Category Intelligence (Direct) Content

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

MRO

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.

Game Theory: Changing the Way You Think About Commodities

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Nick Peksa, opportunities director at Mintec.

In 2014, we published an article on chaos theory, and as a continuation of this, I thought it would be interesting to introduce the concept of game theory and how you can use it to support your commodity price decisions. Game theory brings together the concept of competition and cooperation in business.

LevaData: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive and Summary Analysis [PRO]

SciQuest

LevaData is a provider that challenges the traditional notion of “modules” in the procurement technology sector. In combining supply chain visibility, market data and benchmarks, community analytics, optimization, forecasting, AI techniques and strategic sourcing capability, LevaData is positioning itself as the first “cognitive sourcing” provider. While focused primarily today on select industries and categories, its goal is to become both a single source of truth and core enablement technology for broader direct materials sourcing. Today, LevaData’s solution blends integrated market intelligence, analytics and sourcing components in a single platform, primarily serving customers in the electronics/high tech manufacturing sector. While more mature in certain areas and less in others, the combined product set is not like anything else we have seen or analyzed in the market.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering LevaData offers a SWOT analysis, competitive assessment and comparison with other related vendors targeting direct materials procurement. It also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider LevaData.

LevaData: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

Quick, what would a mashup of an analytics, market intelligence and an optimization-backed advanced sourcing platform look like for direct materials procurement? It would need to feature at least the basics of line-level spend analytics and reporting, and, for manufacturers, ideally offer deeper bill of materials insight into sub-tier materials, parts and component data. It would have to provide market-based insights into relative total cost, as well as integrated access to external market data feeds to enable benchmarking. And it would need to feature sourcing capability that factors into account both internal and supply chain costs, constraints and business requirements in recommendations and decision-making.

In other words, it would look something like LevaData, a manufacturing-centric procurement technology vendor that offers an integrated set of capabilities that is different from anything else we have reviewed in the market. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores LevaData’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. The first installment of our analysis provided a company and solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering the provider. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

LevaData: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Outside of core ERP and supply chain planning systems, the technology market for direct materials procurement and sourcing is almost too nascent to even be considered fragmented. While many software firms claim they power direct materials procurement solutions needs, the reality is that most end up “kludging” off-the-shelf solutions based on existing, distinct modules for manufacturing. Yet new direct materials solutions are emerging that blur the line of modules, product classification and underlying technology in a not so dissimilar way that the adoption of their solutions also blurs the line from a user perspective between design engineering, procurement, quality and operations and supply chain.  

LevaData is one such emerging technology provider that has capability spanning direct materials procurement and cost analytics, bill of materials-level spend visibility, market/commodity intelligence and sourcing (optimization). It is one of the first entrants into the “cognitive sourcing” space, offering a platform that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) capability to make both part- and component-level sourcing recommendations, especially in the electronics industry, where LevaData has a statistically relevant number of customers and products in its database. Having recently raised $5 million in Series A funding in August 2017, LevaData appears ready to move beyond its initial 20 customers.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about LevaData’s solution offering. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider LevaData in the procurement technology area. The rest of this research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and evaluation and selection considerations.

What Dodd-Frank Repeal? Companies Continue to File Conflict Minerals Disclosures

conflict minerals

The fate of the Dodd-Frank Act — including whether U.S. companies will still be required to trace their conflict minerals — may be up in the air, but many of them are nevertheless conducting audits and filing conflict minerals reports as before. In April, the acting chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) came out against enforcing Dodd-Frank Section 1502, which required companies to trace the origins of any tin, tungsten, tantalum or gold (3TG) used in their products and disclose whether these conflict minerals have been sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).