Author Archives: Nick Heinzmann



Afternoon Coffee: Wal-Mart Tears Down Wall Between In-Store and Online Buyers, EU Ratifies Canada Trade Deal

Wal-Mart will combine the teams it uses to buy for its physical stores and its online store, which until now have operated independently. The European Parliment ratified the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Wednesday in a move that stands to buck protectionist policies advocated by President Donald Trump. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

Afternoon Coffee: Trudeau and Trump Meet, E2open Merges with Steelwedge

We’ve been writing a lot about how the Trump administration is creating a difficult procurement situation with Mexico, but America’s neighbor to the north is in a precarious position, as well. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is meeting with President Trump in Washington Monday in what should be the first indication of the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Plus, Supply chain information network provider E2open announced Monday it would merge with Steelwedge, a company providing sales and operation (S&OP) planning software. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

3 Insights for Procurement from aPriori’s Cost Insight Conference

Spending the last 24 hours surrounded by design and cost engineers has taught me quite a bit about operations beyond procurement and supply chain management. Those in the buying and sourcing profession often spend a lot of time thinking about cost, and they sometimes get a bad rap for it. But based on my discussions with attendees, it’s clear to me that procurement is far from the only organizational unit worried about helping revenue get to the bottom line.

Yet procurement struggles with its image: it’s slow, it’s a roadblock to progress, it’s not knowledgeable enough to be valuable in new product development. The practitioners in attendance at Cost Insight, however, have worked doggedly to change perceptions such as these at their firms — to great success, in many cases. Here are three insights for procurement I’ve gleaned from various sessions.

Why Product Cost Management is (Finally) Gaining Acceptance with Global Manufacturers

The background music at this morning’s introductory session to aPriori’s Cost Insight conference said it all: “Never get fooled again.”

Manufacturers big and small waste time and money iterating on product designs, and the gap between “should cost” models and real total cost of ownership (TCO) is known to many procurement groups. But a growing openness to product cost management processes and tools, aPriori says, should end this confusion once and for all.

That’s not just the provider’s narrative either. With 65 companies in attendance this year at Cost Insight, the desire for better platforms for new product development, cost management and supplier collaboration is clear.

Afternoon Coffee: SEC to Reconsider Conflict Minerals Regulation, Target Steps Back from Innovation Push

The acting chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday the agency would reconsider the way it enforces conflict minerals reporting. Target is cutting some of its innovation programs as it deals with soft sales and traffic during the holidays. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

The Washington Post Talent Network’s Success is Procurement’s Golden Opportunity

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When the Washington Post launched its Talent Network in June 2015, the Jeff Bezos-owned company promised to bring order to one of the media industry’s most unruly problems: sourcing and managing freelancers. Nearly two years later, the Post seems to have made good on that promise. Such a success story is a boon not only to media companies but to all businesses that extensively rely on a contingent workforce.

Afternoon Coffee: Amazon to Build Air Cargo Hub in Kentucky, Trump Takes Aim at Pharma Supply Chain

Amazon announced Tuesday it plans to build a centralized air hub in Kentucky to support its Prime Air cargo planes. President Donald Trump met with several pharmaceutical CEOs Tuesday to tell them he wants their companies to manufacture products in the U.S. and reprimand them for rising drug prices. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

Afternoon Coffee: Steve Wozniak to Speak at Coupa Inspire 2017, The Price of Trump’s Border Tax on the Auto Supply Chain

Wozniak and Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn will engage in a fireside chat on the main stage to discuss a range of topics, including a segment about his business journey with fellow Apple Co-founder and friend Steve Jobs. The cost of Continental AG’s products could rise as much as 20%. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

Afternoon Coffee: Wipro Partners with and Invests in Tradeshift, Wal-Mart to Build in Mexico

The partnership will combine Wipro’s source-to-pay (S2P) services with Tradeshift’s procurement and invoicing functionalities. Wal-Mart is following through with plans to invest $1.2 billion in the Yucatan Peninsula to build new distribution centers. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.