Tag Archives: supply chain management

How to Introduce a Sustainable Procurement Strategy

Although the theory is well regarded, the practical aspects of introducing a sustainable procurement strategy are often overlooked.

Sustainable Procurement Strategy

This article is by Gerard Chick, Chief Knowledge Officer, Optimum Procurement Group.

About 10 years ago the UK government started taking the pursuit of sustainable procurement seriously. They established a task force of industry experts to try to define ‘sustainable procurement’, and develop appropriate standards for general deployment.

The Government’s goal was position the UK at the forefront of sustainable procurement in Europe by 2009. Their framework and recommendations have been instrumental in guiding sustainable procurement strategy, theory and practice across the globe.

What is Sustainable Procurement?

So what is this thing we call sustainable procurement? Sir Neville Simms, chair of the UK Procurement Task Force, described it as the use of procurement “…to support wider social, economic and environmental objectives, in ways that offer real long-term benefits” to organisations and the communities in which they exist.

These long-term benefits include:

  • The achievement of significant savings by focusing on a “whole life costing” methodology for procurement.
  • The incorporation of the “three Rs” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), to cut waste and improve the efficiency of resources.
  • The enhancement of businesses public image, by demonstrating a sustainable approach to business, and championing related environmental and social benefits.
  • The development of new markets for innovative products and services through technological advancements.
  • The improvement of management information, a focus on business and supply chain risk, and better supplier relationships.
  • Competitive advantage as a consequence of the early adoption of practices, focusing on increasingly environmentally-focussed legislation.

Developing Sustainable Procurement Practice

The UK Task Force devised a National Action Plan to inform interested organisations to adopt a sustainable procurement strategy. In 2006, Procuring the Future was published to support public and sector organisations in taking their first steps in this burgeoning area of interest.

To help you, here are the central planks of the report established as recommendations for those who wanted to develop sound, achievable, sustainable procurement practice:

  • Be a beacon: Provide clear direction for both procurement and your supply base providing consistent leadership and policy-making on sustainable procurement issues.
  • Set the standard: Fully implement existing procurement policy and standards. and ensure these are extended across all procurement activity. This will improve performance and underline expectations, including the establishment of well understood minimum standards for your suppliers.
  • Prioritise: Rationalise existing procurement standards into a single integrated procurement framework, which covers both policy relevance and appropriateness.
  • Test: Filter and select new procurement policies to ensure they are enforceable, before considering implementation.
  • Develop capability: Ensure you and your team have the requisite professional skills to support the efficient deployment of sustainable procurement.
  • Tool up: Provide the appropriate tools, training and information resources to execute these standards.
  • Be ready: Ensure you already have the appropriate budgetary mechanisms in place, and that your spending and budgeting policies facilitate your sustainable procurement strategy.
  • Be proactive: Encourage openness to innovation and look proactively for opportunities to drive social benefits through your engagement with suppliers and the wider marketplace.

There is no doubt that the UK’s lead is now being adopted elsewhere, and that the global procurement community seeks to embrace a sustainable approach with an eye on good practice coupled with other significant business rewards.

Harness the Power of Unstructured Data

Do we still need the smartest guys in the room if we have the smartest machine? IBM paint a vision for the future of procurement and the power of unstructured data.

Unstructured Data

“Are you going to be relevant in 3-5 years’ time?”

What a start to the day! Barry Ward, Senior Procurement Brand Manager at IBM Global Procurement, has just left the stage, leaving the assembled thought leaders with something big to think about.

Barry, a 27-year veteran in supply chain at IBM, is currently European lead for commercialising Procurement Analytic Solutions with IBM’s clients. This leaves him ideally positioned to provide context for all the discussions that will be happening throughout the day at Big Ideas.

Summarising the global business environment that procurement is currently operating in, Barry described a fast and relentless pace of change, major disruption across markets, and high levels of external upheaval.

Technology as a Disruptor

With increasingly stretched resources, organisations are being asked to do more with less, all the while trying to stay on top of information which, given a greater speed of dissemination, could quickly impact the brand and reputation of the company.

According to Ward, there are “mountains of data” available to organisations. However, as it’s 80 per cent unstructured, and needs sifted before use, it isn’t useful. Procurement needs to harness the power of this unstructured data. This is where the development of cognitive technology looks to be a boon to procurement.

The potential for these cognitive technologies, such as IBM’s own Watson, are just mind-blowing. As the technologies are developed, they will be able to do everything that a human can do, but in a fraction of the time. This is more than AI, it’s like have a computerised “colleague”.

Upskilling Procurement

These technologies will take over the manually intensive activities currently done in procurement, facilitating the ability for work to be carried out anywhere, at any time, in line with increasing mobile access and social collaboration.

The Watson Buying System is just one facet of this technology. IBM are at the stage of proof of concept of this technology. The system will assist with purchasing, based on needs of buyers. It can match pictures of items, or match speech too, to catalogues, and get goods bought for users and delivered anywhere it’s needed.

Systems will provide real-time data, showing potential risks in the supply chain, and how they are being mitigated. According to Barry, mitigating risk through predictive technology will no longer be a “nice to have”, but will become essential for organisations.

Procurement will play a major role in this cognitive revolution, using it to drive value-adding activities for the business, such as a focus on innovation. However, this will bring a challenge of ensuring that procurement have the correct skills to leverage this opportunity.

Procurement professionals will focus more on a data science-type role, as well as on SRM activities. Innovation will be found through building proper, collaborative relationships throughout the supply chain.

Challenge to CPOs

Barry ended by issuing 3 calls to action to procurement leaders:

  1. CPOs need to adjust the design of their organisation.
  2. Enabling success for procurement will be driven by using the right technology.
  3. Procurement needs to upskill in order to drive value-adds for the organisation.

There is no time to waste. There’s no time for incremental steps. As Barry says, it’s time for CPOs to be bold.

How Technological Megatrends Are Transforming Manufacturing

Technological megatrends are leading to major disruptions in manufacturing. And it’s affecting the way procurement and supply chain professionals plan for the future.

Technological Megatrends

It wasn’t that long ago that manufacturing was a noisy and dirty process that involved huge numbers of staff and required significant factory floor space.

But that’s all changed. A number of megatrends have disrupted the manufacturing sector at a rapid rate, which Paul Markillie, Innovation Editor at The Economist, has documented in a number of articles and papers.

Given their disruptive nature, these technological megatrends are of significant interest to the procurement and supply chain professionals. Paul has been invited to speak on these mega-trends, and other technological advancements, that are disrupting and transforming manufacturing, at the Big Ideas Summit 2016.

“I’m particularly looking forward to the Big Ideas Summit because many of the things I talk about attract interest and curiosity. That can lead to some lively interaction, from which I often learn things from people who are already having to confront profound changes to the way they will do business in the future,” Markillie writes.

During his keynote, Paul will explain how manufacturing is going digital and how that will disrupt the conventional economies of production, and overturn established supply chains. He’ll also explain how companies are responding to these trends.

Changing the Manufacturing Rules

According to Paul Markillie, a handful of industrial revolutions have occurred, depending on who you ask. And, as has happened in other industries, such as publishing, music, films and electronics, the move to a digital world in manufacturing changes the rules comprehensively.

Developments like new materials, robotics, 3D printing, and computer-aided design and simulation, replace the old notions of economies of scale. This changes not just where companies locate factories, but also how they organise themselves, and arrange their procurement and supply chains.

As part of his work, Markillie has documented the dramatic pace of change in manufacturing around the world. This includes the carbon-fibre composites making light work of aeroplanes, and now cars too. BMW’s car factory in Leipzig produces a variety of vehicles, with a group of robots in one area moving in perfect synchrony as they assemble body section, with a precision no human could hope to match.

But there’s no thundering metal-stamping machines or showers of welding sparks here, as he documents. Instead, these car parts are black, and made from a composite material called carbon fibre. And by the mid-2020s, carbon fibre will be widely adopted in car making, he says. And this is just one of the technological megatrends we need to be keeping track of.

Advanced Manufacturing Methods

There’s many other examples of major innovation in the car industry in other parts of the world, too. Researchers in Tennessee have created an automated system endearingly known as Big Areas Additive Manufacturing (also known as a 3D printer), which is used to print cars.

The researchers work at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is exploring a number of advanced manufacturing methods. In one experiment, it made most of the body and chassis for an electric replica of a classic 1960s sports car, and took just six weeks to design, print and assemble the car.

The dramatic pace of change proves that first-tier suppliers will need to work much closer with companies in the development process. While this already occurs to some extent, there will be huge opportunities for companies further down the supply chain to innovate.

For example, second-generation robots are more affordable for medium and small companies, while 3D printing processes are less wasteful of raw materials and allow greater production flexibility at lower volumes.

There are plenty of other new approaches to manufacturing, which give procurement professionals plenty of food for thought, likely to be explored by Markillie at the Big Ideas Summit. No matter how you look at it, manufacturing is a world away from yesteryear, he says.

Paul Markillie will discuss these disruptive technological megatrends in greater detail during his keynote at the Big Ideas Summit 2016 on April 21st.

Want to know more about Big Ideas 2016? Then visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

Big Ideas in UK & Public Procurement

Social value and collaboration – just the tip of the iceberg for the professionals in UK and public procurement.

Public Procurement

Ahead of the Big Ideas Summit 2016 this Thursday, we are taking a look at the key issues facing procurement in the coming years. We have asked experts and influencers in our community to share their Big Ideas on the themes we will be discussing on the day.

The concept of social value is one that has gained more traction, driven by public procurement professionals across the world. It also links heavily into the idea that procurement as a whole needs to collaborate and work together, something that we’ll also be discussing at Big Ideas.

We spoke to some of our UK-based professionals in the Procurious community to understand the big ideas in the UK and public procurement.

Helen Mackenzie, Head of Procurement, Scottish Local Government

Power Profiles - Helen MackenzieAs those of us working in or with public bodies across the world move forward through our journey of procurement reform, our challenge is now shifting from one where tackling corruption, compliance and procedures are key to one where we’re must add value whenever we can.

At the front end of the process, there’s been some innovative work looking at commissioning services using open problems. Barcelona and Stockholm have had some great results by shifting from specifying the service they wanted, to specifying the problem they wanted to solve.

Adding social value to public procurement contracts continues to be expected by policy makers. In Scotland, we’re including requirements to ensure fair work practices, including the payment of the living wage, and community benefit clauses, which have been used to create added value. For instance 1,000s of apprenticeships have been created as part of our contracts.

Ensuring our communities are involved at the heart of our procurement processes is perhaps the holy grail of public procurement. It’s something which isn’t easy to do, it’s going to require us to stretch our stakeholder engagement skills. The prize will be contracts which target resources where they are needed, people who feel public spending is actually being targeted at them and outcomes which will deliver real improvements in people’s lives.

If we’re successful in shifting our focus away from what we’ve always bought, to what we need to solve with community engagement and social value at the heart of what we do, we’ll certainly secure great contracts and we’ll make the savings we need to deliver in the process.

Jane Lynch, Lecturer, Cardiff Business School

Jane LynchLeading organisations today redesign processes for improving customer experience. This, they argue, leads to more effective business operations.

However, this may lead to initial process inefficiencies (i.e. higher process costs). Who and what should drive process improvement for our business? Is it the supply chain, the organisation’s strategy or is it all about the customer?

Chris Cliffe, Director, CJC Procurement Ltd

Power Profiles - Chris CliffeBig Ideas and innovation in procurement is certainly needed. However, not at the expense of the basics.

Think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and apply it to procurement. As a profession, and as individual professionals, we cannot ‘self-actualise’ until we have satisfied the more fundamental needs of our roles. 

As a professional collective, we need to get a lot better at collaborating as individuals, and as a profession, to ensure that the ‘physiological’ and ‘safety’ needs are met, which in our scenario is the basics such as spend analysis, market knowledge, proficiency at transacting procurement processes (particularly the regulated public sector processes).

With that foundation satisfied, we can move on to the ‘Love & Belonging’ and ‘Esteem’ needs, which for us is where many of us still struggle. Being invited to the top table at our organisations as true business partners remains a consistent challenge. 

At this level, we need to be more proactive in demonstrating and promoting contract management and supplier relationship management achievements, not just (but also) procurement process cost savings and force our way in to the strategic conversations. 

From this point we can dream of ‘self-actualisation’.  All contract spend is compliant and being managed well.  Our deep market knowledge is maintained, valued and collaborated on with peers and suppliers alike.  We are highly valued by our executives, and the ‘go-to’ people for business advice and guidance. 

Many of us can only dream of that utopia, and unless we work together on the basics, it will only remain a dream and no amount of retweets will improve our futures.

There’s still time to register for Big Ideas 2016. Visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

Why Thinking the Unthinkable is a Wake Up Call for Leaders

The Great Wake Up – Nik Gowing, co-author of Thinking the Unthinkable, explains why these findings should keep us all awake at night. 

Thinking the Unthinkable

What if the very people we appoint – in business and government – to foresee, identify and handle the most unexpected, cataclysmic, and disruptive events, are shown to be perilously inadequate at the most critical of moments?

This is precisely the nightmare finding of research study: Thinking the Unthinkable – A New Imperative for Leadership in the Digital Age, co-authored by Visiting Professor at Kings College London, Nik Gowing.

The Great Wake Up

Setting the context for the Big Ideas Summit, and the C-Suite agenda more broadly, “Thinking the Unthinkable, is the ‘Great Wake Up’ for leaders – current and future.

Speaking ahead of his appearance at Big Ideas Summit, Gowing explains a proliferation of ‘unthinkable’ events has revealed dangerous fragility at the highest levels of corporate and public service leadership.

“From just the first weeks of 2014, a dramatic series of ‘strategic ruptures’ revealed the old assumptions for decision making and promotion to the top in public or corporate life were seriously wanting or worse, irrelevant,” explains Gowing.

The ‘unthinkable’ events Gowing refers to include critical moments such as: President Putin’s seizure of Crimea; the rise of the so-called Islamic state; the devastating outbreak of Ebola; the surge of refugees to Europe and the seemingly uncontrolled tumbling of the Chinese stock market.

None of these events had been seriously considered or tabled, let alone planned for by those at the highest levels of corporate or public leadership.

Failure in Leadership

And yet occur they did, one unthinkable event after another, sending shock waves reverberating around the globe and prompting concerns about the capabilities of those ‘in charge’ to foresee unthinkable events and handle their impact.

“The rate and scale of change is much faster than most are even prepared to concede or respond to. At the highest board and C-suite levels, leaders confess to often being overwhelmed,” says Gowing.

Recognising the strangeness of this new world, Gowing, alongside co-author, Chris Langdon, set out to understand why our leaders appeared to be in free fall at these most critical of moments. And finally, why it remains so difficult for leaders to think the ‘unthinkable’.

“The global pace of change is overcoming the capacity of national and international institutions”

– Chris Donnelly, Director, Institute for Statecraft

Gowing reflects: “What started as a modest research project 14 months ago has grown fast and exponentially into something far more substantive and deeply disturbing.”

Compiled through a series of over 60 one-to-one interviews with C-suite business leaders and top-level public servants, the findings of Thinking the Unthinkable reveal fragility at the uppermost levels of global leadership.

Thinking the Unthinkable confirms the current cohort of top leaders feel overwhelmed and under equipped to understand and work with the enormity of ‘unthinkable events’ that are unfolding.”

A terrifying level of wilful blindness, or ‘executive myopia’, to see and contemplate even the possibility that unthinkables might happen, let alone prepare to respond to them, is perhaps the most alarming finding of the research.

During their candid interviews, Gowing reveals the majority of leaders agreed that the decision-making norms and behaviours which got them to the top in the first place, no longer suffice.

Gowing emphasises: “Leaders need to be liberated from that conformity which guaranteed their career progression. The challenge is how to achieve that.”

Why TTU is Must-Read for Procurement Leaders

There are three key reasons why TTU is a must-read for all leaders – current and future:

First, relevance: Unthinkable events are happening with greater frequency and our leaders are less and less well equipped to handle them.

Second, rigor: Thinking the Unthinkable could not be more disturbing but do not mistake its alarmism for a mere piece of ‘click bait’. Serving as unprecedented database for the private, the research provides in-depth views of some of the world’s most influential corporate and public sector leaders.

Third, impact: Just as it sets the agenda for conversations at Board-level, Thinking the Unthinkable will help guide the conversations for Big Ideas Summit and will underpin our challenge to all delegates: What are the ‘unthinkable’ challenges we face next, and what do they mean for our models of leadership?

 To download the report and access additional content and context, visit the Thinking the Unthinkable website. 

At the Big Ideas Summit on the 21st of April, Nik Gowing will challenge current procurement leaders to consider what their ‘unthinkable’ events are, and how they are planning to tackle them.

If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

Tea Farmers Text Their Way to Supply Chain Collaboration

From tea growing to real-time supply chain transparency, collaboration and online networks are creating tangible value and benefits for organisations.

Martin Chilcott - Supply Chain Collaboration

How do you get 50,000 tea farmers and distributors in regional India working together to build collaboration and supply chain transparency? Through a digital platform, of course. 

Collaboration for the “common good” is reaping real benefits. In some retail and organisational collaboration hubs, there are over 300 companies involved, with estimated operational savings at a combined total of €100 million.

Martin Chilcott, 2degrees CEO and Founder, gets to the point about the type of collaboration needed to cut costs, reduce risks and drive innovation within complex supply chains.

Why is collaboration so important, perhaps even uniquely important to sustainable business?

There are 3 main reasons why collaboration is more important than ever before in helping businesses survive and thrive in what are increasingly chaotic and uncertain times.

1. Firstly most of the environmental and social sustainability challenges businesses face are part of the challenge of the commons. No one company owns the atmosphere, the oceans, the fish stocks, or fresh water reserves. These are resources common to us all. And because of that they can only be managed sustainably through collaboration.

2. Secondly, today most businesses, have subcontracted or out-sourced and off-shored their purchases and operations to such an extent that they have become totally dependent on a geographically dispersed, and increasingly fragile supply-chain. For many companies up to 80 per cent of their risks and impacts lie in this supply-chain. You can’t coerce your suppliers (not for long anyway); and you can’t audit them into submission and compliance. Ultimately you have to work with them.

3. Lastly, brand reputation is no longer something solely in the control of the brand company. It’s one of those risks that lies outside the company in the supply-chain. That makes mitigating brand risk something that can only be done with the co-operation of your suppliers. It becomes a collaborative exercise.

Collaboration is perhaps an over-used word. What do you mean by collaboration and how is it changing?

At 2degrees, we think of collaboration as a strategic function. Traditionally it has been very expensive to do this with more than a few strategic partners because it involved being face to face. But technology is changing that.

Digital technologies and collaboration platforms like ours are enabling companies to work closely with thousands of their suppliers at a depth that was previously impossible. But more remarkably they are allowing those suppliers to work with each other unlocking knowledge and capability that was previously hidden in silos up and down value chains.

Large scale supplier-to-supplier collaboration, with operational managers from different organisations working together to solve problems, share best practice and find solutions, is now possible. To help differentiate it from traditional ways of collaborating and to capture the incredible connectivity and scale it is creating, we call it ‘fully-linked collaboration’.

What kinds of companies and individuals are involved?

The companies that are leading the way are the major FMCG and food companies like Unilever, and retailers like Asda-Walmart and Kingfisher; some banks like RBS; and pharmaceutical giant GSK. Still relatively small numbers right at the vanguard. They are bringing together their enormous supplier webs to work together.

When you get in to the detail, it is individuals that are working together of course. Operational middle management: energy managers, waste managers, factory managers, Health and Safety. All from different companies asking each other for insight and advice on whether to use a particular technology, or how to engage colleagues, or build a business case. It’s the solving of really practical problems together, that makes sustainable business happen.

How do collaboration platforms like 2degrees create value for the companies involved and what are the tangible benefits?

Well if you think about it, if you bring together 1,000 plus engineers and managers involved in say food manufacturing from different companies; that’s an extraordinary amount of experience and know-how. Normally that knowledge remains hidden, but collaboration platforms enable one company/one manager with a problem, to tap into that collective know-how to find someone who has already solved that particular problem.

The vast majority of problems that exist within a supply-base have already been solved by someone somewhere. It’s just a matter of being able to connect up with the right people and persuade them to help you. In some of our programs 100,000s of exchanges of knowledge have taken place, identifying solutions on technical matters like waste water separation or how to build a business case for LED lights, or voltage optimisation.

And these sorts of exchanges have led to investments being made. In one community of 300 companies, for example, we estimate they are generating over €100m of operational savings directly from these exchanges.

Is 2degrees part of a new wave of collaboration platforms in sustainability and if so what other ones are in your opinion worth noting?

Yes 2degrees is one example of how digital technology is supporting a new wave of fully-linked collaboration. But some really interesting others are WeFarm, which uses text message and cell phones to connect up small holder farmers in emerging economies to share know-how.

We partner with them on our Tea 2030 programme, and they claim to be connecting up approximately 50,000 farmers and growing fast.

Another interesting business is EcoChain that uses a technology called Blockchain (the technology behind Bitcoin) to create real-time transparency in supply chains around CO2, water, materials etc. Those are my favourites.

What are the strategic implications of this new wave of collaboration?

I think what is really exciting is that these technologies are enabling really big problems to be solved by co-ordinating thousands of companies and making the most of their hidden capabilities.

For instance, at the COP 21 talks in Paris, over 100 companies, including IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, Mars and Nike, committed to powering their operations with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020 – supply base collaboration will be a key ingredient needed to makes this commitment a reality.

Helping suppliers face what is now inevitable, transition to becoming low carbon, sustainable businesses, represents a significant opportunity for large companies to cut costs and impacts, reduce risks and drive innovation across their supply-base. It provides an opportunity for Chief Procurement and Chief Supply-Chain Officers to transform their value-chains and generate a sustainable competitive advantage for their businesses.

The implications and possibilities of digitally enabled collaboration are very powerful indeed.

Martin Chilcott will talk about these topics in more detail during one of our panel discussions at the Big Ideas Summit on April 21st.

If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

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.

Brexit

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

Showcasing Your Big Ideas – Addressing Supplier Compliance

Ahead of the Big Ideas Summit 2016 on April 21st, we’re on the hunt for your Big Ideas. Market Dojo discuss why they think 2016 will see an increased focus on supplier compliance.

At the Big Ideas Summit 2016, which takes place on 21st April,  we will be asking our speakers and attendees to record their ‘Big Ideas’ live on camera for the whole of our Procurious community to see.

But we also believe that every single procurement and supply chain professional has a unique vantage point in the industries, communities and businesses they work in. You have been submitting your Big Ideas to us, and so far, we think they have been great!

Market Dojo, e-Sourcing Software Provider

Market Dojo believe that in 2016, organisations will be required to have an increased focus on supplier compliance, throughout their supply chains.

With new regulations and policies coming into force, particularly around Modern Slavery in the supply chain, organisations will need to get to grips with their supply chains, and understand how their supplier operate. This will not be limited to Tier 1 suppliers, but throughout the supply chain.

Companies will need to take steps to increase supplier compliance. This can be helped by having simpler, and more user-friendly, supplier engagement systems.

How to Submit Your Big Idea

We don’t mind if you film your submission on your phone, tablet, laptop or PC. However, to help you out we’ve compiled a list of some of our recommended methods for reaching out.

Once you’ve completed your film, you can reach us by email (Procurious@Procurious.com); on Twitter (@procurious_) or via Google Drive or Dropbox (using Procurious@Procurious.com).

You can find all the information you need on recording and submitting your Big Idea here.

Want to know more about Big Ideas 2016? Then visit www.bigideassummit.com, join our Procurious group, and Tweet your thoughts and Big Ideas to us using #BigIdeas2016.

Don’t miss out on this truly excellent event and the chance to participate in discussions that will shape the future of the procurement profession. Get Involved, register today.

South African Public Procurement – A Work in Progress

Despite some leaps forward in recent years, South African public procurement is still suffering from the same issues.

South African Public Procurement

“Despite the reform processes in public procurement and the employment of Supply Chain Management (SCM) as a strategic tool, there are predicaments in South African public procurement practices”.

This was one of the observations in a report by two leading academics at the University of South Africa in 2012. They noted, “For example, there is non-compliance with procurement and SCM-related legislation and policies as well as tender irregularities.”

You could say that not a lot has changed, South African public procurement still has some predicaments.

The Last Few Years

Since 2012, we have seen the appointment of a Chief Procurement Officer, Kenneth Brown, who is responsible for overseeing the entire SCM operation. His role is to ensure that the procurement of goods, services and construction works is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective, and in line with the Constitution and all relevant legislation.

This in itself is a big ask as there are many laws, guidelines and regulations to adhere to. His portfolio includes central and provincial governments, municipalities and state-owned enterprises.

A new initiative is an e-tender portal and the creation of a centralised database of approved suppliers. This is a noble effort to fight corruption and make government procurement more efficient and cost-effective. The system, where all tenders are advertised, is also designed to electronically verify a supplier’s tax and black employment equity status, as well as to uncover any government employee attempting to do business with the state.

In the 2014-2015 tax year, the public sector spent >R500-billion on goods, services and infrastructure. The Government itself has admitted that at least R30-billion of this was lost to corruption. In 2015 the Treasury took a bold step of undertaking a Supply Chain Management Review on the status of SCM in South Africa and found it wanting.  This was the first attempt at assessing the situation since 2004.

The 2015 Supply Chain Management Review

The Treasury should receive kudos for highlighting its own shortcomings and imperfections, and providing some glimmer of hope of improvement.

The Review acknowledged that:

  • SCM across South Africa is highly fragmented. This makes it difficult for government to obtain maximum value from the purchasing of goods and services.
  • It needs to improve skills, processes and systems which are critical for a well-functioning SCM system.
  • It is dogged by “constant allegations of corruption and inefficiency”.
  • Key problems are: inexperienced leaders, high staff turnover rates, confusion about roles and responsibilities, political interference and the red tape for small and medium businesses.

So what is the plan?  

The big plan is to replace all the legacy systems, more than 30, with just one. This will be an integrated financial management system (IFMS) which will include the central supplier database. This will make data mining possible, and will provide more transparency into bid awards, a concept that has not been well understood in government circles up to now.

The intention is to centralise government contracts for categories such as:

  • Banking services;
  • Information Communication Technology (ICT) services;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Consulting services;
  • Security services;
  • Air travel and accommodation;
  • School textbooks and stationery;
  • Healthcare equipment; and
  • Leased buildings.

Technology will take us part of the way

Investment in technology, especially an e-procurement solution, has the potential to improve SCM efficiency and effectiveness considerably. Currently, the different systems result in fragmented and unreliable data, inconsistent processes, varying compliance levels and ineffective results.

It is not straightforward though. South Africa has a complex and unique system of preferential procurement policies to protect and advance previously disadvantaged people. These variables have to be integrated into any decision making software.

The many challenges can be grouped into these categories:

  • managerial, compliance and monitoring issues
  • lack of knowledge, skills and capacity
  • inadequate control systems
  • fraud and corruption
  • fragmented spend and lack of transparency

Comparisons with other countries

South Africa is not alone in its aspirations to do better. The UK has just implemented the Public Contracts Regulations which adds another dimension and complexity to Government procurement in UK, and brings practice into line with European Union regulations. One objective is to make procurement across EU countries easier and increase transparency.

A bill was introduced recently to promote the appointment of a Chief Procurement Officer for the United States. However, it was not passed into law due to the start-up costs, despite projected savings of 10 times the investment. It just goes to show that even developed markets have their problems.

Manage Your Business Logistics like A Pro

How do companies make sure that their business logistics foundation supports all the qualities required to remain competitive in their industry?

Business Logistics

An efficient, responsive, understandable and, above all, dependable supply chain is crucial for business success and ROI in today’s on-demand environment. A company that gets their business logistics wrong, and runs a disorganised and ineffective supply chain, is ultimately going to less profitable than its competitors – no matter the business.

Complexities of Logistics Management

Mediocre resource management usually leads to an inferior final product. Companies need to explain to their customers where their supplies come from, otherwise they risk losing customers’ trust, and even more important, orders.

In addition, competing on price is very difficult if you do not have a strong and practical logistics process. Ineptitudes in supply and delivery chains lead to higher operational expenses and lost productivity.

Nevertheless, managing business logistics is easier said than done. It requires at least a fair amount of knowledge in order to be executed correctly. Therefore, here are a few tips for managing logistics at your company, all of which are worth taking into consideration.

  • Use the Newest Logistics Software

The only way for your company to compete with the opposition is to keep pace with them, or to be one-step ahead of them. New technology is becoming more and more available, and you need to take advantage of it. The market for SCM (Supply Chain Management) software has been growing steadily for the last couple of years.

Although automating the movement of merchandise through a warehouse does require a decent investment, the equipment will pay for itself over time. Moreover, by automating the procedure, you will eliminate human error and speed-up the movement of goods.

  • Maintain Strong Relationships along the Supply Chain

Always remember that your supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Make sure that you build and maintain a strong relationship with your vendors and suppliers, so that the goodwill you earn will keep your operation running smoothly for years to come. One bad relationship could potentially ruin your entire supply chain and cause failure.

  • Continual Logistics Monitoring

You could accomplish this by using shipment-monitoring software. This enables you to see what is happening at every step in the process, and take care of all blockages and problems before they affect your customers. Furthermore, monitoring and reviewing each move you make will help control your costs and find the way to deal with weaknesses in your organisation.

  • Utilisation is the Key

Being ready for seasonal changes and demand is second nature in every business. Using innovation and utilisation to plan ahead is the key. If you are managing a warehouse, you should certainly look into the best possible solution for your pallet racking.

Whether it is taking full advantage of every inch of your storage space with improved warehouse management, or using the latest fleet management software to make your mobile enterprise more cost-effective and efficient, you are making better business decisions when you insist on complete utilisation. In addition, making those decisions through better, up-to-date data, are the first step in planning future success. So always think forward.

Make Logistics a Competitive Advantage

Sometimes, your logistics may seem like a burden, but it is also a competitive advantage. By optimising your shipping and storing processes, you can reduce your shipping costs, and make your product as competitive as possible. By improving your logistics management you will have a meaningful impact on the management of your overall supply chain and, eventually, the efficiency of your business as a whole.