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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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Posted by on in Book Reviews

“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

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

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

 

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

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

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.

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!

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.

Supplier Relationship Management in the Supply Chain by Stuart Emmett is accurately titled – it is in fact a book about the importance and execution of supplier relationship in the supply chain. But because so many organizations do not have SRM programs (or would benefit from being more supplier-centric) it is more importantly a book about change. In order to get different results, we must think and act differently. This is a simple enough idea, but bringing about such changes in an organization is complex enough that few of us have reached our desired level of SRM maturity.

Recently, our daughter has become quite the master at creating and canning jam. How did she do that? She took a class, researched the area for the appropriate ingredients and pricing. She also decided she would create jams with the fruits of that season.

This week’s featured event was presented by CombineNet and looked inside the operations of regional and national restaurant chains. The event is available on demand, as is an accompanying case study.

How safe is your data and how secure are your supplier interactions? 


Many organizations are interested in cyber security and protecting their business. It is a serious economic challenge and we need to be able to depend on having a secure cyberspace.

This article in Supply Chain Brain discusses the issues as they relate to supply chain and procurement professionals. There are very complex relationships in an organizations supply chain and it is difficult to know where the risks are. Data for specifications, consumer credit card information, legal matters are just a few areas that need to be protected.

There is a standard known as ISO27001 which can serve as a great baseline and starting point. There are 11 parts of the standard.

  1. Security policy - management direction
  2. Organization of information security - governance of information security
  3. Asset management - inventory and classification of information assets
  4. Human resources security - security aspects for employees joining, moving and leaving an organization
  5. Physical and environmental security - protection of the computer facilities
  6. Communications and operations management - management of technical security controls in systems and networks
  7. Access control - restriction of access rights to networks, systems, applications, functions and data
  8. Information systems acquisition, development and maintenance - building security into applications
  9. Information security incident management - anticipating and responding appropriately to information security breaches
  10. Business continuity management - protecting, maintaining and recovering business-critical processes and systems
  11. Compliance - ensuring conformance with information security policies, standards, laws and regulations

Have you done any of the list above? I know I have participated in exercises that involve many of them. What did you learn and which have you found to be most effective?

 

In this week’s featured event, Bryan Ball and Bob Heaney, Abredeen research analysts, recapped the major findings from the 2013 Supply Chain Management Summit in Chicago. The event is available on demand, as are event highlights and approved presentations.

In this week’s Procurement on YouTube post, we’re going to hear from GreenBiz and Trucost on sustainable supply chains. The conversation takes place between Joel Makower, Executive Editor of GreenBiz Group and Richard Mattison, CEO of Trucost. Trucost insn’t new to the supply management space. In 2011, Trucost and Rosslyn Analytics worked together to launch the first sustainable procurement app, and their partnership continues to this day. 

This week’s featured event was presented by Supply & Demand Chain Executive and John Galt Solutions. The main speaker was Dr. Larry Lapide, the former director of the Demand Management Council at MIT, who also spent time in his career at AMR Research and Accenture.

This week’s Zycus sponsored webinar featured main speaker Robert Handfield, the Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at NC State. My notes from the event are below. As of these notes being posted, the webinar is not yet available on demand but if it becomes available we will link to it so you can listen for yourself.

What happens when somethings disrupts your supply chain?

Hurricane

Before I even begin my notes, let me just point out that if you are not a member of the Next Level Purchasing Association, you are missing out. Next Level Purchasing offers the SPSM (Senior Professional in Supply Management) certification program. Joining the association is absolutely free and comes with a number of benefits, such as members-only webinars, newsletters, and networking opportunities. If you want to get your feet wet with the kind of programs they offer, there are several mini-courses they offer, completely online and for less than $20! Interested? Good for you! Click here to learn more by clicking on the NLP logo on our partner page. That way Buyers Meeting Point gets credit for your purchase and a portion of the proceeds go to charity.

This week’s webinar notes are actually on an event from a couple of weeks ago: “An Introduction to Supply Chain Response Management – driving supply chain performance through responsiveness to unexpected events release” presented by Kinaxis. I missed it that week, but really wanted to go. Now that I’ve gotten to hear it, I can share my notes with you.

I was really looking forward to this event, and it did not disappoint. This is the first event I have attended by Preparis (providers of an emergency preparedness suite) and I will add them to my list of sources for future webinars. Kudos to Bill Michaels (CEO, ADR North America), David Landsman (Director of Strategic Alliances, MFG.com) and Armistead Whitney (CEO, Preparis) for an exceptionally well done event. You can click here to listen to the event archive.

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