Working in procurement you are closer than most to the thing that ultimately ends up rolling off the production line. But have you ever thought to yourself ‘how DID that come to be?’
Lucky for you then that the inquisitive minds over at How It’s Made, and those kings of the viral tap – Buzzfeed, have put together a little video that shows 24 examples of the world’s most awe-inspiring machinery.
Jon Hansen is a guest blogger – if you want to contribute to the Procurious blog please drop us a line – here.
I have been writing the Procurement Insights blog since 2007. It currently has more than 21,500 followers. (Note: the European Union Edition of the blog – which was launched in May 2013 – has just over 16,000 followers.)
Around the same time I joined LinkedIn ( 30,000 connections), followed by Facebook (5,000 connections), and finally Twitter (17,000 connections) in 2008.
In 2009 I launched the PI Window radio show on Blog Talk Radio – which will soon air its 900th episode in which featured segments are downloaded between 25,000 and 30,000 times within the 24 to 48 hours immediately following the live broadcast.
Over time I have also expanded my virtual presence through various other platforms including YouTube, Sprout Social, Pinterest and on and on and on.
So one might reasonably conclude that as a procurement professional, I am deeply immersed in the virtual realms of the Internet. While I would not disagree with this last point, if I were reading as opposed to writing this article, the first question I would ask is what does it all really mean? More specifically,
what are the tangible benefits that a procurement professional can derive from being “connected” in the virtual world?
My response . . . it depends on how long you have been in the profession.
For those of us who have been around for 15 or more years, the answer is not as clear as it is with the newer generation of procurement professionals. I am talking about the ones 30 years or younger.
For this newer group the thought of utilizing a dog-eared catalog with stick-it notes of varying colors to source products from suppliers via telephone is unfathomable. I would imagine that theirs would be a similar reaction to that of my young nephew, who upon viewing the black and white images projected through the old rabbit-eared television at his grandmother’s house, declared that the “TV was broken”.
In this generational context, the virtual world is a comfortable given for the younger set, while an revolutionary development for the veterans. This factor will to a large extent influence our respective perceptions and considered benefits.
Rather than continue to focus on the obvious disparity in understanding, the purpose of this article is to identify the points of commonality. Specifically, how can the web-based platforms or elements of the virtual world that is the Internet, be best leveraged regardless of age or experience.
The Operational Element (Action)
I have no doubt that I could, with little effort, turn this into a long dissertation on the various technical aspects of the myriad of platforms that make up the networked world in which we do business. From cloud-based B2B to P2P and B2C and everything in between, including big data and The Internet of Things, there is no shortage of material.
The irony of course is that in terms of impact, these present day technological advancements are no different than those from earlier eras such as the telephone and fax machine – both of which were quite revolutionary in their own time. Quite simply, the only real difference from an operational standpoint, are the actual tools of the trade themselves. The core principle upon which they are based is still centered on increasing capabilities and improving outcomes.
Therefore, what is really needed to understand how this transformation unifies generational perspective and perception, is to find a common point of reference. For me this would be ThomasNet.com.
ThomasNet.com is the current version of the Thomas Register. First published in 1898, the Thomas Register was a simple yet powerfully useful buying guide which listed industrial products and services from an expansive list of potential vendors.
It was an indispensible tool for buyers who through one convenient catalog, could source needed products from reliable suppliers who had been researched and screened by the publication.
Fast forward more than 100 years to the here and now, and this core benefit is still the same, which is the ability to source products and services from a reliable pool of vendors. The only difference is that instead of looking up a product in a hard copy catalog and then contacting the applicable supplier by the available means of bygone days,
the Internet has made it possible to locate, source and procure electronically by way of a few simple keystrokes.
Granted this is an oversimplification of how a ThomasNet.com works in comparison to its earlier versions, but you get the idea.
The Socialized Element (Knowledge)
Where it once did, the value gained from the traditional Association model can no longer compete for my attention. I need to collaborate bigger, faster, stronger – and at my convenience.
Associations could better leverage Web 2.0 to deliver a greater level of service to me as a supply chain professional by more actively, rapidly and efficiently aligning with the pace at which new, useful industry information becomes available – then delivering this information in an effective way, so as to keep me abreast of trends, best-practices and exchange ideas with fellow members; thereby making me a more valuable professional.
From my standpoint, the sentiments expressed by this individual explains perfectly the impetus behind the socialization of the procurement professional within the virtual realms. It is also the reason why, when I was originally introduced to Procurious I took notice.
From “connecting to correcting to listening to learning” etc., platforms such as Procurious are as indispensible a tool as the operational platforms or technologies we use to procure goods and services.
Ultimately, it is the socialized aspect of virtualization that ensures access to the needed insight and information that enables the procurement professional to maintain relevancy in an increasingly complex global marketplace. In fact, the underlying value of these communities of shared interest is that they serve as a filter through which the information overload of the World Wide Web can be circumvented to ensure that you get the intelligence you need quickly and reliably.
The key point to remember is that these are truly “get out what you put in” virtual communities, in which the tangible benefits can only be measured by the quality of the relationships that help you to add greater value to your own career and organization. This means that you have to get involved. Whether it be in the form of a question posed within a group, or commenting on an article. When you insert yourself into the conversation you gain knowledge well beyond your own experiences. Or to put it another way, and regardless of your age, the old axiom that knowledge is power is as true today as it was when Francis Bacon originally coined the phrase back in the 16th century.
In the end, when you hear terms such as procurement virtualization or socializing procurement, what it really means is that the main objectives of the procurement profession are still somewhat the same…
– with some notable extensions. The only difference is in the tools that are available to achieve the desired outcomes.
This week’s Procurious blog update will focus on a number of valuable additions that our developers have been tinkering with behind the scenes.
Curated content and news-aggregation are all the rage these days… From companies spending millions to grass-root startups on a shoestring. Procurious.com falls into the latter, and we’re quite proud of our ‘News’ service. Go on, do take a look…
“Read all about it”
We want to make Procurious part of your daily online routine, so we’ve added a curated ‘News’ service [find it in the main navigation above]
Here you can digest the latest headlines from around the world, as well as specialized topics like business, technology, science, environment, and sports.
It updates every day to bring you the stories we think you’ll be looking for. No more scouring the Internet (or social media) for scrappy titbits or false leads, just stick with us and we’ll see you through.
Your social updates
Elsewhere on Procurious, we’ve given everything a bit of a tuck and polish. Spend enough time on your Community feed and you’ll be alerted whenever someone in your network makes an update.
Post to the Community feed, in a discussion topic, or reply to a blog post, and (if it’s a web address) Procurious will automatically turn it into a clickable link. For instance, you don’t have to preface the URL with http:// or www just type ‘twitter.com’. A small addition we think you’ll agree, but a handy one.
Inline replies are go!
If you’ve been dipping in and out of our Discussions area, but wondered why you couldn’t leave inline comments – then we have good news! Inline replies are now active across all discussion topics.
What’s more, everyone in the discussion receives a notification if new replies are posted.
Edit your profile in a jiffy
Sometimes you just want to make an edit on the fly – that’s why we’ve granted you the ability to quickly change your job title/position directly from your profile page. Just click the ‘edit’ button, tap away and hit ‘save’ to immediately apply the changes.
We’re social, are you?
And finally, don’t forget that we’re on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn (you might have noticed the new social icons towards the bottom of your page). So come and follow us!
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC for short) has been trying to crack a hard-boiled mystery…
Talk of cartels is usually something we leave to the boys on Sons of Anarchy, but it looks like it’s reared its ugly head and triggered an egg pricing war down under.
Cartel arrangements come about when competing firms instigate anti-competitive measures – in this instance the aim was to reduce the supply of eggs to customers and businesses.
Examples of anti-competitive conduct include price fixing, rigging bids (from suppliers and buyers), sharing markets, and other such practices that seek to control the market and increase the profits of all involved.
Allegations were aimed at The Australian Egg Corporation Limited (along with two egg producers), that implied all were aware of such a scheme.
A presentation made to Australia’s top 25 egg producers in Feb 2012 included slides that pertained to disrupting the supply chain. Messages included:
“Dispose of eggs by either donating eggs to one or many charity groups or dumping/burying eggs.”
“Reduce the number of laying hens by culling birds (there is currently capacity with the major processors). Use of an independent auditor?”
And: “Increase demand? (AEC has invested $1 million above budget to assist ‘move’ volume).”
In related news, Qantas and Virgin Australia Holdings have also wandered into the ACCC’s sights over carbon tax. Read more on The Sydney Morning Herald
It may be a glorious summer across Europe, but the latest news from DHL might send temperatures south… Enjoy that and stories about Amazon, NHS, Johnson Controls, Apple, plus more – below.
Johnson Controls makes new appointment
Johnson Controls has appointed Michael Bartschat as its first CPO to develop ‘world-class global procurement function’
Bartschat will report to Bruce McDonald, executive vice president and chief financial officer.
The company said Bartschat will “optimise cost and value” of purchased materials, products and services. There will also be a focus on supporting the company’s ongoing transformation to a “true multi-industrial through operational and manufacturing excellence across its business units”.
Amazon.com has announced financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2014. All-in sales are up 23 percent to $19.34 billion.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com said: “We continue working hard on making the Amazon customer experience better and better.
“We’ve recently introduced Sunday delivery coverage to 25 percent of the U.S. population, launched European cross-border Two-Day Delivery for Prime, and launched Kindle Unlimited, an eBook subscription service.”
A Guardian article on poor NHS procurement has sparked fierce criticism from an NHS procurement director. You can read arguments from both sides at this link.
Among the narrative we learn that the NHS procurement price comparison shows that some trusts pay over 135% more for certain products, such as white paper.
And despite some excellent initiatives, the procurement community as a whole has failed to produce a strategy to deliver the savings that are needed.
DHL enhances its cold chain logistics
DHL Global Forwarding has enhanced its cold chain logistics offerings through the transport of shipments at frozen or cryogenic temperatures.
Designed for customers from the life sciences and healthcare industry with an increasing need for sophisticated cryogenic logistics solutions, this service is maintained by LifeConEx, DHL’s temperature management specialist, in collaboration with Cryoport, a provider of complete global frozen shipping services.
David Bang, CEO LifeConEx said: “It is specifically designed for customers who require that cryogenic temperature be reliably maintained during storage and transportation of their materials. It also relieves them from more precarious shipping methods such as dry ice or use of hazardous liquid nitrogen”
Apple ramping up supply chain for mysterious new release?
Apple is understood to be working on a slimmed-down iPad Mini Air, as well as a 12.9-inch model so says the company’s Far East manufacturing partners.
The new small-screen device will use the Air moniker, like the current flagship iPad, and is understood to be 30 per cent thinner than the 2013 iPad Mini. It will feature Apple’s new A8 processor, which is expected to debut in the iPhone 6.
As for the 12.9-inch tablet, United Daily News quoted David Hsieh – Vice President of market research firm DisplaySearch – as saying the device should hit shelves in 2015, motivated by increased competition in the segment from Samsung and other vendors.
Dave Lewis, a contributor who writes for Forbes, has penned a thoughtful piece on the dangers (and effects) digital technology could have on supply chains the world over.
You can read Lewis’ piece in full here – but in it he cites a Gartner report that predicts “by 2017, IT supply chain integrity will be identified as a top three security-related concern by Global 2000 IT leaders” is actually a real concern in 2014.
Elsewhere Lewis warns companies: “Don’t forsake security in a effort to make a deadline. The cost could be higher in the long run.”
Best time-saving websites and apps to simplify your busy life.
Increase your productivity – spend less time on life admin and more on living your life to the fullest.
About.me – sell yourself quickly and easily
What’s better than writing about yourself on Procurious? How about your own little corner of the Web (that can be put-together in under two minutes flat)…
The folks behind About.me know that a little bit of self-promotion can do you the world of good. Just add photo, sprinkle some words, and connect the social networks of your choosing to your spangly new page.
Trackthisforme – activity tracker that looks as good as you
For the body-conscious out there we’ve got a Procurious guide to health and fitness gadgets in the pipeline, but in the meantime put down that donut and check out trackthisforme.
This lightweight app ably keeps track of mood, weight, hours slept, pushups, and more. Data junkies will also appreciate the resulting tables and graphs that plot your activities.
It’s available for free on both iOS and Android platforms.
Routehappy – flight comparison tool that thinks of everything
You’d be forgiven for thinking Routehappy is just another flight comparison website, but when its mantra reads “all flights are not created equal”, you’ll soon realise your mistake…
Routehappy not only serves as a flight checker, it also allows passengers to search for flights on nicer planes, roomier seats, in-seat power options and quality of entertainment on board. Each flight and airline is awarded a happiness factor so passengers can get a real sense of the experience.
Things – task manager that keeps track of life so you don’t have to
If the very thought of a task manager app fills you with dread, we think you’ll appreciate Things fresh perspective on the mundane. What do you want to do Today? What are the tasks you want to get to Next? And what do you want to Schedule for a later day? Everything has its place.
When entering new to-dos you can quickly add all important information: enter the title, notes, and due date. You can also tag to-dos so you can find them more easily later.
It’s all very intuitive and the app is attractive to boot. Things stores your to-dos and keeps them updated across your Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch so you’ll never suffer from lack of organisation ever again.
Circa – instant access to the latest news stories
News-curation services are seemingly on the up and up. Circa is available purely in app-form and been designed to make it easier to keep tabs on breaking news stories.
Circa editors distil news down into only the essential points so the user doesn’t feel as though they’re being bogged down with details. With Reuters’ social media editor on board too, it should go from strength to strength. Interested? It’s currently available for both iOS and Android
Want more news? Yahoo! has just released its own version – the News Digest app. Plus there’s similar offerings from Romanian-based MediaServista too, which is currently in demo mode.
Xmarks – take your favourite websites with you
Xmarks does an impressive job of seamlessly backing up and syncing bookmarks for your favourite websites across all of your devices. You can also rely on it to remember your passwords and any open browser tabs too. Especially useful when you’ve found a good website at work but can’t remember it come home time.
Xmarks will keep a copy of everything you’ve synced for up to three months, but should you require longer a premium version is available.
Handybook – like having your own housekeeper
It’s been described as the “Uber” of household services. Handybook provides a web app enabling people to book cleaners, plumbers, handymen and other household service providers. Airbnb also offer their services to those hosts who opt for discounted cleaning after every booking.
At the time of writing Handybook has stretched its calloused, hardworking fingers to Canada, United States, and the UK.
In the UK? If you’re just after some good old-fashioned cleaning, we’ve heard great things about Hassle.com too. Go check them out and use ref841matt for a fiver off.
Freckle – track the time you (and your team) spend doing things
“Your business runs on time. It’s the fuel your team uses to start, create, finish projects for yourselves and your clients. You’ve got to make sure every minute counts… and can be counted” – so says Freckle’s website, and it’s true.
Freckle takes care of this otherwise boring administrative task, giving you some time back to concentrate on more important business decisions.
It’s accessible via a web interface and offers a 30-day free trial for those wanting to evaluate the effectiveness of the tool. Prices then start at $39 per month for a small team.
That’s our lot for now, but if you want to add your suggestions just leave a comment below.
Bianca Amore’s career experience makes her the sort of all-rounder that any company CEO would snap up in an instant.
She’s worked her way through the ranks for a number of major corporate brands both in the UK and overseas.
A major standout for her was working with the head of sponsorship to negotiate a major sponsorship deal with the English and Wales Cricket Board for grassroots through to professional British Cricket.
“The best bit was heading to the cricket at Lords with my mates to watch the game and seeing where my hard work went. It was everywhere, the pitch advertising, overall branding, junior cricket representation and the like. It was a really enjoyable day.”
Bianca now calls Sydney home, where she works as a procurement consultant.
Her strong negotiation skills have sealed her destiny in procurement. She had initially studied to be a civil engineer, but soon realised a career in engineering wasn’t what she wanted in her future.
So, she changed directions, enrolling in a Bachelor of Business in internal business and marketing. It was a much better fit and she found herself gravitating toward firstly analyst roles, then project management, strategic sourcing, category management and now, end-to-end procurement. She went on to complete her CIPS qualification while working.
Working abroad has allowed Bianca to also travel. She loves soaking up new cultures and enjoying new cuisines along the way and counts Italy and France as her favourite destinations.
She names coaching a client towards a promotion as a proud moment for her.
“I’ve worked with so many great people around the world, and been fortunate enough to work in some fantastic organisations on high profile projects. I would like that to continue. Though, if I didn’t work in procurement, I’d probably own a designer shoe shop and lend my skills to not-for-profit organisations.”
“I love the variety of work that I do. I’ve sourced everything from telco networks to multi-million dollar media deals. True procurement allows you to learn and use a variety of skills. It gives you an opportunity to gain lots of skills across more areas of a business than most other careers.”
When asked how she approaches negotiations and what works well for her, she says: “Be prepared, stick to the facts, understand your leverage and keep your stakeholders informed.”
Could you power your supply chain with apples and oranges?
Outside Westfield shopping centre in London’s Shepherd’s Bush, Microsoft and Carphone Warehouse have unveiled one of the world’s biggest science experiments…
Behold an enormous 20ft wide and 8ft high installation featuring a phenomenal amount of fruit and vegetables, which, amazingly, is able to wirelessly charge a Nokia Lumia smartphone.
Microsoft and Carphone Warehouse teamed up with Caleb Charland, a science enthusiast and artist, to create the magnificent charging art piece. Inspired by the school science project, where an electrical current is generated using a potato, Caleb created ‘Back To Light’ his latest body of work.
Caleb has now applied this method to create the Lumia organic charger using 800 apples and potatoes.
Bet you wish you’d paid more attention in your science class now?
Want to make more of an impact on the Procurious network? Here are a few pointers to help make a bigger splash across this online platform.
Complete your profile
Nobody likes to leave a job half-done… This also rings true on Procurious where profiles are sometimes being left incomplete.
If you didn’t get around to filling out all of your employment, education, or personal details when you registered on Procurious, you will notice that we prompt you for this information on subsequent log-ins.
We’re not trying to bug you, but as our members will attest, you will get more out of the network if you adopt a more open approach to sharing.
Entering your ‘location’ is important as it allows other members to locate professionals by vicinity. Start typing your location and Procurious will suggest places based on your keystrokes.
Likewise, ‘industry’ and ‘category’ will also prove useful when it comes to finding other Procurious members in similar roles to you.
Network, network, network
If you haven’t yet made many friends on Procurious then you’ll want to take advantage of our ‘Build your network’ feature.
It’s easy to grow your network from here, just click the green ‘+ Add to network’ button next to the members of your choosing.
You can even filter Procurious members by using the search filters, or by typing a name into the search box.
For a more detailed look at this invaluable feature – we suggest you read this blog entry.
You might have also noticed the ‘Get connected’ area that we’ve added to the site. This randomly highlights three other members (at a time) that we think you should connect with. Added all three? Just refresh the page or click ‘View more’.
Soon you’ll be networking like a pro, and connecting with members from all over the Procurious network.
Share like your life depends on it
If knowledge is power then you should make sharing content on Procurious one of your priorities. This is a network for like-minded individuals, many of whom will take more that a passing interest in what you have to say.
You can post to Procurious in two ways: either write some words, add a URL, or share a photo using the status box. Alternatively just click the ‘share’ icon above a member’s post, Procurious blog entry, or event listing to share to the Community at large.
So share, and share lots (as you never know whose eye you might catch…)
A great deal has been written about Millennials… A lot of it, not all that nice – so it’s with interest that we pored over the new infographic compiled from research Collegefeed conducted on a 5000-strong sample.
The results can be viewed below in full, but first some context for anyone not quite up to speed… You might already be familiar with the previous Generation X, well Millennials are members of the next wave – sometimes referred to as Generation Y. As for what makes up this demographic, the boundaries are loose at best – those born anywhere between the 1980s and 2000s have been included in commentary to date.
Although 60 percent of those surveyed were female, the results show that the top 10 list was predominately made-up of male role-models (only 4 were women).
Alongside strong entrepreneurial-powerhouses such as Jobs, Gates, Musk, Zuckerberg, and Branson – there sits quite a selection of personalities from the world of showbiz and entertainment.
Other survey results included Pope Francis, Marissa Mayer, Jon Stewart, Beyonce Knowles, and Jennifer Lawrence. Bey’s done a lot for female empowerment, and we love The Hunger Games trilogy as much as the next person, but are such inclusions casting our young Millennials in an unflattering light?
30 percent of those surveyed stated they are worried that their employers believe they are lazy and/or entitled. This could tie into a later line of questioning that asked if Millennials felt they had a harder time of finding jobs (compared to earlier generations). The result? A resounding 70 percent answered ‘Yes’.
This is in direct contrast to recent job reports and statistics that have shown a decrease in the overall unemployment rate for new graduates.
The last of the survey’s findings focused on the Millennial’s motivation factors for choosing a role. The majority put ‘Salary’ as their top priority.
These days you read more and more about companies shying away from promoting, hiring, or training talented Millennial candidates. If you look at the survey note that both ‘Stability’ and ‘advancement opportunities’ came towards the bottom – could this be another black mark against the Millennial’s perceived reputation?
Various factors come into play, says Tony Sorenson, CEO of Versique Search (versique.com) and Consulting and McKinley Consulting (mckinleyconsulting.com). Millennials typically transition jobs more frequently than employees from the previous generation, which can cause hiring managers to assume they’ll lose younger employees quicker, making it harder to justify investing time and money in them. “Unfortunately, this trend can translate into the organization missing out on valuable talent and Millennials feeling undervalued,” says Sorenson.
Has any of this changed your outlook on the Millennial workforce, or are you a member of Generation Y and have a polarising opinion? Let us know in the comments below!