Tag Archives: procurement regulations

One Year On: Has Grenfell Changed Procurement?

How can procurement professionals learn from the tragic events at Grenfell tower in June 2017? 

Sasa Wick / Shutterstock.com

It’s just over a year on from the Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed the lives of 72 people and marked the UK’s worst residential fire since World War Two.

With the Grenfell Tower Inquiry ongoing; there are still so many unanswered questions regarding the circumstances of the fire. And for those directly impacted by the events, the trauma experienced is still very present.

As several victims and commentators have pointed out; those who lost their lives should not be allowed to die in vain. There are opportunities to learn, to improve policies and to ensure that the mistakes that were made will never be made again. Procurement should be at the forefront of these changes.

Last month, Claire Curtis-Thomas, British Board of Agrément chief executive, spoke at a select committee hearing on Dame Hackitt’s review of Building Regulations. She labelled the procurement process a “fundamental problem” that has led companies to become “complicit in poor outcomes”.

Has Grenfell changed procurement?

Alan Heron, director of procurement at Places for People (PfP), is one who believes the landscape has now changed for procurement. “It took something as horrible as Grenfell for people to realise there’s a consequence to looking for the lowest price,” he asserts. “It’s refocused everyone away from ticket price and back to value, which is where it should have been all along.”

A recent report conducted by Fusion21 investigates how procurement professionals working in the housing sector are reacting and adapting to the tragedy.

Throughout April and May 2018  Fusion21 surveyed 80 procurement professionals working for organisations that
collectively own more than a million homes.

The results suggest that social landlords are placing a much greater emphasis on quality when making procurement decisions following the fire.

  • 50 per cent of respondents said the Grenfell Tower fire has meant their organisation now places greater emphasis on quality when making procurement decisions. Among those who said Grenfell had not affected their organisation’s approach, were many who stated that quality was already vital
  • These professionals stated that there is now a greater focus on quality especially in relation to fire safety, and ensuring contractors had completely up-to-date information
  •  75 per cent of procurement professionals described compliance as “extremely important” when achieving value for money

Sarah Rothwell, Head of Member Engagement at Fusion21 explained “we conducted our Procurement Trends research in order to find out what was most important to procurement professionals after a hugely challenging couple of years for everyone in the housing sector.

“It will surprise no-one that, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the work of procurement teams around compliance hasbeen the focus of renewed scrutiny. The research findings [confirm this].”
Concerningly, 55 per cent of respondents admitted to feeling  some pressure to procure at the lowest price and one respondent, wished Grenfell had altered the emphasis their organisation placed on quality.
In other procurement news this week…

EU warns the US and China against a trade war

  • US president Donald Trump, Russian president Vladimir Putin and China have been urged to work with Europe to avoid trade wars and prevent “conflict and chaos”
  • Last week, European Council president, Donald Tusk, lambasted the US president’s constant criticism of European allies and urged him to remember who his friends are when he meets Mr Putin
  • He said that Europe, China, the US and Russia had a “common duty” not to destroy the global order but to improve it by reforming international trade rules

Read more on The Independent

Could automation increase modern slavery?

  • In its annual Human Rights Outlook, Verisk Maplecroft warned “drastic” job losses caused by robot manufacturing were predicted to cause “a spike in slavery and labour abuses” over the next 20 years
  • It said more than half of jobs across the ASEAN-5 countries of Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand could be lost to automation, which could push already at-risk supply chain workers into forced labour
  • Women are likely to be disproportionately affected because of their high representation in the garment, textile and footwear industry, an area that is particularly at risk of automation, the report said

Read more on Supply Management 

Brexit puts food supply chains at risk

  • Perishable goods are particularly at risk when supply chains are delayed, and U.K. and EU food producers are on edge as the clock ticks down toward March 29, 2019
  • Earlier this year, food suppliers and manufacturers signed onto a manifesto advocating for frictionless trade and innovation-focused regulation
  • If, post-Brexit, enhanced border controls and regulatory checks are implemented between  nations, delays and even failed deliveries could result
  • With negotiations in flux, many U.K. and EU businesses have taken matters into their own hands. Several European companies are planning to relocate parts of their supply chain out of the U.K. About one-third of U.K. businesses with EU suppliers plan to replace them with British vendors

Read more on Supply Chain Dive

Why Diligence is Due

Ethical sourcing makes good business sense. Plus… it’s the law! Nick Ford explores how to exercise due diligence.

lovelyday12/Shutterstock.com

Pioneering U.S. academic fundraiser James W. Frick once cautioned prospective donors: “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.”

For procurement professionals, how they source products and services and where they spend their budgets is not only commercially expedient, but also framed by strict international regulations. The risks contingent on neglecting – or wilfully evading – such rules have profound effects on an organisation’s reputation and, ultimately, it’s bottom line.

Due diligence is about managing risks in the supply chain responsibly; it does not ask companies to guarantee 100 per cent ‘ethical’ supply chains. Tracing the origin of a product, part or service is only one part of this.

The OECD Guidelines

Essentially, the overarching ethical sourcing and procurement principles are set out in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. According to Emily Norton, Campaigner at Global Witness, these are the most comprehensive set of government-backed recommendations on responsible business conduct and ethical sourcing in existence today.

The guidelines are far-reaching recommendations by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries. Currently, 48 countries adhere to the guidelines, including most in the E.U. They provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct in areas such as employment and industrial relations, human rights, environment, information disclosure, combating bribery, consumer interests, science and technology, competition, and taxation.

The OECD rules are buttressed by the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, endorsed unanimously in 2011. They make it clear that companies have a responsibility to make sure their activities do not fund harm and abuses. In many sectors, risk-based due diligence, as recommended by the UNGPs has emerged as a practical and effective way for companies to meet this responsibility.

EU Regulations

Spurred on by these ethical sourcing frameworks, a new EU regulation came into force in June 2017, the first of its kind to adopt a truly global scope. It requires EU-based importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (ores and metals) to meet the OECD standard when sourcing minerals from any conflict-affected or high-risk area globally. Technology firms who import tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold in their metal forms into the EU, e.g. for manufacturing purposes, will be covered by the new EU law.

Unfortunately, the EU has chosen to ignore a whole category of companies bringing minerals into the EU. This includes firms who buy and sell products containing these minerals, who are outside scope of the regulation. The EU trusts them to self-regulate.

In Asia, Chinese industry guidelines were launched in 2015 for Chinese companies operating abroad, which are also based on the OECD guidelines and are global in scope.

US Regulations

Meanwhile in the US, Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires companies listed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to carry out checks on their supply chains where they believe their products contain tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo and its neighbours. Companies in the aerospace, electronics, medical devices, jewellery and clothing, among other, sectors are subject to this law.

Procurement executives at industry behemoths IBM and Walmart are currently experimenting with blockchain and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to clarify the provenance and passage of their products.

The Modern Slavery Act

Here in the UK, the Modern Slavery Act mandates that firms generating over £36m or more a year must produce slavery statements approved by their boards. A quarter of the FTSE 100 are currently non-compliant, forcing anti-slavery commissioner Kevin Hyland to contact them to address slavery in their supply chains. It is estimated that 16 million enslaved people are working for companies around the world.

Whether or not companies are caught by laws and regulations, all firms should be living up to the international OECD standard. This means checking whether their supply chains globally may contribute to conflict finance, human rights abuses or corruption around the world. They should be transparent about what they are doing.

Nick Ford will be speaking at Big Ideas Summit in London next month. To find out more information and register to attend in person or as a digital delegate visit our dedicated site. 

You Could Be In For A Nasty Shock This Easter

What’s “shrinkflation”? It’s the practice of selling a smaller product at the same price, and it’s increasingly common in the chocolate industry. Procurious looks at three big stories about Chocolate supply management that have hit the news in the past week. 

Regulation impacts complexity, complexity impacts costs, and costs impact the size of your chocolate bar.

Shrinkflation: Why Brexit means Cadbury chocolate bars will get smaller

It might be time to panic-buy your favourite Cadbury chocolate bars in bulk, because Cadbury UK’s parent company (Mondelez International) has warned that Brexit could lead to higher prices, or shrinkflation.

What’s shrinkflation? It’s the practice of selling smaller products for the same price. Mondelez has done this before, when its new-look Toblerone was revealed to have wider gaps between its iconic chocolate triangles, reducing the weight from 400g to 360g but selling at the same price. A pack of six Cadbury Creme Eggs – an Easter favourite – was also reduced to five eggs with only a slight decrease in the recommended retail price, from £3.05 to £2.85. The company has pointed to rising commodity costs, the falling value of the pound and an increase in cocoa prices, while Brexit is expected to make it increasingly costly to do business with other countries in the future.

Mondelez’s UK boss Glenn Caton told The Guardian that his organisation is watching the Brexit negotiations closely. “First of all [the Government] needs to make sure we have a stable and thriving U.K. economy,” Caton said. “If the economy is growing, all businesses benefit from that. Secondly, ensuring there is no new, more complex regulation and that there is free movement of goods and minimal barriers to trade. Regulation impacts complexity, complexity impacts costs, as do trade barriers and tariffs.”

Mondelez has invested more than £200m in Cadbury UK, including £75m on modernising manufacturing at Bournville in Birmingham, the home of the 193-year-old Cadbury brand. Bournville is also home to the global R&D team, which has grown from 25 to 250 people since Mondelez took over in July 2013.

Mars reinvests US$70 million in US supply chain while president warns of protectionism

Mars is re-shoring its manufacturing operation in a move that will mean over 95% of its chocolate products sold in the US are made domestically.

The investment of $70 million will add approximately 250 new jobs to production sites across the US, including a Mars Food factory in Greenville Missouri which will receive a $31 million injection. Last year, Mars poured US$52 million into its chocolate factory in Ontario, Canada.

The announcement was made on the same day that Mars Good President, Fiona Dawson, told the American Chambers of Commerce to the EU that protectionist trends worldwide are “threatening to undermine global trade and make the world less connected”.

“The absence of hard borders with all their attendant tariff, customs and non-tariff barriers allows for an integrated supply chain, which helps to keep costs down. The return of those barriers would create higher costs, threatening that supply chain and the jobs that come with it.

“If Britain ends up trading with the EU on the basis of WTO rules, ‘Most Favoured Nation’ rates would come into force. In the area of confectionery that alone would mean tariffs of around 30%.” 

Prince Charles seeks to halt chocolate-industry deforestation

HRM Prince Charles, a keen environmentalist, convened a meeting with global cocoa and chocolate companies to target deforestation in the cocoa supply chain. Delegates from twelve major companies, including Hershey, Mars and Nestle, met with senior government representatives from two of the world’s leading cocoa-producing countries, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

In his speech to the attendees, Prince Charles noted that aside from environmental damage, “The most powerful direct reason for action is that deforestation threatens to undermine the very resilience of the cocoa sector itself, and with it the livelihoods of the millions of smallholders who depend on it, due to the increased climate variability that follows forest loss.”

The meeting resulted in a Collective Statement of Intent to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain.

That’s more than enough about chocolate. In other procurement news this week…

UK Grocery Chain Waitrose introduces trucks powered by rotten food

  • Waitrose has partnered with bio-fuel company CNG Fuels to place an order for 10 flatbed trucks that will be powered entirely by rotten food.
  • The fuel will be sourced from unsold food at supermarkets across the UK. Globally, an estimated one-third of all food, or 1.3 billion metric tons of produce – goes to waste every year.
  • The new biomethane trucks have an average range of nearly 500 miles, with the biofuel to cost 40% less than diesel fuel. The biomethane emits 70% less carbon dioxide than diesel.

Read more on Konbini.

Boeing’s VP Supply Chain nominated for US Deputy Secretary of Defence

  • The White House has nominated Boeing’s Patrick Shanahan as Deputy Secretary of Defence, with a view to tap Shanahan’s knowledge of the business side of military aircraft procurement.
  • In December, Trump rattled Boeing management with a Tweet complaining about the high cost of replacing the presidential plane (Air Force One) and threatening to cancel the program. Since then, the relationship between the White House and Boeing appears to have improved.
  • Under new ethics rules, Shanahan will be required to recuse himself from any Boeing-related procurement contract decision for the next two years.

Read more on Seattle Times.

How The ‘Brexit’ Could Change Public Procurement

Although the UK referendum isn’t until June, an increasing number of reports are now discussing the potential impact of the ‘Brexit’ on public procurement.

On June the 23rd, UK voters will go to the polls in order to decide on the UK’s future as part of the EU. The referendum promises to polarise opinion, much like the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014, but there is an increasing focus on what it will mean for public procurement in the UK, as well as supply chains crossing UK/European borders.

EU Procurement Directives, required to be taken into account for all public procurement activity within the community, are widely recognised, and even more widely discussed. While there are critics of the Directives, many believe that they are key to maintaining a fair and equitable process in sourcing activities.

Brexit Impact

Although the EU procurement directives receive a lot of bad press, they were set up with a specific purpose in mind – elimination of trade barriers resulting from discriminatory and preferential procurement practices. It was hoped that this would assist countries across the EU realise savings in public procurement, and create a level of transparency in activities.

Further changes have been made to the procurement directives in the past 12 months, aimed at simplifying and modernising the public procurement process. The directives also have their supporters, who argue that they help to maximise competition, achieve value for money, and enable social benefit and innovation in purchases.

There are also arguments made that, had the UK not joined the EU Common Market, now the European Union, it would have still ended up with public procurement regulations that would not have been vastly different to what exists now.

The impact of a UK exit, or ‘Brexit’, is still largely unknown, and can only be estimated in terms of costs to both the UK economy and UK businesses. However, from the point of view of procurement regulations, some parties are stating that it wouldn’t have an immediate impact on current UK procurement rules.

In fact, any changes to procurement law in the UK public sector would be low on the Government’s priority list. And if there were changes, the rules would end up being very similar (where they have been successful), or some industries, like agriculture, would have to maintain EU standards in order to continue doing business on the Continent.

Supply Chain and Procurement Costs

But what about costs to import goods and the wider supply chain impact in the event of the ‘Brexit’? Well, there still isn’t a consensus when it comes to this either. Some reports show a potential drop of 8 per cent in import costs, but that this could potentially be offset by rising labour costs, partly due to a loss of access to low cost, or cheaper, labour.

Open Europe, a think tank, predicted a worst case scenario of a 2.2 per cent fall in UK GDP, but a potential 1.6 per cent growth in GDP, by 2030. There are also concerns that any possible saving the UK might see in tariffs and not paying money into the EU, would be swallowed up by having to cover subsidies paid to certain industries by the EU.

For both UK and European businesses with supply chains operating across borders, there would be a loss in freedom of movement, both goods and services, and labour. Some goods could be subject to as much as 35 per cent export tariffs, while pan-European partnerships could be lost or cancelled.

While a ‘Brexit’ is by no means a certainty, both British and European companies should start preparing for it happening. Actions like monitoring alternatives suppliers, assessing logistics decisions, and work with existing suppliers to put deals in place, all help to reduce the risks that businesses are exposed to.

What are your (non-political!) thoughts on the ‘Brexit’? Is your business likely to be exposed to the impacts? Let us know in the comments below.

As ever, we’ve been scouring the ‘net this week for top headlines to enjoy with your morning tea or coffee…

Using Waste to Plug Power Gap

  • Using the energy from processing waste at anaerobic digestion plants in the UK could help to solve the country’s energy issues
  • However, there are warning that if the AD technologies aren’t promoted better, they could be lost before they even manage to prove benefits
  • Despite favourable tax breaks, environmental benefits and cost savings, the UK lags a long way behind European countries such as Germany in the number of AD plants it has
  • There are currently 434 plants in the UK, some of which support large retailers (Sainsbury) and manufacturers (Diageo) in their operations

Read more at Supply Management

Brazilian Retailer to Clean Up Supply Chain

  • Brazil’s largest grocery chain has pledged to stop selling beef reared on deforested land in the Amazon rainforest
  • Retailer, Pão de Açúcar, also promised to stop buying beef produced by workers living in slave-like conditions, or cattle produced on land grabbed from local communities
  • The new purchasing plan is set to be in place by the 30th of June, at which point the business will stop dealing with suppliers linked to deforestation and modern slavery
  • The firm operates 832 stores across Brazil and has pledged to help its suppliers improve their practices ahead of the June deadline.

Read more at Thomson Reuters

Love Your Waste to Save Money

  • New reports have shown that Scottish households waste the equivalent of 26 million beef burgers (2,900 tonnes of beef) each year in food wastage
  • Zero Waste Scotland has launched a campaign aimed at reducing this waste by using leftovers as part of other dishes, something that could save each household up to £460 per year
  • Confusion over dates on labels, caution about meat safety and worries over freezing and reheating can lead to good meat being thrown away even thought it is still fine to eat
  • In February, Scottish environment secretary Richard Lochhead pledged to cut food waste in Scotland by a third by 2025, to save businesses and households at least £500m

Read more at Supply Management

2016 Enviro Challenge Launched

  • Enviro Challenge’s challenge day for 2016 is set to take place next week in the Waikato, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, and Central Plateau regions of New Zealand
  • The day is aimed at inspiring schools to develop sustainability and leadership skills in high school students
  • Students are also asked to develop, or continue developing, a project for their school with measurable outcomes, and encouraged to think long term
  • Students will be working on initiatives that will have ongoing positive impacts on their schools and their communities, which this year include renewable energy and biodiversity

Read more at Sun Live