Author Archives: Sydney Lazarus



Bad Procurement: A Roundup of Recent Procurement Scandals

Procurement scandals haven’t been a priority coverage area on Spend Matters, but that may change soon. Monday's Afternoon Coffee column covered the news, broken by the New York Post, that the chief procurement officer for New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has been fired for allegedly soliciting bribes from a contractor. There is of course a “lady friend” involved in this saga too, but I’ve gotten ahead of myself. But this got us wondering: How does this compare with other procurement-centered crimes? Here is a roundup of recent scandals, some more salacious than others.

ISM/ThomasNet “30 Under 30” Winner Michaela Romanias on the Importance of Resilience and Taking Initiative

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This month, we are running Q&As with a few of the winners of this year’s ISM/Thomasnet.com 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program, which puts the spotlight on the some of the most talented young people working in supply chain. Today’s Q&A is with Michaela Romanias, an asset scheduler at DuPont who graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2012 with a degree in supply chain and information systems. In between juggling big responsibilities at work and planning for her early April wedding, Romanias managed to find time to talk to us about how a school assignment led her to study supply chain, what she wishes she knew at the beginning of her career, and the millennial question.

“Do It” — ISM/ThomasNet “30 Under 30” Megawatt Winner Dan Kaskinen on Supply Chain Careers

Earlier this month, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and Thomasnet.com announced the winners of their third annual 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program. This year’s Megawatt Winner title went to Dan Kaskinen for his work in reducing efficiency, standardizing processes and realizing $3 million in savings at Sonic Automotive, where he worked as a strategic sourcing manager until February. (Kaskinen has since moved into another strategic sourcing role at Premier Inc.) Kaskinen participated in a Q&A with Spend Matters recently to talk about the appeal of working in supply chain (hint: the key word is exposure), career zigzags, disruptive tech and more. A voracious reader, Kaskinen also shared with us the one book that has had the biggest effect on his career.

Companies Are Largely Unprepared for Internet of Things Cyber Risks, Report Finds

Procurement is hardly the only sector excited about IoT. According to a survey of nearly 1,000 enterprise IT buyers worldwide conducted late last year by research firm 451Research, 71% of organizations are already gathering IoT data. Over the course of this year, 90% will be increasing IoT spending. There are still plenty of concerns, such as uncertain ROI, but the top factor impeding IoT deployments is security.

Apple Achieves 100% Cobalt Supply Chain Mapping (Plus: Lessons for Supply Chain)

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Apple’s responsible sourcing efforts now include tracking cobalt as well as conflict minerals, according to the company’s 11th annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report released Monday. Last year, Apple announced it had achieved 100% third-party auditing of conflict mineral suppliers. This year, Apple was able to publish a complete list of its cobalt smelters, all of which have participated in third-party auditing. In another milestone, Apple’s suppliers have also achieved 100% UL 2799 Zero Waste to Fill validation for all final assembly sites in China.

Tackling Procurement’s Digital Transformation Capability Gap

Technology is a double-edged sword. Or at least according to the executives surveyed in the 2017 edition of The Hackett Group’s annual Key Issues Study. While most procurement organizations think that the “march to digital” will bring fundamental changes to the way their services are delivered, few consider themselves prepared. In addition, executives cited cybersecurity as their top business risk for 2017 — and they expect it to get worse.

Disruptive Technology Meets Strategic Procurement: Short-Term and Long-Term Outcomes

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Blockchain. Robotics. Internet of things. Big data. Peer-to-peer connectivity. These are some of the newest and most talked-about technologies that Spend Matters expects will prove disruptive to the spend analytics, sourcing, supplier management and contract lifecycle management markets. They are collectively referred to as strategic procurement technologies in The Impact of Disruptive Technologies and Solutions on Strategic Procurement Technologies (Analytics, Sourcing, Supplier and Contract Management), a new research paper from the Spend Matters analysts.

Afternoon Coffee: Sears Holdings in Jeopardy, Low-Cost Manufacturing… in the U.S.?

Sears and Kmart are the latest brick-and-mortar stores struggling to stay financially afloat in an e-commerce world. Parent company Sears Holdings has said that there is “substantial doubt” whether the two retailers will survive. Changing supply chain economics has meant that companies are beginning to look to the U.S. for lower-cost manufacturing. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Afternoon Coffee: Whole Foods Tightens Tuna Sourcing, VW’s New Cloud-Based Truck Ecosystem

Whole Foods is holding itself to a higher bar when it comes to sourcing tuna. The natural foods supermarket chain released new tuna sourcing guidelines, which require suppliers to use software that tracks the tuna supply chain from vessel to can, monitoring for any unauthorized fishing. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in procurement and supply chain.

Afternoon Coffee: Meat Processors Under Investigation, U.S. Manufacturing Output Up 0.5%

Talk about news that leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. The BBC reports that Brazil’s largest meat processors are accused of having sold rotten beef and poultry for years. Investigators alleged that the companies used acid and other chemicals to mask the quality of their products, in addition to using potato, water and cardboard paper as fillers. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

On Expense Management, Mileage Fraud and GPS: An Interview with Runzheimer’s Mike Bassi

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Recently I talked to Mike Bassi, director of partnerships at Runzheimer, a provider of mobile workforce solutions that works with more than 1,300 companies. One of Runzheimer’s areas of expertise is mileage spend, and I was curious to hear about technological advances in expense management from a provider’s point of view — as well as ask about how common low-level expense fraud is.

ISM/ThomasNet’s Newest “30 Under 30” Rising Supply Chain Stars Are Tech Savvy and Well Traveled

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and Thomasnet.com have announced the winners of the 2016 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program, which serves the dual purposes of recognizing promising young professionals and encouraging the millennial generation to pursue careers in supply chain. Now in its third year, the competition has undergone a significant change by opening up to the international level, whereas nominees were previously limited to the United States.