Procurement Specialists: Master Puzzlers

Procurement Specialists: Master Puzzlers

April 24, 2018

Students often ask what sort of jobs there are in Operations and Supply Chain. Procurement (also called purchasing) is a great starting point.

The procurement function requires skills beyond price negotiation and issuing purchase orders. Procurement specialists add value to a company when they acquire skills that are proactive and encompass value-added activities.  That includes a major emphasis on “puzzle solving”, bringing together the full procurement picture, including spend analysis, market research, supplier risk assessment, internal customer satisfaction, and stakeholder engagement.

This post is based on the Supply Chain Digest article, Supply Chain News: What are the Next Generation Procurement Skills?, by the SCDigest Editorial Staff, April 2, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov.

Discussion Questions:

1. Are supplier risk assessments the same for all SKUs?

Guidance: Students should review ABC inventory analysis.  Students should debate the contents of a supplier risk assessment for “A” items vs. “C” items.  It should be clear that the level of risk assessment depends on how critical the inventory item is to the company.

2. How would you develop some of the skills required to become a proactive procurement specialist while a college student?

Guidance: Students should Continue reading

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Crowdsourcing the Last Logistical Mile

Crowdsourcing the Last Logistical Mile

April 23, 2018

Crowdsourced delivery is on the rise with 10% of retailers using this “last mile” delivery model currently, and 26% of retailers planning to use this delivery network in the future.  The challenges to crowdsourced delivery include finding a long term partner, sharing privacy data with vendors, and the potential for safety incidents at delivery.

But there are also opportunities, especially in densely populated areas, as retailers compete to offer same-day delivery.

This post is based on Logistics Viewpoints’ The Other Side of the Coin for Crowdsourced Deliveries, by Chris Cunnane, April 11, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov.

Discussion Questions:

1. How can a major retailer select a safe, reliable, and financially stable “last mile” delivery partner?

Guidance: Students should develop a checklist to present in class that addresses vendor selection for a crowdsourced delivery partner.  Lists could include items related to financial stability, route coverage, delivery guarantees, contract penalties for failures, and addressing privacy protection policies.

2. Would crowdsourced delivery be a viable solution for the healthcare industry? Why or why not?

Guidance: Students should consider the privacy and safety concerns that are more difficult to address with crowdsourced delivery firms.  For Continue reading

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