Category Archives: Procurement News

Supply chains need to take action to fight ‘fast fashion’

Young women working in a sweat shop

The fast fashion dilemma

The move toward ‘fast fashion’ is putting major pressure on those working in the procurement departments.

Fashion can cycle in and out of retail stores across the globe in a matter of weeks; putting those in procurement under constant pressure to ensure their supply chain is clean.

For many professionals working in this field, it’s a perpetual battle to balance the insatiable appetite for the latest dirt-cheap fashion with the constant demand that retailers stop the rag trade. Though perhaps not surprisingly, it’s pretty much impossible to find anyone willing to go on the record about how they tackle this issue to ensure their fast fashion supply chain is clean.

There are industry whispers that many procurement missions to places like China can result in more questions than answers. Often, a myriad of ‘agents’ acting on behalf of other sections of the supply chain make it extremely difficult for those in procurement to truly understand who they’re hiring, and whether they’re the sort of ethical supplier you’re hoping for.

This cry for help was found sewed into a Primark garment earlier this week.
This cry for help was found sewed into a Primark garment earlier this week. Darren Britton/Wales News Service

Most recently in Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued a warning about a dangerous dye found in jeans on sale in Australian stores.

Tests uncovered clothes with high concentration of the dyes, which sparked recalls of more than 121,000 items from retailers including Myer, Target, Rivers, Trade Secret and Just Jeans. A number of children’s clothes, including jeans from Myer, Just Jeans and Target, were included in the recall.

This situation will no doubt have caused major headaches for someone working in procurement, somewhere along the line. It’s also an example of why it’s so important for those in procurement to know where and how garments are being made.

After all, it doesn’t take much more than a few questions to be asked and some information to be shared on social media for a major brand to cop a beating over a supplier that’s possibly a long way down the supply chain.

However, some of the big brands have been working hard to clean up their act.

H&M, which is now in Australia, wants to prove to consumers that it’s doing the right thing. According to media reports, H&M has put a plan in place to avoid sourcing fabrics from endangered forest and also promote the use of fabrics that come from Forest Stewardship Council certified plantations. The company will also work to build traceable and sustainable production of these fabrics in its own supply chain.

For other major brands, the answer lies in innovation.

Stephen Denning, supply chain expert and author of the book Radical Management says brands like Zara have solved the problem of how to get disciplined execution with continuous innovation. “The way they lay out their factories, the design team is right in the middle of the factory, so that the whole process of learning from the manufacturers and vice versa is horizontal,” Denning was quoted as saying in The Business of Fashion.

People of Procurious, where do you stand on this “fast fashion” fixation? Make your voice heard and  leave your comments below.

Are limes leaving a bitter taste in your mouth? Find out why…

*We never claimed to be experts of all-things green, but we can tell you a thing or two about supplies…

The past seven days has delivered bad news for Tequila fans… Beats headphones were banned from World Cup, and adidas have been eyeing-up sustainable solutions. It’s all going-off…

Here’s the news in-brief:

Prices of Mexican limes have quadrupled following poor harvest

Supply Chain Prices

· Heavy rains and a poor winter crop has caused a spike in the price of Mexican limes, quadrupling since the beginning of the year

· Mexico exports 467,000 tons of lemons and limes each year globally and these prices will affect the USA in particular

· It’s also bad news around the rest of the world for anyone who drinks tequila or Corona…

Read more at Spend Matters

Sustainability (Germany)

· The adidas Group announced a strategic partnership with bluesign technologies to drive sustainable solutions in their supply chain

· The partnership will include environmental auditing on chemical management processes, as well as provision of information on the use of sustainable materials in manufacturing

Read more at Sustainable Brands

Ethics (UK)

· The UK government has been called upon to create a program reinforcing the requirement for ethical standards in public service contracting

· The Committee on Standards in Public Life also called upon government departments to consider ethics as a “professional commercial capability requirement” in all contracts

Technology (UK)

· Procurement professionals should fully embrace new technology as part of the transformation from a transactional to strategic function

· ‘The Buying Game’ roundtable in Manchester said that there needed to be a shift in culture in order for professionals to get full benefit from the technology

Read more at Supply Management

Consumer News

· The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has won a court case against Australian supermarket Coles

· Coles’ claim that all their bread was baked fresh in store daily, was successfully challenged as some of their par-baked products were actually produced off-site

Read more at ABC News 

Technology (USA)

· Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk, has written an open blog to all companies allowing them to use the company’s patents in their own products

· Musk believes that by sharing the technologies it will drive more companies to produce electric cars to the benefit of the environment

Read more at Supply Chain 24/7

Beats have been banned in stadiums around Brazil

Brand Marketing

· FIFA have banned Beats headphones from inside stadiums at the Football World Cup in Brazil

· Beats, owned by Apple, are popular with public and athletes alike, but as Sony are a partner sponsor of the tournament, the move has been made to protect their market

Read more at CNet

World-class Procurement (Canada)

· Kurt Albertson of The Hackett Group has highlighted how organisations should be focusing on innovation to grow their revenue

· However, an issue cited was how innovation is being defined, with a number of different definitions offered by CPOs

Read more at Purchasing B2B

Child Labour

·  As World Day against Child Labour (12th June) was marked, Human Rights Watch challenged companies to prevent child labour throughout their supply chains

· Throughout the world, there are still organisations conducting business with companies using child labour either knowingly or through not asking questions of their own suppliers

Read more at Huffington Post 

E-Invoicing

· Billentis has released its 2014 e-invoicing report

· The full report is available on the Billentis website and covers, amongst other things, China’s attempts to use e-invoicing to combat tax evasion

Why are supply chain disruption and sustainability our hot topics of the week?

Marks and Spencer

Hello and welcome to your one-stop shop for everything Procurement news-related.

Find out which e-procurement organisation Selectica has acquired… UK darlings of fashion and homeware, Marks and Spencer (M&S) – talk about sustainability, and we learn which countries are most at risk from supply chain disruption.

So without further ado, lets see what’s been going on in the world…

Key Skills for Procurement
• Continuing the blog from the previous week, CPO Rising highlights skills that are required for procurement
• Business Consulting skills can help procurement professionals define scope, manage projects and capture requirements more effectively

Read more at CPO Rising

Iasta acquisition (USA)
• Contract management software provider Selectica has acquired e-procurement organisation Iasta in a deal worth US$7m
• Selectica plan to use the new acquisition to enhance their customer offering by integrating the contract management and e-procurement offerings for enterprises

Global Sustainability (UK)
• UK company Marks and Spencer plan to take their ‘Plan A’ sustainability scheme global
• Plan A 2020, will include new targets around worldwide sourcing principles around issues such as human rights and gender equality

Supply Chain Disruption (Global)
• The FM Global resilience index shows which countries are most susceptible to disruption in their supply chains
• Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Kyrgyzstan were named as the countries most susceptible to disruption
• Norway, Switzerland and Canada topped the list of nations most resistant to such disruption

Read more at Supply Management

Impact of Leadership (USA)
• Guest blog from Samir Patel (Director, GEP) on the Impact of Leadership on Procurement Organisations
• Emphasises the need for strong leadership in Procurement functions and alignment with the wider organisation when considering strategy
• Also gives some good recommendations beyond leadership for optimising the procurement organisation

Read more at the SIG Industry Blog 

Tips for Negotiation (USA)
• Some tips are offered for negotiating when you are in a weak position and how to make the best business case you can
• Tips include being fully prepared, asking questions and listening and keeping cool during the negotiation

Read more at Harvard Business Review

Procurement Focus (USA/UK)
• New study shows that procurement focus is shifting from just cost reduction to innovation and influence
• The Hackett Group study found that only half of the executives surveyed said that cost reduction was their key strategic focus for this year
• 69% of the organisations highlighted a focus on supplier innovation in the coming year

Read more at SDC Executive

What’s been happening in the world of procurement?

Belgium's motorway at night

Here’s your weekly digest of all-things procurement from some of the best industry sources on the web. Aren’t we good to you?

The last week has seen stories on the issue of carbon reduction in Belgium, the ‘rebirth’ of the US Manufacturing industry, and questions asked over the obsession of cost when it comes to procurement marketing.

Eyes down for all the news:

Skills for Procurement (USA)
• Ardent Partners’ Procurement Staff Competency Matrix developed with CPOs has identified a number of competencies for procurement professionals
• Cite ‘Leveraging Technology to Drive Business Value’ as one of the high important competencies from a CPO point of view

Read more at CPO Rising

Brand Procurement (UK)
• CPO of Rexam, organisation based in London, says that individuals should develop their own procurement brand to get ahead
• Alex Jennings offers 5 tips for developing your brand including ‘learning on the job’, ‘engaging with the business’ and ‘surrounding yourself with good people’

Marketing Procurement – ProcureCon Marketing (UK)
• Debate at ProcureCon Marketing highlighted that too many people are still focused on cost when it comes to Procurement Marketing
• Speakers proposed a different view that the primary focus should be working with the right people
• Diageo CPO also told delegates that cooperation between procurement and marketing was essential due to the complexity of marketing procurement
• Kevin Parke, indirect procurement director for Coca Cola Enterprises, also stated that procurement needed to look at the relationship in terms of adding value, rather than cost and price

Carbon Reduction (Belgium)
• AB InBev have pledged to cut carbon emissions in its Logistics operations by 15% by the end of 2017
• This will also save the organisation up to $200m

Read more at Supply Management

U.S. Manufacturing (USA)
• Much of the political conversations in the USA have stated a ‘rebirth’ of the US Manufacturing industry
• However, both Forbes and the New York Times have argued that the ‘rebirth’ is more of a hoax than reality
• The reality is more that this is a balancing of the industry after years of work moving to China and low cost companies

Read more at Harvard Business Review

Business Highlights
• Supplier Standardisation in Procurement – best practices outlined
• Improving the outcome of Government IT Procurement – success factors can include engaging the market early and developing a cost/outcome focused program IT strategy
• New paper available from Spend Matters on getting the most out of your procurement analytics

Read more at Spend Matters 

Social procurement is gathering global momentum

People sitting around a table

Companies bold enough to step into social procurement are discovering that it’s helping solve business problems and also improving the bottom line.

A recent report on social procurement found that the movement is gathering momentum both in governments and private businesses around the world.

The report, Corporate Social Procurement in Australia, was conducted by Australia’s leading social enterprise development organisation, Social Traders and The Faculty, and found that 67 per cent of companies to respond currently undertake social procurement, or intend to do so in the near future.

It found that more than $905 million was directed to social procurement by 11 businesses. This figure is expected to rise quickly, with another 18 respondents committed to connecting social procurement initiatives by 2014. The research included a literature review and a survey of 21 Australian businesses with a market capitalisation of $221 billion.

Many companies tip their toes into social procurement with a pilot program, or undertake work within discrete business areas. Some go on to develop company policies to ensure social procurement becomes the norm.

A program’s success is usually measured by jobs created, volume and percentage of total money spent, and the value delivered to the organisation and the community.

Leighton Contractors chief procurement officer, Visna Lampasi is one of those in this space to facilitate a significant engagement project with indigenous businesses into the supply chain, increasing expenditure with indigenous suppliers to $3 million last year, with a $5 million target set for this year. This achievement has gone partway toward seeing her named CPO of the Year for 2014.

Craig Laslett, managing director of Leighton Contractors says the company believes it has a responsibility to contribute to the growth and advancement of Indigenous people and communities.

“Our organisation-wide focus on strong leadership and advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Straight people and their communities starts from the top, with my personal commitment to enhancing the lives and opportunities for Indigenous Australians.”

Leading Australian construction, mining and services contractors, Thiess Services moved into this space more than a decade ago when it invited a social enterprise specialising in land care management, Marriott Enviro Services, to provide workers for landscape operations to general maintenance, grass and garden maintenance and painting.

Since 2009, Thiess has spent around $1.3 million a year with Marriott, which employs a large number of people with a disability.

Cadbury

Australian FMCG brand Cadbury also made a strategic decision to shift to Fair Trade certified cocoa in 2010, at a cost of $45 million. Soon after this, Cadbury became the world’s largest buyer of certified cocoa, with sales increasing.

Todd Stitzer, CEO of Cadbury said in an interview included in the report that: “The greatest power consumers have is of their buying dollar … if consumers feel that they want products more ethically produced, they should buy what they value.”

And yet, many corporates have little understanding of social procurement.

Matthew Bonwick of The Faculty Management Consultants says that the greatest challenge to the implementation of social procurement is where to start.

The key is to start small and work up to bigger things, he says.

“Many passionate advocates can be found on the ground floor of corporates, so identify existing leaders from within before scaling up,” he says.

Broad spectrum adoption from within a company is critical to corporate legitimacy in the medium run, he says.

“As markets develop and consumers become more educated, these strategies will become defining elements of competitor advantage. And key enablers will be passionate people and strategic senior managers who are willing to support the learning curve.”

Tag, you’re it! Can you spot yourself?

We’ve posted up a choice selection of photos from The Faculty’s recent FLiP 2014 event. Set against the glorious backdrop of Sydney harbour the event offered procurement’s brightest stars a valuable learning experience that was both engaging and interactive.

Our man Jack Slade talked to the assembled throng about all-things Procurious – talking through its inception, encouraging sign-ups and providing a guided tour.

Stay glued to Procurious.com if you want to be among the first to hear about forthcoming activities.


Spotted yourself? Share photos with your network by hitting the share button.

Video highlights from The Faculty’s CPO Forum

The procurement industry’s finest gathered in Sydney recently for a double-header of insight and opinion.

Now the tables have been cleared away and the last sausage roll eaten, we take a look back at some of the highlights. Quick, fetch the popcorn!

The Faculty ‘Tough Love’ Highlights from Orsino Media on Vimeo.

Enjoy what you saw? Then we’d love you to share it with your friends on Procurious.

Meanwhile in London… (at the World Procurement Congress)

Credit: Steve Budd (@stevembudd)
Credit: Steve Budd (@stevembudd)

The World Procurement Congress 14 as told by Twitter.

Over 19-20 May London played host to the World Procurement Congress. Now in its second year the event brought together CPOs and thinkers in procurement and supply chain management from all over the world.

Here is what attendees have been saying about it on Twitter:

@AlanGleeson Standing room only for Bernd Huber & David Natoff from Google #WPC Prioritisation a key challenge.NB of category knowledge & responsiveness

@XchProcurement Where do #TailEndSpend savings come from? – Spend reclassification, compliance, demand management and automated processes, says Olivier

@HarryJohn_PL #WPC performance roundtable hosted by @Beroe_inc. Want to empower #procurement? Align with finance.

@AlanHollandCork Cynthia Dautrich talks about unleashing the power of the supply base at The World Procurement Congress

@LizmaffeiPL More great insights from Cynthia Dautrich: Experience drives 70% of learning ability, exposure drives 20% & education final component

@Nightingale_PL Women in Procurment…leave perfection at the front door #WPC

@AlanGleeson Hans Melotte CPO @JNJNews advocates greater diversity amongst the #procurement community

‏@markperera 4-5 trillion of spend represented at the World Procurement Congress – wow

@stevembudd The word procurement will disappear in 10 years…CPOs will turn into Value Creation Officers. Clive Heal at Roche #wpc

‏@HarryJohn_PL  How can we make it easier to work with #procurement? @Beroe_inc on the merits of an external view on performance.

@tburt85  Save The Children tell #WPC breakout session that 90% of products it buys are sourced locally.

No normal team-building exercise…

Tikes on Bikes team-building eventWhen your company motto reads “we don’t do group hugs” – you know you’re in for something a little different…

Unsuspecting delegates at the 7th Asia-Pacific CPO Forum took part in an emotional team-building exercise under the Sydney sunshine. Their task (should they choose to accept it) to assemble a brand new bicycle, but under the assumption someone from within the team will race the box-fresh bike. Little did they know what lay in store!

The teams built the bikes as normal using the supplied tools, parts, instruction manuals, pumps and other bits. However, before these grown-ups were let loose on their new wheels the big reveal was made and the new owners of the bikes were revealed…

Pinnacle Team Events works with schools and organisations that look after underprivileged children, and it is these children that are the recipients of the day’s bikes.

Tikes on Bikes

Belinda Toohey (Program Manager Training & Events) from The Faculty Management Consultants spoke to Procurious before the event proper. She explained:

“All along I had hoped to find an activity that wasn’t just about the delegates but would be community minded.  The Faculty has a strong Social Procurement philosophy and we encourage good corporate social responsibility so I thought this activity would be a great fit, provide a touching moment for everyone involved and also give delegates the opportunity to network and work together to achieve an outcome.”

You can discover more about Pinnacle Team Events – the masterminds that made the magic happen, on their official website.

Geoffrey Garrett’s love-letter to Australia

Geoffrey Garrett

Former dean of the Australian School of Business (at UNSW) – Geoffrey Garrett captivated delegates in Sydney, just a few short months before he makes a move to the other side of the world.

Back in March it was announced that Garrett would take the helm at the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania). The School will welcome its new dean on 1 July 2014.

Before joining UNSW, Garrett served as dean of the Business School at the University of Sydney and as founding CEO of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

The United States Studies Centre is an important hub that brings together scholars of business, economics, politics and the humanities to deepen understanding of contemporary American issues across Australia and the Pacific Rim. As such, Garrett’s address to the delegates straddled entire continents and looked to America (in-particular) for inspiration.

During the session Garrett made the point that Australia is a taker and not a maker. Broadly speaking, Australia doesn’t pick up on what the US does well – which is to be the most innovative country in the world. Australia has been getting away with uncompetitive policies for years, and has largely managed to avoid all the tough stuff due to its ties with China.

Geoffrey Garrett speaking at CPO Forum

Elsewhere Garrett placed emphasis on the role that the private sector plays, and that it is one of increasing importance. We learnt too of the long-held political assumption that raw materials are an anti innovation sector, and we should be calling for questions around this belief.

The great orator also warned that world interest rates can be expected to increase as a result of the rise in US monetary policy. But the jury’s still out on how this might affect Australia – which is such a vibrant and rich federation because of its income tax breaks.