A recent Industry Week posting captured the top ten supply chain trends for 2008 according to IDC's Manufacturing Insights. While I won't repeat all of the trends here, it is worth calling out that only one of the tips involves a company's suppliers -- Tip 6: "For environmental compliance and corporate responsibility, your supplier's problems will become your problems." Alas, the rest of the tips have little to do with Spend Management or any type of supplier management for that matter. Reading into this, I would suggest that analyst firms like IDC Manufacturing Insights often limit themselves in analyzing markets they really don't have much bench strength in. Earlier this year, Bob Ferrari, who previously covered the Spend Management sector for MI, left the firm. And it would appear they've done little to keep up the coverage and interest in the Spend Management sector since then.
In my view, Manufacturing Insights is doing its clients a disservice by failing to stay current -- and focus on -- a key area that their clients are clearly seeking out information on. Just ask AMR Research, MI's closest rival, about how important Spend Management is for their clients. Unfortunately, it's become a trend among analyst firms that when experts leave, it takes quite a long time to replace them -- and to keep up quality coverage in key areas. Fortunately for our whole sector, I believe that Mickey North Rizza and Debbie Wilson, among others, are well on their way to establishing themselves as the heir apparents to the two best analysts of all-time I've ever worked with, Tim Minahan and Pierre Mitchell.
- Jason Busch