Author Archives: Pierre Mitchell

About Pierre Mitchell

Pierre leads Spend Matters procurement research activities and has broader solution development responsibilities for intellectual property creation and firm strategy as Managing Director of Azul Partners. This includes spearheading efforts to build new types of interactive and social communities of interest within the procurement profession including overseeing the evolution of spendmattersnet.com, Spend Matters PRO, MetalMiner, and other digital assets within Azul Partner’s umbrella. Pierre has 25 years of procurement and supply chain industry and consulting experience, and is a recognized procurement expert specializing in supply processes, practices, metrics, and enabling tools and services. He is a regular contributor to business publications, a frequent presenter at industry events around the world, and counts himself fortunate to have served and interacted with so many CPOs and future CPOs. Prior to his positions in research and advisory, he led numerous operations and systems transformations at Fortune 500 organizations. Industry positions include manufacturing project manager at The Timberland Company, materials manager at Krupp Companies and engineer at EG&G Torque Systems. He holds an engineering degree from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. In the early 2000's, Pierre was the first supply chain practitioner to become a procurement "industry analyst" as the VP of supply management research at AMR Research (now part of the Gartner Group) where he provided trusted counsel to procurement executives, business leadership, IT, and the solution providers who serve them. Most recently, he was the head of procurement research and adjunct business advisor at The Hackett Group, where he helped expand Hackett's procurement benchmarks and research studies while growing the Procurement Executive Advisory Program into a gold standard membership-based procurement advisory service in the market today.

50 Shades of Pay: Shade 4 – Analyzing Total Spend, Payments by Supplier Type

money in the form of some coins In our previous ‘shades’ (begin with Shade 1 here), we helped describe a foundational capability: to analyze and make visible how much money has been paid to suppliers. We also discussed how to wrangle the supplier master data that feeds the payment data that in turn, feeds the analytics. Now, in this Spend Matters Plus Research brief, Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell explores and classifies the types of suppliers with which you've held transactions to analyze your spend – ultimately signaling the shift from spend analysis to supply base analysis.

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Stop Bullying “Best Practices” and Start Applying Them Thoughtfully. Here’s How (Part 1)

- September 12, 2014 6:24 AM | Categories: Friday Rant

“Best practices” have been getting a bad rap lately. It has become fashionable to poo-poo them as cookbook techniques based on stale thinking that get rotely applied and misapplied by folks with sloppy thinking or something to sell you. Makes sense right? A hundred years ago, using a longer-lasting buggy whip was likely a transportation management best practice. Or let’s take a more modern example: p-cards. P-cards used to be a broad-reaching best practice to reduce transaction costs for low dollar spending, but now, many firms have minimized p-card adoption as other electronic buy/pay methods have become more robust.

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50 Shades of Pay: Shade 3 – Total Cash Disbursements to Suppliers (with supplier details) Part 2

- September 11, 2014 2:32 AM | Categories: Analytics, Procurement Research, Suppliers

This post continues our exploration into shade No. 3 of our 50 Shades of Pay series. In this PLUS post, Pierre Mitchell discusses what happens when you aggregate all your supplier master data alongside the aggregation of your spend transaction data. According to Pierre, you will find "wonderful things" like your supplier master field names will be called different things and suppliers will be classified in all sorts of dimensions by different groups. Read on to learn more.

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Supply Chain Insights Kicks off its Imagine Conference – What to Look For

- September 10, 2014 1:02 PM | Categories: Analysis, Industry News, Learning / Research

Supply Chain Insights is kicking off its two-day “Imagine” supply chain conference today. The firm is run by Lora Cecere, an ex-supply chain practitioner, author, blogger, entrepreneur and research/industry analyst from AMR Research, who is likely the deepest CPG industry supply chain expert you will ever meet. And since CPG is probably the most difficult industry to orchestrate (i.e., being caught between the retailer “rock” and the commodity price volatility “hard place”), and since this bellwether industry is therefore one of the most progressive, she is a great source to tap for knowledge. I only overlapped with Lora for a short while at AMR, but we’ve kept in touch and I’ve really been impressed with what she’s been able to build at Supply Insights, and we certainly are kindred spirits with regards to our views of traditional industry research, benchmarking, media, solution providers, objectivity and so on. I couldn’t make the event, but Lora was kind enough to host our fearless principal analyst Thomas Kase who will be reporting on the conference.

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50 Shades of Pay: Shade 3 – Total Cash Disbursements to Suppliers (With Supplier Details) Part 1

- September 10, 2014 2:30 AM | Categories: Analytics, Procurement Research, Suppliers

In Shade 2 of this spend analysis series, we looked at analyzing total cash disbursements to suppliers through the lens of basic A/P data. In doing so, we touched on the issue of data quality, and in the particular, the data coming from the supplier master file (or vendor master if you use that terminology). Obviously, if the supplier master data is bad (i.e., dirty, sparse, duplicated, non-standardized, etc.), the spend data will show it. But, the highlighting of bad data isn’t about improving data hygiene unto itself, but rather is about fixing the data problem to highlight value creation opportunities that you didn't see before. The most frequent example of this is supplier master duplication where multiple supplier records exist for the same supplier.

When you find duplicate supplier master records, you can obviously begin to see where there is additional volume leverage that you can gain within strategic sourcing. This is a key capability for justifying the ROI of investing to get to this level of capability. However, spend analysis is not just about feeding the strategic sourcing process! When you find duplicate supplier master records for the same supplier, it can lead to a whole slew of root causes that should be addressed. This includes a lack of clarity/controls in the supplier master setup process (e.g., who can add/change/delete what fields in the supplier master file) or poor “supplier discovery” inquiry capabilities of suppliers from your own existing supplier network.

Up until now in this series, much of what we have talked about can be done on your own, albeit inefficiently, but in the area of data de-duplication, cleansing, enriching, auto-classification, and harmonization, the tools can really help. But, this area is also where supplier content providers of many forms can be used (i.e., content firms, MDM providers, supplier/business networks, analytics vendors, supplier management application providers, procurement suite providers, etc.). Such firms can also assist in the de-duplication of effort using a combination of fuzzy logic (pattern matching), proprietary databases, and rules-based analyzers to help with this key task.

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Exploring Oracle E-Business Suite Advanced Procurement: Adoption Trends and Roadmap (Part 1)

Oracle OpenWorld 2014 is taking place in San Francisco from Sept. 28 to Oct.2. It typically represents one of the best chances of the year for analysts to peer behind the covers of Oracle’s products and informally talk to both customers and Oracle employees at length. It lets us reach outside of our existing research/advisory client base. Earlier this summer, Spend Matters had a collective update from each of the product groups representing the different Oracle brands most focused on the procurement sector – PeopleSoft, Oracle E-Business Suite, and Oracle Procurement Cloud. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing some of the highlights of what we learned.

You will also receive our initial analysis, subject to additional commentary following Oracle OpenWorld. This initial Spend Matters PRO brief, written by Jason Busch, managing director and founder, Pierre Mitchell, managing director and chief research officer, and Thomas Kase, vice president of research, explores the latest happenings with Oracle E-Business Suite Advanced Procurement including Purchasing, Endeca Extensions, Sourcing, iSupplier Portal, Supplier Hub, Supplier Lifecycle Management, Procurement Contracts , Mobile and related product areas. We’ll also touch on the new Oracle Project Procurement application.

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Freeing Yourself From the Chains of the DPO Stretch – An Empirical and Experiential Analysis

In a previous Spend Matters post titled Does Increased DPO Actually Destroy Enterprise Value?, I highlighted some analysis where, in 12 of 14 manufacturing industries I analyzed, I found negative correlations between days payable outstanding (DPO) and enterprise performance (e.g., debt you may incur to raise cash to invest in high payback initiatives such as B2B trade financing where early payment discounts and/or supply chain finance programs are established). In this Spend Matters PRO article, I’ll dive into the industry details and also provide some additional insights based on some recent research that we conducted with the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

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Does Increased DPO Actually Destroy Enterprise Value?

- September 4, 2014 2:28 AM | Categories: Best Practice, Suppliers, Supply Management

1404632621ye0k6 My old employer The Hackett Group sent me the results of their latest annual study on working capital performance (a downloadable version of the study can be found here). Hackett’s subsidiary REL Consultancy (or “REL” for short) annually extracts, adjusts, and reports on the working capital performance (and overall financial performance) of the top 1,000 publicly traded firms in the United States. For context, the average firm turnover is $11 billion in revenues and median turnover is $4 billion.

REL runs its business primarily based on a singular assumption and value proposition: Reduce your Days Working Capital (DWC) because less working capital is better for the business. Cash that is “liberated” from balance sheets can be used for stock buybacks, R&D, M&A, etc. Improving working capital is a no brainer, right? Unfortunately, this story is just that: a nice story.

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50 Shades of Pay: Level 2 – Total Cash Disbursements to Suppliers

50 Shades of Pay is back! Here is the second "shade" in this Spend Matters Plus series from Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell. The intent of getting to level two is to gain a complete picture of total cash disbursements to suppliers. To do this, some obstacles must be overcome. If improving your spend analysis is a topic of interest and you're not a Plus subscriber, contact us to inquire about a free trial.

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50 Shades of Pay: Level 1 – How to Wring Every Bit of Value Out of Spend Data

In this introductory analysis, we begin our exploration of how to wring every bit of value out of spend data. At every level or ‘shade’, we will describe the spend-related analysis (i.e., its scope and the approach used to attack it), the value of it, the challenges in doing it, and some methods to overcome those obstacles. In level 1, we'll start with basic Accounts Payable (A/P) spend analysis by supplier – the very basics (this is absolutely essential). Let’s jump in!

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Spend Analysis Musings: Excel Add-In Solvers, Freemium Offerings, and App Marketplaces

- August 4, 2014 2:25 AM | Categories: Solution Providers, Spend Analysis

The Thinker I asked myself: Why isn’t Tableau, Qlik, et al providing some type of environment where third parties (consultants, MSPs/BPOs, content/intelligence providers, small ISV’s, etc.) could build cloud-based spend/supply analytics suites (for more on supply analytics, see here) on top of these high-flying “analytic PaaS” providers? So, I was extremely pleased, and amused, when I stumbled upon the demo site of Qlik, where they in fact had four separate product demonstrations for procurement-centric spend analysis; AP-focused spend analysis in an SAP environment; expense management; and materials management in an SAP environment.

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50 Shades of Pay: The Blueprint for the Joy of Spend Analysis

In yesterday’s announcement of a new Spend Matters Plus series, Fifty Shades of Pay, Pierre Mitchell wrote about the importance of spend analysis in procurement transformation. Now let’s look at making it happen. As spend analysis scenarios become more sophisticated and complex, they draw in broader data sets and use deeper types of analytics. Pierre developed a graphical context diagram, or blueprint if you will, of spend analysis. Not a Plus subscriber yet? Contact us to inquire about a free trial.

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