Author Archives: Sean Delaney


In 1997, shortly before I joined the M&S Merchandising team, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was a major issue. Awareness regarding CSR increased after a child labor scandal was exposed in Moroccan factories. Basically, our suppliers were employing underage workers to make children’s clothing. During this time, sourcing and procurement teams had a very difficult time trying to police their suppliers in low-cost countries. The lack of robust controls to monitor supplier performance created a negative impact on the M&S brand … More

The A to Z of SRM?

I have been desperate to take some time to read this article in SM on the A to Z of SRM. It is a big topic anyway but I was still hoping that It would offer some clarity on what is SRM. However, it gave me a lot more. The speakers highlighted at the SRM conference in Geneva outlined how they interpreted SRM within their organisations and what benefits it gave. Let me summarise, by speaker: BP, Bill Knittle – … More

eEnablement for the NHS

This week I attended a workshop hosted by the NHS on the Procurement eEnablement Programme. Although the meeting was specifically for the UK NHS its theme was relevant for both Public and Private sectors. The main objectives were: • To understand the key issues for the providers of procurement eEnablement technologies to the NHS • To steer the NHS Procurement eEnablement Programme to deliver appropriate policies, guidance and tools to maximise benefits for the NHS and support a sustainable technology … More

Let the market decide!

I have been following the development of Green technology from two different aspects; firstly, from a personal perspective, i.e I want to live in a self sufficient household. I don’t want to pay for energy supplied by a French company that increases prices in the UK by 22% whilst back in France, we subsidise their increases capped at only 2%. I also don’t want to pay Oil producers so that these Sovereign Wealth funds can come back and buy Premier … More

Delivering value in both Good and Bad times

This is a rapidly developing/changing subject area. Inflationary pressures are building momentum in the supply chain whilst at the same time slowing growth is feeding through to weaker demand. This is starting to feel rather like Stagflation – Stagnant growth and inflation – a toxic mix. In a recent report published by Aberdeen procurement in the EMEA region face the following primary challenges and what is more concerning is that these will become increasingly difficult to achieve in the second … More

Reverse Globalization

I have long held the view that if you factor in all the costs associated with Low Cost Country Sourcing (including mistakes driven by long lead times as requirements change) then the benefits are no longer what they initially seemed. As pointed out in a previous blog and also more recently here by Michael Lamoureux, there are many risks associated with LCCS, but I feel these have now been surpassed by the increased cost of distribution driven by the price … More

The Secrets of the Big four Supermarkets – UK

Well I couldn’t resist this…especially since I was once one of these buyers. What is more interesting for me is that having crossed over to the “other side”, the negotiating styles used by the supermarket buyers (Tesco’s etc) certainly sounded very familiar. When showing these tactics to Duncan Bullivant, the Chief executive of Henderson Risk Group, a seasoned hostage and kidnap negotiator, the article writes “even he was surprised”. Duncan then goes on to say ”not only do I recognise … More

The A to Z of SRM?

I have been desperate to take some time to read this article in SM on the A to Z of SRM. It is a big topic anyway but I was still hoping that It would offer some clarity on what is SRM. However, it gave me a lot more. During a recent SRM conference in Geneva, the speakers outlined how they interpreted SRM within their organisations and what benefits it gave. Let me summarise, by speaker: BP, Bill Knittle – … More

77% vote to cut supplier numbers

In a recent poll for supply management 77% of the respondents were planning to make cuts to their vendor list. In soccer terms this is the equivalent of a route one i.e., kick the ball as far up the field in the hope that somebody inadvertently nudges it in the right direction and scores a goal. There is not much technique involved but it’s still a goal. However when you try a second time the likelihood of scoring is far … More

London – eWorld Feb 08

Well another eWorld (London 12th & 13th Feb) has come and gone but some significant shifts it the market yet again. As always the keynote session was well received and after a year’s absence Chris Sawchuck from Hackett delivered the presentation. Some of the key points were: Best in class procurement organisations are costing less to run. The total cost of running the procurement department is falling as a percentage of total revenue. Procurement is being asked to deliver more … More

Immediate Risks to Global Supply Chains

In a previous entry I talked about how the utilisation of Spend Analysis software makes the rational of a vendor reduction programme less relevant. When reading the latest report from The World Economic Forum on the risks for 2008 I am convinced this logic will now start to gain more momentum. According to the WEF there are 4 major risks to be aware of over the forthcoming decade. What is most disturbing is that all 4 will have an immediate … More

Live from eWorld

Well, it’s amazing how quickly the eWorld conference comes around. This time there has been a seismic shift in the market. Not only has the number of vendors shrunk (4 less than in February) there has now become a more definitive split between technology and service providers. The purchase of Procuri by Ariba has given buyers far less choice in the market and that has been reflected in the number and quality of vendors offering eSourcing solutions. This may be … More

Source from Ebay…the new strategic sourcing option

In a recent survey carried out by Supply Management 61% of the respondents were not against the idea of sourcing from Ebay. The benefits listed were: • Speed of Service • Diversity of product • Good market research capability I can just visualise the Corporate Head of Purchasing waiting until just before 8pm with 30 seconds to go to place a killer bid on some obscure bit of IT kit. Oh please! However, after reading through the article I was … More

Collaboration – More does not always equal less.

This article in supply management is a classic misconception that just by adding together more of the same does not always equal lower unit costs. As highlighted by Michael Lamoureux there are a number of issues that inhibit collaboration like culture, time and timing. I think the SM article gives us a great opportunity to dissect a particular collaboration project and measure it against the inhibitors outlined by Michael and Tim Cummins 1. The process of collaboration is difficult enough … More

Vietnam and UAE the new LCCS options

Whilst it may have come as no surprise Vietnam has emerged as the new LCCS for manufacturing over China. United Arab Emirates is the new location for the service sector over India. A new emerging-market index launched by PWC last week looks at “reward” factors with LCCS decisions including factors like production costs, size of market, taxes, transport costs and tariffs. In addition the index looks at risk premiums too. According to the Index BRIC countries are no longer top … More