Spend Management: Thinking Through the Big Picture

Last Thursday, I had the chance to speak to a mixed audience (finance/procurement) at the Basware user's event in Chicago. I trialed a bunch of new material that talked quite a bit about the overall political, economic and trade environments and their impact on how we manage our supply chains as well as emerging risk elements (e.g., the Chinese economic crisis) that are starting to creep to the surface. I also dove into some of the technology material I reach for quite often, although this time I was able to supplement it with some fascinating new statistics on bankruptcies, bankruptcy forecasts, supply risk, DSOs and other related material I got from D&B’s supply management group. But perhaps what the group found most interesting -- which I must admit pleasantly surprised me -- was the entire discussion around the impact of the trade and economic climate.

For example, what I thought would just amount to a quick question regarding the state of the automotive industry sparked a half dozen more questions about the the impact of trade and monetary policy on the domestic and Chinese economies. In other words, this was a group that cared just as much about tying together the big picture about the overall procurement and finance/working capital management climate as digging into the gory process and technology details that we so often quickly jump to in these sorts of discussions. I certainly hope that as I continue to talk to practitioners in the coming months, that I start to see more of these questions, as it shows that there's significant background thought going into the investments and decisions that many of us have a hard time seeing the forest through the trees on.

- Jason Busch

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