Learn lessons from purchasing peers

12 February 2013
Rebecca Ellinor, managing editor, Supply ManagementIf you’re looking for some tips on what to do or not to do, don’t be afraid to learn from the mistakes of others or duplicate the more brilliant efforts of peers. In the past month, we’ve seen plenty of examples of both. First, problems experienced by retailers that discovered horse meat was in some beef burgers highlighted the need to carry out checks on vendors further down the supply chain. Commentators say while they don’t know if it was a cause for problems in this case, that potential issues can occur if undue cost pressures are placed on providers. They also cautioned against relying on approved supplier lists as a means of preventing the use of unofficial vendors. Walmart stressed this point when it warned global suppliers they could be permanently barred if they subcontract work to unauthorised factories. The company took the action following a tragic fire at the Tazreen factory in Bangladesh that killed 112 workers in November 2012. The factory was not an authorised supplier to Walmart, but had been subcontracted by another vendor without the retailer’s knowledge. On a more positive note, around 100 professionals attended a free CIPS members’ event in January to hear how champions of the 2012 CIPS Supply Management Awards clinched their prizes. It was clear that attendees wanted to learn from these examples of excellence so that they might replicate them in their own organisations. Strong stakeholder relations was a common theme mentioned by the winners. For advice on what internal customers want, follow our regular stakeholder column. And finally, find out how you can expand your business in Africa from the experience of drinks company Diageo. The CIPS Supply Management Awards 2013 are now open for entries, so if you have something to show off about or teach others, we’d love to hear from you.
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