Category Archives: 101 Damnations

The 101st Damnation!

And now, the damnation you’ve all been waiting for. The one that even tops damnation 100, bloggers, like the doctor.

Have you figured it out yet?

It’s obvious, isn’t it?

The last damnation is … is …


You chose a career in Procurement (or at least accepted it when you were forced into it).

You stuck with it.

You believe you can make a difference.

You continue to stick with it, day in and day out, while everyone else tries their best to discourage you, circumvent you, and utterly make your life more of a living hell than it already is.

You continue to fight the underdog fight when the entire C-Suite is in the other corner.

In other words, while we didn’t start the fire, as it was always burning since the world’s been turning (as the world’s second, or is it third, oldest profession), our continued effort to fight the fire feeds the flame of damnation.

In our continued attempt to make the business world a better place, we clash with all of the departments, feel pressure from all of the authorities and influencers, and feel the constant consumer wrath as we struggle with infrastructure, regulations, and society as a whole. We get caught up in the geopolitical environment, get crushed under the weight of the economy, get reigned in by the environment, get boxed in by our providers, and, finally are constantly hindered by the technological limitations we are forced to live with.

Damnation is not self-perpetuating, but it gets reinforced every time we acknowledge it and fight against it.

But all is not lost. We might still be losing the battle, but if we are strategic in all of our actions, someday, we might just win the war.

100 Procurement Damnations Down!

Just as 2015 came to a close, our last post chronicled our 100th Procurement Damnation that you, as a Procurement professional, have to deal with on a regular, if not daily, basis. That’s an almost unimaginable number of damnations that torment you as you attempt to do your job and why only the best of the best can be Procurement Professionals!

Since there are so many damnations (that it took us an entire year to chronicle them all) we thought it would be a good idea to summarize the complete list in one post so that you could go back and review any posts in the series that you might have missed during your hectic conference and vacation seasons as this was SI’s biggest and most aggressive series to date, much longer than both the 15-part “Future” of Procurement series and the 33-part “Future” Trends Expose series (that followed) combined and double the length of the maverick‘s 50 Shades of Pay series (assuming it gets completed) which, to date, only has 20 parts up and available for your reading pleasure.

There’s more that could be said, but as we’ve already said so much, without further ado, here are the links to all 100 Procurement Damnations for your reading pleasure.

Introductory Posts

Economic Damnations

Infrastructure Damnations

Environmental Damnations

Geopolitical Damnations

Regulatory Damnations

Societal Damnations

Organizational Damnations

Authoritative Damnations

Provider Damnations

Consumer Damnations

Technological Damnations

Influential Damnations

Bonus Posts!

Geopolitical Damnation 30: The TPP Poison Pill

Sourcing Innovation first brought this up back in late 2013 when it pointed out this great post by Nathan Lee that provided a simple guide to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement “benefits” which is an agreement being negotiated in secret that is lopsided towards the corporation and essentially gives them more rights then individuals, communities, and in some cases, entire governments. Proposals even include giving corporations the right to sue governments if laws put citizens or the environment above corporate rights. The piracy laws are so draconian that you can be criminally charged if copyrighted material ends up on your computer without your knowledge or consent. (For example, if you visit a website that was hacked and malware on that site uses your computer as part of a bittorrent network without your consent and stores part of a copyrighted file, the owner, with the backing of the RIAA or MPA, can have you charged criminally even if you didn’t ever access the file — not the hacker that created the malware and forced copyrighted content onto your computer without your knowledge or consent).

For those of you who do not yet know what this is, it’s a proposed regional and investment treaty between twelve countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam that is being conducted almost entirely in secret despite the far reaching implications that are being discussed and the considerable impact it could have on every citizen of every country participating as it covers a broad range of issues including, but not limited to, agriculture, industrial goods, intellectual property, investments, labour, services, and telecommunications.

As a result, everyone, and every supply chain, has a reason to dread, if not fear, this act. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has a good summary of the issues corresponding to intellectual property on their What Is TPP page as the act would rewrite global rules on intellectual property enforcement. The IATP does a good job of overviewing some of the agricultural issues in its article Whose Century is it? where it notes that nearly every country involved has food safety regulations on the chopping block as the TPP proponents are arguing that free-trade and cheap food is the best thing for a country, regardless of economic or health consequences. Every year there is a new salmonella, e-Coli, mad-cow, or similar outbreak of a deadly food-borne infection — do we really want to weaken safety standards? With respect to labour, while some US negotiators are apparently demanding meaningful and enforceable worker protections, many of the other countries are not and, more importantly, most of the developed countries are claiming that increased worker mobility will encourage a disruptive inflow of low-skill workers from developing countries and pushing for less worker mobility in our globally connected world (while the less developed countries want to level the playing field).

Regardless of what gets agreed to, the sheer fact that this trade agreement will override existing law presents every Procurement organization with a minefield just waiting to be activated. Will your supplier still be able to afford its current pricing? Will it even be able to supply you? Will you be able to expect the same quality and safety standards? Will new sources suddenly become available? How will they change the supply-demand balance? Will new tariffs materialize? Will you be forced to abandon your “Buy American” policy? Will you be forced to consider suppliers you don’t want to? All of these questions and dozens of others become valid the minute this act, negotiated in secret where it is pumped full of poison pills, gets signed into law.

If the (wiki)leaks are even remotely reflective of what’s in the act, it might make the controversial, scary Orwellian provisions of the Patriot Act look like a cuddly bunny in comparison!

Environmental Damnation 24: Rare Earth Metals

As defined by Wikipedia, a rare earth metal (REM), or rare earth element (REE), is one of a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides, as well as scandium and yttrium (because they tend to occur in the same ore deposits and exhibit chemical properties). While many of these elements are relatively plentiful in the Earth’s crust, they are rare in that, due to their geochemical properties, they are typically dispersed and not concentrated in ore deposits that are (easily) economically exploitable.

They are a damnation because:

  • almost every piece of modern technology depends on at least one of these elements
  • many of these elements are in short supply and supply, based on current mining capacity, is expected to be insufficient as early as 2020 for some of these elements
  • many of them cost more than precious metals
  • on average, 95% (or more) of rare earth metals are now being mined and provided by a single country: China
  • … and China is considering export restrictions that could significantly cripple global production of modern technology if implemented

To illustrate just how important these metals are, consider the common uses:

Metal Selected Uses
Scandium aerospace, metal-halide and mercury vapor lamps, and radioactive tracing agents
Yttrium lasers, superconductors, microwave filters, and spark plugs
Lanthanum flint, hydrogen storage, battery electrodes, camera lenses
Cerium oxidizing agent, polishing powder, catalytic uses
Praseodymium magnets, lasers, carbon arc lighting, didymium glass
Neodymium magnets, lasers, didymium glass, ceramic capacitors
Promethium nuclear batteries and luminous paint
Samarium magnets, lasers, neutron capture, masers
Europium phosphors, lasers, mercury-vapor and fluorescent lamps
Gadolinium magnets, lasers, X-ray tubes, computer memory, neutron capture, MRI contrast agent, magnetostrictive alloys
Terbium phosphors, lasers, fluorescent lamps, magnetostrictive alloys
Dysprosium magnets, lasers, magnetostrictive alloys
Holmium lasers, optical spectrophotometers, magnets
Erbium lasers, vanadium steel, fiber-optics
Thulium X-ray machines, metal-halide lamps, lasers
Ytterbium lasers, decoy flares, stainless steel, nuclear medicine
Lutetium positron emission tomography, lutetium tatalate hosts

And every computing device requires magnetics, memory, and optimal transmission (and this includes your laptops, phones, cameras, cars, etc.). These days almost everything has a microchip with a persistent (flash) memory. So when you consider the five-pronged reality described above, rare earth metals are quickly becoming a thorny Procurement Damnation.