2020 created a unique situation for businesses and significant learnings from the unforeseen circumstances of the pandemic. 2021 will be the year these learnings are put into action. Internally, this may mean updates to standard operating procedures, workflows and other processes to better prepare for the unforeseen. The explosion in online training and the expected increase in budgets will offer more opportunities. Businesses with a well-trained workforce will have a competitive advantage.
Training is perhaps more critical in 2021 than in years’ past. It is well known that a comprehensive training and development program empowers employees and improves retention. According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning report, 51% of learning and development experts will be launching upskilling programs while 43% will be reskilling their teams. So much has been learned across industries, disciplines, etc, that it will be critical for not only the Procurement organization to be an active participant in training but Marketing, Accounting, Manufacturing, Supply chain, etc.
Streamlined Procurement can be Part of the Solution
Across organizations, departments are being challenged to do more with fewer resources. As a result, finding the time to participate in training sessions becomes more difficult. Establishing a priority for what training is most important becomes a challenge. Finding ways to make company-wide processes easier lowers the burden on the individual department in 2 ways. First, simpler technology or processes eliminates the need for formal training sessions, and an easier process saves time and encourages user engagement.
Career procurement professional turned author Peter Smith, MA, FCIPS, FRSA, recently joined the Sourcing Industry Landscape Podcast to lift the lid on some of the worst procurement scams in history, offers practical advice on avoiding embarrassing mistakes, and shares how to make sound, strategic procurement decisions.
If you're going back to 2019 is when you wrote the book, can you share some of their global disasters or the big stories that you included in the book back then?
When it comes to procurement failures, there are many areas, and some of them do not really understand what you're buying. And that can be something very simple, like the printing equipment the Irish government bought that didn't actually fit into the building they were putting it in. Or much more complex technology failures and so on.
But then, there are some interesting areas we perhaps don't think about so much in supply chain procurement, and I believe getting incentives wrong is a fascinating one. So, how do you incentivize suppliers to do the right thing?
And some of the failures there are clearly failures, but when you ask the question, "Well, how would you have done it, so it wasn't a failure?" those answers are not simple. Just something as straightforward as, "How do you get the incentives right for somebody running an outsourced call center for you? They're handling customer queries, doing inquiries or complaints. How do you incentivize them to work efficiently but give excellent customer service to the people calling in?
With the passing of the year, 2020 became more than a hindsight. We saw the emergence of human resilience and world leaders stepping up to shape a sense of leadership in young minds – be it in the area of politics, entrepreneurship or grassroots movements.
Many equate the COVID-19 pandemic to the 1918 Spanish flu. I see the similarities, but the impact today is much larger. Some basic statistics: Worldwide population in 1918 was ~1.8b, compared to ~7.8b in 2020 (4x larger). On mobility, estimates place ~23.5m travelers arriving on U.S. shores in 1918-19, compared to ~79.3m in 2020. Travel and military embankments were at close quarters in 1918, with distancing, tracing and lockdowns more the norm in 2020. On communication, wireless communication was the novel technology in World War I, limiting civilian communication to letters, postcards, newspapers, and some telephone and radio. Today, social media and the internet are primary communication modes today, with hand-held devices now reaching the farthest corners of the world.
With all this evolution in the area of mobility and communications, one would expect the mobilization of essential goods and services, inter- and intrastate communications, interlaced with the very basic of humanity, would be the norm of trade policies and corporate goals.
Padmini Ranganathan, Global Vice President, Product Strategy, SAP Procurement
I recently had the privilege of joining SIG’s podcast with Dawn Tiura. We had so much fun talking about diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies, and why now is the time for organizations to start thinking about and acting on total talent diversity. Specifically, diversity across all of their workers, full-time and contingent (contractors, freelancers, and shift workers). Dawn and I are both super passionate about this topic so if you are too, take a listen.
Maybe you’re thinking, “I’ve got diversity suppliers and that’s what I’m measured on.” That’s great if you do, and the truth is diversity suppliers are absolutely critical and shouldn’t be overlooked. However, just because you use diversity suppliers doesn’t mean you are getting diverse candidates.
Many organizations spend as much as 42% of their entire workforce budget on contingent labor, and most CFO’s expect that number to increase in the coming years. In fact, by 2023, over 52% of the workforce will be made up of freelancers. So if such a significant portion of your workforce is contingent, shouldn’t you consider diversity and inclusion across all workers?
Certainly, we know it’s good for the bottom line, as evidenced by the Boston Consulting Group finding that diverse companies have higher revenue. Who can deny that revenue isn’t important? It’s what keeps everybody employed! Here are some essential points to consider:
It’s so easy to do the right thing to do for people and business. Diversity and inclusion across all worker categories can so easily be implemented. It brings value to your community, to your current and future workers and your company brand.
COVID-19 has created a ripple effect of disruption through supply chains across the world, causing many companies to assess their weak spots and reevaluate their operations to ensure future resiliency and continuity.
Rebounding from the current crisis with more solid resilience is itself creating immense value. Forward-thinking companies are looking a step further, perhaps with the climate crisis clearly in view. They are leveraging sustainability and purpose – with an upside creating long-term value across a wide range of business levers, from competitive differentiation, grow sales revenue, supplier innovation to support future circular business models, talent recruitment and retention.
Procurement’s Key Role in Turning Purpose into Profit
With momentum growing toward stakeholder capitalism, businesses have made a greater commitment to sustainable purpose through reducing emissions of greenhouse gas, limiting plastic use, providing decent working conditions and more. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has brought risk mitigation and resiliency top-of-mind – and we’re seeing clear proof points that sustainable procurement is the answer.
SIG is always asking our event attendees, current and future members, and readers about their current issues and concerns. I have been tracking and analyzing their responses for almost 10 years now. While cost savings and value-add remain consistent and strong priorities, there's no doubt many are very concerned about meeting pandemic-related needs.
We are blessed to have a community of thought leaders and generous, experienced professionals who are willing to share their experiences and describe their wins.
We offer the following resources in your quest for COVID-19 related items specific to sourcing, procurement, and workforce management. SIG members can continue to search for related articles here.
In the resources listed here, you can learn how to set up crow's nest and a war chest, hear how Sprint/T-Mobile are managing the crisis using AI for their spend analytics, specific procurement best practices for today's market, how technology enhances continuity in your workforce and what happens if and when this is "all over." Plus, so much more.
In previous blogs, SIG has covered the basic concept of sustainability, including an overview of its various dimensions. In this post, I will touch on the role that sourcing professionals can have in meeting corporate sustainability goals.
Why should sourcing have a role?
Sourcing is uniquely positioned to contribute to meeting a corporation's sustainability goals because sourcing typically has expertise in:
Creating alignment to corporate goals
Building frameworks to measure success
Researching market conditions and supplier capabilities
Conducting strategic negotiations
Designing innovative methods for value creation
Ranking the priorities of stakeholders with supplier offerings
Identifying risk and mitigating responsibly
The reduction in costs after implementing a sustainability program can exceed the costs of implementation – in other words, you’re spending money up front but in the long run, you save more than you spend. For example, if an organization were to target the spend category of corporate services and facilities management (FM), capital may be invested in working with a supplier to install a new system that reduces energy consumption at the company's North American headquarters, but in the long run, the reduction in energy costs saves the company money – which of course, can then be reinvested.
In this example, procurement and sourcing are uniquely positioned to make this happen. Most likely Sourcing negotiated the original FM contract, understands the innovative capabilities of suppliers, has heard many recent pitches on new products, and is adept at performing the analysis that proves an investment can have a significant return in hard costs, and even soft costs.
Mary Zampino, Vice President – Content, Research & Analytics
What is the Sustainable Procurement Pledge and how did come about?
The Sustainable Procurement Pledge (#SPP) was born out of passion and is driven by a shared sense of responsibility. #SPP addresses people, not organizations. We are ultimately the ones who constitute organizations and who are making daily decisions in our workplaces. The biggest lever to have a positive impact is therefore with us! #SPP primarily addresses those who are connected to the Procurement function, procurement professionals, academics and students, but does not exclude anyone outside this area of activity. Those who feel concerned by the #SPP messages can start and join right away!
The idea was ignited by the Global Climate Strike on September 20, 2019. Adults and children, from all walks of life, made a clear statement and we were reminded about our prime responsibility: to leave our home, our ONE planet, in the same condition as it was entrusted us.
There are many great and profound sustainability initiatives already. They typically involve companies, governments, institutions and top leaders. However, we rarely see initiatives that address individuals. And yet, we all have the power to make impactful everyday decisions and gradually change the world. We fundamentally believe that many small changes ultimately lead to a big change?
2019 was an amazing year for sourcing. We witnessed greatness as the Future of Sourcing Awards showcased some of the most innovative projects, individuals and teamwork the sourcing industry has seen. The pages ofFuture of Sourcing, SIG's sourcing and procurement thought leadership publication, gave great insight into trends and best practices of the year as well. Below are the top articles of 2019 from Future of Sourcing that you don't want to miss. I hope these give you inspiration and motivation to innovate processes and implement change inside your organization in 2020.
How Digital Technology Will Transform Talent Acquisition
Today, intelligent automation and machine learning are boosting productivity and optimizing a wide range of back-office operations. How are these emerging technologies changing the way we find talent? Helen Castor gives us some insight.
America’s love affair with e-cigarettes evaporated quickly as millions of users were recently confronted with unnerving news—their vapes could actually contain toxic chemicals powerful enough to be deadly.
The CDC issued words of caution on September 27, “Anyone who uses an e-cigarette or vaping product should not buy these products off the street.” The sentiment is clear—consumers need to avoid e-cigs from potentially shadowy manufacturers and distributors fed by an unregulated supply chain.
Duty to the Consumer
E-cig manufacturers have a responsibility to pinpoint precisely what in their products is harmful, just as distributers must be confident they are only carrying reputable items that are sourced through a responsible supply chain. Many vaping products have been found to contain illegal synthetic marijuana, even when consumers believed they were buying THC-free products such as CBD pods.
In an industry as young and unregulated as e-cigs, it’s not surprising an unknown health consequence was lurking on the horizon. Consumers had no idea what ingredients or manufacturers to be wary of because no one yet knew there was a concrete hazard.
Liz Mantovani, CSP, CSMP, C3PRMP, Director of Operations, SIG