Category Archives: Commentary

Exploring the Evolution of IT and Strategic Sourcing (Part 1)

When I first read about strategic sourcing in Forrester, IDC, and Gartner reports back in 1999, I thought the analysts had no clue what procurement was. But then I realized that they were specifically referring to another IT-centric definition of strategic sourcing, rather than one focused on broader procurement, finance, and supply chain. I came across a more recent article in Data Center Dynamics.

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When Should You Fire a Non-Performing Supplier?

When is the best time to fire a non-performing service provider? Should we take action as soon as serious problems become evident? Once they've had a chance or two to sort out the issues (but have failed in those initial attempts)? Or only as a very last resort, after a lengthy period during which they can try to rectify errors? There are a number of key issues to be considered here. Read on for what these are, as well as for supplier management lessons that can be extracted from soccer clubs and their hiring and firing of managers.

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The New ABCs for Your Career: “Like It or Not, We’re All in Sales Now”

- April 18, 2014 10:07 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant

In the words of Daniel Pink, "like it or not, we're all in sales now." And so if we are all in sales, we all have quotas. Yes, they may not be performance measures that directly equate to actual sales, but all work today is done in an environment where systems help deliver performance metrics in nice charts and graphs with the click of a mouse and make items measurable that were formerly immeasurable. This data presents a world of opportunity for self-improvement - and for managerial attention to make sure that improvement occurs. Indeed, today we can find our job performance evaluated in far more precise ways than ever before. Whatever side of the supply chain we find ourselves, from those in the businesses of procuring, delivering, warehousing, paying for, or selling the trillions of dollars of “stuff” that makes the world go ‘round, we should be aware of the measurable world we all work in.

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Reflections on Sourcing and Procurement Awards (and a Solicitation for Reader Input)

- April 18, 2014 6:02 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant

boxing_awards I spent last week in Europe with Mr. Peter Smith, the fearless leader of Spend Matters UK/Europe. After a dozen meetings, much good conversation, classic London pubs, two great curries, and collectively speaking at the Dutch Sourcing Awards, which our colleague Gert van der Heijden hosted, we ended up talking philosophically about the concept of sourcing and procurement awards. If Spend Matters were ever to host one, it'd probably be at a pub.

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See Jason Busch and Kevin Brooks Reenact the Founding of Spend Matters

- April 18, 2014 1:11 AM | Categories: Commentary

The photo in this post, featuring Kevin Brooks (now Chief Marketing Officer at FoodLink), Jason Busch, two glasses of beer, and two ordinary napkins, is not a perfect reenactment of the founding of this blog, but it comes pretty close. As the story goes, Jason and Kevin came up with the idea of Spend Matters over drinks, and Kevin had Jason write down the idea on a cocktail napkin.

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Coupa Gets Closer to SAP with NetWeaver Certification – SAP Does Not Get Closer to Coupa

- April 17, 2014 10:44 AM | Categories: Commentary, Industry News, Solution Providers

Yesterday at Inspire, Coupa announced that its latest release, Coupa 11, has achieved SAP NetWeaver certification. According to the press release that went out, Coupa “has achieved SAP certification as powered by the SAP NetWeaver® technology platform … The SAP Integration and Certification Center (SAP ICC) has certified that the Coupa 11 application suite is powered by SAP NetWeaver." Coupa’s choice of using NetWeaver for SAP integration is a pragmatic one for many reasons.

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Jason and Peter’s Great Dutch Sourcing Awards Adventure

- April 10, 2014 9:46 AM | Categories: Commentary, Conferences, Sourcing, UK/Europe

There’s a big advantage to living in a relatively small country. You can invite everyone who matters in procurement to show up for an awards event and book a relatively small conference venue rather than a huge arena – and still have some extra space left over. Earlier today, Peter Smith and I hopped on an early morning flight to Amsterdam to join our Spend Matters Netherlands partner, Gert van der Heijden, as he chairs the Dutch Sourcing Awards, which span both private and public sector procurement.

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Tips on Speaking to a Procurement Audience: Give Up the Slides, Please

- April 10, 2014 2:30 AM | Categories: Commentary, Innovation, Procurement

PresentationPlus Whenever I have a big speech to give, I usually spend a few weeks preparing, or at least going through in my head, a planned outline. Like many presenters for whom public speaking did not come naturally to start, I’ve often found myself relying on slides to guide my talk. They’re a type of crutch, if you will. But in recent years, in the rare cases that I’ve been forced to present without PowerPoint, I’ve found the audience was far more engaged – probably something about a lack of 12 point Helvetica fonts and multiple takeaway arrows per slide, I suppose.

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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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Successful System Implementation Means Better Not Just Faster

- April 7, 2014 2:30 PM | Categories: Commentary, Guest Post, P2P, Verian Technologies

Too often speed is the most valued aspect of a P2P system rollout. However, best-in-class P2P providers balance rapid implementation with effective strategy and high quality execution to expedite quick gains in efficiency and compliance. Understanding what makes the implementation process better is the only way to pick a P2P provider.

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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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Bid Rigging in a Competitive Market: What Should You Look For?

- April 4, 2014 6:30 AM | Categories: Commentary, Guest Post, Industry News, Perspective

Despite the Sherman Act, bid rigging still exists in many shapes and sizes and is difficult to detect. Almost all forms of bid-rigging schemes have one thing in common: an agreement among some or all of the bidders, which predetermines the winning bidder and limits or eliminates competition among the conspiring vendors. Jim Kiser of GEP breaks down how exactly it happens.

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