Category Archives: Global Supply Issues/Risk

A Current Scandal Proves Why Employee Contracts Shouldn’t Live in Spreadsheets

Identity theft is a huge concern these days with estimates of 15 million people becoming victims each year. And if you’re one of the unlucky ones like me – you know firsthand that identity theft can be expensive! Each year, identity theft cases can total up to more than $50 billion in damages, according to With these concerns on the rise, it’s no surprise that employees for a large entertainment organization are upset that hackers found pay rates, social … More

Procurement Gone Wild

On February 19, 2015, Paul Shin Devine must surrender himself to the U.S. Marshall Service and begin serving a one-year sentence on corruption charges. He has already repaied $4.5M in restitution and will be on supervised release for three years starting in February 2016. Is Devine a crooked politician? No. A member of the mob? Not even close. Devine is a former Global Supply Manager for Apple. A procurement professional just like the readers of this blog. The difference is … More

Time to broaden how we think about purchasing capability

“You are only as good as your team” is an oft-quoted phrase and something that procurement chiefs have taken to heart as their personnel numbers have grown. Each and every year procurement chiefs say that one of their key priorities is to improve the skills and capabilities of those in their team. Understandably this focuses on those who sit under their direct jurisdiction, but 2014 should be the year that this mindset changes because purchasing capability extends far beyond the … More

Shattered myths mean no let up in commodity markets

After locking themselves into a long-term contract, procurement chiefs could be forgiven for only giving the commodity markets a cursory glance over their morning cup of coffee, but recent price moves in the natural gas market prove there is no time to rest on any laurels. Between February and April this year, natural gas prices on the CME Nymex rose from $3.153 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) to $4.408. After reaching this yearly high, prices steadily fell and on … More

Supply Chain Risk – the “Cyber Attack”: Part 2

Welcome back! If you’re just joining us for this two part series, click here to read Part 1. All companies have a minimum of two levels (tiers) of suppliers – Tier One (directly contracted suppliers) or Tier Two (suppliers to the Tier One suppliers). Large companies do a fairly good job of assessing their risk exposure to Tier One suppliers during the initial assessment and contracting process. Usually, little if any review of Tier Two suppliers occurs at this stage. … More

Supply Chain Risk – the “Cyber Attack”: Part 1

Global supply chains are constantly exposed to risk, ranging from disruptions of continuity to various levels of operational destruction. Risks can include weather, significant cost variances, resource availability, legislative/tax changes, logistical disruption, power outages and health epidemics, and usually occur without warning. Most supply chain management functions, even in the most advanced companies, are ill-equipped to address the wide range of risks they’re exposed to. Whether company is a manufacturer of raw materials, finished goods or a supplier of services, … More

Emerging Trends in Supplier Information Management: Part 2

In Part One, I introduced a discussion of some surprising trends I found when looking at supplier registration forms from a wide variety of companies across many industries.  The first surprise for me was that so many of these companies are asking the same questions from supplier companies. In this post I’ll discuss the other unusual thing I discovered:  some organizations ask potential suppliers essay questions. It’s not quite as open as the classic American “How I Spent My Summer … More

Lessons from Apple: Who is Keeping Watch Over Your Supply Chain? Part 2

Click here to read Part 1 of this series. Apple makes their suppliers sign Nondisclosure Agreements , and warns employees against disclosing anything beyond what is absolutely necessary, but clearly they have lost much of the control they were previously able to exert over their research & development and manufacturing processes. Their procurement and supply chain groups are clearly facing real challenges if they hope to bring non-publicly available information back inside the fold. While it is necessary to share … More

Lessons from Apple: Who is Keeping Watch Over Your Supply Chain? Part 1

Few companies have the ‘cool factor’ that can be claimed by Apple. But with a high profile comes high stakes, and their procurement and supply chain operations are not exempt. In order to remain competitive (or dominant in Apple’s case) in the consumer electronics industry, a high level of secrecy is usually required – both in the introduction of new products and the release of next generations of existing products. Historically, Apple has been a highly secretive company, driven in … More

Four Ways Sourcing Teams Can Become Super

It’s Super Bowl week here in Indianapolis. More than 11,000 volunteers are prepared to make Super Bowl XLVI an amazing experience for the fans, tourists and locals. Just today I heard that the NFL experience attracted a record 42,000+ visitors on Saturday. And as the teams are arriving Monday, it comes to mind how making the Super Bowl is a huge victory for any football team; think of it like accomplishing the executive mandate of the sourcing world. So, what … More

New Supply Chain Strategies to Maximize Product Value and Growth- Gartner Webinar Review – Part 2

In Part 1, I discussed serveral companies discussed in the Gartner Webinar that recognize the importance of having a good balance of understanding product and opertional excellence. You can read Part 1 here. One of Burkett’s major points in this Webinar is that to realize value across a products’ lifecycle a company must consider the product, supply chain and demand from the beginning of the its life. They must anticipate challenges in early introduction and have created a supply chain … More

New Supply Chain Strategies to Maximize Product Value and Growth- Gartner Webinar Review – Part 1

Michael Burkett, VP Research at Gartner conducted a compelling Webinar last week titled, “New Supply Chain Strategies to Maximize Product Value and Growth.” The key message of Burkett’s presentation is that product value is maximized when the supply chain is considered and integrated throughout the product’s lifecycle. New products fail 50% of the time. Why? Contributing factors include product cost issues, inventory shortages and poor commercialization process, to name a few. Profitable innovation is key to bringing new products to … More

12th Annual ISM Services Conference Review

The 12th Annual ISM Services Conference, this year held in Phoenix, AZ December 1-2, focused on many topics dealing with the challenges involved in sourcing things like temporary labor, marketing agencies, and legal services. The conference had a full agenda, covering topics such as Building a High-Impact Indirect Sourcing Function and The Five Golden Rules of Negotiation.  Several of the sessions are summarized below: Enlightening Marketing Procurement: Maximizing Investment. Minimizing Waste. Presenters: Chuck Hatsis: President of Surge Consulting and Shannon Puhl, … More

3 Scary Situations that Keep Procurement Professionals Up at Night

Today, many children will roam the streets trick-or-treating, and people of all ages will attend costume parties and decorate their homes with all things “scary.” This spooky holiday got us thinking about what fears keep procurement professionals restless and awake all night. Below are three of the scary situations we came up with for procurement: 1. Supplier risk – Risk should always be taken into account as part of good supply chain governance. Without having a process in place to track and … More

Webcast Reminder: Using Spend Analysis to Smooth the M&A Path

Don’t forget to register for Iasta’s Webcast next week featuring Andy Bartels from Forrester Research and Seth Balsam from Ciena, Using Spend Analysis to Smooth the M&A Path: 4 Steps to Consolidate Your Purchasing Power, on September 21, 2011 at 11 AM – 12 PM EST. You will learn how to: Expedite M&A decisions through use of spend analysis Determine the taxonomy system that best fits your organization Tackle complex issues associated with importing data from multiple ERP systems, locations & … More