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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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Procurement is all about cost reduction right?

For a very long time, procurement has been challenged with keeping costs down, finding a quality product or service at the best possible price. The impact to the bottom line was the critical measurement. And it still is, but there is more we can do!

Zero deforestation practices in your supply chain

 We are in a small project of replacing our shed which is over 30 years old, had a major patch job about 10 years ago and now it is time to start over. Like any project, it is more involved than you plan. Surrounding the shed on two sides is a lot of brush, saplings and infiltration of the forest bordering our property. Today we ‘pushed back the tundra’ to make room for the bigger, better shed.

 


 In essence, we had a deforestation project on our hands. With that on my mind, I came across this article about sustainable practices on the Supply Management website, Its time for all Businesses to Adopt Zero Deforestation Policies.

This article discusses that consumers are requiring companies to utilize sustainable practices while providing quality goods at a reasonable price. It suggests that in order to maintain a sustainable consumer base, organizations must adopt sustainable business practices throughout their supply chain. One major practice revolves around zero deforestation. Asia Pulp and Paper is highlighted as one organization that has stopped forest clearance for the last 18 months. That is not an easy task for a paper company.

This week Cargill announced at the United Nations climate Summit that it would extend their deforestation policies to all product lines. Previously, it was only for the palm oil line that it produces. Now it is for sugar, soy, cattle and cocoa as well. This policy will lead the charge for improving the environment and fighting climate change.

What has your organization done for sustainable practices? Have you instituted a zero deforestation policy?

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

 

 

 

 

 

Online business changing the face of procurement

Alibaba launched on the NYSE Friday which was a much anticipated event. They hope to be larger than Amazon and eBay combined. It is quite a story about an English teacher starting this company in 1999 from his apartment. Now they employ over 25,000 people.


When you look at Alibaba, they are changing the face of procurement. They offer services around sourcing, supplier research, as well as negotiation and purchasing. The sourcing professional can reach a broader network for their supplier and market place knowledge. It also reveals options from additional geographic regions that may not have been available in the past. The pick of the week is a page from Alibaba's site where they describe all their services that sourcing and procurement professionals can utilize.

They are promoting themselves as a one-stop-shop. You can purchase an individual item or in bulk. It can be used for personal purchasing or B2B commerce. The flexibility of offerings is amazing.

It is the number one mobile app in China and growing throughout the European market. The ease of use and accessibility adds to their success.

As a procurement professional, have you used Alibaba for your market research? How about getting pricing and transacting purchase orders? What has been your experience and has it become a major part of your toolkit?

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

 

 

Obstacles to adoption of esourcing tools and how to overcome them

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. This is a very common phrase often used to describe a ‘change management’ situation. You can give someone all the resources but you can’t make them use them.

 


In procurement, we often have processes and technology to help complete our tasks effectively and efficiently. However, some of the staff may not be utilizing it as best they could to get the most out of it.

With new technology, people fall into four buckets. There are early adopters who wait in line for hours for the next generation of the iPhone. Then there are the early majority who probably get the new phone within the first month or two, the late majority and the laggards who may not even have a smart phone yet. As a procurement professional, your goal is to get your team through this curve quickly and have the organization reaping the benefits of the esourcing technology.

In the Tejari Blog, With best practice tools comes best practice use, they review the reasons that some are lagging behind in adopting the technology and give suggestions on ways to overcome it.

The first one has to do with change management. In many organizations, the staff is quite content doing their work the same way it always has been done. The author recommends gaining some internal ‘experts’ to help all the others understand the benefits and value. Offer a great deal of support so that over time, the new system becomes the ‘comfort zone’.

Another difficulty is when the staff waits until the last minute to load the Rfx into the tool. There is frustration and they give up. The recommendation is to create drafts a week or two before and put them in. Then you can always modify it as the time gets closer.

What have you experienced for obstacles and how did you resolve them? Do you have your 'team of horses' feeling refreshed after having reached the oasis and utilizing the new technology?

Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint

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

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