Author Archives: Taras Berezowsky



Inside the Executive Suite with Jose Varela, CPO of 3M: More Sunny Days in St. Paul Ahead?

As he looked out his window at the sunny spring day in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota, Jose Varela seemed upbeat and rather excited about where sourcing operations are headed for what was once known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company — better known today as 3M. Perhaps that’s because he’s somewhat of a newbie. “I’m new to sourcing,” Varela said. “I’ve been in this position less than a year.” He’d previously been a managing director with 3M Brazil, where there were undoubtedly many more sunny days outside his window than he encounters in the Great White North.

2017 Best Practice Predictions: Disrupting E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay with Technology

How important is technology to procurement? In a word: quite. And it’s not as if there aren’t enough to keep tabs on, running the gamut from cloud, B2B connectivity, user-designed solutions, analytics and artificial intelligence/machine learning — many of which are already influencing today’s cutting-edge offerings. To help practitioners wrap their heads around it all, the Spend Matters Analyst Team has penned a new report, "E-Procurement and Invoice-to-Pay Disruption: 'Best' and 'Next' Technologies," that shares summary insights into the technology, product and functional levels of “best” practices today and tomorrow’s “next” practices for procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions.

Been Stuck in a Cave? Well, ICYMI: Spend Matters’ P2P SolutionMap

Unless you’ve been stuck in a cave, sheltered from procurement and supply chain industry news for the last three weeks, you may have noticed Spend Matters’ rollout of the Procure-to-Pay SolutionMap — comparative rankings of technology vendors offering e-procurement, invoice-to-pay and procure-to-pay suite solutions. To help quick-guide you through the SolutionMap, we’re offering you a couple Choose Your Own Adventure-style options.

Forrester’s Artificial Intelligence Report Spawns 10 Hot Technologies — For Procurement, Which Ones Matter Most?

We recently came across a Forbes piece that distilled the findings of a Forrester report on artificial intelligence into the 10 “hottest” AI technologies. As suckers for clickbait, as well as folks interested in the implications of AI for the procurement sector, we checked it out. ICYMI, here they are, according to Forbes contributor Gil Press, taken from Forrester’s TechRadar™: Artificial Intelligence Technologies, Q1 2017.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Buyer/Supplier Match!

Matchmaking is an age-old practice. And as Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava will tell you, it’s a tough world out there when it comes to traditional matchmaking. The same goes for buyers and suppliers in the marketplace. Just as matchmakers once met with mothers and fathers to match their daughters to prospective husbands, businesses used to pound the pavement trying to find prospective clients, buyers, suppliers and anyone who would take a business card and put it in their pocket full of loose change and car keys.

Decoding Border Tax Speculation: A Sourcing Advisor Explains the Top Priorities for Procurement

In a related article last week, we tried to get (a little closer) to the bottom of the whole Mexico border tax issue. Although there are still two potential camps of “tax” — President Trump’s potential blanket tax on Mexican imports, and the broader Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) that comes from proposed Republican corporate tax reform — procurement organizations on both sides of the border have immediate concerns.

Can We Get to the Bottom of Trump’s Border Tax?

10%. 20%. 35%. These are all numbers that the Trump administration has put on the table, at various times, as suggested levels of import tax that the administration threatens to levy on goods from countries such as Mexico if the U.S. companies importing them don’t move their overseas operations back to the States...right? Not so fast. It turns out that there are a few different things this whole “border tax” thing could mean.

2017 Prediction of the Moment: How Big Blockchain Will Be in Sourcing and Supplier Management

blockchain

It’s no secret that the Spend Matters team has been geekily excited about the procurement implications of blockchain for years — seemingly right on the heels of the Dark Web, TOR and Silk Road becoming a thing. What is far more important to the world of procurement — and for that matter, the world of broader supply chains and global trade — is that blockchain brings the potential to become as important to our technology lives as the spreadsheet, ERP/MRP systems and source-to-pay technology suites that we use everyday, as Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch puts it.

Social Media and Procurement: Where We’ve Been and Where We Are Now

social

As we’ve seen and reported on Spend Matters over the past year, interest in easier-to-use, more efficient and organic B2B social collaboration platforms seems to be steadily growing. Once viewed as yet another source of risk, social media platforms, both external- and internal-facing ones, have finally proven they can help procurement folks do their jobs better.

A Major Price Risk Just Surfaced in Mexico: Why Unilever, Other Procurement Orgs Are Taking Note

Very recently — and rather quietly, overshadowed by talk of walls and deportations — the Mexican government made a major move that could upend North American supply chains for years to come. On Feb. 17, the Finance Secretariat announced that fuel prices in each of the country’s 90 regions would change on Saturday, Feb. 18, with daily price changes coming into place from that point forward, according to a report from Breakthrough Fuel, a global transportation energy management and advisory firm. This deregulatory move almost instantaneously introduced a new era of commodity price volatility concerns for multinational procurement organizations and their supply chains operating in or through Mexico.

Consumer Buying Power: A New Meaning in the Age of Trump?

retail

A report by Trade Extensions titled “Consumers’ Attitudes Toward Manufacturers, Retailers and Suppliers” has implications for many facets of the CSR trend — from brand reputation, to ethical sourcing, to the classic “what does it mean for the bottom line?” One finding from the report indicates that the retailer is the most important entity (above manufacturers and suppliers) that U.S. and U.K. consumers think about when buying something — which is perhaps related to why the recent Nordstrom firestorm was more about Nordstrom, not who makes Ivanka Trump's clothing line or how it sells. But the survey’s more interesting findings touch on fair treatment of suppliers.

Using Social Media to Improve Procurement Performance: Exploring Emerging Research

LinkedIn ProFinder

When it comes to the intersection of social media and procurement, we’re all interested in how to use it effectively, whether it’s to improve our relationships, our jobs or both. Yet at times, the magic of its use can seem elusive. More and more public-facing platforms (the Facebooks, Twitters, Snapchats) and private/collaborative ones (the Procuriouses...Procurii?) seem to crop up every day, but where to start? to start? Dr. Frank Rozemeijer and Dr. Lieven Quintens of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and Jonas Heller, a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales’ Business School in Australia, have set out to explore just that.