Category Archives: Procurement News

Procurement in 2015 – A New Year’s Revolution?

A very Happy New Year from everyone at Procurious HQ.

We hope you, like us, enjoyed the break, over-indulged on Christmas chocolate and good cheer and have come back to work refreshed and ready to make 2015 the year for procurement.

New Year resolutions for 2015

We had some great content published over the holiday season, including some great ideas for what you as a procurement professional could be thinking about for the coming year. In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap:

Make sure that a Work-Life balance isn’t just something that happens to other people – https://www.procurious.com/blog/life-style/how-to-achieve-the-perfect-worklife-balance-for-a-productive-2015

Consider what other skills you might need as a procurement professional – https://www.procurious.com/blog/life-style/job-survival-skills-get-a-grip-on-the-numbers

Find out what it takes to be a great procurement boss – https://www.procurious.com/blog/procurement-news/what-makes-a-great-procurement-boss

Get your category approach right and reap the benefits – https://www.procurious.com/blog/procurement-news/category-approach-simply-tactical-excellence

Also, here are a few recommendations on how you can get the most out of Procurious this year:

  1. Complete your profile – if you haven’t already, add a picture, location and category so you can connect with the right people and they can find you too!
  2. Find an event near you by looking at our Events calendar – this is a great way to connect with fellow Procurians in person!
  3. Start or contribute to a discussion – if you have a burning question or want to share your thoughts, this is the way to do it.
  4. Check out our Groups – find a group that is specifically for your category, location or job and connect. Can’t find one for you? Why not create one and invite people to join.
  5. Top up your skills – check out the Learning hub for videos and podcasts. If you think we’re missing something, let us know.

We think this year is going to be a great one for procurement. Play your part and get involved!

China starts military procurement website to boost transparency

  • China started an official website to make some of its military procurement public, revamping a system that officials say encouraged opacity and corruption.
  • The website, which went online yesterday, contains a list of more than 350 items from satellite surveillance equipment to domestic-made information systems that will be procured by the military. The site is manged by the General Armament Department of the People’s Liberation Army.
  • “It’s a fresh start to make the military procurement transparent,” Yue Gang, a retired PLA colonel, said in an interview. “The lack of efficiency in military spending worries the top leaders as a major source of corruption.”
  • The overhaul of military procurement procedures aims to get qualified, private businesses involved in weapons research and production in a bid to improve competitiveness and efficiency, the official People’s Daily reported, citing Feng Danyu, director of the planning department of the PLA’s General Armament Department.

Read more at Bloomberg

Tesco to reveal new supplier payment system as fears of second-half loss grows

  • In the wake of a terrible 2014 for the retail giant, Tesco is preparing itself to overhaul the way it organises its supply chain.
  • According to the Sunday Times, which quotes senior sources, Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis plans to unpick the complex system of rebates and penalties used to extract money from suppliers, replacing it with a far less complicated structure built around sales volumes.
  • The Sunday Times’s insider also claimed the shake up would make Tesco more popular with suppliers, leaving rivals with the choice of following suit or sticking with the status quo.
  • Tesco has had a torrid time recently and Christmas sales figures are unlikely to offer much respite. A significant drop in like-for-like sales – perhaps as much as four per cent – is expected, which could be enough to push the company to a second-half loss on its British operations.

Read more at CityAM

European supply chain tackles counterfeits, says Converge

  • The aerospace and defence supply chain has a new certification for independent suppliers and distributors, which will dramatically change the industry for suppliers to high reliability markets.
  • SAE AS6081 Counterfeit Avoidance Standard has been in the pipeline since 2007, when the US government began to investigate counterfeit electronic components entering the Department of Defence (DOD) supply chain and the G-19 committee of the SAE was formed.
  • The committee developed a document that would standardise requirements, practices, and methods related to counterfeit parts risk mitigation. Whilst the AS6081 standard originated in America, the issues are global and the certification due to be launched in the coming months is designed to have an international scope.
  • “This will change the industry dramatically; all independent distributors who wish to supply the US DOD must comply and we expect that the global industry will follow. AS6081 is a very tough certification to achieve and few of the thousands of independent distributors in the market will be able to comply with it,” said Eric Checkoway, general manager and vice-president of Converge, the independent distributor owned by Arrow Electronics.

Read more at Electronics Weekly

Sainsbury’s and GLA team up to fight supply chain exploitation

  • Retailer Sainsbury’s is working with the GangmastersLicensingAuthority to address labour exploitation and modern slavery in the supply chain.
  • The GLA is providing tailored training for suppliers to the supermarket to help them identify hidden exploitative practices at farms, pack houses, processing plants and factories.
  • Paul Broadbent, chief executive of the GLA, said: “There is a real commitment and desire on both sides to identify any practice that subjects workers to exploitation. “By raising awareness through training, Sainsbury’s is showing a determination to identify any issues of concern. I applaud them for this and will continue to work alongside them to tackle it.”
  • The pilot scheme builds upon the protocol between retailers and suppliers launched by the UK government in October 2013.

Read more at Supply Management

Logistics Academy launches in Dubai

  • Logistics Executive Group has reached a major milestone with its global Logistics Academy recently completing its first course in the Middle East.
  • Organised as a result of a partnership between Logistics Executive Group and Iconis Learning & Development, a leading worldwide training organisation, the workshop was delivered in Dubai by Iconis directors David Rowlands and Jon Spencer, who possess over 50 years of learning and development experience between them.
  • The course included two half day interactive sessions focused on developing emotionally intelligent leadership and employee engagement skills.

Read more at Arabian Supply Chain

Category approach, simply tactical excellence…

There is no single accepted global name or branding for what we are discussing here. It is category management, the sourcing process, the purchasing wheel, supply management or sourcing material group management.

The philosophies of different companies and their purchasing departments have led to different definitions. To avoid confusion, I will use the term category approach to describe an end-to-end sourcing process. As I will highlight in this article intent, the process has a wider approach, taking into account project, workload, performance and compliance aspects.

Bees working together

Globalization intensifies market competition. Political regulations apply more than ever. Supply chains and supply markets are in movement and need to be more flexible and scalable than ever to quickly adapt to demands and product lifecycles. CFO´s and shareholders require sustainable contributions from procurement departments and accuracy in forecasts regarding cost and volumes. Whether decentralized, centralized or center-led, many purchasing organizations began some time ago to evolve as they identified the need to invest resources in managing this complexity, in proportion to spend and material groups with more strategic implications.

With the specific dedication of resources to support supply decisions, buyers were shifting from a traditional approach (huge effort put into negotiation but less on preparation and implementation) to an effective approach (intensive preparation and implementation with much less negotiation, supported by strategies and tools that create the right competitive atmosphere). This way of working with dedicated resources began to foster the category approach.

At the same time technologies were accelerating: at the beginning of the 90´s with the explosion of ERP´s and then since the mid-late 90´s the large battery of requests for quotation tools (RFQ or RFx), vendor portals, contract databases, evaluation tools, e-procurement tools (differentiating buying channels) and supplier relationship managers has risen. By ensuring robust and specific process steps, the tools created savings however, in many cases they were not aligned with a comprehensive end-to-end category approach that would meet overall expectations.

We need to assess the true potential of the category approach, ensuring that procurement departments prove their value contribution towards their organization and P&L, and meet these expectations.

Diagnosing expectations 

Expectations with regard to procurement are of both internal and external nature. Internally, stakeholders have diverse expectations depending on their relationship with procurement. Research & development, quality, marketing or IT know that at least for the purposes of segregating duties, they have to work with procurement. And they expect and deserve an honest delivery without hidden agendas. Finance wants procurement to deliver on savings expectations and the audit and compliance teams expect that governance and sourcing processes are effective (do the right things) and efficient (do things right). Supply markets increase their expectations regarding procurement when these relationships, and the businesses themselves, mature.

By assessing the company´s position regarding the key process category approach excellence, executives can determine the type of expectation-fulfillment that needs to be improved by exploring questions like:

Do you have a description of the category approach path that shows stakeholders the End-to-End Sourcing process? 

Marketing uses new product introduction processes with milestones in order to bring all people concerned on board and provide them with all relevant information for keeping timelines and making a launch a success. Only if awareness of the complete sourcing process is embedded in the organization, can you hold a meaningful dialogue with senior stakeholders.

Are you persuasively closing the loop between expectations and deliveries? 

Say what you do and do what you say. Procurement professionals cannot work isolated from the other departments. Staff and skills requirements have to be adapted and professionalism in all procurement layers has to be widely known and sustained by adequate system support.

Is the company making the best use of the procurement team? 

A consumer printer producer faces product lifecycles of less than 15 months and organizes a team to increase customer experience for the following launches. Only a carefully designed dynamic resource allocation plan can help team-leads to identify which resources, at which steps, and for how long, can be released without jeopardizing the previously pledged deliverables.

How are you making sure that the expected process steps are completed? 

In times of high workloads and time pressure, it is easy for individuals involved in procurement to make shortcuts to the sourcing process (damaging credibility that was acquired at great expense). In some cases, tool usage (RFx or contract management) is low or nonexistent. In other cases, rigid sourcing process methodology is driven forward for categories that, due to their internal maturity or low complexity, just do not justify the workload your buyer is investing.

To what extent can you anticipate deviations in the delivery of savings due to sourcing process constraints? 

Credibility is established by meeting the company’s expectations in the appropriate way and selling them adequately. It does not help the company to ignore disruptions and delays. Only appropriate advanced notice and the setting up of a remediation plan can prevent disappointment.

Shaping the Category approach excellence excellence 

To maximize the potential of procurement departments, only a few companies that I know have successfully used an approach to devise the foundations of procurement category management. This simple but effective framework meets expectations, captures value contributions better and facilitates a faster decision-making process.

Following this approach, the company first predefines all categories and specifies project initiatives they will cover in the short and medium term. Next they link accurate process steps to each sub-category and initiative. Then, supported by a practical tool, the company can track project progress, monetary volumes and savings, compliance to the process, performance and resource workload.

Step 1: Capture the total picture 

I do not mean to capture the total spend. The total spend, depending on the maturity of your PO compliance, simply cannot be correctly ascertained. The monitored amounts on the budget are real, but a purely financial view cannot tell you the necessary details the market would need to provide these goods or services.

What we propose is a practical application recording the expenses of all categories that are actively influenced by procurement. Spend that is actively managed is spend that you have been negotiating or you are going to negotiate for the first time. It is the spend that procurement could clearly footprint (by using RFx, bidding, e-auction or competitive negotiation). You can also add all specific initiatives you have in your pipeline. A simple tool will support follow up and will bring reporting to a higher financial level.

Step 2: Predefinition of process steps for each sub-category 

A source to pay (S2P) or source to contract process (S2C) has sub-process steps and related tasks that for each type of spend and supply risk should vary, depending on supplier base, availability, company or supply market strengths.

You can define for each sub-category which process steps you will apply. Then you can make them visible and discuss them with your stakeholders.

In many companies, excellent sourcing toolkits and buyer guides have been developed. But if these are not linked specifically to each of the process steps upfront then you are not capitalizing on their full value.

When performed every year, this exercise will give you a more differentiated communication approach to each of the stakeholders, including those in finance and audit. It will also allow you to gain an overview on resource planning. You will be better prepared for dialogues around top-down targets and bottom-up expectations.

Step 3: Follow up and tracking 

An essential part of a successful category approach excellence, that moves money “from the paper to the pocket”, is the team, and their performance depends on the category project. Placing trust in people does not exclude monitoring and systematic follow up and the task of category management is mandatory for team leads. Too often the procurement department is managed in a reactive manner based on the escalations of stakeholders, rather than being proactively managed.

In order to enable managers to evaluate outcomes and coach their procurement staff, tool support is needed! Consistent inputs and functional information flow are required. One way to reduce instinctive resistance is to provide a tool that is user-friendly and that provides benefits such as reducing the rising preoccupation with compliance within procurement.

Additional benefits would include reporting capabilities for the status for all ongoing initiatives and team dimensioning capabilities.

Conclusion 

Sourcing departments need more than ever to meet expectations regarding their organization and prove their value contribution to the profit and loss statement (P&L). The category approach as TACTICAL excellence is the basic prerequisite for the successful improvement of a company’s existing sourcing process.

By applying a rigorous process and project approach with the support of a tool, sourcing professionals can gain credibility and improve their value contribution.

Very often you will need external process support to redesign existing ways of working. Additional benefits are consolidation of all categories and initiatives in one view, proper resource allocation, facilitating managers with follow up and performance measurement and supporting compliance requirements.

Category approach, simply a TACTICAL excellence, has still a real potential!

What makes a great Procurement boss?

As a bonus for the festive season, we have wrapped one final discussion from our forum. The discussion topic nicely links with other Procurious content you can catch up on and one of our key events next year.

What makes a good boss?

The Good or the Bad? What makes a great Procurement boss?

What attributes a leader requires can provoke much discussion and provide a wide variety of opinions. As Procurement seeks recognition both for the value that it provides to organisations and in gaining that C-level seat, our leaders might need to be something different.

The top voted answer in the discussion was that the leader needed to have ‘the ability to innovate in the process and supplier relationship management dimensions’. With process and supplier management both providing big news stories this week, this would seem to be a critical attribute.

The answer also touched on drawing value from the market for the benefit of the company, something that the recent IBM CPO Study on creating value research in more detail.

Other answers focused on listening, supporting and encouraging employees and leading by example. The leader needed to have followers, while at the same time having strong influence in order to ensure strategic alignment and shared objectives.

Other attributes that were highlighted included:

  • Understanding procurement and the value it brings
  • Earning and being respected as a leader
  • Communication, openness and honesty
  • The ability to think innovatively and challenge the status quo
  • Being inspirational and visionary
  • Creating energy in a team to reach goals
  • Being structured and aware of strategy

Of course there are plenty other attributes that could be attached to a procurement leader, but these are a good start. If you are looking for more information, check out some of the following:

  • Events Hub – find events near you, get more information and get connected in person to other procurement professionals
  • Learning Hub – find videos and content on leadership and key attributes

Procurement – New Year, New Image

It’s very nearly time to wrap up for Christmas at Procurious HQ, but not before we’ve had our say on some of the key stories over the past week.

jjbsportsIf you haven’t thought of a procurement-related New Year’s resolution for 2015, why not join Procurious in aiming to change, improve and lift up the brand and image of procurement.

The function’s image has taken a bit of a battering in recent weeks, with a glut of stories on the treatment of suppliers, ethically questionable procurement practices and convictions for fraud and bribery in both supplier relationships (JJB Sports, UK) and tenders (US Defence Contracts).

Procurement has both the ability and responsibility to ensure that these practices are stamped out. Procurement professionals hold a unique position in the organisation of being able to influence spend, but also control the ethics and governance of the purchasing process.

So how do we do this? First, check out recent articles including detecting fraud in your organisation and the importance of Supplier Relationship Management. Then invite your network to get involved with Procurious and we can collectively get working on our aims in 2015.

SRM – https://www.procurious.com/blog/in-the-press/three-key-insights-on-the-importance-of-srm

Fraud – https://www.procurious.com/blog/in-the-press/how-to-detect-fraud-in-your-organisation

Oh, and just to lighten the mood, keep an eye out this week for an article on the best and slickest supply chain in the world. Who else but Saint Nick himself…

GST reduces complexity, improves supply chain

  • With GST Bill being tabled in the Parliament, companies operating in supply chain business stand to benefit, says Vineet Agarwal, MD of Transport Corporation of India .
  • But GST will have no direct impact on a company like his, which is a services company, since it is essentially a consumption tax and will have an impact on manufacturing.
  • However, the introduction of GST will lead to some reduction in expenditure, he adds. He expects the supply chain business to grow at around 20 per cent in FY15. He also has a positive outlook for FY16.
  • Going ahead, Agarwal sees a revival in the auto sector. Transport Corporation of India derives nearly 70 per cent business from it. When compared to FY13 and FY14 he sees significant improvement in business.

Read more and watch a video at Money Control

Procter & Gamble reports big moves in 16th Annual Sustainability Report

  • The Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) is serious about environmental stewardship, as its 16th annual sustainability report reveals.
  • The multinational consumer goods company met several environmental goals ahead of schedule: P&G met its waste reduction goal for 2020 six years early and its pulp certification goal a year early.
  • P&G only disposed of 0.40 per cent of input materials as manufacturing waste to landfill across its facilities. That means 99.6 per cent of all input materials are either recycled, reused or used for energy conversion. The 2020 goal called for less than 0.50 per cent.
  • In April, the company announced steps it would take beyond Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)certification to ensure it does not contribute to deforestation. The steps include developing a traceable supply chain, no development of  high conservation value (HCV) areas and high carbon stock (HCS) forests, no development of peat lands, no burning to clear land for new development or replanting and complying with P&G’s Sustainability Guidelines for External Business Partners.

Read more at Triple Pundit

St Helens surgical gloves supplier in position to supply the whole NHS

  • A Merseyside supplier of surgical gloves has won a place on two NHS procurement frameworks – meaning it can now supply its products to NHS trusts across the UK.
  • St Helens-based Leanvation was established one year ago by former healthcare executives Dr Jonathan Day and Tony Downes, with backing from the North West Fund for Venture Capital. They have developed a range of surgical gloves that aims to reduce the risk of allergies and hand fatigue.
  • Under EU rules, NHS Trusts are limited in the value of products they can purchase from any one supplier without going through an official tender procedure. Securing a place on the NHS Shared Business Service Framework and the Health Trust Europe Framework allows Leanvation to overcome this barrier.
  • The company will be launching four new products in early 2015 and is about to start work on a new range of surgical gloves designed to further improve infection prevention, thanks to its success in winning a five-figure research grant. Dr Day, Leanvation’s managing director, said: ”This is a major step forward for Leanvation, effectively giving us a licence to supply the NHS in volume and compete alongside the traditional multinational surgical glove brands.

Read more at Liverpool Echo

Canadian defence procurement – everything old again is new again

  • The Conservative government last week released its Value Proposition Guide that is supposed to provide direction for firms who will be preparing bids for future defence procurements. Those procurements will be governed by the government’s new Defence Procurement Strategy.
  • “The Value Proposition Guide is a new tool for fostering investment in the Canadian defence industry,” the news release from Industry Canada noted. “The guide will ensure that the Government of Canada’s Defence Procurement Strategy will result in the creation of high-skilled jobs and economic growth across the Canadian economy.”
  • It seems that everything old again is new again. I was writing articles in the mid to late 1980s about the efforts of the Mulroney government to shore up the defence industrial base. Such benefits linked to defence contracts are called offsets in the U.S. and other nations. The Canadian offset program continued throughout the Kim Campbell and Chretien governments and into the Paul Martin government.
  • The linking of work for Canadian firms to the awarding of contracts to foreign companies was, however, eased under the Harper government. After much concern was raised by the domestic aerospace and defence industry that they were getting little work of value even as the Harper government spent billions of tax dollars buying new military equipment, the Conservatives came up with its “value propositions” program.

Read more on Ottawa Citizen

IBM quizzes procurement role models in leading 2014 study

Procurious comments on the week’s top headlines

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

IBM 2014 CPO Report

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

These high-performing procurement organisations:

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

Download the full report here.

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

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

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

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

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

One in five firms face supply chain bullying, says FSB

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

Read more on BBC News

Taiwan supply chain claims Apple Watch production will begin in January

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

Read more on Mac Observer

Seahorse Club celebrates excellence in freight transport journalism

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

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

Belgium national strike causing major transport disruption

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

Read more on Supply Chain Digital

Selling secrets of the supply chain

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

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

Read more on Apple Insider

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

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

Read more at Marketing Magazine

Reshoring boosts British manufacturer’s supply chain

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

Read more at Supply Management 

Hospitals eye mHealth to reduce supply chain costs

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

Read more at mHealthNews

Cyber criminals are targeting smartphone supply chains, warn researchers

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

Read more at Computer Weekly

‘Savvy’ procurement can save you millions if done right

How efficient is your procurement process? The BBC saved £1.1 billion during the last business year… That and more in our weekly news blast:

BBC savvy procurement

Procurement contributes to annual savings of £1.1 billion at BBC

  • “Savvy” procurement saved the BBC more than £70 million on goods and services this year, a report into the broadcaster’s efficiency has stated. Total category spend of £655 million across 11,500 vendors in 2013/2014 is managed via framework agreements or managed services, and competitive pricing led to savings across the function, according to Driving Efficiency at the BBC.
  • In one example, a competitive tender that resulted in Siemens becoming the single technology provider to the BBC, led to annual savings of £37 million. Additional savings via volume reductions through the adoption of strict policies and targets, and price negotiation with Atos (which acquired Siemens’ SIS division) have totalled £13 million over the 10-year contract. Two major contracts re-procured in 2013 and 2014 for facilities management and domestic radio transmission are also saving the corporation £20 million a year.
  • Since the start of the current 10-year BBC Charter in 2004, annual savings have grown to £1.1 billion. The report forecasts these will rise to £1.5 billion by 2016/17.

Read more at Supply Management

Next recruits Polish workers after ‘failing to hire enough British people’

  • Next, the high street retailer run by multimillionaire Tory donor Lord Wolfson, is bussing in hundreds of Polish people to work in its Yorkshire warehouse after claiming to have failed to hire enough British people. The company, which made profits of £695m last year, admitted that it began recruiting Poles for minimum-wage seasonal warehouse jobs 5-10 days before advertising the roles in the UK.
  • Next said it was not preferentially hiring Polish people, but had started the recruitment drive in Poland first because it needed more time to bring people over from the continent. The company has hired about 500 British and 240 Polish people for a total of 840 warehouse roles required over the Christmas shopping and January sales period. The spokesman said the jobs were advertised on Next’s website, in jobcentres and on UK recruitment websites. Next is still actively recruiting in the UK and Poland for 100 more staff.
  • The Yorkshire and Humber region has the second-highest unemployment rate in the country, after the north-east, with 7.2% of people out of work compared with the national average of 6.1%.
  • Next and its Polish recruitment agency have arranged a fleet of buses to drive the 240 Polish recruits 1,180 miles from Warsaw directly to its warehouse in South Elmsall, West Yorkshire. The first of the buses began arriving last month, with up to seven coaches travelling in convey according to the Daily Mirror, which first reported the Polish recruitment drive.

Read more on The Guardian

Cardinal tops healthcare supply chain ranking

  • Cardinal Health, the giant US group, has taken the top spot in Gartner’s Top 25 Healthcare Supply Chains for the fourth year in a row – despite having to absorb the loss of more than $20 billion worth business from Walgreens. Gartner said Cardinal continued to have the widest breadth of any company in healthcare. “It is a manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retail pharmacy and a connector at many points in between.”
  • Mayo Foundation was second. Gartner said it was a model of consistency, combining the balance of high quality of healthcare scores and solid bond rating with top echelon peer and analyst scores. Mayo continues to demonstrate leadership in the healthcare value chain by retaining and developing top talent.
  • Intermountain Healthcare stepped up a place to third. “Intermountain represents one of the closest things to a literal ‘City on a Hill’ in the world of healthcare providers through its $40 million investment in its supply chain centre,” said Gartner. GlaxoSmithKline came in at number 23.

Read more at Supply Chain Standard

How 3D printing is set to shake up manufacturing supply chains

  • 3D printing has come a long way in an extremely short span of time. Initially built by Charles Hull in the 1980s as a tool for making basic polymer objects, today, the technology has spurred remarkable efforts in several manufacturing sectors; from building intricate aircraft and race car components, to human organs and prostheses.
  • Now, the wider business world is beginning to understand the potential of 3D printing for cost-effective, efficient and environmentally-friendly manufacturing. It is little wonder that analyst firm, Canalys see the global market for 3D printers reaching $16.2bn (£10.3bn) by 2018. With increasing adoption, the technology will revolutionise manufacturing as well as the supply chain and logistics processes which surround it.
  • Though manufacturing in certain locations can be low-cost, managing a global logistics network isn’t; especially given the transportation costs involved. 3D printing can reduce these costs by enabling businesses to station local manufacturing centres closer to strategic markets, reducing the length of the supply chain and helping towards a reduced carbon footprint.
  • Regional manufacturing centres can also tackle inventory concerns, especially for the industrial spare parts and consumer sectors selling highly-customised products. 3D printing technology will enable manufacturers to easily produce goods to order, helping save money and minimise waste.

Read more at The Guardian

UAE women ‘eager to develop’ supply chain sector

  • The Chartered Institute Of Procurement & Supply for the Middle East and North Africa region (CIPS MENA) is considering establishing a sub committee and a mentoring pool for UAE women working in procurement.
  • A demand for both was identified at an Abu Dhabi event held in October entitled ‘The Impact of Women in Procurement’, which was attended by about 70 procurement professional from diverse industries with most participants being female UAE nationals.
  • Rebecca Fox, general Manager of CIPS MENA, said: “This event has shown that there is a healthy appetite amongst women for the procurement profession to be conducted according to the highest international standards in organisations of all kinds and in all sectors.
  • “Women in this region are eager to nurture and develop this discipline, and we can play an instrumental part in advising and supporting them across various industries. “Since we started providing service and training to organisations and professionals across the Middle East, we have seen strong levels of commitment from women to creating sustainable supply chains, and to the creation of further employment opportunities.”

Read more at Arabian Supply Chain

UK Logistics Deal Delayed Until 2015

  • Hardly had the dust settled from Babcock’s selection as the winning bidder to acquire the British state-owned armored vehicle repair company Defence Support Group (DSG) when a newspaper report emerged claiming the firm is in line to secure a major deal with the Ministry of Defence to transform the purchase, storage and transportation of commodities.
  • Babcock and its partner, DHL, in a team known as Defence Integrated Supply Chain Solution, has been in a head-to-head competition against US company Leidos with Kuehne & Nagel and others acting as subcontractors to win the Logistic Commodities and Services (Transformation) (LCS(T) program. An in-house MoD team has also been bidding.
  • An announcement on a winner for the LCS(T) program had originally been planned for November. That slipped to December and recently an MoD spokesman said a final decision naming the winner had been pushed back to 2015. But now a report in the Independent newspaper here Nov. 28 said that Babcock had beaten Leidos to the deal.
  • The MoD denied a decision had been made and said it was sticking to its new timeline for an announcement in 2015.

Read more at Euro Supply Chain Jobs

Arms procurement policy will be in country’s interests: Parrikar

  • Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said that his arms procurement policy would be in the interests of the country.
  • “India’s interest would be primary in arms purchase,” Parrikar said, adding that after taking into account India’s interests other things can be considered in arms purchase. Parrikar was replying to media questions on the demand put forward by Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury that India should stop purchasing arms from Israel. “I do not know exactly what Yechury said, therefore I will not comment. But my arms procurement will be in the interest of this country,” Parrikar said.
  • My advice to the defence minister is that in the interests of India and world stop financing Israel and its attack on Palestinians. Buying arms from Israel means giving profits to Israel which are being used to kill Palestinians, Yechury said. “Parrikar’s patriotism would be tested as defence minister, let’s see what he does,” added Yechury.

Read more at Times of India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

China’s supply chain infrastructure is full of Eastern Promise

This news blast has a distinctively oriental flavour – with a brief stopover in Ottawa (Canada), and Vietnam (once part of Imperial China) for good measure.

Oriental Pearl Tower - procurement in China

DHL Supply Chain to invest 173 million in logistics infrastructure in China

  • DHL Supply Chain has announced it will commit a further £90 million in China as its strategy gains traction. This is on the back of £83 million that was committed in 2013, bringing the total committed to £173 million.
  • The funds will support the expansion of its network across China and in particular, six additional state-of-the-art logistics facilities scheduled for completion by 2020. The confirmed locations are Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Shenyang, Shenzhen and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone.
  • Oscar de Bok, Chief Executive Officer of DHL Supply Chain Asia Pacific, said: “By working closely with our customers who provide us with their demand forecast, we have a clear roadmap of the locations we need to be in; as well as the level of the services required. In China alone, DSC will expand its warehouse facilities and transport capacities by 50 percent over the next three years.”
  • DHL recently opened its state-of-the art Chengdu Logistics Centre facility in western China. Located in Xindu district, the Chengdu Logistics Centre is a key strategic investment by DHL Supply Chain to support continued economic growth in the western region.

Read more at Supply Chain Digital

World supply chains under most threat from economic risk 

  • CIPS’ Q3 2014 Risk Index has found that while supply chain risk in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa has increased, neither the Ebola outbreak nor the advance of the Islamic State has led to a significant increase in international supply chain risk. Instead, it is the economic slowdown in Germany and China that could jeopardise supply chains, it found.
  • However, the index, which analyses socio-economic, physical trade and business continuity, also found that supply chain risk has reduced for the twelfth consecutive month to 77.9 in Q3 from 78.1 in Q2. The index reached an all-time peak of 82.4 in Q3 2013. Supply chain risk has thus far been checked by the relative economic stability of the world’s three most important contributors to world supply chains, the USA, China and Germany, but that could change in Q4 as the economies of both Germany and China look increasingly fragile.
  • The combination of Russian sanctions, the rise of Euro-scepticism and a reduction in demand for German products, could see Germany lose its position as the most reliable component of world trade, the index suggested.
  • Concerns are also growing in China over an economic slowdown, with the World Bank urging the country to slash its growth target for 2015.  Local government and industrial sectors in the country are struggling to pay back loans taken out during the 2008-09 crash.

Read more at Supply Management

Ebay signs deal with Shanghai logistic provider

  • Global e-commerce giant eBay has signed a strategic agreement with Shanghai-based logistics service provider Winit Corporation to allow Chinese vendors to easily sell to overseas buyers.
  • Winit will provide eBay sellers with one-stop cross-border supply chain services to allow quicker delivery from overseas warehouse to buyers. This comes as a result of cross-border e-commerce transactions picking up in recent years.
  • John Lin, Vice President of eBay and Managing Director of eBay China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, said: “Through our collaboration with Winit we hope Chinese exporters can leverage the comprehensive warehousing service to play a more important role in global trade and to better connect Chinese exporters with global buyers.
  • The “shipping first, selling later” model enables Chinese sellers to compete with overseas counterparts by improving delivery efficiency and save logistics costs and customs clearance trouble. After Chinese sellers’ merchandise is shipped to an overseas warehouse, local buyers can select their own courier services to have their packages delivered to their doorstep. 

Read more at Digital Supply Chain

China makers Bitland, BYD to join Chromebook supply chain in 2015

  • Following China-based application processor (AP) supplier Rockchip’s entry into the Chromebook industry, China-based end device makers are also expected to join the Chromebook supply chain, according to information Digitimes Research has collected from the Greater China supply chain.
  • China-based Bitland and BYD will start producing Chromebooks for brand vendors in 2015 and they will be among only a handful of makers capable of making the device. Digitimes Research believes Google’s recruitment of Rockchip into the Chromebook camp is meant to expand the the device’s supply chain.
  • Currently, most non-Samsung Chromebooks available in the market are produced by Quanta Computer, while Compal Electronics has a small amount of orders from Acer and Lenovo. Samsung Electronics manufactures its Chromebooks in house.
  • In 2015, Google is looking to relax the entry barriers to its Chromebook supply chain by expanding its partnerships with chipmakers and manufacturers. Bitland and BYD are both expected to enter the Chromebook supply chain because of Rockchip. Lenovo is also expected to launch products using their platforms.

Read more at Digitimes

News from elsewhere in the world…

Vietnam becoming vital link in supply chain

  • With a booming manufacturing market, Vietnam has rapidly become a crucial link in the Southeast Asian air cargo supply chain, with 25 percent of its exports being shipped via air cargo.
  • This week, businesses in the developing country sent a message that they are ready to compete on the world stage by launching a new cargo airline and moving forward on a new cargo handling facility. Ho Chi Minh City-based Vietjet Aviation has announced the start of its new affiliate, Vietjet Air Cargo, which it says will operate 28 routes by the end of this year and increase that total to 39 in 2015.
  • At this stage, Do Xuan Quang, managing director of Vietjet Air Cargo, said the new carrier does not own any planes but is negotiating with other interline carriers to offer charter cargo services domestically and internationally. “There is a huge potential for air cargo in Vietnam,” he said. “Currently this service is mainly offered by international airlines.”
  • Currently, the parent company, three-year-old VietJet, operates sixteen A320-200 aircraft, with firm orders with Airbus for another 63 planes in the A320 Family. The carrier said it plans to operate about thirty A320s by the end of 2015.

Read more at Air Cargo World

Defence procurement staff struggle with burnout

  • Public servants overseeing billions of dollars of military equipment projects are facing burnout and poor morale and could be prone to error due to overwork, documents obtained by the Citizen reveal. In addition, some 18 per cent of the civilian workforce in the Department of National Defence’s procurement branch is eligible to retire by the spring, without penalty. That potential exodus of skilled employees “creates a significant risk to program execution,” the documents note.
  • There are slightly more than 2,600 DND staff handling military procurements; future projects range from the acquisition of new search-and-rescue aircraft to ships and armoured vehicles. The Conservative government plans to spend tens of billions of dollars on new gear for the Canadian Forces over the coming years. But the procurement branch’s human resources plan for 2014/2015 outlines the problems the group faces.
  • “Heavy workloads, long-term high stress levels and waning morale, resulting in increased sick leave usage (and) employee burnout increase error rate and labour relations issues,” noted the plan.
  • A limit on the ability to hire new staff is another problem.

Read more at Ottawa Citizen

Mystery shopper drafted in to probe VAR’s procurement gripe

  • A controversial IT tender is being investigated by the government’s mystery shopper scheme after a small reseller criticised the procurement process for being unfriendly towards SMBs.
  • Last week, CCL’s managing director Dennis Armstrong branded the government’s IT procurement process “outrageous” after being presented with an Invitation To Tender (ITT) document which was 92 pages long despite being for a relatively small deal of £10,000. He claimed that reams of red tape are cutting SMBs out of government deals, which was echoed by other smaller firms.
  • At the time, the government admitted there is more to be done to improve procurement for SMBs but insisted it was cutting the amount of administration involved. After seeing the CRN article, the government contacted Armstrong and asked him to take part in its mystery shopper scheme in order to investigate the tender in question.
  • The scheme was set up in 2011 and aims to investigate procurement across the government and to help suppliers that have experienced poor practice. It claims that SMBs in particular have made “good use” of the scheme and that 79 per cent of the cases it investigated resulted in a positive outcome.

Read more at Channelweb

Commodity changes affect market conditions

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

Microsoft Tops Exxon as 2nd Biggest Company on Oil Drop

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

Read more at Bloomberg.com

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

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

Read more at The Guardian

Economic volatility, low commodity prices to hurt mining industry

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

Read more at Mining Weekly

Still Avoiding Social Media? You’re Losing Business

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

Read more at Business 2 Community

Accenture previews digital disruption

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

Read more at Biztech Africa

G20 climate challenge calls for a rethink of economics

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

Read more at The Conversation

A question of ethics: procurement managers accused of bribery

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

Bribery in procurement

Bribery tag on procurement managers ‘unfair’

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

Read more on Hotelier Middle East

Levi Strauss’ smart thinking on supply chain ethics 

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

Big oil cutbacks deal supply-chain pain

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

Read more at Reuters Africa

President Obama announces plans to boost US manufacturing

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

Read more at Supply Management

CEVA and FedEx leverage expertise to help Ebola response

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

Read more at Supply Chain Digital

Supply chain woes at Tate

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

Read more at Investors Chronicle

Supply chain utilizations drop as China 4G development lags

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

Read more at Digitimes