The Category Intelligence (Direct) Category

Commodities Roundup: Shale Gas Expansion Slows, Europe Drops Solar Panel Duties

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, our MetalMiner editors scour the landscape for what mattered this week.

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One (Direct Procurement) Tool Fit for All

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When considering indirect procurement departments, I often distinguish several tools used in parallel. But while this may be perfectly acceptable for the software providers, it is much less so for the users and company. Imagine the amount of effort for the administration of four separate tools, each different from the next — with their own supplier database and knowledge spread over multiple departments. The worst component of having four separate tools is there is no centralized flow, no process integration and different upgrades and training are required for each.

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What is Market Intelligence, and is it Relevant to Procurement?

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As procurement takes on increased strategic importance within companies, purchasing professionals are being asked to do even more with their limited time. This is especially true when sourcing direct materials, which requires keen attention to many changing economic factors outside of the organization. To make the best decisions possible without falling behind, procurement must ensure it has access to and effectively uses supply market intelligence. To help practitioners understand why, this three-part series first outlines the key pillars of market intelligence, explaining why companies seek out this capability. It then explores why market intelligence matters to procurement, and concludes with an analysis of why businesses should seek help from a third-party provider to build out a market intelligence program.

Commodities Roundup: China to Offload Excess Aluminum, LNG Price Holds Steady Despite New Supply

aluminum

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, our MetalMiner editors scour the landscape for what matters. Here's what happened this week.

Commodities Roundup: Platinum and Palladium, Market Volatility Takes its Toll and China Shoots to Beat Steel Capacity Cut Timeline

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For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, our MetalMiner editors scour the landscape for what matters.

It’s 2018: Do You Know Where Your Aluminum Products Are (Coming From)?

With the Section 232 investigation serving as a prompt, you definitely should know. If your organization sources aluminum or aluminum products: time to pay attention. Our sister site MetalMiner shines a light on the aluminum industry in the latest episode of their podcast series, "Manufacturing Trade Policy Confidential." Guest Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association, gives listeners a sense of what matters to the aluminum industry — and what could be at stake for aluminum buyers in 2018.

What Boeing, SAP Ariba and Cannabis Have in Common: Spend Matters Best of Direct Materials in 2017

As always, the direct materials supply chain was a hotbed of activity over the past year, and Spend Matters held the front lines on much of it for what matters to procurement practitioners and their technology options. In this year-end wrap up, we present the best of our direct materials coverage from 2017, including news about direct materials-centric technology providers, commodity-specific updates and a budding new supply category.

Former Boeing VP John Byrne on How the OEM Optimized its Direct Materials Supply Chain Visibility

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If you’re a direct materials procurement professional, what would force you to change the way you do business? For John Byrne, former vice president of aircraft materials/structures at Boeing, it was nothing short of a supply chain emergency. “The situation we faced at Boeing was initially borne out of a situation driven by a crisis,” Byrne said in the recent webinar “Supercharge Your Approach: Managing Direct Materials Across Global Supply Chains,” hosted by our sister site, MetalMiner.

Behind the Scenes: Interpreting Q4 2017 SolutionMap Results With Jason Busch — Jaggaer (and Jaggaer Direct) [PRO]

Today I’m wrapping up my series of observations on Q4 2017 SolutionMap suite providers with perhaps the most fun vendor of all to opine on beyond the data alone: Jaggaer. (Be sure to check out the previous installments covering SAP Ariba, Basware and CoupaDetermine, GEP and Ivalua; and BravoSolution and Zycus, too.) When I think of potential — using the truest sense of the word — in the procurement technology market, there is no provider more underutilized than Jaggaer, especially in scenarios where it can serve industry segments and geographies that have not previously embraced solutions designed for them. Below I share my thoughts on this opportunity and how Jaggaer did in the Q4 2017 SolutionMaps, with maybe a few Jägerbomb(shells) tossed down the thirsty Friday throat for good measure. Whether your mixer is a Red Bull or Heineken, sit back and enjoy.

LevaData Brings Cognitive Sourcing Closer to Reality with Release of AI Advisor Leva

Next-generation sourcing upstart LevaData debuted at its customer event Thursday an artificial intelligence (AI) advisor for procurement, positioning itself as one of the first providers to offer live technology that enables cognitive sourcing. Called Leva, the new solution ingests both historical business data and external market intelligence to provide real-time recommendations to procurement users ranging from optimal times to resource a category to personalized supplier negotiation strategies.

New Research: Supply Chain Risks Lurking Behind the Electric Vehicle Boom

Fourteen countries (including the U.S., believe it or not) have joined the Electric Vehicle Initiative, aiming for battery-powered cars, trucks and buses to reach 30% market share by 2030. According to IEA calculations, we would need 600 million electric vehicles globally by 2040 in order to reach the global warming target set by the Paris Agreement. A new report from risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft, however, shows that the electric vehicle supply chain is far from devoid of social and even environmental risks. It largely comes down to the raw materials needed for electric vehicles, such as aluminum, cobalt, mica and rubber.

Commodity Price Risk Management: For the Many, Not the Few

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Tom Lawrence, director at Flow&Ebb. 

Commodity markets affect us all. Wild swings in commodity prices affect how much we pay for groceries, how much we pay for aluminum cans for our organic soda, how much we pay for electricity. Yet traditionally only large businesses had the budgets to pay for, and enough clout to embed, commodity price risk management into their supply management strategy.