Grahame Ball Joins Balfour Beatty as International Procurement Director
In late January, Balfour Beatty, a UK-based construction and engineering firm focused on building infrastructure, hired Grahame Ball as its new International Procurement Director, according to Construction Enquirer. Ball will take over for Martin Chown who previously held the position. Prior to joining Balfour, Ball had been an Advisor at ApplyParking and a Managing Partner at Bluewire Limited. He was Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) at Colt Technology Services for nine years and has held numerous senior consulting and procurement/supply chain management positions at such companies as Siemens, BAE Systems, and Diageo. Ball received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Aston University and his Master degree in Logistics, Materials, and Supply Chain Management from Cranfield University.
Former Arizona CPO Fired and Arrested, Charged with Fraud and Theft
In late fall, the Associated Press reported that Michael Veit, the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCC), the state agency responsible for processing Medicaire reimbursements, was terminated from his position following a state investigation that found that he and co-conspirators had embezzled millions of dollars in payments made to the State of Arizona. Since at least 2006, Veit funneled payments that they state had issued to vendors into an account set up by his associate and co-conspirator, Michael J. Cameron, who would sign the checks in exchange for 20% of the proceeds. State investigators raided the homes of Veit and Cameron, as well as Veit’s adult sons where they found more than a hundred thousand of dollars in cash hidden in gun safes, clothing, and throughout their homes. Investigators seized a luxury sedan and two antique vehicles, and would like to auction off the vehicles as a way to recoup some of the state’s losses. Up until his termination and arrest on August 18, Veit had been in charge of managing indirect purchasing for the AHCCC, where he had been employed for 27 years.
Report Reveals Child Labor, Human Trafficking in Nestle’s Supply Chain
Late last year, a study conducted on behalf of Nestle SA discovered child labor, human trafficking, and modern slavery in Nestle’s supply chain, according to media reports. Verite, the third-party supply chain auditing firm commissioned by Nestle to review its operations in Thailand, found evidence of child labor, debt bondage, forced labor, human trafficking, unsafe/unsanitary living and working conditions, and wage withholding in its seafood industry, which amounts to modern slavery. In response to the report’s findings, Nestle has issued an “action plan” that seeks to establish channels through which those affected by unethical or unsafe working conditions can anonymously air grievances, as well as an emergency response team that will provide immediate care to workers in need. It also includes plans to increase monitoring of and visibility into Nestle’s supply chains, as well as better training for boat captains on ethical recruiting and housing conditions
Report Links Electronics Supply Chains to Congolese Child Labor, Conflict Minerals
In late January, a report from Amnesty International allegedly links major electronics manufacturers – specifically, Huawei, Lenovo, Microsoft, Sony, Apple, and Samsung – to the use of cobalt from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Although cobalt, a mineral used to make lithium ion batteries that come standard in just about every mobile electronic device, is not one of the four conflict minerals (tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold), it is widely considered to be fueling the conflict and is a de facto conflict mineral. According to an article from Digital Trends, roughly half of the world’s cobalt comes from the DRC. Amnesty International investigated investor documents from major electronics manufacturers and discovered that many of them source their cobalt from a company called Congo DongFang Mining, which ships the raw material to companies in China and South Korea. Amnesty International investigators found that many of the workers that work in DongFang mines are children who work in narrow tunnels without adequate protection for upwards of 12 hours a day for as little as one or two dollars a day.
Department of Veterans Affairs Issues Five New Procurement Principles
Late last month, Greg Giddens, principal executive director of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA’s) Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction, was interviewed by Federal News Radio in which he shared five new procurement principles that he believes will drive the VA’s contracting and procurement operations. Chief among them is the sense of ownership of work, particularly as the VA institutes more review rounds, which can muddy the waters of who has final approval. Next is to emphasize VA’s requirements and deemphasize procurement rules and regulations – i.e., federal acquisition regulations – which can bog industry partners down in bureaucratic language. On a related note, Giddens stressed greater engagement with industry partners in the form of more direct communication of contract requirements. Moreover, he wants the Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Contracts to focus on ordering rather than on specific transactions, which is to say, to take a holistic, big-picture view of the Department’s needs rather than repeatedly purchasing the same thing for different VA organizations. Lastly, Giddens emphasized the importance of collaborating with stakeholders, particularly as VA employees look across the organization and consider its needs holistically.