Author Archives: Thomas Kase

Party Like the ‘90s – When is May 2000 Coming?

- September 24, 2014 10:36 AM | Categories: Analysis, Conferences, Supply Chain

Dr. Laura D'Andrea Tyson, business and economics professor at Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, delivered the keynote presentation at the Supply Chain Insights Global Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, the other week. The key question: when is the new May 2000 coming (i.e., major economic reversal)? Let me be clear that Dr. Tyson didn’t come across as bullish. In fact, she raised several points of concern. Here are my notes from her speech, with my own thoughts added, spanning topics from Europe to China to Japan -- as well as interest rates, supply chain risk and other macroeconomic variables. Ultimately, our supply chains (and top line) are only as strong as the weakest links.

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Concur and SAP/Ariba: Customer and Partner/Ecosystem Analysis and Recommendations

- September 23, 2014 10:15 AM | Categories: Analysis, Industry News, Technology

Since SAP’s announcement last week that it is buying Concur, Spend Matters has been busy covering the transaction from multiple angles. On the surface, it would be relatively easy to suggest there are more similarities than differences to SAP’s acquisition of Ariba for customers and competitors. But the transaction brings a substantially different set of variables to the equation for all parties in the market. In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Thomas Kase, vice president of research, Jason Busch, founder and managing director, and Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer, provide analysis and an initial set of recommendations for SAP customers, Concur customers and Concur partner/ecosystem members.

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There’s Marijuana in Your Supply Chain: How to Smoke It Out?

- September 23, 2014 6:47 AM | Categories: Risk Performance and Compliance, Supply Chain

A recent study shows that a substantial number of employees go to work under the influence of pot. About 10 percent admit to having done so, and about 5 percent don’t rule out doing so again in the future! However, taking these results at face value, as you can see, employees even take illegal drugs while at work (some of the funniest examples may be in the Comedy Central series ) – and as more and more states make these legal, what is the impact on the supply chain?

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SAP Buys Concur: Cultural Fit, Scale, Target Customers and More

- September 19, 2014 10:31 AM | Categories: Analysis, Breaking News, M&A, Technology

In our previous coverage of the SAP’s announced acquisition of Concur, we provided some background and context on the transaction and offer our candid perspective on the events leading up to the announcement. As we begin our deeper analysis of what the deal means for customers, competitors and the broader market, Thomas Kase, VP Research, who leads Spend Matters T&E coverage, talks about a range of synergies (or lack thereof, in certain cases) around the acquisition including cultural fit, target customer segments, scale, network/content, app store models, talent retention, and much more.

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Supply Chain Insights: Robotics and Automation – Prepare For Operations, Procurement Disruption

- September 17, 2014 10:30 AM | Categories: Conferences, Technology

Tom Bonkenburg, head of European Operations for St. Onge, a privately held consultancy focused on supply chain strategy and logistics, gave us perhaps the most critical observation in his presentation at the Supply Chain Insights conference – why we haven’t seen more ASIMO-type automation – when he cleverly brought in an aspect of Moore’s Law that is relevant to automation. This “law” states that the price paid for a given level of computing power will be cut in half every two years – which in turn means that we are on the verge of attaining price-competitive robotics (versus humans) very soon. So which industry leaders are making this possible? This Spend Matters Plus research brief explores the potential for robotics- and automation-led disruption to forever change global supply chains and procurement – and why (and what) we should pay attention to today to get smart on the topic.

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Supply Chain Insights Global Summit – The Supply Chain Index

- September 16, 2014 10:33 AM | Categories: Commentary, Conferences

Lora Cecere, the founder of Supply Chain Insights, is a CPG industry specialist from the beginning, and she (and her team) are trying to come up with a better way to assessing the company value impact of well-performing supply chains. For this purpose, she has developed a Supply Chain Index. This is a commendable effort – and probably something that many outside of procurement would love to see, as it has significant stock picking investment strategy potential.

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Supply Chain Insights Global Summit – Initial Thoughts

- September 15, 2014 10:23 AM | Categories: Analysis, Conferences

It’s time to share my thoughts from the Supply Chain Insights Global Summit event in Scottsdale, Arizona. Lora Cecere, the founder of Supply Chain Insights, is clearly well connected in the industry (her years at AMR must have helped build up a Rolodex) as well as respected – she has done a good job of bringing together chief procurement officers and other senior procurement management from several industries. There is also solution providers here – predominantly S&OP and analytics tools, and I think several of the providers we usually write about here on Spend Matters should consider attending for the quality of the content and the audience.

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Rant: Keeping My Nose in the Air

- September 12, 2014 3:31 PM | Categories: Friday Rant

Normally, my primary concern is that the plane will leave on time. For instance, one day in June this year, I experienced TWO big bird mechanical failures in a row (!) flying out of Atlanta, barely made it in time to Singapore via a weird European detour thanks to heroic efforts by Fernando, an extraordinarily capable member of Delta’s ground crew. Thanks Fernando!

A secondary concern is wondering whether I will be able to stow my carry-on luggage.

Thirdly, and a far more minor issue would be, who will sit in the middle seat?

Earlier this week, however, a fourth concern reared its ugly head – or nose – and I can't see a way to mitigate against this.

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Influencing Change: Addressing Bad Procurement Behavior

- September 10, 2014 10:39 AM | Categories: Learning / Research, Procurement, Procurement Strategy & Planning

file3671269347953 The bigger the organization, the more political the decision-making process is – a maxim all too familiar to most of us. Sourcing, by definition, will step on numerous toes as it navigates the shark infested organizational waters toward better total cost and value outcomes. Internal silos and fiefdoms will have to be cracked open in order to create the best results.

Along the way, as we have all seen, many worthwhile initiatives fail for the lack of adoption sword – the unimplemented savings – as the industry euphemism goes for the negotiated savings that the sourcing team created, but the business users passive-aggressively ignored. Even worse, relationships, both internal and external, take a turn for the worse as toes are crushed under a well intended, but perhaps awkwardly placed, sourcing boot. Some stakeholders run for the mattresses and start sniping you. Others approach the procurement challenge as a no-knock, no-survivors SWAT team effort, doing more harm than good; equally destructive of long-term trust with stakeholders and suppliers.

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Exploring Oracle E-Business Suite Advanced Procurement: Adoption Trends and Roadmap (Part 1)

Oracle OpenWorld 2014 is taking place in San Francisco from Sept. 28 to Oct.2. It typically represents one of the best chances of the year for analysts to peer behind the covers of Oracle’s products and informally talk to both customers and Oracle employees at length. It lets us reach outside of our existing research/advisory client base. Earlier this summer, Spend Matters had a collective update from each of the product groups representing the different Oracle brands most focused on the procurement sector – PeopleSoft, Oracle E-Business Suite, and Oracle Procurement Cloud. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing some of the highlights of what we learned.

You will also receive our initial analysis, subject to additional commentary following Oracle OpenWorld. This initial Spend Matters PRO brief, written by Jason Busch, managing director and founder, Pierre Mitchell, managing director and chief research officer, and Thomas Kase, vice president of research, explores the latest happenings with Oracle E-Business Suite Advanced Procurement including Purchasing, Endeca Extensions, Sourcing, iSupplier Portal, Supplier Hub, Supplier Lifecycle Management, Procurement Contracts , Mobile and related product areas. We’ll also touch on the new Oracle Project Procurement application.

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Local Sourcing: Exploring Enablers of Supply Chain and Procurement Localization

- September 8, 2014 2:25 AM | Categories: Sourcing, Supplier Management, Supply Chain

Earlier this month, Spend Matters published a story highlighting Auto News’ coverage of supply chain and procurement localization at Magna International. On the surface, supply chain localization seems simple – work with local suppliers in the areas where you do business globally. Supply chain localization is far from easy – in fact, its requirements and practices are often incongruous with some procurement and supply chain trends leading to greater centralization of efforts and management.

Moreover, without the right structure and design – not to mention technology – the supplier localization efforts can overwhelm individuals (e.g., category managers) tasked with global oversight of specific sourcing and related supplier management efforts.

So what enablers can procurement and supply chain organizations turn to as they move toward localization given this context? There's a bunch. Read the full post to find out what they are.

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Playing with Numbers: Why Cheerful BLS Unemployment Reports are Misleading

- September 5, 2014 2:59 PM | Categories: Friday Rant

For those who have been around the economy awhile, the current 6.1-percent unemployment looks nothing like the 6.1-percent unemployment we had in the summers of 1994 and 2003. Here is why: the BLS has constantly redefined away the problem of persistent unemployment, simply removing the annoyingly unemployed from the statistics and focusing on tracking merely changes in the employed versus the recently unemployed. That’s like saying “Well, that supplier has failed so long that we’ll just not count their broken parts in our QA stats.” That doesn’t change the fact that there’s a lot of failure out there.

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