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.


The Rise of the Social Enterprise: Working Toward a Symphonic C-Suite (Part 1)

marketing procurement

As the concepts of the workforce and the workplace shift, the concept of the business itself may be changing as well, Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends Report suggests, giving rise to what the report’s authors call “social enterprises.” A social enterprise is an organization “whose mission combines revenue growth and profit-making with the need to respect and support its environment and stakeholder network,” the authors write. “Today, successful businesses must incorporate external trends, perspectives and voices by maintaining positive relationships, not just with customers and employees, but also with local communities, regulators and a variety of stakeholders.”

Penn State’s Undergraduate Supply Chain Program Again Tops Gartner’s 2018 Rankings

Michigan State University

Pennsylvania State University’s supply chain program has once again taken the top spot in Gartner’s 2018 rankings of the top 25 undergraduate supply chain programs in North America. But other rankings have seen some shuffling. Rutgers University and Auburn University were ranked second and third this year, while Michigan State University’s supply chain program, previously ranked second, has fallen to the fourth spot.

GAO: Majority of Companies Can Now Determine Origins of Their Conflict Minerals

conflict minerals

For the first time, more than half of companies filing conflict minerals reports are able to determine the source of these minerals, according to a Government Accountability Office report on conflict minerals disclosures filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2017. Last year, 53% of the companies were able to report whether their conflict minerals — tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold — came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or one of the nine neighboring countries.

Risk of Slavery, Trafficking and Labor Abuse in Supply Chains Expected to Increase

As manufacturing becomes increasingly automated, the risk of slavery, human trafficking and labor abuse in supply chains is also expected to rise, according to Verisk Maplecroft’s 2018 Human Rights Outlook. The report presents five issues that will pose “significant challenges to the reputations, operations and supply chains of multinational companies.” Automation tops the list, with an estimated 56% of jobs in Southeast Asia’s key manufacturing hubs potentially affected. Compliance, certification, threats to human rights defenders, and investor expectation for businesses to take up social responsibility round out the list.

Trade and Geopolitics Top U.S. Businesses’ Global Expansion Worries, Survey Finds

sustainability

Geopolitical uncertainty, trade disputes and compliance issues are top of mind for U.S. businesses with an eye on global expansion, whether that’s opening new international offices, expanding the supply chain or acquiring non-U.S. businesses. These findings come from a recent study by Tipalti and Censuswide Research, surveying more than 500 decision-makers at mid-sized U.S. businesses on challenges they’re facing in during international expansion efforts.

What Are Procurement and Compliance Professionals Most Worried About?

Deloitte Global CPO Survey 2016

Although procurement and compliance professionals from the U.S. and the U.K. are largely confident in the effectiveness of their functions, they are concerned about the risks and challenges posed by regulations, technological change and fraud. These findings come from Dun & Bradstreet’s 2018 Compliance and Procurement Sentiment Report, based on a survey of more than 600 procurement and compliance decision-makers. The respondents represent a wide range of industries and revenues.

Beyond Greenwashing: How to Make CSR Clauses Truly Effective (Part 2)

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 in a two-part series covering EcoVadis’s recent study of CSR contractual practices among buyers and suppliers. Part 1 covered the limited effectiveness of today’s CSR clauses

Among buyers, inserting a corporate social responsibility (CSR) clause into their contracts with suppliers is a pretty common occurrence. According to EcoVadis’s 2018 study on CSR contractual practices, about 70% of buyers do so. The same study found, however, that more than 50% of suppliers say that they have come across CSR requirements that could not be met. But perhaps the greater problem is the fact that most CSR clauses are vague and ineffectual, providing for little enforceability and verifiability.

Are CSR Clauses Truly Effective in Improving Supply Chain Sustainability? (Part 1)

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) clauses are a common feature in contracts between buyers and suppliers. Yet the vague language of the majority of these clauses suggests limited effectiveness in actually bringing about sustainable practices, according to a recent study of more than 550 buyers and suppliers conducted by EcoVadis. Today, the adoption of CSR practices is quickly becoming the norm. According to the International Association of Contract and Commercial Managers (IACCM), nearly three-quarters of companies include a sustainability clause in their procurement contracts. Moreover, half also monitor their suppliers’ environmental and social performance.

Thomas CEO Tony Uphoff on Sourcing Alternatives to Plastic Drinking Straws, Regulations and Consumer Sentiment

The year 2018 seems to be the beginning of the end of the plastic straw, and sourcing data from Thomasnet.com indicate that procurement professionals are scrambling to identify alternatives. One of the top marine polluters, plastic straws have been banned in various countries, cities and royal estates around the world, including Scotland, Taiwan, Vancouver and Buckingham Palace. Data from supplier discovery platform Thomasnet.com shows that sourcing activity for drinking straws and paper bags has increased significantly compared with the historical average. Spend Matters recently spoke with Tony Uphoff, president and chief executive at Thomas, to learn more about the industries behind this spike, the roles played by regulations and consumer sentiment, and those iconic red-and-yellow straws.

Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey: Industry 4.0, Employer Loyalty and Business Ethics

millennial

Young professionals across the globe are unsure about their ability to adapt to Industry 4.0 technologies and increasingly critical of business ethics, Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey finds. For its seventh annual report on the millennial generation in the workplace, Deloitte researchers surveyed 10,455 college-educated professionals from 36 countries who were born between 1983 and 1994. The researchers also surveyed 1,844 respondents born between 1995 and 1999, who fall into Generation Z.

Are Reverse Auctions a Threat to Good Supplier Relationships?

auction

Can reverse auctions — and e-procurement in general — sour a good supplier relationship? One of our readers wrote in with this question, worrying that reverse auctions may put pressure on supplier margins to such an extent that it is detrimental to the buyer-supplier relationship. In a reverse auction, suppliers compete for the buyer’s business by underbidding one another. This increased competition among the supply base ought to lead to lower prices for buyers, although it also runs the risk of undermining a supplier relationship that has taken time and effort to build. What’s the point of developing a strategic supplier relationship if you’re going to use an automated auctioning process anyway?

Is the Contingent Workforce Growing? Interpreting the Latest Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

services procurement

Last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the 2017 Contingent Workforce Supplement, its first since 2005. The report estimates that in May 2017, 3.8% of the U.S. workforce, or 5.9 million workers, held contingent jobs. In the supplement, the BLS defines contingent workers as those who “do not have an implicit or explicit contract for ongoing employment.” Self-employed and independent contractors are included in this figure as long as they have been employed for under a year and expect their employment to last no more than one additional year.