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.


Ask Spend Matters: Is a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) Right for Me?

A reader recently wrote in with a question about how to find group purchasing organizations (GPOs) or purchasing consortia. This individual is a U.S.-based sourcing manager at Heidelberg, a multinational company that provides equipment and services for the print media industry. The reader told us that his company is thinking about bidding out for copiers next year, and he became interested in looking into GPOs after hearing about them at a local ISM meeting. However, a casual internet search for GPOs yielded no shortage of results.

An Entrepreneurial Take on Supplier Relationship Management: Best Practices (Part 3)

Forward-thinking executives are reacting to this faster rate of change by challenging their teams to be more entrepreneurial. This concept, as applied to procurement, lies at the heart of the latest State of Flux report on supplier relationship management (SRM). There is perhaps no industry that is immune to technology-enabled disruption. Successful procurement leaders, State of Flux argues, will need to become entrepreneurs. Below, we’ll look at a number of best practices that can be distilled from the report.

How Are Your Peers Doing on Supplier Relationship Management? (Part 2)

Last week, Spend Matters began covering the recent report from State of Flux on supplier relationship management (SRM), “Entrepreneurial SRM: Solving the Value Puzzle.” Part 1 focused on defining SRM — what it is, what it isn’t, and the six most important components of SRM, as according to State of Flux. The State of Flux report provides a host of interesting data on how organizations are doing on their SRM efforts, which will be the topic of today’s post. How does your organization compare in this regard to your peers? Are you ahead of the pack or somewhere in the middle, or do you have some catching up to do?

State of Flux Releases SRM Report: What is Supplier Relationship Management Really? (Part 1)

What business doesn’t want more innovative suppliers? According to research from State of Flux, supplier innovation is a goal that eight out of 10 companies are actively working toward. From a study of 372 companies representing more than 25 industries around the world, State of Flux found that getting this innovation strongly depends on how well they manage their key supplier relationships. Put more simply, businesses need to master supplier relationship management (SRM).

Jaggaer to Acquire BravoSolution: Initial Thoughts and Considerations

Jaggaer announced Wednesday that it will acquire procurement suite provider BravoSolution for an undisclosed sum. The combination would make Jaggaer the “largest independent, vertical spend management solution provider in the world,” the company said in a press release, with more than 1,850 customers connected to 3.7 million suppliers in 70 countries. News of the planned deal comes nearly six months after Jaggaer’s acquisition of Pool4Tool, a provider of sourcing and purchasing solutions for direct materials procurement. This latest move would make Jaggaer, which rebranded from SciQuest in February, the No. 2 player to SAP Ariba in the procurement technology market by revenue.

IT Outages, Cyber Attacks and New Regulations: BCI’s Latest Supply Chain Resilience Report

IT and telecommunications outages; cyber attacks; and loss of skilled employees are the top three causes of supply chain disruption, according to the Business Continuity Institute (BCI)’s ninth annual Supply Chain Resilience Report, released this month in partnership with Zurich Insurance Group. Although these three causes of disruption are expected to remain highly relevant in the next 12 months, companies should also keep an eye on new laws or regulations, which are expected to act as a source of disruption in the next five years.

Afternoon Coffee: Illegal Student Labor at Apple iPhone X Maker, Car Part Suppliers Fined for Cartel

Illegal student labor has been discovered at a Chinese factory that manufactures the Apple iPhone X. Six high school students told the Financial Times that they were part of a group of 3,000 students sent to the factory to complete a three-month “internship.” Instead, the students found themselves regularly working 11-hour days, which counts as illegal overtime for student interns under Chinese law. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Afternoon Coffee: Texas Gas Producers Face Oversupply, Indian Automaker Mahindra Eyes Detroit

As part of its ambitions to move into the U.S. market, the Mumbai-based automaker Mahindra & Mahindra announced that it would start making off-road vehicles in Auburn Hills, just north of Detroit. And West Texas’s oil boom is becoming a bane for energy producers, as the glut of natural gas forces producers to curtail drilling and flare the excess gas. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Afternoon Coffee: Trucking Fleets Say Yes to Tesla’s Semi, Uber to Buy Self-Driving Volvos

Wal-Mart, J.B. Hunt and Ryder System are placing orders for Tesla’s new electric truck, which will have a semiautonomous driving system and the ability to cover 500 miles on one charge. And in more automotive news, Uber has announced plans to purchase tens of thousands of self-driving Volvos. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Creating a Successful Third-Party Risk Management Strategy: What You Need to Know

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It’s almost 2018 and time to think about updating — or creating — your risk management program for next year. Financial health ratings firm RapidRatings recently held a webinar on the most important factors to consider as you plan your risk strategy. Presented by Brian Sica, director of sales operations at RapidRatings, “Developing a Third-Party Risk Management Strategy for 2018” takes a broad approach to the topic, starting with alignment to business objectives before progressing to the actual planning and execution of the program.

New Research: Using Collaboration in Bringing Competitive Advantage to Your Supply Chain

If your organization wants to create competitive advantages through its supply chains, collaboration is crucial, according to new research from the Global Supply Chain Institute at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. The findings were presented in a white paper, End-to-End Supply Chain Collaboration Best Practices, written by Mike Burnette, managing director of the institute. Burnette and other supply chain faculty at the university interviewed 17 leading companies in eight industries to determine the best practices that help organizations achieve success through collaboration.

Afternoon Coffee: SSE and Npower to Merge Household Energy Businesses, A U.S. Coffee Shop Bubble

Energy giants SSE and Npower plan to combine their household energy businesses in forming what would be the U.K.’s second biggest energy supplier, with a collective 12.7 million customers, the Guardian reports. And while Americans' high consumption of coffee has been great for Arabica supply chains, specialty coffee shops find themselves facing some unlikely competitors, like McDonald's or even the local grocery store's coffee aisle. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest procurement and supply chain news.