Category Archives: Procurious News

Forget the Bus, I’ll Travel To My Meeting By Drone!

What will business travel look like in 2017?  We’re not going to see people riding around in personal drones (yet) but it’s starting to look more like The Jetsons all the time.

Technology is having a big impact both on the way employees travel and how managers help them move around the world with ease. Sunny Manivannan and Ethan Laub of our travel and expense team, and Jack Miles, a long-time procurement executive and business advisor share their thoughts on what the year may bring.

1.    Travel and expense management goes mainstream

For firms with good governance and a cost management mindset, travel and credit card spend has always been a focus. Due to rising costs, and a new generation of technology for automating in this area, we will see laggards start to pay attention and begin to focus here as well. –Jack Miles

2.    Loosening of T&E policies

Companies with modern automated tools will relax their travel and expense policies, paradoxically because they now have so much granular T&E data. This might come as a surprise, but we see the T&E spend culture at customer organizations undergoing a once-in-a-generation shift. Given the rise of knowledge workers, the competition for talent and the focus on employee happiness in today’s leading organizations, companies are trying to find ways to give their employees more flexibility. With the data now available to administrators, companies can relax their policies in certain areas and give their employees more flexibility while still protecting the organization from fraud. -–Sunny Mannivanan

3.    Savvier negotiations as hotel costs rise

Travel costs–typically one of the top four expense categories in most firms–will rise as consolidation in the hotel industry continues. Given Marriot’s acquisition of Starwood and other hotelier consolidations, expect to see an increase in average room night cost. Companies with a focus on sourcing for this category will use their data to look beyond room night cost and add in ancillary costs such as food and beverage, parking, and conference and event spend if they have it to give them more leverage in negotiations. –Jack Miles

4.    Airbnb makes inroads with corporates

Airbnb will continue to grow share in business travel as its integrations with corporate travel agencies and booking tools starts to pay-off. Three major travel management companies (TMCs) signed partnerships with the homesharing platform last year, driven at least in part by corporates expressing interest. According to Lex Bayer Airbnb head of global payments and business travel, Airbnb’s average business trip booking is six days. Again, it’s about giving employees options, and a home may better suit travelers in town for a longer-term project than a hotel room.  –Ethan Laub

5.    Ground travel prices fall

Ground travel (Uber, taxis, limos) is one area where prices will decrease. Black car services will continue to lose share to Uber and Lyft, as the car sharing titans roll out more corporate-friendly controls and reporting. Gaining corporate clients has been harder for pink-mustachioed Lyft, according to sharing economy expert Arun Sundarajan, but it scored a major win when Apple announced them as a preferred partner last spring.

Besides increased competition, lower costs are also driving prices down. Newer, more fuel-efficient cars make up a bigger share of fleets, and fuel rates are currently low. There’s one thing that could cause rates to plummet, rather than just tick down: driverless cars. Fuel isn’t the biggest cost. Neither is the car–cars these days are made so well they can easily last for ten years or more. The biggest cost is the driver. Without drivers, rates for rides could fall by as much as 90 percent over the next two or three years, some analysts say. –Sunny Manivannan and Ethan Laub

6.    Expensing of a driverless ride

 Speaking of driverless cars, here’s a bold prediction: 2017 will mark the first time we see an expense line filed for an autonomous car ride. While Uber had to halt its test of autonomous vehicles in San Francisco last December, there are more than a dozen companies either publicly or secretly working on autonomous vehicles. It’s only a matter of time before this technology makes it to the business market. Our question is, what will this expense line look like? What will the amount be? Who will be the vendor of record?

Perhaps there’ll be a time in the not-too-distant future where transportation isn’t something employees even expense. It will simply be a public utility like electricity, where every company simply pays per employee-mile at the end of each month. –Sunny Manivannan 

7.    Virtual assistants everywhere

Since we’re getting all futuristic here, we’re going to go out on a limb and predict that in 2017, every employee will have an assistant, not just executives. These assistants will be virtual, not physical. With Apple’s Siri, the Google Assistant, and the Amazon Echo, consumers have been exposed to the grand idea of a digital around-the-house helper a la Rosie the Robot. And, many business travelers have already experienced a degree of this with mobile apps that do things such as automatically fill out your expense lines based on geolocation data.

This concept will really take off in 2017, with employees having access to really intelligent, self-learning assistants, no matter where they are. And, we will be able to call on these assistants with the touch of a button, a few taps on our keyboards, or simply our voices.

Sunny Manivannan is senior director of special projects at Coupa. Ethan Laub is director of product management. Jack Miles is principal consultant at Mainspring Advisors, a business strategy consulting firm. This article was originally published on the Coupa blog

A Futurist, An Economist, A Professor, A Psychologist and a CFO Walk Into A Bar…

A Futurist, An Economist, A Professor, A Psychologist and a CFO Walk Into A Bar…It may sound like the start of a terrible joke, but in fact, this is the stellar line-up of experts featuring in Even Bigger Ideas. And alright, they didn’t  actually walk into a bar, it was more of a podcast series…

Whether you love learning on the go, at your desk, on your lunch break or from the comfort of your own sofa, Even Bigger Ideas is made for you! The series is free for all Procurious members and can be found in the learning section of the site.

Why not spend 15 minutes with each of our procurement power-players as they highlight the trends disrupting business. Here’s what you can expect:

1. Make Sure You Still Have A Job In 2020

Futurist Anders Sorman-Nilsson warns that unless procurement pros act now, there’s a good chance they’ll find themselves unemployed as early as 2020. It’s time to embrace the gig economy, learn to speak the language of digital and invest in our education.

Listen to Anders’ podcast here or read more here

2. The Unpalatable Update On Thinking The Unthinkable

It turns out that thinking the unthinkable in the current climate is becoming a rather unpalatable affair. Nik Gowing, BBC Broadcaster and Visiting Professor at King’s College, explains why leaders must learn to recognise and handle impending unthinkables or risk going out of business.

Listen to Nik’s podcast here or read more here

3. How Do You Know When Your Idea’s Got Legs?

Creating an encouraging environment for intrapreneurs in the biggest organisations can be tough. Rio Tinto CFO, Chris Lynch, offers advice on fostering innovation and some top tips on assessing when an idea has legs. How do you know if it’s worth investing time, and money, into someone’s idea and what can the biggest companies do to encourage and motivate their employees to think big.

Listen to Chris’ podcast here or read more here.

4. Unleash Your Creative Genius In Fifteen Minutes

Innovation is now firmly on the agenda for businesses worldwide. According to Creative Change Agent James Bannerman, there’s no such thing as a lost cause when it comes to unleashing creativity. It’s simply a matter of re-educating ourselves and learning some tips and tricks to unlock our creative potential.

Listen to James’ podcast here or read more here.

5. Trump & Trade: Hope For The Best & Plan For The Worst

Dr Linda Yueh, a renowned economist, broadcaster and Adjunct Professor of Economics for London Business School, discusses how supply managers can prepare for the major shifts in globalisation, trade and protectionism under Trump. With any luck the potential impacts on our global supply chains are over-exaggerated!

Listen to Linda’s’ podcast here or read more here.

SpaceX, Red Cross Millennials Amongst 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars

Procurement and supply leaders as young as 24 are impacting major companies including SpaceX, A.T. Kearney, Cisco Systems and the American Red Cross. 

ISM and THOMASNET.com today announced the 2016-17 winners of the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars award, presenting the profession with an inspirational batch of role-models who are sure to attract more Millennials to supply management.

Tom Derry, CEO of ISM, says the quality of this year’s crop of stars is inspiring. “Younger generations in the workforce are stepping into leadership roles earlier than their predecessors. This year’s winners are leading the charge, and show that our future is in capable hands.”

“Capable” is an understatement when you look at the achievements of some of these professionals. Andrew Paulsen is a Senior Buyer at SpaceX, one of the highest-profile and most sought-after companies to work for in the U.S. There, he has helped transform the castings commodity into a strategic organisation focused on the reduction of risk and the amplification of innovative designs and production processes.

Amanda DeCook of A.T. Kearney spent nearly a month in Tanzania leading a supply chain diagnostic on life-saving commodities (such as antibiotics) for the remote Sengereme District near Lake Victoria. She was able to make recommendations that would help reduce the likelihood of stock outs in the future, resulting in more lives saved.

Subhash Segireddy, Supply Chain Program Manager at Cisco Systems, led a team which developed a strategy for a manufacturing project which enables resiliency in the supply chain, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and drives millions in cost savings with a vertically aligned supply chain.

In a rapidly changing supply and demand environment, Jaime Todd has created innovative projects for the Red Cross, including a first-ever toolkit for category managers, along with supplier risk frameworks, policies and procedures.

There’s a common thread in the careers of these four Rising Stars, in that they’re all contributing to a wider cause beyond immediate business goals. Whether it’s reducing greenhouse gases, ensuring the supply of life-saving blood, assisting a remote African community or even helping humanity reach Mars, each role taps into the social aspect that has been identified as a major draw-card for Millennial talent.

Three winning characteristics of 30 Under 30 Stars:

According to THOMASNET.com’s Donna Cicale, the judges looked for three main characteristics in this year’s batch of Rising Supply Chain Stars. The 30 winners are:

  • Multi-talented: “We look for people who demonstrate and excel at a wide range of skills beyond business acumen. We’re searching for fast learners, effective communicators, quick thinkers and natural leaders.”
  • Influencers: “Supply chain stars must be ‘movers and shakers’ in their organisations. They need to be skilled in getting others engaged, bringing colleagues on-board, and working towards common goals.”
  • Trailblazers: “We look for individuals with ‘firsts’, or accomplishments not previously realised by their organisation. A ‘first’ can relate to timing, budget, initialisation, integration or adoption.”

Each winner will receive a one-year membership to ISM; complimentary admittance to ISM2017 annual conference in Orlando, Florida (May 21-24); and a THOMASNET.com Team Training Lunch and Learn session for them and their colleagues.

Visit www.thomasnet.com/30under30 for the full list of 30 Under 30 winners.

Working Parents: Stop Hiding Your Children at Work

Supercharging my career and nurturing my family at the same time has always been a struggle for me….until I brought my children out of the closet and into the workplace.

Join our Women in Procurement group, Bravo,  here.

Last week,  Professor Robert E Kelly and his two mischievous children starred in one of the funniest viral videos of all time. The whole world laughed when, in the middle of a live BBC interview, Professor Kelly’s children burst in to the room and hilariously upstaged him.

If the clip has, by some miracle, passed you by, here it is in all of its side-splitting glory:

Yes, it’s pretty funny. But let’s face it, how many times have you closed the door on your children, locked them away in a (metaphorical) closet or pushed them away when you had to perform your professional duties.

In reality, we’re constantly keeping our families behind closed doors so we can get on with our working lives. For years I have felt the need to downplay my family commitments in order to be seen as a serious career professional.

My stress levels were continually going through the roof. I was gliding over the surface with style at work, but paddling like a crazy duck under the waterline in an attempt to manage all the demands of my personal life.

But a year or so ago I decided to bring my children more visibly into my work life and it has made a big difference to me, my children…and – most importantly – those I work with.

My first foray with bringing my children to work was to take my son to Europe’s largest procurement conference, ProcureCon, Berlin. I was a speaker on a panel and thought it would be a great chance for my son to see me in action. So much for him learning about my work: he didn’t look up from his iPad once! I don’t think he learnt a squat about what I did, but at least I made the effort. Importantly, I was really touched that people were positive about my son attending the event.

One of my fellow delegates sent me this note –

“You and I met in Berlin last month at the ProcureCon Europe Conference. I admired how you were able to be real without dropping the ball on exuding leadership and kindness! But, I think that what really impressed me was that you brought your beautiful son to the conference, he was so sweet and shy! In bringing him with you, without realising it, you managed to reflect what most women go through when we have to work long hours or travel a great deal, away from our families and loved ones. There have been times that in my travels or long hours I wish I could just have my babies near me…the guilt of being dedicated to the person that makes me who I am, can be a bit heavy. But we all do, both men and women, to provide for our families, while at the same time try to get something out of the sacrifices that we may have to make. So, I sincerely thank you for bringing your son with you.”

My second foray was to take my younger son to listen to a speech I made at the Australian Embassy for Future Leaders. When I asked him about the experience afterwards, he thought about it and said, “The lemonade was great”. Another breakthrough (not)!

I know not everyone has the same flexibility as someone who runs their own company. However, as business leaders, we can do a lot to help manage the stress levels of working parents. We need to walk the talk and recognise that everyone has priorities (and not always children) that compete with work.

Here are my four ideas on how we could stop hiding our children at work and build more fluid relationships between work and home.

1.  Talk about Family

In the early days of parenthood I never spoke about my children in the workplace because I wanted to be seen as “professional”. When I first started sharing small amounts of information about my family, I realised that most of the people I worked with were parents too and could totally relate to my plight. In the right circumstances, sharing family stories has actually helped me build business relationships.

2. Take your children to work 

I have lived through so many tough days when I felt I really had to be in two places at once.  For example, having a “career-changing” meeting planned (luckily these are few and far between and the skill is in knowing which meetings really count) and, just as I was about to get started, receiving a compelling, competing call for my attention,  from a family member. These were the times when my stress levels reached an all time high and I started to think that the only solution was to quit my job and focus solely on family.

Working from home is widely accepted on these types of days, but if you were still wanting to fulfill your work obligations for just one or two hours, wouldn’t it be great if we were “allowed” to bring our family into the office?? I can hear the pressure valve release at the mere thought of it!

3. Put children in the picture 

We need more imagery of children in the places where we are building our careers. Perhaps you’ve seen the image that went viral of a US Professor who picked up and carried a crying baby during a lecture? He calmed the child, allowing the class to continue and, most importantly, the parent to complete the class.

Some of the most popular photos of outgoing US President, Barack Obama, have been with children within the White House, which is his normal place of work. We need to see more child-friendly work imagery.

4.    Remember – Everyone has priorities 

Having said all of this, working parents need to be cognisant that we aren’t the only people in the universe with priorities competing with our work. Whether you’re a parent of one, four or ten children (heaven forbid!) or even if you don’t have children, everyone struggles at times to manage their personal and professional lives in the best, and most healthy, way possible.

What we can do, as people who understand these struggles, is to be understanding of every individual, make accommodations where possible and offer flexible working environments. That way, we’ll get the most out of our happy, stress-free team!

Procurious has launched Bravo!, a group that seeks to celebrate and promote women working within procurement. Get involved here.

Standard, Express, or Flying? Why supply managers need to be ready for delivery drones

Flying delivery drones will soon take over the last mile of your supply chain. Have you started planning ahead for a drone-filled future? 

“Alexa, re-order Doritos from Prime Air.”

Blink, and you’d miss it. Amazon purchased 10 seconds of the year’s most expensive advertising space last week to introduce the U.S. Super Bowl audience to two of its latest tech products: Amazon Echo and Amazon Prime.

Disgusted by her partner’s finger-licking, a tech-savvy woman directs her request for a second bag of Doritos to the IoT-enabled smart speaker in front of her television. The speaker (“Alexa”) in turn places an order with Amazon Prime, resulting in a delivery drone making a graceful touchdown in the yard outside.

Meanwhile in the U.K., a Youtube clip featuring former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson explains the ordering and drone delivery process in much greater detail:

Drone delivery services are swiftly approaching the commercial market, with Amazon taking a clear lead in the development race. In December, Amazon made its first successful go-round in a rural corner of England, where it has been beta-testing. While there’s still a significant weight restriction, the benefits of drone delivery are clear:

  • The 30-minute delivery time is an enormous improvement from the standard 24-48 hour wait customers currently experience when ordering online.
  • Drones can reach a height of 400 feet and fly for 24 kilometres at a stretch. They  avoid traffic and potential obstacles using laser, sonar and other technology.
  • Environmentally, battery-operated drone delivery ticks a lot of boxes as they’ll eventually replace many fuel-burning delivery vehicles currently on the road.
  • Finally, the full autonomy of drone delivery will mean there’ll be very little need for human interference, leading to enormous efficiency gains for delivery companies.

After the successful beta-tests in England, drone confidence is rising in the US, although the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has been slow to react. A report from December 2016 claimed the FAA has yet to begin drafting rules around flying drones over populated areas.

Testing, however, is taking place, with examples including UPS making a medical supply drop to an island off the coast of Massachusetts, while Alphabet’s drone delivery initiative (Project Wing) sent a hot dinner to students at Virginia Tech. Both the U.S. Postal Service and Britain’s Royal Mail have expressed keen interest in drone delivery as the cost of traditional delivery methods continue to rise. In Europe, DHL similarly completed a round of drone testing last year.

The process of delivery drones

Using a GPS system, delivery drones can quickly generate the most efficient route and even communicate with each other. Users can use communicate with delivery drones via smart phones, selecting delivery options such as: “Bring it to Me,” “Home,” “Work,” and “My Boat.” Additionally, if the customer relocates, the drones can redirect mid-route.

While apartment buildings are still too complicated for drone routes, doorstep delivery throughout rural and suburban neighbourhoods has been mastered.

Allison Crady, Marketing Specialist at CDF Distributors, has followed the rise of drone deliveries closely. She comments that drone delivery will only be applicable to a limited number of products at first: “Giant screen TVs will still require a typical truck delivery, but drone warehouses are currently ideal for light-weight purchases such as tech gadgets or snacks. As drone weight options increase through future development, their useful applications will extend far beyond simple convenience deliveries.”

What can supply managers do to prepare? 

Regulatory bodies such as the FAA move slowly to make drone deliveries a reality.  Supply managers can take advantage of this delay by planning ahead for a drone-based future. This means reviewing your current delivery arrangements (in-house or outsourced) and measuring:

  • the number of light-weight products currently delivered by truck that could be carried by drone
  • current delivery timeframes versus potential drone delivery speed
  • traditional price structures and operating costs against drone delivery
  • the human workforce required to run a delivery fleet versus autonomous drones
  • your current ability to deliver to difficult/remote locations
  • environmental benefits of taking fuel-burning cars off the road in favour of delivery drones.

In other  procurement news this week…

Huawei announces IoT Partnership with Deutsche Post DHL 

  • Huawei and Deutsche Post DHL Group will collaborate on innovation projects to develop a range of supply chain solutions for customers using industrial-grade Internet of Things hardware and infrastructure.
  • The group  is expected to make its IoT devices and network infrastructure accessible to DHL to assist in incorporating greater sensing and automation capabilities into warehousing, freight, and last-mile delivery services.
  • A  spokesperson from Huawei, Yan Lida, commented, “This partnership opens up an opportunity to improve the efficiency, safety and customer service offered by global supply chains in previously impossible ways, and defines how the Internet of Things will shape the fortunes of the logistics industry in the next few critical years of innovation.”

Read more at Logistics Magazine. 

Remote Australian supply chains cut by flooding

  • Floods in Western Australia closed major road transport routes for three days last week. Meanwhile, rail movement into Perth was delayed for five days.
  • The Newmont Mine in the Tanami desert has been closed for over a month due to the flooding. Delivery company Toll has been issued permits to use the flood-damaged roads to deliver fuel, food and emergency supplies to the community at the mine.
  • Parts of the Stuart Highway and Carpentaria Highway have also been closed. This is  impacting on the movement of heavy trucks in the region.

Read more at Fully Loaded. 

Just When You Thought Our Ideas Couldn’t Get Any Bigger…

Spend 15 Minutes with five procurement power-players in our podcast series, Even Bigger Ideas, presented by State of Flux.

Register as an online delegate for the London Big Ideas Summit 2017 here.

As a Big Ideas Summit 2017 digital delegate, you’ll gain access to insightful discussions, connect with our procurement influencers, access video content from the event and have the chance to share your own big ideas with the Procurious community.

And, if that wasn’t enough, your digital experience just got that little bit richer and more intimate as we announce Even Bigger Ideas!, a 5-Part Podcast Series, which will be available exclusively to our Digital Delegates on Procurious.

Over five, bite-sized podcasts you will hear from some of the most intriguing thought-leaders on the trends disrupting business and the Big Ideas to benefit from them.

Without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to the stars of the show who’ll be helping you to think the unthinkable, nurture your big ideas in the biggest companies and unleash your creative genius.

James Bannerman – 15 Minutes to Unleash Your Creative Genius – Tuesday 21st February

Tuesday 21st February

Our podcast series kicks of with James Bannerman, Creative Change Agent and author of Non-Fiction best-seller Genius: Deceptively Simple Ways to Become Instantly Smarter. James believes that in a world where innovation is the new currency, procurement teams that fail to execute their ideas with originality just won’t cut it. He’ll be offering some top tips on how to unlock creativity in order to help us all achieve additional moments of pure genius.

Linda Yueh – Should Procurement Pros Be Concerned About Global Trade?

Wednesday 22nd February

Linda is a renowned economist and Adjunct Professor of Economics for London Business School. She was the BBC’s Chief Business Correspondent and host of “Talking Business with Linda Yueh”, as well as Economics Editor at Bloomberg TV.  She’s the go-to expert on issues relating to global trade, Brexit and Trump’s presidency. Concerned that a rise in protectionism might have a negative impact on your global supply chains? Linda’s  on hand to quell your fears and put your mind at ease.

Chris Lynch – Nurturing Big Ideas through Big Companies

Thursday 23rd February  

Chris Lynch, Chief Financial Officer at Rio Tinto, has had nearly 30 years’ experience in the mining and metals industry. He joined the Rio Tinto boards as a non-executive director in September 2011, and was appointed chief financial officer-elect, an executive board director and a member of the Executive Committee in March 2013. Chris has spoken extensively about the importance in fostering a culture of “intrapreneurship” within large organisations. He’ll explain how individuals will face more resistance, the bigger their idea is but, with the right nurturing and persistence, their is a chance of success!

Nik Gowing -Thinking the Unthinkable – The Update

Thursday 23th February

2016 Big Ideas Summit speaker, Nik Gowing is back to give us his latest update on Thinking the Unthinkable. Nik is a visiting Professor at King’s College & former BBC-Broadcaster with over 35 years analytical expertise in diplomacy, defence, international security. Last year, Nik explained that executive leaders are experiencing the very human sensations of feeling overwhelmed,  under pressure and unable to think unthinkables. What, if anything, has changed in the last 12 months?

Anders Sorman-Nilsson Seamless – Digital Adaptation and Human Transformation

Friday 24th February 

Anders is a Futurist and the Founder and Creative Director of Thinque, a strategy think tank that helps executives and leaders convert disruptive questions into proactive, future strategies. He’s an active member of TEDGlobal, has keynoted at TEDx and guest lectured at Sydney University and University of Technology Sydney Business School. Anders will help you prepare for a digital future lead you to question if your procurement team suffers from change fatigue!

Even Bigger Ideas is presented by State of Flux.  

No budget, no problem! Join the conversation and register as a digital delegate for Big Ideas 2017 now!

6 Top Tips For Starting A Law Firm Performance Management Process

Law firm performance is not managed very effectively in most organisations as shown here. Stacey Coote offers 6 top tips for starting a law firm performance management process.

I have seen millions of pounds in benefits delivered from good law firm supplier relationship management (SRM) processes despite the fact that they are not always managed very effectively. Below I have provided 2 case studies on why you should initiate an SRM process for law firms and 6 Top Tips on how to initiate a law firm SRM process:

Case Study 1

Background

Programme instigated at the end of the panel process saw the law firms and client meet once a month to go over feedback from the business and the law firm provided 360 performance feedback.

Results

£5M+ in benefits from:

– Two law firms recommended new market offerings, which resulted in £4M in revenue generation.

– A law firm highlighted that a number of business units (BU) were sending the same documents multiple times (leading to increased review costs) so a new policy was written to eradicate this behaviour.

Case Study 2 

Background

SRM programme instigated which saw law firms provide detailed performance management information (MI) and meetings were held quarterly with the client to discuss the same.

Results

£2M in benefits from:

– Law firms had numerous associates and partners attending weekly calls, delivering no value to client or law firm. Outside Council Guidelines changed so firms only attended calls / parts of calls they needed to and only associates / partners required attended the calls.

– Evidence found of firms consistently settling claims too early (to benefit from the low fixed fees agreed). Work moved to other panel firms who performed more in the client interests (NOTE: this was driven from good MI).

Below are my six top tips for starting a law firm performance management process:

Step 1 – Stakeholder Engagement

To be honest this might be the hardest step in the process. I was literally shouted at by a GC when I first tried to initiate an SRM process for her law firms – so it’s not an easy nut to crack!

However, the best bet (as I learnt from that experience – and other equally bad experiences!) is to meet with key stakeholders (e.g. key decision makers) and agree the key objectives (step 2) of an SRM programme.

NOTE 1: It’s likely an easier sell if you don’t refer to it as an SRM process – the typical response I have received to this terminology being ‘we are not monitoring a paper clip supplier here you know!’

NOTE 2: If you have a small amount of legal spend and only a few stakeholders it will likely be possible to engage all stakeholders. However, my approach above is based on companies where hundreds of individuals engage law firms daily for the organisation.

Step 2 – Agree Objectives

Once you have stakeholder engagement you then need to agree the objectives of the SRM process e.g. innovation, savings, better case management, better litigation outcomes, identifying key lawyers you work with and want to work with more and ones you think are poor and want removed from the account etc.

Whatever the objective is it needs to be agreed up-front with all stakeholders so that everyone participates actively to ensure the process delivers benefits.

Step 3 – Agree Ownership

You need to agree who will own what e.g. will Procurement work with the firms to improve performance or Legal Operations or the Legal COO etc.

I have seen organisations where procurement were not interested in running performance management processes so it was all managed by the Legal COO office. Equally I have seen procurement teams run the whole process.

Overall, I feel a team approach is the best approach and this is where the most benefits are delivered in my experience.

Step 4 – Agree Approach

It is then important to agree upon the approach and some areas to think about include:

  • What business units will be in scope
  • What support will the business units need to provide to ensure success
  • What firms will be in scope
  • What incentives will there be for the firms to participate (if any)

Step 5 – Agree Frequency

You also need to agree the frequency of the SRM process. For example – you might want to have monthly management information but a file audit is completed just once a year.

In my experience, less is more. Trying to do things too often means you lose momentum and you get poor engagement as people have too much to do already. Remember SRM is generally a bolt on to someone’s day to day job. Ideally you would have a team managing performance full time but it is unlikely you will have this luxury.

Step 6 – Agree what happens to results

Finally, once you have the results you need to decide what happens i.e. do you share with everyone, with the firms and key decision makers only, do you meet firms to go through results etc. and what actions are required plus associated timelines for remediation.

360 Feedback

One final point – I have found 360 feedback from firms the most valuable element so please don’t forget this component. It might tell you things you don’t want to hear and two quotes that spring to mind include:

‘You have us join calls we are not needed on, which is costing you money unnecessarily’

‘You are not paying us on time so we have to increase our rates to take account of being a free credit service provider for you’

However, sometimes firms have amazing ideas that can generate extra revenue (Case Study 1) so please do get their feedback on how you can be more effective as an organisation!

I wish you good luck in implementing an SRM programme!

Stacey Coote is a Legal Procurement Expert and a Partner at Coote O’Grady, a specialist Legal Procurement Consultancy.

How to Leverage Procurious to Boost Your Career in 2017

2017 is already a few days old – how are your resolutions coming along? Make Procurious one of yours this year, and boost your career!

2017

Halfway through the first week of 2017, and already the Procurious team are struggling with resolutions. But perseverance is the key, as is creating new habits to stay on track.

We’re all about making those habits as easy as possible to keep. Especially when it comes to your procurement career.

2017 – New Year, New Procurious

2017 promises to be a huge year, not only for procurement, but also for Procurious. With events galore, cracking content, and more knowledge sharing than you know what to do with, you need to know how to put it all to good use.

So here are some easy steps to help you make the most of Procurious this year.

1. Complete your Profile

Yes, ok, we’ll admit it. We do keep going on about this one! However, we do this with good reason. A completed profile will gather much more interest than one with just the basic information. Take 5 minutes to fill in your location, industry and category, and write a bit about yourself.

We’re not talking an essay here, just a short paragraph telling people who you are, and what you’re up to.

And if you don’t already have one, add a great picture to your profile. It’s all about your personal brand on social media, so make sure it shows the image you want to portray.

2. Connect, Connect, Connect

Over the past 12 months, we’ve added nearly 10,000 new members to our community. That means there are over 19,000 other people you can connect, share, and chat with.

We’re not suggesting for a second that you connect with everyone. But why not use the filters on our ‘Build Your Network‘ page, and find the people in the same industry/category/country as you. It won’t take you long, but it will give you a rich network to help with all those new, complicated issues!

3. Download our App

Want to get Procurious on the go, wherever you are? Well, you can with our great App. We launched the App in August after requests from our community, and so far, people have loved it!

Unfortunately, we only have an iOS App currently, but we have big plans for Android in the near future. It’s got all the same functionality as the main site, so you’re never going to miss out!

You can find and download it in the Apple Store.

4. Join the Conversation

The Discussion forum is consistently one of the most popular areas on Procurious. New questions are being asked all the time, and community members are quick to share their knowledge.

To see some of the top discussions from 2016, take a look at Monday’s article. Is there a conversation you can add to? We’re sure we haven’t covered everything, so if you have a burning question, now’s the time to get involved.

5. Join a Group

We have an ever-expanding list of Groups on Procurious, catering to an array of categories, associations and causes. Can’t find one for you? Then create one and invite people to join it – it’s really easy, and a great way to create your own little community.

Want to help celebrate Women in Procurement? Join our dedicated group, Bravo.

Work access to great procurement policy templates? Join the Procurement Toolkit group.

Or maybe you want a say in what’s next for Procurious. Then the ‘Procurious – Make it Work for You!!!‘ Group is for you.

6. Elevate Your Skills, Boost Your Career

Start 2017 as you mean to go on, and learn something new every day. Procurious has great eLearning content for you to watch and listen to. And the best thing about it? It’s all completely free to our members!

From hearing what industry leaders consider as the Big Ideas for procurement’s future, to catching up with our ‘Career Boot Camp‘ podcasts, there’s a wealth of information at your disposal.

7. Get Involved on Social Media

Finally, we bring this all back to getting new, great habits in place. Make 2017 the year you really push your social media presence for procurement. It only takes 10-15 minutes per day to do this by sharing an article, listening to a podcast, or connecting with new people.

You can also follow Procurious on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, and get access to all our content there too.

That should keep you busy for the next few weeks! As ever, if you have any questions, comments, feedback, or issues, on the site, you can get in touch with the team. We’ll make sure that Procurious is working at full speed, to help you work to your full potential in 2017.

10 Must-Read Articles to Kick-Start Your New Year

Happy New Year! Looking for a way to ease yourself into 2017? Then check out our 10 must-read articles to help kick-start your brain.

must read new year

The bells are barely over, and the new year party is still fresh in your mind. But it’s time to get back to work, and we want to help you start 2017 right. We’ve selected some top articles from 2016 to ease you in, and sharpen your brain on your first day back.

The articles come from a variety of sources, and cover the array of topics that the Procurious Blog is becoming known for. From cognitive procurement, to procurement careers and more. This will also help to showcase some of the topics we’ll be covering in more detail this year.

1. Career Espresso – 5 Minutes a Day Fast-Track to Success

Tania Seary gets you in the best career shape of your life.

Feel like you need an espresso to get going today? Well how about a shot of career espresso to get on the success fast-track in the new year?

The only person responsible for your career success is you, so this year, make sure your not stuck in a rut. Get involved with online learning to help fire your personal and professional development. It doesn’t take long to get involved – no longer than it takes to drink an espresso. What’s stopping you?

2. Can Introverts Really Thrive in Procurement?

Read Hugo Britt’s highlights from Susan Cain’s ISM2016 keynote.

Concerned that, as an introvert, you might be left behind in procurement? Worry no more, said Susan Cain, renowned author and speaker, at ISM2016.

There are huge benefits to an introverted personality in the procurement space. Cain argued that introverts make better leaders, and also can help organisations avoid potential ‘groupthink’. Procurement really does have opportunities for everyone.

3. Planning Procurement’s Response to the Millennial Generation

The Hackett Group’s Chris Sawchuk discusses how procurement can work with Millennials.

Talent management was a hot topic for 2016, and the focus on this will continue in 2017. So how can procurement make sure it engages with Millennials to ensure it hires the best talent?

Chris believes that there are a number of changes procurement needs to make to maximise its Millennial reach. One starting point is changing how training is offered with procurement organisations.

4. Working from Home – The Great Productivity Debate

Procurious Community & Content Manager, Euan Granger, shares tips for maximising working from home.

Another way to engage the Millennial generation is through flexible working practices. Working from home has become far more common in recent years. But does it come at the expense of innovation?

Offering tips to both organisations and individuals, Euan shares his experience in maintaining your work, and your sanity.

5. Women and Indirect Procurement – A Perfect Fit

Read about Pauline King’s journey in indirect procurement.

Indirect procurement is the perfect fit for women, and organisations who have women in indirect procurement can reap major benefits.

Roles in indirect procurement tend to focus on visibility and flexibility, and are results oriented. Pauline sees a definite match up in skill sets, plus a chance for women to break into senior management in a big way.

She also explains why more women should follow in her footsteps.

6. Is Indirect Procurement Really So Complex?

Talking of Indirect Procurement, is it really as complex as it seems

The way some solutions providers talk, you would be forgiven for thinking Indirect Procurement was akin to rocket science. However, it’s hard to argue against the complexities indirect sourcing can encounter.

So let the experts help shed some light on an often opaque topic. And you should see that, if your strategies are in place, it needn’t be as complex as it seems.

7. How to Solve the Extended Payment Term Problem

Ed Edwards discusses a particularly sticky procurement issue.

Extended payment terms – a huge burden on both parties, not to mention the negative press for procurement. So what’s to be done about this practice? And can we consign it to the past for good?

Audience Outreach Manager at THOMASNET, Ed Edwards, focuses not only on the negatives of extended payment, but also the potential solutions.

8. 12 Ethical Questions to Ask in Supplier Pre-Approval

How to ask the right questions to maintain a good reputation.

Extended payment terms might not be considered ethical by a wider audience. However, it’s definitely not the biggest ethical conundrum procurement can face. In the digital world, scrutiny on organisational practice is on the rise, as are expectations.

Procurement needs to be open, honest and transparent, says Alis Sindbjerg-Hemmingsen. In order to do this, we need to be asking the right questions of our suppliers? If you need some guidance, you can find some here.

9. Procurement Will Be ‘Cognitive’

There’s a cognitive revolution coming – will procurement be on board?

We couldn’t start the new year by just looking back. So now we look further into the procurement crystal ball and see an impending revolution.

Technology, and more specifically cognitive technology, stands to make a huge impact on procurement and supply chains. What does it mean for procurement? And what will the profession look like on the other side of the change? Nathalie Fekete of IBM shares her thoughts.

10. The Three Laws of Robotics Aren’t. So What Now?

Where does procurement stand in an automated world

Finally, we would be remiss to not talk about automation and robotics. Last year saw drones, robots and AI all play a major role in the supply chain. And if the experts are right, this change will continue to accelerate.

According to GEP’s Paul Blake, the sky is the limit for procurement when it comes to automation. Procurement can map out its own future – a future you can read more about right now.

Feel like you’ve kicked off your new year at work in the right way? Don’t forget you can also contribute to the Blog this year and share your knowledge with the Procurious community.

2016 Rewind – Top Discussions – You Asked, You Answered!

The Discussions page is one of the most popular on the site. We take a look back at the questions that got you sharing in 2016.

discussions

We’re continuously blown away by the generous nature of our community. Not only do you all connect so well, but you also are willing to share all your expertise. And that’s part of the reason that Procurious was formed in the first place.

We’ve seen it all during 2016, from how to start a procurement career, to the first three jobs you ever had. We also had questions on starting a new function, maverick spend, and social media.

So we’ve brought you the most popular discussions of the year right here.

Career Discussions

It stands to reason that as procurement grows as a career, so does the number of people wanting to join the profession. One question looked at whether to start in a procurement department, or a consultancy.

The consensus was that your procurement career would be better served starting out in a procurement department. Beyond the stigma frequently attached to consultants, it provided the opportunity to build a solid base of knowledge. Then, once experience had been gained, you could look to become a consultant.

Experience is big thing when it comes to procurement roles. However, few of us have procurement experience in our first three roles. Even as it’s less likely for people to ‘fall’ into procurement, the experience we have at the start of our careers is wide and varied.

Within the community, work experience included:

  • Waitress
  • Shelf Stacker
  • Car Washer
  • Sales Assistant
  • Fruit Picker
  • Paratrooper
  • Tele-marketer
  • And even one Santa!

And to tie the career discussions off, you got involved in a question about attracting young people to procurement. While there was definitely interest in the younger generation, a lack of knowledge stood in the way.

However, with more universities and colleges offering degrees linked to procurement this should change. What do you think? Does the profession need to seem more attractive? Or are we attractive enough, just bad at selling this career?

Getting Started & Automating

Does anyone have any advice about setting up a procurement function? This particular discussion got plenty of people sharing, and some great advice on starting from scratch.

The best starting point for a function was the business model – how it would be sold to the business. Within the model, procurement’s value was mapped out, and any blockers discovered. The model could then be built out with recognisable procurement concepts.

Other things to consider included processes and policies, and consideration of sustainability. Another critical item highlighted was engagement with stakeholders. After all, these are the people you’re going to be working with closest!

From the start, to the potential end, of procurement. If procurement were automated, would we need people in the function at all? Happily, most answers agreed that irrespective of automation, there would always be a role for people in procurement.

The consensus being that procurement processes could be automated, but relationships would still be vital. And no machine would be able to outperform a human on that. Yet…

Mavericks and Social Media

Our final trending discussions looked at one age-old problem, and one new one. First up, how to eradicate, or minimise, maverick purchasing.

Two themes ran through the answers – relationships and process. Root cause analysis usually came down to one or other (or both). Either processes were too complicated, or not followed, or people outside the function didn’t understand the value of procurement.

In all cases, listening to, engaging with, and educating stakeholders was a good step to take. It helps to showcase procurement’s role, and why processes need to be followed. And, if all else fails, there’s always a taser…only kidding! (Or are we…?)

Finally, as procurement and social media come closer together, there was the question of how connected the profession is. On the back of a provocative statement from Tania Seary, you discussed whether procurement leaders should have 500+ followers.

For many, it was a case of quality over quantity for connections. Despite there being a wealth of procurement connections on social media, many professionals only connect with people who they can strike up a meaningful relationship with.

Do you agree? Is 500 an arbitrary number? Or, as a leader, have you had enough time to build up this strength of network? You can still get involved in the discussion – all while building up your network on Procurious!