Author Archives: Jonas Divine

Breaking Down Global Silos (Part 2): Lessons Learned from Conflict


Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of Jonas’ story about an ominously last-minute meeting with the Rio de Janeiro headquarters of his oil and gas company, right before an ERP launch. Missed Part 1? Read it here.

The year 2016 showed us how political events, market movements and social trends could be more easily mapped to emotional triggers than axioms of behavioral economics or underlying transactional data. In 2017, we are likely to see more of the same.

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.”

Bleeding on the Bayou: Procurement Near-Misses in Times of Price Volatility (Part 2)

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a post kicking off our new Spend Matters series of personal stories from procurement professionals. Missed Part 1? Read it here.

Another supply chain related crisis resulting from Fred Farmer’s antiquated approach to P2P had to do with controls around costing of finished goods, which were arcane to most of the organization and yet vital for ensuring profit. The weaknesses in Farmer’s costing update processes became obvious during this period of particularly high price volatility. As a manufacturing organization tied to an inflexible legacy ERP, Farmer’s company was based in standard costing, which required frequent maintenance in the form of bill-of-material cost rollups and updates to transfer prices. Typically, this would not be a problem if the organization had not been adding product offerings at a rate of about 300 per month. With a bloated material master, in which only about 4% of finished goods contributed 80% of its revenue, the process for updating bill-of-material costs became severely bottlenecked.

Bleeding on the Bayou: Procurement Near-Misses in Times of Price Volatility (Part 1)

Editor's note: This post kicks off a new Spend Matters series of personal narratives from practitioners in the field. Know someone with a procurement story to tell? Tell us in the comments below!

“2-3/8 pipe, 4-1/8 pipe, 6-3/8 aluminized, 6-3/8 anodized, 6-3/8 black vinyl coated, 6-3/8 green vinyl coated…”

Fred Farmer’s interminably slow drawl echoed off the rickety galvanized siding of his Louisiana based hot rolled steel tube factory, unfortunately located on the banks of a bayou threatened by frequent floods and the occasional alligator infestation. Farmer’s proud and emphatic articulation of his exhaustive product catalog called to mind a veritable Bubba Gump of the steel tube industry. He was born and raised in a rural Louisiana town called Ponchatoula about fifty miles outside of New Orleans, and rose up the ranks from maintenance, to line supervisor and ultimately CEO after his uncle Willy succumbed prematurely to a heart condition (most likely brought on by decades of fried alligator and beignets consumption).