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"The Point" is written by BMP Editor Kelly Barner as well as a diverse group of guest contributors.

Trans Fats Replacements: A Moment on the Lips, a Lifetime in the Sourcing Pipeline

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.[1]

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Procurement depends on the honey bee

We have several very large rhododendron bushes in our yard. In the spring they are beautiful with pink and lavender flowers. There are thousands of blooms. What we have noticed over the years is that the honey bees are fewer and fewer. It seems impossible for what seems like less than a dozen to be able to hit all the areas they should be covering.

Of course no one likes to get stung so fewer bees is a good thing right? WRONG! They are desperately needed to pollinate all the fruits and vegetables that we have in our food supply. The impact on the economy is in the billions of dollars.

The article this week from The Strategic Sourceror is “What’s the Buzz? Honey Bees in serious danger”. It reveals in simple terms why we need to pay attention to this and solve the problem. We have created this issue with the increased use of pesticides and the planned crops instead of wildflowers. Apparently the wildflowers sustain the bee population better than other crops.

Published in June 2014, the US White House has issued a fact sheet,  “The Economic Challenge Posed by Declining Pollinator Populations”. Here are a few facts stated in the document:

  • Honey bees pollinate 90 of the North American crops and 87 of the leading 155 food crops, representing 35% of the global food production.
  • Honey bees account for more than 15 billion dollars to the US economy

How does that impact procurement? The law of supply and demand could cause prices to increase on a something needed for your business. All the supermarkets, restaurants and food services will be impacted if the price of food increases. When the consumer has less disposable income, less is spent on clothes, cars, travel and entertainment. There is a ripple effect that will cause procurement to seek alternatives in order to contain costs.

How has your organization been impacted by the honey bee? Perhaps not at all but do you have something similar? Is it something that seems minor but has the potential to cause a major shift in your industry?

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

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Go Ahead - It won't hurt to network

Earlier in my career I was quite shy and not comfortable networking at various conferences and seminars. Everyone else seemed to be talking to someone and having a good time I did not know where to begin. It is still not like breathing but it is a bit easier. I learned to ask questions about their jobs, families and vacations. It was interesting to hear their stories and learn a few things along the way.

Networking seems forced, self-serving and artificial to me. Instead I approach these opportunities more along the line of meeting others in my industry. This week we chose the Strategic Sourceror, Why YOU should be networking. It outlines 3 reasons to network:

  • Open communication – share ideas and get feedback as well as hear other ideas
  • Best Practices – learn what and how others are doing the same thing you are
  • Opportunities - for new business leads or a new career opportunity

Another article by Amazing Business, Top 9 reasons of Business Networking, has additional benefits worth reviewing.

  • Advice – being around like-minded people is a good arena to gather advice for your business.
  • Increase confidence – like anything else, you get better with practice. I certainly did as each time I came out of the comfort zone to meet more people.
  • Satisfaction from helping others – Everyone has problems and issues. Perhaps you have something to offer that can help them.

What have you done about networking within your procurement profession? Did it seem difficult and first and get easier as you went along?

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

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Strategic Sourcing in Higher Education

Everyone knows that cost of college education is escalating and becoming quite a burden for families and students. Determining how to get that piece of parchment can be an economic challenge that many are finding it difficult to achieve.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to speak with someone in the procurement area at a large university. They were putting a strategic sourcing team together and implementing the supporting technology. It was refreshing to hear that the goal was to reduce overall costs and try to mitigate some of the tuition increases for students.

When I did a search on “strategic sourcing in universities “, it was encouraging to see how many had teams and processes in place. For example, Boston University has posted almost $6M in savings since 2012. They have information publicly available on who are the current suppliers, what are the procedures used in procurement and who to contact on their procurement team.

The blog this week is from Strategic Sourceror, “How are Universities using Spend Management Assets”. It begins by acknowledging the challenges faced by the colleges and universities and then reviews some of the areas benefiting them and the students through spend management.

The article highlights the importance of putting a process in place that can be used across the disciplines and departments whether it is for meal planning, housing, or the research labs. There is also the use of technology to support the process. Many of the universities have SciQuest to fill that requirement.

Do you have any exposure to procurement in the educational field, either as a student, employee or suppler? What have you found for trends in this area? How does it apply to other businesses you are involved with?

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

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Developing & Maintaining Competitive Advantage Through Benchmarking

It is often challenging, sometimes nearly impossible, to gain access to real time market intelligence that can provide you with insight into your industry or supplier relationships. Without access to this information or knowledge of best practices, it can be difficult to ensure your company has a competitive advantage. When delving into benchmarks it is important to understand the components of benchmarking, its benefits, and how the involvement of the spend owner is critical for the benchmark to provide the most value.

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Internal Marketing and Supplier Relationship Management – A 1-2 Punch

This guest post is a team effort from Source One Management Services. If you would like to comment, you can do so by posting below, contacting them on Twitter @GetSavings, or contacting them directly here.

The outlets for procurement and supply chain news have no shortage of recommendations for improved business processes, new ideas, and technologies your department should implement to “modernize” or “optimize” or any number of other “-izes”. If you have read any of Source One’s contributions – here, on other publications, or on our own blog – we make just as many recommendations.

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Are you John Q. Procurement?

Yesterday, Joe Payne of Source One Management Services posted a truly interesting post about the challenges faced by a fictional MRO category lead named John Q. Procurement. You can read the original post here.

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Blog Pick of the Week: Back to School Time

No matter how many years it has been since you graduated from school, the 'back to school' time period brings a renewal and a fresh start to the coming year. So much to do and to learn and people to meet - it is all quite exciting.

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Blog Pick of the Week: Drought's Impacts on You

Mother Nature impacts our supply chain in so many ways that are not under our control. The drought in the U.S. this summer is impacting the farmers, and especially the corn supply. That will have an effect on many things such as the price of food and fuel. The law of supply and demand comes into play just as in the textbooks.

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Blog Pick of the Week - Hurricane Irene and more

What happens when somethings disrupts your supply chain?

Hurricane

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