On Tuesday, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that by 2018 all partially hydrogenated oils (the primary source of trans fats in the American diet) must be phased out of the food supply chain. The many costs associated with this change will give procurement an opportunity to have a positive impact at a time of transition. When you add up the costs of experimenting with replacement oils and reprinting/redesigning packaging and labels, Roger Clemens, a pharmacology professor at USC, estimates it could cost companies as much as $200K per product.
One of the most powerful things you can do with broken windows management is to empower your employees to fix their own issues whenever possible.” (p. 35)
In his fifth business book (seventh overall) Dr. Tom DePaoli takes broken windows theory and combines it with liberal doses of lean methodology and his own no-nonsense approach to process improvement. While this is not a long book, just 70 pages long, it is a working book. This is emphasized by the pages at the back that are specifically designated for “Doodles, Notes, and Ideas.”
Sometimes the best ideas are right in front of us. This can be evident when you look at a situation with fresh eyes, much like what the United States Postal Service recently did.
The USPS is a large organization facing unprecedented changes that are challenging long-held assumptions about how to operate efficiently and effectively. Ideas to improve their declining financial situation were mostly variations on past strategies: closing branches, stopping Saturdaydelivery or raising prices. Not surprisingly, those approaches did little to improve the situation.
But the tide may be about to change. On May 21, the Inspector General of the USPS issued a report with some bold new ideas such as exploring ways to better leverage an under-appreciated asset: their national network of localized offices. Rather than pursue tired old approaches, they are exploring ways to increase the financial services they offer and create new revenue streams without making significant additional investments into infrastructure or personnel.
Webinar Recommendations for June 15-19, 2015: Responsible Sourcing, Building Collaborative Influence, and a Buying Manifesto
This week is busy, but it is really only a warm up for next week, which contains a practical webinar grudge match on Thursday. This week's topics and speakers are varied, and I've picked what I think are the best three below. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and connect to the registration pages.
Done well, the use of supply chain companies brings technical superiority and innovation to the project, and their specialist knowledge and experience brings enhanced efficiency, quality and consistency of delivery. However, there can also be increased risk if the strengths and weaknesses of the third party companies are not fully understood and managed.” (p. 78)
Supply Chain Management & Logistics in Construction: Delivering Tomorrow’s Built Environment (Kogan Page 2015) contains the collective knowledge of seventeen highly qualified contributors representing a number of roles within the industry – including its suppliers. Greger Lungesjö, listed as the book’s author, serves a double role as contributor and editor.
It is important to clarify that logistics has a different meaning in the construction industry than it does in others. Logistics is the term used to describe the movement of materials, people, and supporting services around a project site – not getting the materials, equipment, and people to the building site. You might even think of logistics as the ‘indirect spend’ of a construction site/project. It is absolutely critical, but it does not become part of the final structure. Fear not however, supply chain is still supply chain – an area of investment from which the industry is just starting to realize the potential for benefit.
Guest Post on the Social Contracting Blog: Whole Foods Markets Shifts Their Cost Model as They Target Millennial Shoppers
In March, I wrote a post for this blog about the Whole Foods grocery chain in which I asked the question: "How Much Can Procurement Change on Their Own?" I looked at how Whole Foods has defied the low margins commonly seen in grocery retail by employing an operational strategy that merges brand reputation, consumer identity, and high-quality products in justification of higher prices. Their procurement team is part of a top to bottom approach to creating the right value proposition for their customers.
Although they have been successful to this point, Whole Foods has found it difficult to expand their market share beyond their existing customer base. Whole Foods has never professed to be the supermarket for all shoppers, or even for most shoppers. They choose their markets carefully, making sure that the demographics in each area fit their business model. They do, however, need to find a way to build loyalty in other shopper segments that can later be channeled into the primary chain.
The funny thing about podcasts, or any content based on creative interaction, is that there is always more good content than you get to use. Sometimes the most interesting detail or insight ends up buried deep in a less-consequential part of the dialogue. I had exactly that experience with Diego. There was a lot of back and forth in preparation for the podcast. In one revision of the notes we were all working from, a single statement jumped out at me:
“Although it may seem obvious, it is not until recently that many companies realized that their supplier base can propel them to the next level (strategically speaking) or be their demise. The reality is that more frequently than not, suppliers are given a lot of power by their customers, and unfortunately many times companies’ simply don’t know it, or they don’t understand how much they rely on some suppliers, who may or may not be looking after their best interests.”
Webinar Recommendations for June 8-12, 2015: Why Do We Work in Procurement and How Can We Continue to Be Qualified?
This week there are five webinars scheduled, but I chose to recommend these two because there is a hint of risk to them. Not the kind of risk that we are conditioned to assessing and mitigating (what a nice change of pace), but the kind of risk that I wish more people in our industry would take. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and connect to the registration pages.
“The bigger you are, the more likely you are to fail because of the change required in aggregate.” – Thomas Young, Founder and Managing Partner of RUMJog Enterprises
“This is real.” - Frank Casale, Founder of the Institute for Robotic Process Automation and the Outsourcing Institute
These webinar notes are from a May 28th event run by the Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA), which was founded by the Outsourcing Institute’s Frank Casale. Casale was joined in the event by a panel of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) experts: Raheem Hasan (CMO, IRPA), Pat Geary (CMO, Blue Prism), and Thomas Young (Founder and Managing Partner, RUMJog Enterprises).
…today’s supply chains encompass complex webs of interdependencies, frequently spanning the globe, designed and deployed to optimize critical attributes – such as speed, agility, and resilience – that drive competitive advantage. (p. 11)
Global Supply Chain Ecosystems: Strategies for Competitive Advantage in a Complex World by Mark Millar provides a multi-dimensional look at supply chains. The ecosystem concept was originally used by the Financial Times to describe the increasingly complex nature of business in general. When it is applied to supply chain operations, it provides us with the idea that chains are more spherical than linear and non-consecutive.
One of the things I realized early in my reading of the book is that Millar is writing from a much different perspective than the authors we am used to hearing from. His biography lists him as a speaker, presenter, and board member. His view of supply chains in general, and their potential value contribution to the modern competitive enterprise, is more elevated.
Webinar Recommendations for June 1-5, 2015: Contingent Workforce, Oil Price Impacts, and Market Analysis
And here we are, skidding into the summer season on two wheels. Don’t let that make you think that there aren’t any events worth attending, however. If anything, the break in the busy conference season until September opens up the calendar for webinars. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and connect to the registration pages.
These webinar notes are from a May 19th event sponsored by GEP and presented by the Hackett Group’s Kurt Albertson. If you are interested in viewing it on demand, GEP has it up on their site, accessible after a free registration.
This event was very ‘man-moment-machine’ in its approach to procurement’s current status and future potential. Albertson opened the event by talking about the facts that net margins have not returned to their pre-recessionary (2007/2008) levels and revenue growth is down. While this sounds like bad news and more bad news, it is really a confirmation that procurement’s search for something new is right on target. Companies as a whole are going to have to make changes in order to be successful going forward. Innovation and expanding into new markets have become the priorities as companies strive to improve their growth rates and potential.
While people may talk about the procurement process, the procurement discipline actually encompasses a number of different processes. They include spend analysis, supplier relationship management, and contract management, just to name a few. If you have ever worked with procurement, there is a good chance that it was during the strategic sourcing process. Strategic sourcing touches many other stakeholder groups in an organization, such as engineering, as well as supply partners -- both current and prospective.
For engineers, if you are asked to be part of a strategic sourcing project team, you will probably learn early on that there is a standard, defined project management approach just like any other discipline would have, including product design and development. The process that guides this approach may include six steps or more, but it clearly divides the project effort into phases such as the identification of a need through the contract award as well as supplier performance management. Starting at a very high level, the process gradually narrows down the potential outcomes as more is learned and the company better understands the requirements that will ultimately guide its final supplier and sourcing decision.
Webinar Recommendations for May 25 - 29, 2015: Robotic Process Automation, a Technology Business Case, and Supply Risk Maturity
There are quite a few events this week, even with the Memorial Day holiday on Monday in the U.S. Click on the title of each to connect to that event on our calendar and link to the registration page.
Supply chains that are governed well will also protect the environment and create ethical behaviour not only between the transacting partners but hopefully across the network. However, developing the supply chain and the relationships requires effort and commitment from partners and help and support from governments. (p. 93)
Food Supply Chain Management and Logistics: From Farm to Fork by Professor Samir Dani is an eye-opening look at the complexity and criticality associated with feeding people the world over. Right from the outset, the book considers each topic in the context of a balance between advancements and opportunities and the consequences of failure, corruption, and manipulation.
It’s been a good couple of weeks for research in procurement. Late last week, Proxima Group released their findings around how consumers perceive companies that find themselves entangled in supplier-related controversies. Then on Tuesday, Xchanging shared the first results from research they did with input from over 800 procurement decision-makers spread evently across the U.S., U.K., and mainland Europe.
While the complete research will be released one chapter at a time (starting with the New Role of Procurement), the high level findings suggest that the sources of procurement’s challenges aren’t what we previously thought.
Late last week, Proxima Group revealed the initial findings of research they commissioned into how consumers – American consumers specifically, feel about companies that find themselves on the wrong end of a supplier scandal.
According to the release, “
Webinar Recommendations for May 18 – 22, 2015: Trusted Advisor Status, Supply Risk, The Road to Resiliency
Any one of this week’s recommend webinars will be a good pick if you are looking to increase your skills, your influence, or your … click on the title of each to connect to that event on our calendar and link to the registration page.
“The big idea behind this book is that the way a company configures its operations to deliver this brand experience to customers – while delivering viable financial performance – is an opportunity for significant competitive advantage and marketplace disruption.” (p. 2)
Business Operations Models: Becoming a Disruptive Competitor by Alan Braithwaite and Martin Christopher (Leading Procurement Strategy, Humanitarian Logistics) is a book that sort of sums it all up on its own with the ‘big idea’ quote above. Changing the configuration of an operation to get a different result is a straightforward enough idea. Why, then, do you need to read beyond page 2? The answer to that question lies in the many case studies and visuals in the book. Needing to reconfigure your operating model for competitive advantage might be an easy concept to accept, but the execution is likely to be difficult.
In my PI Window on Business Podcast this week (listen here), I shared audio of Mark Hager, an author and a professor at Arizona State University, talking about why people join professional associations and how that is changing.
The interview was loosely based on a paper he wrote on the same subject (you can read it here) and which digs deeper into the idea of private (individual) versus public (collective) motivations for joining an association.