usage and generate substantial waste, will not be required.

Straw can be sourced relatively easily. Each year, UK agriculture produces an estimated four million tonnes of straw, of which only a small proportion is used, with the remainder just being burned. A new house would require seven tonnes of straw to build, meaning that there would be a potential to build half a million new homes from the straw produced each year.

Not only are the building method and supply chain more environmentally friendly, but also the houses themselves have significantly lower running costs and environmental impact. The bales provide highly efficient insulation and retain heat more effectively than their brick counterparts. The expectation is that the houses in Bath will have energy bills that are up to 90% lower than similar houses in the area.

Innovative construction

In recent years, the construction industry has made significant strides to reduce the environmental impact of and waste in its supply chain. Innovations have included:

  • The ‘house in a box’
  • The use of recycled materials in concrete – leads to reductions in fossil fuel and greenhouse gas production, rain acidification potential and waste
  • Bio-based composite building materials
  • Roof tiles that remove nitrogen oxide from the atmosphere

It’s hoped that these innovations, plus the potential for a wider market for straw houses, could lead to a much more sustainable supply chain and industry as a whole.

For more on the straw houses go to http://www.modcell.com/.

Read on for more of the biggest stories commanding headlines right now:

New guidance aims to keep products of pirate fishing out of UK supply chain

  • Illegal “pirate” fishing damages the environment and human rights, and leads to economic losses of as much as $23.5bn (£15.3 bn) a year, according to fresh guidance which aims to help British businesses keep illegal fish products out of the supply chain and stamp the practice out.
  • A briefing published by retailers, conservation and human rights groups sets out in full how retailers and suppliers should act to end the long-term threat to the oceans, while building up legal and sustainable fisheries.
  • The briefing by the British Retail Consortium, Environmental Justice Foundation and WWF UK is to inform UK industry, retailers and brands of the risks associated with illegal, unreported and unregulated or pirate fishing. It offers advice on risk-assessment and mitigation, and encourages action to prevent illegal fishery products entering UK supply chains. As much as 26 million tonnes of illegal fish products is involved annually.

Read more on The Guardian

Fresh row for Tesco as supermarket giant demands suppliers cut prices as food commodity values fall

  • Tesco risks a fresh dispute with suppliers after it demanded they cut their prices or risk being dropped from supermarket shelves.
  • The grocer has written to suppliers asking them to reflect recent falls in the cost of commodities such as wheat and sugar. In some cases, those who do not decrease their prices have been told they risk being ditched by the supermarket in favour of cheaper rivals.
  • The revelation comes only days after the grocery giant faced a fresh investigation into claims that it bullied firms that it buys goods from. A probe by the supermarkets watchdog the Grocery Code Adjudicator has begun over allegations it charged huge sums to place suppliers’ wares on prominent shelves, even if they were not on promotion.

Read more at This Is Money

How Will Global Supply Chains will be Impacted by Obama’s Budget?

  • In his 2016 budget plan, to be unveiled today, President Obama will propose that U.S. companies’ overseas profits be taxed to fund a major boost in infrastructure spending. These tax proposals could change the way the Tax Efficient Supply Chain (TESC) operates.
  • When highly profitable companies pay little in the way of taxes, negative press coverage can ensue.  But CEOs are asked by financial analysts about their corporate wide effective tax rate (ETR) all the time. This can be a no win situation for a CEO. A company with a high effective tax rate is at a significant disadvantage to industry competitors with low tax rates, particularly in the company’s ability to grow the business. And ultimately a CEO’s tenure is often most strongly impacted by the financial community’s view of his company’s performance.  Not surprisingly, many large companies have restructured to lower their tax burden; it is not unusual for these companies to lower their ETR by about five percent.
  • While supply chain cost savings fall to the pretax bottom line and improve a company’s Net Income position, corporate tax restructuring increases deferred revenues.  Some large corporations are sitting on tens of billions in deferred earnings that can’t be used for stock owner dividends, without being taxed at US rates, but can be used to fund growth and thus future earnings, in a variety of ways.

Visit Logistics Viewpoints to read more

Distribution demands drive investment in logistics properties

  • Ecommerce is fuelling a boom in logistics property investment in Europe, as retailers try to keep pace with changing consumer demands.

  • Investors pumped €19.8bn into properties such as warehousing and distribution hubs in 2014, a seven-year high and a 34 per cent jump year on year as companies scramble to adapt to evolving supply chains and developers position themselves to profit from the thriving sector.

  • The UK led the way, with investment in the sector jumping 65 per cent to €7.9bn, according to Property Data. But investment accelerated on the continent too, as European eretailers expanded and cross-border ecommerce took off.

  • “You’re doing the stuff inside the distribution centres that you used to do inside the shop . . . Companies are having to reorganise their distribution logistics,” said Alan Braithwaite, chairman of LCP Consulting.

Read more at the FT.com

The businessfriend platform offers new way for supply chain execs to do business

  • In a world full of technology, it can become a hectic existence trying to wade through the myriad of business apps as part of your day-to-day working life. But there is a new platform on the horizon which could solve this issue for supply chain executives.
  • Businessfriend is the one-stop communications channel that helps you stay connected with the people and professionals that matter the most to you. Whether that be warehouse operatives, production line managers or managing directors. Consolidating the noise with one effective business communications platform, businessfriend launched on 6 January during the three day CES event in Las Vegas, and it promises to redefine how business is done in the supply chain sector.
  • Glen White, Founder and CEO of businessfriend, said: “On any given day, the typical young professional can have as many as five platforms open to get them through their day. “We offer one complete forum that enables constant connectivity for optimal business communications. One mobile app, one desktop, any device – no more juggling apps.”

Read more at Digital Supply Chain

McDonald’s and the Challenges of a Modern Supply Chain

  • Recently, McDonald’s, the world’s iconic largest food service provider, has been (forgive the cliché) through the grinder. Poor performance has led to the departure of its CEO and plenty of critical attention in the business pages. Part of this story relates to the provenance, or origins, of its products: Chains that provide more upmarket “fast casual” dining such as Panera, Chipotle, and Shake Shack have brands that speak of freshness, health, and trustworthy sourcing.
  • In 2010, I wrote an HBR article predicting increased interest in supply-chain transparency: firms needed to develop strategies for knowing and explaining where stuff comes from. Since then the idea of product provenance has steadily crept up the corporate agenda and is now a compulsory issue for boards and governments. In the UK, for example, legislation is in progress that would build on the California Supply Chain Transparency Act, potentially applying to wider range of firms. Across Europe, the 2013 horsemeat scandal generated widespread panic about contaminated meat. In a wide range of industries — electronics, software, toys, aerospace — provenance is increasingly a critical concern.
  • McDonald’s woes offers three lessons for others about supply-chain transparency. Visit Harvard Business Publishing to read them.

How to navigate the tricky path to procurement accreditation

Procurement accreditation and qualifications

At Procurious, we are all about changing the face of procurement and encouraging and engaging with the next generation of procurement professionals.

Discussion wraps allow us to consolidate the knowledge of the whole community and keep the conversation going on the key issues and themes.

Achieving and Leveraging Professional Accreditation

People are constantly looking to develop personally and professionally. A number of questions have been asked about accreditation – routes for achievement, how it can be leveraged, is it worth it and how to get into it.

There are a few routes for accreditation open to procurement professionals, with the most common being CIPS through study and exams, an MSc through an accredited university or distance learning.

While there was no consensus on the best route to take, there was a consensus that having these qualifications and being a member of CIPS was necessary for procurement professionals and often used as a requirement for recruitment.

Things to consider when selecting a route were:

  • Practical application
  • Acceptability in your organisation
  • Balance of theory vs. practice
  • What your long-term career goals are
  • What you as an individual want to do

One of the agreed themes was that many organisations would sponsor studying through the CIPS route, as they push for their departments to be adequately qualified.

Having achieved MCIPS, or other accreditation, the question was could you leverage it in salary or promotion negotiations.

The consensus from the community was that these qualifications added value to your personal offering, but that having them would not normally lead directly to an increased salary in isolation.

It was important to demonstrate improvements, highlight practical applications and present a track record of accomplishments to managers in order to properly leverage qualifications.

For more on routes to MCIPS, go to the CIPS website: http://www.cips.org/en-GB/membership/What-is-MCIPS/Routes-to-Membership/

For distance learning opportunities, check out the recommendation from the community of Canban: www.canban.org

What is going on with the Swiss franc?

In a move that has hurt skiers, chocolate lovers and international investment banks alike, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) decided on January 15th to unpeg the country’s currency, the franc, from the euro.

What's going on with the Swiss franc?

Update – Since the time of writing the Swiss National Bank has signalled it will target a new exchange rate band, to find out more click here 

The repercussions of this decision have reverberated across the globe. Despite The Wall Street Journal reporting that J.P Morgan (an investment bank) stands to make up to $300 million USD as a result of the decision, the news for most financial agencies has been overwhelmingly bad.

Citigroup, suggested its losses will be in realms of $150 million USD and exchange agencies from New Zealand to New York City have hinted that troubled times and closures lay ahead after the unexpected currency shuffle.

Even English football has been impacted, with the jersey sponsor of West Ham United, Alpari UK (a foreign exchange dealer), filing for insolvency.

Currency changes and international finance have never been subjects I’ve been comfortably able to wrap my head around. So I have tried to tackle the unpegging of the franc from an entirely pragmatic point of view. What happened? Why did it happen? And what is the impact on procurement professionals?

Why was it pegged in the first place?

The Swiss government has traditionally been seen as a sound custodian of financial affairs, its stable government and balanced economy has seen business and investors flood the country with foreign cash. While this sounds like good news, the tide of foreign money drove up the value of the franc, which had a severe impact on the country’s significant export sector. Essentially, Swiss goods became expensive, too expensive.

In 2011, as European consumers remained dormant in wake of the credit crunch, the Swiss National Bank made a perhaps short-sighted decision to peg the value of the franc to that of euro, thus making Swiss goods more affordable across the continent.

Why did they unpeg it?

A number of different theories have been banded about as to why the bank elected to unpeg the franc – some of the more popular are listed below:

  • The SNB held fears that the consistent devaluation of the euro (in recent months and years) would be detrimental to the Swiss economy. This uncertainty is supported by political instability in some of the Euro zones more debt-laden countries.
  • The SNB was pre-empting the European Central Bank’s decision to introduce another quantitative easing program and decided that the printing of money required to carry out this program would further weaken the euro.
  • The SNB was responding to public concerns that the enormous $480 billion USD of foreign currency the bank now holds (as a result of its euro pegging) could lead to higher inflation levels, or even hyper-inflation.

Potentially, the bank simply wanted to unmake a poor decision it made in 2011. As the Economist magazine suggests, “When central banks manipulate exchange rates, it almost always ends in tears”.

What should procurement teams do? 

Whether the euro pegging was a good idea or a bad idea is now irrelevant, what we are left with is a situation where the Swiss franc is worth significantly more than it was two weeks ago. The valuation of the franc is likely to fluctuate further in the coming weeks, but experts are predicting it will remain high against the euro and other currencies.

Below are some points procurement teams should consider addressing when determining how this currency shift will impact their operations:

  1. Understand the exposure of your supply base to the Swiss franc. If you have got strategic suppliers based in Switzerland, their products and services have just got significantly more expensive, perhaps its time to look for substitutes.
  2. Understand your company’s internal exposure to the Swiss franc. The secure economy and friendly tax rates in Switzerland encouraged many international businesses to set up their European operations in the country. As a way to reduce their exposure to the now expensive franc, these businesses (as well as many native Swiss firms) may now be looking to ‘internally restructure’ as our friends in HR like to say.
  3. Prepare for a more competitive outsourcing environment. Swiss companies (and international firms with a Swiss presence) could try to minimise the impact of the strengthening franc by leveraging lower cost destinations and start outsourcing more work.

How is the changing value of franc impacting you? Fill us in on your concerns in the comments below.

Super Bowl XLIX: did it pay off for the advertisers?

Feeling a bit tired this morning? You might be one of the estimated 4 million Brits who watched the Super Bowl last night? Don’t worry, no spoilers here for those who have recorded it!

Super Bowl 2015 - how did the advertisers do?

If you did watch the game, or have been following the coverage over the last week, you will have heard almost as many stories about the adverts as you have about the game itself.

The NFL’s marquee event boasts an estimated 112 million viewers worldwide and, with breaks in play every few minutes and an extended half-time interval (complete, this year, with Katy Perry), the 30-60 second advertising slots are like gold dust.

What’s the big deal?

The size of the audience, profile of the game and the advertising tradition are just part of the attraction for big companies. Several studies have proven that 50 per cent of the Super Bowl audience tunes in just to watch the adverts.

Big names this year included Budweiser, Victoria’s Secret, Doritos and many more. From a marketing point of view, there isn’t another event anywhere in the world that gives companies an opportunity to get their brand into the public consciousness in the same way.

Conversations about adverts start weeks before the Super Bowl when the advertising line up is announced, and can last for weeks or months after, particularly if you nail the advert. Check out which adverts have gone down this year here.

Facts and Figures

  • $359 million – the estimated value of all the advertising for the Super Bowl this year.
  • $4.5 million – the cost for a 30-second advertisement at any time during the game. Divide it down and that’s an eye-watering $150,000 per second!
  • $42,000 – what the cost was during the first Super Bowl in 1967. Costs are increasing year on year at a massive rate.

And these costs are only for purchasing the slot from the network. Companies have to factor in creating the advert, with some going really overboard.

Does it pay off?

That’s the $4.5m question and the answer might be yes. In the coming weeks, the best adverts will be featured and shown in full on TV shows, blogged about, discussed and re-watched on YouTube. The PR value generated from this can quadruple the media cost for the advert.

In 2014, a survey of 37,440 U.S. consumers by the tech firm BrandAds found that the average Super Bowl ad increased viewers’ likelihood of buying the product by 6.6 per cent. Larger brands like Hyundai and Budweiser saw increases of 39.5 per cent and 37.8 per cent respectively.

Other companies have seen similar sales increases. Audi, with advertising slots during the Super Bowl since 2006, have doubled their market share, while Skechers (26 per cent) and Chrysler (54 per cent) have seen big increases in sales.

Worth the risk?

It’s still debatable even with figures like those above. There’s no guarantee that your advert will be a success and no guarantee you’ll see similar sales bumps.

But, even with that in mind, would you want to be the one name that wasn’t at the biggest party of the year?

The Super Bowl in Numbers

  • $10 million – the cost of the half-time show, paid for by the NFL. Artists aren’t paid but can expect considerable sales on the back of an appearance.
  • $58,780,000 – the sum total of the basic salaries of the highest paid players for the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks
  • $8 billion – the total gambled on the game (worth noting that in most states gambling is illegal)
  • 325 million gallons – the volume of beer drunk during the game
  • 1.23 billion – the number of chicken wings that were eaten in the US yesterday

Read on for more of the biggest stories commanding headlines right now:

Qatar Airways acquires $1.7 billion stake in IAG

  • As part of efforts to enhance operations and strengthen existing commercial ties initiated through codeshare agreements with IAG as well as its membership of the oneworld alliance, Qatar Airways has acquired a 9.99 per cent stake in IAG.
  • Non-EU shareholders of IAG including Qatar Airways are subject to an overall cap on non-EU ownership as a result of the requirement for EU airlines to be majority owned by EU shareholders. Qatar Airways may consider increasing its stake further over time although this is not currently intended to exceed 9.99 per cent.
  • Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive of Qatar Airways, said: “IAG represents an excellent opportunity to further develop our Westwards strategy. Having joined the oneworld alliance, it makes sense for us to work more closely together in the near term and we look forward to forging a long-term relationship.”

Read more at Supply Chain Digital

Ex-Zomato CMO’s Yumist raises $1 million from Orios to deliver food efficiently

  • Yumist, a food delivery startup that started operations in Gurgaon in October 2014 has raised it’s first round of funding from Orios Venture PartnersYumist was founded by Alok Jain, a technology entrepreneur and ex-CMO at Zomato along with Abhimanyu Maheshwari, a seasoned F&B entrepreneur. to provide easy access to tasty and homely daily-meals.
  • A combination of food, logistics and tech, Yumist owns the entire delivery supply chain. It allows customers to place orders in a few seconds through it’s Android app and the meal is delivered hot in under 30 minutes.
  • The investment will be used by Yumist to grow it’s team, expand geographically and build it’s production, technology and delivery infrastructure.

Read more at YourStory

Walmart and Target move forward joint supply chain initiative

  • Walmart, Target and NGO Forum for the Future (FFTF) have set up three working groups to take forward actions agreed at last year’s beauty and personal care product sustainability summit. The groups will focus on aspects of chemicals in products, says Michelle Harvey of the Environmental Defense Fund, co-chair of two of them.
  • During the summit in September, priority chemicals and transparency emerged as one of the main issues to work on, according to an FFTF report. Delegates identified five areas for action. These included:
    • Making disclosure easier and more consistent, building trusted relationships along the supply chain and facilitating a willingness to share information.
    • Reaching alignment on the process of prioritising chemicals.
    • How to facilitate more research and development into alternative chemicals.
    • Exploring what stakeholders can do to contribute toward the industry’s sustainability efforts.
    • Engaging and educating consumers on the science behind priority chemicals in a way that is meaningful and accessible.

Read more at Chemical Watch

DWC unveils plans for aerospace supply chain facilities

  • Dubai World Central’s (DWC) Aviation District has announced the development of new aerospace supply chain facilities as part of its efforts in shaping a comprehensive ecosystem dedicated to the aviation industry.
  • Located at the DWC Aviation District – a 6.7 square kilometre master planned district adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport – the development will include three facilities spread across an area of 45,000 square metres.
  • Estimated to cost $32.6m (AED 120 million), the project will feature a multi-purpose building for tenants that are a part of the aerospace supply chain and is scheduled for completion in Q1 2016.
  • Tahnoon Saif, vice president, Aviation District, commented: “This project marks the latest milestone in our journey to create value-added infrastructure for players across the aerospace supply chain spectrum.

Read more at Arabian Supply Chain

Supply chain finance schemes: a worrying new trend?

Diageo under fire for increasing payment terms

Diageo under fire for increasing payment terms

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has this week launched a scathing attack on beverage giant Diageo over its plans to extend supplier payment terms from 60 to 90 days in its UK business.

Diageo let suppliers know, via a formal letter, that the payment terms changes would come into effect as of February 1st 2015. The firm announced that the new terms make up part of a “different procurement process” the company plans to implement for future tenders.

Diageo justified the move by stating:

“Diageo continually looks for ways to enable us to invest in the growth of our great brands. This activity supports the long term sustainability of our business and yours.”

Speaking on Diageo’s move to extend payment terms, Phil Orford, the chief executive of The FPB said: 

“We are very concerned, but sadly unsurprised, to learn that Diageo is yet again extending its payment terms, a practice that is hugely damaging for small businesses.”

Countering criticisms that lengthening payment terms will be highly detrimental to small and medium size enterprises in the company’s supply chain; Diageo announced that it would offer supply chain finance programs to any businesses adversely impacted by the new terms.

Supply chain finance programs allow suppliers to access money they are owed more quickly by leveraging the favourable credit lines of larger buying organisation.

In response to this move Mr Orford claimed:

“The practice of big businesses using a supply chain finance scheme in order to extend payment terms and protect their own cash flow is a worrying trend that is spreading across sectors and industries.”

The FPB is now working with the Institute of Credit Management and Department of Business Innovation and Skills to have Diageo’s status as a signatory to the Prompt Payment Code revoked.

The WEF 2015 – where, why and what happened?

“Social media has created a historical shift from the historically powerful to the historically powerless. Now everyone has a voice.”

Sheryl Sandberg, COO and Member of the Board, Facebook at the WEF, Davos, 2015

The World Economic Forum in Davos

The World Economic Forum

Unless you have been deliberately avoiding the news over the past week, you’ll be aware that The World Economic Forum has just taken place in Davos.

What is it?

According to the founder, Professor Klaus Schwab, the Forum is “a platform for collaborative thinking and searching for solutions, not for making decisions”.

What this means is that business leaders, thought leaders and politicians, as well as some celebrities, gather together to share ideas with the intention of bettering the world.

Does it work?

The jury is still out for many people. A lot of people look upon the event as a who’s who, rich-list party in the Swiss mountains, others that there isn’t enough tangible output from an event able to gather together a group of individuals with sizeable clout.

However, if these leaders leave Davos with fresh ideas on how to solve the major issues in the world, then, for the rest, the Forum will have fulfilled its purpose.

What were the major topics this year?

Key topics on the table this year included the falling price of oil, the Greek election, a growth agenda for Africa, how technology is changing our lives and what the future holds for Iraq. Check out www.weforum.org for the full programme.

Is there anything we take away?

From a Procurement point of view, we know that there were discussions around procurement efficiency on the agenda (as part of wider topics), as well as the business role in environmental sustainability. We should hear some details coming out over the next few weeks.

As we also reported on Procurious, the WEF raised the issue of cyber security. It certainly got people talking about what they needed to be doing and even came close to a consensus on an idea for a global body that sets cyber-security standards.

Otherwise, we would encourage you to check out some of the video content on the WEF website. For one thing, we’ll probably never have the chance to see Pharrell Williams on stage with Al Gore again!

Read on for more of the biggest stories commanding headlines right now:

DHL Express launches helicopter delivery service

  • DHL has launched a helicopter delivery service in the UK that promises next day delivery on packages from New York, Boston and Chicago. The new service, a first for the UK, will ferry up to 300kg of packages between London’s Heathrow Airport and major London business district Canary Wharf.
  • Fully operational from February, it follows similar operations launched in New York and Los Angeles.
  • “This new service from DHL Express offers even greater speed and reliability to our customers,” John Pearson, chief executive of DHL Express Europe said. “For the financial and professional services sector in particular, time really is money, so we are always looking for innovative, more efficient ways to move our customers’ shipments.”

Read more at Arabian Supply Chain

FSB tackles supply chain bullying at Whitehall

  • The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has hosted a cross-party group of MPs to identify possible solutions to the deterioration of payment practises in the UK.
  • Recent research by the FSB revealed that almost one in five small businesses had been subject to some form of poor payment tactics recently.
  • FSB national policy chairman Mike Cherry said: “It is simply unacceptable for any company to exploit its market position to enforce unfair and unreasonable payment terms. The money outstanding in late payments is in the billions and has consistently grown larger and larger. We need greater leadership from all parties competing to be in the next government to toughen up the prompt payment code and improve the UK’s payment culture.”

Read more at PRW.com

China smartphone supply chains estimate demand to pick up in March

  • China smartphone supply chain makers estimate they will begin shipments for new devices following the Lunar New Year period as local handset vendors remain concerned over clearing out inventories through the early part of first-quarter 2015.
  • Smartphone shipments were lower-than-expected in the China market during the second half of 2014, which many makers attribute to lagging 4G development and a lack of smartphone subsidies from local telecom providers in China. This led to a pile up in inventory, which vendors are now trying to tackle throughout the 2015 Lunar New Year period when sales are expected to get a boost.
  • Supply chain makers are optimistic, however, that shipments will pick up by March, and estimate that most handset replacement demand from consumers in China during 2015 will be for handsets sized 5-inch and above. Shipments will further pick up going into the second quarter, the makers noted.
  • Many supply chain makers believe that China handset vendors’ shipments will increase 17 per cent in 2015 as the vendors tackle low-priced solutions in emerging markets. Global smartphone shipments in 2015 meanwhile are estimated to grow 12 per cent to around 1.3 billion.

Read more at Digitimes

Top 10 supply chain CEOs of 2015

Supply Chain Digital has published a list of its top 10 supply chain CEOs for the year ahead.

[In ascending order] it named Nills S Andersen of Maersk, Dr Frank Appel of Deutsche Post DHL, and Frederick W. Smith of Fedex in its top 3.

To see the full list (along with selected career highlights from those included) head over to http://www.supplychaindigital.com/top10/3800/TOP-10-SUPPLY-CHAIN-CEOs-2015

How Tesco uses the cloud to work with its suppliers

  • Tesco is using online trading partner community solutions to embrace and extend its Oracle ERP and procure-to-pay systems and has significantly increased automation levels in their B2B e-commerce network during the last twelve months.
  • As a result Tesco has reduced the time to set up and approve new suppliers by 66 per cent.
  • With the help of GXS, Tesco has tackled the challenges that have, in the past, prevented some of its trading partners from adopting EDI. Tesco has significantly increased automation levels in their B2B e-commerce network during the last twelve months.

View the full findings of this case study at Supply Chain 24/7

 

Does procurement have a role to play in cyber security?

In the past few months alone there has been a significant number of cyber attacks on high profile targets including Sony Pictures, celebrities’ phones and personal computers, and, just recently, an attack on the US Military Command’s Twitter account.

Procurement's role in cyber security. Image Flickr

Now, as the World Economic Forum labels emerging technologies as one of the major global risks for 2015 in light of these attacks, we consider what procurement can do to aid organisational efforts in cyber security.

How big a worry is this?

If the WEF is highlighting it as a major global risk, then it’s certainly something to be taking seriously. Emerging technologies will allow hackers and cyber terrorists to carry out attacks that are more sophisticated and harder to stop. Additionally, there is a reported increasing skills shortage in cyber security personnel, expected to peak in 2017.

However, it’s not all bad news. The high-profile attacks have helped increase the focus on this subject. As a result, the UK Government has issued advice and information to organisations to help them be cyber-safe, as well as signing up to a second US-UK Cyber Security Innovation Summit. There are also now cyber governance health checks and a Cyber Essentials Scheme available to help organisations.

Procurement’s Role

A representative from the organisation that compiled the WEF report, Marsh & McLennan Companies, was quoted as saying “As a company you are not protected [against cyber attacks] unless your supply chain is protected.”

So what can Procurement do to help? Individually, you can do everything you would do to protect your personal accounts and computers:

  • Report all phishing and suspicious e-mails
  • Don’t click on links in e-mails unless you are sure of the source
  • Be wary of unsolicited e-mails asking for information

There are other steps that you can take as part of an organisation to assist with the overall security

  • Ensure your knowledge is up to date by attending conferences
  • Work with suppliers to put security plans in place
  • Make security plans part of your evaluations
  • Take responsibility in your team for checking and ensuring compliance
  • Investigate the Cyber Essentials Scheme

By making this part of day-to-day activities, procurement can do its bit to make organisations more secure.

Biggest Global Challenges in 2015https://www.procurious.com/blog/trending/what-are-the-biggest-global-challenges-in-2015

Cyber Security Boosthttps://www.business-cloud.com/articles/news/cyber-security-boost-uk-firms

Cyber Essentials Scheme (UK)https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0914-cyber-essentials-scheme-certification

Read on for more of the biggest stories commanding headlines right now:

Supply Chain woes help doom Target in Canada

  • Minneapolis-based Target Corp. said Thursday it was shuttering its 133 stores in Canada, laying off 17,000 workers and placing its Canadian operation under bankruptcy protection.
  • “While this is a difficult decision, we believe it is the right one for Target,” Brian Cornell, Target chairman and chief executive officer said in a press release. “We had great expectations for Canada but our early missteps proved too difficult to overcome.”
  • New York Times article Friday said that supply chain problems helped doom Target’s operations in Canada. “Differences in suppliers and other factors meant that Canadians found Target’s Canadian stores to be more expensive than they anticipated, and a poorly executed distribution network meant that shelves were often missing basic products,” according to the Times.

Read more on CFO

Troubled McDonald’s Japan to put CFO in charge of supply chain 

  • McDonald’s Japan Holdings Co is putting its chief financial officer in charge of its supply chain, according to an internal email seen by Reuters.
  • The move comes after foreign objects were found in customers’ food, the latest trouble for a fast-food chain hit by sliding sales and a shortage of french fries.
  • Andrew Brough, senior vice president and chief financial officer, will take over the company’s Supply Management Division from Feb. 1, the Friday email from CEO Sarah Casanova said. The email does not say who was previously responsible for the supply chain.
  • Hidehito Hishinuma, senior vice president and chief support officer, has in recent days appeared at news conferences to discuss the company’s procurement, in one case apologizing for the objects, including a tooth and plastic, getting into food.

Read more at Business Insider

Yusen Logistics expands Sydney operations

  • Yusen Logistics Australia has announced that it will open its sixth Sydney warehousing facility this month. The site is at Greystanes in Western Sydney and is ideally located for all major arterial routes.
  • The new warehouse, which is dedicated to a major US retailer, consists of 12,500 square metres and will comprise 18,500 pallet locations. Operations will commence immediately.
  • Yusen Logistics’ Managing Director for Australia, Ian Pemberton said: “This additional facility continues the expansion of our portfolio in line with our three year growth strategy, and demonstrates our commitment to increase the range of international clients to whom we provide supply chain solutions. The capital investment is in excess of $2 million Australian dollars and the facility will employ an additional 25 Yusen staff.”
  • Yusen Logistics Australia is a leading provider of supply chain and transport solutions with over 26 years of service in Australia and revenues of over $125 million Australian dollars in 2014. The business has 12 offices throughout Australia with 420 people covering international freight forwarding, in-house customs clearance and contract logistics (warehousing and distribution) services.

Read more at Supply Chain Digital

Jailed Military procurement official blackmailed

  • Former Greek secretary general for military procurement Yiannis Sbokos is being blackmailed by a fellow convict, revealed a Greek police case file. Sbokos has been in prison for the last two years, since his conviction for money laundering.
  • According to the case file, Sbokos is being blackmailed by a convict (Yiannis Sk.) who found out that the former Greek government official had 10 million euros in cash. Yiannis Sk. allegedly received this information from Akis Tsochatzopoulos, fellow convict and former Greek Defense Minister.
  • Yiannis Sk. allegedly threatened Sbokos, requesting part of the money. However, when the former official refused, his fellow convict attempted to bomb his house in Athens.
  • Sbokos and Tsochatzopoulos were imprisoned after it was revealed that they had received multiple bribes for arms deals during their time at the Ministry. Furthermore, it was revealed yesterday that Tsochatzopoulos had ordered a bombing attack against Sbokos.

Read more at Greek Reporter

Thailand drafts public procurement law following UNDP review

  • The Thai government is drawing up legislation to manage the risk of corruption in public procurement, following the UN Development Programme’s ‘integrity risk assessment’ of the country’s public purchasing system.
  • The assessment found evidence of “weak integrity in public contracts” and a concentration of improvements in public services in Bangkok and the central region, leaving “significant deficiencies” in other parts of the country.
  • Risks to integrity in Thailand’s non-regulated public procurement process are “rife” because of the large amounts of money at stake and the interface between the government and private sector, which is characterised by a high volume of transactions.
  • The assessment was conducted as part of the ‘Mitigating Risks to Integrity in Public Procurement project’, established by UNDP Thailand with key stakeholders in the Thai Government, including the Offices of Public Sector Development Commission and Public Procurement Management Department and the State Enterprise Policy Office.

Read more on Supply Management

What’s got you motivated in 2015?

Thanks to everyone who has been contributing to the Discussion forum, both in asking and answering questions. We really appreciate the contributions, as do those people who are posing the questions.

What's got you motivated in 2015?

As it’s a new year, we’ve picked out a few popular questions on topics you might be considering as part of your professional and personal goals this year.

As ever, we’ll be linking these discussions to our great blog content so you can get further into the topics and read more about them.

What’s got you motivated in 2015?

This question looked at both the personal and professional side of people’s aims for the coming year.

On the personal front there were some interesting and enviable responses. Procurious HQ will admit to being jealous of Peter’s travel plans, while agreeing with Antoinette in hoping that all our members will be enjoying time with friends and family. And don’t worry Georgia – none of us are particularly green-fingered either!

Professionally, 2015 seems to be a year for development. A couple of common threads were social media and digital strategies and how these are going to impact working lives. The use of social media is on the rise in organisations and many are looking at specific strategies to manage their profiles and presence.

At Procurious, we think there’s a great chance for procurement to be an early adopter and lead the way for businesses. Why not think about a Procurious workshop on social media for procurement.

Also on the professional front, motivations for 2015 included fresh starts, either in a new role, or after some time off (good luck, David!), increasing the profile of public procurement, developing skills through e-Learning and removing silos in businesses through working on internal relationships.

Also remembering the importance of external relationships, networking and meeting fellow Procurians!

Tips to stay on track – make a plan, don’t make excusesrespect your abilities and chipping away at your goals.

I will be starting out as a new face in procurement in May 2015. Any advice on how I can and should be preparing myself?

We’ve all been there at the start of a new job or when we moved into procurement, so unsurprisingly this question was well answered.

Top answers from the community included:

  • Reading about procurement and your new company and understanding their policies and processes
  • Never being afraid to ask questions (there is no such thing as a stupid question!)
  • Speaking to experienced professionals to learn from them
  • Finding a mentor to help you out

Social media can play a big part in this process too. It allows you to connect with and ask questions of experienced professionals, develop your knowledge through eLearning and follow news stories – either via industry publications or #procurement on Twitter.

Other things the community suggested included:

  • Finding templates for policies and processes
  • Understanding how the procurement process fits in the organisation
  • Getting your hands dirty straight away and get out and see the other functions
  • Performing basic spend analysis to help give you a quick overview of the company spend
  • Thinking about the end-to-end process including sourcing and assessment of vendors, payment and delivery terms, risks and how to mitigate/manage them.
  • Remembering that your face and your voice are the ones of your company

It’s often overlooked that it can be challenging starting a new role or in an unfamiliar profession and, as a result, individuals can struggle to adjust to new ways of working or feeling like they are capable.

However, these tips aren’t just for new starts. Even people who have been in procurement for a longer period of time can still learn from this and put these tips to good use.

Hope that helps, Zach! And good luck!

Helpful links

Get involved with a workshop on social media for procurement – (https://www.procurious.com/blog/procurious-news/procurious-announces-webringthedonuts-campaign)

Kick off your learning on Procurious with our ‘Introduction to Procurement’ videoshttps://www.procurious.com/class/all

What can you do in 2015 to make the most of social mediahttps://www.procurious.com/blog/procurement-news/procurement-in-2015-a-new-years-revolution

Getting the most out of networking – https://www.procurious.com/blog/procurious-news/step-up-your-networking-game-the-basics

Know what other skills you might need in procurementhttps://www.procurious.com/blog/life-style/job-survival-skills-get-a-grip-on-the-numbers

How falling oil prices are impacting Procurement and Supply Chain

How falling oil prices are impacting Procurement and Supply Chain

According to the BBC, the price of Brent crude oil has fallen to a new six-year low this morning. The price of a barrel dropped by a further 3% to $48.54, its lowest level since April 2009. Goldman Sachs have also stated that they believe the price of a barrel will stay around $40 for the first half of this year.

How falling oil prices are impacting Procurement and Supply Chain

Why is this happening?

Well, in short, the global demand for oil is falling due to weakened economies, increasing efficiency and a move away from oil to other fuels. There is also a surplus in production due to America’s fracking programme and high output in Libya and Iraq despite instability.

Personal vs. Professional

So while it may be a cause for personal celebration when we fuel up ours cars, what does it mean for us all professionally?

Supply Chain and Logistics organisations should see the benefit of falling prices at the pump, while procurement in other areas should see falling commodity prices and lower costs.

However, for those people purchasing travel for their organisation it’s not such a celebration. It is widely expected that travel, particularly air travel, will not benefit from lower prices, as airlines tend to purchase fuel in advance to lessen impact from price shocks.

The picture is also not so rosy for major oil companies. Most are now likely to have to rethink investment decisions and step up cost-cutting programmes. Onus for this cost cutting is likely to fall on procurement and suppliers.

Moreover, we need to consider our suppliers’ position if the focus is on cost cutting. Deflation in industries such as food and beverage and FMCG, is already causing issues for supply chains. An early example of this is in the dairy industry, with First Milk delaying payments to suppliers by 2 weeks due to falling prices and cashflow issues (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30771288).

What can we do?  

1. Focus on relationships and partnerships, not just cost cutting. Supplier Relationship Management can play a big part here (https://www.procurious.com/blog/in-the-press/three-key-insights-on-the-importance-of-srm).

2. Work out where you can add value. Deloitte offered a broad range of thoughts in their 2014 CPO Survey (https://www.procurious.com/blog/in-the-press/procurement-time-to-move-through-the-gears).

3. Be more open to innovation from suppliers. It’s not something that procurement are traditionally good at, but there is value to be found by working more closely with suppliers (https://www.procurious.com/blog/trending/2015-will-be-about-innovations-in-the-logistics-world).

Read on for more of the biggest stories commanding headlines right now:

How sloppy security exposed Apple’s supply chain secrets

  • Incredibly sloppy security at one of Apple’s key suppliers exposed some of Cupertino’s most closely guarded secrets to anybody who could conduct a simple Google search.
  • For months, one of Quanta Computer‘s internal databases could be accessed using usernames and a default password published in a PowerPoint presentation easily found on the Web.
  • The path to Quanta’s database started last September when, on the eve of the big Apple Watch launch event, an anonymous Reddit user posted drawings and details of the super-secret device.
  • The document dates from January 15, 2013. It describes a Quanta database for managing the environmental aspects of products and components. The PowerPoint presentation appears to have been made to show Quanta’s customers how to log in and use the system. Incredibly, it includes a link to the database and details of the usernames and default password for at least two customers, including Foxconn, Apple’s main manufacturing partner in China.

Read more at Cult of Mac

Self-driving trucks to revolutionize logistics

  • DHL Trend Research has launched their latest trend report, titled “Self-Driving Vehicles in Logistics”, which takes readers on a journey of discovery, highlighting the key elements and incredible potential of autonomous technologies.
  • DHL plans to “maintain pole position in the world of self-driving vehicles,” wrote Matthias Heutger and Markus Kueckelhaus, the authors of the study. “The question is no longer ‘if’ but rather ‘when’ autonomous vehicles will drive onto our streets and highways.”
  • A boom in electronic commerce is making it harder for delivery companies from DHL toUnited Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) to satisfy consumers who expect first-attempt delivery even though they’re not home during daytime hours.

Read more at Supply Chain 24/7

Jaguar to create 1,300 manufacturing jobs with new sports car

  • Lode Lane plant in Solihull will receive largest investment in its 70-year history as manufacturer unveils plans for ‘practical five-seat vehicle’.
  • The new sports car, which will go on sale next year, will follow this year’s launch of the Jaguar XE sports saloon, also produced at Lode Lane, which has seen several thousand new jobs created in recent years.
  • The XE will create 1,700 in-house jobs at Solihull, 700 more at parts supplier DHL and well over 2,000 in the supply chain. Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Ralf Speth said: “Today’s announcements once again demonstrate our commitment to the UK and the advancement of a hi-tech, high skilled, manufacturing-led economy.
  • The Lode Lane facility incorporates Europe’s largest aluminium body shop and final assembly hall, collectively the size of 22 football pitches.

Read more at Birmingham Post

Industry shake-up as policy uncertainty forces a quarter of businesses out of the wind

  • FTI Intelligence has published its latest renewable energy publication: Global Wind Supply Chain Update 2015. The Update is part of a series of data-driven publications evaluating competitive markets, policy, finance, technology and business models across the energy spectrum.
  • The report examines the supply chain situation for 12 key components (350+ suppliers) and three key materials (150+ suppliers), which account for more than 95 per cent of a wind turbine’s total cost.
  • One of the key findings tells of the delicate balance in the offshore wind supply chain at present. Challenges remain in the medium-term – one third of the cost reduction of offshore wind energy partially relies on supply chain industrialization for disruptive technologies and key elements including the offshore wind balance of plant. This ambitious target is, however, unlikely to be achieved without long-term market stability.

For more info (and to access the publication) head here

Are we falling out of love with the PQQ?

Are you someone who can’t live without two stages?  Do you quake in you boots at the thought of having too many tenders to score?  Are you like my colleagues in works; do you love a good old PQQ?

The benefits of the PQQ

Well thanks to the EU procurement directive, Scottish Construction Review and improving public procurement practice, the Pre Qualification Questionnaire is in danger of falling into misuse in Scotland.  But will the PQQ really end up like a great pair of 1970s flared jeans?  Something which we put to the back of the wardrobe only to bring out again when they come right back into fashion.

Before you take your PQQ to the charity shop of procurement history, here are a few reasons why it might be just the procurement tool you’ve been looking for.

Don’t bin the PQQ just yet

So you’ve done your supply market analysis and you may even have published a future contract opportunity or a prior information notice.  All the intelligence you’ve gathered tells you that the tenders you should receive will be many and plentiful.

While you may be tempted to jump straight into the Invitation to Tender, a well thought out PQQ can benefit both your Client service and potential Suppliers:

  1. Reduces the amount of evaluation work required by the Client
  2. Sorts the ‘Great’ suppliers from the ‘Good’
  3. Allows Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to apply and only spend valuable time and resources on a full-blown tender if they qualify and are really in with a chance of winning
  4. Speeds up the tendering process
  5. Allows a logical and defendable evaluation to be made.

Using a PQQ is the obvious answer to make sure the more detailed Price : Quality evaluation work at the second stage doesn’t take your Panel all year to complete.  Believe me, the Panel will thank you for this.

Sometimes a just asking a straightforward pass/fail qualification question doesn’t give you the detail you need to differentiate the great suppliers from the good.  A PQQ with some scored questions could be just the tool to use when you need a more sophisticated evaluation process.

SMEs don’t have the resources of larger companies.  For them preparing a tender will take resources away from their ‘day to day’ work, costing them both time and money.

It is much fairer to only ask them to do this if they genuinely have an opportunity to win the tender, and a PQQ will enable this.  Not only that, done correctly, the PQQ can demonstrate to the SME exactly what the Client is expecting (and so may deter SMEs who just can’t deliver).

While the PQQ is an extra-step on the ladder and may appear to increase the time taken between tender and award, in fact it can significantly speed things up.  By using the PQQ to decide who goes through to the tendering stage, it speeds up the Award process.  Not only that, but it spreads out the time and commitment from the Evaluation Panel, allowing them to schedule their contribution over a period of weeks and avoid the accusation that this procurement thing is just a load of bureaucratic time-consuming red tape.

Finally the PQQ can be used to defend decisions taken at an early stage.  Suppliers are told at the start of the process that either they can or can’t tender.  So any challenges to the decision not to be allowed to tender are made before the contract award.  This should mean that, once the contract is awarded, there’s no issue with the qualification part of decision.

Although the mechanistic days of using a PQQ just because we’ve always done are over, let’s not put our procurement “flares” to the charity shop just yet.  By thinking about how to effectively use a two-stage process we can get the best outcome for our services and our suppliers.

Best of all we won’t have to contemplate life without our beloved PQQ.