Category Archives: Procurement News

Our takeaways from the CIPS 2014 Conference

Procurious headed to Kings Place to take in the sights, and hear from a wealth of insightful speakers at the biggest procurement event of the year – the 2014 CIPS Conference and Exhibition.

Having survived the global economic crisis, this year’s theme (unsurprisingly) focused on ‘standards, ethics and innovation’ within what CIPS calls ‘a new procurement future’. 

With Craig Lardner chairing proceedings, delegates were treated to a packed day full of talks, break-out sessions, and a distinguished guest from the world of broadcasting.

CIPS Conference 2014
Facebook.com, CIPS

Some of our highlights from the day included:

Dr John Glen’s opening session was an early highlight of the day. John is an economist for CIPS, and lectures at the Cranfield School of Management. If you’ve ever struggled to grasp economics, the good Dr offered a brilliantly accessible half hour. He also suggested that the next big challenge for supply chains would be to adopt the business model that’s made Uber into such a success story.

IKEA’s Environmental and Sustainable Development Manager – Charlie Browne, revealed how the business has reduced supplier count in a bid to maximize effectiveness. Sustainability is also in IKEA’s blood – with the retailer’s efforts dating back to 1990s.

Tesco’s Frances Goodwin offered her thoughts on the role of ethical trading in procurement. She left us with a surprising nugget around procuring a banana – in that the supply chain is (on average) 5 layers deep.

Rita Clifton – President of the Market Research Society and former Chair of Interbrand presented a light-hearted session on the power of branding. Rita distilled the ingredients that make a strong brand, and revealed some of the brands that she thinks have got it right. She also confirmed something we’ve been saying for a while: Procurement has an image problem. Do a Google Image search for procurement and see what we mean…

In what was possibly the biggest announcement of the day – Babs Omotowa, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria LNG Limited was announced as the incoming CIPS President. Babs will take the mantle from Craig Lardner four weeks from now.

Our favourite break-out session was delivered courtesy of Clive Lewis – Founder and Managing Director of Illumine Training. Clive guided us through 5 different methods to help boost creativity, and approach problems differently.

Elsewhere, Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board) and Selex ES talked about building strong supplier relationships. The latter having previously been crowned the overall winner at CIPS Supply Management Awards 2014 for their work with Research Electro-Optics (REO).

To cap a busy day off, influential food writer (and occasional TV personality)  – Jay Rayner, provided a thought-provoking (and at times, hilarious) commentary on food supply chains. With insights like: full service supermarkets cannot compete with discounters – and in the end it’s the suppliers that suffer. We suspect he may have also snuck a few plugs for his book in there too…

Twitter also provided some key takeaways – here is what some of the other attendees were saying:

CIPS Conference 2014

CIPS Conference 2014

CIPS Conference 2014

CIPS Conference 2014

CIPS Conference 2014

Sears mimics Zara’s fast fashion approach

Fast fashion is a bit of a buzzword around these parts, so we’re somewhat surprised to find it hasn’t featured more heavily in our weekly news roundups. Of course now our lead-item has just gone and bucked that trend… Eyes-down for that and more:

falling_in_fashion_de_sears_8726_900x656

Sears mimics Zara’s fast fashion approach

  • Carlos Slim, following the lead of fellow billionaire Amancio Ortega, is freshening up his Sears outlets in Mexico with an of-the-moment sense of style in a bid to boost profits.
  • The retailer is joining the ranks of Ortega’s fashion empire Zara by introducing new brands that quickly convert the latest runway styles of clothes and accessories into cheaper, mass-distributed goods. It’s a change of pace for Sears, which opened its first store in Mexico City in 1947 and whose 82 Mexican locations are now owned by Slim’s Grupo Sanborns SAB.
  • Sanborns aims to benefit from the 30 percent growth in Mexican consumer spending that PricewaterhouseCoopers projects through 2017. Slim is betting that his “fast-fashion” strategy will help lure new, young consumers who favor retailers such as H&M and Forever 21, which opened its eighth store in Mexico last month.

Read more at Business of Fashion

Qatar Airways and IAG Cargo considering expanding capacity sharing agreement

  • Qatar Airways Cargo, and the cargo handling division of the International Airlines Group, IAG Cargo, are considering expanding a capacity sharing agreement signed in May to cover additional Asian destinations.
  • Under the agreement’s current terms, Qatar Airways operate five weekly B777-F flights between Hong Kong and London Stansted via Mumbai International, Chennai, Delhi International and Dhaka on various routings, on behalf of IAG Cargo.
  • IAG entered the agreement after British Airways (BA, London Heathrow) prematurely terminated a lease contract with Atlas Air for three B747-8Fs operated by Global Supply Systems (GSS, London Stansted). The two parties are now considering expanding the deal to include points in Pakistan. Dave Shepherd, Head of Commercial at IAG Cargo, has said that the decision to expand the agreement is a result of its ongoing success adding that it could be a model for other carriers to follow.

Via Supply Chain Digital

Procurement in the UK

Metropolitan Police uses P2P system to transform procurement

  • The Metropolitan Police has introduced a purchase-to-pay (P2P) system to transform the way it procures goods and services.
  • Vicky Morgan, director of procurement operations at the service, said the iBuy system has helped improve customer service, reduce processing costs, improve financial reporting and balance costs. Speaking at the eWorld Purchasing and Supply conference in London, Morgan explained that she thought introducing such a system would be the main part of the transformation project. But she soon found out business process and change management were bigger hurdles.
  • To further improve the system, Morgan launched iBuy Plus to introduce “a very different way of working”. Staff are now required to make every purchase order themselves, and Morgan has reduced the numerous levels of approvals. Before this system, an order would have to be approved by around three people.

Read more at Supply Management

Whitehall mandates supply chain cyber security standard for suppliers

  • The UK government wants to improve cyber security in its supply chain. From next week on 1st October, all suppliers must be compliant with new “Cyber Essentials” controls if they are bidding for government contracts which involve the handling of sensitive and personal information and the provision of certain technical products and services.
  • The UK government has developed Cyber Essentials in consultation with industry, and according to the government, it offers “a sound foundation of basic cyber hygiene measures which, when properly implemented, can significantly reduce a company’s vulnerability.” The scheme’s set of five critical controls is applicable to all types of organisations, of all sizes, giving protection from the most prevalent forms of threat coming from the internet.
  • Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: “It’s vital that we take steps to reduce the levels of cyber security risk in our supply chain. Cyber Essentials provides a cost-effective foundation of basic measures that can defend against the increasing threat of cyber attack. Businesses can demonstrate that they take this issue seriously and that they have met government requirements to respond to the threat. Gaining this kind of accreditation will also demonstrate to non-government customers a business’ clear stance on cyber security.

Read more at Government Computing

Taiwan losing its grip on iPhone supply chain

  • Production of the hot-selling iPhone 6 is bringing business to a number of Taiwanese technology firms and boosting factory orders on the mainland, although supplier competition and sourcing changes at Apple have taken a bite out of the region’s dependence on the popular handsets.
  • Apple has contracted Taiwanese tech giant Hon Hai Precision to make all its iPhone 6 Plus handsets and 70 per cent of basic iPhone 6 orders, analysts say. Pegatron, based in Taipei, will assemble the other 30 per cent, the Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute in Taiwan estimates.
  • “Most of the worldwide assembly for the iPhone 6 range will take place in China, because that is where the lowest costs and biggest factories are located,” said Neil Mawston, global wireless practice executive director at Strategy Analytics in Britain.
  • But as Apple changes specs from earlier iPhone models and has the pick from a bigger field of suppliers worldwide, mainland and Taiwanese companies are getting fewer orders compared to older iPhones. “The components for the iPhone 6 portfolio come from a very globalised supply chain,” Mawston said. Taiwan will pocket just US$25 to US$30 from the total US$245 to US$255 manufacturing bill of materials from each iPhone 6 handset, according to the Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute.

Read more at SCMP.com

Procurement profession “relieved” following Scotland no vote

The last seven days have played host to one of the biggest news stories of 2014 – suffice to say Procurious can’t ignore it! Hence we lead with Scotland, but things have been happening further afield too… Read on for all the details:

What does the Scottish referendum mean for procurement?

Supply chain “relieved” by referendum result

  • The people decided the country will remain united and Cameron ensures promises to Scotland will be honoured. Supply chain experts are “relieved”, say result “removes risk to employment” and that it’s “business as usual”.
  • Bernard Molloy, global industrial logistics director at Unipart Group, comments; “No doubt logistics and supply chains would have to be rebalanced if the Scottish Referendum was yes. Costs and return-on-investment on distribution are currently fairly reasonably spread nationally; this would have been a different story if the vote was yes.”
  • Chris Sturman, chief executive of the Food Storage & Distribution Federation, says; “I believe this a good decision for all the inhabitants of the UK. It maintains the economic and logistical whole, removes risk to employment, enables  stable costs and prices for all citizens and removes the instability of change, especially after the uncertainty of the recession.

Read more on SHD Logistics Magazine

Supply Management also carried this article – it includes quotes from John Milne, a procurement consultant at Hampco based in Aberdeen:

  • “There’s a sense of relief and a vindication because much of the media were supporting the hype of the nationalists who were giving an unfeasible argument. It’s a relief for the oil and gas sector too, we know which regime we have to negotiate with now.
  • “For procurement, it has taken the fear factor away – the changes would have cost a lot of money. So procurement will heave a sigh of relief that they won’t have to take on the changes.”

India’s artillery procurement saga

  • There is little doubt that the Indian Army’s artillery is in urgent need of modernization. But delays in procurement are hindering the process.
  • India hasn’t purchased a new system since the Bofors in 1980s. Senior Indian army officials have also raised concerns over shortages of modern artillery systems, which they believe would be a crucial drawback in any future conflict. The Army has been notably lackadaisical when it comes to acquiring these types of guns, with tenders cancelled in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
  • in 2012 the Ministry of Defence cleared a $647 million deal to acquire 145 M777 155-mm 38-caliber howitzers under Washington’s Foreign Military Sales program. In October 2013, however, it was reported that British multinational BAE Systems would be closing the U.S. factory that manufactures the gun, due the “absence of any order or commitment from New Delhi.” If New Delhi wants the guns, it will have to pay to reopen the line, raising the price to as much as $885 million. A recent strengthening of the U.S. dollar makes the deal even more expensive. Washington points out that if India had been able to move more quickly, it could have had the guns at the lower price.

Read more at The Diplomat

Top procurement groups deliver 7x return on investment

  • In a combined initiative to bring common value management visibility and practices to the procurement profession, three organizations – A.T. Kearney, the Institute for Supply Management, and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply – released the results of the inaugural ROSMASM Performance Check Report “Building the Brand of Procurement and Supply.”
  • The report found that leading procurement teams are delivering significant value to their organizations, but without a credible standard allowing companies to consistently track and score procurement performance, many CFOs question the performance of and benefits delivered by their procurement teams.
  • In an independent survey of CFOs and financial function leaders the study found that only 10 per cent of procurement functions have established recognition with their CFOs regarding how procurement contributes value and that the benefits are real and measureable. The report is distilled from more than 400 completed, qualified, and accepted cumulative benchmarks along with more than 170 submissions focused on 2013 results.

Read more at EBN Online

At McDonald’s, sustainability is job 1, 2 and 3…

  • McDonald’s sustainability efforts focus on verifiable sustainable coffee, fish, fiber, palm oil and beef with “beef being Priority Number One, Two and Three.”
  • Bob Langert, McDonald’s Global Sustainability VP, said their sustainability efforts are based on collaborations within their respective industries.
  • “We want to do this right and to do it right we have to collaborate and get the right measures in place. We are determined to let science lead the way, but we are also determined to start purchasing (beef) in 2016.”

Read more and watch the video interview at The Pig Site

Snapdeal to spend over $100 million on its supply chain in 2014

  • Online marketplace Snapdeal has become one of the largest clients for ecommerce logistics companies in India. The Delhi-based company, unlike rivals Flipkart and Amazon, outsources its entire logistics.
  • Snapdeal’s co-founder and chief operating officer, Rohit Bansal said: “We had earlier mentioned that we would end up spending Rs 450 crore in supply chain this year. But, with the kind of sales happening, we may well end up spending somewhere between $100-125 million (Rs 600-760 crore) in supply chain.”

Read more in The Economic Times

Procurement and supply chain apprenticeship launches in Scotland

Out of the loop? Join us as we reveal what’s been happening in the world of procurement during the last seven days.

L’Oreal completes five year supply chain transformation

  • The world’s largest manufacturer of beauty products, French company L’Oréal, has been on a five-year plan to completely overhaul its supply chain to cope with new trends in consumer behaviour and new purchasing technologies.
  • The group’s global supply chain employs around 7,000 people serving 130 markets, fulfilling about 16m orders annually. It operates 150 distribution centres globally serving some 40 factories, with around half operated in-house and half by third-party logistics providers.
  • Key to the efficiency improvements was the closer involvement in supply chain executives in the sales forecasting activities that are normally the preserve of sales and marketing teams.

Read more at The Load Star

Procurement and supply chain apprenticeship launches in Scotland 

University

  • A new apprenticeship to encourage young people into a career in purchasing and supply chain has been launched in Scotland.
  • City of Glasgow College has opened its first “industry academy” for procurement and supply chain, a teaching model that makes sure students’ experiences replicate working environments. The curriculum has been developed, and is updated regularly, with help from procurement professionals, and has the support of CIPS.
  • The college’s new industry academy and the modern apprenticeship in procurement and supply chain will attract young people into an industry that benefits Scotland’s economy and businesses while providing good long-term career prospects.

Read more at Supply Management

IT Sourcing not just an isolated procurement activity

  • While many people talk about IT sourcing as just buying hardware or software, leading commercial companies know that IT sourcing is far more complex than just “buying stuff.”
  • The IT Supply Management process has four closely interconnected dimensions. They are IT Supply Strategy, IT Category Management, IT Relationship Management,  and IT Sourcing Strategy,
  • The commercial sector’s experience in IT sourcing offers a number of lessons learned that the DoD can adapt as it builds an IT sourcing strategy.

Read more at C4ISRNET

Bank Branch Shake-Up To Test Procurement

  • Growing demand among the global population for online and mobile banking means that the traditional bank branch is changing.
  • Bank branches of the future will move away from simple transactional tasks and will act as a platform for upselling to customers. There will be an increase in the use of self-service machines to cut labour costs and time spent on lower-value transactions.
  • Ensuring contracts for fixed-term agreements with suppliers are detailed is vital as additional work will rack up expenditure significantly in an already cost-sensitive project.

Read more at Procurement Leaders

Improving the value procurement delivers can generate €7.6m in revenue

  • A well-managed supplier relationship management programme can save top performing businesses €22.8m in spending and generate €7.6m in revenue per €1bn of annual spend, according to research by The Hackett Group.
  • Established procurement specialist Xoomworks claim to have built an innovative framework called Complete Procurement which helps high turnover organisations in finance, insurance and retail make significant savings through improving returns on current investments in people and technology.
  • The balance between solid mechanics and positive behaviours allow organisations to break through the frustrations often experienced when only the mechanics are in focus, thereby allowing the procurement function to acquire new levels of added value for their organisations.

Read more at Retail Times

MasterCard & Basware create new platform to speed-up supply chain payments

Hungry for your weekly news fix? Join us as we reveal what’s been happening in the world of procurement during the last seven days.

MasterCard and Basware launch supply chain payment platform

Basware and MasterCard launch an automated supply chain finance platform

  • Basware has the largest electronic invoicing network in the world — one million organizations generating 80 million transactions a year, worth $500 billion, and growing at 50 per cent annually. MasterCard has one of the largest payment networks, and it is fully global.  They’ve joined forces and created Basware Pay.
  • The solution connects buyer’s and supplier’s payment processes through the Basware Commerce Network which provides an open and interoperable network that only authenticated buyers and sellers can use. Once the invoice is approved by the buyer it becomes available for payment through a virtual MasterCard account number. The combination automates invoice processing and ties the invoice information to the payment, all within a secure, closed environment using MasterCard’s single-use Virtual Account Numbers (VANs) for protection.
  • Hany Fam, President, MasterCard Enterprise Partnerships, said the opportunity is huge: “This market is nascent and in size it is bigger than the entire consumer market. It is very under-penetrated electronically. While the consumer space is 85 per cent non-electronic, this is north of 90 per cent.”
  • “MasterCard is global and none of the others operated globally. We can offer a global solution.” MasterCard is brand agnostic — it will accept payments from Amex and Visa, wires, or even cash, and it works with other business networks, like SAP ’s Ariba.

Read more on Forbes.com

Gartner reveals best regional supply chains

  • Gartner has published its annual list of leading supply chains in Asia Pacific with ten regional companies making the list.
  • Gartner Research Director James Lisica says that Asia Pacific supply chain leaders continue to create agile and lean supply chains capable of dealing with regional challenges. “We have observed some key themes across most industry segments that include building customer-centric supply chains, aligning to local markets while still serving global customers, strengthening risk management processes, improving cross functional communication, driving operational excellence to achieve fiscal discipline and prioritising talent management programs,” he says.
  • The top three is made-up of the likes of Samsung, Lenovo, and Toyota.

View the list in full at Techday.com

Jamaica to benefit from regional procurement system

  • The Regional Integration Electronic Public Procurement System, which is to be implemented across Caricom member states, is geared towards the liberalisation and integration of the regional market for trade in goods and services. This involves establishing and maintaining a regime for the free movement of goods and services within the CSME. The programme is being implemented by Caricom, with funding support from the European Union.
  • Ivor Carryl, programme manager for the CSME at the Caricom Secretariat, disclosed that a regional approach to public sector procurement, supported by a regional procurement system, can bring many benefits to the Caribbean region, and can be one of the key pillars for the advancement of the Caribbean integration process and the CSME.
  • “You are looking at a market that is somewhere in the vicinity of US$17 billion annually and for a region of five and a half million people (with the exception of Haiti). That’s a lot of money,” he added.

Read more on Jamaica Observer

Is Apple’s supply chain a risk to the company?

  • If the rumors are to be believed, Apple‘s newest product, the iWatch, will be announced at its Sept. 9 event but possibly won’t ship until 2015 because of supply chain issues. This was originally reported by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and subsequent memos have pushed back the launch date from October to early next year.
  • Based on a thorough analysis of Apple’s supply chain, Kuo has been relatively accurate on delays. He predicts a delay in Apple’s larger-size version of its newest iteration — the iPhone 6, a 5.5-inch “phablet” model — pushing the release date for that unit back to 2015 as well.
  • A slightly ironic point is that these issues seemed to crop up after Tim Cook took the reins. Widely considered a “supply chain maven” among the analyst crowd, Cook started his Apple career as a senior vice president for worldwide operations. Through a relentless focus, he quickly fixed the supply chain, eliminating lags from months to days. Cook was promoted to chief operating officer before becoming the company CEO in the wake of Steve Jobs’ declining health.

Procurement has traditionally had ‘low status’ in UK government

  • The National Audit Office (NAO) said the government “fails to recognise the value of contract management” and “it is doubtful that the government can improve its capability to be able to have the best contract managers on all its contracts”.
  • In Transforming government’s contract management the NAO said current reforms were “going in the right direction” but there is “a lot still to be worked out”. “Too often contract management has been seen as delivering the deal that was agreed when the contract was signed. This has meant that contract management has been seen as a way to avoid things going wrong, rather than unlocking value,” said the report.
  • Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “For several decades, governments have been increasing their use of contracts with the private sector to provide goods and services. This has produced successes but also thrown up major new challenges, which are not easy to surmount. “Not the least of these is the need to build up the commercial skills of contract management staff, both in departments and in the centre, and enhance the status and profile of their role.

Read more on Supply Management

Businesses urged to register for supply chain programme (Durham, UK)

  • NEPIC’s BASME (Business Acceleration for SMEs) programme was set up in 2012 to help regional firms which are keen to increase sales to companies within the sector.
  • So far the programme, which is financed by the Regional Growth Fund, has supported the creation of 450 direct and indirect jobs in the North East and 360 businesses have registered to be part of it.
  • Felix O’Hare, BASME Project Manager at NEPIC, said: “NEPIC launched BASME to help SMEs in the process industry supply chain to develop their sales to the sector. Using a mentoring approach with some of the sector’s most experienced managers, businesses are able to learn more about what companies look for when sub-contracting work so they can be in the strongest possible position to succeed.

Read more at BDaily

Cracking-down on Africa’s illegal Ivory trade

Get your weekly fix of the biggest news stories affecting the supply chain world, procurement profession, and sustainable businesses.

Africa's illegal ivory trade

Focus on supply chain to tackle illicit ivory trade

  • The Born Free Foundation is calling on enforcement agencies to tackle the illicit trade in ivory by addressing the supply chain behind it. The charity has produced a report detailing the supply chain behind the trade, which involves a complex network including poachers in Africa, freight forwarding companies, corrupt port officials and organised crime syndicates.
  • The report, called Out of Africa, said: “Disproportionate attention is currently being paid to the beginning and end of the ivory supply chain, on tackling poaching through deterrence, and on reducing the end-demand by re-educating consumers.
  • “Both are extremely important, but also extremely difficult, especially in the short time frame available. Disrupting the intermediate sections of the supply chain, however, is likely to be a more tractable intervention.”
  • The report said between 2009 and June 2014 170 tonnes of ivory had been seized, that assuming a 10 percent interception rate was equivalent to the deaths of almost 230,000 elephants. Ivory is collected in the bush at $50 to $100/kg (£30 to £60/kg), sold wholesale at $2,100/kg (£1,300/kg) and then retailed in the millions.

Read more on Supply Management

Aerospace groups voice concerns over supply chain

  • Some of Britain’s smaller aerospace companies have expressed concern that capacity issues in the supply chain could derail the big aircraft makers’ ambitious plans to step up production of passenger jets.
  • The thousands of companies that make up the UK’s aerospace supply chain are at present benefiting from the launch of an unprecedented number of new aircraft and engine programmes under development in the industry simultaneously.
  • “There is definitely cost pressure and that’s coming now with the challenge of volume that is there,” says Craig Gallagher, chief executive officer at MB Aerospace, a key supplier to aero-engine manufacturers, such as Rolls-Royce.

Read more at FT.com 

Water scarcity a challenge to cotton supply chains

  • World Water Week kicked off in Stockholm on 31 Aug, and with it increased attention on putting increasingly limited water resources to better use.
  • Water scarcity poses a potential risk to the global cotton industry, and the apparel supply chain is being urged to do more to tackle the fibre’s huge water footprint.
  • Cotton is one of the largest and thirstiest crops produced – accounting for around 2.5 per cent of all available arable land and more than 3 per cent of the water consumed across all crop production.
  • The world is likely to face a 40 per cent global shortfall between forecast demand and available supply of water in the next 15 years.

Read more on Just Style

Arcadia entertains supply chain overhaul

  • Arcadia is continuing on its quest to overhaul its IT systems, this time announcing a contract that, it is hoped, will speed up and improve its supply chain overhaul.
  • The retail group, owned by Sir Philip Green, has started a multi-million pound migration to a new supply chain system and is working with suppliers including Oracle and Manhattan Associates.
  • The retailer has employed a testing partner to help make sure its new supply chain systems are glitch free by the time they go live. The challenge is made more complex by the fact that Arcadia operates several brands, including Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and BHS.

Read more on Retail Week

Hospital food

Hospitals must adopt food procurement sustainability plans

Read more on Supply Management

Apple iPhone 6 screen delay leaves supply chain scrambling

  • Suppliers to Apple are scrambling to get enough screens ready for the new iPhone 6 smartphone as the need to redesign a key component has disrupted panel production ahead of September’s expected launch, supply chain sources said.
  • It is unclear whether the hiccup could delay the launch or limit the number of phones initially available to consumers. But the issue highlights the risks and challenges that suppliers face to meet Apple’s tough specifications, and comes on the heels of a separate screen technology problem, since resolved, in making thinner screens for the larger iPhone 6 model.
  • Cupertino, California-based Apple, has scheduled a media event for Sept. 9, and many expect it to unveil the new iPhone 6 with both 4.7 inch (11.94 cm) and 5.5 inch (13.97 cm) screens – bigger than the 4 inch screen on the iPhone 5s and 5c.
  • In addition: the Cupertino company’s long-rumoured ‘iWatch’ may not ship until 2015 according to recent rumblings.

Read more at Supply Chain Digital

High risks and high rewards: dangers of low-cost sourcing

This is the second article in a fortnightly series from Gordon Donovan.

This blog concentrates on international sourcing activities and the trends and pitfalls of this high risk and high reward strategy.

Apple and Nissan

You may have heard lots of talk over the last couple of years about reshoring or nearshoring. Basically this means goods and services that were previously bought from international environs are now being purchased more locally. Several reasons for this, one you can only have a supply chain as long as your forecast is accurate (i.e. if you can forecast your requirements a week in advance, your supply chain must be about one week – otherwise we are into the world of safety stocks- amongst other things)

Several notable organisations have decided on this strategy for a number of reasons:

  • Politics, energy costs, supply chain inefficiency (GE & Apple)
  • Risk Reduction (Nissan)

All in all what this means is that CPOs are looking at all the elements of cost – the total cost of ownership (TCO) -rather than just a few costs in the quest to achieve corporate objectives. Some US States are hosting reshoring workshops in an effort to drive more of these initiatives. I’m not sure if it’s a trend as yet but it could be.

Of course sometimes these strategies go badly, badly wrong.

On the subject of low cost sourcing I read an interesting article from Jim Kiser about a client he had advised about a low cost sourcing initiative for resins. Essentially he states that the lack of work done upfront meant that the initiative created a blind spot for procurement. Namely:

  • No planning discussions around contract areas needed, payment terms, exchange rates, shipping, capacity of product, quality assurance, and so forth.
  • Not understanding the supplier’s financials, this was an Asian supplier and no records were accessible, it was a privately held supplier and only there was only one location from where the product was derived.
  • Analysing other countries for suppliers that could provide this material and a good landed cost.
  • No planning on a bonded warehouse arrangement overseas or at home for forward inventory control or capacity needs.

I think that these (amongst others) are good thoughts for any sourcing plan.

I was recently asked to give a presentation to a group of CPOs recently about culture within organisations and how does procurement influence and be influenced by it.

In preparing for this presentation I remembered a great quote from Peter Drucker, in that “culture eats strategy for breakfast” and therefore the need to ensure cultural alignment with suppliers is highly important (read my previous article on supplier selection). It’s a topic of huge interest to me. We live in a multicultural society and understanding cultural impacts in decision making is imperative.

Recently Harvard business review published a link to a simple cultural tool, it’s easy to take and makes for interesting reading when you analyse the results.

The profile test suggests that to get an accurate picture, you need to gauge cognitive, relational, and behavioural differences where cultural gaps are most common—and to assess yourself in those areas.

There are two other notable researches on country culture that are worth understanding if you are sourcing internationally as part of understanding risks.  See The Hofstede Centre and Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology

You may also consider that as organisations are now more international, the heritage of the company may be as important as the country in which they are operating in.

You can subscribe directly to the sources I have identified here (nothing is my copyright), and if you wanted to discuss please feel free to contact me via Procurious, or follow me on Twitter.

Procurious’ eye on the news

Brazil nuts

Nestle looks to improve animal welfare

Nestle have pledged to improve animal welfare in their supply chain. The organisation has teamed up with World Animal Protection, the first major food organisation to do so, to improve standards and hold suppliers to account for practices such as battery farming, force growing, etc. and force them to improve welfare standards.

Nut prices go nuts

Nut prices in the supply chain for hazelnuts (52 per cent year on year increase) and coconut (74 per cent year on year increase) have shot up due to adverse weather conditions in Turkey and East Asia respectively. However, prices for both almonds and Brazil nuts have dropped from highs earlier in the year as production issues have been eased. (Just as an FYI – the largest producer of Brazil Nuts…Bolivia!)

Glasgow seeks next procurement superstars

City of Glasgow college has launched procurement and supply chain apprenticeships to encourage young people into a career in the industry. The apprenticeships will aim to replicate experiences in a real working environment and the curriculum has been developed, and is updated regularly, with help from procurement professionals.

Read more on all these stories over at Supply Management

Australia and Indonesia agree on cattle and beef sales

Australia and Indonesia have signed an agreement on cattle and beef sales to increase Indonesian food security. Australia are expecting a 77 per cent increase on levels of shipped live heads of cattle (currently 395,000 p/a) this year and will commit to providing proven breeds of cows, improvement in Indonesian abattoirs and redesigning of cattle transport ships.

Read more at Global News

And finally: let’s talk about online shopping…

Here’s a really interesting blog on why online retail isn’t the goldmine people think it is.

Read more on HBR

The great Cuban beer crisis of 2014

Oh where O my beero?

Cuba has run out of beer

If you’re popping open a can of ice-cold refreshment this weekend, spare a thought for the beer-deprived people of Cuba. The combination of a hotter-than-average summer and a shortage of malt barley has resulted in a perfect storm…

Cuba’s largest brewery – Bucanero, was said to have suffered from delayed imports of malted barley during the months of Jan-April. This shortage led to a sharp fall in production, and numbers haven’t been enough to sustain a healthy supply chain in what’s been Cuba’s third-hottest summer since 1951.

Bucanero produces four of the island’s main beer imprints, namely: Bucanero, Cristal, Cacique and Mayabe.

As a joint venture between the Cuban state and brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev – you could say Bucanero has something of a monopoly on beer in Cuba.

Cuban woman and dog
“Nope, no beer in here…”

Demand for beer has far outstripped supply, bringing vastly-inflated prices with it, as eager drinkers scour the island for the last remaining dregs. In-fact, figures revealed that Bucanero produced just 55 per cent of the expected output during the affected period. Other imported beers were said to be available to the thirsty hordes, but Cuba’s ‘paladares’ (private restaurants) have been quick to take advantage of the dry-spell.

Hip hops

Meanwhile in the United States: the hop industry is struggling to keep up with surging demand from the craft brewing community.

The average price for hops has grown from just $1.88 a pound back in 2004, to $3.59 in 2013. But craft brewers use more of the hoppy stuff than traditional breweries (1.25 vs 0.2 pounds), thereby putting a strain on hop supplies.

Supply chain risk drops to 18 month low

Enjoy this week’s news bulletin on your chemical-free Apple device, while enjoying a bowl of cornflakes, before washing it all down with some refreshing coconut water.

Popularity of coconut water

The rise and rise of coconut water

  • Once the drink of exotic holidays and childhood funfairs, coconut water is now the de rigueur beverage available in food emporia, bodegas and hotel minibars from New Delhi to New York. Indeed, in North America – the biggest global market for coconut water today – sales of the top three most popular brands went from almost zero in 2004 to nearly $400m by 2013.
  • Yet far from lifting coconut farmers out of poverty, we’re left in a situation whereby farmers receive about $0.12 – $0.25 per coconut and earn anything between $72 – $7,000 a year, according to Fair Trade USA. In contrast, the average serving of coconut water sells for $1.50 in the US, or £1.85 in a UK supermarket for a 330ml carton.

Apple bans hazardous chemicals from supply chain

  • Tech giant Apple has banned the use of two hazardous chemicals in its production line, after investors urged the firm to better protect the workers in its supply chain.
  • The firm announced in a statement this week that benzene and n-hexane would no longer be used in its production plants, though it insisted it had found no evidence that workers had been harmed.
  • In an open letter to Lisa Jackson, vice-president of environmental initiatives at Apple, investors, asset managers and businesses therefore demanded that Apple eliminate all dangerous chemicals from its supplier factories. The campaign group Green America also launched a consumer petition, urging Apple to better protect Chinese workers.

Read more at Blue & Green Tomorrow

Read the full feature on The Guardian’s Sustainable Business pages

Kenya eyes e-procurement system to curb corruption

  • In a move expected to curb corruption and improve transparency in Kenya’s public procurement, the Kenyan government has unveiled a landmark electronic procurement and payment system.
  • The system, e-procurement, was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta with the promise of helping the Government eliminate middlemen and corruption in its much-tainted procurement process.
  • It is estimated that weaknesses in public procurement, including vulnerability to corruption, are a global problem with approximately KSh34.9 trillion reported as being lost to bribery and corruption in procurement globally.
  • Deputy President William Ruto said: “The system is significant as it will eliminate gatekeepers, middlemen and brokers who have made procurement a nightmare.”

Read more on East African Business Week

Kellogg’s says it’s crunch time for supply chain emissions

  • Cereals giant Kellogg’s has announced that it wants suppliers to disclose greenhouse gas emissions as part of an ambitious package of new environmental targets.
  • The manufacturer of brands such as Corn Flakes and Pringles unveiled its Sustainability Report featuring new goals for 2020 to expand the use of low carbon energy, reduce water use and eliminate waste, alongside a commitment towards more responsible sourcing of the company’s top 10 ingredients and materials.
  • A Climate Policy statement also outlines how Kellogg’s will for the first time set and disclose a greenhouse gas reduction target for its entire supply chain by the end of December 2015, using a science-based method consistent with the goal of keeping global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius.

Read more on BusinessGreen

Cases of ebola fever in Africa from 1979 to 2008.
Cases of ebola fever in Africa from 1979 to 2008.

Ebola outbreak and Ukrainian conflict have little effect on supply chains

  • Geopolitical and major disease risks have had less effect than widely believed on the world economy, with supply chains at their least risky levels for a year and a half.
  • According to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), supply chain risk dropped to an 18-month low in the second quarter of the year, having fallen for three quarters in a row.
  • The CIPS index attempts to take account of economic, social and political factors.
  • However, the group believes that there may be something of a downturn in the second half of the year, especially given the risk of an increasingly violent conflict in eastern Ukraine and frostier western relations with Russia.

Read more on City A.M.

Americans to manage MoD military procurement

  • Unions and industry insiders are up in arms because two US engineering companies have been asked to oversee the way in which the Ministry of Defence runs the £14bn arm that buys military kit.
  • The Independent can reveal that San Francisco-based Bechtel and Denver’s CH2M Hill have bagged the programme management contracts for the Bristol-based Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S). This agency buys and looks after everything from forklift trucks to Astute class submarines, but is being overhauled by the Government so as to get better value for the taxpayer.
  • Sources said around half of these experts will be flown in from the US. This would cost around £5m more than just using British staff, with the remuneration including food and accommodation expenses.

Read more on the Independent

Don’t forget you can register to receive daily Procurious news-alerts using our brand-new News service.