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One of the interesting things about consistently reading and hearing content from quality sources is that you start to notice trends. It is amazing how often the same topics arise at the same time in different places. We use this blog as a way to help you stay on top of the major themes in procurement and supply chain management.

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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Supply Chain
Book Review: Food Supply Chain Management and Logistics

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.

Building a feeder program for supply chain

Many professions have minor leagues or feeder programs. In sports, it starts with kids playing sports in their schools or town leagues. Eventually some progress to college, minor league and perhaps event to the professional level. In academics, there is a feeder program for science and technology, called FIRST, the brain child of Dean Kamen. Utilizing a robotics game, students learn fund raising, marketing, communication, innovation, engineering and team work. It now is in thousands of middle schools and high schools all over the world.

In business, there is the Junior Achievement program that was founded in 1919. Their mission is turning the kids of today into the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. This program starts with 5 year olds and goes through high school, setting the students up to compete in a global environment.

For myself, I stumbled into a career in procurement and supply chain through a series of events. I know that is the same for some of my colleagues as well.

This week’s blog discusses a feeder program for supply chain. With a talent gap that is growing, it is exciting to see such programs exist. Robert Bowman, of Supply Chain Brain, writes an article titled “Teaching School Kids about Supply Chain”.

The program starts with students at the lowest levels and is planning to go through high school. They work with projects such as a lemonade stand, pizza manufacturing and paper airplane modelling. They learn about planning, customer service, problem solving, and math skills to name a few. It is really catching on and has the potential to become the feeder program for the next generation of supply chain professionals.

Did you do anything like one of these feeder programs in your early years? Are there any others that you would recommend?

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.

Webinar Notes: Inventory Management in a Market-Driven World

This week’s webinar notes are from an April 16th webinar hosted and presented by Supply Chain Insights. The webinar is already (!!!) available on demand.

Boy, did I pick a winner in this event. I originally attended to learn more about inventory management in the face of uncertain demand and fragile extended supply chains. What I came away with were some brilliant observations that will absolutely make their way into the book that Jon and I are writing on Procurement at a Crossroads in the form of quotes pulled from Lora Cecere’s Supply Chain Shaman blog.

Webinar Notes: Mitigating Risks and Impact of Sanctions Regimes on Your Supply Chain

This week’s webinar notes are from an April 9th webinar hosted by ISM and presented by Mark Dunn, Lexis Nexis’ Due Diligence Segment Leader for Risk and Compliance. ISM’s previous web seminars are listed on the lower portion of this page on their website.

 

This event, titled “Mitigating Risks and Impact of Sanctions Regimes on Your Supply Chain,” specifically addressed risks that are outside of the norm for most supply chain and procurement professionals: money laundering, bribery, corruption, and diplomatic or economic sanctions. The sanctions, which might be in place as the result of violating international law or human rights violations, can be established against countries, organizations, companies, individuals – even specific vessels. The measures against these entities may be restrictive or coercive in nature.

Why it is Not Worth Preventing Every Disruption in Your Supply Chain

Supply chains are similar to humans—imperfect. Their successes within business plans are a product of accurately forecasting how to survive crises and minimize damage in high-risk scenarios. Balance is the key to surviving most situations. In a supply chain, the accord between supply chain efficiency and risk mitigation can be difficult to achieve.

Posted by on in Blog Picks
Global warming and your supply chain

I think my neighborhood is beginning to look like this! The Boston area has had two blizzards and two major snow storms in 3 weeks. The snow accumulation is record breaking and reached over 100 inches (254 cm). That was followed by high winds and bitter cold. And we still have a lot of winter to go.

Weather like this causes all kinds of delays in the supply chain. Flights are cancelled, businesses are closed, and governors declare states of emergencies. There was a multi-car accident that included a FedEx truck and packages ended up all over the roadway. Not sure if those will get to their final destination!

Some people are commenting that global warming is not happening. However, this is exactly what global warming looks like. Since the oceans are warmer, there is more moisture available to become snow with cold temperatures. This article from Climate Central, What A Warming World Means for Major Snowstorms explains in layman’s terms what we are experiencing. It also discusses that once the land temperature gets warmer, the snow will become more rain which will cause different issues. Even now, coastal flooding is a more significant threat as the ocean levels continue to rise.

As a procurement professional, events like these can wreak havoc as you plan your deliveries and production lines. This blog, written by Jim Fulcher, Blizzards, forecasting and the supply chain is only a few weeks old and discusses the disruption in New York City for the first blizzard. Little did he know this was just beginning!

What is your company doing about supply chain delays due to global warming? What is your company doing to reduce those risks and also reduce your own carbon footprint? Have you thought about a new pet?polar bear

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.

Predictive Analytics in Procurement: The Logic Behind The Hype

Wouldn’t it be nice to know the future for certain? There are few fail-proof ways to see shifts in the business landscape before they occur, but there are ways to ensure your goals stay on the correct path regardless of what direction the future takes. Procurement departments, for instance, have objectives that require analysis of factors beyond historic trends—considerations like supply market volatility, supply chain disruption, regulatory changes, and a whole slew of other unpredictable situations. Unless corporations start adding fortune tellers to the payroll, successful procurement groups will continue to optimize their function from the insight gained through predictive analytics.

Dealing with Supply Chain Peaks and Valleys

Online shopping was made for me. I do not like anything about traditional shopping (the time, the money, the effort). Therefore, online shopping is a dream: with just a few clicks, it is done! The delivery method is often by UPS and occasionally FedEx. That is how I did 90% of my holiday shopping this past year. I was in heaven!

Which of my 2014 Procurement Webinar Notes got the Most Traffic?

Some days I think I eat, sleep, and breathe procurement and supply chain webinars. On a weekly basis I update the calendar. I consider the topics, the speakers, the hosts, the likelihood of promotional content versus thought leadership. I make my recommendations every Monday (on Blog Talk Radio) and share my notes on Fridays.

In 2014 I covered 29 webinars by sharing my notes on Buyers Meeting Point and through social media. They covered a broad range of subjects, including risk, talent, organizational issues, negotiation, and global supply chains. When I look back at the hits per post over the course of the year, there are 5 that stand out for getting over 1K hits each. You might think it was a simple matter of time, and there is something to that – some of our oldest event notes have over 50K hits – but these five events were pretty evenly distributed over the course of the year. They also all have unique hosts, presenters, and topics.

Book Review: Logistics and Supply Chain in Emerging Markets

Logistics and Supply Chain in Emerging Markets (Kogan Page, 2014) by John Manners-Bell, Thomas Cullen, and Cathy Roberson adeptly captures the interconnectedness of global economies and commercial activity while also studying a number of countries and industries independently.

Posted by on in Book Reviews
Book Review: Humanitarian Logistics

Humanitarian Logistics: Meeting the Challenges of Preparing for and Responding to Disasters (Kogan Page, 2014), by Peter Tatham and Martin Christopher, provides a look inside the challenges faced by the people and organizations providing relief after disaster strikes.

Looking in the mirror for organizational self-assessment

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways……Take a look at yourself and make a change”.

 

Posted by on in Book Reviews
Book Review: Strategic Procurement

“To succeed in business is more complex than it used to be - it is no longer economically desirable to control all the components of your customer value proposition.” (p. 6)

 

Strategic Procurement by Caroline Booth (Kogan Page, November 2014) is a second edition, updated from its original release in 2010. Before I even get into the book’s content, I think it is worth reflecting upon the pace at which the procurement profession is changing. In the four years since Booth first released this book, there have indeed been significant changes in economies and business dynamics, requiring equally significant adjustments in procurement. In the preface, Booth calls out her increased focus on risk and the improved position of procurement, as well as enough changes in M&A involvement to add a whole chapter on it.

 

Posted by on in Blog Picks
What are they thinking?

None of us can read minds. Sometimes we try to based on our knowledge of the situation or the individuals involved. It is obviously much easier if it is clearly communicated on a timely basis but that is not always the case.


From time to time it is important to understand what the executives in your organization and in your industry are thinking. What issues keep them up at night? Some leaders will communicate to their associates on strategies and goals and others do not.

This article, 8 things on the minds of Supply Chain Executives was in the Material Handling and Logistics publication last week. Here are the highlights from the article.

  1. Talent: Finding and retaining the right people is critical to a company’s success.
  2. The customer: Understanding what your customer’s needs are and help them know where the costs are to comply with their requests.
  3. Agility: There is a strong desire for increasing agility in the supply chain.
  4. Technology: Keeping their team equipped with the latest technology and processes is very important.
  5. Cost: This continues to be a focus for supply chain and procurement. However, in addition to containing or reducing costs, the expectation is for creativity and improved service.
  6. Regulations and Infrastructure: The list keeps growing and the need to stay current is critical.
  7. Risk: With global sourcing, there are many more risks to the supply chain. Unexpected interruptions can occur and organizations need to have a plan to manage them.
  8. Sustainability: This is an area of concentration for many supply chain executives. What is the strategy and how should it be implemented?

Do any of these items surprise you? Did your team concentrate on any one in particular in 2014?

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint

Posted by on in Book Reviews
Book Review: Warehouse Management

Warehouse Management: A Complete Guide to Improving Efficiency and Minimizing Costs in the Modern Warehouse, 2nd Edition (Kogan Page, 2014), by warehouse management and logistics specialist Gwynne Richards, is a comprehensive guide to all considerations for managers looking to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their warehouse operations. In fact, that title does not do the book justice, and “Complete” is a term not to be brushed over in this case. A Guide to Modern Warehouse Safety, Automation, Sustainability, Outsourcing, Systems, Picking, Equipment, and Performance Management Strategy is more accurate but not concise or catchy enough.

Posted by on in Book Reviews
Book Review: Supply Chain Risk

 

Supply Chain Risk, by John Manners-Bell, provides a structured look at risk by establishing a series of intersecting dimensions. First the author outlines external risk categories: Environmental, Economic, Societal, Security, and Technological. Each has several sub categories that provide additional detail and clarity. Then he delves into a number of industry sectors to consider their resiliency factors and concerns: Automotive, High tech, Consumer goods/retail, Food, Fashion, and Pharma/healthcare.

The coverage from both perspectives is equally detailed and illustrated with numerous case studies. In their intersection, for instance where Economic risks intersect with the Automotive industry, any supply chain professional will find the information they need to quickly come up to speed on key areas of concern as well as strategies for assessment and mitigation.

 

Posted by on in Book Reviews
Book Review: The Big Pivot

One of the best things about having good relationships with publishers is that I end up reading and reviewing titles that range beyond procurement or spend management. And yet, there is no question that the value and competitive advantage of a well-managed supply chain runs right through the center of all business strategy books.

Posted by on in Procurement
Sustainability in Transportation

Trucks use a lot of fuel and leave a large carbon footprint. Over the years, trucks have been designed to be lighter and more efficient to reduce their fuel usage and be less expensive to operate.

Blog Pick of the Week:  Where are all the good ones?

My father was very fond of fishing. Most times he did not catch anything but he enjoyed being out in the boat and absorbing his natural surroundings. As a child, I only enjoyed it if I caught something. One vacation when I was 8 or 9, we were camping on an island. For 3 days, we caught a fish every few minutes. It was exciting. Most of the time they were too small and we set them free but what excitement for all of us!

Blog Pick of the Week:  Supply Chain Lessons from Steven Jobs

In the northern hemisphere, Fall / Autumn has begun. With that comes the harvest and in particular, apples! However, we are not going to talk about the fruit but about the technology company, Apple.

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