Faculty CPO of the Year mentors CIPS Young Procurement Professional of the Year

What do you get when you put two award-winning women of procurement together?

Billie Gormon, Bree Pitcher, Visna Lampasi

Inspired by the Women in Procurement panel at the 2013 CIPS Australasia Annual Conference – four women blazed a trail for a new breed of mentoring program. Just under a year later the Australasian pilot of the global Women in Procurement has become a reality – the program has been designed to connect future procurement leaders (both female & male) with female role models they don’t necessarily have access to in their sector or region. There is also hope that it will address some of the disparity found in the percentages of women in procurement roles, into the future.

Those  four motivated women were Linda Eames (Head of Group Procurement, NRMA), Sommer Baxter (Director Procurement, PwC), Carrie McCafferty (Category Manager, Westpac), and Sarah Collins (CPO, Roads and Maritime Services).

With this fresh in mind, enter Billie Gorman (Manager Procurement Excellence at Thiess), who connected the 2014 Young Procurement Professional of the Year with another award-winner – Visna Lampasi (The Faculty’s CPO of the Year).

Bree Pitcher won the CIPS Young Procurement & Supply Chain Professional Award at the recent 2014 CIPS Procurement Awards in Sydney – she will be mentored by Visna Lampasi over the next twelve months.

Procurious talked to both women following Billie’s introduction, quizzing them on their wins, the future, and importance of the mentorship program.

Procurious asks: Let’s talk the power of networks – why do you invest time in growing your network?

Visna answers: Skilful networking, which these days is far more than shaking hands and introducing yourself, is a powerful marketing approach which can accelerate the access to opportunities as well as sustain success.  From a business perspective, it provides me with the ability to identify and tap procurement talent for future hiring, as well as bringing ideas and people together that would have not otherwise crossed paths.

If fact, it was Billie Gorman (Procurement Excellence Manager at Thiess) from my network who had introduced me to Bree Pitcher at the recent CIPS Procurement Professional Awards dinner in Sydney, Australia and suggested the potential mentoring opportunity.

Procurious: What impresses you about young people starting out careers in Procurement?

Visna: These days, young people have far more resources available and they are utilising them. They are also establishing and leveraging their networks, actively seeking out Mentors (more than one in many cases) and often have a career path already mapped out for themselves which they regularly review and adjust.  When I first started in procurement, there were not many courses available in Australia.  Fortunately, the companies that I had worked for were multi-nationals which gave me access to programs offshore.

Procurious: Why mentor? What are the benefits to you? 

Visna: Mentoring gives me the ability to share my knowledge and experience, which hopefully are useful insights to assist someone with navigating the organisational landscape.   It also gives me the opportunity to give back to the procurement profession, as well as the satisfaction that I am helping someone to achieve their professional goals.

Procurious: Do you have any top tips for others wanting to position themselves as a great mentor?

Visna: Outside of being qualified on the relevant subject matter and interested in the development of others, a mentor needs to display the highest of ethical standards, be a good listener and be able to steer, guide and inspire the mentee rather than direct and control.

The American author William Arthur Ward said it best – “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires”.

Procurious: How has mentoring changed since you first started your career?  

Visna: Mentoring is utilised more nowadays than in the past.  Many organisations and professional bodies offer formal mentoring programs which are well structured.  For example, it would not be unusual for the two individual’s to enter into a Mentoring Agreement, along with having documented Mentoring Action Plans which are reviewed periodically throughout the relationship to ensure that they are on track.

Procurious: Did you have any mentors on your way up?  Do you still now? 

Visna: Fortunately for me, I did have a number of senior male mentors during my career who took me under their wing. This was particularly important to me, as the majority of my career had been spent in male dominated industries. Up until most recently, I also had a female Executive Coach assigned to me by my previous employer as part of their senior executive leadership program.  Whilst I am in between mentors at the moment, I still keep in contact with those that have helped me throughout the different stages of my career.

Bree Pitcher

Procurious asks: What does it mean to have CPO of the Year as your mentor?

Bree answers: I am very fortunate to have Visna as a mentor. It is clear that she has achieved so much in her career to date and I look forward to spending time with her and learning from her wealth of knowledge and experience. The opportunity will greatly assist me in developing further as a young professional which in turn will help me to progress my career and achieve my future goals.

Procurious: How did you get into Procurement?

Bree: I, like many others in the field, stumbled across the procurement profession. As a soon to be university graduate I by chance met a representative from the Queensland Government Procurement Office at a careers fair held on campus. As soon as I heard about what was involved I knew it was the career for me. I applied and was successful in obtaining a placement in the Queensland Government Procurement Professional Graduate Development program placed at Government Owned Corporation Tarong Energy now Stanwell Corporation.

7 Years on, I feel so very fortunate to be part of such an exciting profession. I enjoy the challenges of my role each and every day and thrive on the opportunity to make a measurable impact and difference in my organisation.

Procurious: As a millennial do you see a change in this new generation of procurement? 

Bree: It is truly exciting to see so many young, capable and passionate professionals involved in the procurement profession. From my own perspective, I am never afraid of a challenge, continuously question the norm and strive to think outside the box, all important and distinctive traits in which I see very often in many of my millennial peers. For this young and enthusiastic generation the profession really does present so many exciting challenges and opportunities to make a difference. The foundation and ever increasing profile for procurement which experienced CPO’s like Visna have worked so very hard to build and foster within business means the opportunities are plentiful and for me, procurement really is the “career of choice”.

Procurious: Networking and making contacts is a valuable career investment! To that end, how are you investing in your network?   

Bree: I cannot stress more the importance of building and fostering a professional network. I am very fortunate to be involved in professional associations such as the SCLAA and CIPS where I have had the opportunity to meet and liaise with likeminded and passionate individuals who are happy to share their knowledge, offer guidance and provide introductions to others in industry. In fact it is through my network that I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Visna.

For me the investment in my network is essential in my development as a professional, however it is equally as rewarding to give back and share my own knowledge and experience with my peers.

Procurious: How did the mentoring opportunity come about?

Bree: I was fortunate to be introduced to Visna at the 2014 CIPS Australasia Awards Dinner through the wonderful Billie Gorman, a procurement professional whom I connected with through my own professional network. Visna was delighted with the announcement that I was the winner of the CIPS Australasia Young Procurement and Supply Chain Management Professional of the Year award for 2014. She kindly offered to mentor me and we have since begun to connect. 

Procurious: What do you hope to get out of the mentoring experience?

Bree: I look forward to working with Visna to help identify areas in which I need to build upon my current skillset and experience to enable me to further progress in my career. My ultimate goal is to one day become a successful CPO leading and inspiring others to make a difference and deliver valuable outcomes for business. I know Visna as the successful professional and CPO of the year that she is will be able to share her knowledge and guide me further with my own career path.

Procurious: And finally, can you provide any tips on finding a great mentor?

Bree: Finding a great mentor and someone who is the right fit for you is not always a short and simple task. There is great potential to meet your next mentor through your professional network connections. I would also encourage those interested in finding a mentor to become involved in professional associations. In particular a number of associations (including the SCLAA) now offer formal mentoring programs whereby mentors and mentees are paired and connected. The important thing to note with regards to mentoring is that you personally have to know what you want to achieve from the experience. Your mentor is there to guide you however you only get out what you put in to the opportunity.

Procurious thanks both Visna and Bree for their time.

If you are interested in registering for the Women in Procurement program you’ll need to complete the registration survey by clicking here.

Social media use in the logistics and supply chain industry

The use of social media is prevalent within Fortune 500, Inc. 500 companies, and small businesses.  Why are companies using social media? 

Companies are using social media to grow their business and to bring value to both their company and their customers.  The McKinsey Global Institute conducted an in-depth analysis four industry sectors that represent almost 20 per cent of global industry sales.  The analysis suggests that social platforms can unlock $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in value in those sectors alone.

Fronetics Strategic Advisors conducted a survey of individuals within the logistics and supply chain industries.  The objective of the survey was to gain insight into the use of social media within these industries.  Specifically, to learn more about why companies within the logistics and supply chain industries are using social media, the benefits they have realized, and challenges they have encountered.

The supply chain and logistics industries are recent adopters

Social media use is relatively new for companies within the logistics and supply chain industries.  64 per cent of survey respondents reported that their company has used social media for between one and five years.  Thirty-six per cent of respondents reported that their company has used social media for less than one year.

Motivations for use

Why have companies begun to use social media?  The survey asked respondents to rate statements on why their company uses social media.  The following statements received the highest rankings (somewhat to very important:

  • Increasing the visibility of their company (95 per cent);
  • Improving brand image (90 per cent);
  • Establishing the company as a thought leader (86 per cent);
  • Attracting new leads and customers (82 per cent).

Benefits and challenges

The majority (68 per cent) of respondents reported that their companies are realizing benefits from social media.  The primary benefits reported were: increased engagement with customers (80 per cent); increased market intelligence (80 per cent); and increased business intelligence (73 per cent).

With respect to challenges, time constraints (48 per cent), budgetary constraints (43 per cent), and lack of strategy (33 per cent), were the primary challenges reported.

Most companies manage social media in-house

The majority (92%) of respondents reported that social media is managed in-house by either a marketing department, a staff member devoted full-time to social media, or a staff-member devoted part-time to social media.

Summary

Although companies within the logistics and supply chain industries have only recently begun to use social media, they are already realizing benefits and are identifying social media as a strategic tool.

In addition to customer engagement, the benefits identified by social media include increased market intelligence, and increased business intelligence.  In short – information.  When asked why their company uses social media, responses generally focused on brand and image.

With respect to social media strategy, the majority of companies manage it in-house. Interestingly, the top three challenges identified by companies include: time, money, and defining a strategy.

What is your company’s experience with social media?

For the full report see: Social media and the logistics and supply chain industries: Report on social media use, motivations, preference, benefits, and challenges.

Fronetics Strategic Advisors is a management consulting firm focused on strategy and inbound marketing for the logistics and supply chain industries.

Feminist t-shirts ‘sweatshop’ row

UK politicians Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have made headlines for the wrong reasons… this and more in our weekly news-blast of procurement’s biggest stories.

Feminist t-shirt labour row

Feminist t-shirts ‘sweatshop’ row

  • A women’s rights charity behind a t-shirt campaign now caught up in controversy over claims the products were made in “sweatshop” conditions has said it will order the clothes be withdrawn from sale if the reports are proven.
  • The T-shirts, proudly worn by Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman proclaiming their feminist credentials, are made by women workers being paid just 62p an hour, the Mail on Sunday reported.
  • The paper said its investigation had found the t-shirts with the slogan “This is what a feminist looks like” were being produced on a factory on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius where the women machinists sleep 16 to a room.
  • Fashion retailer Whistles, which sells the garments for £45 each, described the allegations as “extremely serious” and said it would be mounting an urgent investigation.

Read more on MSN

Britain’s drone tech future relies on supply chain know-how

  • An interesting article has appeared in The Telegraph on the rise of drones and the economic benefit they could bring to the UK. It is penned by Michael Minall – Aerospace and Defence Director at Vendigital.

  • Developing a supply chain for drone production is such a significant challenge as the current aerospace sector is already competing for capable capacity in the supply chain. The task of making enough commercial aircraft to meet rising passenger numbers (20,000 over the next 20 years) means that many manufacturers are working at stretched capacity. To combat this, innovators of drone technology must move now to engage in supply chain mapping and open a dialogue with key suppliers regarding future business needs, communicating their requirements in terms of volumes, key capabilities and location.
  • Michael also touches on the potential skills gap, highlighting how unpopular engineering has become as a degree subject. So in order to source staff with the desired technical skills, firms should be prepared to take action at a grassroots level.

Read more at The Telegraph

CIPS Pan African Procurement Awards winners revealed 

  • The winners of the CIPS Pan African Procurement Awards 2014 were announced at a ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Awards in 10 categories were presented to organisations in the public and private sectors, and two postgraduate awards and nine certificates of recognition were also handed out at the celebration at the Premier Hotel OR Tambo.
  • The evening included a speech from Jimmy Manyi, president of the Progressive Professional Forum and former CEO of government communications and information systems for the Republic of South Africa.
  • Award highlights included: Most Procurement & Supply Orientated CPO/CEO of the Year: Garry Pita, Transnet, CIPS Young Procurement and Supply Chain Management Professional of the Year: Lindiwe Ntuli from NECSA, while Kamogelo Mampane was awarded the CIPS Fellowship.

Supply Management has published a list of the winners in full

Ben Ainslie Racing

Olympian partners with high-tech procurement company in bid to win America’s Cup

  • Ben Ainslie Racing the racing team set up by Olympian and America’s Cup winner Ben Ainslie has partnered with high-tech procurement company Matrix in a bid to win the America’s Cup with as green a boat (and surrounding infrastructure) as possible. Through buying components from within the UK, especially the Solent area close to their workshop in Portsmouth, reducing the impact on the environment and boosting the local economy.
  • The technology will enable BAR to support smaller businesses, taking advantage of the best of British tech and innovation; in contrast to other teams such as Oracle Team USA who wouldn’t tend to look for smaller suppliers, the BAR and Matrix partnership aims to support British businesses.
  • Matrix already enjoys long term relationships with around 78 local authorities and the wider public sector including the NHS, higher educational establishments, schools, police authorities and the not-for-profit sector through the procurement of temporary staffing.
  • The buying platform opens late November, with Matrix and BAR hosting  a supplier day open to all suppliers interested in working with BAR.

Read more at Ben Ainslie Racing

New security solution to protect against supply chain attacks in enterprise

  • Micron, Wave Systems, Lenovo, and PC Bios software vendor American Megatrends plan to develop enterprise-class security for enterprise class IT business systems.
  • The solutions to strengthen the BIOS specific feature called Core Root of Trust for Measurement (CRTM) to protect against current and emerging pre-boot threats within the supply chain. The companies intend for these solutions to form the basis of a new industry standard designed to ensure the integrity of the supply chain.
  • The comprehensive enterprise security suite will serve to protect memory content from its inception in manufacturing throughout a computing device’s life cycle.  It is hoped that a centrally managed security solution (working in conjunction with a client’s core root of trust for measurement) will provide client system integrity throughout the supply chain.

Read more at EE Herald

Paddy procurement halted as Punjab exhausts CCL

  • The paddy procurement in Punjab has been stopped midway as the state has exhausted its first installment of cash credit limit (CCL) of Rs. 8,000 crore received from the Centre, and the second installment of Rs. 10,000 crore has not arrived despite several frantic reminders by the state.
  • It is a crisis-like situation as the state government has not paid the farmers since ten days for the large quantity of paddy procured by Punjab. About 40 lakh tonne of paddy still remain in grain markets waiting to be procured by government agencies.
  • So far, payment has been made for 55 lakh tonne. Other farmers are awaiting payment while agencies have already obtained the grain from them.

Read more at Hindustan Times

Standardised procurement could save English fire services £18 million a year 

  • Fire and rescue services across England could save £18 million annually by standardising and streamlining the way they buy firefighting clothing and equipment, according to a joint report from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Chief Fire Officers Association.
  • A report commissioned by DCLG found fire services buying identical kit at vastly different prices, with variations of up to 200 per cent. It cited examples including a pair of protective trousers costing between £125 and £274, a fire helmet costing £105 to £131, and the price of a fire coat ranging £220 to £366.
  • Concluding that fire and rescue authorities could achieve savings of £18 million from a total spend of £127 million a year, the report suggested the savings could be even greater if applied to all purchases by all fire services, which spends an estimated £600 million each year on buying equipment and fire engines.

Read more at Supply Management

Talking point: popular discussions on Procurious

Over the last few months, there have been a number of topics and themes within our Discussion forum.

We don’t want this information to go to waste, so we have pulled together the key points from some of the most popular discussions that we have seen so far.

What do you say when a supplier (existing or potential) asks you: “What budget do you have in mind?”

There were a number of different answers from the community, ranging from a response of “why do you want to know that?, where the buyer elicits more information from the supplier, before asking for a firm price quotation, to no suppliers would ask that because they know that they need to quote best price or the existing relationship is critical to both parties.

A number of key points were brought up in the answers. The response to the question being asked depended on:

  • The relationship with the supplier
  • What commodity is being purchased – a key commodity might have more of a discussion around a price that worked for both parties, than one that is a best price discussion
  • What quality is expected
  • When the question is being asked – is it during a negotiation, or as part of a tendering process

There was agreement in that most people wouldn’t reveal the budget, would give a figure that was a percentage of the total budget or wouldn’t answer the question, either at all or without more explanation from the supplier.

Links were given for further information reading on suppliers combating the response to this question:

Trying to improve how we do contract management at CnES. Where should I start?

There were a few answers to this question, but some that got a few of the members commenting about the quality.

Consensus was to design a framework both for the management of the contract but also the KPIs to be involved in the contract itself. The most highly rated response was Cristian Martin:

  • Agree how to categorize your contracts/suppliers so you maintain focus on the most important ones. (Krajic, ABC or both).
  • Agree the method of contract management and standardize it so that you can compare supplier performance (under performing contracts can be seen and understood across the business when the process is standardized. e.g. use only 10 KPIs on all contracts and all KPIs are marked 0-5 (a score of 30 means the contract is performing to specification, Higher recognizes excellence and lower means there are issues that need to be resolved.)
  • Standardize the reporting and ensure it is seen at senior level on a regular basis. (Provide a quarterly report along with your savings report and get the recognition for your hard work).
  • Provide the tools to contract managers for lower value/risk contracts to give contract managers practice and improve their skills in Contract Management so that when you work on contracts together, you can focus on the contract and not in their CPD.

Cristian went on to recommend that only 10 KPIs were used in his contracts. Not the same every time, but a maximum number of 10.

He also asked his suppliers as part of the tender process to suggest KPIs for the contract to establish a starting point for discussion.

How sustainable procurement can be best defined?

This is common question across the profession at the moment and one that there is no real defined answer for. The top definitions given were:

  • To ensure that all procurement includes a requirement to maximise the benefits to the Outer Hebrides and the wider world that may arise from the purchase.
  • Preserving and cultivating the human resource of relationships
  • A process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organisation, but also to society and the economy

A key learning point given from the theoretical side of the debate was the concept of the Triple Bottom Line. This breaks Procurement activities into three distinct areas, all of which should be considered by buyers:

  1. Environmental Impact
  2. Economic Impact
  3. Social Impact

Sustainable Procurement is seen as a common buzzword, but not so common in practice, but there is evidence that it can provide value. Another point raised was why should there be a separate name for these activities – shouldn’t they just fall under the normal daily activities of procurement? What do you think?

To contribute to all of these discussions and more, head to https://www.procurious.com/discussions/

Procurious wants to hear from you: help us to help you!

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that community is at the very heart of Procurious – it’s in our blood.

Write for Procurious

We hope you’re enjoying the journey so far and benefiting from the online learning, discussions with other members, our worldwide event listing directory, and informative editorial. Yet we still want to do more, we’re not resting on our laurels.  We want to make Procurious full-to-bursting with more of the stuff you want to see, but in order to shape this we need to call on you – the members.

Maybe you’re organising an event, have the latest, greatest training video that the world NEEDS to see, or just have something interesting to say. Whatever the motivation, we want to hear from you!

Are we missing an event?

If you’re organising (or know of) a super-cool procurement or supply chain event that would be of value to fellow Procurious members, drop us a line to get it added to our listings.

If you can supply an overview, programme details, confirmed speakers, the intended audience, and fee (if applicable) – even better!

Take a look at this example listing to get more of an idea of what we’re looking for.

Remember Procurious is a truly global network, so we’ll advertise your event no-matter how far afield…

Learning with Procurious

We’re always looking to expand our learning resources. Whether you’ve created a helpful tutorial video, or have the perfect voice for podcasting – we want to check it out.

We offer free samplers of all of our videos, but some can attract a fee when unlocking the full version. Let us know your preference when you submit your URL for consideration.

Call for contributors

Fancy yourself as a bit of a wordsmith? Is there a frustrated writer inside of you clawing to get out?

We’re putting out a call for fresh new talent to contribute to our ever-growing pool of guest writers.

So if you can string a sentence together, understand the value of a good headline, and can resist the urge to prattle on – we want to hear from you. Need some inspiration? Head on over to the blog and see what we’re talking about today. Send us an email, or a message via Procurious to get involved.

The secret to long-term career planning

In this second part of a two-part article, Hamish Petrie – former VP of People and Communications for resources giant Alcoa – reveals the secrets behind nurturing a long-term career.

Hamish currently writes for the Business Times in Melbourne. Read more about his story here.

Time is a critical factor in any career planning process. Most futurists agree that a large proportion of jobs even ten years out have not been invented yet.

To try to conceive the sort of job that you might have in the latter half of a 30+ year career is impossible. Your personal situation and your career anchor will usually change often through your career. For example, major life changes can greatly alter your priorities. Some consultants recommend breaking your career into five year terms, however, my experience would suggest that this is too long.  Too many things can change your situation in even two years, so a three-year plan seems more appropriate in our rapidly changing world.

In making this sort of plan, most people identify that they want to do their boss’s job, as they know that they can do it better than the current boss. Whilst this may be true, it can be restrictive as people can lock onto this and lock off on other possibilities. This “lock on: lock off” thinking can prevent a person from thinking about lateral jobs that may ultimately prepare them for bigger future roles.

I always suggest that a medium term career plan should exclude their immediate boss’s role, as this stimulates broader thinking. Getting some breath of experience during the first half of your career is always wise and it doesn’t matter in the long term if a particular job is not your ideal one at the time, as long as you keep learning about yourself.

Companies and jobs are always evolving and changing so it is important to learn how to adapt to change and to help drive change in a positive direction for you and your company. There is an old adage that “ tomorrow’s power comes to those that solve today’s problems”. Demonstrating that you can creatively solve problems and stimulate others to help can be a great adjunct to your career.

The bottom line is that it is impossible to develop a realistic long-term career plan, but you can prepare yourself for possible future jobs. You can develop a short to medium plan and this can be very helpful as long as your include all of the opportunities for broadening your experience. When considering how to develop your career, it is much more important to focus on the company rather than the job. If you can join a company that is right for you, then they will help you grow, become active in a dialogue about your future and help you be happy, and rewarded in whatever job comes along.

Action Planning Questions: 

  1. Have you investigated your own career anchor or taken one of the self-assessment tests available on the Internet?
  2. Have you developed a three-year plan, excluding your current boss’s job?
  3. When considering candidates for a job, do you give try to identify their career anchors to determine the best long-term fit for your needs?
  4. When considering a job, do you focus much more on the company rather than the specific job?

Read part one: Hamish Petrie asks: ‘Can you plan your career?’

Stay up-to-date with Procurious




Are we the golden children of procurement?

When the CEO of one of the world’s largest resources businesses, Sam Walsh, says he believes procurement has entered a “golden age”, it certainly makes you think – could this really be one of the most prosperous periods of our profession’s history? And, if so, what are we doing to capitalize on this opportunity?

Remind yourself what Sam Walsh said on Procurious

From the perspective of my 15+ years in the profession, I am confident in saying procurement professionals are in the midst of some very exciting times… and here’s why: 

  1. Our roles have never been so complex and therefore as interesting.  Today’s procurement professionals must manage all the expectations of their 360-degree stakeholders, up-skill and engage their teams, deliver an advantaged supply base, and all the while, keep their own careers prospering.
  2. Our old tools still work. Even though our roles have become more complex, most of the tools we have developed and used during the last decade are relevant today – strategic sourcing, category management, SRM etc. are all valued by the business and deliver outcomes. Everything old is new again, and most importantly, it still works.
  3. Digital is already disruptive. As customers, we are already online and procurement is about to explode into this space – drones, social media, 3D printing etc. are all transforming the way we think about everything from supply and demand; professional development; collaboration and sourcing.  The challenge is to ‘digitalise’ our ancient tools for this brave new world.
  4. We are a rare breed. Couple demand for our expertise with the rate the profession is growing, and you’ll see there are procurement opportunities exploding all over the world. Go and grab them!
  5. Our image is golden. As more talented people enter the profession and we are called on to tackle issues of core business importance, our image as a profession has grown stronger than ever. Gone are those outdated aspersions that find procurement stuck in the “dark ages”. That’s where Procurious comes in – Procurious is reimagining the image of the modern procurement professional – with the core of its members proving themselves to be a smart, upwardly mobile, and commercially savvy breed. 

“Study the past if you would define the future.”
― Confucius

History of Procurement

Procurement is one of the fastest growing professions in the world. For those of you new to procurement, here’s a “short history of the world” which may give some perspective on whether we are indeed in the “golden age”.

The Dark Ages

OK, so we all know our forefathers started in the backroom.  Clad in their brown cardigans, they executed contracts, processed purchase orders, accepting the odd bottle of scotch from suppliers at Christmas time.

Enlightenment

The forefather of modern procurement is widely accepted to be Gene Richter, who worked at IBM in the 1990’s.

The major US companies soon followed IBM by leveraging their global volumes and introducing standardized procurement processes. Not so long ago, the seven step sourcing process was being implemented, centralized procurement teams were formed, followed by supplier relationship management, and more recently category management.

The dot-com boom

The dawn of the new millennium was a time of rapid organization and maturation for the profession.

Many large companies made significant investments (such as $1M+ board approvals) to invest in cross-company procurement exchanges.

Now referred to as Procurement’s dot-com boom, these group-buy investments got procurement quickly on and then just as quickly off the Board agenda. Investments in group buying (and the associated technology) all “became a bit too hard”.

Despite these high profile, public failures, procurement continued to flourish and today, the “dot.com boom” represents the time we moved from the back room – in our brown cardigans – to the boardroom, where our Chief Procurement Officer’s increasingly find themselves either sitting, or at least contributing, today.

Globalisation and the extension of the supply chain

Once all the large companies had leveraged their spend globally, the hunt was on for the most cost-effective country to manufacture goods.

All of a sudden we were managing suppliers and their suppliers in foreign and often remote, locations. This is where the profession became, and continues to be very exciting…

Globalisation has brought with it significant advances, and made our profession  much richer as a result.

Today, its universally accepted that procurement has moved beyond just cost – we now play an integral role in areas of risk management – including supply, quality, innovation and mergers & acquisitions (M&A); new product development; and corporate social responsibility.

The Digital Age

As if our jobs weren’t “interesting” (aka challenging) enough, now we have to account for social media too… Not only are we expected to manage a worldwide network of suppliers and contractors – we are exposed to dangers like customers or shareholders posting a “Tweet” or “status” about how we are managing the supplier.

Yet, this is why working in procurement today is so incredibly interesting and why the profession continues to flourish. We’re working at the interface between the business and all its stakeholders – be that the community, customer, shareholder, supplier, and employee. We need to manage all these stakeholders with the highest integrity in order to protect our brand.

How to make the most of the golden age

If Sam Walsh is right, and we are in the ‘golden age’, how do we take advantage / don’t let this golden opportunity pass us by:

  1. Market yourself and your ideas!  You are your own brand, and nobody knows YOU better. Leverage your good name and use your influence to promote the profession.
  2. Stay connected. With the world and with your peers. Identify risks and opportunities, learn from others.
  3. Keep learning. Every minute of every day we are learning. Whether that be learning from our peers, our customers, and suppliers. And by doing this we are able to identify issues for procurement as they emerge.
  4. Enjoy!  Make the most of being in this profession at this prosperous point in history.  There are so many career opportunities right now – you should be grasping every opportunity to learn and grow.

Conclusion

Although an unlikely comparison for our profession, I use Madonna as an inspirational metaphor/analogy for managing your career.  Even though she’s been in the same role for more than 30 years, she keeps “reinventing” herself for her target audience.  She’s still a pop singer, but she is constantly changing her branding to ensure she stays relevant. As professionals we need to be doing the same!

And that’s what I believe Procurious can bring to the profession – a place to stay current, and stay connected. A place where all procurement professionals can get ahead and thrive in this golden age and beyond!

The term Golden Age (Greek: Χρυσόν Γένος Chryson Genos) comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five (or more) Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, Heroic, and then the present (Iron), which is a period of decline. By extension “Golden Age” denotes a period of primordial peace, harmony, stability, and prosperity

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5 green initiatives to improve your supply chain

Pretty much each & every one of us (as individuals and organisations) now make a conscious effort to do our bit for the environment and “Go Green” wherever possible. Not only do our “Go Green” actions benefit the world we live in and potentially reduce costs for us but also makes us feel good inside – giving us that feeling that we, as the superintendents of our ecosystem, are making a difference.

I’m sure that most of you will have already put practices into place within your home environs with regard to recycling and saving energy by switching to energy saving bulbs and turning off power that is unnecessarily left on stand-by, but have you considered instilling comparable measures within your logistics Supply Chain.

As our attitudes towards the environment changes, what methods could you implement to offer a “Greener” Supply Chain solution?

Here we take a look at 5 ways which could improve your Supply Chain’s eco-efficiency:

1. Take a view from a different prospective of your company and deliberate your current actions. Do you consider your company to already be embracing a good standard of eco-efficiency? How can we expect others that we collaborate with to hold and preserve a high standard of “Go Green” ethos when we, ourselves, do not follow.

2. Evaluate your current use of machinery and packaging and assess where you can make reductions by introducing more energy proficient equipment and the use of recycled packaging products as well as decreasing the volume of packaging your items require. Recent studies indicate that over 50% of goods on store shelves are packaged in recycled paperboard.

3. Use a comparison site to review your business energy prices and see where you could potentially make savings.

4. Inspire your staff to promote green resources and infuse systems which encourage a “Go Green” attitude throughout your workforce. Why not implement an “idea” box for your employees to make suggestions of how & where they feel changes could be made to reflect “Greener” processes.

5. Restructure & modernise your logistics to minimise emissions. Can you make better consumption of your vehicles by combining the shipments of more than one client on a particular route in each load?Could you deliver a higher quantity of resources per load to reduce your truck movements? Contemplate the use of low carbon transport such as rail, barge or sea together with hybrid vehicles for means of transport by road. Full information is available for advice on methods to “Go Green” within your business transportation methodologies via http://www.epa.gov/smartway/

Being environmentally friendly should be high on your list of priorities in the 21st century, but without the knowledge of how to shape a “Greener” supply chain, you can’t realistically or practically reach your end objective. Investigate how you can co-operate with other companies, within your circle of business, how working together could result in the reduction of waste. Details on how a business can contribute to a more sustainable economy can be sourced via the UK Government website.

This guest post was penned by Sarah Robey. Sarah represents a UK-based logistics finding service.

10 years of supply chain CSR

We’re leading this week’s news headlines with a decade of supply chain corporate social responsibility presented in an easy-to-digest infographic. It’s like Christmas has come early…

Ten years of supply chain’s corporate responsibility

  • A new infographic which highlights the high-profile events that have driven global momentum for business and supply chain responsibility over the past decade has been created by the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex).
  • From the Morecambe Bay tragedy in the UK in 2004 to the horsemeat scandal which rocked industry last year, the Sedex infographic puts the spotlight on the events that have driven global momentum for CSR and supply chain responsibility.

View the infographic in full below (thanks to edie.net):

Infographic: 10 years of supply chain CSR

 

Carlsberg pours Office 365 into supply chain operations

  • Danish brewer Carlsberg has deployed Office 365 in a bid to help the company manage its supply chain operations around the world. The Carlsberg Group is deploying Office 365’s integrated productivity and collaboration services to underpin the Carlsberg Supply Chain (CSC), an initiative to help streamline the company’s global supply chain operations.
  • Since 2000 the company has expanded from a local production base of just six markets to servicing pubs and restaurants in over 140 markets, and the company has launched what it calls “GloCal,” an attempt to improve its operational efficiency by centralising management of its procurement, production, logistics and planning functions.
  • Etienne Dock, vice president of IT architecture and sourcing at Carlsberg said the company is using Microsoft Exchange Online for email and calendaring; Microsoft Lync Online to connect via web conferencing and instant messaging; teams are collaborating on projects using Microsoft SharePoint Online; and employees are adopting the Yammer Enterprise social networking platform for messaging and collaboration.

Read more at Business Cloud News

DHL Supply Chain wins new five-year contract with Volvo Cars

  • Under the new contract, DHL will manage four shared use local distribution centres. Deliveries will take place through the night using DHL’s Auto Alliance collaborative platform. During the day, deliveries are made through the same day service to all of Volvo Cars UK dealers. This service incorporates flexible driver departure times to even the most remote dealers, meaning an enhanced, more efficient delivery service nationwide.
  • Michael Martin, VP Business Development, Automotive, DHL Supply Chain added: “DHL is delighted to be working with one of the world’s leading automotive companies to drive forward innovative approaches for exceptional customer service. “This new contract heralds a new partnership between DHL and Volvo Cars, which will see us deliver an innovative service-level delivery network, resulting in increased efficiencies”.
  • A new fleet of increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles will be deployed, with more than 35 trucks that feature forward facing cameras, Microlise vehicle tracking to increase fleet performance, full closure tail lifts to maintain high safety standards and state-of-the-art double deck trailers specifically designed for working in the Aftermarket environment.

Read more at Supply Chain Digital

Huawei boosts European procurement spend to more than $4 billion

  • The Chinese IT company spent $3.4 billion on components, engineering and logistical services in 2013 but plans to increase this to $4.08 billion by 2015.
  • At its European Partner Convention in Germany the firm, which deals with more than 3,000 suppliers in Europe, said spending was “gathering further speed” as part of plans to expand in the region.
  • Kevin Tao, president of Huawei Western Europe, said: “Europe remains our top investment destination. “Europe’s fertile IT environment, and the trust of our valuable European partners, has enabled us to get us to get where we are today. As our engagement with the European business environment deepens, procurement will be continually increasing to fuel this expansion.”

Read more at Supply Management

Competition from China PC supply chain to remain strong in 2015

  • Although demand for PCs has started recovering recently and shipments in 2015 are expected to remain at the same level as in 2014, Taiwan’s supply chain is still facing fierce competition from China-based component makers, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.
  • The sources pointed out that the hinge industry is one of the major battlefields for Taiwan makers, as China-based manufactures such as GT Technology have been expanding their presences in the monitor and all-in-one PC industries. Although notebook hinges are still supplied mainly by Taiwan-based companies, China makers’ aggressive moves have created strong pressure.
  • In addition to hinges, the competition between Taiwan and China makers has also grown fierce for components such as batteries, cooling modules, cables and connectors.

Read more at Digitimes.com

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Jason D’Assisi

He may be a procurement superstar now, but after high school, Jason D’Assisi wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do.

Jason D'Assisi

With a little push from his family, he ended up in real estate, but when an opportunity to do something different came along, he jumped at it and took a role with an import/export organisation. He recalls working his way through the organisation and experiencing the different aspects of procurement, including commercial negotiations and sourcing strategies.

He knew he’d found his niche and in 2008 he began studying supply chain management full-time while also continuing to work full-time in procurement.

He went on to work for KPMG Australia as a procurement specialist and Myer as a category manager, where he gained valuable leadership and management experience.

These days, you can find him at Newcrest Mining, where he’s a supply specialist and category lead for engineering services, CAPEX and site services.

“I didn’t get to where I am today without having experienced teams around me to learn from and develop. Add a supportive wife to the mix and I’ve been lucky enough to have the foundations needed to help me succeed in this industry,” Jason says.

“I’m also ambitious and naturally competitive and both these traits have helped me achieve success in the last five years.”

Jason has worked with some great leaders that have helped him develop invaluable strategic sourcing, negotiation and procurement skills during his career. He’s now on the lookout for a formal mentor to ensure he reaches his full potential.

He’s been told he’s an outcome driven person, which he agrees with.

“I really enjoy reading a supplier and deciphering their real intentions in a negotiation. It allows me to expose their real needs and wants, which I can use in the negotiation process to deliver greater commercial outcomes for an organisation.”

Jason also hopes to be part of a mentorship program so he can share the story with young procurement professionals looking for guidance and career direction.

“Most of us can and do procure in some way in our everyday activities, but procurement for me is more than just the transaction. It’s about developing the skill and ability to get the most out of the negotiation in order to benefit the organisation.”