Getting back to normal

June 15, 2020

Getting back to normal
Hi there,
Are we there yet?

Almost...we think. I am looking very much forward to being back in the (not home) office again this week, face to face meetings, more personalized engagements with our staff, customers and suppliers.

....meanwhile big changes at HQ
Office Mayhem
NPA's Productivity took a dip the last of couple weeks
due to the significant on-boarding activities of our

New CEO Ollie
(Chief Entertainment Officer)

He is highly energized, keeps insisting on frequent outdoor meetings and is already a customer favorite.
The Operations Update is provided with generous support from
NPA's Top 6 Procurement Skills and why procurement requires more resources and time than you think

Today's Procurement professionals face an ever growing list of changing requirements and expectations in order to support their organisations.

Combine this w ith the ever increasing "do more with less and do it faster" mentality these areas also highlight the risks organisations take when they short staff / short cut their supply chain groups and processes.

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)
Every experienced procurement professional knows that SRM is one of the most important skills to drive long-term value for any organisation. Managing this well results in lower overall cost , better customer service, increased efficiency , less price volatility, better quality , increased supplier led innovation and continuous improvements . Soft skills such as communication, influencing, leadership, change management, and an ability to get the best outcome for your business in any negotiations without damaging your long term relationships are essential for continuous value creation.

It's as important as effective Business Development, as Cost Of Good Sold (COGS) represents typically the largest spend in Hardware companies , specifically with outsourced manufacturing. Not spending sufficient time to manage this well typically causes volatile and unpredictable supply chain environments.

Understanding Cost vs. Value
It's easy to just pick the lowest price supplier, but looking beyond the purchase price and understanding what other value a supplier can bring to your organization, such as Life-cycle/Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), Quality, Tax/Tariff implications, Ethical, Social, and Sustainability while taking into account the global economic climate is an important skill required to make the best decisions for your business.

This topic typically also requires excellent communication skills to convince your other business stakeholders to look beyond just the purchase price.

Company Goals
Aligning and adapting procurement goals with the wider organisation goals, such as KPIs, Targets, etc. is imperative to achieve overall business success . Understanding the internal dynamics and when to challenge vs. give is a skill that demonstrates maturity and leads to respect when it counts.

Keeping in mind that goals/targets are often fluid and can quickly change with organizational changes or economic influences it's important to remain flexible and communicate in simple and well understood terms and not specific procurement jargon to ensure all stakeholders understand how your procurement related activities contribute to the overall success.

Research & Market Intelligence
Performing frequent industry research and keeping your knowledge up to date is absolutely essential in having good market intelligence available in order to keep costs down, mitigate and anticipate risks and predict future disruptions .

Conducting good research is a critical skill and takes time, patience and curiosity, especially if you do it via desktop research, through your supplier network and your procurement ecosystem. Good third partly intelligence providers can be a great asset but are often cost prohibitive for smaller companies or startups.

Data Analysis / Forecasting
Having good data available and being able to analyze it, visualize and communicate it efficiently is another key skill needed to guide decision making and reduce supply chain risks, evaluate supplier performance (cost, quality, service), predict future demands , identify new opportunities and drive cash flow improvements.

This activity can be specifically time consuming in companies that don't have systems or processes in place to track supplier data (i.e. ERP systems, etc.) and much of the data needs to be manually captured and analyzed via excel.

Data Analytics software tools are great for supporting this activity but require good, comprehensive and consistent data inputs that's often not captured at startups or smaller companies.

Strategic Thinking
Stepping back and taking the time to look at the broader picture of a situation rather than just focusing on the tactical aspects and getting the immediate problem solved is not always easy to do , especially in under-resourced teams.

Strategic thinking and behaving strategically is an important skill in avoiding repeated issues and identifying opportunities for overall better solutions .

If you need qualified procurement support, contact us!
The State of Manufacturing

The PMI Index recovered a bit from the deep trenches in March and April to 43.1%, up 1.6 percentage points. New Orders and Production reported positive gains of ~5% points from the 20% drops it saw in the prior months.

Supplier deliveries continue to drop by another 8%, mainly caused by plant shut downs and reduced output due to Covid-19 precautions at the factories. (Source: ISM)

The good news is that many of the companies have re-opened late in May and outputs should increase again. We'll stay optimistically cautious given the current recession mode.

It's been remarkably quiet in the past month with many organisations still trying to make the switch to the virtual events more exciting and engaging.

Some have made great progress on this front, Cleantech Open successfully launched their new Accelerator Cohort a couple weeks ago and the events and content are super well done and engaging.

May VC funding for Boston Startups was still solid at $1.5B.
Two companies from the NPA Startups to watch list, NBD Nano Technologies and Locus Robotics secured additional funding last month. Find out about the fresh dough here . (Source: BOSTINNO)

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Interesting Startup & Networking Events
Accelerator & Incubator News
Investor Info / Updates
Engineering / Product Development
Procurement / Quick-Turn Suppliers / Contract Manufacturers
Random Fun Stuff / Tech
Cost Reduction
Operational Financial Planning / Analysis (COGS)
Quality Systems / Tools / Qualification / Certification
Prototype to Production Transition
Less new activity this months, lets ramp this back up!

Boston Materials secured an additional $750k in funding from the America's Seed Fund and plans on using this dough to accelerate their materials deployment in the transportation and electronics industries. More about it here . (Source: PR Newswire)

Locus Robotics raised $40M in equity in a $45.9M round with Zebra Ventures leading this Series D round. The bulk of this will be used for R&D and accelerated market expansion. Find out more here (Source: SEC).

NBD Nano wins the Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Award for their anti-fingerprint coating product InvisiPrint and also raised $1M in debt in a $2.3M funding round. More here and here . (Source: PR Newswire) & (Source: SEC)

Owl Labs announced the launch of Meeting Owl Pro in Canada ahead of return to work. More on this here. (Source: Yahoo Finance)

WiTricity Lumen Freedom , an automotive Tier 1, and WiTricity entered in a Technology Licensing Agreement for WiTricity's patented magnetic resonance technology to be used for wireless vehicle charging. More about this here. (Source: Yahoo Finance)

Japan's Kagawa prefecture passed rules to limit gaming under the age of 20 . Japanese Teenager revolt s (Source: NY Times)

Want to know why Toddlers love taking selfies? Self-Love (Source: The Atlantic)

Clever scammers are cashing in . Manipulating song metadata to tie themselves to popular artists on Spotify. UglyVibes (Source: Medium)

Poland invades Czech Republic Big Oups (Source: NPR News)
See you at the beach!

P.S. Contact us we are looking for support in Purchasing, Quality, Engineering, teams. Most assignments are great for part-time or remote work !
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