Monthly Archives: November 2012

Friday Rant: Federal & State Funding for Rehabbing Vacation Homes Post Sandy — Let's Get Real

From early childhood, I've luxuriated in spending summers at a seaside family vacation home in Southern New Jersey built by my great-grandfather in the 1940's. And for the past 70 years, my extended family has counted their blessings when after every storm, "The House" has been relatively unscathed -- that is, until Hurricane Sandy. We have always known that "a big one" would hit some day and now one has. My sister and I are currently matriarch and patriarch of this grand family legacy and our seaside vacation community has changed dramatically over the years from a sparsely built fishing […]

Marketing and Procurement: Sourcing Ideas

Many long-time readers know that I come from an agency background. Before Spend Matters, I worked on national print campaigns for HP and T-Mobile. I ran regional printing for Ben Bridge Jewelers at the ripe ol' age of 22. I've freelanced as a proofreader, a copywriter, brand strategist, and producer at all types of agencies, large and small. I've even seen Maurice Levy's office in Paris (he wasn't there at the time). In other words, I haven't just breached the other side's lair; I had an office there. Thomas Kase has recently written a fantastic series on Spend Matters PRO […]

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 4)

Next up on our list is the importance of Training: a topic that cuts two ways! While it’s highly unlikely anyone on the marketing team will need input from procurement around the creative side, they could likely benefit from a refresher on regular sourcing concepts such as core vs. non-core skill analysis, ABC or 80-20 analyses (even if marketing isn’t about inventory management, the segmentation approach still applies). Moreover, they could certainly benefit from learning how best to put modern procurement solutions to the best possible use (e.g., contract management, supplier management, analytics).

Friday Latte: Legal Sourcing, Bidding for Twinkie, Cattle Shortage, Alibaba Overtaking Amazon?

"Compared to a few years ago, legal sourcing is now an area where I see major companies investing." LEGAL SOURCING STEPS IN TO THE SPOTLIGHT -- Bustling mid-town Manhattan was the location for a recent conference on collaboration between sourcing and the legal function. On the rostrum, a seasoned sourcing executive from a Global 200 company was sharing his successful experience working with legal. Seated to his left, his colleague, a senior executive in the company's legal department, would echo and amplify his comments. As they described a series of new approaches to purchasing legal services that had saved millions […]

Sourcing and Procurement: Truly Understanding Cost vs. Price

After my recent stories about the acrimonious relations between marketing and procurement (here on Spend Matters, here on PRO - Part 1, and PRO - Part 2) it struck me how similarly negotiation-focused buyers behave versus salesmen that sell mainly on price. Giving the product away for free is the point of convergence – a pipe dream since quality and availability will then resemble Soviet bread lines. Sure, the shelves are empty, but the bread's free! This is not a sustainable model from either side of the table. But it's certainly an easy trap to fall into. Almost invariably, technology-based […]

From Sweden to Obama – The Peculiarity of Union Influence (Part 2)

Please click here for the first installment in this series. After my undergraduate studies in Sweden, I went to work for a Japanese manufacturer in Osaka. But two days before I left for Japan, the Swedish bank employees decided to go on strike, shutting down all Swedish banks for over a month! ATMs were quickly drained, and within two weeks, stores stopped accepting checks and credit cards. It was a mess – the economy effectively shut down. With a Socialist administration, there were no responsible adults at the helm, no chance of a repeat of Reagan's showdown with the air […]

Strategic Sourcing: Criteria for Selecting an E-Sourcing Provider

Certain types of solutions are obviously best suited to specific organizational types. It’s our working hypothesis – which we’ve already spent many years validating through hands-on recommendations and selection processes – that certain organizations are likely a good fit for solutions from ERP providers. These organizations will typically place a greater emphasis, in the case of SAP, on solution suite integration (e.g., supplier management, contract management) over other areas like advanced bidding structure/formats, bid gathering, scenario analysis.

3PLs Move Into Healthcare Supply Chain

Today, we thought we'd feature a recent post on Healthcare Matters: Third-party logistics firms (3PLs) are essentially travel agents for freight. They generally do not own transportation equipment, but instead buy capacity from the carriers who do –the truckers, railroads, steamship lines, or cargo airlines, and then mark it up and resell it to the shippers. The cost of purchased transportation is highly variable for 3PLs because they primarily buy capacity in the spot market. As a result, in periods of macroeconomic weakness when capacity loosens and carrier pricing falls, 3PLs can pass those declines to shippers on a lag, […]

Afternoon Coffee: Tazreen Factory Fire, Smoking Spend, IKEA in India, Procurement Transformation

"Calls made to The Walt Disney Company and to Sears Holdings were not immediately returned." Sears, Disney, Wal-Mart used factory in fatal fire -- Clothing and order books found at a Bangladeshi factory where a fire killed 112 people show that it was making clothing for Disney, Wal-Mart, Sears and other Western brands. Damned if you do...damned if you don't. Fewer Smokers Means Higher Taxpayer Costs, Study Finds -- while cutting the number of smokers trims government outlays over the short run, the increased longevity and higher end-of-life expenses of non-smokers eventually would cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars […]

Should We Fire Procurement and Supply Chain From Supply Chain Risk Management? (Part 3)

Please click here for Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. Earlier in this series, we explored Accenture's Carlos Alvarenga op/ed from a recent HBS blog that makes the argument that procurement and supply chain groups are under-skilled to tackle the realities of supply chain risk. Yet change is happening. Specifically, Alvarenga suggests that "leading thinkers in industry, academics and the insurance/risk industry itself rethink this topic from top to bottom ... [resulting in] any leading companies are already moving in this direction, adding finance PhD's and actuaries to procurement and supply chain teams. This new generation of risk […]

13 for 2013: Sourcing and Procurement Talent Observations (Part 2)

Please click here for Part 1 of this series. Continuing on with our thirteen procurement talent observations and tips as we head into 2013, we come to item number seven. 7. Look for "desperate housewives" who can whip up a mean RFQ. In all non-politically correct seriousness, there is a great arbitrage on women in procurement who want family flexibility but not the consultant or standard travel career path that they were in previously before kids. If you can deal with part-time or work-from-home employees (or those in remote geographies) with minimal travel, thirty and forty something women that have […]

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 1)

A couple weeks ago, Thomas wrote a piece around his experience at ProcureCon's inaugural meeting around Digital and Marketing Services. Judging from the traffic it received, it appears that the procurement/marketing relationship is a hot topic. And why wouldn't it be? Baffling marketing spend works procurement into a spend analysis PPR tizzy, and marketing responds with a despondent, teenage-whine-level "but we're creaaaaative. You just don't understaaaaand." So Thomas decided to write up what turned into quite a lengthy series on Spend Matters PRO. We'll feature Part 1 today: How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 1) What to try PRO? Click […]