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See Jason Busch and Kevin Brooks Reenact the Founding of Spend Matters

Sydney Lazarus - April 18, 2014 1:11 AM

The photo in this post, featuring Kevin Brooks (now Chief Marketing Officer at FoodLink), Jason Busch, two glasses of beer, and two ordinary napkins, is not a perfect reenactment of the founding of this blog, but it comes pretty close. As the story goes, Jason and Kevin came up with the idea of Spend Matters over drinks, and Kevin had Jason write down the idea on a cocktail napkin.

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The New ABCs for Your Career: “Like It or Not, We’re All in Sales Now”

David Wyld - April 18, 2014 10:07 AM

In the words of Daniel Pink, "like it or not, we're all in sales now." And so if we are all in sales, we all have quotas. Yes, they may not be performance measures that directly equate to actual sales, but all work today is done in an environment where systems help deliver performance metrics in nice charts and graphs with the click of a mouse and make items measurable that were formerly immeasurable. This data presents a world of opportunity for self-improvement - and for managerial attention to make sure that improvement occurs. Indeed, today we can find our job performance evaluated in far more precise ways than ever before. Whatever side of the supply chain we find ourselves, from those in the businesses of procuring, delivering, warehousing, paying for, or selling the trillions of dollars of “stuff” that makes the world go ‘round, we should be aware of the measurable world we all work in.

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Alcoa Subsidiary to Pay $384M in Bribery Case, Roaches Found (Again) at California Chicken Plant

Sydney Lazarus - January 9, 2014 12:46 PM

Alcoa World Alumina LLC, an Alcoa subsidiary, is pleading guilty to paying bribes to Bahrain and will pay $384 million in the case. Parent firm Alcoa is not being charged. The cold snap may be mostly over, but several energy providers are increasing their retail electricity rate as they struggle to meet demand in the midst of a cold winter. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

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MarketMaker4 – Not Just E-Sourcing But Also an Information Platform for Sourcing [PRO]

Thomas Kase - April 23, 2014 10:30 AM

In the procurement sector, it’s rare to find a solution provider that, in its operating model and technology, has absorbed so much from those that have come before and applied and updated these learnings to improve on past efforts. But MarketMaker4, an Xchanging company, has done just that. I'm inclined to say that the spirit of Procuri lives on. Similar to Procuri, MarketMaker4 (MM4) delivers a sourcing platform with extensive event support, supplier preparation, and availability in multiple languages. Going beyond Procuri’s offering, MM4 rolls together the sourcing tools with Business Intelligence (BI) and Market Insights (MI) – creating that “market making” effect that a buyer really needs. PRO subscribers can read on for an examination of the solution components, as well as see a list of key takeaways.

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Coupa and — Partnership Analysis, Implications, and User Recommendations [PRO]

Jason Busch - April 16, 2014 9:53 AM

Earlier today, Coupa announced it was partnering with, a company that was once really just a directory service for global suppliers. It has since become as diverse in its holdings (if not more so) than eBay. The purpose of the partnership seems straightforward, but Spend Matters has found that Alibaba overplays its own usefulness in the Fortune 500 as it markets to Chinese suppliers. Alibaba’s supplier listings, catalogs, and directories might be more useful for smaller buying organizations. Potential users of integrated search services connected with source-to-pay applications would do well to consider a number of factors to gauge the actual usefulness of the relationships. Read on for these recommendations, as well as our detailed analysis of the deal.

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Tips on Speaking to a Procurement Audience: Give Up the Slides, Please [Plus+]

Jason Busch - April 10, 2014 2:30 AM

Whenever I have a big speech to give, I usually spend a few weeks preparing, or at least going through in my head, a planned outline. Like many presenters for whom public speaking did not come naturally to start, I’ve often found myself relying on slides to guide my talk. They’re a type of crutch, if you will. But in recent years, in the rare cases that I’ve been forced to present without PowerPoint, I’ve found the audience was far more engaged – probably something about a lack of 12 point Helvetica fonts and multiple takeaway arrows per slide, I suppose.

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Coupa Gets Closer to SAP with NetWeaver Certification – SAP Does Not Get Closer to Coupa

Jason Busch - April 17, 2014 10:44 AM

Yesterday at Inspire, Coupa announced that its latest release, Coupa 11, has achieved SAP NetWeaver certification. According to the press release that went out, Coupa “has achieved SAP certification as powered by the SAP NetWeaver® technology platform … The SAP Integration and Certification Center (SAP ICC) has certified that the Coupa 11 application suite is powered by SAP NetWeaver." Coupa’s choice of using NetWeaver for SAP integration is a pragmatic one for many reasons.

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Not all Factors are Pawn Shops

David Gustin - April 8, 2014 7:05 AM - Available @ Trade Financing Matters

I’ve taken some heat indirectly from the factoring community regarding some recent blogs.  First I thank my parents I was born with thick skin.  Second, lets examine the root of their concern.  Most of the large Factors are not pawn shops.  Their business model is different than other pure funding providers in that they provide valuable services, particularly around receivables monitoring and receivables collection that a company may choose to outsource.  In addition, they can provide buyer coverage if necessary.  There is a commission fee to pay for those services, and companies can evaluate the fee relative to their own […]

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“Centralise or Devolve Procurement? Why Not Both?” How Technology is Enabling New Operating Models

Nancy Clinton - April 14, 2014 6:31 AM

We’ve seen many years of debate over the best way to organise procurement within complex organisations. And the question of whether it is better to centralise or decentralise, hold or devolve power, is still one of the most heated talking points among procurement executives. Now, technology has evolved to a level that means we may no longer need to choose between one or the other, or indeed try to make both models fit where an organisation has a siloed, category-led structure in place.

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Is win-win in supplier relationships impossible? Andrew Cox thinks so, we’re not so sure

Peter Smith - April 14, 2014 12:01 AM - Available @ Spend Matters UK/Europe

David Atkinson, ex CPO and now one of the most thoughtful advisers and thinkers in our business,  tweeted a link to a fascinating  white paper the other day. I don’t know how ‘new’ it is, but its message is timeless, so it seemed worth highlighting here and starting a discussion perhaps. “The Problem with Win-Win” was written by Professor Andrew Cox, ex Birmingham University, procurement guru, founder of IIAPS (International Institute of Purchasing and Supply) and Chair of its Advisory Board. As so often in the case of material from him, it is aimed to stir the procurement pot, provoke […]

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Managing professional services – are you getting lamb or beef?

Peter Smith - April 22, 2014 4:31 AM - Available @ Spend Matters UK/Europe

How do you know if your professional services provider really has the skills they say they do? It's a similar problem to that curry or kebab you buy on a Friday night. Lamb or Beef? (Or chicken.. or horse...)

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How has E-Sourcing Changed? An Interview with Scanmarket Founder Ole Nielsen

Jason Busch - March 24, 2014 3:05 PM

A few weeks ago we conducted a written interview with Ole Nielsen, the founder of the Danish e-sourcing provider Scanmarket. In 2008, Ole moved to Atlanta in order to increase the company’s presence in the American market. Before that, Ole had been living in Hamburg, doing the same for the German market, so he is particularly well-suited to discuss how e-sourcing has evolved in the recent past and compare adoption and use in different markets. Check out Part 1 of the interview!

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Successful System Implementation Means Better Not Just Faster

Guest Contributor - April 7, 2014 2:30 PM

Too often speed is the most valued aspect of a P2P system rollout. However, best-in-class P2P providers balance rapid implementation with effective strategy and high quality execution to expedite quick gains in efficiency and compliance. Understanding what makes the implementation process better is the only way to pick a P2P provider.

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Centralise or Devolve Procurement – Why Not Both?

Spend Matters PRO - April 1, 2014 4:47 PM

Spend Matters - Free Research Download
The debates over centralised and de-centralised procurement, and the linked issue of how much purchasing authority can and should be delegated to end users and budget holders, have been going on for years. In fact, every organisation needs to look at its specific needs, and indeed the right approach may differ across different spend categories. And technology is now helping procurement to square the circle – giving stakeholders real authority, whilst retaining the most important aspects of central control that help procurement drive value and performance. In this Spend Matters briefing paper, you can read about what procurement really needs to control, and how one example of enabling technology is helping procurement functions get this balance right.

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China’s Rare Earths Export Quota Broke Trade Law, Facebook to Buy Oculus, Walmart’s Doll Recall

Sydney Lazarus - March 26, 2014 12:50 PM

A World Trade Organization panel has found that China broke international trade law by putting a quota on the export of rare earth elements and other metals. Half a million customers, or 2 percent of British households, have switched to smaller energy suppliers since November, moving away from the “Big Six” that dominate the gas and power market. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

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Water, Water Nowhere and Not a Drop for Wheat to Drink

Guest Contributor - April 9, 2014 2:58 PM

Despite global increases in wheat production, the United States and India have actually seen drops in recent years. That trend could persist as experts are predicting as much as a 3 percent decrease in yield from last year. A drought could have a serious effect on all crops this summer and if the production of maize or soybeans decreases, expect wheat prices to spike.

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NASA, or Need Another Sourcing Act: Too Much Choice is Not a Good Thing

Jason Busch - March 3, 2014 9:01 AM

Sometimes “choice” in procurement is precisely what not to give to practitioners. This is especially the case as we consider the latest scandal to envelop NASA, who failed to implement a strategic sourcing and spend analysis program (see here and here) that provided even a modicum of leverage and visibility into spend within the agency. One “excuse” the agency provided was the numerous options for procurement that were available.

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Direct versus Indirect spend – not an issue for some procurement organisations?

Peter Smith - April 9, 2014 12:03 AM - Available @ Spend Matters UK/Europe

I don’t often disagree with my business partner and friend Jason Busch, but something he wrote recently did have me shaking my head and murmuring ‘really’? In this excellent post for Spend Matters US, he talked about how ‘indirect’  procurement, particularly those areas related to ‘buying people’ in some sense, is finally coming  to the fore after being neglected or seen as a second class citizen for years –  “Yet to date, the vast majority of dollars and time invested by procurement organizations in talent, processes and technology has focused on approaches to better managing the acquisition of goods, not […]

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Supplier Networks and Factors – Not a Match made in Heaven

Guest Contributor - March 31, 2014 5:38 AM - Available @ Trade Financing Matters

Michael J. Clain is a lawyer with Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP and focuses on the structuring, negotiation, and documentation of a variety of credit products, including broadly syndicated corporate loans, asset-based loans, cash flow loans, trade and supply-chain finance, the purchase and sale of individual loans and loan portfolios, and the workout of troubled assets. E-invoicing is big business and is growing rapidly, but the business model has a significant flaw: it’s hard to make a buck in that space. Buyers are willing to embrace e-invoicing solutions so long as they promise immediate cost savings – but those […]

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American, JetBlue End Partnership, Bangladesh Factory Inspection Report, QR Codes on Energy Bills

Sydney Lazarus - March 11, 2014 12:32 PM

American Airlines and JetBlue are ending their partnership that included agreements on ticketing, baggage handling, and frequent-flyer programs. Results are out from the latest factory inspections in Bangladesh, and what was found were inadequate fire doors, lack of sprinkler systems, and dangerously high weight loads on several floors. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

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