Incendiary Tidbits Content

Blame the Supplier: A Roundup of Recent Supply Chain Scandals

Makeup for tweens is controversial enough on its own, but when asbestos is involved, national news headlines follow. ABC11 reported this week that asbestos was found to be present in the “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” sold at Justice, a national retailer of girls’ apparel. Asbestos fibers, once inhaled, remain in the lungs permanently. As Sean Fitzgerald, the director of research at the lab where the investigation was conducted, told ABC11, children “could die an untimely death in their thirties or forties because of the exposure to asbestos in this product.”

No, Robots Will Not Run Procurement by 2020

The motion stands thus: This house believes that robots will run (and rule) procurement by 2020.” I believe that the general direction of this argument is not in and of itself wrong. But there are a number of flaws in the nuance of how the motion has been proposed. And we are, after all, asking you to judge the merits of the proposal on its own, as it stands. Let me present you with three arguments against it.

Leveraging is Key to Procurement and Supply Chain Success, New Report Suggests

Editor’s note: “The Eggplant” is a new series of satirical posts in the style of “The Onion.” Check out the first one in the series here.

New research published this week shows that more procurement organizations are leveraging in 2017 than ever before, while the range of activities, situations and things that can be leveraged is also expanding to historic levels.

Category Manager at Greeting Card Company Brings Sentiment and Feeling to Dying Supply Chain

Alex Decker, a senior category manager at a well-known greeting card company, has developed an innovative supply chain management approach that promises to breathe new life into an industry disrupted by digitization. For over 25 years, Decker has been responsible for sourcing paper stock and ink, the two main materials inputs to the production of traditional paper greeting cards. Not long ago, he suddenly be became interested in innovation and in holding onto his job until retirement age.

Must-Watch Films and TV: Recommendations From and For Procurement Professionals

A few months ago, we published a post on book recommendations for procurement and supply chain practitioners. Textbooks they were not: I solicited recommendations both inside and outside Spend Matters for books that have relevant takeaways for procurement, even if they are about, say, tulips (that would be Mike Dash’s “Tulipomania”). Today we’re back with another round of recommendations, this time in the film and TV show category. The gist remains the same: What films and TV shows, while not nominally about procurement or supply chain, nevertheless contain pertinent lessons?

Traditional or Nurturing? 2 Methods for Recruiting Procurement Professionals

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Zelim Suleymanov, chief executive of PrECA.

It is not easy to find a top-class procurement professional. On the one hand, purchases require best practices expertise, and on the other hand, they need unconventional thinking and a creative approach. Highlights and challenges of up-to-date recruiting techniques with a focus on procurement can be found in a number of resources. Among them is procurement talent management and related issues described by Charles Dominick of the Next Level Purchasing Association.

I would suggest two possible headhunting models that can be used either individually or in combination when recruiting employees. They are what I call traditional and nurturing methods.

How to Become an Employer of Choice for Procurement Superstars

We’ve all heard how difficult it is for companies to attract and retain top procurement talent, and there’s no dearth of strategies on how best to deal with that. What isn’t discussed nearly as much is the other side of the equation: how to ensure you become an employer of choice.

When it comes to the “A players,” there is a criterion they follow that we like to call the CLAMPS discussion. This acronym stands for challenge, location, advancement, people, money and security. Each category represents a motivator professionals use to evaluate a position and company.

The Benefits of Treating Your Suppliers Like Partners

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from James Gellert, chief executive of RapidRatings.

Suppliers and buyers haven’t always had the best relationship beyond the transaction. Historically, the relationship was focused on getting the lowest price and reliable delivery. While this made sense on paper, it inevitably created a zero-sum game, as suppliers were often seen as expendable. Suppliers knew they could be replaced at any time and therefore had little interest in being flexible or working in the purchaser’s best interest.

While many companies have since rethought this Draconian approach and have been successful in creating overall value beyond the transaction, those companies that have truly realized the benefits of treating suppliers like partners are able to transform themselves into a more focused, nimble and cost-effective global competitor.

Slow Running, Cheaper Fueling: London 2017 and Agricultural Commodities

marathon

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Nick Peksa, a director at Mintec. 

It’s 8 a.m. and I am waiting for a docklands light railway train, when it arrives a few moments later, with slight apprehension I step on board. The DLR train rapidly fills up with a Lycra clad army, the air is heavy with the scent of wintergreen, menthol and eucalyptus, and there is palpable excitement and nervous tension in the air, as people chatter away. Yes, that’s right, Regain, a fantastic charity that supports tetraplegics in sport, persuaded me to run the London Marathon for them this year.

ISM 2017: The Spend Slayer

At a big procurement conference, how do you get a procurement manager into your booth? The answer is simple (and somewhat sexist, I might add). Find an attractive female — maybe we’ll see a guy one of these years — and a gimmick. In the past, AECSoft, a former vendor in the space, was one that was successful in driving traffic by bringing a model — I think she was Miss Lebanon — to the conference and having her circulate around the floor and hang out at the booth. This year, Jaggaer continued this tradition with the “Spend Slayer,” an archer — or ”archerette,” if you will — who circulated around the exhibit hall with a bow.

Emptoris: A Eulogy for a Great Company

When the dust settles from the death of Emptoris, many people will quickly forget the debt of gratitude we owe to its founders, managers, software developers and various owners over its many years. Perhaps more than any other company from the first generation of procurement technology firms, Emptoris had a greater impact on the sector than even, I would argue, FreeMarkets, my former employer, or Ariba, for that matter. While others on the Spend Matters team will no doubt have additional comments about Emptoris on a personal level, I wanted to be the first to put some words to paper this morning.

Selling Kids on a Career in Procurement is Impossible — Here’s a Better Option

supply chain

Let’s face it. No child ever says, "I want to be a purchasing manager when I grow up.” Honestly, the term procurement itself draws blank stares from kids — and even adults. The best I can do is tell people that I try to help companies “buy better.” They usually nod politely, and even murmur an “uh-huh” if I give some B2C consumer analogies of how people try to shop online for supplies, home services, mortgages, travel and so on. So, perhaps the solution isn’t to try to sell kids vocationally on procurement at all but rather introduce the area of the broader supply chain.