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.


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.

Majority of CEOs Agree That Sustainability Holds Value to Businesses, Yet Few Are Measuring ROI

CEOs increasingly agree that sustainability holds value to businesses, but quantifying that value remains a challenge. A slight majority of business professionals believe that sustainability drives both revenue and savings for their businesses, but only 30% measure the ROI of their sustainability initiatives. These are some of the findings from the Ethical Corporation’s fourth annual Responsible Business Trends report. This year, more than 1,500 global business professionals took part in the survey, the majority based in Europe and North America. 

Executives Continue to View Supply Chain as a Support Function Rather Than a Competitive Differentiator

Despite the push to transform procurement and supply chain from a back-office function to a strategic one, supply chain executives are still more inclined to see supply chain as a support function rather than as a competitive differentiator or a growth enabler, according to a recent report from Accenture. In “Drive Your Own Disruption: Is Your Supply Chain in Sleep Mode?” the authors of the report argue that new digital technologies are key to shifting supply chain beyond its support role.

What Does the Data Say About Millennials in Supply Chain Management?

millennial

Judging from the many interviews and casual conversations that we’ve had with millennial professionals in supply chain management over the past few years, we can say with some certainty that this generation (roughly defined as those born between 1981 and 1996) is characterized by a desire for purpose, a willingness to collaborate, and an eagerness to look for technological solutions to problems. A new report from APICS, APQC and Supply Chain Management Review on millennials in supply chain largely supports these assertions.

Will Real-Time Payments Replace Cards? Majority of Merchants Worldwide Think So

early pay

Merchants around the world are warming up to real-time payment, with 77% expecting that it will eventually replace payment cards, according to a recent survey conducted by Ovum and ACI Worldwide. Survey respondents based in the Netherlands, Argentina and Belgium are particularly sanguine on the adoption of real-time payment. A real-time payment system, as the name suggests, lets one use a smartphone, digital wallet or other channel to conduct interbank electronic transfers instantaneously so that the received funds would be immediately accessible

Cyber, Political Resilience Rankings Shuffle in Latest FM Global Resilience Index

MBO Partners

FM Global released Wednesday its 2018 Resilience Index. While overall resilience rankings have remained largely unchanged from 2017, cyber and political resilience rankings have shifted. The Global Resilience Index is an annual ranking of 130 countries and regions according to 12 economic, risk and supply chain factors, which include supply chain visibility, supplier quality and rate of urbanization, in addition to the aforementioned cyber and political risk.

To Digitize T&E and Invoice Management, Companies Must Improve IT-Finance Alignment

Oversight Systems

The digitalization of manual processes is viewed as increasingly vital across functions, and travel and expense (T&E) management is no exception. According to a Forrester report commissioned by SAP Concur, the majority of companies face challenges linked to manual processes, from errors in expense reports to the time-consuming nature of dealing with paper documents. Surveying 378 IT and finance professionals involved with T&E and invoice management at their companies, Forrester found that only 13% are very satisfied with the T&E and invoice management processes that their companies are using.

How to Make Time for Value-Add Activities by Controlling High-Volume, Low-Dollar PO Spend

purchasing

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

A reader recently wrote in asking for ideas on controlling high-volume, low-dollar PO spend on readily available commodity items in order to free up time for value-add activity. The conventional wisdom is that purchase orders act as a point of reference and an insurance of sorts against fraud or unintentional errors related to invoicing, pricing, duplicates and wrong products. Yet POs can undoubtedly be a pain for buyers to draft, not to mention that all of the paperwork lengthens and slows down the entire purchasing process. There are two main options here to consider.

Companies Are Investing in AI and Automation to Boost Talent Recruitment and Retention

interview

If you haven’t yet listened to the demo of the much-buzzed-about AI-powered Google Duplex, which can book your haircuts and make dinner reservations, certainly do so. The ambition is remarkable — can artificial intelligence really master the nuances of polite conversation? — even if the product does not completely deliver. (At times, Google Duplex sputtered and jumped jarringly between different speech cadences.)

Google’s developers confirmed that the human on the other end of the call would be informed that she or he is speaking to AI, which makes me wonder how social norms would change in a human-AI conversation. I thought of this when I came across Randstad Sourceright’s recent report showing that businesses are increasingly using AI to recruit skilled employees and address talent shortages, a well-reported challenge in the procurement sector.