Category Archives: Commentary

Friday Rant: Home Delivery Dystopia – My Own Nightmare on Elm Street

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In recent months I have noted a disturbing phenomenon: the increasing number of delivery people bringing packages of all sizes to different addresses along my home street. Online retail purchasing of just about anything and delivery of those purchases to residences has created an unprecedented influx of delivery vehicles, all containing a range of different items wrapped in a large amount of (not environmentally friendly) packing materials. Shouldn’t we consider the consequences of our new consumer culture, especially what entails, downstream, in the “last mile”?

5 Insider Tips to Make More Money in Procurement


Yesterday, I shared the latest findings from a recent report highlighting chief procurement officer compensation trends. On the executive level, the news is mixed. While CPOs are earning more than ever before, they generally make less than chief financial officers or those in finance, despite a relative increase in responsibilities for CPOs in recent years. This raises a question not just for executives but for those at all levels within procurement: What are the best ways to make more money? Here’s a quick list of 5 insider tips I’ve been sketching down in recent months, based on discussions with friends in the industry and even Spend Matters’ own efforts at matchmaking and informal recruiting.

Oracle and SciQuest – Addressing the Rumors From a Corporate Development Perspective


I feel compelled to chime in on this story, reported by Jon Hansen, suggesting Oracle is acquiring SciQuest, for a number of reasons. Having spent much of my career around M&A, including working in corporate development at one stage and knowing how well buttoned up Oracle's corporate development efforts are, I have some skepticism about the current rumors, despite how compelling the deal might look on paper. One should keep in mind informal discussions happen all the time between executives and boards, and that talk is just talk, and rumors are just rumors. If the corporate development team is not engaged, it’s only that – a rumor.

Sourcing on the Spot Market? We Have the Insight for Your Direct Material Spend

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How are you using your direct material spend? If you’re sourcing on the spot market then you likely understand the inherent risk involved, and we sincerely hope you’re not using indexes when sourcing commodities because, well, that’s just plain bad strategy. But what else should you be aware of when buying on the spot market? Husband-and-wife team Jason Busch (founder and managing director of Spend Matters) and Lisa Reisman (CEO of Azul Partners and executive editor for MetalMiner™) have plenty to say on this topic, so we’re putting them both in a room and hitting “record” for the webinar, 3 Bids and an Award: Are You Speculating When You Buy on the Spot Market? on Monday, June 29 at 11 a.m. CDT. Register today!

On the Death of Global Sourcing and the Rise of Distance as a Key Procurement Equation


Yesterday, I introduced the concept that global sourcing is dead. What we have moved to instead is setting and enforcing procurement standards that matter as much locally as globally. But one thing that won’t go away when it comes to any global issue is distance. As Adam Brosch, a practitioner from Berlin Packaging LLC, hints at in a recent article on mitigating sourcing risks, there are 2 areas to consider when it comes to global: production scheduling and logistics. These 2 topics are magnified and become inordinately more complex the longer a supply chain stretches. In fact, when it comes to managing global procurement operations, one could argue the intersection of procurement and supply chain, centered on these 2 areas, becomes that much more important.

When Watson Meets Procurement – IBM Uses Big Data to Tackle Big Supply Challenges


One of the presentations at Coupa Inspire this week that I was particularly inspired by did not come from Coupa at all, but from Michael O'Leary, director of procurement offerings and strategy at IBM Commerce. Michael is a former procurement and supply chain executive within IBM. If you are interested in the Cliff Notes version of IBM’s procurement transformation, read the article from yesterday, IBM and Procurement Transformation: By the Numbers, Risk Management and More. During the second part of his talk after the IBM transformation story, Michael shared some of the initiatives IBM is working on around big data and procurement, leveraging Watson Data Explorer – IBM’s big data solution – alongside procurement and related supplier data.

PeoplePerHour Seems Like They Need a Few More People Themselves!


Recently, Team MetalMiner (a sister publication to this one) decided to revamp its regular monthly sourcing and pricing forecast report on the basis of discussions with large metal buying organizations. Several Spend Matters and MetalMiner team members (our parent company is called Azul Partners) suggested I try a freelance website such as PeoplePerHour. I did. Check out what my experience was like. Sneak peek: the product I got from working with PPH created was great. But the customer experience? Much less so...

Supply Chain Risk Management Webinar: Learn How to Take Your Strategy to New Heights


Join us next Wednesday, May 27 at 1 p.m. CDT for a best practices webinar on supply chain risk management from AGCO, the world’s largest manufacturer of agricultural machinery. AGCO uses riskmethods to power its solution and was celebrated with the “Excellence in eSolutions” award. Award-Winning Supply Chain Risk Management at AGCO will feature Thomas Kase, vice president of research at Spend Matters, and Jan Theissen, director, Strategy & Methods, Global Purchasing & Materials Management at AGCO. Register today! Can’t make it live? Register anyway and we’ll send you a copy of the slides and recording of the webinar!

Upcoming Webinar to Provide Supply Chain Risk Management Tutorial


Supply chain risk management has become a hot-button issue in the procurement world in recent years. As such, AGCO, the largest manufacturer of agricultural machinery on the planet, has included risk management as part of its global procurement strategy. Join Thomas Kase, vice president of research at Spend Matters and Jan Theissen, director, strategy and methods, global purchasing and materials management at AGCO for a webinar on Wednesday, May 27 at 1 p.m. CDT. Register today for Award-Winning Supply Chain Risk Management at AGCO.

Live From ISM 2015: Congrats, and Here’s a Free Spend Matters 50/50 Placard!

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Back in the day when I ran strategic marketing at FreeMarkets – it feels like an eternity ago – I remember the hilarious juxtaposition of the silly awards that various trade magazines and other groups issued that were supposedly “free.” But, of course, they were only free if you didn’t purchase any of the junk such as the use of logos, desktop awards, framed awards and related placard awards to show them off (and it was made fairly clear this was expected or at least implied by aggressive sales people). Here at Spend Matters, we’re turning convention on its head. Not only are we doubling down on the commitment to finalizing our 50/50 lists (see our “50 Providers to Know” and “50 Providers to Watch” lists), but we’re giving away the table-top award placards for free.

ISM’s Mastery Model and Musings on Supply Management Associations

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Last night at ISM 2015, I sat in on a presentation with ISM’s CEO Tom Derry, who was discussing the official launch of ISM’s Mastery Model – a new competency-based assessment and training model. It’s always good to see a CEO formally taking responsibility for communicating the rollout of a new product – sort of like the Apple launches by Steve Jobs and now Tim Cook. But, the Mastery Model is not really a “product” per se, and as Tom said, “We think this is a career standard for the industry… Our goal is make ISM Mastery Model a recognized brand.” To make something a standard though, it has to be open (unlike, say, how NIGP manages its NIGP Codes), and the good news here is that it is!

ISM2015 and Spend Matters – A View From Outside Phoenix

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Due to a last-minute change in some exciting new activities you’ll be hearing about this week on Spend Matters, I am not at ISM2015 in Phoenix, but in another city. It’s a shame, too, because I truly love going to the organization’s annual conference. This will be the first year I’ve not spoken at or attended the event in at least 5 years. But at least I have 4 great colleagues from Spend Matters who are going: Pierre Mitchell, Thomas Kase, Eric Lynch and John Conolly. If you are in Phoenix, please say hello to them, and if you need their details, don’t hesitate to drop me a line. There are a number of things I’ll miss about ISM this year...