Spend Matters Wishes for a Prosperous New Year

Wouldn't you like to forget 2009? It was a horrible year on so many fronts: governments spent and spent with abandon, driving up deficits with little to show for their stimulus efforts (at least outside of China, that is); many of us lost our jobs, or were forced to pick up the slack when others in the office were summarily dismissed for budgeting reasons. Perhaps the only good news in all of this is that cost cutting came to the forefront of many organizations, occupying many boardroom discussions throughout the year. From a procurement perspective, this obviously was a good thing; I know of many companies that did succeed in staffing up in the Spend Management area despite frequent and large-scale workforce reductions taking place throughout the rest of the organization. Yet, I'm surprised by how difficult it was for many companies I spoke with to convince finance executives and CEOs to buy into staffing up procurement and operations teams to drive savings. I guess the old saying, "you need to invest to save" is not so intuitive in this economy.

So given this backdrop, it's with both an optimistic grin and an "I told you so" attitude that I believe 2010 will be a huge year for our function -- what we stand for, what we can do, and the rapid impact we can have on business. Even if we end up in a W-shaped recovery and/or in an environment marked by significant inflation (thanks -- ironically -- to the reckless overspending of "W," not to mention to the current deficit-encouraging President), we can all take solace in the fact that cost savings and working-capital management matter more than ever before to our companies. Moreover, if the economy does rebound, we are the ones who will be the point people for tapping our supply bases in new ways to create value in our companies -- for product innovation, inventory management, and customer service, just to name a few.

On that note, I'd like to wish everyone a very prosperous 2010. Even if it's a flat year for both the domestic and world economies, it could very well be a phenomenal year for all of us. And on a personal note, I would remiss if I did not also wish everyone peace and prosperity in their lives, not just in their organizations. So here's to ringing in a great New Year, both professionally and personally!

Jason Busch

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