The Commentary Category

How I Left the Corporate Office to Run My Own Consultancy

At that point I decided that I wanted to work for myself as a career. I had a network of consultants that I had met during my time in corporate roles and I leaned on them for advice, contacts and my first couple of gigs. I also kept my options open for permanent corporate roles. I had recruiters tell me that I needed to make sure I was putting “real” work on my resume or I would not be taken seriously. I interviewed with companies that felt that “consulting” was a resume filler in between real jobs. Screw it. I’ll show them all.

And Now in Risk Management: Trump Tweets

Ford. Macy’s. General Motors. Lockheed Martin. Carrier. Rexnord.

What do these companies have in common? Well, one thing is that each has been rebuked on Twitter by President-elect Donald Trump, mostly for using foreign-made materials or having operations overseas or “moving to Mexico.”

Why Procurement Is a Vital Seat at the Executive Table

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Stan Garber, president at Scout RFP.

It’s no secret that handling large enterprise costs in a siloed, departmental manner is detrimental to the business. Not only is it inefficient, but it also reduces the organization's overall competitive edge and increases its operational expenses. With the office of finance putting more emphasis on cost reduction, vendor consolidation, and impactful suppliers, strategic sourcing has emerged as a top priority in 2017. As such, CEOs are looking for procurement teams who can execute cost effective strategies and manage operations and outsourcing with aplomb.

Wendy’s Releases Annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report

Wendy’s moves to phase out antibiotics from its chicken supply is a laudable step, if not particularly cutting-edge. With its peers, including McDonald’s, setting and reaching similar goals regarding antibiotics in their food supply chains, Wendy’s would be left behind if it did not do the same. Spend Matters has reported on this trend before. In a survey of consumers, 74% said they would “pay a higher price for antibiotic-free food and beverages. Similarly, 76% of consumers would pay more for preservative-free food and beverages and 75% said they would pay more for hormone-free products.”

Defining Disruption and Innovation: A Cranky Editor’s Critical Take

disruption

Working at the nexus of enterprise technology and procurement strategy, we see the words “disruption” and “innovation” a lot here at Spend Matters. So often, in fact, that every time I come across either of these words, whether in a press release or marketing copy, the letters begin to blur together and a strange ringing noise fills my ears. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. But I do know that the increased appearance of disruption and innovation in my daily reading has caused me to question whether some writers pick those words for their specific definitions or just to liven up a sentence with an adjective that surely means only good things.

In Business Relationships, It’s All About H2H (Human to Human)

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Simona POP, head of partnerships and global communication at InstaSupply.

One of the things I’ve learned working with various businesses and multiple stakeholders within supply chain and finance is that there is no real B2C/B2B divide. It’s all H2H: human to human. The concept was coined by Bryan Kramer and is the real foundation for every single business relationship we cultivate, internal or external.

Bleeding on the Bayou: Procurement Near-Misses in Times of Price Volatility (Part 2)

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a post kicking off our new Spend Matters series of personal stories from procurement professionals. Missed Part 1? Read it here.

Another supply chain related crisis resulting from Fred Farmer’s antiquated approach to P2P had to do with controls around costing of finished goods, which were arcane to most of the organization and yet vital for ensuring profit. The weaknesses in Farmer’s costing update processes became obvious during this period of particularly high price volatility. As a manufacturing organization tied to an inflexible legacy ERP, Farmer’s company was based in standard costing, which required frequent maintenance in the form of bill-of-material cost rollups and updates to transfer prices. Typically, this would not be a problem if the organization had not been adding product offerings at a rate of about 300 per month. With a bloated material master, in which only about 4% of finished goods contributed 80% of its revenue, the process for updating bill-of-material costs became severely bottlenecked.

Bleeding on the Bayou: Procurement Near-Misses in Times of Price Volatility (Part 1)

Editor's note: This post kicks off a new Spend Matters series of personal narratives from practitioners in the field. Know someone with a procurement story to tell? Tell us in the comments below!

“2-3/8 pipe, 4-1/8 pipe, 6-3/8 aluminized, 6-3/8 anodized, 6-3/8 black vinyl coated, 6-3/8 green vinyl coated…”

Fred Farmer’s interminably slow drawl echoed off the rickety galvanized siding of his Louisiana based hot rolled steel tube factory, unfortunately located on the banks of a bayou threatened by frequent floods and the occasional alligator infestation. Farmer’s proud and emphatic articulation of his exhaustive product catalog called to mind a veritable Bubba Gump of the steel tube industry. He was born and raised in a rural Louisiana town called Ponchatoula about fifty miles outside of New Orleans, and rose up the ranks from maintenance, to line supervisor and ultimately CEO after his uncle Willy succumbed prematurely to a heart condition (most likely brought on by decades of fried alligator and beignets consumption).

New Year, New Series: Stories from Real Procurement Professionals

It’s a new year, and it’s time for some new post series here on Spend Matters!

While the editorial team has been bandying around quite a few ideas – which, as they get fully baked out, we will reveal to you – one series that we are kicking off today is one of personal narrative essays from procurement practitioners.

Announcing the 2017 Editorial Calendar (Plus: Best Ofs!)

Dear Spend Matters Readers:

So much has happened in 2016.

And while that’s a phrase that is routinely written describing every year at about this time in the annual calendar, it really holds true for the past 360 days or so.

Trump. Cubs. Brexit. Syria. Refugee crises. Panama Papers. Pokemon Go. (This is fun...we could keep going.)

But so much has happened in the world of procurement and supply chain in 2016 as well, and rather than outline it all here, our team has been working to bring you the Best of Spend Matters in 2016. Look for Best of Spend Matters posts all through next week (and read on to find out how we’re determining these).

But perhaps our biggest announcement is that Spend Matters has finalized an exciting 2017 Editorial Calendar. Check it out!

SAP Ariba’s Atzberger on China’s Economic Ascent and Opportunities for Innovation

In the first part of this Spend Matters Conversation, Founder and Head of Strategy Jason Busch talked with SAP Ariba President Alex Atzberger about how Chinese trade policy has evolved in recent years and where it may be going. This second installment explores opportunities in light of China’s evolving economy, as well as potential for innovation. Those interested in the topic of China's ascent in the world economy, trade policies and market economy status (MES) should also look at our dedicated multimedia site on the topic.

Coupa’s Q3 Results: Revenue & Customer Growth, Cash and Professional Services

procurement solutions stocks

Coupa’s Q3 2017 financial results came out earlier this month. There are numerous sell-side and buy-side analysts who have taken a finer-toothed comb to the cloud vendor’s results, but here are a few of the highlights – and some quick Spend Matters commentary on them – targeting the topics of revenue/customer growth, cash and professional services (with more to follow from our team later in the week) from an industry analyst perspective versus a financial one.