Incendiary Tidbits Content

Why Is There a Dearth of Female Supply Chain Students? A Conversation with UT-Knoxville’s Wendy Tate

When I wrote to Dr. Wendy Tate, associate professor of supply chain management at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, asking her to give a piece of advice for women working in supply chain for an International Women’s Day-themed article last month, she gave five. “I could probably go on for a very long time,” she wrote back. “This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart and I spend a lot of time with women students going into supply chain positions!”

Something strange has been happening to the highly regarded supply chain program at UT-Knoxville. Over the past few years, the program has seen a significant drop in the number of female students, even though overall enrollment is as high as ever. I talked to Dr. Tate recently to find out why, as well as learn about how young women can succeed in supply chain and her thoughts on the conventional wisdom regarding women’s supposedly innate professional qualities.

Bad Procurement: A Roundup of Recent Procurement Scandals

Procurement scandals haven’t been a priority coverage area on Spend Matters, but that may change soon. Monday's Afternoon Coffee column covered the news, broken by the New York Post, that the chief procurement officer for New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has been fired for allegedly soliciting bribes from a contractor. There is of course a “lady friend” involved in this saga too, but I’ve gotten ahead of myself. But this got us wondering: How does this compare with other procurement-centered crimes? Here is a roundup of recent scandals, some more salacious than others.

Dispatches from Cuba (Part 2): On Transactions and the Cuban Supply Chain

Cuba

Ginny Smith presents live science shows to schools, science festivals and other groups, and is also an author, journalist, radio and film presenter. As well as science, travel is another love, and as a neuroscientist by training, she is interested in the psychology of negotiation, which she discussed in her previous article about her recent trip to Cuba. In Part 2, she looks at queuing psychology, and touches on Cuban supply chain issues, too!

It wasn’t just navigating taxis that was a challenge in Cuba — shopping was a fascinating experience, as well. While it is often said that the English form the best queues in the world, I would disagree — the Cuban system is far better. When entering somewhere like a bank, you may think there is no queue at all, just one person at each desk and a number of others hanging around, sitting on sofas, chatting.

Dispatches from Cuba (Part 1): On Negotiation and Supply Markets

Cuba

In a country where you can earn more handing out pieces of toilet paper outside a toilet in a tourist cafe than by being a neurosurgeon, the Cuban economy is certainly a strange one. After decades of strict regulations, the system has begun to relax, and the country has opened up more to tourists, and my partner and I were among them on our self-organised three-week trip at the end of 2016.

The Millennial CPO: How Will the New Generation Transform the Supply Chain Profession?

In one of my conversations with a “30 Under 30” winner who’s about to hit 10 years in the procurement profession, I realized the in hindsight highly obvious fact that millennials are growing up. They already make up a third of the workforce. The older among them are stepping into managerial positions. They’re hiring and mentoring younger employees. They’re giving talks at conferences and industry events. And a decade from now, they could even be CPOs.

Breaking Down Global Silos (Part 1): Did Rio Ruin Houston’s New ERP Launch?

I sat in front of a camera that appeared to pan around the office — even though it was powered down.

As I tinkered with three remote controls, attempting to connect our virtual conference room to one in the southern hemisphere, I could not suppress my most paranoid instinct that perhaps our headquarters in Rio de Janeiro bugged our equipment to allow them to monitor the movements and voices of their North American employees.

My supply chain counterparts in the Brazilian corporate headquarters of one of the world’s largest oil and gas exploration companies called an ominously last-minute conference on a particularly sweltering spring day, which was already packed with activities for our impending ERP “go live.”

Will Trump Deregulate Employment to Create New Jobs, Gigs or What?

President Donald Trump recently said, “Now, we’re going to have regulation, and it’ll be just as strong and just as good and just as protective of the people as the regulation we have right now. The problem with the regulation that we have right now is that you can’t do anything… I have people that tell me that they have more people working on regulations than they have doing product.”

So considering the evolving and heavily regulated labor market, how should we read these tea leaves?

The Untimely Demise of FMS: Gone, Buried and All But Forgotten

When the idea and prototypes of what was called the Freelancer Management System (FMS) appeared at the end of 2013, it was met with much excitement and interest, which continued well through 2014 and 2015. Though propped up into 2016, FMS — after a long struggle with confusion, rebuttal and lack of adoption in the market — finally succumbed, quietly and without much notice. Scarcely a tear was shed, and barely a whisper was heard, not even from investors who poured millions of dollars into their progeny.

Beware the 4IR and AI — Or Should Procurement Embrace It?

The myriad technological and security risks posed by hacking flow all the way from sensitive government agencies on down to less sensitive national political committees, to corporations and even internal departments such as procurement… and the Internet makes it all possible.

I’m reminded of how everyone viewed the Internet — certainly by the time the year 2000 was coming around, but especially earlier in its nascent consumer-facing days in the mid-1990s, when the talk surrounded regulation — much as we’re talking about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and artificial intelligence (AI) today.

How I Left the Corporate Office to Run My Own Consultancy

At that point I decided that I wanted to work for myself as a career. I had a network of consultants that I had met during my time in corporate roles and I leaned on them for advice, contacts and my first couple of gigs. I also kept my options open for permanent corporate roles. I had recruiters tell me that I needed to make sure I was putting “real” work on my resume or I would not be taken seriously. I interviewed with companies that felt that “consulting” was a resume filler in between real jobs. Screw it. I’ll show them all.

And Now in Risk Management: Trump Tweets

Ford. Macy’s. General Motors. Lockheed Martin. Carrier. Rexnord.

What do these companies have in common? Well, one thing is that each has been rebuked on Twitter by President-elect Donald Trump, mostly for using foreign-made materials or having operations overseas or “moving to Mexico.”

Automating Contract Creation, Without Help from Legal: Test-Driving LISA (Part 1)

In the midst of our ongoing research on how AI is changing contract management, we encountered an intriguing tool that allows users to create an NDA from scratch — without a lawyer.

Created by AI Tech Support Ltd. and powered by Neota Logic, LISA (Legal Intelligence Support Assistant) “has been programmed to help you and ‘the other side’ (the receiver) find a commercially sensible middle ground for your NDA.” Instead of the usual back and forth over small points, led by biased human lawyers, LISA allows you hash out an agreement fairly quickly (10–15 minutes) through a web app.