What does it take to find the Right procurement and supply management talent?

on Friday, July 31, 2015

Let’s face it, good procurement talent is at times hard to define, let alone find. Each company has a unique set of requirements and expectations for what is considered a qualified candidate for supply management roles. And, while some positions may require an emphasis on technical skills, others may more heavily rely on soft skills, like people management. In today’s supply management talent market, finding the right talent is more difficult than ever. As the role procurement serves in an organization has transformed over the years, so have the job functions of individuals in procurement departments. Well-qualified candidates are often hard to find and passive (meaning, not necessarily actively searching), creating a greater demand for companies to seek alternative ways to source their talent.

Resource and time constraints often mean that searching for talent on typical job forums are cutting it when it comes to reaching top talent, creating a new trend of companies partnering with staffing and consulting firms to meet their procurement staffing demands. In the first part of Source One’s Recruiting Insider Series, now available on iTunes, Source One’s Business Development Manager, Ken Gaul discusses the client demand for meaningful partnerships for attracting and retaining top talent.

Gaul shares insights into what Source One client’s are asking for when it comes to supply chain and procurement staffing support: “For us, it’s not just about business process outsourcing, or simply taking something off our client’s shoulders. Certainly, that is one of the effects of someone hiring us, but it is not the end vision. What our clients really want is a partner who can elevate their operations, elevate their processes and produce sustainable results, all without the demands of hiring full time resources themselves.”

The podcast’s inaugural guest, Naseem Malik, Managing Partner of MRA Global Sourcing, adds that attracting and retaining top talent begins by clearly understanding the organization’s needs, including knowing what “good” talent means to the company in terms of balancing aspects of both technical  and hard skills, as well as being a cultural fit.

For insights into the state of procurement recruiting, listen to Part I of the Supply Management Recruiting Podcast Series now on available on the Source One Podcast Network. Stay tuned to the Podcast Network for the follow up sessions to the series, providing insights in to what sets the most successful candidates apart from the competition and more. 

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Source One Round Up! July 31, 2015

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Source One Round Up: July 31,2015 


Here's a look at where Source One experts have been featured this week!

Blogs:


While some may believe direct mail campaigns have gone out of style, industry trends indicate quite the opposite. According to data from the Direct Marketing Association Statistical Fact Book, the cost to generate a qualified sales lead was roughly $4 less with direct mail than email. But, before you jump right into a direct marketing campaign, Senior Project Analyst Megan Connell shares her knowledge on the core components of a direct mail program and strategies for managing these costs. 




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Transparency boosts trust in supply chain

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Transparency boosts trust in supply chain

People's survival relies on the food they consume. They expect to have a wide range of options that allows them to choose what types of groceries they place in their carts. Consumers place their trust in these stores and the brands they carry to bring them nutritious and filling foods that will keep them happy and healthy. However, with the number of recalls throughout the food production industry, confidence in the supply chain is lacking and calls for higher transparency.

Consumers lack trust in retailers
In a Trace One survey of U.K. and U.S. consumers, less than 7 percent of respondents trust the foods they eat, and it's easy to see why. In July, nine products were recalled due to contamination from salmonella, E. coli and staphylococcal enterotoxin, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. When people see these announcements, they may rethink their purchasing decisions.

Approximately 91 percent of U.S. and U.K. buyers said it was important to know where their food came from, Trace One reported. Yet only 13 percent are confident that they have that knowledge. Transparency is the key to manufacturers and retailers earning their customers' trust. They require information about where materials are coming from, the conditions they're grown or made in and the effects those elements will have on their health.

"Retailers need to validate their product ingredients and the origins of those ingredients, and consistently communicate that information throughout the supply chain and with consumers," Chris Morrison, chief marketing officer of Trace One, said in a press release. "If brands want shoppers to trust their products more, those brand owners must be armed with accurate and reliable product information that enables brand transparency and, ultimately, builds consumer confidence and trust."

Companies must improve communication
Transparency might be slightly harder than it seems. Global sourcing can make it more difficult for companies to trace where their materials and products are coming from. To be able to provide consumers with the information they seek, businesses need to discover those details for themselves, Morrison explained in an article for The Guardian.

Companies know from where they directly receive products, and they may be familiar with who their supplier gets the items from. However, they might not be informed about the supply chain beyond that point, which can lead to problems for brands, Morrison claimed. Poor business practices may lead to customers looking elsewhere for their desired products, which hurts companies' sales. According to Nielsen's 2014 Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility, more than 50 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for brand items they know they can trust.

"Consumers around the world are saying loud and clear that a brand's social purpose is among the factors that influence purchase decisions," Amy Fenton, global leader of public development and sustainability at Nielsen, said in a statement. "This behavior is on the rise and it provides opportunities for meaningful impact in our communities, in addition to helping to grow share for brands."

Increasing transparency leads to countless benefits for companies. Not only will they improve their images in the public eye, they may also see increased productivity and efficiency, Morrison explained. Consumers want to do business with organizations that they relate to and can rely on. If those corporations can't provide people with the details they need to make informed decisions, customers are going to grow weary of those brands.

To keep business going and consumers happy, companies should do whatever they can to improve transparency in the supply chain.

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Language barriers hinder supply chain

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Language barriers hinder supply chain

Many people in the United States were required to take a foreign language in school. They may have chosen French, Spanish, German or even Latin in an attempt to ace their SATs. However, once graduation rolled around, how often were those skills put to use? A lack of knowledge of foreign languages may actually impede the American supply chain. With the multitude of cultures comprising the nation, as well as American companies' numerous business dealings with other countries, the need for a foreign language education is prominent.

Business dealings require multilingual skills
The U.S. is a melting pot of cultures. The country was built on the belief that people from anywhere in the world can come to America to follow their dreams. However, there may be an obstacle to those accomplishments - the language barrier. When people come to the U.S., they bring their linguistics with them. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, of the more than 290 million Americans aged 5 and older, approximately 21 percent speak a language other than English at home. While many of those people know Spanish, others speak a variety of other languages, including Italian, Chinese and Arabic.

This can interfere with communication between people of different cultures both at work and at school. It's the general expectation that new inhabitants will learn English because it's the dominant language. However, this rule should go both ways. Native English speakers should learn a second language to improve their communication with co-workers, peers and business associates. Many of the larger corporations may conduct business overseas, but that becomes nearly impossible if employers and workers don't learn the language. Learning another language or culture will show people that you value their backgrounds, LinkedIn contributor Mac McIntyre explained. While you might not be fluent, using even a few words and phrases can go a long way toward building trust, breaking down barriers and improving the supply chain. 

Starting language education early
While it's possible to learn a new language as an adult, this can be more difficult than it is for children and young adults. Regardless of age, acquiring the knowledge of a second language offers countless benefits, The Telegraph noted. The practice can turn you into a better critical thinker, boost creativity, improve multitasking, increase cognitive function and even expand your understanding of the English language.

Historically, only college-bound students learn a language, Great Schools claimed. Unfortunately, this leaves the rest of the population at a disadvantage. In today's diverse society, it is crucial that everyone can communicate with one another at all employment levels. Whether you're a chief executive officer or a line worker, you need to be able to talk to the people around you and at all points in the workflow, and they may speak different languages. 

"We're talking now about what is it we really want our students to do," Paula Patrick, foreign language coordinator for the Fairfax County, Virginia, public school system, told the source. "It's no longer a check-off to college admission. It's a tool for communication."

Language barriers can create problems along the supply chain. Employees won't be able to communicate with one another, their bosses, suppliers or clients. For both local and global sourcing, businesses need workers who can negotiate with others regardless of the language they speak. By teaching second languages to people before they enter the workforce and then encouraging them to regularly brush up on their skills, companies will be able to create businesses that are open to everyone no matter their backgrounds.

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Evolving AP: Becoming a Collaborative Partner

on Thursday, July 30, 2015


In the year of 2015, where data analytics plays a critical role in strategic decisions, companies have implemented technology to capture data about procurement, manufacturing, sales, and financial projections. Although, when one looks at Accounts Payable (AP) technology there has been little change. AP is more of a “back office” function than a collaborative partner to other business units. Why has AP been regulated to tactical transactions only, when they have access to spend across all business units? Is it due to the nature of Accounts Payable tasks? Is the available software designed to improve AP transactions? We will explore many of the options for automation and spend analysis tools that can help Account Payables evolve into a collaborative partner.


Traditional ERP:

There are many businesses that have implemented a form of enterprise resource planning (ERP) into procurement, manufacturing, and financial (accounts payables included) business units only to realize that these systems function as spend analysis platforms. There is some functionality of automation with ERP, but it can be limited to one type of automated transaction and customizing can be costly.  With only a few options of automation, this system could be too rigid for suppliers and customers. Before considering an ERP system, take into account the upfront licensing cost, expert service, migrating data, loss of productivity, and resistance to change. An additional factor to be aware of is the culture of the company. If the company’s culture does not fit into an ERP system, it might not be the best solution for process automation.

Hybrid ERP:

A hybrid ERP is a cloud-based business application that can be a standalone system or integrated into a traditional ERP system. The benefits of hybrid ERP is customer/vendor engagement improvements, procurement management, employee engagement, and implementation speed.  Customer and vendor engagement improves due to the less rigid portal designs, and ease of navigation to process transactions. Procurement management becomes transparent due to having a centralized location to be able to solicit, source, procure, and invoice from one system. Accounts Payable can use such a system to provide options to vendors for payment and improve the approval process. A company must still consider all factors associated with traditional ERP when thinking about a Hybrid ERP, thankfully the cost and time of implementation is much less compared to traditional ERP.

Cloud-Based Spend Management Systems:

Cloud-Based Spend Management systems take the best of ERP system (spend analysis platform) and the cloud (easy interface and accessibility) to focus on managing spend, running procurement events, centralized supplier information, multiple options for vendor invoicing, and an added bonus of being used as an interface to a current traditional ERP.  Due to the multiple options for invoicing in a cloud-based spend management system can help reduce transition cost, better engage with the suppliers about their options for payment and take advantage of discounts with quicker invoicing process through the cloud. Cloud-based systems can help reduce spend and they are easy to implement into one's company, even a small business, of course be aware of security concerns that could arise with information on a cloud system, along with internet connections speeds, and  mobile application being slower than a desktop application.


Implementing any of the spend system options above helps to gain insight on spend, although the tactical transactions of Accounts Payable have to become automated with options for suppliers to transition AP from a tactical partner to a strategic partner.  Procurement and AP working together with an integrated hub of information can elevate them to a center of excellence.
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How does the Internet affect the supply chain?

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How does the Internet affect the supply chain?

The Internet plays a large role in the lives of global citizens today. It's used for communicating with friends and family, completing schoolwork, playing games and accomplishing work tasks. Without the Web, many jobs would take a lot longer to do. The Internet has even expanded the supply chain. Retailers are no longer secluded to one region. Instead, they can receive orders from almost anywhere in the world. However, e-commerce has altered the way businesses run, and companies must change their habits to succeed in this online world.

The problems with the Internet
Online shopping has, in many ways, become preferable to visiting a store. Consumers don't have to leave their homes, they often find better selections and their products are delivered to them. Businesses can also communicate with customers across the globe, which leads to more sales. This convenience will only help Internet purchasing increase.

Because of this, brick-and-mortar stores face some stiff competition, with many businesses emerging solely online. Some companies have failed because of their inability to keep up with e-commerce retailers like Amazon, but even those are being challenged by new corporations, Multichannel Merchant contributor Jeremy Hanks explained. According to a 2014 survey from Boston Retail Partners, 32 percent of companies expected their sales growth to be from e-commerce, while 21 percent said it'd be from stores, Internet Retailer reported. This is a significant difference from the previous year, when 52 percent said brick-and-mortar stores would receive the most business and only 23 percent said e-commerce.

Some retailers currently have two separate supply chains - one for online and one for stores. They have yet to combine the two successfully, which has created an $800 billion problem, according to the IHL Group. Out-of-stocks and overstocks are causing companies to lose money. However, without proper warehouse management software monitoring both online and in-store sales, retailers cannot know exactly what products they have and what they need.

Retailers find solution for e-commerce
Fortunately for consumers, businesses are currently in the process of streamlining the supply chain. According to Boston Retail Partners, 93 percent of retailers are working to create a unified commerce system, and 85 percent said they can take inventory from various departments to fulfill orders from different channels.

An omnichannel presence may make it more difficult to complete orders, but with the proper management system, companies should be able to remove any bottlenecks from their workflows. Consumers will appreciate being able to order online or via mobile device and return or exchange products in-store, Multichannel Merchant explained. This flexibility ensures that brick-and-mortar stores are just as necessary as their Web-based counterparts. However, this will leave retailers struggling if they are not properly prepared.

When items are out of stock, retailers can lose both sales and customers. Consumers aren't going to return to a company they know doesn't meet demand for popular products, they're going to go to a store that can fulfill their wishes. This remains a problem for many businesses. Approximately 40 percent of retailers can let customers know if items are in stock at brick-and-mortar stores, but only 20 percent can do the same for online shoppers, Boston Retail Partners reported.

Businesses require systems that will keep all parts of the supply chain up to date on the events in various areas. Communication is the key to success. Real-time inventory visibility helps distribution centers fill both online and store orders accurately and in a timely manner.

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Stopping infection with help from the supply chain

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Stopping infection with help from the supply chain

Health care can be an unpredictable job. While doctors may know what they're doing, they have no guarantee that they'll be able to treat every disease and health condition that comes through hospitals. It's important for hospitals to have measures in place to protect medical professionals and patients throughout the supply chain.

Superbugs cause serious health problems
While "super" generally implies positivity, superbugs are far from good. These bacteria cause countless problems for health care providers and patients. While antibiotics should cure many diseases, they are sometimes defeated by carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained. Good bacteria in the digestive system enter other areas of the body to cause CRE infections, which are, unfortunately, resistant to antibiotics.

In September 2014, President Barack Obama released an executive order calling for health care providers to adopt procedures to not only prevent the development and spread of CRE infections, but to illustrate what to do in the event of an outbreak. With this announcement, a task force was created to ensure medical facilities follow federal regulations and implement practices to monitor and control CRE infections.

Hospitals improving infection prevention
At the time of Obama's executive order, many hospitals already had infection prevention protocols in place. However, they can only do so much with the medications and devices they're provided, Healthcare Finance News explained. Antibiotics are difficult to create because bacteria are always evolving and becoming resistant to treatment. This requires pharmaceutical companies to develop medications that can battle even the most stubborn and advanced contagions.

One way to combat the problem may be to limit the use of antibiotics if they aren't absolutely necessary, as people and bacteria can build up a tolerance. Another method would be to use medical devices with antimicrobial properties, the source claimed.

"From a supply chain standpoint, you are looking at potentially higher costs to buy devices with antimicrobial additives," Lise Moloney, director of business development at Sciessent, told Healthcare Finance News. "But hospitals need to think of what having a new way of preventing antibiotic-resistant infections can save them."

To eliminate superbugs, medical facilities need to do whatever they can to develop treatments to prevent the spread of bacteria. This starts at the beginning of the supply chain with pharmaceutical companies coming up with solutions and ends with patients receiving the medications they need.

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Egg procurement remains high for health care industry

on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Egg procurement remains high for health care industry

Restaurants and grocery stores are feeling the severity of the current egg shortage issue through increased prices and fewer deliveries. Those yolky breakfast foods are popular among the American population, which means that even if they're expensive, people will pay higher prices. However, the supply chain reaches much further than people's favorite diners. The health care sector also uses eggs for a variety of purposes, from feeding their patients to creating vaccines. Luckily, while some industries have faced setbacks, the medical field isn't letting the avian flu affect it too heavily and has taken measures to ensure they have the eggs it requires. 

Hospitals see effects of egg shortage
You can order eggs in various forms - scrambled, fried, poached, etc. However, those delectable dishes don't just taste good. While they've received a lot of criticism in the past, eggs actually have many health benefits. According to The Huffington Post contributor John Berardi, egg yolks contain 90 percent of the calcium, vitamins, iron, zinc, omega-3s and phosphorous you need to stay healthy. They can help people reduce inflammation and weight, prevent heart disease and diabetes and improve blood cholesterol levels.

Eggs are one of the foods that are abundant in hospital settings. They're used in various recipes and can be customized to fit patients' needs. They are a staple in residents' diets because of their high nutritious value. Unfortunately, health care facilities have had to alter their menus to make up for the egg shortage and their accompanying prices, Modern Healthcare explained. The cost of 15 dozen shell eggs jumped from $18 before the shortage to $37 during it. Unlike consumers who have options, patients, particularly those in long-term care, may only be able to eat certain meals, eggs potentially being one of them.

"It's a very real issue, because some of the largest (manufacturing) facilities that have been hit are the ones that are very heavy in institutional foodservice," Julie Jones, director of nutrition at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, told the source.

Unidine Corporation, which oversees 30 U.S. hospital kitchens, has continued to place regular orders, but has cut back on the frequency in which the company uses the ingredient so it has a stockpile, Modern Healthcare explained. Using this method, the company hasn't seen too many setbacks, but others may not have the same experience.

Eggs needed for vaccine creation
In health care, eggs aren't just for consumption. Many of the vaccines people receive actually started out in the shelled food. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, manufacturers use millions of fertilized eggs annually just for flu vaccines. Virus strains are injected into the eggs and are incubated for several days to allow the germs to grow. The virus is then harvested and purified. While there are other means of creating vaccines and other medications, egg use is the tried-and-true method.

Fortunately, egg procurement largely hasn't been a problem for vaccine manufacturers. These companies generally maintain their own chickens, whose eggs are only used for medical purposes, Reuters explained. However, while they don't have to worry about having no eggs to use, they face threats from the avian flu. The virus can be carried in people's systems, on their clothes or on their skin. While they won't show symptoms, they can still pass the avian flu on to the animals in their care. If one bird becomes infected in these facilities, other chickens will likely eventually catch the disease as well. A contaminated lab could be detrimental for medicine.

Pharmaceutical companies have stepped up their security and are continuing to monitor the spread of the virus. Biosafety standards have been reinforced to ensure their chickens are safe as well. The FDA also regularly checks these development facilities to make sure they are in top shape, according to Modern Healthcare.

The egg shortage and the avian flu are affecting various industries in the U.S. By containing the infected birds and curbing the spread of the virus, the rest of the supply chain will hopefully remain untouched.

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Building a Sourcing and Procurement Team of Leaders and Learners

on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Today’s post is a continuation of our slowly developing series “Alternative Solutions for Staffing Procurement and Sourcing Positions” that we started a couple of months back. Today we’re discussing another alternative solution that can help fill the gaps in your procurement and sourcing groups. This post will talk about ways to maximize the use of newer, less experienced resources, training them to be experts and how to ensure that subject matter experts be more focused on delivering value to the organization rather than doing tactical work.

It is always a positive vibe to walk into an organization that has already recognized need and has already established a dedicated sourcing team. However, far too often do we see the structures of those teams constructed in a way that restricts the results that the team could produce under optimal conditions. More specifically, it’s not uncommon to see subject matter experts and category managers that are exclusively dedicated to a singular commodity (or spend category). These category managers tend to source their commodities very well, have learned the ins and outs of the bid process and negotiation levers, but don’t have a lot of time outside of their defined categories to get involved anywhere else or to help the organization on a broader level. While these SMEs might have some general templates and a common sourcing technology platform that they share across categories, the reality is most of them are disconnected from what other resources are doing in the company as a whole as well as other sourcing groups, and are often not taking advantage of resources appropriately in order to maximize efficiency and ultimate achieve savings targets faster.

I would call this type of company one that is stuck in “Category Manager Mentality”. It’s not entirely different than when you try to approach a new department who hasn’t yet adopted strategic sourcing (like HR or Marketing) and are told that you don’t understand the commodity, approach, history, uniqueness, and are basically told to go away. Category managers can often be just as bad, “sourcing our category is unique”, “we can’t use the standard process”, “I have too many other, bigger, projects going on, can’t get involved in a new one”. Being trapped in category-driven sourcing group is a horribly inefficient use of resources; and these types of businesses must change the way work is allocated and resources are utilized. In fact, as a consultant, we know there are often huge savings opportunities in sourcing groups that have become compartmentalized; as they frequently never go after the other 20-30% of spend that doesn’t fall within their category management structure.

What I’m speaking about here is moving to a shared services model, or a center of excellence. Instead of having a series of commodity managers exclusively in charge of managing spend in a singular commodity (IT, Marketing, Raw Materials, Indirects, etc), modern sourcing groups have a shared resource pool that maximizes the talents of individuals, develops new individuals, maximizes the efficiencies of the current resource pool, and ultimately allows you to achieve savings faster. This is how we do it in the consulting world. Everyone has a solid understanding of the process, tools, and sourcing model, but specialists are assigned at a task level. This means identifying the talents and skills of individuals, separating that from commodity subject matter expertise and sharing common resources to get the job done.
  • Do you have an IT sourcing person who is a wiz at generating macros in Excel? 
  • Do you have a marketing sourcing SME who is incredibly organized and develops RFPs that have better than average response rates?  
  • Do you have an “old timer” who isn’t very tech savvy, but is a master in the art of the negotiation? 
  • Are you utilizing them to their fullest extent, or are these resources dedicated to a department or commodity and focused on achieving their individual targets?
Instead of locking people into a commodity, or a specific series of projects (with big contracts) each year; focus on understanding the individual talents of each person in your group and capitalizing on their strengths. Assign that negotiator a seat at every big negotiation (regardless of commodity area) to help lead the strategy, don’t burn precious hours of their time having them manipulate RFP response data in Excel when they’ll simply never be that quick at it. Utilize that IT commodity manager who is good at Excel and have each person explain the tasks that take too long to complete (like comparing multi-line item bids) and ask them to develop a solution. Learn why your marketing person writes good RFPs, or have them proof, edit and create the strategy/format for your next RFP in another department. Many companies are taking an approach of having one or two Subject Matter Experts for big-spend categories and using a shared resource pool of generalists (excel experts, writing experts, research experts) to get the job done.

The great thing about this model is that you don’t have to find high-cost (in-demand) procurement experts to get the work done. Any decent fresh out of school accounting major, economics, or statistics major can do you heavy lifting in analysis, and inexpensive journalism and composition majors can be used to draft your RFPs. There’s no need for an $80K, $100K, or $150K resource to be doing this type of work. Those expensive resources should be considered leaders. Their focus must be on strategy, reviewing work, delegating work and getting as many sourcing initiatives off the ground as possible. These leaders should be utilizing a team of tactical resources to do the heavy lifting. These tactical resources will become the learners.

Training and Retaining

First, the bad news. According to a recent HBR study, high achievers that are on average 30 years old, have good work ethic and demonstrable work credentials leave employers on average after only 2.5 years. So why invest in someone who is just going to leave you after they learn, right?

Well, let’s look at the good news. According to Naseem Malik, Captain of Industry at MRA Global, these same workers tend to have fast growth and development, find multitasking easy, are able to be big-picture focused thinkers, value technology and are not intimidated by position or job title. In other words, they are the ideal candidates to take over the previously mentioned analysis and transactional activities.

It’s much easier to train new resources on how to use templates, conduct analysis, and follow a standardized procedure than it is in developing subject matter expertise that might walk out of the door as soon as it is learned. In fact, it’s an easy place to insert students and interns into the process; so you can test their skills while they test their career path (and your company).

I’m not saying that all new-hires should be locked into number crunching or drafting RFPs, but that is a good place to start. The confident self-starters will use the opportunity to improve on your processes, templates, spreadsheets. Let them! A fresh set of eyes to a tired way of doing things often can produce valuable results.

It’s not as easy of just pushing the grunt work downstream though. Keep in mind that these resources do want to grow, and don’t want to be locked to a cubicle running Excel macros for life. They will require constant feedback and direction and must feel that their contribution is meaningful to the business (such is the generalized characteristic of the millennials). In many cases, you’ll find them to be a bit needy.

On the other hand, the motivated ones will want to learn more, improve your company, and grow with your organization. This means, that with time, you introduce them to the strategic roles of your business, the category expertise that you have; and let them help you pick the direction of what their future will be in the business.

Get rid of those old structured HR manuals that walk people through outdated corporate culture and make sure your training programs are fluid. You may have to reinvent your training process, and even how your teams operate as a whole. As you’ve done with job functions; break the tactical (using tools and defined templates) trainings away from the strategic (personal, one-on-one, hands on, subject matter expertise). At the end of the day, you should be able to build a functional team that can handle more projects quickly, and that is able to better adjust workloads when an individual leaves unexpected. With more time and a little bit of empowerment, these learners will become the next leaders (and trainers) for your organization.
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Security measures protect health care supply chain

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Security measures protect health care supply chain

Health care is a large industry. Doctors, nurses and patients aren't the only ones who can be found in hospitals and doctors' offices. There are also various pharmaceutical representatives, technology service providers, insurers, hospital management staff and office maintenance workers, among others. The medical supply chain is a long one. However, with so many people coming in and out of these facilities, hospitals and practices need protocols to keep everyone safe both physically and digitally.

Background checks keep patients and providers safe
Unless someone's a permanent staff member, it can be hard to recognize people coming in and out of a health care facility. The day-to-day visitors, staff rotations and patients are always changing, and this can lead to a relaxed security system. Unfortunately, when this happens, these facilities are putting both patients and medical professionals at risk. If people who are entering cannot be trusted, then there could be problems regarding safety, Supply Chain Digital contributor Chris Luoma explained.

This can also cause compliance issues, as many government organizations have guidelines in place to protect patients and health care providers from outside dangers. According to Luoma, managers at medical facilities can only do business with credentialed vendors, which means they could face penalties if they choose the wrong ones. Uncertified businesses may prove to be untrustworthy, and if they have access to patient and staff records, they could put people at risk. When they pick companies that follow all rules and regulations, health care providers can protect patients and the business, receive reimbursements from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and comply with all guidelines.

To make these decisions, hospitals and private physicians' practices need in-depth information about individual vendors before purchasing any supplies, Luoma explained. They must know who is certified and who isn't. They can get these details from government organizations, but they should also maintain their own records. This will have all the companies they have done business with and will let them know which ones to be wary of. All of these details should be kept in one shared document or folder so that everyone in the the facility can have access to it. 

Internet increases risks for health care facilities 
Medical facilities face potential threats from both their vendors and Internet users. Since former U.S. President George W. Bush announced the move to electronic health records in 2008, patient information may be ripe for the taking. EHRs make it easier for various organizations to share data, but it can also open up these documents to hackers, DOTmed contributor Kurt Mueffelmann claimed.

Health care services need to ensure their online security is completely updated and that policies are in place in the event of a cyberattack. According to Mueffelmann, certain software have capabilities aside from basic virus protection that help monitor electronic safety. The auditing and reporting features scan documents and compliance guidelines and alerts officials if there are any discrepancies in their systems. Files can also be classified based on its need for privacy, and then either restricted or encrypted to ensure only authorized people can open them.

Hospitals, doctors' offices, insurance providers and vendors have access to an abundance of private information about facility functions, staff and patient data, and security. Without the proper measures being taken in the supply chain, these places can put people's personal data at risk. When various protocols are in place both physically and online, medical facilities can be safer for everyone.

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Source One Round Up! July 27, 2015

on Monday, July 27, 2015

Source One Round Up: July 27, 2015


Here's a look at where Source One experts have been featured this past week!

Blogs:

When it comes to attracting top procurement and supply management talent, the on-boarding process is only the beginning. Today's talent is asking more from employers in terms of personal development, recognition, and work-life balance. So, what steps can employers take to help retain their talent? This past week, Source One Project Analyst and talent management enthusiast, Peter Portanova shares insights into key programs employers should consider for driving ongoing engagement.

You've completed your RFP (Request for Proposal), now it's time to decide on a supplier and place the orders. But, have you paused to consider the next critical step: Negotiating the price with market indices as a driving factor? Source One Project Analyst, Tinamarie Rintye explains the three major areas of consideration when developing a strategy to negotiate a price or service, while improving relationships with your supplier base. 
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Hackers threaten Internet-connected cars

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Hackers threaten Internet-connected cars

When people buy computers, one of the first things they do is download virus protection. Even seemingly innocent websites and emails can contain malware, spyware and other cyberthreats that target personal information and documents. They want their systems to be as safe as possible so they install software to protect it. 

However, in today's increasingly connected society, more than just computers are in danger. Anything with cellular data or a Wi-Fi connection - such as smartphones or tablets - can easily be hacked. Unfortunately, there's a device that is even more at risk. With cars' new computer systems, anyone with a Wi-Fi connection, the know-how to do so and a bit of software coding can take control out of owners' hands. Manufacturers will have to incorporate more testing into the supply chain to figure out how to stop these cyberattacks from occurring. 

Cars open to cyberattacks
With people wanting access to their mobile applications at all times, it only made sense for manufacturers to give them those capabilities while driving. Now, cars are connected to the Internet and share cellular data on family phone plans. However, this leaves them open to attack.

In a study in 2011, researchers from the University of Washington and the University of California at San Diego hacked into a sedan's computer system to disable the locks and brakes. They also determined that the radio, GPS system and real-time monitoring devices can be completely taken over with a phone call to the vehicle's system.

Currently, another study is reaching its final stages. In 2012, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek started researching to expand on the universities' study. They learned about cars' systems inside and out, and, within the next year, they were able to hack into the electronic control units while connected to the vehicles, Wired explained. Since then, the researchers have discovered how to wirelessly take over some car models, and they found that distance doesn't matter when it comes to hacking. As long as they had an Internet connection, Miller and Valasek were able to detect cars around the U.S. They could plot map points of drivers' locations and control the radio, wipers, and heating and cooling system. Miller and Valasek could even cut the engine if they chose to. Nothing was safe from their computers.

Government taking steps to protect drivers
The 2011 researchers didn't publish specifics about the make and model of the car, but Miller and Valasek had no qualms about doing so. They felt that manufacturers had enough time to make securer systems, yet the businesses didn't do enough to protect the computers from cyberattacks, Wired claimed. The researchers will publish their findings with the hope that it will force manufacturers to step up security.

The federal government has the same beliefs. After reading Valasek and Miller's study, Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal have proposed legislation that will require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to establish guidelines to protect drivers. The Security and Privacy in Your Car Act will call for protection at all potential entry points and will require systems to block attacks and alert companies and drivers of hacking attempts. The SPY Car Act will also establish a dashboard that will inform car owners of each models' security capabilities.

"Drivers shouldn't have to choose between being connected and being protected," Markey explained in the statement. "We need clear rules of the road that protect cars from hackers and American families from data trackers. This legislation will set minimum standards and transparency rules to protect the data, security and privacy of drivers in the modern age of increasingly connected vehicles."

Car manufacturers have missed a crucial step in the supply chain to ensure their vehicles are safe. While testing for durability of products' individual parts, such as steering and braking, they will also need to start evaluating the security of their computer systems.

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