Positive action

13 March 2012
Saint Homobonus, patron saint of procurementSt Homobonus, the patron saint of shoemakers, tailors and purchasing, has a monthly column in SM… Positive action I’m pleased to kick off this month’s column with a pair of positive stories. Supply chain academics Scott Parfitt and Kathryn Ringwald from the University of Glamorgan and Steve Robinson, head of commissioning and procurement at Cardiff Council, have raised £600 through a fundraising event attended by purchasers from Cardiff, Caerphilly and Newport councils. The money will go towards spinal surgery to allow a six-year-old girl with cerebral palsy to walk. Also, Chris Atkins from Proxima will be trying to break a world record in London next month to raise money for Oxfam for running the fastest marathon dressed as a dairy product (he’ll be running as an ice cream). He’ll have to beat three hours 55 minutes in order to claim the record. Bang to writes ‘Survey reveals pen thieves on the prowl’ headlines an email that dropped into my inbox. Apparently, 70 per cent of US office workers report their pen has gone missing. All those 1,000 polled admitted to taking a colleague’s pen at some point, although 78 per cent claim it was an accident (a likely story). Pens are the most common piece of stationery to go missing followed by pencils  (55 per cent), scissors  (36 per cent) and staplers  (35 per cent). “I am surrounded by people who have ample access to pens and still my own pens go missing,” Scott Crist from Paper Mate says incredulously. “Who would knowingly steal a pen?” Travelling lies More dishonest behaviour is reported by business travellers in the findings of a separate survey last month. Some 52 per cent admit to reading a book or magazine during a flight to avoid an unwanted conversation with a fellow passenger. Other top tactics employed included the 21 per cent that pretended to be asleep and 15 per cent that opted to put on headphones. But 30 per cent said they actually liked to talk during a flight (presumably these are the people that other travellers are trying to avoid engaging with). The survey also revealed 15 per cent would just tell them where to get off (figuratively speaking) and say they didn’t want to chat. Nailing the job An intriguingly entitled blog caught my eye last month. I think you’ll agree “What is a more professional job: corporate purchasing or fingernail painting?” cries out to be read. Author Charles Dominick pointed out that while nail technicians working in the US are required to do a set amount of hours before they are licensed and allowed to work in a fingernail-painting job (with Alabama and Arkansas both requiring 750 hours), purchasing currently requires none. CIPS is working to change this. One of David Noble’s missions is to pioneer a licence to practice for the purchasing profession. In the meantime, I’m off to the Deep South for a French nail polish. Secret to success In a further training update, new research has revealed that if you want to become a corporate high flyer like Richard Branson or Stelios Haji-Ioannou, then you should forget about doing an MBA, PhD or any other form of post-graduate qualification. The data from search and talent consultancy Wickland Westcott, showed that high performers were strong in the areas of leadership, communication and strategic thinking. And while education helps, it only does so up to a certain point. The study also revealed that teamwork isthe area where stars tendto be least strong. There’s no ‘team’ in Lord Sugar, as they say… Animal liberation And finally, risk management is very much on the radar once again, so it’s good to see one Tokyo zoo preparing for a potential emergency. Two employees recently donned a life-size rhino costume and tried to flee the compound to simulate an escape attempt. The drama came to an end when staff hit the ‘rhinoceros’ with fake tranquilisers and trapped it in nets. Tweet of the month Completely focused on my procurement class, then I look down and realise I have peanut butter in my hair...??? Focus is gone. @OhioSiobhan
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