Daily Archives: January 9, 2013

Drive Innovation Using Collaborative Supplier Relationships (Part 1)

Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Joshua Nelson, Director, and Benjamin Werner, Consultant, at The Hackett Group. Companies gain competitive advantage in the marketplace by filling consumer needs with differentiated products and services. Gaining competitive advantage in today's economy has become increasingly challenging due to three key market and economic factors: Reduced product lifecycle: Increased consumer demand for new technologies, flavors, styles, and/or specialized products has substantially reduced product lifecycles, which can lead to declining price points and narrowing the product profitability window. Globalization: Though globalization has increased the potential market size, it has dramatically increased competition from global […]

Afternoon Coffee: Mississippi River Shipping Danger, Uniqlo Detoxes, Shell’s Arctic Drilling

Barge disruption. Mississippi River Level Disrupts Supply Chain -- The Mississippi River is at historically low levels. The Army Corps of Engineers says the river will likely be able to stay open through the month, but soon it may be too shallow in parts for barge traffic. There have been calls for the corps to release water from reservoirs along the Mississippi. More CSR for global clothing retailers. Uniqlo latest to sign up to supply chain detox -- The clothes manufacturer and retailer, which is the biggest global fashion brand based in Asia, and its parent company Fast Retailing Group, […]

Strategic Sourcing’s Evolution: A Roadmap For the Next Decade (Part 2)

In providing a more complete picture and set of working hypotheses in terms of where strategic sourcing is headed in the coming decade, we should first look at the practitioner view of where adoption and usage is headed. We’ve tracked well over 100 companies that are using advanced scenario building and/or optimization features today, for example in their strategic sourcing tool arsenal (monthly or more frequently) outside of just the transportation area for identifying optimal lane award scenarios.

Apple CSR and Supply Management Reporting

Of all companies, Apple is the most in the spotlight for corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices and its supply chain. Supplier labor practices continue to dominate the supply management risk conversation Apple headlines relative to conflict minerals, etc. (We hope to hear more about Apple and conflict minerals in 2013, down to the stainless steel and other metals used in Apple stores let alone the tin, tungsten, gold, etc. in their products.) But for labor practices, The Next Web recently did a good job summarizing some of the findings from Apple's recent interim report on supplier practices. Here are some […]

Supplier Relationship Management: Cost, Risk, and Value (Part 3)

In supplier relationship management (SRM) areas showing moderate or significant progress according to State of Flux's 2012 survey, groundwork-type or foundational elements dominate the top five areas. In addition, "internal stakeholder alignment" (78% of respondents voted this a top area), quality of relationships (75%), process (75%), senior executive buy-in (72%) and trust and collaboration (70%) round out this top five list. Three of these areas, with the exception arguably over measuring and managing "quality of relationships" and "trust and collaboration," are really about getting the internal vendor management house in order versus progressing toward more advanced activities. It is in […]

Supplier Diversity ROI – Distribution and Supply Chain Impact

The strategic return on investment (ROI) of working with small and diverse suppliers can be hard to define. This is a topic that we've covered in detail on Spend Matters before. The link is worth reading if you haven't already. Largely on this note, the Jan 1 edition of the Wall Street Journal featured an op-ed piece around "How Capitalism Can Repair Its Bruised Image." The column provides ideas on how to rev-up the economy and also put a new shine on the free market machine. It's jointly written by Adam Posen (Harvard Econ PhD, former member of the Monetary […]