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.


Contract Expert and New LegalSifter Advisor Ken Adams on How AI Adoption is Changing Contracting

Earlier this month, LegalSifter added a renowned expert in contract language to its team. Ken Adams, who joined LegalSifter as an advisor, is the author of “A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting,” published by the American Bar Association, and has spent about 30 years in the legal profession. The legal profession is not particularly known for innovation, so what is it going to look like as AI increasingly comes into play? We posed some questions to Adams on the rise of AI and broader trends in contract management, as well as his work at LegalSifter.

Food and Beverage Industry Leads its Peers in Sustainability Performance, Ceres Finds

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Growing consumer demand for transparent food supply chains and responsible sourcing has pushed the food and beverage industry to embrace sustainability to a larger extent than other sectors, according to new research from Ceres, an NGO focused on sustainability. Ceres examined how more than 600 of the largest publicly traded U.S. companies are responding to environmental risks, human rights abuses and other threats falling under the umbrella of sustainability. The organization found that food and beverage companies are generally ahead of their peers.

Sourcemap and BRAC U to Launch a Digital Map of Every Garment Factory in Bangladesh

We were intrigued to learn recently about a project to create a digital factory map of Bangladesh, a joint effort from BRAC University, Sourcemap and the C&A Foundation. Officially called the Digital Ready-Made Factory Map of Bangladesh, the project is set to launch this summer. A team of data collectors from BRAC University and Sourcemap are currently visiting every garment factory in Bangladesh and gathering GPS-linked data points on workers, factory facilities, certifications, types of products manufactured at the factory, and companies that source from the factory.

From Talent to Category Management: 4 Critical Development Areas for Procurement

Cybersecurity and access to critical talent are the top worries on CPOs’ minds, according to a Hackett Group report, The CPO Agenda: Expanding Procurement’s Influence Through Change and Innovation. The importance of cybersecurity is compounded by the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect May 25. In addition, cybersecurity and access to critical talent are also expected to be “high risk” in the near future by three quarters of procurement professionals who took part in The Hackett Group’s annual Key Issues Study.

30 Under 30 Supply Chain Star Jordan Haller on Leading ExxonMobil’s Preparatory Procurement Efforts for Hurricane Irma

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Jordan Haller knows a thing or two about safety. In 2015, the procurement supervisor at ExxonMobil was named to the National Safety Council’s list of 40 safety leaders under the age of 40 for leading a near loss campaign for his company. And last summer, Haller led ExxonMobil’s preparatory procurement efforts for Hurricane Irma. In the meantime, Haller, who has a bachelor’s degree in supply chain and information systems from Penn State University, also managed to complete an MBA at Louisiana State University. Today, Spend Matters chats with Haller on supply chain disruptions, prioritizing safety and why he expects the internet of things to push supply chain optimization to the next level.

Manufacturers Are Moving Toward Digital Supply Networks, Despite Barriers

Manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits digital supply networks offer, but implementation of the technology still lags, according to a new study conducted by Deloitte and the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI). In contrast to a traditional supply chain, a digital supply network is a “flexible, interconnected matrix that allows data and information to move non-linearly to maximize efficiency to meet changing consumer and market demands,” the study authors write.

For 30 Under 30 Supply Chain Star Tanner Ryan, Culture and Geopolitics Make Supply Chain a “Forever-Changing Puzzle”

Among the common characteristics of the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars are an international mindset and an interest in giving back to the community — two traits that certainly apply to Tanner Ryan. His supply chain career has taken him around the world and back to his native Colorado, where he now works as a Rocky Mountain Region trucking coordinator for Shell. In this Q&A, we chat with Ryan about his career accomplishments and challenges, his experience working in China as a teenager, the disruptive potential of autonomous transportation, and, last but not least, beer.

The Age of Analytics: Mainstream Adoption by Procurement Expected to Triple by 2021

Procurement has likely entered the beginning of a massive swell in the adoption of advanced analytics tools. Researchers from The Hackett Group have found that mainstream adoption of advanced analytics in procurement functions is expected to more than triple in the next two to three years, increasing from the current 20% to 63%. Given the benefits associated with the effective use of analytics, the increased adoption makes sense. Earlier research has found that analytics-driven organizations are twice as likely to be top financial performers and five times as likely to make faster and better decisions.

Robotic Process Automation Adoption: Early Challenges and Lessons Learned

Despite early successes, mainstream organizations are not yet making use of robotic process automation (RPA) technology. This may soon change, according to Hackett Group analysts, who predict that RPA adoption rates will rise in the next two or three years. According to the Hackett Group research, executives across departments are interested in increasing RPA adoption, with finance and global business services (GBS) executives particularly enthusiastic. GBS executives believe that mainstream adoption of RPA will increase five-fold to more than 52% within two or three years, and finance executives predict that adoption rates will increase to 38%.

30 Under 30 Supply Chain Star Rhiana Gallen on Taking Part in High-Level Initiatives at Age 23

At 23, Rhiana Gallen is the youngest 30 Under 30 star this year. She graduated from Colorado State University in 2016, and in the two years that she has spent so far as a contract specialist at Denver Water, she has managed to save the organization more than $400,000 and participated in several high-level initiatives. She served as the team leader of Denver Water’s Lean Six Sigma procurement value stream analysis, which reduced competitive selection cycle times by 45%. Spend Matters spoke with Gallen about how she got the chance to work on important projects so early in her career, time management strategies, and what she finds most challenging and rewarding about supply chain.

30 Under 30 Megawatt Star Charlotte de Brabandt on Leading International Teams at Multinationals

Last month, Thomas and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) announced the winners of the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program, which showcases the most talented young professionals working in supply chain. Like in previous years, the accomplishments of these 30 young professionals are thoroughly impressive, and this perhaps describes no one better than Charlotte de Brabandt, the Megawatt Star.

Ask Spend Matters: Should You be Asking for Prices in the Supplier Prequalification Process?

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A North America-based reader from a professional services company recently wrote in with a question about asking for prices in the supplier prequalification process. She noted that procurement organizations in the public sector tend to ask for prices in the RFI process and then again in the formal RFQ process, whereas in the private sector they typically ask for prices in the RFI process only when they need to explore the market, saving price requests for the RFQ. Why does the public sector need an RFI with prices and then an RFQ, likely with the same prices? It seems inefficient to this reader, who wonders if there are some advantages to this approach that she is missing