August saw calls for procurement to be part of the Grenfell Tower enquiry © PA Images
August saw calls for procurement to be part of the Grenfell Tower enquiry © PA Images

SM news review of 2017 - part two

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
29 December 2017

As 2017 draws to a close we look back at the articles on Supply Management that proved most popular with readers.


Dell began shipping one of its flagship laptops in plastic recovered from beaches as part of efforts to reduce ocean pollution, an issue that is becoming increasingly pressing. A 'peoples audit' at Lambeth Council resulted in accusations the authority was overpaying contractors repairing council estates. At least 13 people were killed and dozens injured when a boiler exploded at a garment factory in Bangladesh that supplied Aldi.


There were calls for the procurement background to the construction of buildings in the UK to form part of the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster, in which 71 people died. Firms including Unilever, Nestlé and Tyson Foods joined forced to integrate blockchain into their supply chains to improve visibility and increase food safety. DHL Supply Chain unveiled augmented reality smart glasses that increased productivity in warehouses by 15%.


A university in Canada was duped into transferring $11.8m to a fake supplier through a phishing attack. The cash was traced as far as Hong Kong, while legal action was taking place in cities including London. Displaying a degreee of understatement, a university spokesman admitted: "There is never a good time for something like this to happen." It was discovered that the NHS could save £2.7m a year if it gave up its allegiance to pagers, which have been all but abandoned by the rest of society. A former procurement vice president at Mars said the fastest way to transform procurement performance was to improve negotiating ability.


A collaboration between procurement and HR at DFS saved £1m and the functions are very similar, delegates were told at the CIPS Annual Conference. Just 9% of buyers are using game theory in their work despite nine in 10 users of the strategy saying it creates value for procurement, a survey revealed. In a sobering thought, global wine production was predicted to fall to its lowest level in 50 years after extreme weather damaged vineyards.


Suppliers were blamed for production delays for Tesla's $35,000 Model 3 sedan, the company's first foray into the mass market. A teardown revealed the components in the $999 iPhone X cost $370. NHS hospitals were ranked in a procurement league table according to how much they spend on goods and services, while Nike elaborated on plans to automate factories and nearshore production to make supply chains more responsive to consumers.


Tesco was attacked over the use of "fake farms" on product packaging that misleads consumers into thinking budget meat comes from a "bucolic idyll". There was a public backlash after Virgin Care won a six-figure payout from the NHS after suing when it failed to win a contract to provide children's services. We end our news review where we began, with the retail juggernaut that is Amazon. Amazon Business, the retailer's B2B procurement platform, took off in the UK but in France the shine came off the company when it was threatened with a €10m fine for its treatment of suppliers.

Now read part one

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