Author Archives: Thomas Kase

MarketMaker4 – Not Just E-Sourcing But Also an Information Platform for Sourcing

- April 23, 2014 10:30 AM | Categories: E-Sourcing, Solution Providers, Sourcing

In the procurement sector, it’s rare to find a solution provider that, in its operating model and technology, has absorbed so much from those that have come before and applied and updated these learnings to improve on past efforts. But MarketMaker4, an Xchanging company, has done just that. I'm inclined to say that the spirit of Procuri lives on. Similar to Procuri, MarketMaker4 (MM4) delivers a sourcing platform with extensive event support, supplier preparation, and availability in multiple languages. Going beyond Procuri’s offering, MM4 rolls together the sourcing tools with Business Intelligence (BI) and Market Insights (MI) – creating that “market making” effect that a buyer really needs. PRO subscribers can read on for an examination of the solution components, as well as see a list of key takeaways.

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What’s in My Contracts and Where are They? Arrgh!

Contract lifecycle management looks so easy when you see the solution provider’s demo. Meanwhile back in the corporate jungle, your contracts are negotiated and executed on other companies’ paper, amended in emails, with final versions left sitting as hard copies in file cabinets, and then you probably have acquired a plethora of group companies with dubious contracting histories. Technically speaking, you should also be concerned with sell-side contracts. What is the risk exposure? Starbucks recently had to pay Kraft $2.8 billion in damages as the result of a dispute settled by the terms of a 10-year-old sell-side contract. If all of this isn’t causing you to lose sleep at night, it should!

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Rant: When Best Practices Become Useless

- April 18, 2014 1:11 PM | Categories: Friday Rant, Procurement Commentary, Public Sector

Here is one example from sugar policies affecting the food and beverage space – the protectionist U.S. sugar tariff system (from the mid to late 1970s) that has forced US manufacturers to switch to taxpayer subsidized domestic high fructose corn syrup instead of buying on the global market. And now our politicians are implementing rules to stop companies from selling so much sweet foods and so many sugared beverages (in larger than 16oz containers at that!) to children of all ages. Sure, if you buy sugar, you might do it according to best practices, but ultimately you are arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic – decoupled from market forces on both buy-side and sell-side.

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E-Sourcing Solution Review: MFG.com LiveSource

- April 10, 2014 3:05 PM | Categories: E-Sourcing, Spend Management, Technology

[Editor's note: An earlier version of this post was published on March 24. We have since received updated information regarding MFG.com's new CEO, Bo Hagler, and are republishing this post as a result.] Our long awaited manufacturing e-sourcing analysis is near completion (to be shortly followed by other e-sourcing comparative reviews and rankings). As part of this effort, we will be featuring detailed vendor write-ups in the coming weeks. The first provider we’re tackling is MFG.com LiveSource. We recently spoke with the new majority investors, Fulcrum Equity Partners, who have assured us that they are “looking to grow and invest in LiveSource." We take this as good news, as the solution has much potential in the market. A few members of the MFG.com team have left in recent months, and as of this writing, the company has just recruited a new CEO: Bo Hagler. Mr. Hagler was most recently VP of R&D at QAD, Inc (NASDAQ: QADA and QADB) where he was responsible for supply chain solutions as well as new product introduction – and even if Spend Matters hasn’t had the pleasure of interviewing Mr Hagler yet, his background looks like a good fit for MFG.

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The Sourcing Interests Group Conference

- April 9, 2014 2:35 AM | Categories: Commentary, Conferences, Procurement, Sourcing

Nashville Thomas Kase of Spend Matters recently attended the Sourcing Interest Group Conference in Nashville, TN. Hear what he had to say about a couple specific sessions in particular, including Iron Mountain and WCAS, as well as the conference as a whole.

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Sourcing Scurvy – And How to Fix It

- April 4, 2014 2:30 PM | Categories: Commentary, E-Sourcing, eProcurement / Procurement, Sourcing

With so many sourcing tool providers there's no reason to be sending Excel spreadsheets back and forth via email. Choosing a provider can improve your company's structure, and quickly. Practices can be implemented in a matter of days. So really, how do you not have a tool yet?

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Largest Chinese ERP Provider Eschews Services Procurement

- April 1, 2014 6:30 AM | Categories: Industry News, Learning / Research, Sourcing, Spend Management

China Great Wall Systems (GWS), China’s largest ERP company, today announced that it will focus future development for its next generation platform-as-a-service (PaaS) ERP, MRP and business applications stack entirely on materials management. Great Wall’s sister state owned company and largest customer, Xiao Kin Industries, has already embraced GWS’ commitment to industrial production and automation.

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Spend Matters Launches SupplierNet™ and New Spend Classification Schema: ISO133700

- April 1, 2014 2:26 AM | Categories: Breaking News, Procurement, Sourcing

Earth Spend Matters is launching SupplierNet™, a global vendor onboarding and classification database – a single source of truth for all supplier master data, globally, updated on a real-time basis, 24/7, with 99.999% availability. SupplierNet™ is rolled out as an extendible platform, that plans to integrate 3rd party data content from sources like Lexis-Nexis.

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E-Sourcing Solution Review: POOL4TOOL

- March 31, 2014 2:30 AM | Categories: E-Sourcing, Solution Providers

Spend Matters will soon be releasing its comparative manufacturing e-sourcing analysis (to be shortly followed by other e-sourcing comparative reviews and rankings). As part of this effort, we are featuring detailed vendor write-ups, having started with MFG.com LiveSource. The second provider that we are tackling is POOL4TOOL, an Austria-based provider with extensive experience working with manufacturers across the source-to-pay continuum in direct materials (inclusive of supplier management, quality, etc.). With limited investment in North America to date, POOL4TOOL is not as well known outside and around its home market of the German-speaking countries (Germany, Switzerland, and Austria) as perhaps it should be, given the solution breadth and depth. This report covers company background, a solution overview, solution details and analysis, solution differentiators, customer references / experience and recommendations.

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Spend Matters 50/50: HICX Solutions – A Provider to Watch

Every once in a while, you come across a high-growth procurement services provider that has largely flown under the radar (often because they’ve focused on a targeted geography and have not raised outside capital), yet has a tremendous set of capabilities and depth that would truly surprise even the most sophisticated potential customer. HICX Solutions, which we’re excited to include in our 2014 Spend Matters 50/50 list, is one such provider. In their Spend Matters Almanac listing, HICX themselves say that their solutions span “supplier onboarding, supplier master data management, supplier management, supplier risk and performance scorecarding, supplier compliance and supplier cockpit [dashboard].”

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State of Flux Technologies: Supplier Engagement and Management with a Relationship Twist

The supplier management technology sector is a crowded and confusing market. In our recent outlook series covering the area, we explore different aspects of the market – some centered on master data management, others on AP-centric onboarding and still more focused on supply risk and targeted compliance areas. Yet there are still additional elements of the sector – harkening back to its name, ironically – that have yet to be a central focus area for many providers. State of Flux Technologies is one such provider targeting what we might term true supplier management (i.e., a focus on all aspects of the relationship and engagement with a supplier, including collaboration, development and joint innovation). We recently introduced our readers to this technology provider, whom we have included in the 2014 Spend Matters 50/50 “Providers to Watch.” In this analysis, we will look at the State of Flux platform, in particular what makes the solution different from the rest of the supplier management pack.

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Spend Matters 50/50: Iasta – A Provider to Know

- March 25, 2014 10:24 AM | Categories: E-Sourcing

Iasta continues to differentiate itself with a sourcing toolset that (while a bit dated on the interface side – as are all the veteran solution players in this sector, mind you!) is as powerful and configurable as ever. The core Iasta sourcing-driven UI is a bit like a Porsche 911 – some love it, others not so much, but it simply does not go out of style and it has a lot of fans that don’t want to see it change.

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