Tag Archives: networking

Digital Goats And Virtual Drinks: 7 Bizarre Procurement Tech Learnings In 2020

Wish you could erase 2020 from your memory? We don’t blame you. But before you write it off, take a look back at the wonderfully bizarre things we learned in 2020.


Many of us wish we could forget 2020. But that would be a mistake!

We learned so much last year about procurement’s influence in the world – both good and bad.

So before you erase your memory, take a look back at the top 7 bizarre things we didn’t know before 2020.

People track Mongolian goats with an app

This gem came from Sally Guyer, Global CEO of World Commerce & Contracting. She explained Mongolia produces nearly a fifth of the world’s raw cashmere. 

And even though cashmere is considered natural and sustainable, soaring consumer demand is fueling overgrazing and damaging the land. 

So Toronto-based Convergence.tech and the UN teamed up to create an app for Mongolian farmers, backed by blockchain technology. 

Now the UN is able to interact with over 70 different herders and eight cooperatives through a simple app – meaning cashmere production can be tracked from end-to-end. 

Read more in her full article >

And managers track staff with an app

With so many employees working remotely for the first time, some companies went totally overboard on surveillance. 

Features vary, but tracking software lets companies monitor everything a staff member does on a company computer. 

This ranges from recording all websites visited, to taking screenshots every few minutes and sending them back to the boss. 

In fact, one surveillance software company, Hubstaff, saw a 95% increase in new customers during March 2020.

Great for productivity? Or a total trust destroyer? You decide.

Read more about companies making sure staff are ‘productive’ >

Nothing attracts liars like a global crisis 

One woman was caught selling illegal pesticide on eBay, claiming it could provide immunity from the virus. Seriously.

And one man allegedly tried to sell 100 million facemasks to the US government, despite not actually having any.

Counterfeit products were plentiful, with one NHS healthcare provider in the UK reporting 95% of the N95 masks she was offered were fake.

“When I informed one supplier that I knew their certificates were fake, they said to me, “Ok, if I give you real certificates for other products will you place an order?’” the NHS provider said.

Oof.

See the full run-down of COVID-19’s dark side >

Networking still matters, even if it’s virtual

It doesn’t matter if you usually lurk in the corner at networking events. Or if the word ‘networking’ makes you break out in hives. You were built to network – even during a pandemic. 

That’s because you’re already a natural at creating partnerships across supply chains and stakeholders, said Tania Seary, Founder of Procurious.

“Procurement professionals are united by the need to be agile, to be savvy, to be bold,” Seary said. “We can do that alone, but we can do it even better by reaching out to colleagues and contacts to fill the gaps.”

So pour yourself a glass and enjoy a good virtual mingle. Or keep watching “The Crown” on Netflix. Your call.

Read the full article on how to network your face off >

Sweatpants are work attire

When COVID-19 hit, the just-in-time strategy fell on its face, said IBM’s Takshay Aggarwal. 

“All those informed predictions about stock levels and deliveries were suddenly obsolete,” Takshay said.

“That’s because consumer behaviour changed overnight. Instead of looking trendy, we sought comfort. Purchases of sweatpants were up 80 percent in April, according to the New York Times.

“We learned that lean management works wonderfully well, until it doesn’t. It’s one of three fatal flaws in procurement exposed by the pandemic.”

Watch Takshay’s must-watch interview with Procurious founder Tania Seary >

We can predict demand based on weather

Instead of basing predictions on past sales, we can now forecast demand based on weather. 

“Companies can actually predict food requirements at a shopping mall food court by analysing parking spaces and the weather,” said supply chain social media influencer Rob O’Byrne.

“They harness data on parking space occupancy, combine it with the weather forecast, and predict how many people will turn up at the shopping centre.”

“That’s real forecasting.” 

See all 8 ideas Rob says you need in your toolkit >

iPhones originally had a plastic screen

When Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in 2007, the screen was plastic. 

Yet the next day, Jobs noticed the screen was covered in scratches and called his VP of Operations, Jeff Williams, demanding a glass screen for the official release. 

Williams said it couldn’t be done in just six months. Every glass prototype they tried had smashed, and it would take years to create a shatter-resistant, thin glass. 

But Jobs insisted. So Williams worked with speciality manufacturing company Corning to create damage-resistant Gorilla Glass in time for the launch. Now every smartphone in the world uses it.

That proves procurement teams can meet specific business needs by working with suppliers to innovate, said Dr. Marcell Vollmer, Partner and Director at Boston Consulting Group. 

See why Dr. Vollmer is enthusiastic about procurement’s future >

To 2021 and beyond

There’s no question 2020 was a hard year in our industry. We saw first-hand how a crisis can bring out the ugly side of supply chain. 

But mostly, we learned how procurement can change the world for the better.

As Supply Chain Revolution CEO Sheri Hinish put it: “We can come from different backgrounds, different parts of the world but at our core, we fundamentally want the same things. So, it’s real and when you think about collaborating within a global context…this is what wakes me up every morning – to create a world that’s bearable, viable and equitable.”

Onwards and upwards, then.

5 Things 2020 Taught Us About Our Procurement Careers

After 2020, it’s back to the drawing board as far as career advice goes! Our expert sources reveal their top career tips moving forward.


As procurement evolves as a profession, so too does the career advice associated with it. Most years, we learn a thing or two more that we’ll need to implement. This year though? Not so much. 2020 has been the year that career advice has not just evolved, but changed entirely. It has been the year where we have redefined what ‘success’ might look like, grown an appreciation for the small things, and valued the people around us even more. It has been the year where we’ve challenged assumptions about not only how we work, but also where we work and why we do what we do. 

So what, exactly, has 2020 taught us about our careers? Given the now monumental importance of the supply chain and procurement profession, many experts have weighed on what the very best career advice of 2020 has been. Here’s a round up of the five most important things we’ve learnt this year: 

1. We don’t need to be ashamed of being laid off 

It’s one of most people’s greatest fears for good reason: no one wants to get laid off. Being laid off (especially in this economic environment) can feel overwhelming, frightening and humiliating. But what is perhaps even worse is contemplating how to explain being laid off to future employers. Won’t they think that it was a problem with you? 

No they most certainly won’t, says Imelda Walsh, Manager at The Source Recruitment. Even before the millions of redundancies that happened this year, it was always best practice to be honest with a future employer about why you left your last role. 

And especially this year, Imelda says, the stigma around being laid off has all but been put to bed. Being honest about what has happened helps protect your personal brand: 

“If you’re honest, it shows you have integrity. If you’re not, it casts doubt over your whole personal brand. It takes an entire career to build a positive personal brand, but only a few minutes to destroy one.” 

You can read more of Imelda’s brilliant advice here. 

2. Looking after your people is integral to your success

In the past, many have thought of a career as an individual pursuit. In fact, in days gone by, an autocratic management style and having sharp elbows were considered a requisite to success. 

But not anymore. 

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that if our team doesn’t succeed, neither will we. Being a gracious and empathetic person (and leader and team player) has never been more important. In fact, if you want to succeed, this is the exact advice that Ian Holcroft, Director at Murphy, gives all aspiring CPOs: 

“No matter the technological advancements we have now and into the future, people will still be at the centre of everything we do. In strange and challenging times, it’s even more important to look after your people – understand what drives them, what challenges they have outside work and the status of their mental health.” `

Ian has much more excellent advice, here. 

3. Crisis can help build our leadership skills 

One piece of advice that doesn’t change year to year is that we all need to cultivate our leadership skills. This is so important, in fact, that it is considered the number one skill required to succeed in your career, regardless of your profession. 

Usually, a combination of training, experience and a great mentor can help us develop these leadership skills. But a curveball that 2020 has thrown us is that these aren’t the only ways to develop leadership skills. In fact, a crisis can be fundamental in helping us to develop the ability to lead through uncertainty, which is an essential part of leading. 

Mark Holyoake, founder of Holyoake Search, believes that 2020 has provided us all with a unique opportunity to lead, and this is something that companies look for when hiring senior procurement professionals: 

“Leading through uncertainty and adversity has certainly been required of late. As a CPO, you’ll always face uncertainty – so leading in this way is a great skill to be nurturing now.” 

Mark knows more than a thing or two about what skills companies look for when hiring CPOs. You can read his compelling advice here. 

4. Connect inside – and outside – of your industry 

For as long as we’ve been offering career advice, we’ve said one thing to all procurement professionals: building your connections is key. In fact, building connections is the reason we created Procurious in the first place. 

But this year has made the need to connect with others – both inside our team and industry, and outside of it – even more important. With the nature and complexity of some of the supply chain disruptions we’ve seen, connecting and collaborating with all manner of people is now not just a nice to have, but a need to have in order to problem solve and keep our organisations functioning. 

Ian Holcroft, Director at Murphy, believes there’s been no better time to remember one particular old, yet critical adage: 

“It isn’t about what you know, but rather who you know.” 

Ian has much more captivating advice when it comes to connecting. 

5. Be expansive in your thinking

In procurement, we like to think we’re excellent problem solvers. We’re also (usually) excellent risk managers, organisers, and creators of seamless processes. 

But this year basically obliterated our assumptions about almost everything we do. It is no longer possible to use old solutions and to solve the new problems we’re experiencing. 

They key to solving for this, says Mok O’Keefe, Chief Officer at The Innovation Beehive, is to be expansive in our thinking. He says: 

“To be expansive in your thinking, you need to suspend your judgement and forget about assumptions. Say to yourself: how else could this work? Then, when ideas come to mind, ignore the voice that says ‘this is a crazy idea and it won’t work.’ Instead, ask yourself: ‘Under what circumstances could this be possible?’” 

It’s fair to say we all need to be a bit more innovative with our careers this year. Mok’s got a great formula for this, which you can read here.  

2020, the year careers as we know them changed forever 

Like most things after 2020, our careers will never be the same. But could different mean better? Many experts think so. Let’s head into 2020 with a fresh set of advice, a renewed way of looking at things and even higher aspirations for ourselves and our profession. 

5 CIPS CPD Hacks to Boost your Lockdown Learning

Keeping up with work can be hard enough during lockdown but earning your CPD points can be even trickier. Fortunately, there are still plenty of options available to you.


Given what’s happened over the past 12 months, it might take more than a stroll down memory lane to remember what you were doing at the beginning of 2020. ‘Pandemic’ was a fun board game to play and the only corona that most of us knew of was the popular brand of beer. But perhaps you were one of the many procurement professionals who made a New Year’s resolution to gain their CIPS Chartership.

Even if they had lasted that long, by March most resolutions had been cast aside as people adjusted to a ‘new normal’. Working from home became a way of life, work largely turned to the digital side and chartership may have been put to one side to come back to once things had settled down a bit.

However, once again people are keen to push on with personal and professional development, gaining the skills and knowledge to help them progress. After all, the perfect role may not wait for normal service to be resumed. This is where a digital profession comes to the fore and shows how to turn the new normal to its advantage.

Your CPD ‘New Normal’

We’ve discussed previously about the chartership journey that people will choose to undertake. Previously, gaining and maintaining chartership was a challenge in itself. But without the CIPS Central and Branch events, procurement conferences and industry networking that would normally form the basis for annual CPD hours, maintaining chartership was only going to be harder.

And this is where CIPS have stepped in to provide its global membership with the knowledge, resources and learning that it needs to start earning those hours. And the best thing is, it’s pretty much lockdown proof!

If you are setting out on your chartership journey, or are looking for a way to hang onto your hard-earned qualifications even without being able to travel outside of your hometown, you need these five CPD hacks to help boost your learning and development during lockdown.

1. Attend a CIPS Event

CIPS usually has a wide array of events available to its members for attendance during a year. Even though people aren’t able to attend in person, there is a plethora of events still available on the CIPS Events hub. There is a mix of Central and Branch events and there is a good chance of finding something in your area.

These events are a great way to network and the advantage of them being virtually run is that members have a chance to attend some events they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to. Plus, each event comes with 1-2 CPD hours for attending.

2. Do Some Online Learning

If you find yourself with some spare time, why not head over to the CIPS eLearning Portal and do some eLearning. There are courses on Ethical Procurement (key for your Ethics exam) and CIPS Qualification modules to help you brush up before exams. On top of this there are over 250 hours of courses, varying in length and topic, but all great ways of boosting your procurement knowledge.

Each hour of your eLearning can be counted towards your CPD, and CIPS will even credit you for eLearning done on other platforms too. So if – and it’s a big if – you finish all the CIPS courses, you can continue to log your CPD using applicable courses elsewhere.

3. Attend a Conference

We might not be able to attend in person, but there are plenty of procurement conferences available to attend as a digital delegate. If the conference has a theme related to the procurement profession it can be counted towards CPD hours. From CIPS to Procurement Leaders, there are plenty to choose from.

If you missed it, why not go back and revisit the Big Ideas Summit 2020 if you didn’t get the chance to attend ‘live’ on the day. Even attending a conference after the day has passed counts – all you need to do is log the hours you spend at it!

4. Give or Receive Coaching or Mentoring

Exhausted the events calendar but still want to connect with other procurement professionals? What better way to do this than linking up with your team at work, or your peers, for some coaching or informal learning. Think about procurement topics you think you could do with some help with, or maybe something work-related that you could do with some advice on.

In the digital setting, it’s even more important to keep up our connections. Use the digital tools that are available to you, or a platform like Procurious to meet up with like-minded people, and set up some training sessions. Not only do you get a chance to help your fellow professionals, but you can log CPD hours at the same time.

5. Books, Podcasts and Webinars

If virtual conferences aren’t your thing, and you’ve had plenty time sitting in front of your computer recently, you can earn CPD hours by reading a book, magazine, industry journal or published report. Or, if you prefer, listen in to a procurement podcast or webinar.

There some excellent podcasts available in the procurement sphere – here are just a few for you to try:

·   CIPS Procurement and Supply Podcast

·   Art of Procurement

·   Supply Chain Now

·   Procurement Talk with David Byrne

Key Things to Remember

Even if you can’t get out and about to do it, you’re now armed with the tools to boost your CPD hours. But there are a few things you need to remember.

Firstly, there is more that you can do to earn CPD hours than you might think – all we’ve picked out here are some of the most common ones. If you’d like more information on the CPD process and how to earn your hours, CIPS has an easy to follow guide right here.

Secondly, to make sure your time counts you’ll need to complete the CIPS Ethical Procurement and Supply eLearning and Test. You can’t be Chartered without passing this on an annual basis. Plus, it has the added bonus of making sure you’re up to date with the latest ethical procurement regulations. Finally, remember to log your CPD hours. You can do this by completing a log and updating this on your ‘My CIPS’ account online. All that’s left now is to decide how you want to earn your hours!

3 Reasons To Get Excited About The New Procurious

As 2021 dawns, it’s time for a new-look site with new capabilities for a new era – find out how it can help you catapult your influence.


There are so many benefits to increasing your network and influence. It won’t come as news to you that it helps to advance your career … but did you know that having more influence actually helps to increase the value you’re able to negotiate?

Think about it: people with more influence always get more – more deals, more access, more benefits – which prompted us to offer you more. After all:

Influence = value

In 2014 we created Procurious to help professionals like you grow their network and increase their influence, and it’s served our community well. Now, after what has been a remarkably challenging year, we felt it was the perfect time to enhance, upgrade and refresh the platform to help you achieve this, so we’re excited to share some of the updates we’ve been working on …

1. More tools to connect and grow your professional network

We believe one of the most important aspects of our profession is the development of strong relationships and a diverse network. This has always been at the heart of Procurious and has been a key focus for the new platform.

By introducing new features such as live-chat and profile additions like skills we’re making it easier to find, connect and collaborate with like-minded professionals.

2. Enhanced micro-communities and groups

Whether you’re sharing a valuable resource, discussing an idea, establishing a think-tank or reflecting and asking for feedback on a recent experience, Procurious has you covered!

We’re always looking for new ways to support the activities that help you and your team learn, grow and achieve excellence, and the upcoming enhancements to our groups and discussions are no exception.

3. New and convenient ways to find and participant in live events

We love assembling our community to share and discuss new ideas, important trends, emerging challenges and exciting opportunities, and our new approach to events aims to make this easier and more powerful.

With simplified search and registration, event specific community feeds, upcoming session alerts and integrated live-streams, we’re looking forward to helping everyone in our community to make the most of these opportunities to connect.

Procurious is here to help you take control of your procurement and supply chain career. The more you give, the more you get, so be generous: together we can all move forward through Procurious.

If you have any questions at all about Procurious, please get in touch at [email protected]

How To Get The Most Out Of The Big Ideas Summit This Year

It’s the digital event of the year that everyone’s been talking about and recommending – so how do you make the most of it? Here’s 7 ways you can maximise every avenue of opportunity the Big Ideas Summit has in store.


You all know what we’re talking about when we describe this. You registered for the biggest procurement event of the year; the one that every industry expert out there says you simply can’t miss. You’re determined to get the most out of it.

But it’s virtual. Your day is still packed with meetings. You plan to login from home (with all the distractions that come with it.) And your to-do list is a hundred items long.

You’re afraid that this crucial professional development opportunity might pass you by … But not this year. You deserve this opportunity – and want to make the most of it.

For anyone out there who has ever felt a little intimidated by events, this year’s online Big Ideas Summit will provide you with unparalleled (and many would say, easier!) opportunities to learn, grow and network. But it will also be different.

Over 1,100 of your peers have signed up alongside you. We have an action-packed agenda including sessions on  how to think the unthinkable, understand the new risk landscape, protect your career and much more. 

To get the most out of the event, you need to prepare. But don’t worry, the prep is quick and easy.

Here’s how to get the most out of Big Ideas 2020:  

1. Register for the Event

Once you’ve registered (if you haven’t, do so here), you’ll receive an email inviting you to the Event Hub. To accept this invitation, you’ll need to click on the link and enter your first and last name, and email address you registered with. You’ll then receive an event code, which you can use to enter the event (note that this code is only valid for 24 hours).

2. Block off your calendar

Let your team, boss, family and internal stakeholders know what you’re up to. The best way to benefit from the conference is to give it your time and attention.

3. Explore  the Event Hub

You’ll find all of our great sessions in the Event Hub. Each session has its own unique link, and when you click it, it will open a new viewing screen on your browser (or phone/tablet etc.). Take time to review the sessions in advance to ensure you don’t miss the one you most want to attend. 

4. Partner networking

Within the Event Hub, there are also Partner Virtual booths. These information-rich booths enable you to network and get to know our partners (online!)
Simply click the booths to enter. 

5. Live networking sessions

There are 2 live 20-minute facilitated networking sessions, to cover all of your networking needs.

6. Share ideas and ask questions

Have you ever had a burning question during a presentation, only to have forgotten it by the time the session ended? Cue another benefit of a digital event! This year, you’ll be able to comment on each session while it’s happening, so you never forget a question or forgo an opportunity to have your say. 

7. Bring it home

Okay, this is more of a post-event action. Take notes, share ideas and make a concrete plan to bring your learnings back home.

And as always, we’ll be with you every step of the way. If at any point you need any help, reach out to [email protected]

This year, we need more Big Ideas more than ever. We can’t wait to see all of your virtual smiling faces and help you dream big.

The Big Ideas Summit 2020, You Deserve It!

Here at Procurious, we saved the best for last. Register today to reflect, re-energise and refresh for another year of innovation at the most inspiring supply chain and procurement conference of the year.


We’ve (finally) entered the homestretch. However, before we can bid farewell to 2020 – the year that quite literally turned our world upside down – we still have quite a bit of planning and ideation left to do. That’s why now, more than ever, you deserve a distraction.

But do not head for the couch and sign into Netflix just yet. Instead, step back from the day-to-day chaos and join us virtually for the 2020 Big Ideas Summit (BIS). Reflect on the year that was and the opportunities ahead; represent your organisation and all its accomplishments despite the pandemic; regroup and re-energise among like-minded professionals.

Procurious itself is proof that great things can happen when we come together. As a community of 42,000-plus supply chain and procurement professionals, we adapted to survive and thrive under the conditions of the “new normal”.

BIS 2020 takes us a step further. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve gone above and beyond what was asked of us. Now, together, we’ll welcome 2021 stronger than ever – both individually and as a community.

Take, for example, our response to the challenges McKinsey & Company presented us with earlier this year:

  • We redefined the procurement mandate and fostered a culture of innovation to evolve beyond the traditional, transactional stereotype.  
  • We made investments in digital and analytics, integrating automation and digitisation to optimize performance and leverage untapped data that enhanced productivity across the board.
  • We future-proofed our organisations by making proactive investments that develop existing talent and enable a more agile workforce.

Somehow, we were able to find the silver lining, increase our influence and succeed against all odds, positioning our function for a watershed 2021. So, together, let’s make next year full of innovation and shared success. That journey starts at BIS 2020.

Big Ideas: Make a Difference and Get Ahead

All it takes is one idea. A single idea can change the trajectory of your company and your career. A single idea can make a difference. A single idea can solve problems for people and businesses across the world. 

But good ideas don’t always come easy.

You need time to think, create, learn and share. We’ll provide this in a BIG way at BIS 2020 – and give you everything you need to ignite your passion, fuel your creativity and THINK BIG.

BIS 2020 will have dedicated sessions on everything that’s top of mind for you right now: leadership, supply chain threats, supplier management, digital transformation, supply chain continuity and more. 

Together, our community will present and share hundreds of ideas and best practices to help you make a difference, advance your career and get ahead in 2021. But remember, you only need one. 

Think the Unthinkable and Prepare for Anything

Those that have joined us at Big Ideas in the past have learned the importance of thinking the unthinkable. Never has this lesson been more true than in 2020.

We’re in the midst of a  transformational journey that is changing business and life as we know it.

The good news: our digital-first network is designed to change the face of the profession from the inside out, starting with each individual member of the community. The BIS and our Procurious community will help you think differently: we provide big ideas, first-hand experiences and lessons learned – from the best and brightest from across the world – to help you navigate through this unchartered territory and stand out from the rest of the pack.

Trust me, events don’t have to be in-person to be inspiring. Come ready to share what you are proud of and encourage others to do the same. The more you put in, the more you get out. It’s time to lead, thrive and take back control of your professional development. Rest assured; you’ll leave with everything you need to do just that.

If you haven’t already, make sure to let us know you’re joining us. In the meantime, head to the discussions board to brush up on your virtual networking skills.

Managing A New Tech Project? Steal This Company’s Playbook

Make your new tech project a success with these tried and tested tips.


If you’ve managed a new technology project before, then you know the tech is the easy part. 

People are the challenge (and I mean that in the nicest way possible!)

Luckily, people and projects follow predictable patterns – no matter the size of your company. 

So here’s the playbook you need to make your new project successful. It’s the same one I’ve used to help dozens of companies like Credit Suisse and Honeywell launch systems on time and on budget.

And it’s yours to steal.

Step 1: Get the right people in the room

The most successful organisations are those that get the right people in the room from day one and keep them engaged the whole time.  

Who are the right people? It’s likely a mix of people across your organisation. Obvious inclusions are senior level decision makers. You also need to get the best technical brains in the room who understand the legacy system better than anyone else.

You need people who really understand your business – warts and all. Why are things done in the way that they are? What is the history? What are the processes? Are they defined in flowcharts and documents?  

You might think your own processes are well-documented, but they need to be really specific for the design phase (i.e. do emails/reminders have to be sent at a particular stage and what happens after X number of days; who do we escalate to?)

Next, you need to spend significant time making sure everyone understands and agrees the objectives of the new system. You need the people who hold the purse strings to agree, so you can get resources in place.

And prepare for scepticism – especially from people who have been around a while. These long-time employees have seen it all, and they might carry hard feelings from previous projects that didn’t live up to the promises.

So don’t be quick to dismiss those who seem negative; sometimes they are the key to understanding why something was done in the past, and to identifying where complexity can be removed. 

You’ll find if you address stakeholder concerns early on and make sure everyone feels heard and understood, you can get them on board and keep them there. And who knows? They could become your biggest ambassadors for the project. 

Plan for pushback

No matter how great your new system is – or how much time and money it will save the company – you should expect pushback. Most humans hate change. 

So approach their concerns with sympathy; after all, it can be hard to learn a new system.

And don’t forget about potential pushback from your suppliers. I often have customers who struggled previously with getting suppliers on legacy procurement systems.

Avoid that chaos by bringing your key suppliers in early.

For example, Maxim Healthcare struggled for seven long years to get suppliers on their legacy system. The suppliers pushed back en masse against the terms they had to accept, and possible fees faced by the vendor’s supplier network approach. 

So when they asked us to help them launch a new system, we put suppliers at the centre. Their suppliers were thrilled with the friendlier terms and approach. The result? Maxim Healthcare launched a shiny new P2P system in eight weeks with more suppliers than they acquired in the previous seven years. 

Define requirements and objectives

Before you go shopping, do the important work of laying down requirements and objectives.

Think of it like painting a room. The actual painting goes quickly; it’s all the prep work that takes the time.

Now is the opportunity to review your old processes and see if they’re still serving your company.

Get into the detail at the design phase and understand that documenting your processes will help to work out what you are doing now and where you can find efficiencies, cost savings, and better user adoption.

Everyone in your stakeholder group should agree on what your company needs in a new system. That will save you from scope creep (and many headaches) later on – when changes will be infinitely more expensive.

Once you know what you’re looking for, scrutinise different technology providers. Make sure you understand what is possible now with current technology.

At this stage, your provider should act as a friendly interrogator, questioning any areas they find in your processes that could be simplified. However, the act of removing that complexity is up to you. Will you make the most of the new technology you are paying good money for?

Look at the whole puzzle

A system may seem perfect in isolation, but you need to understand how it fits with the rest of your company set-up.

After all, you’re looking for a seamless flow of information, a consistent user experience, and a unified data model that supports 360 degree visibility of suppliers and activity.

None of that is possible if your company systems aren’t compatible. 

Also understand how the new tech system you choose can grow and change as your company changes. 

Some systems are too rigid to support those changes, meaning you could have a redundant system on your hands after only a few months.

And you should also consider how other existing company systems could change in the future. Are any of them due for an upgrade soon? Stay close to your CIO so your company makes the most of tech investments.

Allow for flexibility

Successful projects allow for flexibility in timing. Things will change and bumps will come up over the course of your project – no matter how precise your planning.

That’s why we use a hybrid agile/ waterfall method on our own projects (and encourage customers to use the same).

What does that mean? The waterfall approach is to build the system and then show it. Agile means to build as you go. 

Instead of choosing one over the other, we use both methods. That brings a nice balance of predictability with a level of flexibility to address unforeseen or evolving requirements.

At the design phase we try to lock down 80% of requirements and in this way we still maintain 20% for a level of flexibility. Though as mentioned earlier, it’s wise to get as specific as possible.

You might be surprised how quickly a project can come together this way. Take the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for example. They needed the ability to upload bid submittals electronically, and we helped them launch the feature in just one week. 

Nailing down exactly what you need will make the actual build phase go quicker. And building in contingency time means you won’t get caught off guard when you reach a hiccup. 

Send in the A-team

You need to take people off their day-to-day work and give them the time to focus on this project.  

Have dedicated project team members who solely work on launching the new system. They should be able to answer business and technical questions, and to report back on user issues and gripes. 

This is especially important during the early stages of the project, but no less important throughout the entire process.

The best way to mitigate issues is to plan for them by making sure that you have enough and the right resources.

Once the procurement system is rolled out, it’s key to keep the same team engaged so a knowledge exchange to the support team can take place. They should stay put for at least a few weeks after launch to ensure a smooth transition.

Finish strong

Successful project teams are always communicating. 

At the start of any new project, I set up monthly steering meetings at the executive level. There are weekly project status meetings with project leaders, Ivalua, partners and clients to share what has been done, the challenges and what’s planned for the next week. 

We put any roadblocks or risks on the table and take a realistic health check on the overall project status.

I also schedule “Work in Progress” reviews to keep everything on track and spot issues a long way off. 

These checkpoints allow us to confirm we are headed in the right direction, and we can take some feedback to adjust it when needed.

You can do this

To summarise, when you managing a new tech project of any size, there are the three keys to success:

1) Know what your goals are, and make sure these are communicated to your internal teams and to the companies you are working with. 

2) Have the right people in the room. 

3) Complete a robust, open and transparent design phase to get what you want and guarantee that your organisation gets what it needs.

Finally, make sure you report your after-launch success back to senior management. Ivalua did some research earlier this year that showed 67% of procurement professionals believe that their colleagues consider them to be a key business partner contributing significant strategic value.

They already know you are valuable. Your project is another opportunity to prove it.

How To Skyrocket Your Influence In 2 Steps

Step away from the emoji button. Read on to learn how to build genuine influence in your personal brand. Learn to move beyond the micro engagements of liking and sharing. Be bold and brave – expand your connections and network by following our pro tips.


Mirror mirror on the wall

While browsing idly through social media recently I concluded that many of my peers have confused visibility with influence. Procurement is a small industry especially if you’re in a niche field or a small country. What makes this contracted market even smaller is that we stare into our own reflection. 

Seek to expand not reinforce the bubble 

Commenting, liking, gaining followers and profiling only those within your bubble only serves to reinforce the echo chamber that you reside in. Expansion and growth should be the aim of the game and that’s the trick that many are missing!

Number of likes and connections is not influence

All the chat about the importance of “raising your profile” has seen many people reach for the emoji button. They equate visibility and these micro engagements with achieving influence. I’ve even heard some peers brag about it “mate did you see my pic? Got 12 likes, brilliant ay? I’m raising my profile and building influence.” Um no, but I’m glad people liked your photo.

Sure, visibility will get your name out there and you’ll make connections but just like the platforms we use in our personal life, professional networking sites can create a trap for the uninitiated. They offer so much more than just how many followers you have!

Untapped potential

Think about how you engage online, do you make the most of all opportunities?

  • Chance to connect with and observe thought leaders
  • Expand your learning beyond your sector and follow other industry trends
  • Grow your knowledge of different areas within your technical field
  • Expand your support base by utlising online connections
  • Taking part in free webinars

Check out these tips to ensure you are getting the most out of your Procurious experience!

Fear stops meaningful engagement and expansion

Platforms where personal profiles are created on a “work self” image can fuel the fire if people view their professional / work self as separate to their “real life” self. On professional networking sites people can struggle to make genuine comments, challenge / ask questions or engage meaingfully for fear of looking dumb or speaking out of turn.

It’s such a lost opportunity! Don’t be afraid to be yourself, engage and connect with people.

What is influence and why care?

Influence is earned and grows over time. The difference between visibility and influence is that with a focus on your sphere of influence and who you engage with, you are building longevity and sustainability into your personal brand and therefore your career. You are thinking beyond your immediate role or even career.

There are many studies out there that have shown that people will change their careers significantly two or three times over the course of their lives, as described in this NY Times article.

How to get started

Hold up, I hear you… how on earth and am I meant to do that?

Start the same way everyone else does but don’t limit your professional networking to just likes, commenting and growing your connections. Keep your eye on the bigger prize.

Step one: getting started

  1. Join an accredited membership organisation like CIPS or IACCM. There are usually many ways to get involved and connect with lots of people through these avenues. This provides a supportive environment to get involved in chairing committees and speaking / hosting events.
  1. Awards. Keep an eye out for industry awards, nominate your team or yourself! I’ve seen some surprise winners – the only thing that set them apart from others was that they simply backed themselves and applied.
  1. Network. Don’t simply add just people on social media, if you do send an invitation add a note and make sure it’s relevant to something they just posted or wrote about. Think of people in your industry, can you reach out to any of them for a coffee chat? And then ask, who else do you think might be of value for me to connect with?
  1. Content. Remember the dictionary definition of influence: “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.” what content are you producing or contributing to that is building impact?

Step two: grow

Use your network of genuine connections to try and find ways to get involved in different projects and start expanding your reach.

  • Offer to mentor someone
  • Offer to host an event at your organisation
  • Ask for speaking opportunities
  • Write your own blog on an existing platform or your own profile
  • Connect with people through the content you’re consuming e.g procurious webinars and groups!
  • Ask to shadow a senior for a day to learn what they do
  • Talk to your suppliers and learn the other side of the fence
  • Learn from other sectors and follow other thought leaders for inspiration
  • Find someone you admire and see if you can unpick what makes them tick. You can check out Kelly Barner’s journey for some inspo
  • Think about yourself as a brand, what do you want to be known for?

Take the plunge! Expand your connections beyond micro engagements and you will add sustainability and longevity to your personal brand. 

Remember: be yourself, be humble and be authentic.

Picture source: www.brenebrown.com

What Is CIPS And How To Get Accredited

Procurement, like many other professions, has made huge strides in supporting and providing accreditation to the many professionals that make up its membership.

So, the big questions are what is CIPS? How do I get accredited? And how could becoming chartered help turn the tide on global ethics?

Let jump right into it…


What is CIPS?

Originally the Purchasing Officers’ Association, it wasn’t until 1992 that the Association was granted a Royal Charter to become the Chartered Institute of Procurement (Purchasing) and Supply (CIPS) that we know today.

With a membership of over 200,000 professionals globally, the Institute is putting the profession on the front foot when it comes to providing accreditation for its members.

What does CIPS mean to us?

CIPS is seen as the voice of the procurement profession, a champion of the profession globally, led by current CIPS CEO Malcolm Harrison, while still retaining local roots in its many national associations and member-led branches.

The benefits of being a CIPS member are considerable. From connections to a network of over 200,000 global professionals, in as many varied industries and sectors as you can think of, to a constantly updating knowledge hub, with everything from the basics of procurement, right up to specialist subject areas. And that’s not to mention the webinars, podcasts and YouTube channel.

The core of the CIPS offering for procurement and supply chain professionals is in the professional accreditation that the organisation offers and supports.

Who can become a CIPS member?

The designation of MCIPS represents the gold standard for procurement professionals and is an internationally recognised award that brings the individual holder a number of benefits.

The qualifications are open to anyone working in the procurement and supply chain profession, taking them from Studying Members all the way to MCIPS, and potentially even a fellowship (FCIPS) for the senior advocates of the profession.

Will having CIPS accreditation advance my career?

In recent years, CIPS has brought its qualifications in line with other professional bodies and offers its members a chance to become chartered through its programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Joining CIPS and taking a full part in its activities as a member is no small investment, and the qualifications should not be undertaken lightly.

But, as a fully paid up member of the procurement profession, why wouldn’t you want to invest in your career and your future in this way?

As with other qualifications, achieving MCIPS does provide benefits to individuals.

Many global businesses see CIPS qualifications as the minimum standard for their procurement teams.

Due to the regard in which they are held, and the trust of the standard that they produce, many employers choose to support their staff by funding their studies.

You may not need MCIPS to work in procurement and supply chain, but having the qualification allows current and prospective employers to see that you have applicable training in your arsenal.

The annual CIPS/Hays Salary Survey and Guide helps to highlight just how important these qualifications can be. In 2020, 64 per cent of survey respondents stated that they requested MCIPS or studying towards it as a requirement for people applying for jobs with them.

It’s not only going to help you get through the door either. Professionals with MCIPS earn, on average, 17 per cent more than peers without the qualifications.

And at a time where the expertise of procurement and supply chain professionals is becoming more widely sought, having these qualifications could be the key to unlocking the full potential of your future career.

CIPS Chartership & the ethics exam

One of the key elements that CIPS has brought in along with its accreditation and, now, chartership, is its Ethics exam for individual members.

Any member, from student all the way up to FCIPS, is required to take the exam annually in order to keep their qualifications and membership up to date. The eLearning test covers the three key pillars of the ethical procurement and supply:

  • Environmental Procurement
  • Human Rights
  • Fraud, Bribery and Corruptions

The test is free for all members and can be purchased by non-members too. This works alongside the CIPS Code of Ethics, which organisations can sign up to as a public commitment to proper work practices in the field of procurement.

Over the past few years there have been several high-profile global events linked to poor ethical procurement practices.

At a time where global supply chains, and by association procurement, are in the spotlight, having a widely agreed and signed Code of Ethics, backed up by an annual ethics exam for individuals is crucial.

Supporting the ethical agenda is something all procurement and supply chain professionals should be doing.

Accreditation and Chartership provide the foundation for developing a profession that operates within these bounds and is something that should be an expectation for all professionals in the coming years.

Play your part and take the first steps on your chartership journey by joining CIPS today.

How To Get Ahead While Working From Home

Putting yourself out there is more difficult in a Work From Home environment, but by maintaining a strong social media presence, expanding your network online, volunteering your ideas and services and harvesting good feedback regarding your work, your presence and value can be felt beyond the WFH setting.


It’s a truth of working life that it’s not enough to be good at your job to get ahead. You also need “exposure”, to be able to network both inside and outside your organisation, and to be visible to those dishing out the stretch assignments and opportunities.

With many of us now working from home much more regularly and for the foreseeable future (in the UK, the Royal Bank of Scotland recently informed staff that they would be working from home until 2021), how can you ‘be seen’ when you haven’t seen anyone outside of a Zoom call for months? Without your boss’s boss dropping by your desk for a quick chat, how can you let them know that you’ve been smashing it?

Here are some tips to consider if you want to get ahead while working from home…

Be visible

As working from home becomes more normalised (rather than the ‘trying to work from home during a pandemic’ that we’ve all been experiencing to date), think about how you can remain visible to those that matter. This doesn’t mean ‘digital presenteeism’ (hello, sending 11pm emails…) but rather keeping yourself on people’s radar. Be sure to speak up in meetings and Q&A sessions. Continue to post on your organisation’s internal and external social media channels. Keeping your head down and getting the job done won’t get you ahead.

Network

Just because we can’t see each other in person, doesn’t mean you can’t spend some time on strengthening and growing your networks. Attend those relationship-building virtual drinks with colleagues – or why not set up your own? Connect with those whose opinions you value and who you can learn from over a virtual coffee. Give public kudos and praise to your co-workers (when deserved of course). If you’re serious about your progression, why not seek out a mentor? You can develop a mentoring relationship just as successfully virtually as you can in person. If you think you want to move on soon, develop relationships with recruiters and headhunters, and keep those relationships alive even if you are not looking to move soon.

Keep a record of your success

Procurement and supply professionals have been doing some stellar work during the COVID-19 crisis. Make sure you keep a record of your successes and positive feedback from colleagues, suppliers, clients and other stakeholders. Doing so serves several purposes. It can help you build a case for internally promotion, pay rises and progression. It can help you quickly update your CV when you decide it’s time to move on. And – not to be overlooked – it can help boost your self-confidence if you’re having a bad day or feeling wobbly before an important meeting.

Put yourself forward

If you don’t ask for something, you don’t get it. If there are internal opportunities, such as getting involved with special projects, stretch assignments or joining high potential development programmes, don’t wait to be asked to join. This is particularly important for home workers who otherwise might be overlooked for opportunities. Make sure you keep your ear to the ground so you hear about these opportunities when they arise. And don’t be afraid to create your own. We are heading into a period of immense global disruption. It’s scary, but it also creates opportunity. If you have an innovative idea, pitch it to your boss. What’s the worst that could happen?

Of course, while there are career management strategies individuals can try, this is a bigger issue that relies so much on company culture. Organisations need to be alert to the risk of ‘in’ and ‘out’ groups developing, discriminating against those with caring responsibilities, most likely to be women, or health conditions that prevent them heading back to the office.

Leaders need to carefully consider how to manage career progression in an age of remote working and managers need to learn how to manage by outcomes rather than presenteeism (digital or otherwise). Think about issues like running inclusive hybrid meetings: does it make more sense for everyone to dial in separately if even one person isn’t there in person? Can you invest in technology (like ‘The Meeting Owl’) to create a more inclusive and frictionless meeting experience for everyone, whether they are in the room or not?

When it comes to getting ahead remotely, perhaps the most powerful thing you could do is to take the initiative in suggesting new and more inclusive ways of working. The pandemic has proven that for many roles, where you do them has little to do with impact or productivity. We all now need to play a part in ensuring that isn’t forgotten as we move into the ‘new normal’.

What do you think? Comment below!