Category Archives: Procurious News

2015 Rewind – Best of the Blog: 3D Printing – The End of Outsourcing?

Our second blog rewind looks at the idea that 3D Printing will have a major impact on the way organisations manufacture their products and ultimately how their supply chains are set up for outsourcing.

From golf clubs to firearms, pharmaceuticals to trainers, 3D Printing is disrupting the manufacturing process of an increasing number of products. But what are the long-term implications for the supply chain as a whole?

It’s a common misconception that 3D printing is something new. Although the processes and thinking for it have been around for a number of years, it’s taken a while for the technology to catch up and allow wider functionality and usage.

As a procurement and supply chain professional, this opens up a world of possibilities – a world of potential cost savings as a result of lower manufacturing costs and a centralised supply chain. Of course this isn’t going to happen overnight, but organisations can start to think differently.

The End Outsourced Manufacturing?

Manufacturing in particular has the potential to see a big change. The advances in 3D Printing can allow certain products to be made in house, instead of being outsourced to ‘low cost’ countries. While good news for organisations bringing more jobs back home, it doesn’t provide a rosy outlook for countries like Mexico and China, traditionally strongholds for low-cost manufacturing.

By bringing manufacturing closer to home, it also gives organisations an opportunity to reduce risk in their logistics, reduce lead-times and make savings on transportation costs. Plus, there’s the lower carbon footprint of global activities as an added bonus. This is all illustrated in this neat infographic.

3d printing supply chain infographic

In the pharmaceutical industry, manufacturers are using 3D Printing to improve medicines delivery systems for patients. Printers are being used to produce pyramid-shaped pills, which provide a more rapid drug release than cylindrical pills, and layered tablets that dissolve quicker and more efficiently.

While these processes are still in their infancy, manufacturers are hopeful that technology and science will work hand in hand, lowering production costs, enabling local production and, in the long run, reducing the end cost for patients.

Changes in the Supply Chain

Beyond enabling organisations to bring manufacturing back to a local setting, lowering logistics and transportation risks and costs and even maybe reducing globalisation as a whole, there are other impacts in the supply chain to think about.

Organisations will be able to produce prototypes of designs much faster than before and facilitate testing by being able to print on site. Organisations will also be able to print packaging materials, more tailored to certain products, as well as tools, jigs and other aids for manufacturing.

Finally, the requirement to hold inventory can be reduced by having designs for applicable products and other parts held on a hard drive, ready to be printed on demand, rather than physically stored in a warehouse.

Beware the Magic Bullet

A word of warning, though. As great as all this sounds, there are still risks and issues that need to be considered with 3D Printing.

Protection of copyright and security of patents is a big deal when all the designs are held on a hard drive that could be hacked from outside the organisation. Some organisations have taken steps to protect their intellectual property, but can you be 100 per cent sure you’re safe from cyber attack?

On the environmental side, although footprints are lowered for transportation, the need for printers to run continuously to be cost-effective means increased energy usage and costs. This would lead also to increased carbon footprints for local factories.

Finally, with greater efficiencies in the supply chain, reduced transportation requirements and potentially fewer warehouses, where does that leave the supply chain manager? If parts are going to be printed on site as required, there isn’t going to be the need for someone to manage an end-to-end process.

Best learn how to use the printers then!

Do you work in an industry that’s seen an increase in 3D Printing? Do you work with printers – have we missed any big benefits? Let us know and get involved in the discussion! 

2015 Rewind – Best of Learning: Where are Procurement’s Blind Spots?

We’re looking back at 2015 and the best of the eLearning videos, podcasts and interviews new to the site during the year. 

In our first revisited video, we take you back to the Big Ideas Summit, where we hosted a fantastic panel discussion on the subject of risk, and where procurement’s blind spots are.

The panel included procurement influencers and thought leaders including Tim Hughes, Olinga Ta’eed, Chris Lynch, Giles Breault, Nic Walden, Jason Busch and Lance Younger, who all gave their opinions on the risks the profession will face in the coming years.

With hot topics like social value, procurement transformation, procurement moving away from Finance and leveraging external innovation, the conversation got a little heated… But suffice to say this is one discussion you don’t want to miss out on!

See all the keynotes and panel discussions from the Big Ideas Summit, plus Big Ideas from our 40+ Influencers.

Like this? Join Procurious for FREE and meet like-minded procurement professionals from across the world.

Procurious Big Ideas Keynote #5 – The Business Case for Creating a Procurement Network

Procurious’ founder Tania Seary rounded the day off at the Big Ideas Summit with a keynote focusing on why procurement networks are an incredibly valuable tool for the profession.

Tania started off with a statistic that there are 27 indigenous tribes in the Amazon region that are entirely disconnected from the rest of the world, comparing that to the often isolated procurement profession.

She then looked at the impact of social media on the profession, and how it can help to create the community for procurement to allow us to work together, solve problems and ultimately create value for businesses. One of these platforms is Procurious.

Watch the full keynote here.

See all the keynotes and panel discussions from the Big Ideas Summit, plus Big Ideas from our 40+ Influencers.

Like this? Join Procurious for FREE and meet like-minded procurement professionals from across the world.

Best of the Procurious Discussion Forum 2015

In 2015, Procurious members started over 400 discussions, and provided an amazing 2000+ answers for these burning questions.

These discussions covered a vast range of topics, from Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and professional qualifications, to eSourcing and if there is a typical Myers Briggs profile for procurement professionals. We’ve picked out the most popular Discussions of 2015 to have another look at, and perhaps inspire you to start your own.

KPIs for Procurement Function

We frequently talk about the concept of KPIs or metrics, both for procurement to measure, and for procurement to be measured by. There were a few discussions started on the subject of procurement KPIs, but one in particular that generated some interesting debate.

The Discussion asked for the community’s thoughts on the top KPIs that could be used for measuring procurement performance. While the KPIs and metrics mentioned by the respondents didn’t throw up too many surprises, what was surprising was what the most common answer was.

In fifteen of the responses a savings KPI was mentioned as one of the key metrics. At a time where procurement departments are looking to move away from savings targets, it is surprising that such a high percentage of professionals would highlight it as a key KPI.

A number of respondents highlighted value as a key KPI, however it was much lower than savings, and also lower than total spend managed. Even within the small sample, it’s clear that the traditional mindsets of procurement professionals still have to be changed.

Other key KPIs highlighted were:

  • Percentage of on time delivery
  • Total Spend
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Stock Turnover
  • Quality
  • Supplier Consolidation
  • Supply Chain Security & Risk
  • Cost Avoidance
  • Customer of Choice
  • Procurement Engagement
  • Time
  • Inventory
  • Sustainability
  • Ethics
  • Agility
  • TCO

Within the other discussions on the site, it was recommended that there be a limit on the number of KPIs in use, with 6 being a good number that could be effectively used and reported on. As well as this, the KPIs needed to be meaningful to both parties in order to be successful.

How Did You Get Your Start in Procurement?

One of the more popular discussion from earlier in 2015 concerned how members of the Procurious community had come to be part of the procurement profession.

Traditionally, many professionals have ‘fallen’ into procurement, and only recently has the trend shifted towards graduates actually setting out to have a career in procurement. Within the community, there were certainly a few who ended up in procurement by ‘accident’ or ‘fell’ into the profession, but also many who had been moved into procurement by their organisations.

It was interesting to see that a number (including one of Procurious’ own!) moved into procurement to escape another profession. As well as this, there were professionals who had either made a conscious choice at the outset of their career, or chosen to move following exposure to procurement activities.

There were also a number of success stories from people who ended up in procurement despite this not being their qualification and then succeeding in adding value or creating savings for their organisations.

It just goes to show that there are a number of ways into the profession, but the vast majority of professionals stick with it once they are there!

Is there a ‘typical’ Myers-Briggs profile for procurement pros?

People’s interest was certainly piqued by this question, and it was one of the most answered discussions of the year. As it stands, there is no one profile that is most common for procurement professionals, although there are some trends that have emerged.

A full breakdown of the responses shows:

  • ENTP – 10
  • ENTJ – 6
  • INTJ – 6
  • INFP – 3
  • ISTP – 2
  • ENFP – 2
  • INFJ – 2
  • INTP – 1
  • ISFJ – 1
  • ENFJ – 1
  • ESTJ – 1
  • ISTJ – 1

The most common trait across the network was for N (Intuiting), which appeared in 30 of the profiles. In theory, this meant that we have a group of professionals who are good at spotting patterns and plan well for the future, who also like to acquire new skills.

Whether this is what you perceive procurement professionals as or not, the concept certainly provided some very different viewpoints. One other idea that was mooted as part of the question was whether our profiles change over time, and if we have the profiles we do because we are in procurement, or the other way around?

Other Popular Discussions

There were other great, popular discussions on the topics of vendor management best practice, definitions or first thoughts on hearing the word eSourcing, whether or not professional accreditation and courses were worthwhile in procurement and responsibility in organisations for the drafting and issuing of a specification or brief.

You can also catch up with our Discussion Wraps from 2015 on the Procurious blog by following one of the links below:

And don’t forget, you can always start your own discussion on any topic you can think of from procurement and supply chain. Let’s keep the Discussion forum just as busy in 2016 and continue sharing the knowledge!

Procurious Big Ideas Keynote #4 – Ethics in the Profession

The growing influence of the procurement function in organisations has both positive and negative potential consequences.

David Noble, Group Chief Executive of The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), provides a fascinating insight into the profession from the point of view of the chartered body.

Addressing and shifting some paradigms about procurement first, David then goes on to speak about the importance of ethics and compliance and how licensing the profession helps professionals in their day-to-day roles.

Watch the full keynote here.

See all the keynotes and panel discussions from the Big Ideas Summit, plus Big Ideas from our 40+ Influencers.

Like this? Join Procurious for FREE and meet like-minded procurement professionals from across the world.

Best of the Procurious Blog 2015

At Procurious, we pride ourselves on publishing high quality, original and interesting content on our blog. In 2015, we have produced, hosted and provided over 600 articles for our community to read.

Best of the Blog

We were honoured this year to receive a “Highly Commended Company” award in the UK Blog Awards 2015 for PR, Marketing, Media and Comms (we’re hoping to go one better in 2016 and win!) – this is a great achievement for us in our first full year of the Procurious blog.

As we draw towards the end of the year, we’re going to take a look back at some of articles that made a real impact with the community, and sparked discussions on Procurious and across social media.

Procurement Careers

During 2015, much of the focus in procurement and supply chain was on how to attract, retain and developing the best talent, but also on personal development and career progression.

Our most read article of 2015 was from our founder, Tania Seary, who let us all in on her Sure-Fire Tips for Becoming a CPO

We also featured an article on the new Apple CEO Tim Cook, himself a former Supply Chain Manager, and his rise to the top position at one of the world’s top organisations. It’s always great to see a procurement or supply chain professional take the lead in an organisation, as it helps to showcase the value of our function to the wider audience.

We also had top tips when considering a procurement role in Singapore, as well as the skills Generation Y or Millennials need to get a head start in their procurement careers.

Technology Trends

Another of our key themes in 2015 was on the increasing impact of technology on procurement and supply chain. The idea that both procurement and supply chain will be affected by technology in the coming years was a popular one, as well as how organisations could use these technologies to their advantage.

One subject that kept popping up during the year was 3D Printing and how this technology was changing the supply chain. We examined what the growth of 3D Printing meant for manufacturing and outsourcing, which generated plenty of interest and comments.

Entwined in the theme of future technologies was the concept of digitisation and the increasing use of digital currencies and payment mechanisms, such as bitcoin. We highlighted the use of these digital currencies as part of 5 “Megatrends” in technology, as well as how they can be used to assist with supply chain transparency.

Finally, we looked at how technology is disrupting industries and professions, including procurement, as part of an “Uberized” economy, and which technological ‘Unicorns‘ to watch out for in the coming years.

Social Media

No round up would be complete without a look at social media and it’s fast-growing impact on the world of procurement and supply chain. The benefits of social media aren’t clear to all, as we found out when looking at CPO input to networks and social media.

We also offered some insights into the potential pitfalls of social media when using it as part of your procurement and career activities, and examined the role of social media in breaking news events, both from a positive and negative point of view, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Best of the Rest

Our round-up wouldn’t be complete without having a look at some of the other popular topics from this year.

Early in the year we highlighted the disruptive forces keeping CPOs awake at night – it will be interesting to see whether these are the same in 2016.

One of our most popular articles from 2014 was also popular in 2015 – our list of procurement influencers. Stay tuned in 2016 to see our updated list!

And finally, late this year we focused on the role of women in procurement and supply chain. As part of this Tania Seary picked out the 10 women who had influenced her procurement career – check out Part 1 and Part 2 of her list again.

We hope you enjoy reading these articles again (or for the first time!). Have you got a favourite from this year? Why not let us know!

Procurious Big Ideas Keynote #3 – How Procurement is Elevating its role

Looking to the future in the Big Ideas Summit third keynote was Chris Sawchuk, Principle and Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader at The Hackett Group.

Chris spoke about organisational agility and the need for organisations to adapt and move quickly in a constantly-changing business environment.

From a procurement standpoint, Chris argued that it means learning from the likes of UBER and being more customer centric and delivering value beyond cost savings, while being more active in promoting itself as a function.

Watch the full keynote here.

See all the keynotes and panel discussions from the Big Ideas Summit, plus Big Ideas from our 40+ Influencers.

Like this? Join Procurious for FREE and meet like-minded procurement professionals from across the world.

Procurious Big Ideas Keynote #2 – Big Ideas in Big Companies

The second keynote from the Big Ideas Summit was delivered by Chris Lynch, CFO at Rio Tinto, who picked out the key theme of risks and blind spots in procurement.

Chris spoke about fostering a culture of “intrapreneurship” within large organisations and understanding that the bigger your idea is, the more resistance it will face.

However he went on to state that by persisting with your idea, taking ideas from other sources, including suppliers, and showing the outcomes, you are more likely to succeed.

Watch the full keynote here.

See all the keynotes and panel discussions from the Big Ideas Summit, plus Big Ideas from our 40+ Influencers.

Like this? Join Procurious for FREE and meet like-minded procurement professionals from across the world.

Procurious Big Ideas Keynote #1 – The Chefs in your Procurement Kitchen

The Big Ideas Summit’s first keynote was delivered by Sigi Osagie, coach and author of Procurement Mojo.

Sigi’s focus was on the people side of procurement, and he spoke passionately about how, while processes and technology are critical enablers for procurement success, ultimately it’s people that make the real difference.

Watch the full keynote here.

See all the keynotes and panel discussions from the Big Ideas Summit, plus Big Ideas from our 40+ Influencers.

Like this? Join Procurious for FREE and meet like-minded procurement professionals from across the world.