Author Archives: Sydney Lazarus



About Sydney Lazarus

Editor-at-Large - Spend Matters | Sydney is editor-at-large at Spend Matters, where she writes on a variety of supply chain and procurement-related topics. Her reporting interests include labor conditions, corporate social responsibility, and women and millennials in supply chain. Like most of her editorial colleagues, Sydney is an alum of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast Traveler, and a couple places where she chose to be published anonymously.


Afternoon Coffee: China Announces Retaliatory Tariffs, Iowa’s Soybean Farmers May Lose Up to $624M

Another day, another step closer to a U.S.-China trade war. The Wall Street Journal reports that China has announced retaliatory tariffs “by targeting high-value American exports—including farm products, cars and crude oil.” On Friday, the Trump administration had announced that it would impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese products. In a tit-for-tat move, China will impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion in U.S. goods. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

SRM Provider Kodiak Rating to Develop Blockchain to Improve Supply Chain Transparency

blockchain

The Stockholm-based supplier relationship management provider Kodiak Rating announced that it will apply blockchain technology to improve supply chain transparency and traceability and to better manage supplier risk. Research and development will be supported by a 800,000 SEK grant (approximately $92,000) that was recently awarded to Kodiak Rating by Vinnova, a federal agency under Sweden’s Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation.

Afternoon Coffee: U.S.-China Trade War Escalates; Adents, Microsoft Introduce Blockchain-Based Supply Chain Solution

The Trump administration announced today that it will impose tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products, the New York Times reports, and Beijing plans to hit back with tariffs of its own. Microsoft partnered with Adents on a blockchain-based supply chain solution, Adents NovaTrack, that will offer end-to-end visibility and traceability. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Afternoon Coffee: Aquiire Receives E-Procurement Patent, Redwood Software Announces RPA as a Service

Aquiire, an e-procurement and supplier relationship management solution provider, announced in a press release this morning that it has received a patent for “methods and systems for integrating procurement systems with electronic catalogs.” And in a press release from yesterday, Redwood Software announced that it has developed the industry’s first robotic processing automation solution as a service. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Spend Management Versus E-Procurement: Is There a Philosophical Difference?

Editor’s note: This is part of the Ask Spend Matters series, where readers send in their burning questions about procurement and supply chain.

What is the difference — philosophically — between spend management software and e-procurement software? One of our readers recently posed the above question, noting the amount of noise out there over spend management and the general sense of confusion as to what constitutes spend management and what constitutes e-procurement. We’re always fond of these fun philosophical questions, so we asked our own Spend Matters analysts and editors for their opinions on this one.

Why E-Commerce Trends Necessitate the Adoption of Automation and Analytics Tools in the Retail Industry

In November 2017, the popular online retailer ASOS introduced a new “try before you buy” service. The scheme, as the name suggests, allows customers to order multiple items — say, the same shirt in different sizes, or different items altogether — and try them on. Then customers can return the items they do not want, and ASOS charges only for the items they keep. This flexibility may be helping e-commerce businesses win market share, but for many retailers, the inevitable flood of returns make for a growing risk, a report from Brightpearl finds.

Cognitive Sourcing Provider LevaData Completes $12 Million Series B

funding

LevaData announced Tuesday it had completed a $12 million Series B financing round, led by Tola Capital. The sourcing technology provider plans to use the funding to deepen the capability of its platform, further innovations in engineering and data science, and expand into new industry verticals, according to a press release. Since 2014, LevaData has raised close to $20 million in venture capital, including $5 million in August of last year from its Series A round, also led by Tola Capital. 

Sole Sourcing and Lack of Weapon Design Experience to Blame for Pentagon’s Munitions Procurement Woes

The U.S. government is facing considerable challenges with its munitions procurement, as reported by Defense News in an article memorably headlined “The U.S. is Running Out of Bombs — And It May Struggle to Make More.” According to the latest annual Industrial Capabilities report from the Pentagon's Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, sole sourcing and a lack of weapon design experience are crippling the U.S. industrial base.

Achieving a Successful Robotic Process Automation Implementation: A Case Study of Vodafone and Celonis

Procurement organizations are beginning to catch on to robotic process automation (RPA) and the potential benefits that the technology can bring, which include cost reduction and more time for strategic, value-add activities. In fact, more than a third of procurement organizations are already piloting the technology, according to research from The Hackett Group. This was certainly the case for British multinational telecom corporation Vodafone, for which adoption of RPA quickly yielded results.

Supply Management Compensation Rose Last Year, But Not For Top Earners

salary

Salaries and overall compensation for supply management professionals not only increased in 2017 but also rose at a higher rate compared with salary growth for professionals overall. According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM)’s recently released salary survey, now in its 13th year, the average overall compensation for supply management professionals in 2017 was a respectable $117,425. This marks a 1.7% increase from the average overall compensation in 2016, which was $115,440.

Study Finds Nascent Adoption of AI and Robotics in Retail and Manufacturing Supply Chains

Take a guess: How widespread is adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in retail and manufacturing supply chains? The answer is somewhat complicated. According to a recent survey from Eft, 46.1% of retailers and manufacturers report no usage of AI in their supply chain operations, but a significant percentage (33.4%) are using the technology in an experimental manner. Only 4% reported extensive usage on specific business processes or throughout the entire supply chain.

How Can Retailers Use Blockchain? New Deloitte Report Outlines 16 Use Cases

Last year, the value of the global counterfeit goods market was estimated to exceed $450 billion, an issue that blockchain solution providers such as Everledger and Blockverify have begun to tackle. The retail and consumer packaged goods industries particularly stand to benefit from implementing blockchain, a new Deloitte report argues. Blockchain would be able to tackle a number of supply chain challenges that these two industries face, from traceability and compliance to stakeholder management and flexibility in the face of risks and unexpected events.