June 2019
As trade talks have crumbled, the tariffs on Chinese imports will rise form 10% to 25% on a third of everything the US current imports. China has responded by increasing tariffs on US imports. This has escalated the tariff standoff even further and the US has threatened to apply a 25% tariff on the remaining two-thirds. This effectively would mean that there is a 25% tax on almost all Chinese based products. Tariff increases aren’t just with China as talk of imposing increased tariffs on Mexican imports has progressed. With additional tariffs looming many MRO suppliers are forced to pass the increased cost on to their customers. In almost all instances it’s the consumers that have to bite the bullet. But what if there was some way around it?

With so many different manufacturers in the MRO world there just might be. This is when procurement needs to get more creative with their approach to purchasing. Broad stroke price increases such as this should trigg
er are review and deeper dive. Procurement shouldn’t be in the business of just accepting a 25% increase and shrugging their shoulders. What they should be doing is working with their suppliers to qualify comparable alternate items from Manufacturers not effected as drastically by the tariffs. Sure not all tariff impact can be avoided especially if it’s effecting key raw materials that are being imported but some of the price risk can be mitigated.

Procurement should work with suppliers to identify comparable alternates that are the same form, fit function and match the current product from a specification standpoint. Procurement then should review product cost compared to the current item as well as work with the supplier to assess the risk of tariff increases based on manufacturer location and where the product is being imported from (if it’s being imported). From their procurement should down select alternate items to be tested. This is when engineering or safety/quality assurance may need to be involved dependent on the item. If it’s a key item related to production engineering may need to assess to ensure the item doesn’t damage the end product or production line. If it’s an item such as gloves that is used for personal protection almost always safety or quality should be involved to ensure a safe workspace. Qualified alternate items must have the same of better durability and life cycle to ensure comparable total cost of ownership.

Long story short, with the large increases to unit cost that are being passed through from manufactures and suppliers alike, it’s time to do your due diligence and explore other options. Whether that be finding alternative items to reduce cost, identifying a new supplier that did a better job mitigating tariff risk or formulating some type of out of the box solution. Procurement can either look at the upcoming tariffs from a glass half full or glass half empty perspective. They can either be crushed by looming increased costs or elevate themselves within the organization as the department that was able to save the company from taking on increased costs.

Imagine an executive. What qualities do they embody? In all likelihood, your fictive CEO or CPO is confident, charismatic, and eager to command attention. They're an extrovert who feels most energized and productive when they're actively leading a team. Recent studies, however, suggest that the stereotype of the interview-ready executive doesn't tell the whole story. Introverts are often just as effective at driving change and inspiring their peers. In many cases, they're even more effective.

On the latest episode of the Source One Podcast, host Bennett Glace examines the qualities that make introverts especially effective leaders. Citing findings from the CEO Genome Project, he identifies dependability as the introverted leader's most important quality. "Introverts are rarely flashy," he notes, "but they're nothing if not reliable." Rather than presiding over sudden spikes or troughs in productivity, they'll capably ensure dependable, consistent performances from their entire team.

In addition to reliability, Glace identifies the following qualities as assets in the introvert's repertoire.

Listening Skills
"If introverts are known for one thing," says Glace, "it's their relative silence." While that might scare organizations away from appointing them to executive positions, Glace suggests they should reconsider. Sitting in quiet reflection does not mean that introverts have nothing to say. Glace believes it merely suggests they're especially good listeners. Rather than entering meetings with an agenda to push, they'll look for opportunities to learn from their teams. As a result, they'll more effectively build a culture of mutual respect and investment.

Building Authentic Connections
Introverts don't talk to hear themselves talk or network with peers just because. They're eager to build genuine connections to drive themselves and their organizations forward. Glace believes this makes them especially suited to conducting interviews. "Rather than coming off as sales-y," he remarks, "they'll place the onus on the candidate and encourage them to fully describe the experience they're looking for." Once they're on-board, these candidates will feel especially engaged and eager to make a difference.

Introverts trust their own judgment, but they also recognize they've got a lot to learn. Glace suggests they're more willing than extroverts to consult with their teams, absorb insights, and work toward collaborative solutions. Rather than working for personal gain, they'll always emphasize the betterment of the organization as a whole. This humility could prove infectious. With time, other team members will begin to evidence a similar level of selflessness.

Introverted leaders don't rush to implement solutions. That doesn't mean they drag their feet. It does, however, mean they're unlikely to accept mediocrity. They'll carefully weigh every option and ask that members of their team do the same. Rather than encouraging an excessive level of caution, they'll provide for a culture where mediocrity is never an option.

Want to hear more about the benefits of introverted CPOs? Subscribe to the Source One Podcast today.

ICYMIM: June 17, 2019

Source One's series for keeping up with the most recent highlights in procurement, strategic sourcing, and supply chain news week-to-week.  Check in with us every Monday to stay up to date with the latest supply management news.

Greg Council, Future of Sourcing, 6/13/2019
The incoming digital revolution has Procurement groups across the globe eager to realize digital transformations. Council identifies the primary challenges facing organizations and provides tips for overcoming each. Access to good data, for example, is both a prerequisite for digital transformation a common stumbling block for organizations. It's such common concern, Council writes, that an entire industry full of solution providers have popped up. Ultimately, Council concludes that the discussion around digital transformations is still more hype than substance.

3 Reasons to Love 'Nimble' Procurement Technology Providers 
Nick Heinzmann, Spend Matters, 6/17/2019
"Let's be blunt," Heinzmann opens, "If you're going to pay five or six figures for a software license, you'd better hope your employees actually use it." He suggests a "Nimble" technology provider could be the most equipped to ensure this happens. Throughout the blog, he goes on to identify the defining attributes of these providers. They disrupt markets, democratize access to features, and most crucially, prioritize user experience.

Will an Internally Managed Contingent Work Program Work for Your Company? 
Elaine Morris Roberts, Spend Matters, 6/11/2019
More and more companies are leveraging a blended workforce. With a mix of full-time and contracted resources, they're enjoying flexible access to the skills and expertise they need. To boost visibility and promote results, organizations are in need of a more strategic solution to manage their teams. For many, the answer is an internally managed program. With the right level of executive sponsorship, these could mean effective allocation and engagement of even large, disparate Procurement teams.

Procurement is eager to realize a digital transformation and empower itself with next-generation technology. For organizations contending with an evolving series of risk factors, the ease and efficiency promised by new solutions can look like a magic bullet. Building an optimized Procurement can start to look as simple as selecting a tool. It’s not.

Like any strategic initiative, a tech-centric one is best tackled in a series of phases informed by consistent business objectives.

Phase 1: Needs Identification

Whatever the maturity of your Procurement team and its processes, there is always room for improvement. The first step in any transformation (digital or otherwise) should be involve identifying where these opportunities for strategic growth are.

Companies should take their time to determine both what they want to achieve in this transformation as well as the most efficient ways to pursue these goals. Priorities will vary based on maturity. If an organization does not have a solidified Procurement team, for example, the visibility into spend could be lacking. They’ll want to boost visibility before pursuing other goals. An organization with a more established Procurement function may find they’re failing to maximize value from current contracts.

Phase 2: Technology Roadmapping

From a technological portfolio standpoint, companies may have a lot of gaps to fill or just a few inefficiencies. Regardless, breaking up this investments into a roadmap with ‘phases’ of its own will help streamline the process.There are a number of factors to consider when building the roadmap, but the two most crucial should be Procurement’s budget and the organization’s willingness to change. From a budget standpoint, the Procurement team should thoroughly assess the organization’s financials to identify opportunities. Taking note of management’s perspective on the initiative, how enthusiastic they are to invest in Procurement, is important in understanding how to finalize the shape and size of the roadmap. Lastly, it is vital to make sure the technology roadmap accounts for present day needs while being able to adapt to the future needs of the organization.

Phase 3: Requirements Gathering & Supplier Identification

Understanding Procurement’s true requirements and identifying capable, dependable suppliers is crucial to making the transformation a successful one. All too often, an organization will send out a lengthy, generic RFP (request for proposal) found on the internet to suppliers of all sorts. This forces the team to make their selections based little more than a price tag and a scripted demonstration. A more efficient approach sees  the Procurement team build a genuine understanding of what they need to increase their ROI and boost value generation. Once this understanding is established, Procurement can ask more specific questions of suppliers tailored to what they really need. Once the opportunities for strategic growth have been established, the transformation roadmap has been built, and the identification of suppliers has occurred, it is time to implement.

Phase 4: Implementation 

Procurement team may have identified, selected, and designed the ideal solution, but it cannot forget that change management is still ahead. Implementation is most often a people problem. In order to fully maximize the potential of the change, Procurement must  keep all relevant stakeholders informed and trained. Keeping stakeholders engaged at each stage in the process is essential to securing maintaining buy-in. Procurement should also try to take advantage of the expertise of each stakeholder group. Having key stakeholders on board will mitigate the influence of less enthusiastic parties.

Phase 5: Adoption

Obtaining the full value of any Procurement solution depends on the whole organization leveraging it correctly. Even the most robust tool imaginable is just an enabler. Without a professionals to leverage them effectively, they’ll never help Procurement realize it’s full potential. A very simple Procurement technology has great value potential, however, so long as each stakeholder is accountable and informed.

Phase 6: Measurement

At this point in time, the Procurement team has built a business case and arrived at a projected ROI. It is important to understand which specifics metrics will be used to justify this figure, as well as Procurement’s methods for collecting them, reporting on them, and defining them. Definitions can get tricky. Take “savings” as an example. .An organization should make it clear whether or not ‘soft cost savings’ such as cost avoidance will count in their ROI measurements? “Success,” too, must have a strong definition, especially where transformative projects and initiatives are concerned. Without it, Procurement will struggle to determine whether or not it has truly delivered on its goals. Always remember that maintaining your solution and monitoring its success requires ongoing effort from your organization. Following the steps outlined above will help ensure that your Procurement technology initiatives will generate a quick, substantial ROI and the function will earn buy-in for the foreseeable future.

Want to learn more about taking a world-class approach to Procurement technology? Check out Part 4 of Source One’s new whitepaper series: Building an Effective Procurement Organization.

June 14, 2019

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

New Whitepaper:
Building an Effective Procurement Organization: Part 4 (Tools)
Procurement groups the world over are eager to realize a digital transformation. So eager, in fact, that many organizations jump into initiatives without the necessary due diligence. Introducing a Procurement solution isn't as simple as making a selection or carrying out an implementation. It's a multi-step strategic process that requires careful planning and dedication. Source One offers tips for each step in this process in the latest installment of Building and Effective Procurement Organization, Download it today.

New Blogs:
Training and Developing Procurement Professionals
Samantha Hoy, Future of Sourcing, 6/11/2019
Even the most tech-empowered companies out there can't get by without a team of dedicated, effective people. Unfortunately, traditional methods of training aren't always sufficient to meet Procurement's evolving needs. Hoy shares tips for building training programs that will not only serve the function's present day needs, but also adapt with time.

In Spite of Ourselves: Procurement's Curious Contradictory Behavior
Anthony Mignona, Sourcing Innovation, 6/10/2019
Using the most recent Deloitte CPO survey as a jumping off point, Mignona examines a number of strange contradictions. The survey results suggest that Procurement considers talent and technology to be major priorities. They are not, however, committed to investing in them or taking any real strategic action. Mignona suggests it's time for the function to begin walking the walk instead of simply paying lip service to its priorities.

How to Build an Effective Procurement Training Program
Megan Connell, Thomasnet, 6/11/2019
Senior Consultant Megan Connell offers a wealth of tips and insights for refining Procurement's approach to talent development. The key, she suggests, is to establish a consistent program that's nevertheless capable of adapting alongside Procurement. She expects the function will look much different even a few years from now. That's why it's so important for training programs to remain malleable.

3 Ways to Make Your Company Stand Out from Amazon Business
Michael Croasdale, Thomasnet, 6/14/2019
Since it was introduced several years ago, Amazon Business has inspired fear among industrial and office supplies distributors. Small firms wonder how they can possibly compete with Jeff Bezos and his eCommerce juggernaut. Croasdale suggests traditional providers can still distinguish themselves in a number of ways. Personalized, hands-on account management, for example, isn't something Amazon can truly replicate.

There aren't too many organizations out there that can truly go it alone. Businesses of all sizes, across every industry rely on third-party support to boost profitability, reduce costs, and build competitive advantages. 

Though they have the potential to bring value, third-party relationships also present a variety of potential risks. These include:

  • Strategic Risk - These arise from bad business decisions or failure to implement decisions that will effectively serve 
  • Reputation Risk - These risks involve negative public opinion and dissatisfied customers. They might arise due to interactions that are inconsistent with policies, inappropriate recommendations, security breaches that expose customer data, or any illegal activity. 
  • Operational Risk - These risks arise from inefficient policies, ineffective people, broken systems, or other external disruptions. 
  • Transaction Risk - These arise from issues with product or service delivery. 
  • Compliance Risk - Similar to reputation risks, these can arise from violations to the law, rules, or regulations. In worst case scenarios, these violations and non-compliant activities are intentional. 
  • Information Security Risk - These risks arise from any unauthorized use, modification, disclosure, or destruction of information. The term applies no matter what form this information takes. 

Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM) programs empower organizations to identify, manage, and mitigate these risks throughout the lifecycle of their third-party relationships.  In leading organizations, the program starts during the early stages of the Procurement process and evolves all the way through off-boarding. 

The sheer volume of risk factors has compelled Procurement groups to evolve in their risk management efforts. What was once a mere 'check-the-box' exercise has become a nuanced function complete with its own adaptable policies and systems. Those companies who take third-party risks seriously are taking a comprehensive approach to ensuring compliance, protecting confidential information, and proactively addressing every possible disruption. 

At minimum, an effective TPRM apparatus provides: 
  • Visibility into third-party relationships and their contracts.
  • A formalized process for risk assessment and due diligence.
  • Standardized contractual terms and provisions designed to mitigate risk.
  • Risk-based monitoring and oversight processes. 
  • A formal off-boarding process for the end of third-party relationships. 

An optimal function will also involve selection and assessment processes for fourth parties (the third party's own suppliers and distributors). Risk factors don't end with third-party providers, so the more visibility the better. 

Remember, it's your third-party partners aren't responsible for mitigating risk on their own. It's up to you to take a proactive approach to protecting your organization's profitability and reputation. Standards for business ethics are continually rising, that means it's more important than ever to build an effective risk management plan. Why not let Procurement take the lead? 

You can never be too prepared for your next telecom services deal.  Unfortunately, many organizations are underprepared and leave themselves too little time to optimize the outcome of their sourcing and negotiation efforts.  This is nothing new, it has been the same challenge for procurement, IT, and telecom leaders for as long as enterprise communications services have existed.  What has changed, though, are some of the risks and opportunities that are cropping up along the way. 

One of the biggest challenges that comes with managing technology spend is maintaining an awareness of the market as it relates to the company’s requirements.  What’s available?  Who should we buy from?  How do we get from where we are today to where we want to end up?  How do we figure out where we want to end up in the first place?  For most companies these types of questions are only explored every three years or so and having to catch up is never the best place to have to start.  Increasingly, companies are encountering unexpected curveballs when working through their telecom renewals: carriers discontinuing services, not offering discounts on legacy service, or worse raising pricing for legacy service that suits its purpose just fine for the enterprise.

Of course, being prepared in the first place goes a long way in mitigating these risks.  This usually means looking out at least a year before your agreements expire (or when you plan to have met all of your obligations under them).  By doing so, you can become aware of where you may need to begin planning for a change of services and/or carriers.  With your awareness, you’re setting yourself up to translate significant renewal liabilities into opportunities. 

The reason the carriers are digging their heels in on pricing for legacy services is because newer technologies have become available to replace them and the old services are costly to maintain and support.  Account reps are being told to sell the new stuff, not the old stuff.  And that’s reasonable.  Not only are the alternatives typically more robust with expanded capability/functionality, but they’re lower cost and higher margin for the carriers –all positives for you if you can capitalize on them. 
Simply being prepared and taking advantage of these new technologies isn’t all, though.   They represent enormous leverage.  After all, if you’re going to have to move off TDM voice services to SIP anyway, why not see what the other carriers are doing?  If TDM access/loops are going up in price in favor of Ethernet or SD-WAN and you’re going to have to rip out and replace your circuits anyway, there’s no sense in limiting your options to the incumbent. 

If the carriers know you understand the landscape and where things are headed and that instead of being backed into a corner, you’re prepared to take full advantage of your flexibility to explore options at the end of your contract’s term you’ve set yourself up with a very strong and credible negotiation position right from the start.  For help planning and preparing for your next telecom renewal or sourcing event, contact Source One.

When I started my career in procurement, my colleagues would often tell me, and in some ways inculcate fear in me, that I should get ready because working in this area would turn me into a mix between a firefighter, analyst, politician, and a consultor; what they never mentioned was that in some occasions I would have to become a babysitter as well.

Many have probably lived through similar experiences as mine, experiences involving internal clients (IC) that are reluctant to follow company policy or procedures for the acquisition of goods and services; some simply because they ignore the process and others because they deliberately don’t like to go through the formal channels.

These situations are very stressful and require composure, so in order to win some of these internal clients over, we have to hold ourselves from saying some of those nice adjectives that we would love to vocalize, and start showing them the light at the end of the procurement tunnel.

In my experience, and trying to avoid sounding like a wildlife documentary narrator, this particular type of internal client is usually found in highly technical areas; they are almost exclusively involved in their specific science and don’t often interact with procurement. This internal client is someone who works or has worked at a company that has a basic procurement structure that is mostly transactional in nature; they have a habit of working directly with vendors, negotiating for themselves, establishing rules, and even signing agreements with no power of attorney and of course, bypassing legal (it’s amazing and dangerous that some vendors even accept this).

Unfortunately, the most common approach to getting introduced to this kind of internal clients is from above, their direct superior, who will just command the IC to work with procurement from now on, resulting in some rejection from the beginning. Definitely not a good way to start a work relationship.

As you can see I am generalizing a bit, every person and situation is different and your approach for connecting with them might vary, but in general it is important for the internal client to see you as someone who adds value, that your role will simplify theirs and bring in substantial know how into the relationship; as soon as you are able to demonstrate that your presence will help them save time, things should improve considerably.

To start implementing this change, we don’t want to come off as an aggressive invader, so we can discard the idea of going to his superior for a “do what you are told” speech. An alternative plan might be to have a pre-planned meeting (with the IC’s superior’s blessing and alignment) that involves “selling” procurement to the internal client and his superior at the same time. If the IC sees that he is being involved from the beginning in this change process and also witnesses his superior starting to get on board with the idea, then you would have successfully reduced the friction of transitioning things to procurement. The work from here forward should be somewhat less tragic.

Since nothing is this simple or effective, in some situations it will require that you help this transition go even smoother, meaning you have to get him involved in some sourcing instances that you normally wouldn’t. This sense of involvement will definitely help generate trust between you and the internal client by opening the opportunity to share a couple of good sourcing tips such as how to approach specific vendors or situations, benchmark insights etc.

I would also recommend you accept some tips from the IC as well, as these gestures will definitely show that you are not here to show off or preach; you might even get surprised and learn something new.

Finally, talk to the vendors about the new rules of engagement with the IC’s, find time to periodically align with these internal clients, work on the strategy and approach you want to take as a team prior to meeting and negotiating with suppliers, something as portraying a variation of good cop, bad cop with a supplier might help strengthen the relationship and trust.

In summary, properly identifying these internal clients and trying to have a more collaborative approach will definitely get you further, you want to avoid being to invasive, especially when some of these IC’s have been doing the same things for a long time. Change is hard for all of us, but not impossible, if you work to make it simple for them then you will be capable of achieving this change. Just remember that at some point everyone had to learn how to deal with PC’s and emails; procurement shouldn’t be harder than that, and who knows, you might end up with a new drinking buddy.

The following guest blog comes to us from Kate Began of Polycase.com

McDonald’s has long been a target of attacks from environmental groups and economists for its wasteful procurement practices and environmental negligence. All that changed back in January when McDonald’s announce ambitious plans to go green.

"Our customers have told us that packaging waste is the top environmental issue they would like us to address," said Francesca DeBiase, McDonald's sustainability officer, in a statement. "Our ambition is to make changes our customers want and to use less packaging, sourced responsibly and designed to be taken care of after use."

Since that time, McDonald’s has ‘gone green’ in a variety of ways including adding more recycling bins to its store, changing its packaging in 60 percent of its stores, purchasing sustainable beef and making plans to eliminate foam packaging from all its locations. All of this is part of a plan to go entirely green by 2025.

McDonald’s is one of several American corporations that is changing its practices and refining its supply chain to reflect a global concern for energy-efficiency, sustainability and the overall environmental stability of the planet.

Sustainable Products: The Heart of Green Procurement Practices

Like McDonald’s, Target, a leading U.S. retailer, pointed its green efforts directly at one its main revenue-generating products: clothing.

Target announced on Earth Day in April 2017 that it was teaming up with the fashion artisan, Accompany, to launch an ethically-sourced clothing line that is globally conscious. Accompany’s credo–Every purchase has a purpose–has become the cornerstone of its business practices.

Target scoured the planet to find handmade clothing derived from sustainable materials.

"Today, people are more culturally connected than ever, which creates a desire for aesthetics from every corner of the world," said Julie Guggemos, senior vice president of Product Design & Development. "Target's Product Design & Development team has the unique opportunity to travel the globe, get firsthand inspiration and create authentic products for our guests.”

Hewlett Packard has also made a sizable impression in the technology industry with its net-zero energy data centers. Concerned about carbon emissions stemming from its facilities, HP took action to create more energy-efficient systems that reduce carbon emissions by more than 50 percent.

Their labs in Palo Alto and Fort Collins have been restructured to consume net-zero energy from public utility grids. It is part of a growing effort of technology-based companies that have invested in “breakthrough capitalism,” a concept that explores whether businesses can be a catalyst for ensuring a healthy, fair and affordable world for the growing population.

Hewlett Packard believes that it’s possible. HP engineers are now designing mega machines and that produce less heat, less carbon and a more sophisticated, cloud-based sensor network, all running on a solar-powered microgrid. Plastic enclosures housing the PCBs inside the machines are digitally printed, eliminating the need for paper labels.

HP is also focused on finding solutions for the 70 percent of the world’s population that has no access to IT systems, sustainable infrastructures or even clean natural resources such as water. One recent example involved creating a marketing platform for a vegetable vendor in India who grew organic food for the local community. By giving the vendor internet access, HP increased his revenue by 500 percent, thus stimulating the local economy.

The net-zero server used to provide internet access served the vendor, cut the carbon footprint significantly and allowed HP to increase its revenue ethically and responsibly.

Toyota’s Prius: A Case Study of Sustainable Transportation

Whether the use of fossil fuel has a future remains to be seen. What is certain is that it’s not going away anytime soon. The sudden departure of fuel would create a catastrophic collapse in several economies around the globe. For this reason, the transition from fuel into electrical machinery or some other source must be gradual.

In the meantime, automakers have moved forward in providing better fuel economy with innovative solutions for reducing their carbon footprint.

Probably the best example of this is Toyota’s Prius, the world’s first mass-market hybrid vehicle. The Prius is one of the most popular cars on the planet, with Toyota reporting 38 million units sold worldwide. It’s received the highest praise from environmental agencies in numerous countries, including the EPA.

While some have dismissed the Prius’ eco-friendly reputation as mere hype, the majority of experts agree that, compared to other similar sedans and vehicles in general, the Prius is a breath of fresh air–especially from an environmental perspective.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that the Prius can get 58 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway. The cost of driving a Prius is less than $2 every 25 miles, making its fuel efficiency nearly unmatched in the industry. Although the cost of the sedan can be a bit much for average consumers, it is possible to purchase a Prius in the low $20ks.

The Toyota Prius hybrid drivetrain is also low-maintenance and requires fewer part replacements than standard fuel-based engines. It generally comes with an eight to 10-year warranty, depending on the model.

A More Biodegradable Landfill

When it comes to sustainability, pollution and carbon emissions, one of the most significant challenges for many countries is what to do with all that waste. Rather than pointing to landfills as the core problem, many agencies are putting pressure on manufacturers to create more biodegradable products.

Brooks– one of the leading sports shoe manufacturers–answered the call by designing running shoes that are engineered entirely from biodegradable materials. BioMoGo, the world’s first biodegradable midsole, breaks down in the landfill 50 times faster than soles made from conventional materials without losing running performance.

“Environmental stewardship is an important business pillar for Brooks, and we’re committed to creating products that help preserve and, whenever possible, enhance the environment,” said Jim Weber, president and CEO of Brooks.

If the user throws the shoes away and they are taken to a landfill, BioMoGo breaks down into its component nutrients and releases carbon that plants and animals can use for growth.

Manufacturers Turning the Tide on Carbon Footprints

It only took nearly two centuries for manufacturing companies to have a negative impact on the planet. Pollution, carbon emissions and poor business practices have hurt the environment.

However, companies are now turning that around. Manufacturers worldwide are discovering sustainable solutions that will help increasing populations, while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and high energy consumption. The current trend is moving us forward into a cleaner and brighter future.

Recruiters, businesses, and job seekers alike know that LinkedIn is a valuable, increasingly necessary resource. Like any resource, however, LinkedIn only works when it's leveraged correctly. "There's a right way to use LinkedIn and a wrong way," says Source One's Supply Chain recruiter Andrew Jones. The line between the two, he remarks, could make the difference between finding a great opportunity or alienating yourself from future employers. Here are some guidelines informed by Jones' time in the recruiting space.

Do: Include a short, descriptive summary
"In all likelihood," Jones says, "recruiters and hiring managers will see your LinkedIn profile before they've seen an official resume." Digital first impressions have become a new normal, and that's not going to change anytime soon. That's why Jones advises candidates to supplement their profiles with an introductory statement that might not fit on a more traditional resume. This statement should provide a quick overview of your experiences, expertise, and interests. It's especially useful for passive job seekers who are hoping to turn up in a recruiter's search results.

Don't: Treat LinkedIn like Facebook
It's no secret that the lines between personal and professional life have blurred over the years. For better and worse, social media has had a lot to do with this phenomenon. On the positive side of things, LinkedIn makes it easier than ever to stay connected with peers and identify new opportunities. Unfortunately, the site's mix of social and professional networking sends some users down a dangerous path. "Anything overly personal would strike me as a red flag," says Jones. Using LinkedIn feeds like Facebook walls, he suggests, doesn't send the message that a candidate is "always on." More often, it paints them as totally unprofessional. In today's climate, many professionals even feel inclined to make political arguments on their LinkedIn feed. Jones suggests these folks should save their hot takes for a personal blog. LinkedIn also differs from Facebook in the sort of images that are appropriate. Photos from a recent vacation are no substitute for a professional headshot.

Do: Stay Active 
While Jones wouldn't advise anyone to send out daily updates, he encourages everyone to take advantage of LinkedIn's full potential. It's not enough to just keep a personal profile up to date. Jones also looks out for candidates who contribute and share thoughtful articles while also joining the discussions in industry groups. "Active participation," Jones says, "gives me a sense of a candidate's personality as well their subject matter expertise. It suggests they're interested in building a professional biography and engaging with their peers." Both are almost always a plus.

Don't: Embellish 
"We've all probably done it," Jones acknowledges, "but that doesn't make it acceptable." Fudging the facts on your LinkedIn profile is just as dubious as doing it on a more official document. If a recruiter or hiring manager is doing their job, they'll expect you to provide evidence of any skills you claim and a link to any relevant certifications. And remember, "endorsements" from friends, family members, and former classmates won't do you any good. No matter how compelling its language, no endorsement will supplant the need to walk the walk once you've accepted an offer.

Want more tips for standing out as a candidate in Procurement and Supply Chain Management? Check out some of Jones' appearances on the Source One Podcast.
Starting a procurement organization from scratch is difficult, to say the least. Taking a bare-bones or immature procurement organization to best-in-class is an even longer and more arduous process. Even if the initiative is successful, results will generally take 2-5 years to be seen. While some technology companies will preach the benefits of their product, software alone cannot and will not manage your spend.

People are a major factor in the equation, and it takes considerable time to find, interview, and hire those with the specific skills essential for a procurement organization. In the current economy, trying to find skilled employees who can hit the ground running is an especially tall order. Most CPOs will need to settle for workers who they will need to train in specific categories, which will not only require more bandwidth on the managerial side, it will also extend the timeline to becoming a best-in-class organization.

Another major component, and one that is often overlooked, is the process. Processes need to be researched, defined, and agreed upon by all the applicable stakeholders in the organization. Items such as procurement AI or machine learning can't even be considered unless you have a sound procurement process to back them up. Building out a procurement process can mean taking a long time to integrate it into the existing work culture. If there’s currently a laissez-faire attitude towards purchases, there will be even more pushback to something as common sense as reducing maverick spend. Employees who don’t want to respect new processes will find and exploit loopholes; a process failure on the first attempt may mean there isn’t a second chance to try again.

If you are looking at starting a new procurement organization, it could make sense to instead buy a turnkey procurement organization that provides the people, process, and technology right out the gate. Additionally, it can offer significant savings opportunities in both the short-term through GPO programs, and long-term through spend analysis, strategic sourcing, and category management by SMEs with a wide breadth of experience in their areas.

Having all of this under one roof is essential as it provides a central hub for metrics and reporting, as well as total spend visibility. These will not only allow the C-suite to see ongoing success measurements, but encourage continuous improvement with strong reporting and analysis. Determining when to source new items to be added to internal catalogs, SKU and vendor consolidation, and advisory teams who can review and update processes on a regular basis all lead to a successful strategic spend management program. The good news - this is something that can be bought from the start, rather than spending years trying to build one from scratch.

Last month, Amazon shook the retail and eCommerce space once again by offering free, one-day shipping to its Prime subscribers. Not to be outdone, Walmart answered by offering the same privilege to all online shoppers. The world's largest retailer even mocked Amazon on Twitter for failing to democratize the service. It's just one of several heated exchanges the two innovative, controversial brands have shared over the last year.

In a blog post last week, Jeff Wilke, Amazon's Consumer CEO, seemed to answer his company's customers, competitors, and critics by promising even faster deliveries. They'll reach this lofty goal, he writes, "by pioneering autonomous drone technology."

Drone-based deliveries are not a new project for Jeff Bezos and company. Back in 2013, Bezos gave a (now somewhat infamous) 60 Minutes interview in which he promised drone-based deliveries in the very near future. Throughout the last several years, progress has been slow and generally mysterious.

Thanks to Wilke's blog (and a same-day press conference in Las Vegas), consumers have finally gotten another look at the Prime Air program. Addressing Re:MARS conference attendees, Wilkie and CFO Brian Olsavsky showed off new footage and made a promise that should sound familiar. Amazon's fleet of drones, they announced, will take to the skies "in a matter of months."

The Amazon team touted the speed, efficiency, and, most importantly, the safety of their latest drone. Fully electronic, the drones are capable of flying up to 15 miles, carrying up to five pounds of cargo, and dropping off deliveries in under 30 minutes.  They also boast a unique hybrid design that allows them to switch freely between vertical and horizontal flight. This design innovation means that the drone is "controlled with six degrees of freedom, as opposed to the standard four" and can respond more quickly to windy conditions.

"We're building a drone," Wilkie writes, "that isn't just safe, but independently safe." Armed with cutting-edge AI, it will respond to changes in its environment without waiting on communications from a third-party. Amazon hopes this will provide for a new level of safety during transit, landing, and take-off. They're also bullish on the sustainability of their new drones. With fewer delivery drivers and consumers on the road, they expect to make quick progress on their Shipment Zero commitment.

Amazon knows better than anyone that a wealth of obstacles could stand in the way of a successful implementation. Strict regulations and logistical complications have thus far kept Amazon grounded. Count on more updates from the organization, ambitious competitors, and government regulatory agencies over the next several months.

Although the company's family members say otherwise, one of the nation's most well-recognized and respected food companies is on the selling block, for a purchase price that reportedly could range in the billions of dollars.

Latin food developer Goya - whose sweeping array of products are found in multiple grocery store aisles - is looking for a buyer, and has recruited the services of Goldman Sachs to help in the search, according to CNBC. The winning bidder could wind up spending approximately $3 billion.
"Stakeholders are reportedly at loggerheads over the direction of the company."

As its revenues suggest, Goya isn't struggling financially. However, there appears to be an internecine struggle over the direction the company should go in moving forward, as some of the stakeholders in the family-run business are at loggerheads. These disputes have occasionally wound up in court over the years to determine who has ultimate control.

Goya CEO says not so
However, despite CNBC independently confirming that the wheels are in motion regarding the potential sale, Goya CEO Robert Unanue denied
the report.

"The future of Goya is to continue to build our family legacy and to grow the brand worldwide," Unanue said in a statement. "For these reasons and many more, Goya is not for sale. To the contrary, over the years we have made acquisitions of other companies in order to expand the footprint of Goya Foods and we continue to do so."

He added that there are many moving parts to a family-run businesses, so it's not unusual for the company to take a step back and evaluate things from time to time for estate planning purposes.
That Goya has been in business since the 1930s is a testament to its supply chain management prowess and its ability to adapt to ever-changing consumer preferences. It takes stock of the products that sell and introduces new flavors, spices and ingredients to generate interest and avoid stagnation. For instance, in 2015, the company ventured into the organic foods space, investing $500 million in the process, Supply Chain Dive reported. The company has also more fully embraced its Hispanic roots by specializing in a variety of ethnic favorites like arroz con pollo, as well as specialty novelty soft drinks that are popular in Spanish culture.

As for the parties interested in buying Goya, potential suitors include J.M. Smucker, Conagra, Unilever, Kraft Heinz and Campbell Soup, among others, CNBC reported.