Sourcing & Categories Content

Investigative Report Details Toxic Gas Poisoning and Other Serious Labor Violations at Key Apple Supplier

China Labor Watch released a lengthy report Tuesday detailing appalling work conditions at Catcher Technology, a supplier of computers, digital cameras and other products to Apple, Dell, HP, IBM and Sony. The factory under investigation, however, is primarily an Apple supplier, producing iPhone frames and MacBook components. Among many other labor violations, China Labor Watch found toxic gas poisoning, unsanitary food, inadequate protective gear and excessive pollution during its investigation of the Catcher factory in Suqian, China, conducted from October 2017 to January 2018.

Commodities Roundup: Cotton, Aluminum, Steel and Nickel were this Week’s Big Newsmakers

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters.

Healthcare Consumerism: Supply Chains that Follow the Patient Home

There’s been a lot of talk about “healthcare consumerism” lately. Is it really about increasing competition among insurance providers? As the acute care market continues to consolidate and vertically integrate, aren't the insurance pickings for most of us getting conspicuously slim, especially if employers are making our coverage decisions? Here’s where I’ve landed: If healthcare consumer advocates are relying on insurance companies to drive “consumerism,” then they’ve put the cart before the horse. My money is on the jockey, and the jockey in this race is good old-fashioned consumer preference.

A Revamped Operating Model is Key to Alleviating Retail’s Sourcing Woes, Report Suggests

As countries continuously replace one another on the list of new, promising apparel sourcing destinations, a report from Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy, suggests that this is but a short-term fix. The report, “From Cost-Cutting to True Value Creation — On the Road to Analytical Sourcing and Supply Chain,” proposes a smarter long-term strategy that would require retail to adapt its operating model.

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Shopping Online for Services Through E-Catalogs

We all have purchased something from online shopping portals. Can the same experience be replicated across procurement categories? Especially, when it comes to indirect services categories, which are hard to structure or commoditize? Organizations are constantly discovering ways to make the procurement process simpler, efficient and effective. There is a potential to bring a lot of contracts under managed spend instead of spot buying. Procurement managers usually spend a lot of time either negotiating for a better price or requesting services from suppliers. Catalog buying is being viewed as a solution to these procurement issues.

As Sessions Tries to Kill the High, Cannabis Industry’s Domestic — and Global — Aspirations Continue Speeding Up

The new year began with a bang — especially for those in the U.S. Pacific Time Zone. That’s because the entire contiguous western seaboard has now officially legalized and instituted recreational marijuana sales and consumption, with California joining Oregon and Washington on Jan. 1 as the latest state to open dispensary doors for rec sales. Many in the pot press were quick to point out that with more than 50 million people, California represents the single-biggest individual market for recreational cannabis as the world’s sixth-largest economy. Various analysts estimate the state’s total value of the pot market will eclipse that of all other U.S. states with recreational markets combined in just a few years or less. But everything that goes up (in smoke), must come down (from its high).

Is Three a Trend? UK Supermarket Giants Reveal Antibiotic Use in Food Supply Chains

Marks and Spencer (M&S) recently released data on the quantities of antibiotics used by their meat and dairy suppliers, and fellow leading U.K. supermarket chains Waitrose and Asda have done the same. In all three cases, antibiotic use was below industry averages or targets. The fact that antibiotic resistance is a growing health crisis is old news, and health organizations and activists have long been calling for a drastic reduction in the use of antibiotics on farm animals, a key cause of antibiotic resistance.

Former Boeing VP John Byrne on How the OEM Optimized its Direct Materials Supply Chain Visibility

MRO

If you’re a direct materials procurement professional, what would force you to change the way you do business? For John Byrne, former vice president of aircraft materials/structures at Boeing, it was nothing short of a supply chain emergency. “The situation we faced at Boeing was initially borne out of a situation driven by a crisis,” Byrne said in the recent webinar “Supercharge Your Approach: Managing Direct Materials Across Global Supply Chains,” hosted by our sister site, MetalMiner.

IC Precheck Gives Independent Contractors a Compliance Shot in the Arm

IC Precheck, a new compliance product aimed at independent contractors (ICs), launched this week. The product, which will be marketed and sold to contractors, provides, as the name implies, a kind of precertification to support or strengthen a contractor’s assertion of independent contractor (1099) classification status. The product is intended to benefit contractors as well as the businesses that engage them.

More on Healthcare’s Saline Bag “Shortage”

The saline bag “shortage” in healthcare has been going on for a few years. I’ve got some strong opinions on the matter, as I have had the pleasure of interviewing the assigned category managers at the nation’s largest healthcare GPOs, health system sourcing professionals and executives at Baxter, B.Braun and Hospira, the nation’s three largest manufacturers and suppliers of the product. It turns out that there are very few resin producers that make the type and grade used to manufacture saline bags. Not only did these producers cut production, but they’ve increased their pricing by more than 300% in the last year. Why?

Cutting BigLaw Down to Size: New Alternatives for Legal Services Procurement (Part 2)

forced labor

While it has been said that the wheels of justice turn slowly but exceedingly fine, the process may be accelerating in the procurement of legal services. In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how monolithic, traditional BigLaw firms are being challenged to radically adapt by disruptive economic forces, the ascendance of legal procurement in enterprises and, last but not least, by the growth in a broad range of alternative legal services providers. But more important, as we noted in Part 1, BigLaw’s nightmare is also a shared opportunity for legal services procurement and for emerging alternative legal services providers. According to some industry observers, we are witnessing an ongoing paradigm shift from BigLaw to what is being dubbed NewLaw. In Part 2 of this series, we provide an introduction to the increasingly important, complex and rapidly evolving NewLaw world of non-traditional/alternative legal services providers (ALSPs).

Cobalt and the Sustainability of Electric Vehicles

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

Recently I have been reading a number of case studies based on some of the world’s leading sustainable and socially responsible firms, ranging from Unilever’s work in Brazil and Danone’s work in India to Vodafone and their mobile payment systems in Kenya. One of the other favorite firms for academic research is Tesla, with its “greener than thou” philosophy. Delving a little deeper into the mechanics of batteries, however, the word “cobalt” rang a number of alarm bells.