7 Steps To Telling A Story

If you want anyone to take action from the information you’re looking to share or the change you’re trying to create, a story has to be an essential part of your communications armoury.
We live in an of Netflix, LinkedIn and Instagram.  A big impact of us spending time on these platforms is that our brains are being rewired for stories – we spend time consuming story, after story, after story.
Not only that, we’re able to be highly selective about the stories we consume.There are companies now that actually study what makes stories, and particular advertising stories, ”unskippable”, what makes them compelling. Because, as viewers of stories, we’ve become the connoisseurs.
But when it comes to telling compelling stories for ourselves, many people struggle, despite the fact that the ability to tell a story is becoming an ever more critical skill in our professional lives.
We live in an of Netflix, LinkedIn and Instagram.  A big impact of us spending time on these platforms is that our brains are being rewired for stories – we spend time consuming story, after story, after story.
Not only that, we’re able to be highly selective about the stories we consume.
There are companies now that actually study what makes stories, and particular advertising stories, ”unskippable”, what makes them compelling.
Because, as viewers of stories, we’ve become the connoisseurs.
But when it comes to telling compelling stories for ourselves, many people struggle, despite the fact that the ability to tell a story is becoming an ever more critical skill in our professional lives.

The importance of storytelling

Every single day, more information is created than existed from the dawn of time up until 2013. We’ve got hoards of information being streamed at us, which ironically doesn’t really work because we are not logical, linear people at our hearts.
Julie Masters, CEO – Influence Nation  believes humans are wired for stories because they are how we connect and how we engage. “They are the only way you build empathy and a connection with someone else – I tell you my story you tell me yours.
“If you want anyone to take action from the information that you’re looking to share or the change you’re trying to create then a story has to be an essential part of your communications armoury.”
On Day Four of the Bravo podcast series, Julie shares her top tips for becoming a master story teller.

1. Make it compelling

If you want some guidance on how to tell a great story, Julie advises that you start watching Netflix with an eye for storytelling. Consider how do they do it , what happens in the first 20 seconds of a compelling story. “It is a formula, so if you’re curious, watch more television!  Ask yourself, what is the last story that caught your attention and what is the last story that lost your attention?”

2. Make a clear structure

Julie believes that we put far too much kudos on how we tell or present a story and not nearly enough focus on how we structure that message in the first place. The most groundbreaking pieces of information will fall flat if they aren’t structured in a way that’s going to compel attention.

3. Be relatable

Julie advises that you organise your story into a few main points. “Are you using useful ideas and useful examples to illustrate those points – examples that [your listeners] can relate to.”

4. Have a clear beginning and a clear ending

“This one flies under the radar all too often” Julie explains . “It’s important to consider what you want us to do with your story as a result of your story. Is there something you want us to do differently, or believe differently?” Having a compelling opening is also important to draw in your audience. Julie suggests opening with question, which will “guide you into an interesting space and usually gets attention fast.”

5. Take it slow

“One of the key things we do when we’re nervous is speed up. So slow down, take a breath and remember to pause.” Julie advises that it is especially important to pause following an important point. “Our brains take a while to catch up with where you’re at and if you just keep on talking we’ll miss the fact that you believe this part was important.”

6. Monitor your movement

“Don’t be afraid to be still” Julie asserts. ‘If you’re constantly moving around  it’s like listening to the sound of a washing machine – you tune out.  Similarly, if you’re still and rigid we’ll tune out. Use your body for impact, move at certain points if you’re illustrating a point and then stand still and grounded for another point.”

7. Vary your Voice

It’s important to avoid speaking in monotone and varying your tone, pitch, volume and speed. “Up the energy of your voice and then bring it back down again. Use all the tools you have to get and maintain our attention.”

In Bravo, our five-part podcast series celebrating women in procurement, five inspiring and courageous women share their stories and the secrets to their success. Sign up to now (it’s free!)

How To Become A Corporate Superstar Overnight

Bravo! Tania Seary shares her thoughts on gender disparity in procurement, having the courage to  get big ideas through big companies and why procurement is THE career choice if you want to become a corporate superstar overnight!

Kaspars Grinvalds/ Shutterstock

Procurious Founder, Tania Seary, remembers her first day in a procurement role as a game-changing moment in her career.

“I’d had some fantastic jobs in marketing and communications but nothing struck me like that first day I worked in procurement, moving from one side of the table to the other. It was a real rush.”

For Tania, the scope and scale of the function along with the ability to impact so many parts of the business meant that she was sold straight away.

Like so many of procurement’s rising stars, Tania fell into the profession unexpectedly.  Speaking to peers on her MBA course at Penn State, she was fascinated by the number of people who aspired to go into procurement roles. When she questioned their reasons, the answer was always “because you can become a corporate superstar overnight, saving millions of dollars for the organisation.”

In procurement, they told Tania, the CEO and CFO know who you are and you can get promoted quickly. “It sounded like a great idea to an ambitious 30-something … and as I said, once I got to the other side of table I was really hooked.”

On Day 3 of the Bravo podcast series Tania Seary shares her thoughts on gender disparity, getting big ideas through big companies and the importance of having a human touch in procurement.

Getting your big ideas heard

Courage is one of the key attributes required to drive the best ideas forward, along with resilience and the ability to choose your projects wisely. “Getting a big idea though a big company takes a lot of energy and time”, explains Tania.  She shares her top two tips for getting big ideas off the ground:

  1. Do your homework and have a strong business case – You can really build support across your organisation as you’re building your business case, then fall back on those people as your support network when you get challenged at the senior level.
  2. Choose your sponsors wisely – It’s vital to have a corporate sponsor for some of these courageous projects, but make sure they’re not simply picking you to be involved as the flavour of the day. Find someone to help who understands the business benefits of what you’re putting forward and will support you because they believe in the project.

The human touch goes a long way

Tania stresses the importance of procurement professionals behaving like human beings in the workplace. The old-school  workplace attitude demanded that your personality be left at the door. “It’s increasingly important [for your team] to see that you’re a little bit vulnerable, a little bit human and that they can relate to you.”

At Procurious, we’re often questioned on the benefits of having separate social media accounts for personal versus corporate life. But Tania is a firm believer that you should be one person, with the courage to show your genuine self online, and in the office.

Tania believes that being human will be procurement’s competitive advantage in industry 4.0. “My belief is that our role in industry 4.0 will be to orchestrate and collaborate within this complex tech-enabled web of suppliers.  When robots are pointing us in different directions we have to be the ones who step in and reconcile, playing to our strengths.”

Collaboration, innovation and influence are things only humans can do. “That will be the future of procurement; trusted advisors who can solve complex problems.”

The pay gap 

Gender inequality in procurement is an ongoing concern for Tania. “It’s something that needs to be addressed. Looking at the [pay gap] statistics in the UK, US, and Australia is astonishing.” This hard-hitting data has motivated Tania to be a champion of change for women working in procurement. “I’m really going to be encouraging leaders around the world to tackle this head-on and ensure that their teams are paid equally”, she says.

“It’s something that the whole business world struggles with, but procurement can take a firm stand and be one of the first functions to put its hand up and say we’ve achieved this important goal.”

Tania’s short-term dream for the profession? “If we can say – by the end of 2020 – that we’re a very ethical profession that pays employees fairly, that would be a great result.”

In Bravo, our five-part podcast series celebrating women in procurement, five inspiring and courageous women share their stories and the secrets to their success. Sign up to now (it’s free!)

How To Survive And Thrive In An Uncertain Environment

Inspirational speaker, Nicky Abdinor, advises how to create sustainable attitude change and thriving in an uncertain environment. 

Nicky Abdinor’s self-appointed tagline is that she was “born without arms but not without attitude.” It’s a punchy line,  and it also couldn’t be more accurate.

Nicky was born with physical disabilities, no arms and shortened legs and she describes how her parents were totally unprepared for her disability. “In those days there were no scans to [determine] if you were a boy or a girl let alone if you had a physical disability. But I’m so grateful they chose to focus on my strengths.”

As she grew up, it was never a case of “can Nicky do this?” rather “how is Nicky going to be able to do this?”

Nicky believes her upbringing helped her to  adapt to her disability and flourish. “A big part of my success is having that nurturing environment and access to mainstream schooling.  I was encouraged to take part in all activities and I’ve learnt to do things just a little bit differently.” Nicky was unable to do things the same way as everyone else on a physical level but instead she used her acamdeic abilities and passion for human psychology to her advantage.

She now works as an  international keynote speaker, registered Clinical Psychologist and founder of the non-profit, Nicky’s Drive.

Creating sustainable attitude change

Nicky’s work as a  clinical psychologist focusses on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

The premise of CBT is the belief that “it’s not our situation  determining how we feel or behave but how we think about those situations.”

It’s useful to recognise that so many of us could be experiencing the same or similar situations but we all have entirely unique responses to that situation. The key to actually creating sustainable change, Nicky explains,  in our attitudes, beliefs and emotions is  to understand the core thought processes that we implement on auto-pilot.  An everyday situation  such as a meeting with a manager could trigger  a  particular behaviour. “But we need to understand our thought pattern.  We’re wired to think in a certain way and people don’t realise that you can’t truly change the way you think about a situation until you understand those automatic thought processes.

With some work, it’s possible to recognise your cognitive roadmap and what gets triggered, which is often linked to previous experiences and relationships.

Nicky explains that it is quite liberating to realise we don’t have to change our situation, “we can change how we think about a situation to bring about wellness and a better quality of life. It’s empowering to know we can’t change our situation but we can certainly change the way we react to that situation.”

Thriving in an uncertain environement

Nicky speaks passionately on the concept of uncertainty and how it impacts on our every day lives.

“A lot of people come for therapy because they are anxious about the future. A big part of what I do is help people learn to tolerate uncertainty.  None of us have absolute control over what the future holds. Ultimately, people find it hard to tolerate because they place demands on themselves that they have to know whats going to happen.”

In a corporate setting the same applies. Leaders of today are concerned about reaching their targets, will there be another recession, what’s going to happen to the political landscape of my country and how will it impact by business? We want to know exactly what’s going to happen.

But, Nicky argues, we must learn to tolerate that uncertainty, which ultimately means teaching yourself to live in the present . “If we worry too much about tomorrow,  we cannot enjoy today,””

When it comes to hiring talent,  recruiters need to ascertain whether applicants understand this concept. “Can that person deal with uncertainty, does that person have the ability to recognise the limitations for going into the future. When we have the ability to understand uncertainty we can achieve so much more. Worrying is a waste of time and we need a bit of anxiety to motivate us to do the right thing, be ambitious and reach your goals.”

In Bravo, our five-part podcast series celebrating women in procurement, five inspiring and courageous women share their stories and the secrets to their success. Sign up to now (it’s free!)

Nicky Abdinor was a keynote speaker at Big Ideas Summit Sydney earlier this year and wowed our audience. You can watch her presentation in full here and get in touch with Nicky regarding speaking opportunities here (Procurious HQ couldn’t recommend her more!) 

Don’t Stick To Procurement – Adventure Is Out There!

Procurement professionals can, and should, move in and out of the profession – it will make you better at what you do! 

Shutterstock/ By Dudarev Mikhail

We all want to get the most out of our procurement jobs, but it’s easier said than done.

Should you stay in procurement for your whole career?

What key skills should you focus on developing?

And how do you aim high whilst maintaining a healthy work/life balance?

With 20 years’ experience in procurement, a team of 300 people and a total spend of $14 billion Telstra’s CPO, Thomai Veginis, knows a thing or two about successful procurement careers.

Moving in and out of the profession

One of the reasons Thomai has been so successful in her career is due to the skills she’s learnt outside of the profession. “You can – and should – move in and out of the profession. The skills are absolutely transferrable and personally, I’ve appreciated the profession more when I’ve been out of it.”

“A trait you sometimes see in procurement teams is a lack of empathy for people who don’t follow the process.”  Thomai notes that working in different areas of the business has taught her to have empathy, in particular, for sales and delivery roles. “Gaining experience in that kind of role will help you be a better procurement professional.” 

“If you want to develop empathy,” she advises, “go and do a front-line, customer-facing role, and you’ll understand how hard it can be. One of the compliments I receive is that people want to work with me because I understand the sense of urgency for the people in front-line sales. When [sales teams] call me in my procurement function, they’re often quite desperate and in need of some help, and I understand what that’s like – being in need of some support from a function that’s not your own . So I’ll prioritise that and work with them closely.”

And when it comes to working in other areas of the business, procurement skills are highly transferable. “Honestly the commercial that skills you get in a procurement role are transferable everywhere; relationship roles, managing contracts understanding the nuances of a deal, what makes a deal etc.  That’s the kind of stuff that you use in any role.  I’ve been in tech roles and been able to leverage my procurement skills to bring another perspective and more value. And then you become a better person when you come back into the function.”

Thomai also recommends that procurement professionals use any time working elsewhere as an opportunity to get to know the nuances of the organisation. It’s a chance to reach out to stakeholders, find out their business plans, what’s happening for them this year and discover their pain points.

Finding a balance

Thomai has worked in project roles focused on delivering to a customer which saw her working in the office from 8.00am until 8.00pm. “As a result of that work I had the opportunity to be promoted but realised I didn’t want to be in that career path because I couldn’t spend the time I needed with my children.”

“Over my career I’ve tried to manage my work-life balance. In procurement roles you can balance it better than people in a sales role who need to fit in with their customers’ schedules.”

She believes that procurement is an ideal career for parents returning to work. Not that you work less – it’s more about the opportunity to work flexibly in ways that work for you.

“When I came back from maternity leave after my second child, one of the first things I did was to stand in front of my team and explain that I’ve got two young children and I plan to leave at 5pm everyday. It’s important people understood how I  was going to balance my life. I can do the role if I’m in the office after 5pm or not.

In Bravo, our five-part podcast series celebrating women in procurement, five inspiring and courageous women share their stories and the secrets to their success. Sign up to now (it’s free!)

Six Reasons You’re Still Stuck In Procurement 1.0

Robobai surveyed 250 procurement specialists and asked them what their pain points are within a growing organisation. Chairman and Founder, Julian Harris, shares the top six reasons you’re stuck in procurement 1.0…

Every business has the desire to grow and succeed and as a result of this targets are set to support the overall objectives of the GDP. It is natural to encounter many roadblocks along this journey and procurement is seen as an important area as it can both block or support growth.

We have recently surveyed 250 procurement specialists and asked them what their pain points are within a growing organisation. We then established the six biggest pain points from their perspectives.

1. The companies had outgrown their supplier base

79 per cent of the people we spoke to said that their businesses were not driving innovation in supplier relationships. The common theme being their existing suppliers weren’t adapt enough to support their growth model and that they did not have the correct systems in place to evaluate potential new supply partners in an efficient and fast manner.

2. Their current systems were inadequate

85 per cent of our survey said that they overall procurement process was to complex and resource heavy. The existing systems and processes simply aren’t up to the job and as a result Account Payable are constantly battling to keep on top of the processing and payments of invoices.

3. Poorly equipped for investment or acquisitions

According to our results, 76 per cent of procurement specialists said that with their current systems and processes, they would not be able to provide the relevant due diligence to any potential investors. This is a massive barrier to a company that is looking to expand in anyway.

4. Managing rising costs

81 per cent of companies admitted that they don’t challenge suppliers enough on cost or performance. The truth is, they are struggling with rising costs against income which is effecting profits, but they have inefficient systems in place that don’t allow them to manage their supplier contracts properly in these areas.

5. Ineffective supplier management

44 per cent of our specialists said that they need to manage their suppliers more effectively. They basically don’t have access to enough good quality data on suppliers to allow them to effectively challenge and negotiate the best deal for them.

6. Not enough control over spending

In our research 40 per cent of respondents said that they need to improve their budgeting controls. There are compliance issues surrounding using approved suppliers, and to fix this change is required to both their systems and culture to give the required visibility of spend.

Is Data really the answer?

For optimum results, you need optimized data

The benefits of good data are no secret. You will constantly see things written and hear conversations about how powerful data can be with regards to driving efficiency, reduce costs and even keeping customers within any business. But, in the world of procurement it is a must have. Why? Because with the right data you can massively improve your return on purchasing goods and services.

High quality, cleansed data helps to drive a more strategic view of procurement. It enables teams to make informed decisions, earlier in the procurement lifecycle. If you don’t have it, then sure you can view total spend, but in a very inadequate way doesn’t allow you to understand the size of the cost saving opportunities that exist. These opportunities may include variance in pricing, contract terms, consolidation, payment discounts or duration. You need cleansed, granular data to be able to provide good insights to make the right purchasing decisions. You simply can’t do this efficiently without having access to a platform that provides this quality of data in a timely manner.

Often, one of the biggest challenges in an organization sits in the realms of data. Without good quality data cleansing and data classification you will never have a genuine spend visibility.

When a company has good spend visibility they get timely, accurate, complete, and detailed data which offers invaluable intelligence and insight on their spending patterns, compliance and performance. These insights help them identify savings opportunities, drive compliance, and develop purchasing strategies which reduce cost.

Julian Harris, Chairman and Founder – Robobai, spoke at Big Ideas Summit Sydney. 

3 Steps To Kickstarting Your Marketplace Strategy

Our latest webinar, Going to Market(place): The Future of Procurement sponsored by Amazon Business is now available on Procurious. Sign up now to listen!

William Potter/ Shutterstock

Everyone’s talking about the benefits of procurement marketplaces, particularly when it comes to managing tail spend – but actually adopting one as part of a procurement strategy is another matter entirely. If it’s something your team is talking about, but not yet investing in, how do you get started? And if you’ve already taken the leap, how can you ensure you’re making the most of it?

In a recent webinar Going To market(place): The Future of Procurement we defined marketplaces, in short, as places where people gather (in person or digitally) to buy and sell goods and services. For B2B purchasing, marketplaces are gaining steam, with recent announcements indicating that millions of businesses globally use Amazon Business.

What’s driving this trend?

The global business environment is challenging organisations of all sizes to be increasingly agile and remain competitive with slim margins. Procurement teams have an opportunity to contribute to business performance through digital innovation, new technologies, and other strategic projects. However, they need the bandwidth to do so and that’s often a key challenge.

According to the 2018 Deloitte CPO Survey, 51 per cent of procurement leaders shared that they did not believe their teams had sufficient capabilities to deliver on their procurement strategy. And recent Procurement Leaders research found that administrative and non-strategic work can take up to a third of a category manager’s time.

A B2B marketplace offers the opportunity to offload a significant amount of time spent on administrative work through a solution that offers you choice, competitive offers, and transparent pricing – with tools that help you to maintain procurement control and visibility. Perhaps most importantly, this opens up your resource to focus on more value-adding strategic activities.

How do you get started?

We think about getting started as a three step process.

  1. Build your business case and understand the potential savings

We believe in working backwards from the customer. First, determine who your customer is – whether that’s your buyers, your procurement team, or your company more broadly. Then identify what your customer actually needs and the problem you’re trying to solve. From there, work backwards to ensure your strategy delivers on that customer need.

For example, if you’re looking to empower your end users by increasing stakeholder satisfaction and collaboration, and offload administrative burden so that you can focus your procurement team on strategic initiatives, build your business case there.

When you estimate your potential savings, consider both hard savings, including product costs and shipping fees, as well as soft savings: the cost of managing suppliers – with Hackett Group reporting the average cost between $700-$1400; the cost of search time in finding the items that are needed; and the cost of PO processing time. Make sure to consider both hard and soft savings when looking at your total potential value saved.

  1. Register for your account

With Amazon Business, registering for an account is free and takes minutes to complete. When you have registered your account, take some time to configure your account according to your needs. This could mean thinking through what categories you want to allow and those you want to restrict, including curating what’s available for buyers to purchase. For example, if you have an existing contract for IT hardware, you may want to restrict purchasing of those items, but leave office supplies, janitorial, and other categories open for miscellaneous purchases. Amazon Business also allows you to curate purchasing to only those items that offer a VAT invoice

You may also want to consider how to streamline payments on the marketplace. Do you have a p-card or corporate card programme, or do you wish to pay on terms? Do you need to set up shared payment between groups? Establishing these points up front will make purchasing easier for your buyers.

And depending on your set-up and internal initiatives, you may want to integrate a marketplace as a punchout catalogue in your eProcurement system rather than purchasing directly on the marketplace.

  1. Roll out

Rolling out a marketplace, like any other implementation, will require some change management with your stakeholders. However, the idea of using a B2C marketplace that is familiar and easy to use for B2B purchases requires little to no training. And it’s easy to convince your team of the benefits!

Keep in mind that it always takes more than one email to get your audience’s attention, and you should plan for a regular cadence of messages to reinforce the new process. In addition, we recommend that you plan milestone evaluations with stakeholders to reinforce adoption and review key metrics.

Finally, don’t forget to communicate often with your marketplace account manager to keep up to date on new releases. B2B marketplaces are quickly growing and developing, with new functionality frequently coming to market. If you want a feature that’s not available today, odds are that it’s around the corner.

Using a B2B marketplace for tail spend can save your team a great deal of time and money, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. And if you need help, you can always reach out to your Amazon Business account representative.

To learn more about Amazon Business and register for a free account, visit amazon.co.uk/business.

Our latest webinar, Going to Market(place): The Future of Procurement sponsored by Amazon Business is now available on Procurious. Sign up to listen.  

Millennials in Procurement: Immediate – Flexible – Precise

The leadership of tomorrow will need to consider a number of different factors creating the Millennials mindset and be an inspiration in order for them to become fully integrated.

Writer’s Note: These opinions are my own and I am not speaking on behalf of Johnson & Johnson.

Did you know that 70 per cent of adults, in all generations, want purpose from their work as Jeff Barrett CEO from Barrett Digital points out in his recent study?

We have been talking about Gen Y and the different stereotypes since 1987. It is a cycle which we are going through describing people which were born around 1982 and 1995. Gen Y, also known as Millennials are often accused of being difficult to manage, unfocused with a short attention span, lazy and entitled. What matters the most for them is constant immediate happiness, instant gratitude, creating impact and working in a place with purpose. Millennials face many challenges, especially in their workplace. When they start working, leadership gets confused why Millennials confound leadership so much.  What happened to a full 9am – 5pm honest day’s work? They have their mindset living in an ecosystem of instant gratification, purpose and clear direction and guidance. That’s why the leadership becomes so important and is crucial to create an environment of creating impact and enjoyment. It’s been three decades since the Millennials entered the stage of wanting to work with a purpose, creating impact, get free food, a flexible workspace and flexible working hours. Millennials are still seen as giving up too easily and not happy. As Simon Sinek says this may be due to Parenting, Technology, Patience and the Environment they live in. Immediate feedback and gratification may not always be on the priority list.  Millennials have different expectations and work in a different sort of ecosystem with collaboration, flexibility and having a mindset of sharing. `We` and `Co` become the new I. The leadership of tomorrow will need to consider all these different factors creating the Millennials mindset and be an inspiration for them to become fully integrated.

Mindset 1: Immediate

The work -life-balance has clearly shifted to work-life-integration. Millennials want to work in an environment looking after their personal needs in the company. Through immediate feedback and gratitude, Millennials flourish and get motivated working in this environment.  Some Millennials immediately want to take charge, work immediately for a purpose and create impact. This takes us to the second factor of flexibility.

Mindset 2: Flexibility

Millennials like to be flexible in their work environment. They grow up in a world with new technologies and business models, making their life more self-determining. Millennials want to keep life flexible and are ready to fully embrace the sharing economy. Leadership needs to create an environment and work environment which allows for a high degree of flexibility in terms of work place, work hours and work content. Gen X, which were born around 1965-1982 (the previous generation), were striving for a well-rounded work-life-balance before, but this Gen Y cycle has clearly shifted the mindset. Through simple flexibility and variety leaders can avoid boredom and increase creativity. It is important to have “can do principles” in place. For that, the management need to be open for digitalization, instant communication and the sharing lifestyle. It is a new style of interaction, which is shaped by instant feedback, precision and clear messages. This brings us to the next point.

Mindset 3: Precision

The world is overloaded with big data, information and offerings; therefore, Millennials seek precision and clarity. Everything must be instant, at your fingertips and always prepared. Changes happen a lot quicker, therefore leadership need to as a result dig through that heavy noise and make sure, their goals, feedback and information reach their team clearly. Modern leaders compete against the Millennials’ smartphones and social media, while being at work. With this factor leaders struggle to sustain the attention and motivation of Millennials. Feedback and instructions should be provided as quickly and precise as possible. Annual feedback becomes outdated, rather have regular alignments. If you want to provide precise feedback towards their working style, be clear and make sure you adjust their work methods and coach them on a regular basis. Through clear communication you can create a productive work environment. Proactive and precise communication is essential for good leadership, bringing us to the next point.

Millennials in Procurement

The role of procurement is changing, as more autonomous technologies will influence procurement of the future, leadership will also need to adapt to more communicative and direct negotiation strategies. Communication will become a virtue. Creating a work environment for Millennials in which they can succeed, receive frequent and immediate feedback. Millennials seek leadership from managers or co-workers but expect gratitude for their ideas. They like to get challenged in a variety of competencies to avoid repetition and boredom. At the same time, instead of micromanagement they expect inspirational leaders. They need a precise structure to understand the purpose. Seeing a career path to achieve their goals. Having a perspective on your journey opens your mind for greater challenges. It`s not an unknown fact, that Millennials are all very much interlinked and connected. Communication is accelerating and becoming more powerful as ever. Alexander Konovalov, CEO Technologies Improving the World (TIW) stated: Within the next decade, it is expected that more than a trillion sensors will be connected to the internet. This will increase global complex communication. Millennials embrace a flat structure, social workplace and flexible work-life integration.

Charlotte is a former ISM/THOMAS 30 Under 30 winner –nominations for 2018 are now open.

Reach Your Summit at Big Ideas Zurich

Sign up as a digital delegate to be in with a chance of winning a Parrot Bebop drone worth £449.99!!

Sign up as  a digital delegate for Big Ideas Zurich (it’s free)  

On the 10th December we’ll be donning our hiking boots, picking up our trekking poles and embarking on a new adventure.

Brace yourselves, because Big Ideas is about to get truly digital!

For the first time ever, we’ll be filming and streaming the entire day’s event via the Digital Delegates group on Procurious. If there was ever a time to register for one of our summits, it’s now. Featuring presentations and interviews from some of Europe’s top procurement leaders, we’ll be discussing:

1. Procurement and Supply Management Towards 2030
2. The Talent Equation
3. Automating Procurement out of a Job
4. Time Enough at Last: where would top practitioners focus energy if tactical elements of procurement were automated?

Prizes for procurement pros – WIN Parrot Bebop drone worth £449.99

You probably don’t need any added incentive to sign up, but everyone loves a prize, right? And believe us when we say we’ve got prizes falling from the mountaintops.

We’ll be doing seven prize giveaways throughout the day to digital delegates actively participating in our online discussions. And, by joining the group you’ll be automatically entered into our prize draw to win  a Parrot Bebop drone.

To be in with a chance of winning…

Step 1: Sign up as a digital delegate for Big Ideas Summit Zurich

Step 2: Get automatically entered into our prize draw to win a Parrot Bebop drone worth £449.99

Step 3: We’ll reveal the winner during Big Ideas Summit Zurich on 10th December

6 reasons to become a digital delegate

Registering as a digital delegate for Big Ideas Zurich is totally free and will give you access to the entire day’s event. Here’s what you can expect from the day:

Drive your peak performance 

As we charge towards the new year, this is your final chance in 2018 to fulfill your personal development goals. Learn how YOU can reach the summit of your career in a whole range of critical areas, from business partnering to engaging with the latest game-changing technology.

Watch from anywhere 

We’ve pushing the digitisation of this event to the limits! Big Ideas Zurich will be streamed on Monday 10th December via Procurious. Become a Digital Delegate to watch from wherever you are, whether you’re at the office, on the bus, or at home enjoying a glass of wine.

Win a Parrot Bebop Drone worth £449.99 

All Digital Delegates that engage in the Procurious Big Ideas Zurich Group on Monday 10th December will go in the running to win a drone! Procurious will also be giving away a whole range of prizes on the day – but only to those who get involved! Follow Procurious on social for more details on prizes and giveaways.

Get the latest research

Be one of the first to get hold of Procurious and Michael Page UK’s final installment of the Procurement 2030 report. This much-anticipated research paper will be released on Monday 10th December, with a live discussion of the findings with one of the report authors.

Engage with the hottest topics facing procurement and supply 

What skills do I need to drive peak performance in my procurement career? What’s the latest intel on blockchain? What steps can I take to close the gender pay gap? Digital Delegates tuning into Big Ideas Zurich will hear about the latest, hottest topics that are challenging procurement and supply professionals around the globe.

Hear from procurement’s top thought leaders

Watch presentations and interviews with inspirational speakers including blockchain guru Olinga Ta’eed, gender equality champion John Everett and supplier innovation expert Jeurgen Nelis. But that’s not all! This event will be packed with bite-sized content including research updates, top picks from the Procurious Blog, and CPO interview compilations.

FAQs

When is it?

10th December 2018. But a lively conversation has already begun on Procurious! Expect to see most of the action between 10am-3pm GMT when we’ll be streaming all of the action from Zurich.

Where is it?

Although our top influencers will be meeting in Zurich, due to its digital nature Procurious members across the world can watch the whole event from the comfort of their office, armchair or even from the beach!

How can I join?

Simply sign up to Procurious to become a digital delegate. You’ll instantly gain access the Big Ideas Zurich Group and the live stream on the 10th December

Does it cost to attend as a digital delegate?

It is completely free to join Procurious and to be a Digital Delegate! Simply sign up or enrol here.

Do I have to be a member of Procurious?

Yes. Participation as a digital delegate is free and open to all members of Procurious. You’ll be joining a community of 32,000 like-minded procurement peers and gain access to all Procurious’ free resources.

Help – I can’t make the live-stream on 10th December!

No worries! If you can’t join the action on the 10th December, you’ll be able to catch up when it suits you, on demand, via the digital delegates group.

Sign up as  a digital delegate for Big Ideas Zurich (it’s free) 

How the Rise of AI Will Lead to a Pay Rise in Procurement

It may seem that the AI reduces human labour and eliminates the need for manual intervention, however in order to fully exploit the AI functionalities, human skills are a must. Here’s how the rise of AI could be lucrative for procurement professionals…

With the advent of transforming technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and data science, the landscape of businesses has seen a tremendous change in the last couple of years.

In fact, some of the industry giants are already enjoying the many benefits of AI.

Amazon has been using transactional AI for quite some time now. It has been using predictive analysis for understanding a customer’s purchase behaviour. Tesla cars and their self-driving features, is yet another example of AI being utilised for enhancing the user experience. Another powerful example of AI being used for human interaction is the technology used by Cogito. It uses behavioural adaptation and emotional intelligence for customer support.

According to a recent research study by Ivalua, a leading spend management cloud provider, about 55 per cent of the organisations are about to make a significant investment in AI in the coming two years. If we go on consulting industry trends, these figures clearly point out that AI has already started paving its way towards all the major industries including supply chain management and procurement.

Why is AI essential for procurement?

Procurement workers spend a large chunk of their time binding together fragmented information coming from myriad transactions, something that technology can easily take care of within a fraction of a second. Repetitive, labour-intensive transactions, cost negotiations, supplier performance monitoring etc. add further to the woes.

So how exactly has artificial intelligence strengthened the functioning of various tasks in procurement organisations? Let us find out:

  1. Automation for Repetitive Tasks: One of the trickiest parts in the procurement process is the number of repetitive tasks that consume a substantial amount of time and energy. AI technologies like machine learning, cognitive learning and robotic process automation not only make these iterative tasks faster but also more economical.
  2. Efficient Strategic Sourcing: With a robust machine learning technology, the data acquisition, cleansing & classifying of data and spend analysis become extremely efficient. It is even possible to analyse the spend patterns using real-time classification technology.
  3. Improving Engagement with Bots & Virtual Employee Assistant Chatbots a.k.a conversational interface is capable of incorporating both written messages as well as voice messages that can emulate chatting with a real person. Because of their recall abilities, they can even identify the users they’ve talked with before, thus improving the engagement. The voice assistant technology, on the other hand, is changing the way the user experiences the procurement process altogether.
  4. Handling Supply Management: Through AI, it has become possible to tell the overhead cost by gauging the stocks beforehand. This means that the AI technology intelligently balances the supply and demand by optimising the goods delivery. All this can be done by merely defining the action parameters through machine learning.
  5. Taking Care of Risk Management: AI also helps the enterprises to manage risks related to sourcing from suppliers during procurement. Supplier selection is made more predictive and intelligible. It is also capable of integrating the external data and financial risk scores to chalk out the potential threats.

Investment Required for AI in Procurement

The efficacy of AI in procurement is undebatable. However, setting up AI for procurement comes at a cost. The complex technologies that AI envelopes require application by trained professionals. Here are some of the technologies that come under the purview of AI in procurement:

  • Machine Learning (ML)– This is the most sought-after and most investment consuming technology for organisations today. This consists of APIs (Application Program Interface), development tools and algorithms. ML constantly keeps evolving and improving itself using a given data.
  • Deep Learning– It is actually a type of machine learning. It mimics the human brain in the sense that it observes a large amount of data and learns from it. The learning thus comes here from observing patterns in the given data.
  • NLP– It is a software that helps machines to understand human language and interact accordingly. It is capable of understanding the structure of the sentence, intent and meaning.
  • Virtual Agents– They are the computer programs that are capable of having meaningful conversations with humans. Alexa, Cortana, Siri are some of the popular virtual agents.
  • Decision Management– Decision Management architecture includes systems that can make information-driven automated decisions.

Investing in Human Skills

It may seem that the AI reduces human labour and eliminates the need for manual intervention, however in order to fully exploit the AI functionalities, human skills are a must. Procurement organizations cannot overlook the need for hiring dedicated professionals who master data science and have logical skills for using AI technology appropriately.

Despite the rapidly growing need of AI in major industries, the demand for data scientists and data engineers are not meeting the supply. As a result, the rise in the salary structure for these professionals stands inevitable. A recent survey of 50 best jobs in the USA by Glassdoor ranked data scientists at number one with a median salary of about $110, 000.

This also means that procurement organizations that are looking to get a stronghold in the industry with AI-driven technologies will have to loosen their pockets to get the best team on board.

Time is Money

The transformational footprint of AI on procurement and supply chain operations today has made it the most coveted technology. What the organisations fail to realise is, they are unknowingly shedding big bucks in the guise of time when they are manually performing the procurement functions.

Smart procurement can positively trigger efficient decision making, reduce human errors and save your precious time. This time can then be utilised in taking more strategic initiatives such as building influence within the organisation, improving relationships with suppliers, focusing on innovation, upskilling teams etc.

These initiatives will ultimately give you a bigger ROI and also an edge over your competitors. So if you consider the eagle’s eye view, investing in AI at this point in time is like securing your place as the world rides the digital transformation wave.

This article was written by Ethan Scott

Can We Tell You A Procurement Story?

When we say a story, what we really mean is five stories.

In Bravo, a new five-part procurement podcast series, we interview five inspiring and courageous women to discover the secrets to their success.

Discover why you should become a master storyteller, learn how to focus on your strengths, and listen as we debate critical issues including the salary gap, key procurement skills and the greatest challenges facing the profession.

What is the Bravo podcast series?

Bravo sponsored by Telstra, is a five-part procurement podcast series celebrating women in procurement. The series features five, fifteen-minute podcasts that have been designed to give you some inspiring insights from five top thought leaders in the profession.

How do I listen to the podcast series?

Simply sign up here and you’ll be re-directed to the Bravo group where you can access all five podcasts. You will also join a mailing list, which will alert you each time a new podcast is released.

How will I know when each podcast is published?

The series will run for one week, starting on 26th November with a daily podcast released on Procurious each day. We’ll drop you an email to let you know as each podcast becomes available.

Is the podcast series available to anyone?

Absolutely! Anyone & everyone can access the podcasts and it won’t cost you a penny to do so. Simply sign up here!

When does the podcast series take place. 

Starting on the 26th November the series will run for five days. The podcasts will be accompanied by daily blogs from speakers plus group discussions and articles on Procurious. When the series is complete, all five podcasts will be available for registrants via the Procurious eLearning hub, FREE of charge.

Podcast speakers

1. Thomai Veginis – CPO – Telstra

Thomai is the CPO of Telstra, and as such holds one of the very top CPO roles in Australia, with an eye-watering total spend of $14 billion, a portfolio of 36 categories, and nearly 200 procurement and supply chain staff reporting through to her.

2. Julie Masters, CEO – Influence Nation

Julie Masters is a globally recognised expert in influence, authority and thought leadership. She is the CEO and Founder of Influence Nation and Founder of ODE Management – responsible for launching and managing the careers of some of the worlds most respected thought leaders. Julie is also the host of the weekly podcast Inside Influence.

3. Carlee McGowan, GM Planning – Telstra

Carlee McGowan is a strategic manager with extensive Supply Chain end to end business acumen and a passion for driving and delivering best practice opportunities. She has worked for over 25 years in the field, with profession extending across fast moving consumer goods, retail, telco and international environments.

A change leader who has established, mentored and lead teams, and is known for her passion in customer centric Supply Chain Management using Sales and Operations Planning principles to create end to end business plans to exceed business objectives.

4. Tania Seary, Founder – Procurious

A true procurement entrepreneur, Tania is the Founding Chairman of Procurious, The Faculty and The Source. Throughout her career, Tania has been wholly committed to raising the profile of the procurement profession and connecting its leaders.

After finishing her MBA at Pennsylvania State University, Tania became one of Alcoa’s first global commodity managers.

In 2016, Tania was recognised by IBM as a #NewWaytoEngage Futurist and named “Influencer of the Year” by Supply Chain Dive. She hosts regular procurement webinars, and presents at high-profile events around the world.

5. Nicky Abdinor, Clinical psychologist and show-stopping motivational speaker

Nicky Abdinor is an international keynote speaker, registered Clinical Psychologist and founder of the non-profit, Nicky’s Drive. She is based in Cape Town, South Africa, where she runs her clinical practice. Nicky travels globally for keynote speaking events and has spoken at conferences across Africa, Europe, the USA, Australia and the Middle East.  Nicky is always commended on being a “credible” agent of change whether you are connecting with her one-on-one or from an audience. When you meet Nicky, it is hard not to recognise that she puts her message into practice. She was born without arms, not without attitude!

Bravo, the podcast series sponsored by Telstra,  goes live on 26th November 2018. Sign up now (it’s free) to access the series.