Spend Matters Afternoon Coffee

Creative Bidding, Creative Deflection -- Outfitting the Chicago Riot Police
City buys 8,500 police face shields ahead of NATO summit -- The City of Chicago has agreed to buy more than 8,500 new face shields for police helmets in preparation for the May NATO conference. The new shields will fit over police helmets and provide added protection against rocks or fluids, according to Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Melissa Stratton. While all the shields are expected to be delivered in time for the May 20-21 NATO conference, Stratton said "essentially this is about protecting our officers" at all times.

Market Dojo checks out Japanese auctions.
Procurement Innovation? Say konnichi wa to Japanese Auctions! -- For those unfamiliar with the process, the Japanese auction gives participants a few minutes to simply state whether or not they can commit to a dictated price level (to supply the requested goods or services). All those who said "yes" are allowed to progress and all those who said "no" are eliminated. The price level then drops by a certain amount and the question is repeated to those who previously said "yes". The process continues in this vein until all participants have 'opted out' of the auction.

Chaos monkey??
A Chaos Monkey for Your Supply Chain -- Supply chain managers: Designate one person from your team to be the day's Chaos Monkey. Have him or her go down to the receiving dock or the parts bin and pick an item at random. (It will be more fun if you hand your Chaos Monkey a banana to carry around.) Now imagine a call from that part's supplier telling you they can't ship orders for three weeks. What does it take to keep your plant running? Make the calls. Ask the primary vendor if he has another plant that could ship the part. Ask alternative vendors if they have the ability to ship this week. Run the exercise as if it were real. One day it will be. When that part has been evaluated, pass the banana on to the next member of the team to be tomorrow's Chaos Monkey.

Post Office cost-cutting strategy.
To Cut Costs, Postal Service Turns to Rural Stores -- The agency has been losing $35.7 million a day, and 85 percent of its 32,000 offices do not make enough to cover their expenses. So it is hoping that working with retailers to put stamps and a modicum of mailing services alongside beer and lottery tickets will help put a dent in its growing deficit. The Postal Service has long allowed retailers to sell postage. But now it is arranging to provide some basic mailing services in stores in rural areas like Brant, Mich., a town of just over 2,000 about 30 miles southwest of Saginaw.

- Sheena Moore

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