The New Supply Management Magazine – First Impressions

Over the past few days, the new re-launched Supply Management magazine dropped onto tens of thousands of doormats. What are our initial thoughts about the publication, as Haymarket, the new media partner for the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, gets to grips with their task to refresh and update a somewhat tired magazine?

Given that Rebecca Ellinor Tyler and Paul Snell remain in the key editorial positions, you might not have expected much change. But you would be wrong - this looks and feels like a very different magazine, and the first impressions are very much on the positive side.

The cover is a dramatic shot of the lower half of a young woman's face, with the tagline "Unpaid, beaten and working 17hr shifts: the life of a Lithuanian slave worker". Does that tempt you to read on, or immediately make you depressed? I'm not sure, maybe a bit of both. But once inside, the most noticeable change is in the design, with some really good infographics showing "a world of innovation" and the "new Silk Road" for instance.

The use of pictures is dramatic too, with animals featuring strongly, although the two-page cuddly monkey shot seemed a little gratuitous. (But really cute ...) All in all, it is a really good looking magazine, almost up to glossy coffee-table fare, and certainly a couple of levels above the previous look. Congratulations to those involved in that side of the re-launch, although the very small font used in places is not very friendly. Even if the CEO writes something of Tolstoy-like genius, I don't think I will be able to read it unless that is addressed!

In terms of content, the picture is more mixed although again we would acknowledge a step in the right direction. The lead article on modern slavery is good, whilst the interview with Ian Ballentine of Heathrow is fine but pretty standard stuff, without any great insight or challenge. And the article on Amazon highlights an ongoing weakness for the magazine (which, to declare an interest, is good news for Spend Matters) - a lack of understanding of or focus on forward-looking procurement technology and indeed strategy. The article is all about Amazon's retail business, whereas it is their business-to-business developments that are really going to matter to procurement folk in the next year or two.

But we're not trying got be overly critical. The short pieces are more numerous than previously and many are good and interesting, ranging from the growing demand for vinyl, to the temporary workers tax, and a look at how Saturday Night Live can tell us something about management skills - I really enjoyed that. The John Glen article on the global economy though highlights a problem with all printed magazines these days though - with no mention of the oil price collapse or the recent stock market turmoil, it feels somewhat  out of date already.

It is one thing to produce a single strong issue of course, another to keep it up over coming months, maintaining the attractive appearance plus making sure the content is up to the mark. But all in all, a very good start - 8/10 perhaps.

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First Voice

  1. Brooce Springsteen:

    Is there anyone alive out there?!!

    I’m afraid I was rather less impressed Peter. On the upside, the imagery and paper quality are both decent but, as a rock legend who’s always had more than a passing interest in The Price You Pay, I found the content sadly lacking.

    I can remember when Supply Management presented multi-page articles and debates on the great, most challenging issues facing procurement professionals. The likes of Lamming, Hughes, Cox, Macbeth, were all regular contributors and brought energy (and sometimes controversy) to the world of procurement. I suppose that was when CIPS sponsored several leading academics and took a real interest in research. Nowadays, any old consultant with an opinion is presented as the latest guru, and their superficial pieces are surrounded by BIG pictures and a grab bag of factoids from around the global economy (and you know I’ve been saying for years that “lately there ain’t been much work, on account of the ec-ono-mee”)

    I’d like the first edition of the ‘new’ SM to be filed under ‘can do better’ (rather than ‘Better Days’). Let’s have proper, really challenging articles; ones that can help professions improve their practice, and not simply impress their colleagues with their knowledge of the global price for lychees.

    See you later, and don’t forget to meet me in the land of hope and dreams….

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