Archive for October, 2010

So what does not contain BPA?

Friday, October 29th, 2010

As information continues to mount all buyers better hope they have a track record of having asked. Originally BPA was used in can liners and baby bottles. Most recently it was found in receipt paper. It’s starting to get pretty clear that we have to ask where this product isn’t versus where it is.  And the information continues to mount as to the dangers BPA presents.

Most recently a study published in the journal of Fertility and Sterility claims that BPA or Bisphenol A appears to adversely affect sperm in men.

The next time I’m asked if I want a receipt I’m going to say no. That should interest my accountant when they ask for my receipts during tax season. I’ll just say you go pick them up.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Environmentally friendly procurement. Are you just faking it?

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

We have posted before about companies that say they are environmentally friendly when they are not, or claim to have practices in place based on relationships with others that has nothing to do with their products or services. It’s called GREENWASHING. At some point companies will be held liable for what they offer.

I read several news papers daily. I know its old school and does not support protecting our forests, but I just like the feel of it. Am I green? Ok, I also admit to reading a lot of web based material so I am at least part way there. Now am I green?

Unfortunately in products, being part way there is not good enough if you claim you are all the way there. An article in the Arizona Republic today titled Report: 95% of ‘green ‘products not green by Wendy Koch of USA TODAY goes on to say that the Federal Trade Commission of FTC is proposing stricter advertising  rules to enforce accuracy.

Greenwashing defined means that claims a person or company is making relative to their eco-policies are misleading.

How does your e-procurement provider help you to insure that the products you are buying are safe and environmentally friendly? What certifications do they check for? Where does the information that is placed on the labels of your private label products come from? Do you check with the manufacturer to make sure it is true? Does your e-procurement provider help you? If you put a product on your shelves that claim to be environmentally friendly (they normally cost more) and they end up not being, are you liable for damages from your consumers?

Companies are making progress, but we don’t know what we don’t know unless we ask and the companies that help you source your products should also help you ask in the supplier vetting process.

Be careful out there.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Are you anti Social Networks? Be careful how you define yourself.

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

For those of you that do not think that social networks have a place in the business world or in procurement in general, just remember that they are the tool of choice of the younger generations. That would be those that are coming after those of us with a few with more than a few years of experience. By the way, that includes the use of these tools in their work lives.

The blogosphere is crowed with any number of opinions on any number of subjects. As a medium it has evolved from on line dictionaries in the early to mid 1990’s. Blogs are a form of Social Media just as Wiki’s are. Forums have been around for thousands of years, it is only natural that as technology evolved to include more people that offerings such as Facebook would evolve to include many of these tool types. It is only a matter of time before the evolve to help us solve complex problems in all areas of life and that include procurement.

If you visit the SafeSourcing Sourcebook™ and become a member you can host forums on anything you wish to learn about in the procurement space and post that forum to thousands of other members. It may be something as simple as a question like this. Can anyone tell me how they are presently planning to source paper products based on the rumors of an up pulp market? How might you plan on mitigating price increases?

Job specific social communities are not the way of the future, they are here today. Visit Sourcebook™ and create your forum.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Sourcebook™ will go viral in January of 2011

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Sourcebook™ was launched during May of 2008 and is the procurement industries first professional social network. Like other social communities you can enter your profile, choose an avatar, upload pictures and videos and participate or lead threaded conversations with your peers.

Those that don’t think these types of tools will catch on in specific work places or industries probably would not have been the first to by a car when it was invented either.

Don’t wait to join, January is coming soon. Follow this link and be part of the Sourcebook™  excitement.

In other words is just more trade liberalization.

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

The agreements are really just a form of trade liberalization which is how these geographies or countries collaborate to the remove government incentives and restrictions from trade between themselves and other nations or groups of nations. Trade liberalization has always been open to much political debate because of its impact on local economies where jobs or lack of them impact the daily lives of its people.

A subject we are all familiar with that is a good example is that of jobs going overseas from the United States particularly in the area of manufacturing. That subject could be an entire book relative to the impact of World War II on creating breeding beds for new economies based on new technologies that ultimately caused our own manufacturing decline and the need for tariffs in the first place.

This all sounds like a self fulfilling prophecy, but I digress.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Is comparative advantage important to your procurement practices?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Comparative advantage is a theory that advances that in a free marketplace, each entity or country such as the EU or NAFTA or trading countries will ultimately specialize in activities where it has comparative advantage. Examples of such might be technology, natural resources,   local workers skill sets, agricultural advantages, transportation benefits etc.

Sometimes countries create trade agreements that eliminate the comparative advantage they each may have in favor of benefits that both or multiple countries derive from the agreement where one may have an advantage over the other that creates an imbalance in trade. As an example in the NAFTA agreement, Mexico may have a lower cost labor pool than the United States but the United States may have a transportation advantage that could leverage that low cost of labor. These agreements are called Free Trade Agreements in which both parties agree to lift most or all tariffs, quotas, special fees and taxes, and other barriers to trade between the entities to their mutual benefit.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Where does the retail spend data you need for procurement reside?

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

The problem today is that there is so much retail data available that buyers and category managers could easily suffer business paralysis by data analysis.

Below is just a partial list of systems and places where data resides that is meaningful if not critical to sourcing professionals. Most of you can probably add to this list pretty easily. The unfortunate issue that confronts  retail procurement professionals daily is that most of this data is not integrated in any way and even at very large companies,  to much critical data is sitting on local employee desktops or even worse in their heads. And that is not what we mean by a neural network.

1. ERP systems
2. Enterprise Data Warehouse systems
3. Replenishment systems
4. Financial reporting systems
5. Demand Planning systems
6. Purchase Order management systems
7. Distribution and Logistics systems
8. Merchandise management systems
9. Retail Planning systems
10. Local employee desktops
11. Contract management systems

Number two from above the enterprise data warehouse is probably the most logical place to bring all of these data sources or elements together within one logical data model that drives the master data source integrated with a s business reporting and  busyness intelligence front end. Small companies may never make it to this level, but if they can find a business partner that offers these solutions in a SaaS format it will be much better than the current; Hey  Joe, how many of these did we order last year?

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Another COO procurement professionals should pay close attention to is Country Of Origin labeling.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

One forward one back reporting is not enough if we plan to limit food borne illness outbreaks and other product safety issues that continue to put consumers and companies at risk.

According to Wikipedia, Country of origin (COO) is the country of manufacture, production, or growth where a product comes from.

All products clearly need to require is specific country of origin labeling, particularly as we continue to source more offshore products and services. Today, standards tend to be inconsistent from country to country. By example products enter North America from Europe that may carry country of origin labeling like “Europe” or “EU” rather than specific labeling indicating a product comes from France or Germany.

Manufactured products create a more unique issue, as individual products may include up to hundreds of components, pieces and parts from dozens of countries and assembled in other countries. While this issue requires significant work, there is absolutely no reason that we can not include country of origin labeling on all food products that enter our country.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

What type of job areas might be involved or impacted by e-procurement?

Monday, October 18th, 2010

SafeSourcing’s SourceBook™ is a Professional Social Community for procurement professionals with nearly 1,000 members where just about any subject in the procurement area can be discussed with other procurement professionals.

The answers to the above thread were pretty basic but probably did a nice job of pointing the member who was looking for areas in which to focus a job search in the right direction.

There are certainly many more areas of a company that have e-procurement connections, but the following are probably a pretty good place to start.

1. Finance
2. Purchasing
3. Logistics
4. Manufacturing
5. Warehousing
6. Materials Management
7. Inventory Management
8. Supply Chain
9. Distribution
10. Transportation

See how SourceBook™ can help you with your procurement questions.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Is LEED an important element of retail construction project sourcing and should retail companies pursue certification adherence for their suppliers?

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

According to Wikipedia, The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Since its inception in 1998, LEED has grown to encompass more than 14,000 projects in 50 U.S. States and 30 countries covering 1.062 billion square feet (99 km²) of development area. The hallmark of LEED is that it is an open and transparent process where the technical criteria proposed by the LEED committees are publicly reviewed for approval by the more than 10,000 membership organizations that currently constitute the USGBC.

Individuals recognized for their knowledge of the LEED rating system are permitted to use the LEED Accredited Professional (AP) acronym after their name, indicating they have passed the accreditation exam given by the Green Building Certification Institute (a third-party organization that handles accreditation for the USGBC.

There are many sources of education and certification courses available on line or in the class room. One good source is everblue training institute.

Please support triple bottom line and do your part to hold your suppliers accountable to LEED certification for your construction projects.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments