January 2017
What you need to know about the new delivery robots
Drones have gained lots of attention as a possible delivery system, but new innovations appear all the time. The Associated Press recently reported on a model of robot from Starship Technologies which could add to the amount of automated vehicles on the road. A big concern is not just implementing these into standard use but delivering to customers, specifically.

What's notable about the company's latest line of robots is the contrast between their small size and possible versatility. The robots resemble miniature vans and can carry up to 22 pounds of goods, the source said, making them ideal for package delivery or carrying groceries to a spot within a few miles away.

This new innovation makes it easier to coordinate multiple kinds of deliveries, which could break down the work companies need to do into more manageable sections.
There's also the possible legal precedent the Starship development could lead to. According to the AP, the state of Virginia might introduce measures to support these robots and allow their use. A pilot program would bring them to streets within the state.

Although this would make Virginia the first state to officially adopt this sort of policy, other efforts have already appeared in California and the nation's capital, the source added.

Other accomplishments from Starship

As January comes to a close, Starship seems to have drawn attention from at least one major company: Mercedes-Benz. A timeline on the Starship website said that the company declared this official partnership in September and announced more than $17 million in funding as of January.
The September collaboration specifically involved the Robovan, an enhanced van also meant to coordinate deliveries for average citizens. Starship CEO Ahti Heinla described how sidewalk robots and vans are meant to work together for a full delivery improvement.
"Starship Technologies has solved the last mile problem by introducing sidewalk delivery robots," Heinla said. "However vans are best suited to bring goods to the local area from businesses and distribution centers. When the two transportation methods converge into one, the outcome is the most efficient, cost-effective and convenient local delivery method in the world."

"Grocery cart robots"

The idea of innovations that benefit both consumers and businesses extends to other products as well. DC Velocity recently pointed out the similarity between two different robots, DHL's EffiBOT and Five Elements Robotics' Dash.
While the former is for warehouses and the latter for shopping, both use similar structures to carry baskets. In both cases, automation adds to the robot's functionality, and Dash even incorporates checkout software, perhaps restructuring retail store flow in the process.

In a warehouse setting, carrier robots could help human "pickers" in a similar way, as a DHL press release from June cited by DC Velocity stated. The source also noted the need for "collaborative" robots specifically, suggesting a wider role for automation and new technology in different levels of distribution.

These systems may make it easier for companies to progress, but other tactics can help supply chains expand in multiple markets at once. Supplier relationship management support brings strategy to the important task of working with third parties.
2017 Procurement Trends from Source One's Cost Reduction Experts
By all accounts, 2016 was a year that will be remembered. There were triumphs for human health; both extreme poverty and child mortality are decreasing globally. The financial landscape for U.S. homeowners is changing; according to Bankrate.com, home mortgage rates were at an average of 3.79%, a historical low for the country. These were effects of the economy showing steady growth throughout 2016. However, the new U.S. political climate, an effect of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, and continued turmoil in the Middle East has caused disruptions across different supply chains worldwide.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, proactive organizations leveraged this period of steady growth to reinvest in their supply management operations. Reflecting on the different strategies Source One has supported over the past year, as well as the trends observed in the industry, Source One's executive team shares their expectations for the top supply chain and procurement trends in 2017 in a new downloadable: 7 Procurement Trends to Watch in 2017.

According to our experts, 2017 will show an increase in centralized spending, a trend that gained popularity among numerous companies experiencing rapid growth. Prime economic trends allowed companies to say goodbye to decentralized spending, answering the need for more streamlined approaches to purchasing decisions. Stronger supplier relationship management, contract compliance, and category management allowed these companies to see greater value in the procurement process beyond cost savings. 

A remaining challenge is the limited talent pool of supply management and procurement professionals adding further complexity to staffing their supply management organizations. In addressing these challenges, Source One's executives have noticed changes occurring during the recruiting process in the types of qualifications they seek for their procurement teams. Rather than focusing solely on experience requirements, such as number of years sourcing a specific spend category, employers are assessing more abstract skills and qualities that can be applied to evolve their procurement practices. For example, future employers are taking into consideration mathematical and analytical skillsets, encouraging potential candidates to leverage these skills to challenge the status quo. Not only are these candidates capable of performing tactical job responsibilities, but they also provide unique perspectives that will ultimately improve the overall organization.

These are just a few of the trends expected to gain momentum over the upcoming year. For all of the Procurement Predictions for 2017, check out 7 Procurement Trends to Watch in 2017.

What issues are on the mind of port reform supporters?
Ports may need to change to keep up with increases in shipping volume. But how they do this could be up for debate, and since there are international issues at stake, the right steps could be a matter of global impact.
In an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, International Transport Forum administrator Olaf Merk wrote about the need to update port policies to meet the new century. According to Merk, many ports are operating under outdated policies, leaving them ill-equipped to face the realities of international trade and shipping. Ports also aren't meeting the challenges of serving their local communities, he said, another instance of these sites being cut off from the greater conversation.
There's been much debate over the future of international trade, especially between the U.S. and the Pacific. Here are some possible directions that ports could take soon to stay active and relevant to trading needs.
#1: Meeting new volumes and lower demand
Ports need to be on guard to meet a higher amount of ships, should there be an increase in coming years. However, that's not necessarily a boon to ports, as Bimco said in a recent release. It's the relationship between supply and demand that will lead to progress, if such a relationship does develop.
According to this company, 2016 did not see the same rate of growth for every single type of freight vessel. Container shipping could see 3.1 percent net fleet growth this year, the company said, following a 2016 that "got off to a bad start."
Other industries varied as well last year. Crude oil tankers had a far higher index value than oil product tankers, container ships and dry bulkers. The last of these in particular had the "worst year on record," with new vessels on order over the next two years and demolition activity down. This could put ports into a new position depending on the dominant industry in each one's region.
#2: Enduring volatile conditions
Despite challenges within the market, shipping still has the chance to stay strong if it follows its principles. That's at least what a piece in Maritime Logistics Professional noted, saying that confidence in shipping climbed last year, even with the difficulties putting the quality of current vessels in question.
Ultimately, this article said that shipping could be strong enough to continue steadily and adjust to massive disparities. With the article's attitude of "shipping will find a way," ports may also need to stay resilient and still be ready for new developments.
#3: Shifting sizes in ships
It might seem that the general trend for shipbuilding should be bigger and better as the years go by. The reality is complicating this, as the Bimco piece said that the large Panamax ships "went out of fashion" last year.
However, this and other shipping sizes are still used in new developments. Hellenic Shipping News reported that a new "Ice-class Panamax Bulk Carrier" from Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd has recently appeared. It might not be time to write off this class just yet.
Businesses with procurement management systems will have the tools necessary to pursue efficiency and fix issues with the supply chain.
ICYMIM: In Case You Missed It Monday

ICYMIM: January 30, 2017

Source One's series for keeping up with the most recent highlights in procurement, sourcing, and supply chain news week to week. To stay updated on the latest supply management articles, check in with us every Monday.

Trending in Talent: The Top 3 Factors for 2017
Nick Lazzara - Spend Matters, 1/23/2017

The past year showed a rise in demand for supply management experts, and new approaches companies are taking for hiring new talent. Of course technology is a key player, along with a boost in employers supporting individual professional development through out their organization, and a blending of procurement talent from full-time employees, contractors, service providers, and group purchasing organizations. Nick Lazzara of MRA Global Sourcing reviews these trends in this guest post on Spend Matters.

Talent Tempering: Part I
The Doctor (AKA Michael Lamoureux) - Sourcing Innovation, 1/24/2017

Finding talent is no easy task, and achieving talent that is ideal for your organization is an even more difficult process. Specific expertise is key to success for every business, and recruiting professionals who are strong where your company may be lacking is the most efficient way to improve. Lamoureux emphasizes that just as with process transformation, you need to identify the gap between where you  are and where you want to be to make changes that benefit you.

Can Worker Training Programs Solve The Skills Gap in Manufacturing?
Christina O'Handley - ThomasNet, 1/25/2017

The financial responsibility of training programs is a price the U.S. government can pay, but they lack the talent required to manage these programs and effectively train workers. While on the other end, manufacturing organizations possess the knowledge and skills to teach employees but can't afford to initiate these systems. O'Handley shares a new concept created by the Aspen Institute that involves the two working together, government funding with businesses expertise.

Relocate Your Spend Strategy
Mark Mylett - Corporate United, 1/25/2017

Even for organizations that don't move facilities regularly, there can be serious financial consequences for not investing in facilities management that offers a strategy to ease the process and limit costs where possible. Mylett emphasizes how an office relocation program should be managed properly, regardless of how little of your overall spend is dedicated to this category, it can offer significant savings with the right management.

New report shows air cargo increase
Supplier relationship management can require changes as new cargo lines and sources become more prominent. World ACD recently reported that November 2016 was the "best peak season in years" for air cargo.
Although the source said that the year began sluggishly, the global yield grew by nearly 4 percent between October and November, and is about 7 percent higher when compared to the same period in 2015. Despite some slightly uneven distribution of growth across the different sectors, the overall effects seem to be positive, with World ACD saying the "peak season" can be called a success.
Shipping and logistics companies will know that the end of the year is often a time for heavy volume, so the report that this was an especially busy November can be read as particularly significant.
Optimism for the coming year
The new report also speaks well for the promise of air cargo in the near future. The International Air Transport Association echoed the ACD news in its own press release, commenting on the share around the world and the impacts of the silicon trade in particular, a valuable supply chain for the electronics industry.
The organization's CEO and Director General, Alexandre de Juniac, said that the industry could improve next year.
"Air cargo enjoyed a strong peak season in November," de Juniac said. "And there are encouraging signs that this growth will continue into 2017, particularly with the shipment of high-value consumer electronics and their component parts. But, the trend in world trade is still stagnant."
This, de Juniac added, is why the industry has to stay customer focused to reap further rewards.
Major industry competition
Another factor impacting the trend could be Amazon's much-publicized interest in different logistics options. The Wall Street Journal reported on a purchase involving Air Transport Services Group Inc. this month.
This company recently acquired an airplane maintenance company, perhaps bolstering the existing fleet Amazon depends upon. ATSG also works with planes for other businesses, according to the source, such as Delta Air Lines Inc., which could show the significance of the company.
News of Amazon and its different logistics plans has appeared regularly throughout the year. Back in August, the Journal also reported on the company's first of 40 jets in its planned Prime Air fleet, a Boeing 767-300 plane set to add to the online retail giant's already strong logistics chain.
The source said that it could also be a way for the business to match its high shipping expenses and avoid the challenges of having to use the resources of a third-party provider.
Thinking strategically
Using established data will help businesses set up a strong supply chain that includes effective delivery for the future. The power of analysis can reduce spend and review the newest data to let the company move forward. The ideal system will also take the quality of the product in particular and other specifications into account, since these may change as well.
SourceOne can provide procurement management to make the supplier's job as simple as possible.

January 27, 2017

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

Telecom bills don't always receive much attention, unless there's a hidden fee or unexpected jump in price from the last. Too often, organization's fail to consider what they are paying for and how the price they pay compares to costs for similar services in the same market. IT and Telecommunications specialist Leigh Merz explains how you can take a more efficient approach to analyzing and lowering your telecom bill.

IT and Functional Departments - Finding the Middle Ground
While Procurement groups work with different departments in their organization, their particular role with IT can be questioned based on IT's function and ability to have separate sourcing efforts.  Torey Guingrich, a Senior Consultant, offers solutions for ensuring IT and functional departments like procurement are working together in your organization.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Facilities Management Consultants
If your company owns property and requires regular facilities maintenance and management, you understand how crucial this function is. For organizations that do not have internal support to manage facilities operations, there are experienced procurement professionals from consulting firms that can offer their services. Anthony Ott, Project Analyst, lists pros and cons of outsourcing facilities management.

Effective Timeline Management During a Sourcing Project
From organizing the project team to managing check-points that keep the project running as planned, there are multiple ways to ensure the timeline for your sourcing project is followed as expected with little to no delays. Megan Connell, Spend Management Consultant, shares five of her top tips for maintaining an efficient timeline, avoiding delays and managing common dilemmas.

Meeting the warehouse demands of companies in 2017
A main reason to invest in strategic sourcing is to match demand with supply. The impact of using the best available resources and space is heightened when there's only a limited amount of each to go around. A case in point is the availability of warehouse space for companies. Despite some challenges finding enough room to support businesses, there seems to be a slow but noticeable shift toward more supply.
The lack of space last year was one of the defining features of the 2016 logistics industry. The Wall Street Journal recently quoted Prologis Inc. CEO Hamid Moghadam on the changes affecting both rents and new buildings.
"New construction has been relatively disciplined, so the market is much stronger," Moghadam said. "Now we are getting into the more mature part of the cycle. It's more of a balanced market, with modest rental growth."
Later on, the same article quoted Moghadam's predictions that vacancy rates likely won't change. Businesses may need to use this data for future decisions soon as they plot their own plans for new facilities.
Reeling from 2016
Last year indeed saw a large amount of warehouse rentals, as new research from Cushman & Wakefield seemed to suggest. The Dallas Morning News cited information from the source showing 5.3 million square feet of warehouse space leased in the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone, placing it at the top of the markets in the country showing this demand.
C&W also recently announced a predicted growth for outsourcing within business up to the end in 2019. This concerns what it calls "the outsourcing sector," which can develop both the existing strengths of countries that serve as outsourcing mainstays (like India, Brazil and Romania) and new technological advances. The latter point includes Robotic Process Automation, which coordinates AI and the use of robotics to create seamless efficiency.
The company identified some promising "pioneering" regions for outsourcing, such as Peru, South Africa and Costa Rica. By comparison, Los Angeles had the least available vacancy. Even the major outsourcing leaders for different industries may have to change to adapt.
Lending, leasing and sharing
To counter the problems of short warehouse space, some companies may use one of the same strategies that consumers use when they need more space: sharing. In fact, the "Uberization" of freight has been a hot topic for months now, and could add to the call for business process outsourcing.
Not only has Uber itself embraced this with its Uber Freight service, Inverse said, Amazon is also expanding into this space for its own purposes. The source did mention that, even though there are similarities between the two companies, there is also a gap in the way they conduct business, since they have different goals. Amazon, as essentially a retail company, may relate to the reality of sharing shipping facilities in its own way, given that Uber has a competitive ride sharing infrastructure to build off of.
Working with new partners and providers also means supplier relationship management concerns. With strategic preparations, businesses have the background to approach space more effectively.

3 possible long-term impacts of supply chain robotics
Robotics and automation are set to be a continuing part of the supply chain. Over the next few years, a big challenge will be understanding how to put these new innovations into effect. It's time to look realistically at what the next set of updates will bring, and how they will collaborate. Companies can work with managed IT services experts for greater efficiency, without having to completely lose all of the previous benefits at once.
With newer, more integrated tech, companies stand to collapse the difference in their supply chains and make the process from production to point of sale more transparent.
#1: Data-sharing systems
Artificial intelligence, sensors and mechanical robots all bring possible benefits in and of themselves, but the real impact could come when they work together. A 21st Century Supply Chain piece described this as "robotics process automation," a method for prioritizing the tasks which will lead to the highest value for the business overall. Both hardware and software are needed for this to work, though, from the sensors in a facility to the AI behind the machines.
On the retail side, we already have at least one example of a connected robot for inventory management. CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly recently profiled a mobile robot named Tally, designed to move around a store space and detect individual items for sale. The source said that Tally could save businesses time and also share data to make an entire supply chain smarter.
#2: Rise of the retail robots
Speaking of which, some of the major drivers behind robotics are currently in the retail space. The Seattle Times recently reported on Amazon's differing numbers of human and robotic workers. According to the source, this one business is responsible for 45,000 robots and a continuous increase in human workers from 2015 to at least the third quarter of 2016. There is also some difference in the way various fulfillment centers are outfitted, as the source quoted Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky on the subject.
It's easy to think of Amazon as something larger than a retail company, especially since it's poured obvious amounts of resources into logistics. However, there's always the chance that other businesses could follow Amazon's lead and pursue robotics for different centers, as well as smarter delivery systems, including drones and connected vehicles.
#3: Automatic ordering
Robotics & Automation News outlined another way we might see robots change the supply chain. The article said that a smart factory could place automatic orders whenever an extra part was needed.
This is important because it's an extension of the predictive analytics trend, where AI allows businesses to stay a step ahead of inc?oming trends or issues. Using this capability could specifically counter the problem of unused replacement parts, which may fill up space at factories and go unused without the proper foresight. But this development doesn't necessarily write the human manager out of the question completely.
As new ideas for manufacturing continue to appear, businesses can use spend analysis to guide their decisions as well.

4 ways apparel companies are approaching transparency
Let's look at the efforts clothing companies are making to achieve better supply chains. Like other industries, the complex tangles of clothing supply chains can make simplicity a significant virtue, especially if the business has several different product lines with their own materials. As the following cases show, there are promising new trends on the horizon for shoes, lingerie and other sections of the clothing industry.
#1: Custom design
Tailoring products makes the items in each supply chain more specific. According to the Baltimore Sun, popular sportswear manufacturer Under Armour recently added technology to a U.S. facility to make clothing items reflect the customer's desire.
The June Sun article specifically noted the role of 3D imaging and printing technology in the clothing sector. Used together, these systems can continue to close the gap between company and customer, with products based on particular buyers' body scans and 3D printed to match them. Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland Mike Galiazzo cited this as one of the main assets of Maryland manufacturing.
"It's great that we can expand apparel manufacturing in Maryland," he said. "The use of 3D technology has allowed them to make it possible to do that."
Galiazzo also referred to the upcoming innovations of manufacturing, saying that the future is already present in his state. Under Armour is using a new Port Covington facility called UA Lighthouse to test and develop its processes. Having a centralized innovation center can be a deliberate change of pace for some businesses.
#2: Forest-friendly procurement
Creating environmentally conscious models can set a precedent when the company doing it has a long list of different customers to cater to. L Brands, the business behind the lingerie store Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, among others, is gearing up to reduce the environmental impact of its supply chains on forests, with responsible procurement management meant to limit damage and promote recycling.
The official L Brands site lists some of the elements of its policy. To this end, the business said that its 2015 catalogues were sourced to meet the Forest Stewardship Council's standards, and that the company has invested more than $1 million in endangered forest research and advocacy. In addition, L Brands committed to 100 percent certified paper materials for its direct mail marketing materials and wants to improve its supply chain further in the coming year.
#3: Augmented reality
As a last example, we also see new consumer-facing tech impacting the shoe industry in a potentially meaningful way. PYMNTS.com wrote on Nike's use of Augmented Reality, also known as AR, to help users plan out their ideal shoe from afar. As of this writing, there are three types of shoe, the AirMax, LunarEpic Low and Cortez, that are subject to this process.
The source said that this AR approach is currently in use only in a Paris store. Though this is just available on an electronic store table, the same site did suggest that consumers may want to use this sort of functionality on their own phones. That's not the reality now, but it could change the supply chain even further.
In their own ways, these examples all show the uses of strong procurement management. Revitalizing this effort could bolster sincere commitments.
Source One Attends DePaul University's Consulting Night
Last week, Source One attended an evening for students interested in consulting hosted by DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. We had the opportunity to meet with young professionals who are new to the industry and curious about what a career in consulting entails. While we received a variety of questions, we chose the most common to respond to for others who may also be interested in learning more about consulting at Source One.

What does Source One do?
Our firm is comprised of experts who provide a variety of sourcing, procurement and consulting services. While we offer auditing, benchmarking and category management services, our capabilities expand beyond the average consulting firm's proficiency. Through a unique strategic sourcing approach, we assist clients with cost reducing efforts for their supply chain, as well as other areas of their business. The Source One team includes established professionals with specific expertise in implementing substantial sourcing and procurement initiatives across diverse industries.

What is the role of a consultant at Source One?
The members of our consulting team offer a long list of services for clients to deliver results, by providing decision support, identifying opportunities for cost reduction, developing RFPs and executing strategic sourcing strategies. With each different project for every unique client, comes new tasks depending on their specific needs. There are opportunities for consultants of a variety of concentrations, whether your focus is on IT and Telecommunications or MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operations), Source One has departments with experts of each specialty.

What types of skills should I have?
Every successful consultant has strong analysis and research skills, usually developed from early on in their career. Conducting analysis and other tasks performed through Excel is an area where prospects should be more than familiar. Consultants act as change agents, and possess the leadership skills to direct a team with strong presentation and communication skills.

For more detailed reviews of our services, case studies, and information about Source One, visit our website at sourceoneinc.com. You can find a full list of available positions with extended descriptions at jobs.sourceoneinc.com.

New York Harbor terminal management shows importance of logistics planning
Managing logistics traffic at ports requires more than just dealing with ships. Taking a strategic approach to truck traffic may also prove essential, given the large amount of vehicles set to pour into and out of a busy station.

As with other centers, a big part of the benefits here can come from recognizing the need for better scheduling and acting correctly. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Global Container Terminals USA LP is starting appointment-based scheduling to reduce truck congestion. While other ports around the country have used similar systems before, this is the first time such a plan has been put in place at the ports of New York or New Jersey.

The new system would require incoming truck drivers to make appointments with the terminals to avoid leaving unwieldy lines of vehicles. The Port Authority told the Journal that it saw a 38 percent drop in turn time in Bayonne after recent tests. At the same time, there was some concern that the appointment approach wouldn't work, given the reception of other similar efforts.
Adopting any new technology like this might seem like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it could create more efficiency and please both the authority itself and all the businesses involved with it. On the other hand, it could also leave users more vulnerable if the new technology proves to be ill-fitting or installed properly. This indicates that whatever businesses do with their port management, the results should be both versatile and genuinely useful.

Large ships

This isn't to say that there's no news worth paying attention to on the waterbound traffic front. Last July, GCT USA reported that the container ship MOL BENEFACTOR arrived at the the Port of New York and New Jersey, setting a new precedent with its noteworthy size.

Representatives at the Authority said that this proved the port could accommodate such ships and was ready to match the "Panama Class" of ships set for new business. The MOL BENEFACTOR contained more than double the twenty-foot equivalent units of the Port's standard visitor.
Pat Foye, Executive Director of the Authority, said that the arrival of the ship demonstrated the relevance of the port.

"This is great news for the 336,000 jobs the port already supports and the billions in economic activity it provides," Foye said. "But equally important, it's good news for the environment in and
around the harbor."

The last sentence referred to the ship's improved environmental design, with a focus on reduced emissions.

Other port developments

Not everything has been good news for the Port. More recently, an attempt to share chassis within the entire facility was met with rejection from the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission on the grounds that there weren't enough details.{"U.S." is one of the rare abbreviations that does use periods} Despite this development, further discussions about this issue may be on the horizon.

In a larger sense, these stories also show the increased globalization of shipping, as vessels develop the power to go further. The growth of global sourcing could also match this, giving businesses more options to choose from as they plan out further developments.
Block chain is a new technology that many people have been talking about in the past couple of years. It is described as a “revolution” that could drastically change the way business is done today, including Supply Chain processes. That being said, it is important to understand what block chain is exactly and what it was originally developed for before talking about what applications it could have for the supply chain industry.

Block chain was originally developed for the “Internet Money” that you’ve probably heard of by now, Bitcoin. Bitcoin is actually more of a sort of payment system that records, tracks and allows peer-to-peer transaction of a “cryptocurrency”. Additionally, anybody can access and review the data recorded of any transaction. This means that users of this network can verify and validate where the money “comes from”, execute transactions without passing through an intermediary, such as a bank, all that with no risk of being “scammed”. This is enabled by the Block chain protocol, which is a distributed data base shared by all users (or nodes), where all Bitcoin transactions are recorded, available for review and protected from editing. For each new transaction executed from a network member, a new “block,” where the new transaction’s information is added to the previous block’s records, is created and saved on the computer executing the new transaction. All to say, all valuable information can be recorded, tracked, with minimum (to zero) risk of being hacked.

Extrapolating this to a broader view, it would be possible to track any information and improve transparency of any kind of transaction of goods or services. So how does supply chain can really benefit from this new technology? In my opinion, block chain as it is today is not suited for the supply chain industry. Block chain as it is developed today mainly aims at recording currency transactions, with no possibility to hide or delete any of it. I am not sure a lot of sellers want that kind of transparency and are necessarily excited about allowing their buyers to have access to “a full and complete history” behind the production cost of their goods.

However, the technology can be adapted so that a members of the block chain network can choose what information to track and record. Easy to say, but it would require a lot of work! Indeed, it took 8 years from the first introduction of Bitcoin in 2008 to see Block chain technology applied to something other than Bitcoin. Indeed, it took 8 years from the first introduction of Bitcoin in 2008 to see Block chain technology applied to something other than Bitcoin. Walmart partnered with IBM to develop a block chain system to test a packaged produce item in the U.S. and pork in its Chinese stores. By applying block chain to its supply chain processes, Walmart intends to improve the way food is tracked, transported and sold to its customers. It would not only allow Walmart to better control its products from a safety perspective, but it would also allow them to reduce spoilage, waste, and ultimately generate savings opportunities.

While some experts view block chain as “a bigger innovation than Internet itself”, it remains a fairly young technology. The good news is that experts, programmers, entrepreneurs and investors are seeing new applications for this technology that can potentially have significant positive impacts in multiple sectors of across a slew of industries. Solutions are just being implemented now in sectors, such as the Retail Food Industry, which is a promising sign for the technology. We are now entering a phase of “proof of concept” that will, if successful, open doors to a lot of different applications aside from the one it is mainly known for today, Bitcoin. Stay tuned!
MRA Global Sourcing Supply Management Talent Recruiting
In this recurring series, the partners and consultants of MRA Global Sourcing share their learnings, observations, and the occasional rant cultivated from years of experience in recruiting and placement for supply management functions.

As 2017 begins, MRA musings is optimistic the hiring market will continue to stay robust. Through the unprecedented shock and awe of the past year when it comes to politics and social changes, companies kept forging ahead with their hiring plans. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Dale Carnegie Training Leadership Study, with the unemployment rate down to the pre-recession levels, more and more workers may start actively contemplating job changes. They predict that almost 40% of the workforce will be in play in 2017 so that is surely music to our ears.  

For employers, of course it’s a double-edged sword as it means that their other big problem will be exacerbated, i.e. retaining their best and brightest. Just as alarming is another significant revelation in this survey of 3100 workers, and that is why these employees may be leaving. While supervisors are usually cited as a top three reason for leaving, in this case it’s partly that. However, interestingly enough, there was a specific trait that caused the most anguish and it pertained to supervisors not being externally reliable (honest with others). Workers were four times more likely to leave the company if their supervisors were less than forthright with their external partners compared with supervisors that were transparent and ethical in all their dealings. 

Taken in the context of our world of Supply Management, this caught our attention.  Since our function is so dependent on working closely with suppliers, this recent study should serve as a timely reminder that not only are there legal and ethical consequences to what we do, but team members and direct reports are observing and taking their cue from their leaders.  If these workers find their supervisors to be disingenuous and less than forthright, that will be enough of a catalyst for them to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Companies will suffer not only from the brain-drain of talent but a diminished reputation as they seek to backfill these openings. Since a tarnished impression may linger long after these unreliable supervisors and their team members leave the company, it’s important for our function to continually train and live the values we preach, i.e. utmost integrity and honesty, and fair and equitable dealings with both internal and external stakeholders. 

In a recently published book called ‘Why They Do It’, from Harvard Professor Eugene Soltes, he covered the past decade of corporate misconduct and malfeasance and what the costs are to their respective companies.  From the failings of corporate chieftains from Enron to Tyco to inside trading at McKinsey to the Ponzi scheming of Madoff, these occurrences have been regular fixtures across the business world.   Most of these white-collar crimes are not solely based on greed but in fact are driven by intuition and gut feeling, according to Professor Soltes. Just because we feel we may not be hurting anyone by manipulating some savings numbers or backdating a contract, doesn’t mean it’s not wrong. Luckily for us, there haven’t been any high profile CPO’s being hauled away that have made the news so we definitely need to keep it way.

Looking forward, 2017 serves an even more crucial time for Supply Management to lead the charge in our companies on how best to protect our teams and our leaders from falling prey to temptation. By doing so, this will effectively mitigate corporate risk and liability, safeguard company reputation and ultimately help retain talent in a competitive marketplace.

MRA Global Sourcing

MRA Global Sourcing is the preeminent firm specializing in recruitment for procurement and strategic sourcing, connecting the best talent with the best opportunities. Visit them on the web to learn more.

ICYMIM: January 23, 2017

Source One's series for keeping up with the most recent highlights in procurement, sourcing, and supply chain news week to week. To stay updated on the latest supply management articles, check in with us every Monday.

Contemplating 'Big Data' in supply chain risk management
Kelly Barner – riskmethods, 1/05/2017

A big data approach goes beyond a search for information that is valuable to your organization. This data is achieved through multiple searches with specific targets and risk indicators, a process best performed by technology. In a recent interview with riskmethods' Director of Risk Intelligence Kasia Katrycz, Barner discusses big data, what the term actually means, and how it implies more than just an abundance of information.

The Doctor (AKA Michael Lamoureux) – Sourcing Innovation, 1/16/2017

Starting with determining if the Big C's have what you need, to clarifying the significance of a simple process that identifies where you are, and now deciding where you want to be, Lamoureux provides details for each step of Process Transformation. When it comes to figuring out where you want to be, Lamoureux suggests highlighting the steps most important for improvement, creating a framework for efficiency and effectiveness goals, and resolving why your choices are better than other options. 

  • Process Transformation: How Do You Get It Right? Part IVAfter determining the start and end points in the first three steps, this next part of Process Transformation is creating a plan to achieve that end goal. This step requires a gap analysis, where you evaluate what needs to be accomplished from where you are to get you to where you want to be. This step varies, as the route your business needs to take can either be fairly straightforward or more complex. 
McDonald's seeks supply chain changes
The story of McDonald's shows the company's attempts to keep up in a changing manufacturing environment. Transparency and smart sourcing are virtues now and can dictate how businesses modernize. The key is for enterprises to follow the trends set by both consumer preferences and the promise of new technology.

Going horizontal

Supply Chain Dive recently characterized McDonald's new trajectory as an attempt at the "horizontal" supply chain. This means a system where businesses can look core closely at the relationships between different entities, something which makes a difference when product quality is as important as it is in the food service industry. The article said that McDonald's has made efforts to disclose its sources, building off of its longstanding presence in the industry.

It's interesting to note that the company's new efforts, while a definite response to current expectations, are also connected to its existing approach to supply chains. A Supply Chain 24/7 article looked at what McDonald's thinks of as "the System," a setup that distributes the responsibility of success across operators, employees and suppliers evenly.

Item prices also change and can affect the ultimate expense, according to the company's interest in transparent business. specially as companies change their protocols throughout the years. Clear information and goals factor into the business' planning for future updates.

As part of a case study on the company's supply chain activities, Lopez Foods CEO Ed Sanchez described how McDonald's works with its different partners to find the best outcome.

"The best part of McDonald's governance is the deep peer-to-peer relationships," he said "Work takes place seamlessly on the peer-to-peer basis where problems are solved at the lowest level possible. If we have a problem - they get it."

New changes

For years, McDonald's has been a dominant player in the fast food space, but some new shifts have put the company in a different context. Some of these include:
  • "Fast casual" vs. traditional fast food: The new alternative for fast food is the "fast casual" restaurant, which provides speedy service in a relaxed, low-key and clean atmosphere. A MarketWatch article from last year said that McDonald's was specifically competing with this space using new technology.
  • New menu options: Different items for sale can also put new demands on the supply chain. However, the Chicago Tribune reported that the company is introducing new Big Mac alternatives, including some sandwiches that replace the beef patties with chicken. These could work within the existing supply chain while still meeting customer demand and possibly driving new sales.
  • Shifting ownership overseas: McDonald's is also thinking broader in its international dealings, and clearly isn't afraid to franchise as it expands. The Motley Fool said that McDonald's will only control 20 percent of its Chinese operations in the future. In a transaction worth $2.1 billion, the company will grant its business control in China to Carlyle Group and CITIC.
Supplier relationship management tools stand to improve the way an entire company's supply chain works, leaving businesses in a superior position and providing customers with greater assurance going forward.

January 20, 2017

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

Still Using Product Photography to Drive Sales? Part II
This newest alternative to photography offers control over aspects of a photo-shoot that can cause less than ideal conditions, can be significantly more cost-effective, and provides perspectives that photography just can't. In this continued post, Source One Consultant Brian Seipel shares five ways rendering will prove to be a better tool for marketing compared to the traditional use of photography.

Increasing the Relevancy of Procurement
With a recent focus on the effectiveness of procurement groups, the relevancy of the function and how to gain it is taken into consideration. Source One's Vice President of Professional Services, Joe Payne, shares the fundamental concepts he believes can increase relevancy for procurement groups both internally and externally.

On Thursday evening Source One attended an event dedicated to consulting, hosted by DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. Alumni who work in the field started the night by sharing their experiences, leading into a networking cocktail hour for students, alumni and guests. Our analyst interns have the opportunity to support our consulting teams and learning about Source One's unique consultative approach. Interested in joining the team? Apply at jobs.sourceoneinc.com
Talent Management is a very big topic in the procurement world, and for good reason.  The skill sets needed for an effective procurement team are incredibly diverse.  A good procurement professional is well versed in strategic sourcing best practices, but also must be highly analytical.  They must have keen negotiation skills to address suppliers, but also strong business acumen and change management skills to address internal stakeholders.  The best procurement professionals are extremely well rounded, and many don’t come from procurement at all, but have evolved into their positions after starting in finance, risk management or operations.

To make things more difficult, there is a training gap.  Supply chain management and procurement isn’t well covered in our colleges and universities.  Even today, very few business schools have curriculum or majors specific to our industry, and the ones that do are relatively new and un-vetted (with some very notable exceptions that have great programs).

While procurement has some unique challenges surrounding talent management, the struggle to build high performing teams is not unique to us.  Whether you lead a consulting team, an HR group or Sales – everyone wants high performance.  But what does that really mean?  How do you determine if your team is high performing, and if it’s not, how do you get it there?  

The first step is completing a gap assessment of your current state – what do you have today and where do you want it to be tomorrow?  At Source One, I recently created a relatively simple gap assessment in preparation for a 2017 planning session.  To do this, I pulled and aggregated key content from the self-performance reviews everyone on our staff takes at the end of the year.  The specific content I analyzed related to 2016 accomplishments and 2017 objectives.  Using this aggregated content, I created a word cloud to identify general themes.

I then compared and contrasted the themes from the word cloud with the goals and objectives that I and the rest of the leadership team at Source One have established for 2017, as well as our three year roadmap. Performing this gap assessment helped me identify where the team was aligned and where it wasn’t, which provided focus for the planning session.  Of course, not everyone will have ready access to this type of data, but generally speaking, if you want to have a high performing team, you need to start with a gap assessment.

Survey your team, compare those results to the goals your company, business unit or department have.  Then, tie those to the overarching goals and objectives of the business.  Take a look at your company mission statement, quarterly and annual reports, and five year plan.  What themes apply to the work that you do, and how do you make sure those themes are built into the everyday work that your team is performing?  Once you’ve established what your team’s role is in making the company high performing, you can tie it to individual team member’s goals and objectives and well as the over-arching organizational structure and roles/responsibilities of the team.

After establishing the expectation of what high performing is to the group you lead, you need to keep two things in mind – continuous improvement and continuous alignment.  Both are necessary to ensure teams continue to perform at high standards.  Make sure the team is measured in a way that keeps them high performing and that progress is reviewed on a regular basis.  Motivation is critical for a high performing team, and consistent evaluation and level setting will motivate good people.  Further, stay in tune with your company’s mission – if it changes then your team needs to know that.  Continually improving and aligning ensures the team has visibility into ever changing market conditions and that their performance stays at high standards.  It also builds towards a culture that expects high performance as standard operating procedure – which in turn makes maintaining momentum much easier! 
What tighter supply means for restaurants like Chipotle

It's hard to think of an industry more in need of smart processes than food service. There are all sorts of problems, from animal welfare to safe transportation, that stand to affect food supply chains specifically. The company behind the popular  fast-casual Mexican food restaurant chain Chipotle recently announced its own plan to enforce better handling of its chickens within the next 7 years.

Improving conditions
In a statement, Chipotle Mexican Grill outlined four specific goals, all of which could also apply to other busy chains looking to modernize while still staying humane. These goals include better breeding, stocking density space, living conditions and slaughter practices.

Although the statement gave limited details about each goal, it did mention Chipotle's partnership with multiple advocacy groups. One of these is Compassion In World Farming USA, and the organization's Executive Director, Leah Garces, commended the business for taking even these steps.

"Chipotle is continuing to walk the talk on animal welfare. We applaud the company and their chicken suppliers for leading the way in a commitment that will improve the lives of more farmed animals than any other food business to date."

Managing food waste
Another issue for food manufacturers is loss within the supply chain. As Supply Chain Dive noted, increasing complexity also adds several points for disruption and loss. Part of this may also be due to the different kinds of markets suppliers have to work with. The changes and conditions can force companies to deal with new distribution methods for the business. Farmers also can work in their own ways depending on the region.

This source also referenced ideas from the Forum for the Future to develop better food loss prevention tactics. That organization announced a plan last year to bring the amount of waste generated by food supply chains down to zero.

Part of this involves a map of innovation points set to drive the industry to more efficiency. The Forum claimed that this would be the first map of its kind, made for a global audience using the resources of the internet. Supply vehicles may have to greatly reduce their emissions levels while still moving quickly enough to make shipments and meet demand.

Fraud and theft
Fraud and theft are two different issues, but both involve targeting the contents of a shipment and could come from inside actors. Earlier this month, Global Trade Magazine wrote about some of the examples of fraud: a person could deliberately alter a shipment to harm consumers, or switch out one type of produce for another for monetary gain. Countering this could require companies to go granular, looking closely at the issues affecting each item in transit and how to keep them in their best possible shape.

Compared to this, theft may be a more long-term problem. The 2016 Q3 Cargo Theft Report from Freightwatch International found that the overall amount of thefts grew by 14 percent from the previous quarter, according to CCJ Digital. Food and drinks products made up 17 percent of the 193 thefts seen during this time.

As signs of the importance of broader supply chain solutions, these trends could be more evidence of the importance of global sourcing procedures.

When you think of a consultant, what characteristics come to mind?

  • Problem solvers 
  • Process improvers
  • Change drivers 
  • Subject matter experts
Companies hire consultants to deliver advice and strategies for solving complex business challenges. And, there are countless areas of consulting including, financial services, IT, retail, travel, procurement. The list of potential consulting areas of expertise goes on and on- allowing motivated professionals to grow in a career focused on a field they're passionate about.

Tonight procurement consultants from Source One will be attending the Kellstadt Industry Night - Consulting at DePaul University. The event presents a unique opportunity for students interested in pursuing a consulting career to connect with leading consulting firms. The first part of the night consists of discussions with Kellstadt alumni currently in consulting roles, followed by a networking portion. Source One aims to shed light on procurement consulting and the role of a consultant in solving procurement and supply management challenges. 

So, what does it actually take to be a successful consultant?

1. A balance of confidence and humility
As the expert brought in to solve various business challenges, you can't be afraid to speak from a point of authority on subject matter you were hired to address. At the same time, remember that you may not have the answers to every question. Be humble enough to recognize when you need do additional research to find the answers. 

2. Learn how to listen
The first step to solving a problem is understanding it. Listen to your client. Don't assume you know the best route simply because you've solved a similar challenge elsewhere. Ask open ended questions and apply what you're learning from your client in solving their specific challenges.

3. Be a team player
Yep - teamwork makes the dream work. And when it comes to consulting, working together with your colleagues and your stakeholders is crucial to achieving your desired goal. Understand your team members' strengths and weaknesses so you're best able to tackle the task at hand. Take ownership of your contributions and be dependable member of your team.

4. Cultivate relationships
Points one through three ultimately lead to this: gaining trusting and build relationships with your clients. Your ability to calm and address their concerns, as well as working well with your team to deliver results is crucial to your success.

Interested in pursuing a career in consulting? The key is knowing that no matter the field or discipline, people are the driving force behind the business and having these key characteristics will help set you up for a fruitful career.

For more information on the available positions within the Source One team, visit: jobs.sourceoneinc.com.

ICYMIM: January 16, 2017

Source One introduces a new series for keeping up with the most recent highlights in procurement, sourcing, and supply chain news week to week. To stay updated on the latest supply management articles, check in with us every Monday.

Tania Seary – Procurious, MyPurchasingCenter 1/4/2017

The importance of data security is reviewed by the founder of online procurement community Procurious in this guide to protecting the valuable information in your organization and your supplier’s organization. From where to start, the challenges with the online market place, and new technical developments, this piece is an informative place to update the IT safety within your business.

Frank Rovella – ThomasNet.com, 1/11/2017

In the final week of 2016 two of the world's suppliers of industrial gas, Praxair and Linde AG, merged to form a $66.6 billion corporation. Praxair will take the Linde name and the CEO will be headquartered in Danbury, CT. This union has predicted annual savings of $1 billion and annual revenue of $30 billion. Rovella shares the impact of this merger and how it follows after other consolidations in the industrial gas industry.

The Doctor (AKA Michael Lamoureux) – Sourcing Innovation, 1/11/2017

Driving technological advances, also known as process transformation, is a key part of successful Supply Management in any organization. In this multi-part series, Lamoureux explores different solutions for process transformation and explains why no single path is appropriate for every organization. Part I shares a comprehensive, IT-driven approach for business transformation through the use of design and delivery models and plans to administer change in the organization. Utilizing this specific approach and the influence they'll have, as well as a four step framework designed to improve distinct areas can lead to a successful process transformation. While this may be a resolution for some, Part II gives alternatives for others.
  • Process Transformation: How Do You Get It Right? Part IIThis second segment breaks down the four basic steps of a general process transformation and offers a simple road map to get through each. Starting with a benchmarking process, and then comparing it to third parties that maintain industry benchmarks to visualize where your organization stands, is the suggested first step in Part II. The next step is to identify pain points for team members, followed by reviewing published case studies relative to the processes under consideration, and finally recognizing where team members are making efforts to prevent, or avoid, the processes wherever possible.

2016 was quite the year. 

Major social and political shifts have left no corner of the world immune to supply chain disruption. As a result, many companies have shifted priorities, investing in their procurement and supply management operations in an effort to proactively mitigate risk and gain a competitive advantage.

In helping industry leading organizations develop strategies for improving supply management operations, our executives have observed a number of trends. In Source One's new downloadable document, 7 Procurement Trends to Watch in 2017, our experts have pulled together the top procurement trends they anticipate continuing in the upcoming year. 

Take a brief look at the trending procurement and supply management priorities for industry leading organizations and they strategies they're implementing in the list below. For a more detailed look the drivers and results of these initiatives, be sure to check out the 7 Procurement Trends to Watch in 2017

Saying “Goodbye” to Decentralized Buying
Some organizations consider their decentralized purchasing routine, while others have recently recognized the need for centralized departments, specifically procurement, to better direct spending decisions. A focus on guiding supplier relationships, contract management, and cost –reduction efforts is crucial for businesses aiming to grow and succeed.

Transcendence of Procurement through Transformation
Advancing tools and technology, evaluating processes and metrics, and promoting Human Capital practices are all priorities of maturing procurement departments. Professionals in the industry are setting, and reaching, new goals to gain a competitive advantage for their organization by leveraging procurement.

Changing the Conversation to Action
When it comes to achieving the desired results, implementing plans is the key to seeing a change. Strategies and roadmaps that can actually drive improvement are crucial for putting these plans into place and making the changes your organization needs to advance.

Hiring with an Open Mind
It comes as no surprise that good Procurement and Supply Management talent is hard to find. As this "candidate market" has continued over the past year, more and more companies are taking a different approach to recruiting. Rather than focus solely on the hard qualifications (such as years of experiencing X category) of potential employees, hiring managers are assessing their soft skills (such as mathematical and analytical skills) and the ability to apply those skills to their organization.  

Matching Metrics to Maturity
As the industry matures, procurement is creating more a name for itself than just being capable of creating visible savings. The role of the procurement department is becoming more focused on the value beyond cost reduction efforts, such as a supply base diversity and supplier driven innovation.

A Blurring of Lines Between Services and Solutions Providers
Having to choose either a solution for technological needs or specific support service is no longer a concern, as today’s services providers offer both solutions and support in one place. Today's providers are making the decision simple for clients, delivering strategy and services backed by technology. 

Building the Business Case by Comparison
It’s more than being aware of what your competitors are doing, it’s recognizing how you can leverage their smart decisions to prevent your organization from falling behind. While copying their every move isn’t going to guarantee you will be just as successful, understand how your business can benefit from being in sync with the competition.