Best Practice Content

Don’t Forget the Big 4 Questions to Ask During Any Mega-Acquisition

Four years ago, during the last big M&A frenzy, I published a post on my Sourcing Innovation blog on The First 4 Questions to Ask During Any Mega-Acquisition that is still just as relevant today as it was four years ago.

And while it was very direct and maybe even a bit confrontational, sometimes it’s a good idea to be direct because sometimes you need to let the new vendor know you’re not in the mood for any shenanigans. The reality is that while some mergers and acquisitions are with the intent of creating a better combined company that can better serve the respective customer bases, not all mergers and acquisitions are done for this reason. Some are done just to eliminate competition, and others are arranged by investors for the sole purpose of a short-term money grab (which will be accomplished by a short-term PE sale or initial public offering once the balance sheets are puffed up and the overhead reduced).

So, without further ado, let's get to the four questions you should ask to find out whether you and your new vendor are on the same page.

ISM 2019 Houston Conference: Highlights and Musings (Part 2)

After a Spend Matters' team went to the ISM 2019 conference last week in Houston, I recapped the event in an earlier post, but today I want to focus on two more sessions, one titled "Procurement Hacks" and the other about sustainability, given by HP Enterprise. And I have a special shoutout for Katie Smith, who discussed a procurement digital transformation case study for HERE Technologies.

For Procurement Problems in Government Contracting, Try These Outsider Tips

Government contracting is known as a detail-oriented process that relies on plans and procedures, but Public Spend Forum is offering tips to help companies with procurement problems so they can improve the process where they can. And that involves changing your mindset, being flexible and ensuring that you have talented people. The tips come from the agile model for addressing the constant change associated with modern business, and Public Spend Forum, a sister site of ours, explains how these principles can relate to procurement practices.

Public Spend Tips: Prep for All Types of Meetings to Help Land Government Contracts

contract

I’ve called this meeting about government contracts with you, the reader, to check in with Public Spend Forum, a sister site of our, to see what’s going on in public procurement. PSF has a list of tips and advice on something that seems simple but is widely derided: having a meeting. Meetings can be successful if you know what you’re trying to accomplish. And that takes knowing the different types of gatherings that acquisition pros might attend in a week — customer meetings, informal meetings with prospective contractors, formal meetings with suppliers and contractors, negotiations, source selection meetings, post-award contract kickoff meeting, and contract closeout meetings.

Public Spend: A Look at 4 Value Levers for Public Procurement

It’s time to check in with Public Spend Forum, a sister site, to see what’s happening in public procurement. This week, we’ll focus on an article that offers some in-depth tips on four value levers for public spend. PSF offers a simple list — and then a lot of detail about each item. Click above for the highlights.

Best Practices for Your P2P Implementation Project And How to Keep it From Becoming a Nightmare [Plus+]

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Editor's note: This is a refresh of our 2015 series on running a successful P2P implementation, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. Read Part 1 here.

In the Spend Matters webinar “Nightmare on Procurement Street,” we discuss how to successfully implement a procure-to-pay solution (P2P) and avoid the process from turning into a terrible experience. This 2-part Spend Matters Plus series lays out what tips we suggested for procurement organizations embarking on a P2P project. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive, step-by-step implementation guide, however. We simply want to share our best practice ideas based on our experience and our discussion in the webinar. Today, we will focus specifically on project management as a procurement responsibility, as well as ensuring finance and accounts payable (A/P) are included in the P2P implementation project. Other areas we will cover are remembering the importance of supplier integration, system testing and user training in the P2P process.

Sponsored Article

Insights into Supply Chain Cyberattacks: From Ports to Production

While cyberattacks have taken place in a variety of forms since the 1990s, the threat has become more palpable and acute in the past decade with businesses increasingly relying on networked systems and the internet of things (IoT), especially in the logistics and supply chain space. In a recent survey conducted by the American cybersecurity technology company Crowdstrike, 66% of IT decision makers said their companies had suffered a supply chain cyberattack in the past 12 months, bringing to light a threat that many considered an abstract concept. Whether the risk stems from a virus, internal bug or insider threat from within one’s organization, the effects on production line, distribution network, shipping, supplier communication or even residual risks left over from a terminated vendor relationship, pose considerable danger to firms and beyond. Moreover, the scope with which cyberevents must be observed and mitigated require an ever-more invested and communicative approach to ensure that when the inevitable does occur, all parts of one’s supply chain can effectively work together to defend and keep operations on track. Check out five recommendations to get you prepared.

How to Succeed with Systems Integrators and Procurement Technology Implementation: Lessons From Spend Matters UK/Europe and Determine [PRO]

e-procurement

In too many cases, system integration (SI) and consultancy partnering decisions take a back seat to technology selection and related business process considerations when in fact all three areas are important to consider in equal measures as parts of source-to-pay and procure-to-pay deployments. This misstep is often one of the root causes of procurement organization dissatisfaction with technology decisions and adoption.

In this PRO brief, Jenny Draper, Spend Matters’ managing director for UK/Europe, shares her experience and best practices on the topic from serving as a procurement consultant over two decades before recently joining Spend Matters.

This best practice essay includes Jenny’s lessons learned on the importance of systems integration partners and how to set them up for success (and get the most out of a relationship). It covers such topics as when (and why) superior technologies fail, change management missteps, the role of the modern SI and finding the right fit partner. She then explores specific lessons learned from Determine’s boutique partner ecosystem in Europe.

Throughout, the brief also includes key takeaways and summary recommendations for procurement organizations going through procurement technology selections and deployments.

Maverick Spend Has a Perception Problem — on Its Causes and Its Solutions

Many of the most effective ways to curb maverick spend — like using e-procurement tools with approved supplier catalogs or better contract management tools integrated into the buying process — still have not been implemented by more than half of most organizations, a survey by The Hackett Group found. And it found that perceptions of the causes and solutions for maverick spend can vary depending on a worker’s role.

Procure-to-pay technology provider Basware used the research for its study, “Perception and Reality: A Report on Maverick Spend,” which examined the practice of making purchases outside the compliant procurement process. Maverick spending can take many forms, including purchases made outside a preferred channel or supplier, or those that do not follow contract terms and miss out on negotiated savings. Some of the rogue purchases happen because employees or their managers consider the transaction to be too small to matter.

New Year’s Truths for Procurement: 6 Tips from Spend Matters UK/Europe

Where is procurement going in 2019? While it would be easy to fall into the perennial trap of describing long-term trends as the next big thing, we’d like to offer a more realistic alternative. To start off the year, we suggest reaffirming some hard truths about procurement that can help decision-making in the months to come. To that end, Peter Smith, procurement veteran and outgoing editor of Spend Matters UK/Europe, decided to leave readers in December with a list of six enduring truths about the function. While this advice surely won’t be the last readers hear from Smith, he offers these points as “most of my critical IP” as he steps out of the spotlight.

How to Keep Your P2P Implementation Project From Turning Into a Nightmare (Part 1) [Plus+]

Editor's note: This is a refresh of our 2015 series on running a successful P2P implementation, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO.

In the webinar “Nightmare on Procurement Street,” we discussed best practices surrounding a procure-to-pay (P2P) implementation project. Webinar speakers were myself, Spend Matters Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell, GEP Worldwide Senior Manager Santosh Reddy and Senior Manager of Technology Product Marketing Paul Blake. This first of a multi-part Spend Matters PRO research brief will examine how to avoid a P2P implementation project from turning into your worst nightmare. While not an all-inclusive implementation guide, the brief points to some important steps that are necessary to conducting a successful P2P implementation.

Beyond Supplier Risk Management: How Procurement Can Take a Leadership Role in Enterprise Risk Management [PRO]

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There is no shortage of news about supply risk in today’s volatile operating market:

 

  • The 12-month LIBOR rate has gone from 2% to over 3% in 2018, and suppliers are beginning to feel a capital squeeze as buyers further stretch their DPO to hoard cash (beyond stock buybacks of course).
  • Brexit continues to loom as a bugbear regarding UK/EU trade. More broadly, geopolitical risk continues to escalate in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central America and the South China Sea.
  • S. trade policy still swings wildly at the press of a POTUS tweet, and so do commodity prices and volatility in general. The VIX index has spiked up 65% in the last 60 days alone.
  • Natural disasters driven by climate change are becoming commonplace and calamitous.
  • Competitive risks are sprouting up as digital disruption is creeping into almost every industry sector — and as monopolies “becomes features rather than bugs” with ongoing market consolidation. In response, compliance regimes like GDPR continue to crop up although enforcement is highly variable by region and country.
  • Cyber risk continues to be the most omnipresent risk that organizations are experiencing cross-industry while everyone is flocking to the cloud in record numbers.


So, enterprise risk management should be alive and well. And, logically, supply chain and procurement executives need to be increasingly prepared to work with their internal business partners to reduce this risk and defend the proverbial gates to keep the risks at bay.

Unfortunately, the castle walls are often not well-guarded because the sentries are not getting paid to do so. Procurement organizations in particular suffer from a misalignment between missing incentives for reducing supply risk and zealous Finance-driven incentives for increasing supply reward in the form of narrow purchase cost savings. Regarding the latter, nearly all groups get measured on purchase cost reductions, but only 41% get formal credit for saving money during the sourcing process when there is no initial cost baseline. However, only 8% of procurement organizations get such "hard credit" for reducing supply risk.

Part of the challenge here is that from an enterprise risk management (ERM) standpoint, there is a broader disconnect between evaluating enterprise risk overall versus extending those risk factors in a cohesive manner out to the supply chain and also out to the supply base (via spend categories and then to individual suppliers) where contracts are signed that hopefully help mitigate most supplier risks. There are four “translations” here where alignment gets lost, and to make matters worse, the risk types being managed are highly fragmented, if addressed at all — especially when various stakeholders are in the same boat as procurement regarding not getting credit (and commensurate resources/investment) regarding supply risk. Risk management gets viewed as a glorified insurance policy and set of “check the box” regulatory compliance mandates rather than a sound approach to bringing risk into the value equation (i.e., protecting the value streams of importance through the value chain).

So, the question becomes how can procurement help solve this when so much seems outside its control? And why even pursue it when there are other things to focus on like hitting savings targets?

The answer lies in deftly “connecting the dots” between enterprise risk and supply risk so that various stakeholders like GRC, internal audit, external auditors, divisional presidents, etc. can not only extend their reach into the extended supply chain, but can also be tapped to help bring some corporate power (and resources) to bear and help drive some changes internally and with your suppliers.

In this installment of Spend Matters PRO, we’ll dive into some best practices for gaining this multi-pronged alignment and also how to align supply risk management within various points of the source-to-pay (S2P) process itself. And, of course, if you want to see how various providers handle supply risk, whether S2P suite providers, or more specialized supplier management providers, then definitely check out our SolutionMaps in these respective areas here and here.