Satya Mishra, Director, Product Management at Amazon Business, discusses how CPOs have become an important voice at the table to drive digital transformation and efficient collaboration.

Harnessing efficiency is at the heart of any digital transformation journey.

Digitalisation should revolve around driving efficiency and achieving cost savings. Otherwise, why do it?

Amazon is no stranger to simplifying shopping for its customers. It is why Amazon has become a global leader in e-commerce. But, business-to-business customers can have different needs than traditional consumers, which is what led to the birth of Amazon Business in 2015. Amazon Business simplifies procurement processes, and one of the key ways it does this is by integrating with third-party systems to drive efficiencies and quickly discover insights. 

Satya Mishra, Director, Product Management at Amazon Business, tells us all about how the organisation is helping procurement leaders to integrate their systems to lead to time and money savings.

Satya Mishra: “More than six million customers around the world tap Amazon Business to access business-only pricing and selection, purchasing system integrations, a curated site experience, Business Prime, single or multi-user business accounts, and dedicated customer support, among other benefits.

“I lead Amazon Business’ integrations tech team, which builds integrations with third-party e-procurement, expense management, e-sourcing and idP systems. We also build APIs for our customers that either they or the third-party system integrators can use to create solutions that meet customers’ procurement needs. Integrations can allow business buyers to create connected buying journeys, which we call smart business buying journeys. 

“If a customer does not have existing procurement systems they’d like to integrate, they can take advantage of other native tools, like a Business Analytics dashboard, in the Amazon Business store, so they can monitor their business spend. They can also discover and use some third-party integrated apps in the new Amazon Business App Center.”

Why would a customer choose to integrate their systems? Are CPOs leading the way?

Satya Mishra: “By integrating systems, customers can save time and money, drive compliance, spend visibility, and gain clearer insights. I talk to CPOs frequently to learn about their pain points. I often hear from these leaders that it can be tough for procurement teams to manage or create purchasing policies. This is especially if they have a high volume of purchases coming in from employees across their whole organisation, with a small group of employees, or even one employee, manually reviewing and reconciling. Integrations can automate these processes and help create a more intuitive buying experience across systems.

“Procurement is a strategic business function. It’s data-driven and measurable. CPOs manage the business buying, and the business buying can directly impact an organisation’s bottom line. If procurement tools don’t automatically connect to a source of supply, business buying decisions can become more complex. Properly integrated technology systems can help solve these issues for procurement leaders.”

Satya Mishra, Director, Product Management at Amazon Business

Beyond process complexity, what other challenges are procurement leaders facing?

Satya Mishra: “In the Amazon Business 2024 State of Procurement Report, other top challenges respondents reported were having access to a wide range of sellers and products that meet their needs, and ensuring compliance with spend policies. 

“The report also found that 52% of procurement decision-makers are responsible for making purchases for multiple locations. Of that group, 57% make purchases for multiple countries.

“During my conversations with CPOs, I hear them say that having access to millions of products across many categories through Amazon Business has allowed them to streamline their supplier quantity and reduced time spent going to physical stores or trying to find products they’re looking for from a range of online websites. They’ve also shared that the ability to ship purchases from Amazon Business to multiple addresses has been very helpful in reducing complexity for both spot-buy and planned or recurring purchases. Organisations may need to buy specific products, like copy paper or snacks, in a recurring way. They may need to buy something else, like desks, only once, and in bulk, at that. Amazon Business’ ordering capabilities are agile and can lessen the purchasing complexity.”

How should procurement leaders choose which integrations will help them the most? 

Satya Mishra: “At Amazon Business, we work backwards from customer problems to find solutions. I recommend CPOs think about what existing systems their employees may already use, the organisation’s buying needs, and their buyers’ typical purchasing behaviors. The buying experience should be intuitive and delightful. 

“Amazon Business integrates with more than 300 systems, like Coupa, SAP Ariba, Okta, Fairmarkit, and Intuit Quickbooks, to name just a handful. With e-procurement integrations like Punchout and Integrated Search, customers start their buying journey in their e-procurement system. With Punch-in, they start on the Amazon Business website, then punch into their e-procurement system. With SSO, customers can use their existing employee credentials. Our collection of APIs can help customers customise their procure-to-pay and source-to-settle operations. This includes automating receipts in expense management systems and track progress toward spending goals. 

“My team recently launched an App Center where customers can discover third-party apps spanning Accounting Management, Rewards & Recognition, Expense Management, Integrated Shopping and Inventory Management categories. We’ll continue to add more apps over time to help simplify the integrated app discovery process for customers.

“Some customers choose to stack their integrations, while others stick with one integration that serves their needs. There are many possibilities, and you don’t just have to choose one integration. You can start with Punchout and e-invoicing, for example, and then also integrate with Integrated Search, so your buyers can search the Amazon Business catalog within the e-procurement system your organisation uses.”

Are integrations tech projects?

Satya Mishra: “No, integrations should not be viewed as tech projects to be decided by only an IT team. Integrations open doors to greater data connectivity and business efficiencies across organisations. Instead of having disjointed data streams, you can connect those systems and centralise data, increasing spend visibility. You may be able to spot patterns and identify cost savings that may have gotten lost otherwise. 

“It’s not uncommon for me to hear that CPOs, CFOs and CIOs are collaborating on business decisions that will save them all time and meet shared goals, and integrations are in their mix of recommendations. 

“One of my team’s key goals has been to simplify integrations and bring in more self-service solutions. In terms of set-up, some integrations like SSO can be self-serviced by the customer. Amazon Business can help customers with the set-up process for integrations as well.”

How has procurement transformed in recent years?

Satya Mishra: “Procurement is no longer viewed as a back-office function. CPOs more commonly have a seat at the table for strategic cross-functional decisions with CFOs and CIOs.

“95% of Amazon Business 2024 State of Procurement Report respondents say the purchases they make mostly fall into managed spend. Managed spending is often planned for months or years ahead of time. This can create a great opportunity to recruit other stakeholders across departments versus outsourcing purchasing responsibilities. Equipping domain experts to support routine purchasing activities allows procurement to uplevel its focus and take on higher priorities across the organisation, while still maintaining oversight of overarching buying patterns. It’s also worth noting that by connecting to e-procurement and expense management systems, integrations provide easy and secure access to products on Amazon Business and help facilitate managed spend.”

What does the future of procurement look like?

Satya Mishra: “Bright! By embracing digital transformation and artificial intelligence to form more agile and strategic operations, CPOs can influence the ways their organisations innovate and adapt to change.”

Read the latest CPOstrategy here!

Anthony Payne, Chief Marketing Officer of HICX, tells us how working collaboratively with suppliers on sustainable procurement practices could act as an organisation’s competitive advantage.

Sustainability isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ anymore – businesses don’t have much of a choice in the world of 2024.

With ESG regulations now locked in place, organisations must comply or risk significant penalties. In order to achieve sustainability objectives more effectively and efficiently, collaborating with suppliers represents a real opportunity to get there faster.

When businesses work with suppliers to reach sustainability goals, they need access to the most accurate supplier data possible. However, obtaining this data isn’t necessarily straightforward. Ultimately, suppliers own it and need to provide it.

This means it is in a business’s interest to form and maintain a great working relationship with suppliers.

Anthony Payne, Chief Marketing Officer of HICX, the supplier experience platform, discusses the benefits of being supplier-centric and how giving brands a better experience adds value to organisations.

Anthony Payne: “There is a direct link. A good supplier experience makes it easier to communicate with suppliers because it allows for collaboration, whereas the opposite can harm communication efforts. For example, when businesses need ESG information, many will survey a broad group of suppliers even though the questions don’t apply to everyone. This is easier for the business. But it means every supplier who receives the survey must investigate whether it applies to them. The experience is more likely to frustrate suppliers than to help them offer the best information.

“Rather, we can help suppliers to help us by communicating better. The way forward is to segment suppliers into groups and send them only relevant requests. This creates a more positive experience in which suppliers are better able to provide helpful information.”

What about their motivation to help sustainability efforts – does this also rely on supplier experience?

Anthony Payne: “Yes, because if the culture of the business-supplier relationship is one in which each party looks out for themselves, then suppliers won’t be terribly motivated to offer the most helpful ESG information. It’s just human nature. Whereas if a business creates an environment in which suppliers can collaborate with them, then they’re more likely to become a customer-of-choice. This is a status worth having. A recent HICX survey showed that while 49% of suppliers would go the extra mile for their biggest customer, as many as 73% would make the effort if this was a customer-of-choice.

“Ultimately, if businesses give their suppliers a good experience, then more suppliers should be willing to provide helpful ESG information – even if it means spending a bit more effort.”

Anthony Payne, Chief Marketing Officer of HICX

What are some of your most effective strategies and best practices to building a future-proof ESG framework?

Anthony Payne: “Businesses can futureproof their ESG frameworks by viewing suppliers as value-adding partners. This principle suggests three ways to engage suppliers…

“First, have a corporate mindset in which every employee views every supplier as a valued partner. If COVID-19 taught us anything it’s how much we rely on suppliers. When the pandemic hit, non-strategic suppliers such as providers of IT equipment and protective personal equipment suddenly became as central to operations as those who supplied the main ingredients. If we take the view that ‘all suppliers matter’, then it becomes easier to treat them all as partners in the same eco-system and we can work together towards common goals.

“Then, through this lens, we can market to suppliers. In customer marketing, a business would require a certain action from customers – such as getting them to buy a product, read a newsletter or attend an event – and so would motivate this behaviour. Similarly, in procurement, we can appeal to suppliers in a way that encourages them to participate in ESG activities, for instance, by providing helpful carbon emission information. 

“One way to encourage the desired behaviour with suppliers is to segment them into the appropriate categories and send them only necessary messages. This is what a marketer would do with customers. By viewing suppliers as partners and introducing supplier marketing and segmentation, you can improve suppliers’ experience and get the most from them.”

What are the biggest barriers that organisations face to delivering more sustainable practices within their organisations?

Anthony Payne: “Once supplier data has been captured, however, the challenge continues because it must be maintained as a golden source of truth. Not having accurate supplier data is a major barrier to delivering sustainable practices because it means that businesses cannot see who all their suppliers are and what they’re doing. 

“Thankfully, with robust onboarding and data management in place, businesses can keep their supplier data up-to-date and accurate so that it can inform good sustainability decisions.”

What is the best way for procurement teams to assess and prioritise the suppliers they work with? How do you juggle environmental impact vs value to company?

Anthony Payne: “The best way to assess and prioritise suppliers is to have visibility. Businesses need to know who all their suppliers are and what they’re doing, at any given time. Only once leaders are informed, can they make the best environmental decisions.

“It’s imperative to manage environmental impact with suppliers, regardless of how much value they bring a company. Apart from the moral obligation to protect the environment, businesses also have their reputations to consider. An environmental infringement that gets exposed – no matter how deep in the supply chain it might occur – is very likely to cause reputational damage, which can have a knock-on effect on sales and share price. 

“In addition to brand reputation, businesses can also face expensive fines, if their suppliers are found to fall short of environmental regulations.”

Anthony Payne, Chief Marketing Officer of HICX

What are the challenges and opportunities when it comes to supplier diversity?

Anthony Payne: “The challenge is to source the right suppliers in the first instance and then be able to report on their activity. We know that finding diverse suppliers in the UK can be difficult. While the US market is more mature, supplier diversity is growing here. Considering this, many suppliers that could qualify as “diverse” are not yet certified. Additionally, when diverse suppliers are indeed certified, there is no guarantee that their skillsets will match your needs. 

“Thankfully there are ways in which businesses can proactively grow their networks of diverse suppliers. For starters, leaders can equip people within the organisation who work with suppliers, to find diverse suppliers by educating them and putting policies in place. Further, there are practical steps one can follow – such as defining the criteria for what qualifies a supplier as diverse in various territories and then finding the right businesses by searching online directories, desktop research and asking for recommendations.

“Once suppliers that are considered to be diverse are indeed found, they bring much value. Apart from being able to make a positive sustainability impact, the expectations of regulators, shareholders and consumers can be met. The by-product of this is a positive reputation which has economic benefits. 

“The opposite logic also applies, and failing to capture supplier diversity value becomes a missed opportunity. For instance, when third-party expectations to support supplier diversity are missed, this can damage brand reputation which hurts sales figures and share price. Also, the unique offerings that diverse suppliers can offer will be missed, and with it the chance to make an impact. Therefore, it’s sensible to make the most of the diverse suppliers that you worked so hard to find.”

Do you have any tips for readers who want to make the most of the diverse suppliers they have sourced?

Anthony Payne: “Yes, you can start by knowing that it’s possible to make the most of the diverse suppliers you find. You can do this by following a stepped approach. 

“Start by onboarding new suppliers who are considered ‘diverse’ with processes that reliably capture their information. This way, your diversity programmes can be well-informed. It’s hugely valuable to be able to tell, at the touch of a button, where a particular supplier might be based. Also, what qualifies them as ‘diverse’? And while they might hold diversity status today, how can we be sure it still applies tomorrow? 

“With all the right information collected at the start of each relationship, then it’s a good idea to instill processes that drive everyone who works with suppliers to spend more with those who are considered as diverse. As more diverse suppliers join the organisation, then you need to keep their data accurate. Do this by digitally transforming the procurement landscape to make master data a priority. With robust processes, it’s possible to maximise your relationships with all suppliers.”

How optimistic are you about the future of ESG within procurement?

Anthony Payne: “I am very optimistic about the future of ESG within procurement, because, we’re seeing the supplier experience movement grow in the UK and the US. For instance, we’re seeing new job roles come out in this area as the principle is popularised. And we know that having good Supplier Experience Management programmes in place sets up business to procure in the most ESG-friendly way possible. 

“And so, with Supplier Experience Management becoming increasingly popular, we believe that the future for sustainability is bright.”

Read the latest CPOstrategy here!

DHL Group’s Erik-Jan Ossewaarde discusses the power of partnerships in the transition towards a green supply base, and how proactively fostering supplier relationships contributes to a more sustainable ecosystem…

It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the 50-issue landmark. It’s been such an incredible journey and thank you to every single person who has helped us along the way! And our 50th issue has a suitably fitting cover story with which to mark this moment.  

Read the latest issue here!

DHL: The power of sustainable partnerships 

DHL Group’s Erik-Jan Ossewaarde discusses the power of partnerships in the transition towards a green supply base. And how proactively fostering supplier relationships contributes to a more sustainable ecosystem 

Procurement has an important role to play in applying supplier sustainability initiatives in most organisations. We all know that. But, if you want to understand what that looks like in practice and how you transform the function to deliver on that promise, you could do a lot worse than spending time with Erik-Jan Ossewaarde and his strategy, sourcing, and procurement colleagues in his global cluster, as we were lucky enough to. Their job is to play a crucial role in delivering on the near-unmatched sustainability commitments set out by world-leading logistics company DHL Group to reach its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

DHL: how proactively fostering supplier relationships contributes to a more sustainable ecosystem 

Read the full story here!

Aquila Group: Purposeful procurement in mind 

We speak to Özer Ergül, Group Head of Procurement at Aquila Group, about the way the business is leveraging its position to influence suppliers and improve ESG across the board 

Investment and asset development company, Aquila Group, is one that takes sustainability seriously. It invests in and develops clean energy and sustainable infrastructure assets, meaning a focus on ESG is baked into the business with more than 15 years’ experience focused on climate change. And for Özer Ergül, Group Head of Procurement at Aquila Group, it’s the perfect canvas for his passions and expertise to come together. 

Ergül’s background is a mixture of aerospace, automotive, and for the last two decades, energy. He started off his career as an Air Force officer and moved into the automotive world in the 1990s, just as the sector was undergoing huge and exciting changes. “Those early roles shaped my way of working, my way of thinking,” Ergül explains. “They showed me how to solve problems collaboratively, and I still use those tools and that knowledge to this day.” 

Read the full story here!

Plus, we have fascinating exclusives with procurement leaders at Amazon Business Services, HICX and many, many more. Plus, all the latest news and events affecting procurement and its practitioners. 

Here’s to the next 50 issues! 

Landry Giardina, Sanofi’s Global Head of Clinical Supply Chain Operations Innovation & Technology talks data-driven performance, resilience, agility and operational excellence within the clinical supply chain area…

It’s a packed issue this month. Here’s a roll call of just some of this month’s exclusive content…

Read the latest issue here!

Sanofi: Clinical supply chain innovation

Landry Giardina, Sanofi’s Global Head of Clinical Supply Chain Operations Innovation & Technology talks data-driven performance, resilience, agility and operational excellence within the clinical supply chain area

Sanofi has a mission: to chase the miracles of science to improve people’s lives, and sometimes that means starting over with Plan B, Plan C, or even Plan Z. To do so means to work across the most complex disciplines to solve problems, to push the boundaries and not be afraid to take smart risks, and to dedicate everything to making life better for people everywhere. None of that happens without continuous and groundbreaking R&D and clinical trials to prove the medicines and vaccines it creates are safe and efficient for millions of people around the world. Which makes Landry Giardina and his colleagues’ jobs absolutely essential. 

Read the full story here!

Werfen: Procurement and supply chain excellence through teamwork

Don Perigny, Director Supply Chain, at Werfen, a Specialised Diagnostics developer, manufacturer and distributor, reveals how a strong work culture can achieve incredible success during challenging times.

“It takes a village to raise a child,’ purports a famous African saying. It’s certainly a phrase that has struck a note with Don Perigny, Director Supply Chain at Werfen. For Perigny, the ‘village’ is Werfen’s supply-chain and procurement team, although he does extend the sentiment to Werfen’s wider network, including its suppliers and partners, who have kept the former professional sportsman busy at the company for over 21 years.

Werfen is a worldwide leader in the area Specialised Diagnostics for Hemostasis, Acute Care, Transfusion, Autoimmunity and Transplant. The Company also has an OEM division, focused on customised diagnostics. Werfen’s annual revenue exceeds $2bn with a worldwide workforce of 7,000, operating in approx. 35 countries and more than 100 territories through its network of distributors. 

We join Perigny at his office in Bedford, Massachusetts. He’s just back from a week at Werfen’s San Diego offices, where he spent some quality time with his extended (work) family. And it’s soon clear that the people, the culture and what Werfen does for the world is crucial to Perigny and the wider workforce at the company. 

Read the full story here!

Plus, we have expert-driven analysis on hot topics such as AI in supply chain, tackling global regulations and how to encourage more women into supply chain and procurement. 

CPOstrategy cover star this month is Kristina Andric, Supplier Manager IT at Tetra Pak and recent CIPS Young Talent winner, who discusses the procurement landscape from her perspective and how Tetra Pak is nurturing young procurement leaders like her… 

This month’s cover star is Kristina Andric, Supplier Manager IT at Tetra Pak and recent CIPS Young Talent winner, who discusses the procurement landscape from her perspective and how Tetra Pak is nurturing young procurement leaders like her… 

As a household name in food processing and packaging, Tetra Pak stands by having a customer-centric, strong, and competent procurement function.

As a result, it’s always working hard to evolve, which includes seeking out new procurement talent wherever possible. This is how Kristina Andric, Supplier Manager IT, became part of the team and kick-started an exciting career. 

Read the latest issue here!

Andric started working at Tetra Pak in 2018 via a trainee programme called Future Talent. The programme lasted two years and gave trainees the opportunity to understand Tetra Pak from multiple perspectives. Andric was rotated throughout different parts of the organisation and across different geographies, the idea being to give young people a holistic view of the company before taking on a permanent role.  

“Embracing change marked my career since the beginning,” she reflects. “My curious nature thrives on the opportunity to engage in diverse experiences and continuous learning. Challenges motivate me and develop my potential, so every change has been to my benefit. I’ve enjoyed it all.” 

Elsewhere, we also have fascinating insights into procurement hot topics such as optimising tail spend with Simfoni and Kearney, amplifying procurement’s influence with Arkestro, while Box looks at The Art Of Procurement As A Change Agent. Plus, we detail 5 ways of tackling procurement’s talent shortage and discuss being prepared for future pandemics…


Timothy Woodcock, Director of Procurement at CordenPharma, discusses the new wave of change following acquisition and amid transformation

We have a bumper issue of fascinating exclusives this month!

Corden Pharma: Powering Change

Timothy Woodcock, Director of Procurement at CordenPharma, discusses the new wave of change following acquisition and amid transformation 

Change is here, get busy. Indeed, some organisations are further along a transformation journey than others.
For CordenPharma, a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO) partner, they are right on track. 

CordenPharma supports biotech and pharma innovators of complex modalities in the advancement of their drug development lifecycle. Harnessing the collective expertise of the teams across its globally integrated facility network, CordenPharma provides bespoke outsourcing services spanning the complete supply chain, from early clinical-phase development to commercialisation. Recognised as a key partner to the pharma industry, CordenPharma provides state-of-the-art know-how, an integrated product offering end-to-end capabilities from early-stage development to commercial large-scale manufacturing. 

A closer look 

Timothy Woodcock has been the Director of Procurement at CordenPharma since October 2022 and is based in Basel, Switzerland. He explains that since joining over a year ago, while it was a “good start”, he admits to discovering some surprises after closer inspection. “There was a lot of information to get to grips with at the start and it was spread wide and thin,” he tells us. “But the team is certainly key and they have helped me pull it together through solid collaboration and engagement. Of course, there were a few surprises in the process realm, but that’s what makes this challenge so interesting to me.”

Read the full story here

carbmee: Carbon management for complex supply chains

Prof. Dr. Christian Heinrich, Co-Founder at carbmee, discusses his organisation’s journey to being the trusted solution provider for carbon management.

​​carbmee means carbon excellence for complex supply chains. It is the carbon management solution for automotive, manufacturing, chemical, pharmaceuticals, medtech, hi-tech, logistics, and FMCG industries. Whether to assess emissions holistically throughout the entire company, product or suppliers, carbmee EIS™ platform can create the transparency required for uncovering optimal emissions reduction potential and at the same time, stay compliant with upcoming regulations like CBAM.

carbmee’s journey

Christian Heinrich has been the Co-Founder at the organisation since January 2021. While some executives end up in procurement and supply chain by mistake, for Heinrich he affirms it was “always” the industry for him. As far as he’s concerned, collaboration is a big piece of the puzzle and Heinrich points to his diverse experience in a range of different industries and sectors which have helped him along the way to forming carbmee. 

“This was actually one of the reasons my co-founder Robin Spickers asked me to leverage my supply chain knowledge,” he says. “Robin had expertise in sustainability areas like Product LifeCycle Assessments and I had that in procurement and supply chain. We connected together and created carbmee to have scope 1, 2 and 3 solutions for carbon accounting and carbon reduction, which also combines the lifecycle analysis.”

Read the full story here!

Hemofarm: Strength through glocal procurement

 Zorana Subasic, Director SEERU & PSCoE Cluster Procurement at Hemofarm A.D. reveals how a glocal approach is transforming procurement at the pharmaceutical… 

Zorana Subasic is all about people. She heads up procurement for Hemofarm, the largest Serbian exporter of medicinal products, with a share of more than 70% of the total pharmaceutical. It sells pharmaceutical products on four continents in 34 states and, since 2006, has been part of the multi-national pharmaceutical giant STADA Group. 

Meeting the challenges

Zorana explains that her priority is focusing on people, both within her team and in the wider company, a priority that has been even more important during the last few challenging years and has impacted her leadership style.  ”These are areas that were new for me – managing people in ‘business as usual’ times is completely different to what we’ve been through in the last two or three years. It has affected people, and how it was for me to manage people in difficult times – understanding the challenges around us and making sure that people also understand the challenges.”

Read the full story here!

Elon: Procurement as a strategic partner

Onur Dogay, CPO at Elon Group, reflects on a year of procurement evolution and making the function an indispensable partner to the organisation…

A lot can happen in a year. Just ask Onur Dogay. In late summer 2022 he arrived in Sweden from his native Turkey to take the helm of a complex and evolving procurement environment at Elon Group AB, the Nordic region’s leading voluntary trade chain for home and electronic products. That he joined just a month after a significant merger that cemented the company’s market-leading position was no coincidence. Rather, Dogay was brought on board with a specific mission: use his industry experience and passion for transforming procurement to sustain the company’s market status while spearheading growth in new areas of retail and electronics. 

And he hasn’t slowed down since. In little over 12 months, Dogay has overseen a procurement evolution that includes setting a new data strategy that’s aligned with the broader company vision, shifting procurement’s role to be less transactional and more of a strategic business partner, improving communication and partnerships both internally and externally with suppliers, and overseeing the greater use of data and technology to enhance forecasting and planning capabilities. 

A seasoned procurement professional

A glance at Dogay’s CV to date leaves little surprise at his success. He is a seasoned procurement professional, with more than 20 years’ experience in procurement leadership positions working across internationally dispersed teams in Europe. “My background is particularly strong in retail, consumer electronics, telecom, and IT business units,” he explains, “including at Arcelik, one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, and also for one of the biggest retailers in Europe, MediaMarkt. At the time of the merger in 2022 here at Elon Group, this experience, as well as the good relationships I had with many of the suppliers and brands we work with now, was the perfect match for the company.” 

Read the full story here!

Microsoft: A sustainable supply chain transformation

In the past four years, Microsoft has gained more than 80,000 productivity hours and avoided hundreds of millions in costs. Did you miss that? That’s probably because these massive improvements took place behind the scenes as the technology giant moved to turn SC management into a major force driving efficiencies, enabling growth, and bringing the company closer to its sustainability goals. 

An exciting time

Expect changes and outcomes to continue as Dhaval Desai continues to apply the learnings from the Devices Supply Chain transformation – think Xbox, Surface, VR and PC accessories and cross-industry experiences and another to the fast-growing Cloud supply chain where demand for Azure is surging. As the Principal Group Software Engineering Manager, Desai is part of the Supply Chain Engineering organisation, the global team of architects, managers, and engineers in the US, Europe, and India tasked with developing a platform and capabilities to power supply chains across Microsoft. It’s an exciting time. Desai’s staff has already quadrupled since he joined Microsoft in 2021, and it’s still growing. Within the company, he’s on the cutting edge of technology innovation testing generative AI solutions. “We are actively learning how to improve it and move forward,” he tells us. 

Read the full story here!

Click here to read the entire magazine!

This month’s exclusive cover story features a fascinating discussion with Dhaval Desai, Principal Group Engineering Manager at Microsoft, regarding a massive and sustainable supply chain transformation at the tech giant… 

This month’s exclusive cover story features a fascinating discussion with Dhaval Desai, Principal Group Engineering Manager at Microsoft, regarding a massive and sustainable supply chain transformation at the tech giant… 

In the past four years, Microsoft has gained more than 80,000 productivity hours and avoided hundreds of millions in costs. Did you miss that? That’s probably because these massive improvements took place behind the scenes as the technology giant moved to turn SC management into a major force driving efficiencies, enabling growth, and bringing the company closer to its sustainability goals. 

Expect changes and outcomes to continue as Dhaval Desai continues to apply the learnings from the Devices Supply Chain transformation – think Xbox, Surface, VR and PC accessories and cross-industry experiences and another to the fast-growing Cloud supply chain where demand for Azure is surging. As the Principal Group Software Engineering Manager, Desai is part of the Supply Chain Engineering organisation, the global team of architects, managers, and engineers in the US, Europe, and India tasked with developing a platform and capabilities to power supply chains across Microsoft. It’s an exciting time. Desai’s staff has already quadrupled since he joined Microsoft in 2021, and it’s still growing. Within the company, he’s on the cutting edge of technology innovation testing generative AI solutions. “We are actively learning how to improve it and move forward,” he tells us. 

Read the full story here! 

Plus, there’s more!

We also have some inspiring and informative content from supply chain leaders and experts at Schneider Electric, Smart Cube, Protokol, Red Helix and Astrocast. Plus, expert predictions for 2024 from leading supply chain leaders, as well as a round-up of the best events this year has to offer! 

Read our amazing content here!


This month’s cover story features Fiona Adams, Director of Client Value Realization at ProcurementIQ, to hear how the market leader in providing sourcing intelligence is changing the very face of procurement…

It’s a bumper issue this month. Click here to access the latest issue!

And below are just some of this month’s exclusives…

ProcurementIQ: Smart sourcing through people power 

We speak to Fiona Adams, Director of Client Value Realization at ProcurementIQ, to hear how the market leader in providing sourcing intelligence is changing the very face of procurement… 

The industry leader in emboldening procurement practitioners in making intelligent purchases is ProcurementIQ. ProcurementIQ provides its clients with pricing data, supplier intelligence and contract strategies right at their fingertips. Its users are working smarter and more swiftly with trustworthy market intelligence on more than 1,000 categories globally.  

Fiona Adams joined ProcurementIQ in August this year as its Director of Client Value Realization. Out of all the companies vying for her attention, it was ProcurementIQ’s focus on ‘people power’ that attracted her, coupled with her positive experience utilising the platform during her time as a consultant.

Although ProcurementIQ remains on the cutting edge of technology, it is a platform driven by the expertise and passion of its people and this appealed greatly to Adams. “I want to expand my own reach and I’m excited to be problem-solving for corporate America across industries, clients and procurement organizations and teams (internal & external). I know ProcurementIQ can make a difference combined with my approach and experience. Because that passion and that drive, powered by knowledge, is where the real magic happens,” she tells us.  

To read more click here!

ASM Global: Putting people first in change management   

Ama F. Erbynn, Vice President of Strategic Sourcing and Procurement at ASM Global, discusses her mission for driving a people-centric approach to change management in procurement…

Ripping up the carpet and starting again when entering a new organisation isn’t a sure-fire way for success. 

Effective change management takes time and careful planning. It requires evaluating current processes and questioning why things are done in a certain way. Indeed, not everything needs to be changed, especially not for the sake of it, and employees used to operating in a familiar workflow or silo will naturally be fearful of disruptions to their methods. However, if done in the correct way and with a people-centric mindset, delivering change that drives significant value could hold the key to unleashing transformation. 

Ama F. Erbynn, Vice President of Strategic Sourcing and Procurement at ASM Global, aligns herself with that mantra. Her mentality of being agile and responsive to change has proven to be an advantage during a turbulent past few years. For Erbynn, she thrives on leading transformations and leveraging new tools to deliver even better results. “I love change because it allows you to think outside the box,” she discusses. “I have a son and before COVID I used to hear him say, ‘I don’t want to go to school.’ He stayed home for a year and now he begs to go to school, so we adapt and it makes us stronger. COVID was a unique situation but there’s always been adversity and disruptions within supply chain and procurement, so I try and see the silver lining in things.”

To read more click here!

SpendHQ: Realising the possible in spend management software 

Pierre Laprée, Chief Product Officer at SpendHQ, discusses how customers can benefit from leveraging spend management technology to bring tangible value in procurement today…

Turning vision and strategy into highly effective action. This mantra is behind everything SpendHQ does to empower procurement teams.  

The organisation is a leading best-in-class provider of enterprise Spend Intelligence (SI) and Procurement Performance Management (PPM) solutions. These products fill an important gap that has left strategic procurement out of the solution landscape. Through these solutions, customers get actionable spend insights that drive new initiatives, goals, and clear measurements of procurement’s overall value. SpendHQ exists to ultimately help procurement generate and demonstrate better financial and non-financial outcomes. 

Spearheading this strategic vision is Pierre Laprée, long-time procurement veteran and SpendHQ’s Chief Product Officer since July 2022. However, despite his deep understanding of procurement teams’ needs, he wasn’t always a procurement professional. Like many in the space, his path into the industry was a complete surprise.  

To read more click here!

But that’s not all… Earlier this month, we travelled to the Netherlands to cover the first HICX Supplier Experience Live, as well as DPW Amsterdam 2023. Featured inside is our exclusive overview from each event, alongside this edition’s big question – does procurement need a rebrand? Plus, we feature a fascinating interview with Georg Rosch, Vice President Direct Procurement Strategy at JAGGAER, who discusses his organisation’s approach amid significant transformation and evolution.


Welcome to issue 43 of CPOstrategy!

Our exclusive cover story this month features a fascinating discussion with UK Procurement Director, CBRE Global Workplace Solutions (GWS), Catriona Calder to find out how procurement is helping the leader in worldwide real estate achieve its ambitious goals within ESG.

As a worldwide leader in commercial real estate, it’s clear why CBRE GWS has a strong focus on continuous improvement in its procurement department. A business which prides itself on its ability to create bespoke solutions for clients of any size and sector has to be flexible. Delivering the superior client outcomes CBRE GWS has become known for requires an extremely well-oiled supply chain, and Catriona Calder, its UK Procurement Director, is leading the charge. 

Procurement at CBRE had already seen some great successes before Calder came on board in 2022. She joined a team of passionate and capable procurement professionals, with a number of award-winning supply chain initiatives already in place.

With a sturdy foundation already embedded, when Calder stepped in, her personal aim focused on implementing a long-term procurement strategy and supporting the global team on its journey to world class procurement…

Read the full story here!

Adam Brown: The new wave of digital procurement 

We grab some time with Adam Brown who leads the Technology Platform for Procurement at A.P. Moller-Maersk, the global logistics giant. And when he joined, a little over a year ago, he was instantly struck by a dramatic change in culture… 

Read the full story here!

Government of Jersey: A procurement transformation journey 

 Maria Huggon, Former Group Director of Commercial Services at the Government of Jersey, discusses how her organisation’s procurement function has transformed with the aim of achieving a ‘flourishing’ status by 2025…

Read the full article here!

Government of Jersey

Corio: A new force in offshore wind 

The procurement team at Corio on bringing the wind of change to the offshore energy space. Founded less than two years ago, Corio Generation already packs quite the punch. Corio has built one of the world’s largest offshore wind development pipelines with projects in a diverse line-up of locations including the UK, South Korea and Brazil among others.  

The company is a specialist offshore wind developer dedicated to harnessing renewable energy and helps countries transform their economies with clean, green and reliable offshore wind energy. Corio works in established and emerging markets, with innovative floating and fixed-bottom technologies. Its projects support local economies while meeting the energy needs of communities and customers sustainably, reliably, safely and responsibly.  

Read the full article here!

Becker Stahl: Green steel for Europe 

Felix Schmitz, Head of Investor Relations & Head of Strategic Sustainability at Klöckner & Co SE explores how German company Becker Stahl-Service is leading the way towards a more sustainable steel industry with Nexigen® by Klöckner & Co. 

Read the full article here!

And there’s so much more!


Welcome to issue 42 of CPOstrategy!

This month’s cover story sees us speak with Brad Veech, Head of Technology Procurement at Discover Financial Services.

CPOstrategy - Procurement Magazine

Having been a leader in procurement for more than 25 years, he has been responsible for over $2 billion in spend every year, negotiating software deals ranging from $75 to over $1.5 billion on a single deal. Don’t miss his exclusive insights where he tells us all about the vital importance of expertly procuring software and highlights the hidden pitfalls associated.

“A lot of companies don’t have the resources to have technology procurement experts on staff,” Brad tells us. “I think as time goes on people and companies will realise that the technology portfolio and the spend in that portfolio is increasing so rapidly they have to find a way to manage it. Find a project that doesn’t have software in it. Everything has software embedded within it, so you’re going to have to have procurement experts that understand the unique contracts and negotiation tactics of technology.” 

There are also features which include insights from the likes of Jake Kiernan, Manager at KPMG, Ashifa Jumani, Director of Procurement at TELUS and Shaz Khan, CEO and Co-Founder at Vroozi. 

Enjoy the issue! 

We look into the need for a supply chain reset amidst inflation concerns, supply uncertainty, geopolitical issues and sustainability drives.

Today’s supply chains are under pressure like never before.

Amidst inflation concerns, supply uncertainty, geopolitical issues and sustainability drives, the modern supply chain is having to think twice about the way it operates. It means companies are rethinking their supply chain strategy as well as the materials they source and the suppliers they work with. But such significant change doesn’t come easy and isn’t necessarily cheap either. Indeed, these factors have led to the necessity of a great supply chain reset. But this is no easy fix. It impacts the entire business model, from strategy, marketing and design all the way through packaging, storage and transportation.

Supply Chain Revolution

The first part of a supply chain overhaul is rationalising the portfolio. A major review of the product portfolio could reveal what is profitable to make or sell. In many industries, the combined effect of the rising cost of products, logistics, carbon charges for border crossings and frequent supply disruptions is increasing the cost-to-serve, reducing gross margins and making it unprofitable to hold inventory as a buffer.

Leading companies look for ways to improve communications among the supply chain, leadership, sales, and other commercial teams so that supply chain leaders clearly understand the trade-offs required to win in the market. The most successful companies are also involving other key stakeholders in the supply chain balance equation discussion, including finance, R&D, regulatory, sustainability, and procurement. This ensures everyone understands all the implications of the proposed overhaul, particularly what can actually happen.

COVID-19 disruptions pushed companies to reorient their supply chains around resilience. According to Bain & Company, management at one global apparel firm recognised early on that this would require a transformation that would have ripple effects across other parts of the business. In order to make the correct decision, it pulled together a cross-functional strategy team that included the heads of supply chain, finance, sustainability, consumer insights, and the product’s business unit. The team saw the supply chain redesign as an opening to not only boost resilience but also responsiveness and sustainability. It found reducing reliance on any one location would provide insulation from supply disruptions, and making its products closer to customers would speed up delivery and shrink the supply chain’s carbon footprint.

Design to delivery and beyond

Taking a detailed view of the entire product journey, from design to delivery and beyond, can also help to simplify sourcing, by standardising as many elements as possible, reducing the range and specification of materials used for production and packaging. This means fewer suppliers and components, which lowers the exposure to disruption. Companies should investigate whether it’s possible to use less material and/or more recycled content, and whether this can reduce total cost of manufacture.

Today, chief supply chain officers balance multiple conflicting needs of cost, service, sustainability, agility and resilience. As a result of increasingly international trade complexity and the need to manage a widening range of risks, it’s difficult to determine where products should be manufactured and sold. While the onshoring versus offshoring versus friendshoring debate remains, it is further complicated by issues such as sustainability, trade wars, agility and, increasingly, visibility.

In the era of mass offshoring, manufacturers have enjoyed the huge scale efficiencies of large manufacturing centres in low-wage countries. For a wide range of products, there is a now a considerable and visible shift to get closer to the end customer, to ensure a faster response to changing consumer demands, while avoiding tariffs, cutting logistics costs and reducing carbon footprint.

Looking ahead, supply chain has little choice. It can’t stand still and wait for the next black swan event to unfold – companies must be more resilient and fluid. A great supply chain reset may not just be a “nice to have” anymore.

In EY’s January 2023 European CEO Outlook Survey, it was discovered European CEOs expect short-term challenges but have reason for optimism.

Today’s CEO faces unprecedented challenges like never before and is tasked with navigating choppy waters.

Amid global uncertainty caused by a potential recession and on the back of war in Ukraine and disruption caused by COVID-19, it can feel overwhelming for even the most experienced leaders.

A positive horizon?

Despite this, consulting giants EY has discovered reason for optimism in its January 2023 CEO Outlook Pulse survey which includes 390 responses from CEOs across Europe. While the survey found 98% of respondents are indeed expecting a global recession, the majority of European CEOs (52%) anticipate it to be temporary and not a persistent one. These figures are a greater percentage than CEOs worldwide (48%) who point to more long-term optimism for the global economy among European CEOs.

According to the survey, 47% of European respondents believe this recession will be different from previous slowdowns. The recent crisis is more driven by myriad geopolitical challenges and an ongoing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic compared with previous recessions primarily as a result of financial and credit market factors. Many CEOs are aware of this difference and acknowledge the necessity for new and sustainable approaches that build resilience in uncertain times.

In EY’s last survey in October 2022, ongoing pandemic-related concerns such as supply chain issues were the most important topics. However, since then supply chain pressures have eased to some extent with data from S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showing improvement. Only 32% of European CEOs now cite supply chains as the key issue which is down from 41% in October. Given inflationary pressures and the upward movement in interest rates, European CEOs are increasingly focusing on the policies and steps they believe European governments should take to help businesses mitigate the downturn.

About 35% of European respondents, in comparison to 32% globally, consider uncertain monetary policy and increasing cost of capital as the biggest challenge to growth. With inflation beginning to decline in November 2022 after 17 months of upward trajectory, CEOs are closely following central bank activity for potential course changes.

A strategy change

In response to the current recession, EU policymakers are considering more dovish economic recovery proposals instead of top-down austerity rules seen during the sovereign debt crises a decade ago. This includes rethinking debt rules to help countries navigate this downturn. Alongside this, EU governments now face pressure on how to handle the discontent of people protesting against the rising cost of living crisis and questions still remain on how extensively they will intervene. In particular, governments are reluctant to pursue austerity measures as a result of protests from the crisis 10 years ago. Meanwhile, for CEOs, financing will continue to be a challenge as a result of increased capital costs that are set to persist which disrupted growth plans.

European CEOs have learned from previous financial crises and recognise that it is essential to think of new and sustainable strategies to capitalise on the opportunities.

What is the way forward?

According to EY, there are five directives which are worth exploring over the next few years.

Investing in operations
European CEOs identify investing internally to boost operations as extremely important. Risk isn’t only about extraordinary events; day-to-day operational failures can also lead to losses, regulatory action and reductions in share prices. Operations such as finance, accounting and supply chain have emerged as the top priority area of investment for European CEOs (41%).

Recognising disruption and accelerating digital transformation

Amid ongoing global pressure to embrace new technologies and a digital transformation, COVID-19 further accelerated a trend toward digitalisation. Around 38% of European CEOs (in line with 37% globally) are looking to invest in digital transformation, data and technology to emerge stronger from this downturn.

Developing a strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy

Businesses need to ensure ESG processes are moved to the centre of business strategy. Sustainability, including net zero and other environmental issues, as well as societal priorities, is one of the key areas that European CEOs identify as a need for more investment.

Nurturing talent

Despite the recession, the labour market remains tight in Europe. European CEOs are weighing cost management options, with 37% considering a move to contract employment and 38% planning on reducing learning and development investments. About one third are also considering a restructuring of their workforce compared with global and Americas CEOs (36% and 42%) considering the same approach.

Portfolio transformation

Looking ahead, portfolio rebalancing is expected to be a key theme as CEOs will be compelled to make bold decisions regarding their business portfolio. During a recession, companies must critically assess what their core businesses are, what their focus should be and where they can create value by spinning out or selling non-core assets. Some 93% of European CEOs consider prioritising restructuring opportunities as an important initiative in the next six months.

STADA graces the cover of CPOstrategy this month!

Our exclusive cover story this month features Alan Rankin, Chief Procurement Officer at STADA, who discusses his company’s journey to offering a best-in-class procurement function.

Few industries can say that statement with certainty. But for the pharmaceutical industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding a solution quickly was non-negotiable.  

Indeed, Alan Rankin, Chief Procurement Officer at STADA, acknowledges the role his sector played in helping to combat one of the biggest health crises of all time. He says the COVID-19 period made him “extremely proud” to be part of the industry. “The pharmaceutical industry worked hard to come up with a solution during a time when governments struggled to cope with what happened,” he recalls. “The industry had a real impact on the world being able to handle the situation and not going into financial meltdown. That alone makes me so proud to be in this space.” 

Read the latest issue here!

Today, STADA stands as a renowned manufacturer of high-quality pharmaceuticals. The firm operates with a three-pillar strategy consisting of consumer healthcare products, generics and specialty pharmaceuticals. Its consumer healthcare brands such as Hedrin, Nizoral, Grippostad and Zoflora are among the top sellers in their respective product categories…

Not only that but we also have fascinating discussions involving all the hot topics around the procurement function at the moment, with George Schutter, Former Chief Procurement Officer at the District of Columbia, Noemie Chetty, Director of Procurement of the Seychelles’ Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) and Trevor Tasker, CEO at EMCS Industries. Plus, Bob Booth Senior Partner, Finance & Supply Chain Transformation at IBM Consulting details how AI could affect the procurement function. “We are now witnessing a tipping point in the application of AI at real scale, and CPOs are wondering how this impacts them and their colleagues. This article aims to equip CPOs and their teams with some ideas to consider and some pointers on applying AI in a professional capacity to their company,” he reveals.

All this and lots, lots more!


Welcome to the launch issue of CEOstrategy where we highlight the challenges and opportunities that come with ‘the’ leadership role

Our first cover story explores how Vodafone is leveraging strong leadership to drive the collaborations enabling businesses to champion change management and better use technology.

Welcome to the launch issue of CEOstrategy!

Tasked with accelerating business growth, while building the synergies across an organisation that can drive innovation to meet diverse customer needs and keep revenues on track, the modern CEO must be mentor, marshall and motivator on the journey to success.

Read the launch issue here!

Leadership with purpose at Vodafone

“Leadership is purpose, it’s why do you do the things you do…”

Our cover story throws the spotlight on Vodafone US CEO David Joosten; also Director for Americas & Partners Markets at Vodafone Business, he talks to CEOstrategy about leading from the front and setting the standards to deliver growth while keeping employees and customers happy.

“People follow leaders that are honest about themselves. If you can reflect on what you’ve done well, but also where you need to improve it can inspire others to do the same.”

EMCS Industries Ltd: How a CEO can navigate change management

“Why hire talent and then tell them what do? You have so much to learn from the great people you hire. Micromanaging is not management, and it’s certainly not leadership. Let your people thrive!”

Read our interview with EMCS Industries Ltd CEO Trevor Tasker for more thought-provoking insights on leadership from the shifting tides of the marine industry in this maiden issue.

How to be an authentic leader

“At the most basic human level, everyone knows what it’s like to feel heard by another person, and how that changes our behaviour. It can help anger and sadness subside and enable us to start seeing things differently. So, when employees are being listened to by their leaders, it can only help how an organisation operates.”

Dr Andrew White, director of the Advanced Management and Leadership Programme at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School and host of the Leadership 2050 podcast series, explores transformative approaches to leadership for the modern CEO.

How can CEOs drive forward culture change around diversity and inclusion?

Diane Lightfoot, CEO of Business Disability Forum, explores the changing the narrative around diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“Disability is still often parked in the “too difficult” box when it comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Employers are often afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing and as a result, do or say nothing. As a CEO, the stakes feel (and often are) higher. That high profile platform can feel daunting at the best of times; when tackling an unfamiliar topic, it can feel positively overwhelming. But what we do and say as senior leaders has a huge impact. Indeed, it is critical in driving change.”

Also in this launch issue, we get the lowdown on agile ways of working from Kubair Shirazee, CEO of Agile transformation specialists Agilitea. Elsewhere, we speak with Nirav Patel, CEO of the consultancy firm, Bristlecone – a subsidiary of Mahindra Group and a leading provider of AI powered application transformation services for the connected supply chain – who discusses the challenges facing CPOs and supply chain leaders in our uncertain times. And we analyse the latest insights for CEOs from McKinsey and Gartner.

Enjoy the issue!

Dan Brightmore, Editor

Jolyon Bennett, CEO of Juice, discusses how sustainability has moved to the forefront of his organisation’s operations

A green approach is quickly transitioning away something that is ‘nice to have’ to an essential component of a company’s strategy.

To Jolyon Bennett, who heads up UK tech accessories manufacturer Juice, being environmentally friendly is non-negotiable. Bennett has transformed the mobile phone accessories sector, having consistently introduced a series of quality, vibrant and consumer-focused products to market, ranging from portable power banks through to super-fast chargers.

He takes us under the bonnet of his firm’s sustainability drive.

You have recently removed all single-use plastic from your entire product range – why?

Jolyon Bennett (JB): “Why wouldn’t you? Single-use plastic is one of the biggest polluters in manufacturing – it uses 3% of the entire planet’s oil consumption. This year, it’s forecast that there will be 50kg of plastic waste for every single one of the eight billion human beings on planet earth – that’s a lot! Consumers, manufacturers and brand owners like myself all need to get on board with the fact that we’re going to need to use and re-use plastic packaging to make different things.

“Why have we done it? Because it’s totally the right thing to do. We need to stop making so much plastic and we need start reusing what we’ve already got. We need to stop cutting down trees in order to make paper and cardboard – let the trees grow and re-use what we’ve got. It just makes sense on a planetary level to stop consuming quite so much and start being just a bit more content with what we’ve got. Why do we need to make ‘new new new’ all the time?”

What have you used instead of virgin plastic?

JB: “We’re reusing, reusing, reusing. Did you know that recycled plastic – depending on its quality and density – can be recycled and re-used between seven and 200 times. Isn’t that unbelievable? It’s such an amazing material. Plastic is a vibe, and we should be re-using it. Juice is using post-consumer waste such as Evian bottles to make speakers, old milk cartons to make power banks and so much more!”

Why do you love plastic?

JB: “I just think we’ve got a lot of it so why not reuse it? I admire the material because it’s so durable – it’s an incredible scientific breakthrough to be able to make something that’s not only waterproof and heatproof but lasts for up to 3,000 years. There are so many different elements that make plastic a great material. I would prefer it if we didn’t have any, but that’s not going to solve the current (and ever-growing) problem of plastic waste finding its way into our oceans, and burying it isn’t the answer either. The problem is with us humans is that we just shy away from the truth – l don’t want to shy away, I want to face these problems head on and meet the challenge.”

Has Juice taken a financial hit to make this happen?

JB: “As an example, we sell around three million cables a year (based on last year’s figures) and each piece of packaging that we are making using post-consumer waste costs us between $0.15 and $0.25 more, so as a minimum, our increased cost for doing this is almost half a million dollars. But I still think it’s the right thing to do. Money is made up – the world could end and money would no longer matter, so let’s stop making decisions based purely on money and let’s start making decisions based on the right thing to do.”

How do you rate the overall quality of the ‘Eco’ products compared to the ones they have superseded?

JB: “There is absolutely no difference whatsoever, so I rate them just as highly.”

Do customers really want these eco products or is this more for your own conscience?

JB: “I don’t suffer from guilt so in that respect I don’t feel driven by my conscience to do this – doing the right thing has its own gravity and its own way of whisking you forward. Generally, I believe that people and businesses that do the right things will prosper. I’m a firm believer in the philosophy of ‘do the right thing and good things will happen’ so it’s a strategic choice to do something that has a positive impact because positive things attract positive things. While not every consumer or every retailer is especially interested in our sustainability drive, I do think this is shifting slightly. Maybe I do have a conscience, but the reality is that it’s the right thing to do, and the right thing gets rewarded in the end.”

Are retailers keen to stock them?

JB: “We haven’t given them a choice! We changed all of our products because we wanted to and we are adamant that even though the materials we are using are different, our products still perform just as well, if not better.”

Should other tech brands follow suit?

JB: “Of course they should, and we would happily help them do so. We’re willing to introduce other tech brands to our suppliers and guide them through the same process we’ve taken, sharing our knowledge – including the hurdles we’ve overcome – because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t understand why any brand would want to continue producing virgin plastic when they don’t have to, it just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

What advice would you give to other brands wanting to embark on this process of removing single-use plastic from their products?

JB: “Do it. Stop messing about – get on with it and do it. Although it may cost you a bit more in the short term, we’ve proven that consumers do generally buy more of your products if you are making the right decisions towards the environment, so you will reap this extra cost back whilst also doing the right thing.”

What is next for Juice?

JB: “I want Juice to be a brand that limits its impact. We’re currently doing this with our manufacturing and through our supply chain and the way that we conduct ourselves in general. I want to start releasing products that have a positive impact on humans as well as the planet – I’m a firm believer that everyone can win. There will always be a demand for technology, so I don’t believe that we should be fighting against it, however, I would very much like to see people taking their technology off grid.

“My dream is to be able to take every mobile phone on planet earth off grid and start generating our own personal electricity. I want to create products that link to your activity – imagine if you could run 5k and the kinetic activity could generate enough energy to a charge a device such as a phone or a laptop while you do it? I’m interested in organic solutions to current chemical problems such as organic battery cells using salt water and algae as a storage method of electricity – so much so that we’re currently in discussions with a photosynthesis harvesting electronics brand about using photosynthesis as a charging capability!

“I want to get more connected with nature and I think you can have it all – I think we can still enjoy modern technology as well as the beautiful world around us. If we can utilise our intelligence in the right way, we can all live in a perfectly harmonious symbiotic relationship with amazing technology products and a sustainable environment for all wildlife.”

Procurement is in a state of flux. Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, the procurement landscape is volatile and requires…

Procurement is in a state of flux.

Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, the procurement landscape is volatile and requires agility to navigate turbulent waters. But, despite significant disruption could there still be opportunity?

Simon Whatson, Vice President of Efficio Consulting, is optimistic about the future of digital procurement and despite a challenging few years he is confident of a successful bounce back. He gives us the lowdown on the direction of travel for digital procurement in 2023. 

As an executive with considerable experience in the space, we’d love to learn more about your background and how you ended up in procurement. Why was this the specialism for you and how did you get involved to begin with?

Simon Whatson (SW): “I think the one-word answer of how I came into procurement was accidental. I studied maths at university, with a year in France, before I began looking for different roles to apply for.

“Eventually, I was offered a position with a big plumbing and heating merchant with global operations. I worked in that supply chain team for two and a half years. Although it was called supply chain, a lot of the work was procurement, which involved negotiating with suppliers. It was after that stint there, that I discovered consulting and joined a boutique procurement consultancy. Now I am onto my third consultancy and I’m very happy here!

“In terms of why I’ve stayed, one of the success factors in procurement is being able to work cross-functionally. Procurement doesn’t own any of the spending that it is responsible for helping to optimise. It must work with other functions and the spend owners. I quite like the people side of that, building relationships, almost selling internally to bring teams together. That really appeals to me and is a key reason why I’ve been very happy in procurement.”

As we move into exploring procurement today in 2023. The space is filled with challenges and complexities. You only need to look at the last few years. Covid, war in Ukraine, inflation – how would you describe the world’s recent challenges and their effect on the industry and what do you feel CPOs and leaders can do to combat these issues?

SW: “I would flip it around and say that these are not so much challenges but rather opportunities for procurement. When I started my career 18 years ago, procurement was often fighting to get a voice and there were complaints that procurement was not represented at the top table, but the war in Ukraine, inflation, COVID and ESG, these are things which are now on the C-suite agenda and procurement is ideally positioned to help companies face those challenges. If you think about COVID and the war in Ukraine, procurement is in a privileged position to help with this.

“I see some procurement functions that prefer to do what they know, which focuses on the process and transactional side. However, there are also many forward-thinking CPOs and procurement professionals out there, that have really seized this opportunity of being on the C-suite agenda and drive the thinking and the solutions to some of these big challenges we’re seeing.”

Although new technology in procurement has been around for well over a decade, digitalisation has become so much more of an important topic. How would you sum up where procurement and supply chain are in terms of digital transformation today?

SW: “It’s a bit laggard, but digital transformation is difficult, and we have to recognise there are some real trailblazers. There are some firms doing some fantastic things in digital to produce better outcomes. If you contrast your experience when you’re buying something in your private life, it’s much easier than 20 years ago. You can get access to a wealth of pre-sourced things, whether it’s food, a holiday, a car, or a book. You can see reviews of what other people think of these things.

“But when you go into your workplace as a business user and you want to buy something, it doesn’t quite work like that yet. You often have to fill in a form, send it off and wait for them to come back to you. They might come back a little bit later than you were hoping and might tell you that they don’t have that part on the supply frameworks. I think people sometimes get confused about how it can be so easy to buy something as large as a car or a holiday on their sofa at home, but when they want to buy something at work, it seems to be quite cumbersome. Digital can help a lot with that, but it is incumbent on organisations and procurement functions to figure out how to recreate that customer experience that we’ve become accustomed to in our private lives.”

With a new generation of leaders growing up with technology, some might say that it could be a key driver in helping to speed the adoption in procurement along. Is this something you would agree with or what would you point to as a key driver?

SW: “I do think that it will act as one of the catalysts for further digital transformation in organisations, because if procurement doesn’t manage to recreate that customer experience that the new generation expects, then they won’t use procurement going forward and will look to bypass it.

“The analogy that I’ve used previously in this case is one of travel agents. I remember as a child, my parents were able to take us on holiday and I remember the whole process. We would walk into town to the travel agent, and look at some of the brochures of options. They often then had to phone the various airlines or resorts on our behalf. They might not be able to get through, so we’d have to come back the next day. I remember as a child being quite excited by the whole process but actually, thinking back, it was quite cumbersome. You compare that to now, with being able to review online, and you can get instant answers to your questions. It’s not a coincidence that travel agents don’t really exist anymore.”

How much of a challenge is it to not get caught leveraging technology for technologies sake? How important is it to stay true to your approach and be strategic?

SW: “We conducted a study of many procurement leaders and CPOs a few years ago, and one of the things that we found was that about 50% of procurement leaders admitted to having bought technology just on the basis of a fear of missing out, without any real understanding of the benefits that technology was going to bring. That was a real shock and a revealing find because technology is not cheap, and its implementation is quite disruptive. If you’re purchasing a system because everybody else is using it, then there could be some pretty costly mistakes. It is really important to make sure that when buying technology, it is because the benefits are fully understood.

“My advice to companies when looking to digitalise is own your data, visualise that data, and manage your knowledge. If you can focus on getting those things right in that order, and make your technology decisions to support that goal, then that’s a much better way of thinking about it rather than just jumping in and buying a piece of technology.”

It’s clear that the procurement space is an exciting, but challenging, place to be. What do you think will play a key role in the next 12 months to push the digital conversation further to take procurement to the next level?

SW: “Looking forward, one thing that procurement needs to do and continue to do is attract the best people. Ultimately, people are what makes an organisation, and it is what makes a function successful. I think procurement has often not looked for the right skills in the people that it employs. Traditionally, it’s looked for people with procurement experience and while they are valuable and required, we also need leadership potential. People who think a bit more outside the box and aren’t so process driven. A lot of what procurement has done in previous years has been process driven, so if you’re just limiting your search of people to those that have had procurement experience, you’re inevitably going to end up with a lot of people who are process driven.

“I think being bolder and recruiting people from different backgrounds with different skill sets is the way to go. If procurement can ‘own’ the ESG space, that will help with the younger generation see procurement make a difference. I think that’s one thing that will be key to success going forward.”

Check out the latest issue of CPOstrategy Magazine here.

Paul Farrow, Vice President of Hilton Hotels’ Supply Management, sits down with us to discuss how his organisation’s procurement function has evolved amid disruption on a global scale

The hospitality industry has endured a rough ride over the past few years.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic which stopped the world in its tracks and now with millions facing a cost-of-living crisis, it’s been a period of unprecedented disruption for those involved in the space and beyond.

But it’s a challenge met head-on by Paul Farrow, Vice President of Supply Management at Hilton Hotels, and his team who have been forced to respond as the world continues to shift before their eyes.

Farrow gives us a closer look into the inner workings of his firm’s procurement function and how he has led the charge during his time with Hilton Hotels.

Could we start with you introducing yourself and talking a little about your role at Hilton Hotels? 

Paul Farrow (PF): “I’m the Vice President of Hilton’s Supply Management, or HSM as we call it. I’ve been with Hilton Hotels for 12 and a half years, and my role is to head the supply chain function for our hotels across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“Over the past few years, Hilton has grown rapidly and has now got 7,000 hotels in over 125 countries globally. What is really exciting is Hilton Supply Management doesn’t just supply Hilton Hotels and the Hilton Engine because we also now supply our franchisees and competitive flags. While we have 7,000 hotels globally, Hilton Supply Management actually supplies close to 13,000 hotels. That’s an interesting business development for us, and a profit earner too.”

You’re greatly experienced, I bet you’ve seen supply chain management and procurement change a lot in recent years? 

PF: “The past two to three years have been tremendously challenging on so many industries but I’d argue that hospitality got hit more than most as a result of the Covid pandemic. Here at Hilton, supply management was really important just to keep the business operational throughout that tough time, but I’m delighted to say we’re fully recovered now.

“Looking back, it was undoubtedly difficult, and you only have to look at the media to see that we’re now going through a period of truly unprecedented inflation. On top of the normal day job, it’s certainly been a very busy time.”

Hospitality must have been under an awful lot of pressure during the pandemic… 

PF: “Most of our teams as a business and all functions have worked together far more collaboratively than ever before through the use of technology and things like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Trying to work remotely as effectively as possible changed the way we all had to think and the way we had to do. Now we’re back in the workplace and in our offices, we’re actually looking to take advantage of that new approach.”

Inflation, rising costs, energy shortages, as well as drives towards a circular economy means it’s quite a challenging time for CSCOs and CPOs right now, isn’t it?

PF: “Those headwinds have caused and created challenges of the like that we’ve not seen before. The war in Ukraine and Russia has meant significant supply chain disruption and supply shortages of some key ingredients and raw materials. China is a significant source of materials and they’re still having real challenges to get their production to keep up with demand.

“All the local and short-term challenges are around energy and fuel pricing, so throughout the supply chain that’s been a major factor to what we’ve had to deal with. On top of that is the labour shortages. We rely heavily throughout the supply chain and within our business to utilise labour from around the world. In my region, particularly from say Eastern Europe as well as other businesses all fighting for a smaller labour pool than we had before. We are fighting with the likes of the supermarkets, Amazon’s, not just other hotel companies to capture the labour pool we need both in our properties but also within our supply chain supplies themselves.

Hilton operates a rather unique procurement function, doesn’t it?  

PF: “We trade off the Hilton name because our brand strength is something that we are able to utilise and we’re very proud of, but we’ve also got additional leverage by having that group procurement model.

“We’ve got essentially two clients. We’ve got our managed estate which is when an owner chooses to partner with Hilton, they’re signing a management agreement because they want the benefit and value of the Hilton engine. That could be revenue management, how we manage onboarding clients and customers through advertising, as well as the other support we give in terms of finance, HR, marketing and sales as well as procurement.”

HSM is a profit centre and revenue driver through its group procurement model but how does this work?

PF: “Our secret sauce is our culture. It’s our people and that filters across all of our team members and indeed all of our functions. The key strategic pillars are the same for health and supply management around culture, maximising performance and so on as they are across the overall global business.

“Across our 7,000 plus hotels, the majority are actually franchised hotels because that’s the legacy of what still is the model in the US. When I joined Hilton 12 and a half years ago, the reverse is true where nearly all of our hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and indeed in Asia Pacific, were and are managed. In the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions right now we’re building up close to a 50/50 split between managed, leased and franchised.”

What has pleased you most about the roll-out of the HSM?

PF: “It’s certainly not been easy because we’ve got 70 countries that sit within our region here in EMEA and Hilton’s penetration in those individual countries is very different. We may have 100 hotels in one of those markets and only one or two in specific countries. Our scale and our ability to get logistics solutions is different by market.

“Getting everyone on board to what we want to achieve to our guests and to our owners means we have to pull different levers. We have very effective brand standards. If you’re signing up to Hilton, you’re signing up to delivering against those brand standards that we believe are right for our organisation.”

What kind of feedback have you had from your clients? 

PF: “Integrity is in our DNA, and we work very closely with our suppliers who we value as partners. These are long-term relationships, and we work hand in hand because we have to see that they’re successful so that we can be successful – it’s really important to what we do and we constantly look for feedback.

“With our internal and our external customers, we’ll have quarterly business reviews and so we’ll get that feedback through surveys where we are asking them to tell us what we do well and what we could do better. Our partners are now asking what additional value can you do to bring support to our organisation through ESG? So that’s what’s on the table now when it wasn’t before. But it’s not just that – it’s about the security of supply competitiveness, competitiveness of pricing, and a whole bunch of other very important things as well.”

Looking to the future, what’s on the agenda for the next few years?

PF: “We’re out there meeting and greeting people in person and there’s always new opportunities that make things exciting in what we do and how we work. Innovation’s very high on our agenda and we’re very proud of what we do in food and beverage. In non-food categories, it’s about how we support our owners and our hotel general managers to find that competitive edge and do the next big thing ahead of our competitors.”

Anything else important to know?

PF: “One thing we’ve been able to take full advantage of is how we’ve been able to grow our business by bolting on new customers. I think it’s fantastic that our competitors choose to use Hilton Supply Management because they benchmarked what our capabilities are and how competitive we are.

“Another key part of the agenda is environmental, social and governance (ESG) sustainability. Responsible sourcing and everything that sits within that is front and centre of what we do. Within that you’ve got human rights, animal welfare, single use plastics as well as general responsible sourcing like managing food waste. The list is very long, but they’re all very important.”

Check out the latest issue of CPOstrategy Magazine here.

CPOstrategy catches up with Sam de Frates, who has been leading procurement transformation at Mars, Incorporated, to discover how one of the world’s largest enterprises has put people at the heart of its plans…

Our exclusive cover story this month, sees us catching up with Sam de Frates, Vice President, Commercial – Europe, CIS & Turkey at Mars, Incorporated, and the leader of procurement transformation at the company, to discover how one of the world’s largest enterprises has put people at the heart of its plans…

Read the latest issue here!

CPOstrategy Magazine cover - Issue 39

Talk of technological change and digital transformations often excludes the most vital tools in delivering meaningful value within an enterprise: the people. Because new tools, processes and capabilities only truly maximise their value if they are shaped by the very people that require their services. The adoption of technology without the human touch can be an expensive opportunity missed.

An experienced procurement leader who has worked at some of the largest companies on earth, de Frates joins us for a chat from his London office to discuss how digital procurement at Mars has evolved under his guidance, whilst the company undergoes cross functional changes at scale – a hugely significant transformation with Mars Associates and its suppliers at its heart…

Elsewhere, we also we discuss the hottest topics within the procurement function, with Paul Howard, Chief Commercial Officer at New Zealand Defence Force and Manuele Burdese, Sr Director, Head of Business Insights & Analytics Strategic Sourcing & Procurement, Bristol Myers Squibb. Plus, we have some incredible insights from Efficio, Ivalua and Hilton Supply Management.

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods

Here are 10 of the most important leadership skills that CEOs need to demonstrate in 2023.

In today’s world, a CEO needs to be lots of things to different people. The importance of having the leadership skill to being able to lead through unprecedented disruption was highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and helped to define what makes a good CEO.

Here are 10 of the most important leadership skills that CEOs need to demonstrate in 2023.

1. Clear communication

Communicating effectively with employees is one of the most vital skills any leader can have. By adopting a transparent mindset, it leaves little room for miscommunication or misunderstandings. But rather than just being eloquent, CEOs should deliver meaningful content too. A CEO needs to be able to communicate the essence of the business strategy and the methodology for achieving it.

2. Strong talent management strategy

People are the most important component of all businesses. CEOs who are able to recruit and retain key employees have a greater chance of increasing productivity and efficiency. After recruiting good people, the key to retaining them is by harnessing a positive work environment that empowers employees to succeed.

3. Decision-making

As a leader, thinking strategically to make effective decisions is vital to the success of an organisation. Making decisions is a key part of leadership as well as having the conviction to stand by decisions or agility to adapt when those decisions don’t have the required outcome. While all decisions might not be favourable, making unpopular but necessary calls are important characteristics of a good leader.

4. Negotiation

Negotiation is a fundamental part of being a CEO. In a top leadership position, almost every business conversation will be a negotiation. Good negotiations are important to an organisation because they will ultimately result in better relationships, both with staff inside the company and externally. An effective leader will also help find the best long-term solution by finding the right balance and offering value where both parties feel like they ‘win’.

5. Creativity and innovation

Being quick-thinking and ready to explore new options are great skills of a CEO. Creative leadership can lead to finding innovative solutions in the face of challenging and changing situations. It means in the midst of disruption, of which it has been increasingly prevalent, leaders can still find answers for their teams. Creative CEOs are those who take risks and empower employees to drop outdated and overused practices to innovate and try new things that could lead to greater efficiency.

6. Agility

Without agility over the past few years, businesses would have failed. CEOs were forced to embrace remote working following the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic whether they liked it or not. Now, faced against a potential recession, these macroeconomic events are unavoidable and have to be managed carefully. Effective leaders will have their fingers on the pulse and ready to respond to changes.

7. Strategic forecasting

Creating a clear path forward is essential to achieving uninterrupted success. The ability to look into the future and identify trends and issues to then react to is vital. Good CEOs are able to plan strategically and make informed decisions to set goals and plan for the future easily.

8. Delegation

CEOs can’t do everything. A leader tends to be pulled in a number of different ways every day and it is impossible to be on top of everything. This means the importance of bringing in a team of people who are trusted and skilled in their respective areas of expertise. Successful CEOs are expert delegators because they recognise the value of teamwork and elevating those around them.

9. Approachability

An approachable CEO who welcomes conversation and is an active listener will help employees feel at ease raising issues or concerns. This approach will help build strong relationships with staff and customers and encourage a healthy culture which is beneficial to employee retention. Leaders with strong, trusting and authentic relationships with their teams know that investing time in building these bonds which makes them more effective as a leader and creates a foundation for success.

10. Growth mindset

If a CEO arms themselves with a growth mindset it allows them to meet challenges head-on and evolve. This shines a light on improving through effort, learning and persistence. As others may back down in the face of adversity and upheaval, successful CEOs will strive to move forward with confidence. Those with a growth mindset are unlikely to be swayed as they have the tools needed to reframe challenges as opportunities to grow.

We look into the supply chain production process of Easter Eggs and the journey to their final destinations in supermarkets

Chocolate is arguably the world’s most popular sweet treat. Depending on who you ask, of course.

After, perhaps Christmas, it is the most common time for people to indulge in chocolate if they don’t do so anyway throughout the year.

And synonymous with Easter are the eggs themselves which are loved by children and adults alike all over the world.

The journey to Easter Eggs

The supply chain process is split into eight stages of production: cultivating, harvesting, splitting, fermentation, drying, winnowing, roasting and grinding. Following production, the supply chain process is extended further with logistics which is the final step to providing customers with their favourite seasonal sweet treat.

The journey actually begins with cocoa tree plantations being established which is done by scattering young cocoa trees amongst new shade trees or by planting the cocoa trees between established trees. These are planted in humid tropical climates, with temperatures between 21 and 23 degrees Celsius. This is consistent rainfall periods and a short dry season because these conditions provide good quality cocoa.

Easter eggs

Each tree produces 20-30 cocoa pods a year which grows straight from the tree’s trunk and main branches. With this tree also yielding fruit, the crop is carefully pruned, and as a result, it is easier to harvest the cocoa pods. The next step is the labour-intensive task of harvesting the crop.

The harvest is a whole community affair on small West African farms. Large knives are then used to detach the pods from the trees and placed in large baskets on workers’ heads. The pods are then manually split open to remove the beans so they are ready for the two-step curing process. Each pod consists of between 20-40 purple cocoa beans.

The curing process consists of fermenting and drying the beans to develop the chocolate flavour. There are several fermentation methods but the most traditional is the heap method. This requires placing mounds of wet cocoa beans in between layers of banana leaves on the ground for between five to six days. Following this, the drying stage begins. This involves the wet bunch of beans being spread out in the sun or using a more advanced method of special dying equipment.

From plant to factory

Often, a lot of large chocolate brands then buy the cocoa through intermediaries. The beans are then packed into sacks ready to be exported to the brands processing facilities in other locations globally.

After arrival, the beans are cleaned and quality inspected before the winnowing stage takes place. The dried beans are cracked to separate the shell from the nib which is where the small chunks are used to produce chocolate. Afterwards, the roasting phase begins in which the nibs are baked at high temperatures reaching 120 degrees Celsius in special ovens. This is where the colour and flavour is acquired.

Subsequently, the next stage is grinding which creates the basis of all chocolate products. The roasted nibs are grounded in stone mills until a thick liquid chocolate consistency is achieved.

Chocolate to egg

The final step is creating the chocolate egg masterpiece by using highly efficient computer-operated technology which has been used since the mid-20th century. The molten chocolate is placed in heated egg molds which are rotated so there is an even thickness. Following this, the eggs are left to cool and then removed from the molds. Once cooled, the eggs are wrapped in coloured foil and packaged into individual boxes before being sent out for retail. The transportation and exportation throughout the various supply chain stages is vital being a seasonal product. This means they are heavily relied upon for their timings to deliver to large supermarkets and independent stores.

What does today’s CEO need to do to accelerate an organisation’s digital transformation journey?

Digital transformation journeys are no one-size-suits-all. There is no singular way to welcome a new wave of technology into operations.

Since the turn of the century, digitalisation has had an increasingly influential impact on the way CEOs make decisions. Today’s world is full of disruption and potential risk. And with technology growing in complexity it can be challenging to lead such a revolution against a backdrop of economic uncertainty.

Embracing digital

According to KPMG 2022 CEO Outlook, which draws on the perspectives of 1,325 global CEOs across 11 markets, 72% of CEOs agree they have an aggressive digital investment strategy intended to secure first-mover or fast-follower status.

Advancing digitalisation and connectivity across the business is tied (along with attracting and retaining talent) as the top operational priority to achieve growth over the next three years. This digital transformation focus could be driven as a result of increasingly flexible working conditions and greater focus on cybersecurity threats.

However, the prospect of recession is threatening to halt digital transformation in the short-term. KPMG research found that four out of five CEOs note their businesses are pausing or reducing their digital transformation strategies to prepare for the anticipated recession.

This is reinforced further when 70% say they need to be quicker to shift investment to digital opportunities and divest in those areas where they face digital obsolescence.

When a company’s digital transformation ambition is mismatched to its readiness, it is the CEO’s responsibility to close the gap. According to Deloitte, in order to do this successfully, the CEO must assess the current level of organisational readiness for change.

This covers four key pillars that are mixed together to work out an organisation’s overall readiness: leadership, culture, structure and capabilities.

How CEOs can close the gap

Leadership: CEOs need to ensure their c-suite and other key executives are motivated and equipped to execute the vision. CEOs interviewed by Deloitte in a recent study emphasised the importance of the leadership team supporting the transformation vision and having a positive attitude and willingness to transform.

Culture: A large potential barrier to readiness in the organisation is down to culture. Low cultural readiness takes the form of bureaucratic, reactive and risk-averse ways of working that are at against the collaborative, proactive learning mindset needed for ambitious transformation.

Structure: If a company hopes to operate differently, it could mean the need for organising in an alternative way. CEOs will often need to lead the reorganisation of teams, assignment of new roles, revision of incentives, strategies to collapse organisational hierarchies or layers to increase agility.

Capabilities: CEOs need to equip their organisation with four key capabilities to harness digital for a superior capacity for change. These are nimbleness, scalability, stability and optionality which are often enabled or supercharged by digital technologies which are critical factors for competing in an increasingly disrupted world.

For now, one of the CEOs most important roles when steering the ship through disruption is to be ahead of the latest trends and tackle change head-on. By embracing a new digital future that will provide the company with long-lasting benefits, it will help create a brighter and future-proofed firm for years to come even after the CEO is gone.

Sara Malconian, Chief Procurement Officer at Harvard University & Jim Bureau, CEO of JAGGAER explain how ESG & the Circular Economy is changing the evolution of procurement.

We speak to Sara Malconian, Chief Procurement Officer at Harvard University and Jim Bureau, CEO of JAGGAER to see how ESG and the Circular Economy is changing the evolution of procurement…

Sara, how have you seen your role evolve as a procurement leader over the years as ESG and supplier diversity come into focus? 

Procurement leaders have gone from ‘cost cutters’ to ‘problem solvers’ within their organisations. Our core mandates used to be to drive cost savings and efficiency. We were hyper-focused on getting the most out of the organisation’s spend and supplier relationships. Those priorities haven’t gone away, especially in today’s inflationary environment, but the expectations of the procurement function are significantly higher and broader today. 

Procurement functions saved their companies during COVID and the confluence of disruptions that followed. We showed we are a strategic linchpin. We are now looked upon to drive value and impact and strategically guide our organisations to achieve broader goals, including diversity and environmental, social, governance (ESG). Internal stakeholders realised the benefits of procurement and sought help with advancing their department’s agendas or solving their challenges. We listen to their needs, allocate the right resources, and ultimately enable them and the overall organisation to be successful.  

I’ve been in procurement for over 20 years, and I can honestly say you’d be hard-pressed to find a more rewarding and exciting career. Procurement professionals have a real opportunity to make a tangible difference within their organisations, communities, and the world through the way we source products and services. 

What is Harvard doing to have a positive impact on society? Can you share some examples, Sara?

Across the Harvard community, students, alumni, faculty, and staff are advancing scholarship and teaching on the world’s most significant challenges, and everyone wants to do their part to address inequities. Supplier diversity and inclusion have been a priority for Harvard for years, but we wanted to make even more of an impact and really invest in the growth and development of diverse businesses, especially as the pandemic highlighted inequities and disparities within our communities.

In 2021, we formed the Office for Economic Inclusion & Diversity (OEID), which is dedicated to reaching out to diverse suppliers, giving them opportunities, and providing them with tools, training, and resources to be successful. The office also encourages the use of underrepresented business enterprises (UBEs) in the purchasing of all goods, services, and construction at Harvard and standardises procurement practices with these businesses across the university. 

We’re proud of the work this office is doing. We’re actively training suppliers on Harvard’s policies and how they can work with us. We’re creating a central location for them to access bid and RFP opportunities. UBEs can also apply to be mentored by Harvard Business School students.

We’ve created a dashboard to track and analyse spend with diverse suppliers across all of Harvard’s schools and measure progress over time. Everything we’re doing is aimed at increasing spend with our existing diverse suppliers, as well as the number of diverse suppliers that work with Harvard, and helping these suppliers grow their businesses.

Jim, why is prioritizing ESG and supplier diversity important and what steps can companies take today to progress in their journey? 

Beyond being the right thing to do, investors, boards, regulators, customers, and employees now expect organisations to prioritise ESG and diversity initiatives and walk the talk. There’s also a clear business impact. Supplier diversity drives competitive bidding processes that lead to cost savings. Working with partners who are sustainable and have different ideas and perspectives fuels innovation and creates a competitive advantage. Sourcing from a sustainable and diverse supplier pool also reduces risk by broadening organisations’ access to multiple resources for various materials, products, and services. 

One of the most critical steps companies can take to progress on their ESG journey is to make it clear to suppliers that environmentalism is a priority for their organisation. They will attract suppliers with higher levels of ESG maturity and provide suppliers who are earlier on in their ESG journey with sustainability toolkits and training to help educate them on eco-friendly best practices and sustainability innovations.

This step avoids having to overhaul their supply chain to account for ESG. Strategically managing suppliers by leveraging third-party data, scorecards, and supplier audits are crucial for understanding the ESG risks that suppliers pose and minimizing disruptions by working with them to correct these issues. 

Successful supplier diversity programs start with a top-down culture shift. If a company’s culture isn’t diverse, inclusive, and supportive for all its stakeholders, they won’t be able to drive supplier diversity in a meaningful way. Supplier diversity strategy should map back to company goals and include an executive-level champion to sponsor the program internally and help bring in the resources they need.

Outside of leveraging technology to identify diverse suppliers and build a program, businesses can talk with people who have been in their shoes. They can collaborate with like-minded companies at industry events, engage in relevant LinkedIn groups, and connect with organisations such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Once diverse suppliers are on board, organisations can create a supplier diversity policy that clearly outlines how many diverse suppliers need to be invited to bid for each event to ensure teams are executing on the strategy. Leading supplier diversity programs go beyond simply spending with diverse suppliers to providing mentorship and training them on how to respond to RFPs correctly, as well as creating environments where it’s easier for them to engage. 

Jim, what role does technology play in helping organisations achieve ESG and supplier diversity goals?

Technology is a key enabler of ESG and supplier diversity initiatives. One of the biggest obstacles to supplier diversity and ESG is a lack of reliable supplier data. Suppliers don’t always keep their information up to date in self-service portals. The data procurement teams have isn’t always enriched to the level they need, with insights on diversity status, certifications, and proof of ESG compliance.

Researching and assessing suppliers is tedious and time-consuming, which leads many organisations to skip the verification step. Without this information, organisations don’t have a true picture of the inclusivity and sustainability of their supplier network, which makes it impossible to identify the right partners to source from to meet their ESG and supplier diversity goals and make an impact.

Technology addresses this challenge by automatically collecting, enriching, validating, and integrating the supplier data needed to obtain this level of supply base visibility and make decisions that drive ESG and diversity. AI-powered tools are available to match buyers with specific diverse suppliers who also have the capabilities to help drive ESG objectives and meet broader procurement criteria.

Software that segments the supply base and helps visualise spending with small and diverse suppliers across a variety of classifications is critical for setting benchmarks and measuring progress and ROI. 

Jim and Sara, how do you expect the ESG and diversity conversation to shift and where should procurement leaders focus for the future?

Sara: I expect we’ll see the conversation shift to emphasise measurement. It’s not enough anymore to say you’re committed to ESG – you need to prove it and show demonstrable progress and ROI. Maintaining the momentum on ESG initiatives is hard. Technology is key for setting benchmarks and goals, ensuring accountability for hitting key milestones, and measuring progress and return in a credible way. 

Jim: In a declining economic environment, choices inevitably need to be made. I expect the conversation around ESG will center around where companies can focus to maintain progress on ESG initiatives as financial and economic pressures come to the forefront. While some companies may need to scale back in some areas to preserve cash and resources to navigate a downturn, I’d advise them to be careful about slowing ESG down too much as it will be much harder to catch up to current levels after the economy bounces back.

I’d argue that when ESG is done right it can be a strategic lever for navigating a down economy, saving organizations money and resources, driving innovation, and helping them achieve broader business objectives and resilience. 

Here are five of the biggest procurement events happening during 2023 that chief procurement officers won’t want to miss.

Procurement Futures 

London, UK  |  1-2 February 2023 

Held at the QEII Centre in central London, Procurement Futures is a new conference, launching in 2023. It promises delegates the chance to find out how to make supply chains more resilient, with thought-provoking and presentations and discussions designed to inform and inspire.

There is a flexible programme of content that can be tailored to attendees’ preferences, with networking opportunities throughout and a huge variety of sessions to attend and take part in.

This CIPS event has three streams of content: Insights, Ignite and Interact. Insights will showcase presentations and panel discussions from leaders, Ignite will consist of hands-on workshops to help delegates optimise their procurement strategies and Interact will be smaller groups taking part in interactive roundtables and debates.

Speakers across the two days will include Ross Grierson, Director of Procurement, Primark; Patrick Dunne, Director of Group Property, FM & Procurement (CPO), Sainsburys Plc; Rebecca Simpson, Procurement and Supply Chain Director, Balfour Beatty; and Nick Jenkinson, Chief Procurement Officer, Santander. In addition, delegates are ablew to book a one-to-one career workshop, where they’ll get advice on professional development from coaches covering a variety of specialisms. 

Tickets are £795 for CIPS member, £995 for a non-member and £2240 for a supplier/solution provider, and there is a discount of 30% for tickets purchased before 30 November 2022. 

3rd World Digital Procurement Summit 

Berlin, Germany  |  2-3 March 2023 

The third World Digital Procurement Summit is aimed at procurement directors, VPs, managers and other industry specialists. The two-day event will focus on accelerating procurement processes, adopting emerging technologies, finding the right talent, overcoming the barriers to progress and embarking on a journey of transformation. It’s a hybrid event, bringing together procurement experts from various industries, which will maximise knowledge exchange opportunities. The event organisers list five key learning points for delegates: 

  1. Exploring the latest advances in data and cognitive technologies to gain greater insights and improve procurement processes 
  1. Overhauling the procurement ecosystem with new technologies and strategies to drive business value 
  1. Sharing the best practices of monitoring and managing a range of risks to hedge against future disruptions 
  1. Developing capabilities and skillset required for the digital transformation of procurement 
  1. Defining ESG metrics of the procurement strategy to ensure business continuity 

Speakers will include Paul Harlington, Group Procurement Director at TUI Group and Patrick Foelck, Head of Strategy and Transformation Procurement at Roche. 

Click here to check out a video from a previous event. Tickets cost €1495. 

Women in Procurement & Supply Chain 

Sydney, Australia  |  6-8 March 2023 

Returning for its 8th annual event, Women in Procurement & Supply Chain will deliver two days dedicated to leadership and the future of procurement. The event will feature a series of exclusive panel discussions and keynote addresses examining career development, overcoming imposter syndrome, working with confidence, developing an unbeatable talent pool, mentoring, diversity and inclusivity.

It will also address risk mitigation, digital disruption, ESG, sustainability, economic development, ethical sourcing, category management, cultural diversity, strategic sourcing, supplier relationships, procurement with purpose, and supply chain resilience. There are two pre-conference masterclass options on 6 March – that can be booked separately – covering either contract law or leadership skills. 

Some of the reasons to attend include: 

  • Discover the path to taking your procurement career to a new level while elevating your organisation with dedicated days on leadership and the future of procurement 
  • Learn best practice strategies to facedown supply chain vulnerabilities and reduce risk exposure 
  • Get ahead of the game with insights into the future of procurement and the impact of globalisation on modern supply chains 
  • Put yourself at the cutting edge of ESG and procurement with the latest updates and trends in procurement with purpose 

Speakers for the main two-day conference include Michelle Richard, Director of Procurement, Thales; Karina Davies, Chief Procurement Officer, icare NSW; and Kylie McKinlay, Procurement Partner – Property and Business, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 

Tickets start at $3,495 with discounts available until 25 November 2022. 

Americas Procurement Congress 

Miami, USA  |  21-22 March 2023 

The Americas Procurement Congress will feature the region’s most progressive CPOs sharing their expertise

With a focus on what makes CPOs tick, the Americas Procurement Congress will feature the region’s most progressive CPOs sharing their expertise in keynote presentations and working groups.

Giving delegates the tools to stay on the cutting edge of procurement developments, there are also sessions aimed at those with responsibilities over governance, procurement capabilities and quantifying data. Unsurprisingly, sustainability will also be a key theme in 2023, and attendees will hear from a diverse range of sustainability leaders about how to transition from traditional metrics to a purpose-driven function. 

The agenda for Americas Procurement Congress 2023 will include: 

  • Sustainability of the future  
  • How to transition from traditional metrics to a purpose-driven function   
  • Harnessing the power of digital transformation  
  • Utilizing data as a driver of sustainable value, supply continuity and transparency   Agile procurement  
  • New approaches and skills that facilitate speed and agility   
  • Frictionless procurement  
  • Removing friction from the procurement process to support high-velocity sourcing   
  • Beyond Just in Time 
  • Designing future-fit supply networks for an age of chaos and conflict 

Tickets start at $3649. 

Americas Procurement Congress 

Orlando, Florida  |  8–10 June 2023 

Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2022 addressed the most significant challenges that chief supply chain officers and supply chain leaders face as they mitigate risk and navigate uncertainty in an increasingly dynamic and challenging environment.  

At the conference, the top 5 sessions that CSCOs and supply chain leaders met on included: 

  • Signature Series: The Future of Supply Chain 
  • What the Pivot to Sustainable Profit Means for Procurement Leaders 
  • The Art of the New Age One Page Dashboard: Why Your Current Perfor-mance Measures May Be Doing More Harm Than Good 
  • Manage Supplier Risk With Technology 
  • Procurement Role Redesign: Stop Fitting Square Pegs Into Round Holes 

Tickets start at $4725. 

Here are five of the best procurement schools in Europe.

As procurement becomes an increasingly vital and strategic function within many organisations, people are beginning to realise the full potential of turning it into a career for themselves.

This has subsequently led to many universities noticing the demand in the industry and offering courses which equip students with the relevant qualifications and skills needed to succeed in the supply chain space.

With this in mind, here are five of the best procurement schools in Europe.


Course: Various
Where: Across England

procurement schools

Run by Oxford College of Procurement and Supply, there are 10 Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply centres in England offering several different qualification levels to choose from. The courses are recognised throughout the world as harnessing leading edge thinking and professionalism across the procurement and supply chain management space.

CIPS offers courses such as level three, four, five and six in procurement and supply with each qualification created to reflect current, emerging and best practice in procurement and supply chain management. Classes focus on exploring legacy purchasing and supply methods as well as techniques and theory to the application in a business environment.

CIPS doesn’t just offer in-person studying as courses are designed to suit individual lifestyles with virtual classrooms, part-time and weekend options to choose from.

2. Politecnico di Milano

Course: MSc in Supply Chain and Procurement Management
Where: Milan, Italy

Politecnico di Milano
Politecnico di Milano offers an extensive portfolio of programmes

Renowned as being one of the best scientific and technological universities in the world, Politecnico di Milano offers an extensive portfolio of programmes in a variety of different spaces. Its supply chain master’s degree is a 12-month course aimed at equipping students with vital knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the industry.

The course also includes a number of practical activities in the programme such as lessons with international lectures, workshops on soft skills, company presentations, projects with companies, company visits and an international study tour in Rotterdam.

According to Politecnico di Milano, 86% of students were employed three months after graduation while 55% were also working abroad during the same period.

The course was ranked third in the TOP 2021 Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking (Global) and eighth in the QS Supply Chain Management Masters Rankings for 2023.

3. SKEMA Business School

Course: MSc (and MS) Supply Chain Management and Purchasing
Where: Lille and Paris, France

Skema offers two supply chain management (SCM) and procurement masters: The premium international MSc Global Supply Chain Management in Lille taught in English, and the MS in SCM and Purchasing in Paris and Lille mainly taught in French. France’s highly-rated supply chain and procurement program has been designed with a progressive shift from theory to practice. The degree covers the entirety of supply chain activities from planning, purchasing, receiving, production, storage to delivery through nine compulsory and six elective courses.

The global MSc has a new cooperation with the leading prestigious business school, MIT in the US, plus another cooperation with Politechnico from Milano. The MSc master’s degree provides soft skills in supply chain and purchasing management as well as going into future trends in digitalisation, AI, sustainability, ethics, globalisation, risk management and agility. The course’s primary goal is to find future leaders who are seeking to make a positive impact on the world of supply chain management and procurement. The MSc is a full time program, complemented by paid internships in the area of the student’s choice, while the MS alternates weeks of classes with professionals at the forefront of their fields.

4. Audencia Business School

Course: MSc in Supply Chain and Purchasing Management
Where: Nantes, France

Audencia Business School

Created in 2009, Audencia Business School’s programme will cover topics such as procurement, global sourcing and supply chain strategies. Other topics to feature includes green logistics, Big Data, digital transformation, negotiation and commercial law. The course will provide expertise from industry insiders as business executives visit and share professional insights during the programme.

The school works closely with the corporate world and is recognised for its responsible management practices. Audencia is triple-accredited, highly ranked and internationally oriented and according to its website, 79% of course graduates are employed before graduation. The course is available as a one-year or two-year master’s programme.

In autumn 2024, the course is set to be renamed to the MSc in Responsible Procurement and Supply Chain Management.

5. Cranfield School of Management

Course: MSc in Procurement and Supply Chain Management
Where: Cranfield, United Kingdom

Cranfield School of Management provides students with specialist knowledge and skills in procurement needed to progress their careers

Cranfield’s Procurement and Supply Chain Management course has been co-designed with senior industry executives. This purchasing postgraduate course provides students with specialist knowledge and skills in procurement needed to progress their careers. Possessing one of the largest facilities in Europe, the course places considerable emphasis on how to overcome real-world challenges.

Students will gain an in-depth understanding of supply chain strategy and sustainability, procurement strategy, supplier selection and evaluation, negotiation and contact management. They will also be taught how to use data, models and software to solve problems and inform decisions, inventory and operations management and how to design effective supply chain operations.

Students will have the opportunity to attend a study tour and experience a different supply chain perspective elsewhere in Europe.

The course was ranked 11th in the world on the QS Supply Chain Management Masters Rankings for 2023.

The second issue of SupplyChain Strategy is live! Features exclusive articles on TTI and McPherson’s

SupplyChain Strategy Issue 2 cover

Our exclusive cover story this month sees us speaking to Heath Nunnemacher, VP of Global Electronics Sourcing at TTI, who details the streamlining of its procurement function into a more efficient and effective value-unlocking enabler of business.

Read the issue here!

Techtronic Industries (TTI) is among the world’s largest manufacturers of mostly cordless power tools, outdoor power equipment, and floorcare products for both professional users and do-it-yourself (DIY) consumers.

TTI’s growth has been extraordinary – 13 years of consecutive double-digit gross margin improvement, in fact. In 2021 the company set a new revenue growth record just shy of 35%, more than twice that of its closest global competitor.

A significant driver of that growth is a strategic focus on disrupting industries through leadership in cordless technology. To do so, it requires advanced electronics and collaboration with the most innovative and biggest players in the industry. But with the chip shortage crisis looming on the horizon in late 2020, the organisation found itself challenged by a severe lack of visibility in the electronics procurement function. Enter Heath Nunnemacher, the man charged with transforming electronics procurement for the overall betterment of the business. 

Not only that, but we also have a fascinating discussion with McPherson’s Supply Chain Director Mark Brady. The health, wellness, and beauty giant McPherson’s has a rich history of agile procurement through resilience and collaboration and Brady reveals its secret sauce. 

Plus, we detail the important supply chain trends to look out for in 2023 as well as five top supply chain events coming up!


Andrew Woods

Editorial Director

The latest issue of CPOstrategy is LIVE!

This month’s cover story is an exclusive and compelling insight into the procurement strategy at Vodafone New Zealand.

This month’s cover story is an exclusive and compelling insight into the procurement strategy at Vodafone New Zealand.

“For me, the future of procurement is two things: digital and sustainability,” says Rajat Sarna, Chief Procurement Officer and these two themes are the thread that runs through everything he’s put into place since he took over the reins of the procurement function at Vodafone New Zealand in October 2020.

The role was a huge one to take on, too – the telco employs 2,000 people, serves 2.4m customers and is a $2bn revenue company. The scale of its operations is huge with customers consuming over 3 billion minutes, 4,500 terabytes of mobile data and 55,000 terabytes of fixed line data every month.  A key part of his mandate was to transform procurement into a market-leading operating partner to the business that would “ultimately improve the value that we deliver to our customers”.

Read the latest issue here!

Sarna went back to basics initially, thinking about what the future capability of Vodafone New Zealand would look like, and what its procurement operation needed to be to support this. He says: “It was very critical for me to have a purpose and it cannot just be better savings or improved cost position. That’s not purpose; purpose is: what are we doing in terms of how we align with the future of procurement?”

Elsewhere, we have exclusive interviews with procurement strategists Lawrence Kane, a SIG Sourcing Supernova Hall of Fame member and Nirav Patel, CEO of Bristlecone. Plus, a ProcureTech exclusive and a guide to the best procurement events over the next 12 months and much, much more.


How can businesses cope with persistent, global supply chain issues and what are the concerns looming on the horizon?

The Digital Insight speaks to Nirav Patel, CEO of Bristlecone (a supply chain company of the $19bn Mahindra group), who discusses how businesses can cope with persistent, global supply chain issues – and outlines the concerns looming on the horizon.

CPOstrategy’s cover star this month is procurement transformation expert, and CEO and Co-Founder of Tropic, David Campbell…

Right now, procurement excellence is blooming. Experts determined to create change are coming to the fore and aligning procurement with SaaS to bring an end to the do-it-yourself way of working that decimates technology budgets. Tropic is one such game-changer, providing the tools to navigate software procurement’s complexities for competitive advantage.

Read the latest issue here!

The CEO and Co-Founder of Tropic is David Campbell, a born entrepreneur. He grew up on a cattle ranch in California and has always had at least one side-hustle on the go. Even as a child, he was running some form of money-making venture at any one time – but he didn’t necessarily consider that entrepreneurial pursuits were his calling until later.

CEO and Co-Founder of Tropic, David Campbell
CEO and Co-Founder of Tropic, David Campbell

Campbell studied English at UC Berkeley, and on graduating assumed he’d go into the arts. He’s a lifelong musician and writer, and he moved to a cabin in the woods to write the ‘next great American novel’. This venture, while it didn’t have the exact results he had hoped for, planted the seed in his mind that perhaps entrepreneurialism was for him because he loved setting his own hours and vision, creating a strategy, and executing that…

Elsewhere, we have exclusive interviews with supply chain and procurement leaders at the City of Edmonton and QSC, as well as the results of our first Sustainable Procurement Champions Index. We also have some exciting news from DPW too, ahead of its conference later this month.

Enjoy the issue!

Our aim is to bring you the latest actionable insights into every issue relating to supply chain management from the world’s leading exponents. Each issue will lift the lid on the supply chain transformations taking place, right now, at enterprises across every sector and territory.

Thiago Braga, Director of Supply Chain Management at the City of Edmonton

Our cover story this month, features Thiago Braga, Director of Supply Chain Management at the City of Edmonton, Canada who discusses how improved operations are keeping the City healthy amid a range of challenges…

When Braga accepted his current role with the City of Edmonton in January 2019, a supply chain transformation program was envisioned that would evolve, and streamline, operations, while bringing in leading practices, standard practices, and best practices.  

Read the first issue here!

Upon his appointment, the workplace culture and environment were decentralised, more fragmented and so Braga got to work on creating a more unified approach. “Basically, my role is to support City operations,” Braga reveals. “My job is to keep buses and trains running as well as other rolling assets, like police or fire truck vehicles. Keeping the operations running and adding value while doing so would be the core.”  

Karon Evanoff, Vice President, Global Supply Chain at QSC

We also hook up with Karon Evanoff, Vice President, Global Supply Chain at QSC, to discuss supply chain transformation at the audio manufacturer. “I don’t think anyone – especially when you get to the senior management level – wants to sit in an office and just do spreadsheets every day,” Karon Evanoff says, when describing why continual learning is the number one driver for her.”

Elsewhere, we look at sustainability in the supply chain and why third-party risk should be a number one priority for businesses and chief supply chain officers.

We hope you enjoy the issue and tell your friends and colleagues!

This month’s cover story explores the customer-centric digital transformation journey of leading insurer AXA being led by UK & Ireland CIO Darrell Ryman

Our cover story this month explores how leading insurer AXA‘s customer-centric digital transformation journey is refining the art of the possible to unite business with technology.

Welcome to the latest issue of Interface magazine!

The opportunity to leverage data & analytics to transform organisations seeking to sharpen their digital focus and better connect with internal and external stakeholders is at the forefront of a revolution in connectivity driving both operational efficiency and growth. In this issue we bring you some inspiring stories that reflect the impact today’s innovations are having on shaping the business journeys of tomorrow…

Read the latest issue here!


This month’s cover story explores the customer-centric digital transformation journey being led by AXA’s UK & Ireland CIO Darrell Ryman. “It’s both a challenge and an opportunity for the insurance industry,” he reflects. “Many of the legacy systems firms use are now outdated and based on the nine-to-five business operating model – they’re not designed for the modern digital experience.” Ryman’s IT team is driving that transformation pivot by focusing on three key pillars: developing a digital backbone, becoming a digital business and creating a digital ecosystem.


Today’s on demand transactions require custom logistics solutions. We discover how flooring supply chain specialist Xpress Global Systems (XGS) is combining existing data with employee experience to deliver technology solutions that form the core of the company’s humanised approach to digital transformation.


Also in this issue, Ken Priyadarshi CT AI leader of EY Technology, explains how the leading professional services network is developing Digital Twins to deliver big-data and low-latency scenario planning models for financial services: “It’s time for the digital twin to become a mainstream tool for the C-suite and go beyond the traditional manufacturing or operational use-cases.”

Data management driving efficiency and growth

Elsewhere, we learn how specialist insurance broker Howden is achieving success in Asia by establishing a structured, data-driven, engagement and distribution strategy; and reveal the way America’s leading critical infrastructure damage prevention firm, Stake Center Locating, is future-proofing by transferring its expertise from legacy systems to the cloud.

Enjoy the issue!

Dan Brightmore, Editor

Our cover story reveals a massive procurement transformation programme at Zendesk

Procurement transformation is the hot topic this month as we speak to Rendi Miller, VP of Strategic Sourcing and Procurement at Zendesk. Miller is a procurement evangelist and transformational leader who is clearly energised as she delivers meaningful change to the function at Zendesk.

“What I’ve always enjoyed about procurement is the visibility into what the entire company is buying, from Marketing creative services to IT and Engineering technology to office furniture and everything in between.”

“Procurement has insight to trends before they become mainstream that gives us the ability to research new partners, technologies and solutions to start addressing the needs of the business early on. Being in procurement offers an awareness to nearly every aspect of the company.”

Read the latest issue here!

According to Miller, trust is absolutely critical to success because without that, “there is no reliability, there’s no confidence and there’s no relationship”, says Miller. “That’s something I emphasise with my team. Trust must be earned, but trust is also given. I empower them to be the leaders that I’ve hired them to be…”

Elsewhere, we sit down with Procurement Excellence Lead at Antofagasta Minerals, Christophe Le Flech, to discuss the state of procurement in the South America mining industry, and the work he’s doing to make a difference. We also talk to Convex Insurance’s Head of Procurement & Tactical Change, Vivek Pai… and discuss diversity in the workplace with Silvia Simon, LATAM Procurement Senior Manager at Mercedes-Benz Brazil. Plus, we look at 10 ways to optimise your digital procurement scouting approach with ProcureTech.

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods

Bringing a wealth of experience to the table, Kuvesh Ayer, CPO for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority discusses procurement transformation and being prepared for anything…

Bringing a wealth of experience to the table, Kuvesh Ayer, CPO for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority discusses procurement transformation and being prepared for anything…

Tell us about yourself and your current role…
I’m currently the chief procurement officer for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The MTA embarked on a huge transformation effort across all its operating divisions to transform the organization into a more efficient, effective one.

I got a call one day asking if I’d be interested in this position and I decided, “Okay, it sounds interesting and very challenging,” and decided to throw my hat in a ring. Lo and behold, it’s two years down the line – it’s gone like a flash. Overall, my responsibilities include managing the MTAs procurement and sourcing operations, which also include the logistics, warehousing, and distribution aspects...”

Procurement transformation is at the heart of our chat with Tod Cooper, Director Procurement at the Department of Corrections in New Zealand

This month’s exclusive cover story features Tod Cooper, Director Procurement at the Department of Corrections in New Zealand, who reveals all regarding the strategic restructure of the procurement function.

Read the latest issue here!

Procurement transformation is at the heart of our chat with Tod Cooper, Director Procurement at the Department of Corrections in New Zealand
Procurement transformation is at the heart of our chat with Tod Cooper, Director Procurement at the Department of Corrections in New Zealand

Most of us like to think that if we were presented with the chance to do something positive and societally significant for our country and its indigenous people, in particular, we would.

And that’s exactly the opportunity Tod Cooper, Director Procurement at the Department of Corrections in New Zealand, has grasped with both hands, with the department’s dedication to supporting Māori. 

Business transformation through leadership has been a major part of Cooper’s working life, preparing him for the challenges he’s faced at the Department of Corrections.

“It’s a big personal passion for me,” he says. “I’m not a guy who likes to sit still. Continuous improvement is a big thing. I’m always asking myself how we can make things better, looking at new ways of re-engineering, and getting good people around me who can enact my vision of things.

I’m a typical extrovert who’s easily distracted by the next thing, so it’s really important to have a good leadership team around me that understands the vision and can pull me back in.”

Elsewhere, we also speak with Dean Bennett, VP of Procurement, and Mike Cowling, VP of Global IT at BeiGene, about the benefits of a strong collaboration between procurement and technology, and what makes the company so special. Plus, we have an exclusive ‘provenance in the supply chain piece’ from IBM’s Blockchain Leader, Winston Yong.

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods, Editorial Director

Welcome to the first CPOstrategy of 2022! We decided to kick off the new year in style with our best…

Welcome to the first CPOstrategy of 2022!

We decided to kick off the new year in style with our best issue yet!

Our exclusive cover story features a fascinating discussion with Sean Park, CPO of software organisation Splunk, talks us through transforming the procurement function from one that was deliberately immature, to the powerhouse of efficiency it’s now becoming.

Read the latest issue here!

When Splunk brought Park in to join the team, he knew it was time to make a change and get serious about the bottom line. The decision was made to put in place a more centralised procurement and sourcing function; Splunk was rapidly growing, and it didn’t want friction, but rather controls and guardrails in place to scale the company. It was very much a natural evolution for the business – a pattern Park has watched occur before. This put him in an ideal position to push the new vision forward.

“The first step was to undertake an assessment of the function,” he says. “What are our strategic objectives? How does that fit in with the corporate objectives, or those of the finance team? What are our processes and policies? How are we resourcing the organisational structure? How do we source? Do we want a category management structure or a business unit focus?”

Elsewhere, we have an incredible rollcall of equally fascinating articles on Atotech, Beeline, Delivery Hero, plus an engrossing selection of Procurement Leaders’ procurement transformation success stories. Plus, much, much more.

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods, Editorial Director

Governments around the world have highlighted supply chains as an area for urgent attention in tackling cyber risk in the coming years…

Business ecosystems have expanded over the years owing to the many benefits of diverse, interconnected supply chains, prompting organizations to pursue close, collaborative relationships with their suppliers. However, this has led to increased cyber threats when organizations expose their networks to their supply chain and it only takes one supplier to have cybersecurity vulnerabilities to bring a business to its knees. To this point governments around the world have highlighted supply chains as an area for urgent attention in tackling cyber risk in the coming years.

Looking beyond your own perimeter

Over the last few years, many organizations have worked hard to improve their cyber defenses and are increasingly “harder targets”.  However, for these well-defended organizations, now the greatest weaknesses in their defenses are their suppliers, who are typically less well-defended but with whom they are highly interconnected. 

At the same time, the cyber threat landscape has intensified, and events of the past year have meant that security professionals are not only having to manage security in a remote working set up and ensure employees have good accessibility, they are also having to handle a multitude of issues from a distance whilst defending a much broader attack surface.  As a result, points of vulnerability have become even more numerous, providing an attractive space for bad actors to disrupt and extort enterprises.  Threats have escalated, including phishing and new variants of known threats, such as ransomware and Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, as well as increases in supply chain attacks.

But where supply chains are concerned, it is nearly impossible to effectively manage this risk unless you know the state of your suppliers’ defences and continually ensure that they are comparable to your own.  Organizations must deeply understand the cyber risks associated with the relationship and try to mitigate those risks to the degree possible.

However, that’s easier said than done. With the sending and receiving of information essential for the supply chain to function, the only option is to better identify and manage the risks presented.  This requires organizations to overhaul existing risk monitoring programs, technology investments and also to prioritize cyber and data security governance.

Ensuring the basics are in place

At the very least organizations should ensure that both they and their suppliers have the basic controls in place such as Cyber Essentials, NIST and ISO 27001, coupled with good data management controls. They should thoroughly vet and continuously monitor supply chain partners. They need to understand what data partners will need access to and why, and ultimately what level of risk this poses. Likewise, they need to understand what controls suppliers have in place to safeguard data and protect against incoming and outgoing cyber threats. This needs to be monitored, logged, and regularly reviewed and a baseline of normal activities between the organization and the supplier should be established.

As well as effective processes, people play a key role in helping to minimize risk. Cybersecurity training should be given so that employees are aware of the dangers and know how to spot suspicious activity. They should be aware of data regulation requirements and understand what data can be shared with whom. And they should also know exactly what to do in the event of a breach, so a detailed incident response plan should be shared and regularly reviewed.

IT best practices should be applied to minimize these risks. IT used effectively can automatically protect sensitive data so that when employees inevitably make mistakes, technology is there to safeguard the organization.

Securely transferring information between suppliers

So how do organizations transfer information between suppliers securely and how do they ensure that only authorized suppliers receive sensitive data? Here data classification tools are critical to ensure that sensitive data is appropriately treated, stored, and disposed of during its lifetime in accordance with its importance to the organization. Through appropriate classification, using visual labelling and metadata application to emails and documents, this protects the organization from the risk of sensitive data being exposed to unauthorized organizations further down the line through the supply chain.

Likewise, data that isn’t properly encrypted in transit can be at risk of compromise, so using a secure and compliant mechanism for transferring data within the supply chain will significantly reduce risks. Managed File Transfer (MFT) software facilitates the automated sharing of data with suppliers. This secure channel provides a central platform for information exchanges and offers audit trails, user access controls, and other file transfer protections.

Layering security defenses

Organizations should also layer security defences to neutralize any threats coming from a supplier.  Due to its ubiquity, email is a particularly vulnerable channel and one that’s often exploited by cybercriminals posing as a trusted partner. Therefore, it is essential that organizations are adequately protected from incoming malware, embedded Advanced Persistent Threats, or any other threat that could pose a risk to the business.

And finally, organizations need to ensure that documents uploaded and downloaded from the web are thoroughly analyzed, even if they are coming from a trusted source. To do this effectively, they need a solution that can remove risks from email, web and endpoints, yet still allows the transfer of information to occur.

Adaptive DLP allows the flow of information to continue while removing threats, protecting critical data, and ensuring compliance. It doesn’t become a barrier to business or impose a heavy management burden. This is important because traditional DLP ‘stop and block’ approaches have often resulted in too many delays to legitimate business communications and high management overheads associated with false positives.

Cyber criminal attacks set to rise

Many of the recent well publicized attacks have been nation state orchestrated. Going forward this is going to turn into criminal syndicate attacks. Cybercriminals already have the ransomware capabilities and now all they need to do is tie this up with targeting the supply chain.  Therefore, making sure you have the right technologies, policies and training programs in place should be a top priority for organizations in 2021. If you are interested in finding out more about protecting your supply chain, why not download our eGuide: Managing Cybersecurity Risk in the Supply Chain.”

With 2025 deadlines looming for ambitious corporate public pledges around sustainability, this should be top of the business agenda for enterprises in 2021. However, are organisations acting fast enough?

Worryingly, every five weeks that passes represents 1% of our decade. Aspirations of operating more sustainably at some point in the future are now becoming a much closer reality, which means organisations have targets that they need to meet over a relatively short time frame. This is especially true when it comes to ‘net zero’ emissions pledges – perhaps the most pressing climate concern the planet is facing. For example, by 2030, Unilever has committed to halving the greenhouse gas emissions of their products across the lifecycle, while Heineken has set an 80% target reduction. BP is facing an even bigger challenge as an energy company, leaning away from fossil fuels and committing to net zero carbon from their operations by 2050. Written by Mark Perera, CEO, Vizibl 

Therefore, with only a few years remaining until some of those deadlines, clearly now is the time for enterprises to take decisive action. 

Many organisations still don’t know how they’re going to achieve these targets. However, given the urgency of the issues, they’ve launched their efforts regardless, anticipating the discovery of further solutions along the way. 

Sustainability delivers more than just the environmental benefits 

Alongside the need to protect our planet, hitting these targets is actually key for the survival of some of these businesses. Strong sustainability performance pays dividends in opportunities for growth, increased returns on capital, and in managing threats to the business, with McKinsey finding that the value at stake from sustainability risks can be as high as 70% of EBITDA. 

Given that 50% of the Standard & Poor’s 500 will likely be replaced within the decade, companies must look beyond business as usual towards the strategies that will shore up their own survival – especially in our post-COVID environment where many will face stiff competition. With record private equity, a robust M&A market and the growth of many startups with billion-dollar valuations, not to mention the impact of the pandemic and an economic decline, there will be plenty of turbulence in the road ahead. 

We recently hosted a webinar around sustainability, which featured speakers from Unilever, Heineken and BP, where we discussed all of these issues and more. Interestingly, all three organisations were in agreement that consumer relevance will be key to organisational longevity and the ability to attract talent will also be central to business success. Consumers are very much driving the sustainability agenda, therefore setting and meeting sustainability targets will be key driver for business continuity. 

Enterprises are driving towards stakeholder capitalism 

This focus on doing right by consumer and employee values corresponds to a wider movement towards stakeholder capitalism. This drive advocates shifting away from a sole focus on maximising shareholder value towards a company strategy which creates value for all its stakeholders – from customers and employees, to suppliers, communities, and the environment. 

Along with making themselves accountable to a broader set of stakeholders, organisations should also be drawing from these stakeholders to meet sustainability targets. Likewise, leveraging from a wider ecosystem will also help to meet these goals; partnering for value to increase the bottom line will be a key procurement trend in 2021. 

Seeing as 80% of company emissions and up to 90% of their impact on biodiversity and natural resources originates in the supply chain, it is not surprising that companies are looking past internal operations when pursuing ambitious sustainability targets. Given also that 50-70% of company innovations originate externally, it makes sense to look beyond the boundaries of the organisation and to the broader ecosystems of suppliers to source new solutions. 

Working with a broader ecosystem of suppliers to foster innovation 

One great example of this kind of partnership is an initiative that BP is spearheading. As the company works towards net zero for its tech and IT estate, BP is moving away from high-power data infrastructure in favour of forging deep partnerships with cloud providers. The cloud providers also have net zero commitments of their own, which they can support using renewable energy sourced from BP. This partnership presents a win-win situation where both companies can hit their targets in tandem. 

What we are also seeing is that this is changing the role of procurement. Instead of being viewed as a function that ‘protects’ the company from its suppliers by continuously driving down costs, procurement is now looking to  collaboration and partnerships to find the innovation that will help the organisation continue to grow. 

And as procurement moves away from a single-minded focus on cost-cutting, it will facilitate relationships which in turn deliver on key business strategies like sustainability and growth. 

How procurement can drive initiatives to meet sustainability goals 

To this point, procurement has a great role to play in helping an organisation meet its sustainability targets, given that the function has historically been curious and hyper-diligent when it comes to costs. Moving forward, enterprises need to apply that same rigour when it comes to sustainability by asking searching questions about energy and water usage, emissions impact, and how we are affecting our communities both locally and on a global scale if we bring that level of curiosity and collaborative problem-solving into supply chains, we’ll have a big impact on business longevity and help to meet those lofty sustainability goals that are closer than we all feel comfortable with right now. 

According to Accenture, 94% of Fortune 1000 companies experienced supply chain disruption owing to the pandemic…

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the future of supply chains indefinitely. When compared to overall business impact, most senior leaders said their supply chain was more susceptible to disruption from COVID-19 than their workforce, systems, or operations. According to Accenture, 94% of Fortune 1000 companies experienced supply chain disruption owing to the pandemic. Amidst the ongoing impact of COVID-19, as countries move in and out of lockdowns and vaccines are rolled out, this will continue to be felt worldwide throughout 2021 and beyond as organisations look to recover from the disruption to their supply chains.

Written by Mark Perera, CEO, Vizibl

Transforming supply chain models – for good

However, the unprecedented nature of COVID-19 has forced companies, and industries, to rethink and transform their supply chain models – for good. Many are now looking at how they can move away from linear supply chains to a more holistic, robust and sustainable supplier ecosystem.

It is interesting because since humans began making and distributing products to one another, the structure of the supply chain has remained predominantly untouched. Raw materials flow in, they are changed into a product and distributed and used until finally they are thrown away. This linear – take, make, throw away – supply chain has been sufficient to keep economies churning for decades, but now organisations are seeking out more robust, more profitable, more sustainable, circular supply chain ecosystems.

Adopting a circular approach 

The circular supply chain is a model that encourages manufacturers and sellers of products to take discarded materials and remake them for resale. To remain competitive and relevant linear supply chain entities must be willing to transition to a circular supply chain, which includes the entire reverse logistics process, in order to continue to grow and become sustainable in a future without an unlimited supply of resources.

The demand for some organisations to move to a circular supply chain is driven by government and limitations on what products can go to waste and what must be reclaimed. That said, consumers stand out as the key driving force towards greener and more ethical, sustainable approaches.

Additionally, COVID-19 has exposed the fragility of long-distance, international supply chains. Building-in a level of resilience will see organisations seeking to work with a much wider range of suppliers – building out that ecosystem – from global corporations to smaller, regional start-ups to ensure business continuity, diversity and circularity in the supply chain. 

Building a purpose-led ecosystem

The step-change that organisations must undertake to deliver against these sustainable and circular demands is now all about building purpose-led ecosystems. This means that organisations need to move beyond looking at their supply chain in a linear way, to actively collaborating with suppliers on initiatives to improve environmental, social and economic performance. They need to move towards a purpose-led procurement approach that includes a circular supply chain, and we will see adoption accelerate in 2021.

But what do we mean by a circular supply chain?

This is based on the principles of the circular economy, which is about designing waste out, circulating materials and resources and regenerating natural systems. The underlying premise behind the circular economy is that businesses will be more sustainable, more profitable and as a result add trillions to the global economy by 2030. The idea is that they are no longer reliant on the limited natural resources they required for growth. For businesses adopting a circular economy approach to be successful, their supply chains must also support these principles. According to Deborah Dull, who leads digital product management at GE Digital for Operations Performance Management, Supply Chain, Digital Kaizen, and Circular Economy: “Ultimately the circular economy is about inventory and extending its life, reusing it, repurposing it or eliminating the need for it altogether. Supply chain is responsible for inventory, and a global, circular economy requires supply chain innovation beyond its current scope which is very linear.”

How being lean helps

Deborah advocates that organisations should move to a lean supply chain approach because this moves inventory and decisions closer to the customer. This is important because proximity reduces the time between inventory decisions and actual customer need and because more inventory is typically required to buffer against uncertainty. Decreasing the time decreases the uncertainty, which decreases the need for an oversupply of inventory. Additionally, technology and data are key. Therefore, having a supply chain collaboration and innovation technology platform in place is important to facilitate collaboration in the supply chain, build in resilience and to give that all-important visibility into demand, supply, capacity and data. 

In particular, data about inventory helps organisations make the best use of their existing inventory and reuse items as many times as possible. If the organisation cannot see their inventory, or if they lack the ability to easily move it around, they often end up duplicating inventory in different locations and buying an oversupply to prevent shortages.

Resilience and responsibility – watchwords for 2021

Going forward, it is entirely feasible that similar worldwide events to COVID-19 will cause major problems for organisations getting goods and products through traditional supply chain models, that are deemed too linear and don’t take a flexible, collaborative, diverse and a circular approach. Likewise, as government regulation and legislation increase, organisations will be forced to think about circular supply chains and more ethical approaches to how they dispose of raw and waste materials. 

Therefore, repurposed supply chains of the future must have resilience and responsibility at their heart. Likewise, organisations must not only accelerate their agility, but also value chain transformation to help outmanoeuvre the ongoing uncertainty we face in 2021 and beyond. 

Three key areas where procurement and supply chain should look to invest in 2021 and has a good business case to do so…

The Brexit debate is over with the UK and EU finally agreeing on the trade and cooperation terms after Brexit. A lot has been mentioned about the negative impact of Brexit on the UK and EU business supply chains. However, I think it is an opportunity for businesses to review their supply chains and turn this change into a competitive advantage. In my opinion, the following are 3 key areas where procurement and supply chain should look to invest in 2021 and has a good business case to do so.

1. Sourcing capabilities

Most of the organisations I have worked with over the last several years go back to the same set of shortlisted suppliers and look to conduct negotiations and auctions to achieve short term goals. This could be working with the same pool of suppliers either in the UK or EU suppliers or in a particular global location, i.e. China. However, there have been significant changes over the last few years whether it’s in currency, new emerging supply markets, existing supply sources losing advantage, or even the overall cost of managing offshore supply chains vs. local changing dramatically. Brexit and Covid have further accelerated or exacerbated some of these changes. Having some dedicated resources now to understand market options and a full evaluation will really help understand organisations options they have and plan their future supply chains accordingly.

2. Strategic partnerships

With the unprecedented disruption in demand and supply over the last year, organisations have never more realised the need to have a different relationship with their suppliers. As the long-term changes from Brexit and Covid come into effect, organisations having close strategic partnerships with their suppliers will be the ones who will mitigate issues better or benefit from the opportunities. Strategic partnerships don’t have to be just long-term commitments but communication, transparency, and both parties working towards shared goals. Also, the key is to look at the criteria for selecting partners. While on a short-term basis, working with a supplier who can fulfil your immediate needs at the best price makes sense, unless you look at long term fit, you will never have true partnerships in place.

3. Supplier assurance and development

With Brexit, there will be significant regulatory and standard changes over the years and suppliers will need support to transition to new standards and procedures. Also, to allow the sourcing team to find new sources and locations, they need appropriate support to be able to assure and develop new suppliers. Too many businesses, see the role of supplier assurance team as limited to assurance only and have an auditor mindset, however, the key is that they are working more as a development team and helping develop suppliers to contribute to the business.

The deal agreed is described as a narrow deal as it allows the UK to gradually move away from the EU sphere of influence if that’s really what the UK wants to pursue. While the current relationship with the EU is the starting position, full changes from this deal will only be visible over the next couple of years. Businesses who will be making the right investments in their supply chain and procurement capabilities will not only mitigate issues as the changes come into immediate effect but also find themselves in a better place vs their competitors.

“…when you think about supplier diversity initiatives, small business procurement initiatives, it’s really about driving economic impact. And it’s really the small businesses that drive economic growth in any economy”.

Rod Robinson is Vice President of Supplier Inclusion and Sustainability at Coupa, and the focus of that role, is to really drive inclusive procurement across the Coupa ecosystem, helping Coupa customers achieve, and even exceed, their supplier inclusion goals…
“…when you think about supplier diversity initiatives, small business procurement initiatives, it’s really about driving economic impact. And it’s really the small businesses that drive economic growth in any economy”.

Leading U.K. retailer selects Blue Yonder’s end-to-end Luminate platform to power its supply chain strategy

Blue Yonder Tech, today announced that Sainsbury’s, one of the United Kingdom’s leading multi brand, multi-channel retailers across food, clothing, general merchandise and financial services, has selected its end-to-end supply chain platform as the foundation of its supply chain transformation.

Sainsbury’s will deploy Blue Yonder to power its end-to-end supply chain strategy, on a single artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform. To support the business’s future supply chain program, Sainsbury’s will benefit from extending its current Blue Yonder solutions footprint, with powerful new capabilities. These current and new capabilities will now span AI-powered demand forecasting and replenishment, digital control tower, space management, macro space planning, range management, warehouse management, labor management and yard management.

Sainsbury’s is a leading multi brand, multi-channel retailer based in the U.K., operating more than 2,000 stores across its Sainsbury’s, Argos and Habitat brands. Sainsbury’s also operates a number of wholesale partnerships globally.

By partnering with the in-house engineering expertise of Sainsbury’s Tech, together the two businesses will create an autonomous self-learning supply chain platform with advanced machine learning capabilities. This step forward will enable Sainsbury’s colleagues to spend more time on the store floor and serving customers. Sainsbury’s chose Blue Yonder for its leading machine learning (ML) capabilities and SaaS-based solutions that uniquely power an end-to-end supply chain experience.

“We relentlessly seek to improve the way we serve the needs of our customers. Having a predictive, autonomous and adaptive supply chain powered by world class technology products and Sainsbury’s Tech engineering means we can show up for our customers whenever and however they shop with us,” said John Elliott, chief technology officer – Retail at Sainsbury’s. “Blue Yonder provided a strong balance of advanced capabilities, ML experience and a culture and value set closely aligned to our own, including a commitment to sustainability.”

By implementing Blue Yonder’s solutions, Sainsbury’s will further enhance its ability to monitor and respond to ever-changing customer needs, predicting and preventing potential supply chain disruptions. Blue Yonder’s Luminate platform includes ML-based forecasting and ordering solutions that help stores better manage fresh and perishable products. It also includes Blue Yonder’s crisis control center – Luminate Control Tower – which provides complete supply chain visibility, orchestration, and collaboration across the end-to-end supply chain and prescribing more automated, profitable business decisions.

“We are thrilled to expand upon our long-standing partnership with Sainsbury’s by offering iconic, game-changing, and customer-centric solutions that meet consumers’ daily and ever-changing needs, particularly in the critical environment in which we are all living today,” said Mark Morgan, executive vice president and chief revenue officer, Blue Yonder. “We know how important Sainsbury’s supply chain is to the company’s rich history of success and the loyalty of its customers. Our innovative AI and ML capabilities have a proven track record of real results, and our end-to-end platform is unmatched in the market. Our goal is to make AI and ML become key enablers of Sainsbury’s future digital transformation as the company expands its remarkable, trusted, multi brand, multi channel business.”

Additional Resources:

by Jeremy Smith, Managing Partner at procurement consultancy 4C Associates

Beyond the human side of the Covid-19 crisis, the immediate issues felt by organisations have mostly been caused by unprecedented changes in demand. Revenue has usually either fallen off a cliff (non-grocery brick and mortar retail, leisure and hospitality) or it has surged (grocery, PPE, online non-grocery) causing problems in the supply chain. Some of these issues were exacerbated by a lack of transparency in the structure of these supply chains. The main priorities in this interim period are to restructure your cost and margin base and to align your full supply chain, while developing critical skillsets.

Building a cost and margin structure allows the business to survive until the crisis begins to fade. Ideally, the outcome is a transition of existing supplier commitments into the New Normal (when it comes) and thereby manage cash and risks. However, that may not always be possible but the key to success here is to review every commitment on its own merits and then engage with your suppliers to work out the most appropriate transition agreements. While this will help reduce the cost of change, you need to have strong supplier relationships in order to be successful.

We sometimes encounter a belief that suppliers either like you or see you as an important partner because they supply you. While this can be true, the changes that need to be made to your cost and margin structure in the interim, require real and much deeper relationships founded on an alignment of objectives. If you are in a position where this has been achieved already, you stand a decent chance of suppliers supporting your changes through their approach and commercial model. If you are still working on achieving that level of relationship, you might struggle or take longer to implement these changes, with all the implications this longer timeline has on cash management. It is times like these where we truly see the benefits of continuous supplier relationship management (SRM).

The second item to look at in parallel is margin management in whichever form relevant to your business (EBITDA, Intake, Gross or Net). At a minimum, you should consider your responses and action plans to these 4 key margin management questions:

  1. How will your interim operating model and indirect cost base impact margin performance of your business?
  2. Is your current product and service range appropriate to fulfil demand and safeguard commercial requirements?
  3. If you have reduced headcount, either temporarily or permanently, are you more reliant on your supply chain? How does that flow through to your margins?
  4. Do you understand your supply chain in enough detail to have visibility of all possible margin-impacting bottlenecks and constraints?

Supply Chain analysis

Typically, businesses will need 70% to 90% percent visibility into their end-to-end supply chains to proactively address choke points that can affect revenue and costs. However, currently most businesses only have 20% visibility into their full supply chains.

Clearly, this is not a desirable position to be in and must be remedied as quickly as possible. Some of the most critical supply-chain related issues include:

· Small suppliers, beyond tier 2, integral to the operation of much larger supply chains are at risk of going bankrupt due to cashflow issues
· Supplier staff may be constrained and supplier IP specific to your business is lost temporarily, or even permanently
· Excessive international movements of materials throughout the supply chain

A prime example to illustrate many of the above points is the personal protective equipment (PPE) crisis. Political arguments around levels of stock and UK-internal logistics challenges apart, the issues with getting enough PPE into the country have been caused by the supply chain. In hindsight, the dependency on Chinese manufacture pre-crisis was too high. Factories were already at capacity before COVID-19 appeared and clearly this pandemic was not factored into any sourcing strategies.

First these factories were locked down, then a travel ban was imposed grounding 75% of passenger flights, which contribute a lot of cargo capacity and thereby agility in supply chains. This means that though by Easter manufacturing was increasing, the ability to get it from China directly or through intermediaries was constrained. Taking a European view, PPE distributors and wholesalers have now exhausted their stocks and lead times for new orders are counted in weeks using expensive air freight or months using sea freight.
The implications from this example are that commercial and procurement managers need to understand their supply chains in a level of detail that has historically only been required for the most strategic suppliers.

For every tier and level of your supply chain, commercial and procurement teams should understand the liquidity position of suppliers, criticality of the outputs to your businesses, relative power positions and cost structures of fixed vs. flexible costs. Armed with this knowledge throughout your supply chain will allow you to make the correct decisions and ensure the continuity of supply chains. Additionally, it gives you the insights needed to identify new supply opportunities as contingency plans.

Trying to keep pace with new technologies is one of the biggest challenges that most businesses are currently facing. Trends…

Trying to keep pace with new technologies is one of the biggest challenges that most businesses are currently facing. Trends in digital transformation such as AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G networks and the proliferation of chatbots are impacting businesses of all shapes and sizes. Even procurement, a department traditionally found knee deep in paper-based spread sheets and contracts is embracing these innovations and are using them to automate manual, laborious processes improve supplier relationships and improve transparency over organisational wide spend.  

So, as procurement takes advantage of the digital era, what’s likely to come next for the business function focused on delivering value and saving their organisations money? Will procurement finally get the business recognition it deserves? Here are my predictions on what’s to come for procurement:

  1. Quality data

Businesses are already making key decisions based on data analytics; however, data quality remains an ongoing challenge. In the future expect to see machine learning automatically cleanse data, ensuring that any errors or anomalies are corrected. For example, it will monitor and maintain supplier master data from contracts and the data used in pay runs.

  • Procurement to drive competitive business advantage

Thanks to new technologies providing greater business insights, procurement will have more influence than ever before on overall business strategy, growth and competitive advantage. Procurement teams will be required to move their focus from spend and cost control and focus more heavily on facilitating innovation, business agility and continuity of supply.

  • A move towards more agile procurement

Are we likely to see more departmental purchasing and procurement become a more centralised business function? I think so, and as a result we are likely to see better collaboration take place across the entire business. We could even see category managers become procurement specialists in their business units and build a network of gig workers to help satisfy their operational needs.

  • IoT, data and stock tracking

More and more businesses are likely to take advantage of IoT to enable ‘touchless’ procurement where stock levels can be monitored automatically. It can help businesses track items in their supply chain in real time and enable asset-intensive industries to link data across the business to their suppliers. Businesses will benefit from an enhanced data platform as it informs decision-making around spend and purchasing patterns, catalogue content, supplier portfolios and contract fulfilment.

  • RPA to go mainstream

Taking full advantage of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) procurement will be able to completely eradicate many of its day-to-day manual, high volume repetitive tasks. The procurement team can also say goodbye to hours spent compiling manual reports and instead use their valuable time more effectively and deliver real value to the business.

  • Improved insights into the potential for supplier risk

Procurement teams will have better insights than ever before into their suppliers thanks to a clearer understanding of data. Internal data compiled by procurement, supplier information, market and analyst data on supplier performance will be aggregated and analysed to deliver a true 360° view of supplier performance.

  • Procurement best practice to include Blockchain

We’ve seen Blockchain, the technology behind digital currencies starting to find its way into the procurement space over the past few years. I think in the future we’ll see it used selectively by procurement teams as it is expensive to develop and deploy. However, I think increasingly we’ll see it used in scenarios where there’s a need to track and trace to stop counterfeiting or a need for operational integrity.

By Axel Schmidt With increasing regulation across all industries, from data privacy legislation to technical specifications and product certification requirements,…

By Axel Schmidt

With increasing regulation across all industries, from data privacy legislation to technical specifications and product certification requirements, consistent traceability within often large and complex supply chains has never been more important for businesses to achieve. This is not only for compliance reasons, but also to ensure accurate forecasting so companies can deliver on promises made to customers. 

Traceability ensures a stringent flow of data so that suppliers and manufacturers can provide detailed information about what happened to a product, by whom and at what time. This is essential for industries such as the automotive industry, that may have to recall a model due to a defect, or in the food industry where traceability is vital to ensure food safety standards are upheld. But as industries move towards longer and more fragmented supply chains, how can businesses keep up with increasing demand for faster product turnaround combined with a growing need for traceability? Axel Schmidt, Senior Communications Manager, ProGlove, explains how wearable technology such as barcode scanners can help to streamline supply chain processes and keep quality at optimum levels – not only addressing the need for traceability, but also transforming worker efficiency levels. 

Increasing complexity

With new legislation coming into effect, along with consumer demands for a wider range of products, manufacturers will be required to handle and process an increasing number of parts and components for assembly. This can present increasing challenges for businesses, especially those that operate with complex product variants and short product life cycles which can block the possibility of a fully automated facility.  

In addition, the rapid growth of e-commerce business models may have simplified the retail world for consumers, but in turn has increased the volume of work for vendors – by as much as five times according to research. As businesses move closer towards Just-in-Time supply chains, the focus and pressure is firmly placed on logistics operations to deliver efficiency within the supply chain. Moreover, the number of shipping formats available creates an added roadblock to automation and the surge in demand for rapid fulfilment that comes hand in hand with peak periods only adds further complexity.

Consequently, there is an increasing need for organisations to seamlessly document what they do and how they do it to meet compliance requirements. But this must not be at the cost of adding any additional time to the already tight schedules organisations need to adhere to in order to remain efficient and competitive.  

Augmenting the workforce

In order to meet compliance needs and unlock crucial efficiencies that can help businesses to meet fluctuations in increased demand, organisations need to be able to access and capitalise on real time data. Research from IDC predicts that more than a quarter of data created will be real-time in nature by 2025, and this is where barcode scanning plays a fundamental role. 

The concept of barcode scanning within the supply chain has been around for some time, enabling companies to increase visibility by tracking items along the product journey from manufacturer to the end point. Yet, the use of a conventional pistol scanner is fraught with challenges, such as the significant time lost for each worker due to the repetitive nature of picking up, using and holstering the scanner for each individual item. 

Given the format of the traditional pistol scanner, the devices are also liable to breakages as they are easily dropped to the floor. And as the devices are not ruggedised, replacements are regularly required. This unreliability can be frustrating for workers as well as the organisation, as workers cannot operate with optimum efficiency. 

Another drawback of the pistol scanner is that it can be easily lost by workers. This could be around the warehouse or factory but it’s also possible that a worker may leave the scanner inside one of the boxes that they are packing. This is an unexpected surprise for the customer, to say the least, but results in economic losses for the company and further replacement scanners required. 

Instead, wearable technology with in-built scan functionality can deliver a number of benefits to address these challenges. Minimising unnecessary and tiring repetitive actions and improving accuracy significantly increases the volume of work undertaken by each worker. With adjustable feedback options, such as acoustic signals, vibration and LEDs on the back of the hand, a worker receives immediate confirmation of correct product selection. This feedback not only minimises delays and errors, improving productivity, but also avoids worker frustration. 

Display screens can also be connected to wearable terminals to provide workers with additional information, such as the location of the next pick. Unnecessary activity is removed as every movement is directly related to the task at hand. Through this augmentation of the workforce, efficiency can be rapidly transformed. 


Legislation, technical evolution and customer demand create an urgent necessity for accurate and efficient barcode scanning to deliver traceability and efficiencies within the supply chain. Organisations must therefore consider the need to implement solutions that streamline these processes whilst keeping quality at optimum levels. 

Supply chains will continue to get longer and more complex, and many retailers face the challenge of fulfilling their promises to their customers. In addition, fragmentation of supply chains is also on the rise, with a number of suppliers and components relied upon to work in harmony to make the entire supply chain function. Wearable technology can be a critical link to deliver productivity and efficiency and allow organisations to quickly adapt to fluctuations in demand, giving them a much needed competitive edge.

Part four of a six-part supply chain masterclass with Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner of supply chain at Gartner. Frank explains…

Part four of a six-part supply chain masterclass with Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner of supply chain at Gartner. Frank explains how to build a supply chain excellence operating system, enabled by a centre of excellence.

Prefer this in an audio format? Listen to the Digital Insight podcast!

Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner of Supply Chain at Gartner
Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner of Supply Chain at Gartner

One of the key things identified within your concept of a supply chain excellence operating system is two-directional thinking, where you’ve got people working in the business and people working on the business – could you elaborate on that, please?

Transformations are really driven by future growth ambitions of those organisations, or if they are looking and expanding into new areas and new business models. Lots of things are changing very fast and exponentially. If you look at that, that sets limitations for organisations to actually do the same things as they did in the past. From a structural point of view, your current capabilities won’t allow you to compete in the future. You have to think about how you are going to approach that.

There’s also a limitation in terms of resources. The concept of perform and transform is simple to understand, which means you still have to focus on your core business and create results and good performance, while at the same time transforming. The concept is almost like running a sprint and a marathon at the same time. If you think about what you can do with the same setup and structure you have without investing, and potentially a different set of excellences, then it’s probably stretching your current resources to a limit.

If you think about the transform activity you have to do as an organisation, you think more about what you need to do to be successful in the future. If you think about the sprints, you still have to focus on your core business and on day-to-day good performance, and you also need to think about what enables you to perform day to day, running these sprints, making sure you keep and stay focused on delivering performance end results to your business and to your customers as well meeting their objectives and needs, but also transforming the organisation at the same time and building the new muscles you need in the future related to the capabilities.

What sort of challenge does this balancing act, between the two areas, present?

If you do that with your current resources you have available in your business you may find yourself in a position that is too much a stretch for your resources: to be able to deliver on your expectations. Somewhere, you need to balance it. The question is can you balance that with your existing resources and the existing structure you have, or perhaps you have to set up a different structure – where you have people working in the business and people working on the transformation. Both are equally important to you as a business because one is really keeping the lights on and delivering the performance you need today, which is finding the capabilities you have to build for the future. That needs to be balanced. Is it easy? Probably not. But is it required? Absolutely.

Where does change management come into the equation?

With change management and transformations, it’s really shifting the mindset and the behaviour and actions towards generating more an improved and sustainable business performance and results. It’s about having clarity of the destination, and a clear understanding of why are you doing this, and what you want and need in order to transform.

The next important part of change management is role modelling. Your leadership plays such an important role here in championing the transformation with clear and defined specific communication and milestones. Taking people along with you on this journey and having an understanding of ‘walk the talk’, and being visible and aligned on a leadership level creates the pull in an organisation.

There’s also organisational capabilities, the resources I need, the financial commitment that an organisation has to make to transform, because it can be dependent on the maturity of that organisation. Sometimes you have to be able to invest first to generate the benefits later on. You have to be able to have governance in that model, which is strictly focused on priorities for the business as an outcome and is steering the organisation through that transformation. The culture and the mindset of the people, the knowledge and skills have to be in place, and it has to be somewhere measured and sustained.

Also, you have to be able to reinforce. How do you align your goals and objectives and your incentives structures on the two important activities, perform and transform, in a balanced way? Not just incentivising generating results today, but also incentivising transforming the organisation to be able to compete in the future. It’s not just continuous improvement. It’s building an operating system, considering what drives change, creating push and pull in an organisation, and really with the mindset of the future to improve, as well as building muscle, creating sustainable business performance and end results, and meeting the never-ending customer expectations in future.

How does a role model approach help overcome the challenges in change?

It has to start at the top of an organisation, which means you have to be very clear, very concise and compelling. People need to understand why you are doing this, and be very clear about the outcome, when you want to do certain things, and what it’s actually going to do for the organisation. Take people along the journey and bring them in a way in that they have a stake in the game, so they are able to participate and provide their input into the transformation. That’s really important when you start your change management and transformation.

You also have to somewhere create an excitement factor for your people to believe that the future you’re going to create for them is a future where they want to be part of, where they want to be proud of, so they are excited to actually take you as an organization forward into that future.

How do you bring the customer into the conversation?

It’s key to incorporate customers into it. Don’t be shy in asking your customer how can you serve them better. How can you create more a collaborative joint partnership together? It’s no longer about vendor and supply and customer relationship, it’s about a partnership on a more strategic level. As a business, if you’re able to figure that out and bring your key customers in, listen to them and make them part of it, or even make them a joint development in terms of building an operating system, even better. You may want to consider joint investments into building the capabilities you need in future, especially in areas when it comes to looking into talent related to emerging technologies, data, data scientists, etc.

You really have a scarcity and you have to build and think about how you want to build these kinds of talents in your organisation from a different perspective and different ways. You may want to do this jointly together with your customers, because they probably have the same needs like you have in their own business, and the same kind of limitation and challenges to find the right talents. Instead of just doing it on your own and being completely internally focused, combine the inside out with the outside in. The key in that is your customer or your customers.

How important is it to develop an end to end supply chain IT strategy and technology roadmap so that the technology and the procurement transformation are aligned?

You have to have an end-to-end view of your technology. Technology can’t be seen in isolation with what you are trying to accomplish with the strategic objectives of your business related to the value proposition you have. Technology and digitalisation, you can be taken from two angles and that’s what I’m seeing currently happening in the marketplace. On the one side, you see companies focusing and creating new business models through digitalisation related to their products and services, selling outcomes and solutions instead of selling products and devices.

On the other side, you see a lot of activity in terms of digitalisation in the supply chain. These two things are connected, but we also know that 70% of the initiatives currently in the marketplace are disconnected. Technology is creating new business models, using data to access and provide insights to your business for better and informed decision making. Data could also mean monetising that data and creating new business models. Technology, from your business process optimisation point of view, can create a new level of maturity in terms of efficiency.

That’s where a lot of companies are focusing on and deploying new technologies because they want to figure out if there are business benefits they can introduce to the business and to harness new capabilities and with automated processes that reduce time, errors, cost, and also increase the efficiencies they have in their business. To be able to do that, you need to have a blueprint and an understanding of where you are at currently with your technology landscape and your applications, and also where you want to grow in the future.

What is the overall journey of this centre of excellence system, where it starts with developing infrastructure, building supply chain excellence capabilities, and then reaching a stage where that supply chain excellence is woven within the organisation’s DNA?

The ideas of transform and perform, and the resource constraints that organisations are having by using the same resources has been recognised in the market widely and you have seen over the last couple of years more and more organisations actually building a centre of excellence. With a centre of excellence, you have to consider that there are different centres of excellence. Now you have to have a functional centre of excellence where you just focus on building the maturity in certain areas of your supply chain.

You could also have a logistics centre of excellence. You could have other centres of excellence, like a manufacturing centre of excellence. The goal is to design your centre of excellence and be aligned with the main activity across your whole value chain, which means if you are a manufacturing organisation and a supply chain organisation or procurement, you would organise your centre of excellence in a way that would incorporate the strategy element into that. There are different ways of structuring a supply chain centre of excellence.

My recommendation, if a business can afford it, would be to focus on end to end, rather than just functional, because if you just focus on functional excellence, again, your integration and collaboration across the different functions might be a bit of a challenge.

Is excellence an ever-moving target?

You always have to work on that. You’re never done.  If you really think about your plan of a transformation, does it stop after three years? No, it’s not going to stop.

What you’re hoping for when you had enough momentum, excitement and generated the results, is the building of a culture and a DNA. That is probably the longest part of a transformation which is never-ending, because if you think about it from a leadership point of view, when you build it with your team and operating system, you want to build something which is sustainable and not dependent on you as a leader or your team. It should be there, even if you move on. It should be part of the culture so that people and generations after can still build from what was built, to make it better.

Read August’s issue of CPOstrategy!

By Alex Saric, smart procurement expert at Ivalua Organisations are under more pressure than ever before to innovate at speed,…

By Alex Saric, smart procurement expert at Ivalua

Organisations are under more pressure than ever before to innovate at speed, ensuring they remain relevant in an increasingly competitive business environment. However, one of the barriers to achieving this is the constant drive to cut costs.

In today’s procurement landscape, cost reduction and innovation can no longer be viewed as mutually exclusive. Instead of focusing solely on remaining profitable, organisations need to view cost reduction as a sustainable practice that doesn’t block innovation. This misalignment between objectives means organisations must take more consideration when it comes to supplier management and adopt a more collaborative approach, investing in the right tools to help ensure innovation isn’t stifled by an overarching focus on cost reduction.

Innovation has become a top priority for organisations, but in order to deliver ground-breaking new developments, they must take steps to ensure they have effective supplier management that encourages and enables innovation.

Tapping into supply chain innovation

Suppliers should be a key resource for organisations looking to develop innovative ideas. According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), up to 65% of organisational innovation is sourced externally through various partners and suppliers. This means, in order to increase innovation, organisations need to better understand their supplier capabilities by tapping into the skills and knowledge base which will help to drive the business forward.

Despite organisations having access to this supplier information, many don’t use it. In fact, most organisations typically don’t get out enough to explore new ideas from their suppliers. They would much rather keep the innovation and creative thinking in-house with the marketing or planning department. Capgemini’s research on Supply Relationship Management reveals 60% of procurement departments do not interact with their suppliers through any source of social medium. This signifies a considerable amount of potential for growth and shows that resource is going to waste.

The report also found a severe lack of supplier relationships within organisations, with only 16% of Capgemini’s respondents having a corporate strategy and process in place to manage supplier relations. These organisations are failing to utilise the knowledge of their suppliers, resulting in missed opportunities to discuss new strategies or possible product ideas.

Lack of scalability limiting collaboration

The barrier to working alongside suppliers and putting processes in place is often due to a lack of scalability, with too many organisations collaborating via email or verbally with a handful of existing, strategic suppliers. By digitising supplier engagement, collaboration can scale across more suppliers and products for greater overall benefit. Poor technology adoption is a common barrier. Forrester research previously found that over three-quarters (82%) of organisations switched or are considering switching technology providers due to poor level of supplier onboarding (30%) and poor user adoption (27%). This has prevented suppliers from easily communicating with procurement teams or even bidding for contracts.

It is impossible to unlock innovation if the means are not provided to help suppliers get involved with innovation initiatives or suggest ways to sustainably cut costs or improve designs.

Currently, there are organisations that use recognition and collaboration to develop highly effective supplier relation programmes. General Motors (GM) are known forfrequently praising suppliers who have excelled or have a successful collaboration with GM to produce innovative technologies through their supplier programme. This system has helped GM to promote innovation and incentivise suppliers so they can feel rewarded and motivated to share their latest ideas and breakthrough technologies. Organisations that have a supplier relationship management programme in place are able to efficiently measure target outcomes, which promotes continuous improvement in collaboration with their suppliers.

Building a supplier ecosystem to foster innovation

In order to strike a fair balance between cost savings and other objectives such as sustainability and new product development, organisations need to move away from their cost-focused approaches and must instead adopt an entirely new way of managing their suppliers. It’s time for a more measured approach to supplier management, one that will help enterprises focus on diversity and innovation, and which will ultimately encourage sustainable cost savings driven by the supplier rather than the buyer.

However, this will be impossible to achieve without a reliable data foundation, to help organisations make accurate and informed decisions and weigh up their options effectively and accurately. By implementing smart procurement technology to clean up supplier data from multiple sources, organisations can gain 360-degree visibility across the entire supplier base. This will help to unlock a wealth of insights into contracts, orders, and invoices, as well as detailed information on suppliers such as risk factors, relationships and performance evaluation.

Organisations under pressure to innovate at speed can utilise this visibility to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with suppliers, allowing them to collaborate to create sustainable cost savings while also creating new products and services to satiate demand. As the speed of innovation increases in the future, savvy organisations must ensure that conversations about cost don’t become a barrier; otherwise, they risk more savvy rivals utilising their supply chain to rapidly deliver new products to market, leaving those that don’t in their wake.

By Kevin Davies Listen to the podcast here! In your career you’ve identified some serious unlocked strategic potential in the…

By Kevin Davies

Listen to the podcast here!

In your career you’ve identified some serious unlocked strategic potential in the supply chain, what first alerted you to this?

I have been working for some time with Dr Bram Desmet and he wrote for me, one of the most profound and excellent business and supply chain strategy books called “Supply Chain Strategy and Financial Metrics”. Now, while I was actually in contact with him, I had the privilege to contribute to the book with the forward, and also with a business case study on my previous work with a company called Johnson Controls.

That encouraged me to look into the concept of everything involved in business transformation and supply chain and the idea of taking a more strategic approach to it. Leading up to Bram and myself, working on a concept called “Strategy Driven Supply Chain” and also the “Strategy Driven Value Planning and Execution” model.

In your white paper, The Concept of the Strategy Driven Supply Chain,  you explore the current trend of businesses putting their supply chain front and forward It highlights some of the issues that companies are going through…

There’s an enormous amount of change. We know that probably 63% conform, but their CEOs are going through a business model change over the next couple of years. Now, what we are also highlighting is that lots of companies are overly focusing on gross and margin improvement, and have a somewhat  lack in focus on shareholder value. That’s measured in a metrics called Return on Capital Employed (ROCE). Another problem is that companies don’t have enough understanding of the true complexity of their supply chain and how to balance service costs, and capital employed within what Bram calls the ‘supply chain triangle’.

Having a better understanding would lead to sharper strategies and stronger execution. This would lead to more sustainable performance and results. So it’s really that sustainable performance and results aspect which comes through, and we believe that it looks like a perfect storm. Supply chain is at the front of it. A supply chain that is seen from an entity point of view, and not just a functional point of view, is really important to companies. Companies have different supply chains and each of the supply chains needs to be strategy driven. Then, different strategies lead to different supply chains with different targets and different trade-off, for service cost and capital employed. There’s also a belief that supply chain strategy is simply following a business strategy or from the business strategy. We do believe that, but it is not a sequential process and the value proposition, and the supply chain are the ying and the yang of the business strategy. Only together can they define how business generates shareholder value and is measured by ROCE.

So, it’s about looking into supply chain from the perspective of driving value for customers, and for the business. Supply chain delivers on the promise that businesses are making through their value proposition.

Does this represent an evolution from the traditional operational back-end supply chain function?

Absolutely! It’s an evolution defined by asking the question as to what supply chain management actually is. We believe that supply chain management is more about balancing the supply chain triangle of service cost and cash. It is also about facilitating the internal debate between sales operations and finance. It somehow takes on the role of balancing these kind of trade off decisions.

Now that also proves that the supply chain is coming from the back room into the front room. It is becoming an equal partner around the C-suite, hence we are also talking about putting the supply chain or Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) into a more strategic role. That would require people operating on that level with more financial and strategic skills instead of in the past, having just operational skills. They will be measured on their operational skills and their execution.

Are you seeing examples of that in action now?

Companies are now taking a more strategic approach. We also see companies promoting people who have lead the supply chain become the Chief Executive Officer. You’ve seen other companies in the US like Apple. Tim Cook, who had been leading the supply chain for Apple for many years under Steve Jobs, is now the one leading the organisation. Now that’s a very good example when you look into how supply chain becomes a more competitive advantage for an organisation that has and understands the importance of having a great supply chain. It also shows how important it is to have somebody leading the organisation that he has an operational, financial and strategic skillset. The future skills requirements of the CSCOs in many companies will follow this path.

Would this require quite a substantial cultural shift? How important is change management to an evolution of this kind?

Yeah, absolutely. We say that it takes a bit of a leap in terms of maturity of organisations, and also changing and shifting the paradigms from where they are today to where they need to be in the future. Now that requires a value creation and that is why we actually started to work on the concept of the strategy driven supply chain. Even knowing that this is maybe five to ten years out. But starting the debate and starting the value creation really helps to facilitate and move the needle up. It’s enabling organisations to have  a more serious look into their strategic supply chain and what it means to them as well as what it means to the overall strategy employment process in the organisation.

Some organisations took the approach of being driven by gross initiatives, without truly understanding the strategy behind them or the value proposition and even the complexity of the business. How do they want to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and what does it mean in terms of the service they have to deliver, the corresponding cost as well as the capital employed in their environment? We are looking at how we can help organisations by highlighting the problem or the potential issue. More importantly, it’s about finding a solution and an approach, and taking a different more strategic approach in future. We’re highlighting how the supply chain triangle can be balanced differently by promoting the CSCO into a more strategic role.

Would that result in the CSCO reporting on a peer-to-peer basis to a CEO?

It’s an equal partner in the business, and with the same level of importance  as the C-suite, (CFOs, CEOs etc.) The CSCO becomes the ring man. They will help the CEO, and the entire leadership of the company, including board of directors, make more informed decisions, or as I would call it ‘deliberate choices’.

So the key to this is that the supply chain function has a wealth of data and knowledge and insight readily available to use?

It’s also about the reality of balancing the triangle. When you think about a supply chain, and the mission of a supply chain, it’s often about delivering the right product at the right time, at the lowest cost, at the lowest inventory. There is conflict in the triangle all the time. It’s about a service you want to give to your customers. When you talk about service, it’s not only how you move your products and deliver them but it’s also the complexity of the product. It’s about the order flexibility you want in order to give you the product portfolio as such, but also having an understanding of what it means in terms of cost you’re going to have in the organisation and the capital employed.

When we talk about the capital employed, it’s really about two elements: a working capital (the decision you have to make to strategically keep a certain inventory level in your organisation) or it’s how you deploy your assets in a fixed asset structure. How this applies to the conflicts and the triangle and the critical stakeholders in your business. The VPO of sales, as an example,  what does he really care about? It’s probably the sales top line and market share. The COO or Head of Production? The primary concern is probably efficiency, as efficiency drives cost. But if you think about the VPO sourcing of purchasing, it’s the spend and how the company can buy more volume at a lower cost. That’s conflict. 

So the question then becomes;  who is best positioned in a company to balance that? Decisions and people being driven differently in terms of service cost and cash and the best positioned person to do that would be the CSCO. Now that’s the best thing for organisations to understand and if they do so, it can really set them up for a very successful future or operating on a new competitive level.

Do you envision a situation where a CSCO could evolve and transition
into a successful CEO?

Yeah, absolutely. That’s a prediction Dr Bram Desmet and myself are making and we believe you will see it happening more and more in the future, and in organisations where successful CSCOs who have those operational skills, financial skills and strategic skills are the best people for taking the job at the top of the house.

If a supply chain function is evolving in this way it would have to shed some of its traditional operations, is it true to say that some of this could be liberated through technology?

Yes you are right. You see the merge between the physical worlds and the digitalisation of the digital world, and enabling technologies. Companies are not only selling products and services, they sell solutions and outcomes. That is a new complexity that organisations are dealing with that requires certain changes and like I said before, be crystal clear about the value proposition you’re going to have or want to have as a business, and what it means in terms of the corresponding supply chain, and now your supply chain or different supply chains are delivering on the promise you made. The question is now about how you deploy your resources in your organisation more efficiently and effectively. That’s what we are talking about.

Do you think this would affect, going forward, the training of supply chain officers?

I believe it goes deeper than that. I believe if affects structures, it affects roles and it affects your whole recruiting process in terms of the discourse you would need as an organisation. It would also impact talent development.  Going back to the example of the CSCO, in the past he has probably been promoted based on his ability to bring in results based on how the organisation performs. Now in the future I think it would be more about the balance between how he is actually contributing to the overall results of that organisation based on a strong operational performance. It’s also about financial results of an organisation being top line, bottom line and results or returns and what kind of strategic skills he has in terms of taking the organisation forward.

So that’s what we are talking about and that requires a new skillset and new talents in the organisation. There will need to be new training which needs to be provided and opportunities for people to move into these kind of roles.

What would you say are some of the obstacles to the evolution of this role?

Probably mindset and the culture of an organisations where they have traditionally rewarded their people differently in the past. They need to overcome that and look at what that change means for them. They need to be ready with their maturity and company culture to move and shift the paradigm to a more strategy-driven supply chain and value planning and execution model. So culture probably is the key obstacle in the evolution of the role.

In your vast knowledge, do you see any industry sectors where it’s accelerating more than it is in others?

Well that’s a very good question. I would say, from my own perspective it is that you see some of industries a little bit ahead.  Technology companies for example would be ahead in terms of looking at that from more of a strategic point of view. Overall I would say that more and more companies are at the starting point of truly understanding that change needs to happen.

“Great companies need to do three things: out-think, out-compete and outperform their competitors…” Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner of Supply Chain…

“Great companies need to do three things: out-think, out-compete and outperform their competitors…” Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner of Supply Chain at Gartner.

This week, in the third episode of an exclusive six-part supply-chain masterclass, Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner of Supply Chain at Gartner, reveals how supply chain excellence operating systems can really help build the muscle of an organisation, as enterprises evolve and react to volatile markets, increased competition and rising customer expectations.

Click here to hear the whole interview!

“There are still many companies struggling to make long term commitments, and not really addressing the balance between the uncertainty of short-term financial performance and long-term investments, to build better capabilities. Now for many, many years, there has been continuous improvement initiatives being around standardisation of processes and all these good things, but we need to take that to the next level of building truly end-to-end capabilities.

We’re talking about building something which creates more sustainable business performance and results… When I talk about a supply chain excellence operating system, it’s really to build the muscle in an organisation, to be able to cope with future requirements, from the customer side in responding to customer expectations, but also being able to compete differently in the marketplace and building capabilities related to people, processes, technology as an enabling element…”

Read the latest issue here! Our cover star this month is SAP’s Dr. Marcell Vollmer, the global thought leader, who…

Read the latest issue here!

Our cover star this month is SAP’s Dr. Marcell Vollmer, the global thought leader, who reveals how the ongoing transformation of procurement into a strategic value-adding role will see the function perform a pivotal role in the fourth industrial revolution…

So, where does a procurement transformation begin? “I think the most important thing for digital transformation, is to focus on the structure, the organisation, the process side, and then finally on the systems,” Vollmer tells us, from his Munich office. “Oh, and don’t forget the people at the end.” It’s no surprise that many businesses are preparing for the future as everyone wants to understand, learn and adapt to a constantly shifting landscape. And although procurement is emerging into a progressive role, Vollmer is quick to point out the volatility of technological change. “Our CEO Bill McDermott says: ‘Change has never moved as fast as now, and it will never move as slow as today.’”

Elsewhere, we talk to CIPS Mena’s Sam Achampong on procurement in the Middle East and North Africa and catch up with the organisers behind World Procurement Week about how this fast-growing series of events is establishing itself as a must-attend date in the diary. We also have an expert insight on keeping your stakeholders happy and list 5 top ‘procurement disruptors’ and events.

We hope you enjoy the issue!

By Alan Gunner, Business Development Director, Adjuno. With the impact of our consumer society increasingly influencing purchasing behaviour, it is…

By Alan Gunner, Business Development Director, Adjuno.

With the impact of our consumer society increasingly influencing purchasing behaviour, it is clear that there has been a shift in the need for sustainable supply chains. But this is not a simple task – as political negotiations dominate the headlines, more brands are seeking opportunities in new markets, which is having a considerable impact on their carbon footprint. 

As a result, it is now more important than ever for companies to evaluate their logistics processes, not only to reduce environmental impact, but also to reduce costs through increased efficiency. To move forward and tackle the ethical issues, organisations need to take control and focus on achieving full visibility. The implementation of tracking tools will enable businesses to automatically capture the level of carbon emissions that are produced as a result of the end-to-end supply chain operations, from sourcing and procurement through to final delivery. With a detailed level of information, brands are able to effectively see a reduction in not only carbon emissions, but also in the spending associated with transportation.

And by leveraging end to end supply chain insight, more companies will also be able to track the source of a product – this is particularly important when exploring new, unknown markets. For example, from the type of tree to location and certification, brands can ensure all the timber they use is sustainably sourced.

Additionally, enforcing robust packaging standards across the global supply chain is beneficial to a company’s CO2 levels. By insisting that suppliers use certain box sizes and materials, pallet fill will be optimised and the number of items that can be stored in a warehouse will be increased. This means that businesses will require a reduced amount of containers and shipments, minimising the number of journeys that will be made throughout the supply chain. This standardisation of packaging and complete transparency of the supply chain will put companies in the best position to demonstrate the provenance of their products and to assure the consumer that they’re taking steps towards improving their environmental credentials.

It is evident that conscious consumerism is going to grow, therefore, in order to position themselves as a leader businesses need to implement ethical practices across the entire supply chain. By addressing these concerns and making the necessary changes, companies will not only reduce the negative impacts new trading locations will have on the environment, but will be able to improve the perception of their brand.

The big business corporations, such as Toyota, BMW, Ikea, Nestle, etc. pay a good amount of their attention to participation…

The big business corporations, such as Toyota, BMW, Ikea, Nestle, etc. pay a good amount of their attention to participation in managing the entire supply chains. Can it be one of the components of their success? Though tier 2+ suppliers have long been a dark spot for an original manufacturer, your sub-suppliers have much more impact on the advance of your business than it’s generally believed. By working closely with them, you can well contribute to the achievements of your business, improve the experience of your customers and stay competitive in the market. Let’s overview the benefits of such cooperation, identify what tends to deter companies from appealing to it and see how these pain points can be tackled with the right approach and modern vendor management tools. 

How do you know cooperation with sub-suppliers is worth your attention?

To illuminate the need of such involvement, here’re the examples of the positive impact that close cooperation with your tier 2+ suppliers can have on business.

  • Better quality assurance

Being the producer of the final product, you take responsibility for overall quality across the entire supply chain. It means that even if some quality problem appears to have roots in tier 2 / 3 / n suppliers, your company is still the one accountable and the one to sacrifice its reputation.

Relying on your tier 1 supplier is not always the best solution to the problem. Some of them may lack the appropriate focus on quality requirements, don’t have well-established quality control practices or just don’t have the required infrastructure to ensure the suitable level of control. Only rigorous selection and monitoring of the suppliers across all tiers of your supply chain will help to avoid unpleasant consequences ensuring that the materials, semi-finished products, etc. meet all the requirements placed and that there’s no hidden threat to the quality of your final product.

In this case, the support from the manufacturer can cover various activities from professional training of the sub-suppliers’ employees, direct communication for quick feedback and tech help to the installment of dedicated equipment (e.g., IoT sensors) for ongoing process monitoring.

  • Indirect cost reduction

Knowing who your sub-suppliers are, knowing their prices, delivery terms, you get a possibility to monitor and better understand the prices of your direct suppliers. This increased visibility will allow you to reduce prices of your tier 1 suppliers (e.g., helping them to order components and materials on more favorable terms, organizing bulk purchasing for several Tier 1 suppliers) and thus also lower the price of a finished product. 

  • More sustainable supplies

Direct communication with sub-suppliers allows you to timely identify the potential source of supply disruption and proactively introduce needed changes, anticipate missed or late shipments, plan your company’s processes accordingly, etc. Moreover, you can share trusted practices in logistics and inventory management with tier 2+ suppliers to increase the quality of your supplies.

  • Enhanced R&D

As one of the examples, your sub-supplier has a much deeper knowledge of the specifics of their products and its characteristics. Sharing this insider info (e.g., an innovative metal processing technique), they help to streamline your R&D and accelerate the introduction of new products.

  • Shared values

Today’s world poses new requirements for the businesses of various types and industries with regard to environmental, sociopolitical and ethical concerns. To manage them successfully, you need to follow the same direction across the entire supply chain.   

Environmental concerns

The requirements on the environmental-friendly manufacturing process can be both imposed (by governmental or international organizations) or broadcasted as brand value. In any case, supporting green initiatives across the entire supply chain is of great importance. For example, taking an active part in the Carbon Disclosure Program (CDP), the BMW Group managed to significantly lower its overall CO2 emissions introducing improvements across their entire supplier network.

Having got the info on the engagement of its suppliers in deforestation practices, Nestle has managed to save its reputation of an environment-caring company. The business quickly identified the vendors that didn’t follow their environmental policy and excluded them from their supplier list. In addition, Nestle required the rest of suppliers to map out their ‘interest’ zones and introduced satellite monitoring to proactively eliminate any potential danger to their company’s reputation.  

Ethical concerns

Even the indirect or unintentional use of conflict resources, children labor, etc. can raise a lot of questions to your company. Via closer cooperation with all-tier suppliers, you allow for their thorough pre-assessment, ongoing monitoring of their existing practices and can immediately perform a common mitigation campaign in case of detected risks (e.g., requiring constant reports on working conditions, working hours, recruitment activities, etc.).    

What holds you back from closer cooperation with sub-suppliers?   

Despite the varied benefits of closer communication with Tier 2+ suppliers mentioned above, there’re reasons why companies are not that enthusiastic about rushing deep into the tiers of their supply chain. At least two things that no one is immune to make companies unwilling to do so. First, the overall management complexity gets exacerbated with the involvement of tier n suppliers as you get an increased number of documentation, compliances, and communications to handle. Secondly, the new responsibilities (looking for the appropriate sub-suppliers that answer your and your suppliers’ needs, continuous sub-supplier monitoring, etc.) are very time-consuming.  

How to engage with your sub-suppliers if you want to make a difference?  

  • Learn who your critical sub-suppliers are.

Begin with identifying the critical links across your tier n supplier network (e.g., the vendors of your top Tier 1 suppliers) and develop communication with them. The important point is that this cooperation should be explicit and bidirectional and involve constant feedback from sub-suppliers in the form of direct reports, questionnaires, personal chats, phone/video calls, etc.    

  • Provide a convenient environment for management, co-work, and monitoring.

The modern digital vendor management tools can become of a great help in managing increased number of diverse suppliers with relative ease and speed. For example, employing online procurement solutions you can structure and organize multiple vendor data, ensure its consistency, streamline the data flow, encourage and facilitate closer cooperation with your sub-suppliers and more. Among additional variants are IoT-based monitoring of your Tier 2 vendors, online collaboration platforms and media screening.

Heads up – finale

There are good reasons to suspect that the fight for advanced business efficiency is incomplete without looking deeper inside the network of your sub-suppliers. The closer cooperation with tier n suppliers promises such important improvements as decreased prices for your suppliers and consequently the lower cost of your final product, streamlined R&D, reduced concerns over environmental and ethical problems, etc.

However, this approach is often associated with management complexity, significantly increased data volumes, and its time-consuming nature. To tackle the pain points, start improving communication with critical links in your supply chain and consider the processes automation and digitalization introduced by modern tech solutions.

This week is part two of a six-part supply chain master class with Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner Supply Chain at…

This week is part two of a six-part supply chain master class with Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner Supply Chain at Gartner. Frank has years of experience working on the frontline of supply chain management, and this week he’s detailing the hidden potential of a strategy-driven supply chain… Listen now!

As the pressure to create the perfect supply chain continues, it has become apparent that human processing alone won’t be…

As the pressure to create the perfect supply chain continues, it has become apparent that human processing alone won’t be able to keep up with greater complexities and a high volume of orders. Businesses must ensure their establishing a strong relationship with their suppliers, manufacturers and consumers, and are driving continual improvements.

Supply chains used to be very siloed meaning organisations would have different systems and reports for each supplier. Unfortunately, this approach provided no real visibility of what was happening behind the curtain, or between the siloes, and caused confusion for all involved. As more firms have recognised that suppliers are an extension of their in-house teams and should be treated as such, closer relationships have been forming. Technology has helped this process as it’s enabled improved communication and transparency.

To stay ahead of the competition, having excellent supplier relationships that are supported by the right technology will be key. Over the next decade concerns around sustainability are set to drive consumer behaviour, therefore organisations need to keep a close eye on their supply chain, as well as their internal practices to establish a sustainable platform. Establishing a strong relationship with suppliers will make them more willing to give companies improved levels of visibility, helping to refine their end-to-end supply chain processes.

Through providing one central location of information, businesses can ensure cross-functional supply teams are using the most up-to-date information to guarantee that they are only placing businesses with approved suppliers. This strategy enables organisations to plan and manage all of their interactions with the suppliers to mitigate the risk of poor collaborative practice and identify opportunities for growth.

The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain technology in the supply chain is growing. The introduction of blockchain will provide companies with the ability to fulfil vital parts of a product’s journey; this will give them a competitive edge, as they have the insight needed to deliver an immutable, reliable record. And with the addition of AI, these businesses will also be able to process the large volumes of data available, quickly and intelligently. All these factors will be key to unveiling even more essential information about operational performance, providing the opportunity for organisations to reconsider supply chains both tactically and strategically. The extended insights can also drastically reduce the risk associated with embracing new suppliers, while providing businesses with the details they need to reassure consumers that they’re embracing ethical, valuable practices.

With procurement undergoing nothing short of a revolution right now, the brand-new CPOstrategy will keep you up to speed with…

With procurement undergoing nothing short of a revolution right now, the brand-new CPOstrategy will keep you up to speed with all the latest insights and stories from the biggest names in this space. Each month, we will cover all aspects of procurement strategy and transformation as well as supply chain digitisation and management. CPOstrategy is from executive, for executive. Read the launch issue now!

Procurement is being transformed by new technologies, but people are the secret to success according to LEO Pharma’s Head of Operational Procurement, Martin Starcke in our cover story this month. Drug developer LEO Pharma is seeking to revolutionise its procurement right now through the deployment of a decentralised system. However, Starcke, believes that the digital transformation of procurement is about a lot more than software or computer services. “It’s fundamentally about people. I think implementing software, implementing the technology is around 10% of your effort,” he says.

We also have an exclusive interview with Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner for the Gartner CSCO and COO Service who talks about the importance of delivering real value to its clients.

Elsewhere, we speak to procurement consultancy Efficio who prompts the question: “Are procurement leaders feeling let down by technology?” We also detail the barriers to smart procurement technology and list the five top reasons why supply chain strategies fail and what to do about it. Plus, lots, lots more.

We hope you enjoy the issue!

FedEx has announced the development of an autonomous delivery robot that helps retailers to make same-day and last mile deliveries…

FedEx has announced the development of an autonomous delivery robot that helps retailers to make same-day and last mile deliveries even smarter and faster. Executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for FedEx, Brie Carere, said: “The FedEx SameDay Bot is an innovation designed to change the face of local delivery and help retailers efficiently address their customers’ rising expectations.” The company is having conversations with brands such as Walmart, Target and Pizza Hut around how this bot can work for their delivery needs.

Home Depot has revealed that it has achieved 70 percent same day delivery capabilities in the US and has said that it is planning to invest a further $US 1.2 billion into its supply chain to further this reach. Best Buy has reported strong financial results that are believed to have been driven by the supply chain. The sales of wearables, appliances, smart home devices et al had a positive impact on sales in the festive season and the company’s investments into supply chain capabilities played no small role in this success.

In the UK, Aldi, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Co-Op and Waitrose have become founding partners in an initiative dedicated to responsible recruitment in the supply chain. The is a capacity building tool that allows for improved selections and more strategic recruitment for those in the industry.

Remember the KFC crisis of 2018? Well, it turns out that it is the same company running the NHS supply chain. DHL will be put in charge of delivering medicines that are expected to be in short supply post-Brexit and it raises concerns. If they can’t do chicken….

On the research front, ResearchAndMarkets has found that the South American supply chain market is to achieve $US3.7 billion by 2023. It is a growing market and the research company predicts that blockchain is to play a significant role going forward.

Also in the news: Dollar Tree chief supply chain officer, Gary Maxwell says the supply chain needs a reputation makeover; perhaps the cure for the sustainable supply chain is Spotify; and the digital bank Revolut has had its money laundering lapse exposed…

In a piece penned by Mike Orcutt for the MiT Technology Review, it turns out that blockchain isn’t the super…

In a piece penned by Mike Orcutt for the MiT Technology Review, it turns out that blockchain isn’t the super secure vault that everyone thought it was. An increasing number of security holes have appeared in the cryptocurrency and many of them form the foundations of how these systems were built. At the same time, a new survey released by Globant has found that many companies aren’t quite ready to tackle blockchain technology yet, even though they recognise its benefits.

Of course, this isn’t changing the unprecedented innovation and investment into blockchain solution and company as evidenced by a release revealing that Ternio – a blockchain architect – has been accepted as an Amazon Advanced APN Technology partner. The framework developed by Ternio is capable of handling more than one million transactions per second, is fully decentralised and on-chain.

Still on blockchain, the technology remains a strong contender for transformation in the supply chain as it can positively impact on trust, speed and reliability. There are even some solid examples of how this technology has already been used to effect positive results.

Moving beyond the blockchain and into the supply chain, Cause Technologies announced that it has acquired Donseed UK, Enhanced BDM and NJW Limited as part of its growth strategy into international markets. The company focuses on providing software solutions for the supply chain industry that drive efficiencies and capabilities.

Forbes tackles the US-China trade talks, examining how these will impact global supply chains and the changes that will inevitably come. The article postulates that regardless of the outcome, the supply chain is already changing to adapt to market demand and challenge. In BusinessWire, JDA has announced its development of a supply chain management platform as part of its plan to achieve an autonomous supply chain. The company’s AI-powered platform is designed to blend a bevy of powerful technologies into an accessible space that will help companies transform their processes and systems.

Also in the news: Aspirus was named Best 50 supply chain in the GHX list, a new technology that can capture the movement of quantum particles was revealed, a new joint unit designed to bring digital to the NHS was announced, AstraZeneca announced it would be adjusting its supply chain to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.