Author: Pete Loughlin

Corporate cash balances are at a record high and with poor returns on treasury bonds not to mention the uncertainty generated by the turmoil in Europe, treasury managers are struggling to find a safe home for all that cash. Perhaps it’s time to look closer to home because their own supply chains could be the safest place to put their cash. If ever there was a case of not seeing the wood for the trees it this. According to Bertram Meyer, CEO of Taulia, writing in GT News, corporate cash balances of US non-financial corporations were close to US$2 trillion dollars. That’s an increase of 36% since 2009 and the ratio of liquid assets to short-term liabilities hasn’t been so high since Elvis first appeared on TV!

We’ve all seen it at the airport check-in. Mr. More-Important-Than-Everyone-Else complaining about something or other. He’s late to board and they won’t let him on. Maybe he’s exceeded his luggage allowance, or, best of all, because he’s a frequent flyer, he wants an upgrade. “I fly with you all the time.” “ I’m a personal friend of your CEO.” ” Do you know who I am?!” I was once given a master class in how to get upgraded on a flight. It was from a colleague, a professional buyer,  who bet me he could get his sister a business class seat on a coach class ticket. I paraphrase the conversation for brevity but this is how he approached the check in.

Some great things have come out of Australia but leaving Rolf Harris and Skippy aside, passion for procurement doesn’t seem to be one of them. Why is it that Aussies don't get as passionate as the poms about procurement? Well I'm not sure that the Europeans do get quite as passionate as Claudine Swiatek believes in her captivating article in her blog The Young Sourcerer about passion. But her point is well made that it's a shame that procurement isn't as well respected in some quarters as it should be.

In their market overview Market Overview, ePurchasing And Contract Life-Cycle Management In 2011 to 2012, Forrester describes four forces that are keeping supplier networks dynamic and competitive. They talk a great deal of sense but they forgot the fifth force - the one that's going to make 2012 the year for supplier networks.