Last week, I promised to share with you the synthesis of my take-aways from this discussion. What strikes me is that supply chain management of which procurement is a vital component is practiced with enthusiasm and skill by professionals all over the world. And, it is not just the multinational corporations that strive to optimise customer satisfaction in a net value manner. Every company, irrespective of size, global footprint and industry, pays particular attention to its supply chain. Successful companies recognize the key competitive importance of supply chain management.
I’m not sure what W.B. Yeats might say about the advent of social media and if indeed “a terrible beauty is born” but I would say that something has “changed utterly”. Today, I share with you over one social medium the results of another. Over the last weeks, I have solicited the help of an international group of LinkedIn procurement professionals to help clarify real world differences between procurement and supply chain management. The 110 contributions (and counting) have been fantastic in so far as they all added value and over time turned my initial premise inside out and back again in a genuinely helpful way.
A Federal Register notice published by the US Treasury Department this summer has detailed the government’s intention to implement an Internet Payment Platform by the end of this month. This latest release comes almost exactly a year after the US government signaled its intention to implement an e-Invoicing solution to reduce costs and waste across its departments.
With the platform going live this month, all new payment requests for financial year 2013 will be processed electronically. The new centralised, web-based system promises to execute payment requests securely and more cost effectively than current paper-based systems. The e-Invoicing system will also help automate the internal workflows of the Treasury, with routing and approvals actioned automatically based upon various specified criteria.
Regardless of how “good” a business may be, ultimately its fate rests on a solid cash flow. In order to continue trading, every company needs money to come in so that they can purchase raw materials, which can be processed and converted into saleable goods and in turn create more cash.
As harsh economic conditions continue to bite, businesses are delaying payment to their suppliers to moderate their own cash flow, but in doing so jeopardise the viability of the other members of their supply chain. So how does a business encourage its customers to pay on time, or better yet, early?
Leading computer and smartphone manufacturer Apple has topped Gartner’s global supply chain ranking table for the fifth consecutive year. The report accompanying the release of the rankings was impressive – a 20.2% return on assets coupled with a 51.5% growth in revenue on the previous year gave Apple an unassailable lead.
The West African state of Ghana has announced plans to implement an electronic procurement system by the end of 2012. The new system is being funded under a three year pilot scheme by the World Bank.
The move to an electronic procurement alternative is, as with most similar projects, designed to reduce the costs incurred by the Ghanaian government when securing goods and services. The highest spending government departments will be the first migrated onto the new eProcurement platform including the Ghana Cocoa Board, the Volta River Authority, Ghana Grid Company, Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
Although tech giant Apple may have a superb supply chain to thank for much of their continuing success, a recent report by insurance provider Zurich suggests that medium-sized UK tech companies are not so fortunate. In the document, entitled ‘Weakest Link: UK Plc’s Supply Chain’, analysts reported that 88% of the 500 businesses surveyed had experienced at least one significant and costly disruption to their supply chain.
“Celtrino is growing, we need to be more scalable, we need to be in the cloud.”
That was the simple directive I received from our CEO over two years ago. At the time, my initial instinct was to advise him that we were already in the cloud, in “our cloud”, and after 10 years of optimising and fine tuning “our cloud” and our resources and processes we were really firing on all cylinders now, so thank you very much Windows Azure, but maybe we’ll pass for now. But I didn’t, mainly because despite the success of our own private cloud platform, I agreed with his vision. Cloud computing was like a snowball that had been pushed down a hill, still small at that stage but growing in size and velocity and it was on a crash course for IT services. As Head of IT, the allure of having the ability to scale our IT platform without having to consider the logistics of rack space, or power units, or hardware contingency planning and having on-demand access to IT system resources via state of the art, internationally accredited data centres was simply irresistible.
With only a couple of days to go before I pack my bags for Toronto, I am making time to prepare for this year’s Microsoft World Partner Conference (WPC). It’ll be my second time to attend and I’m now beginning to look forward to the razzamatazz of the event including the high powered keynote presentations each morning and the more detailed focused meetings.