Category Intelligence (Indirect) Content

Affordable Hotel Rooms Get More Expensive


Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from H. Cole Hassay, economist, pricing and purchasing, at IHS Markit.

The hotel industry experienced healthy demand this past summer. With this strong demand, hotels with the least amenities increased the most in price, as limited-service hotels became more expensive in the United States. While the typical surge in demand from summer travel was partially responsible for a normal seasonal upturn, there were other factors at play, too.

Print Procurement Coverage – Prospective Themes and Topics: Please Vote!

I received some very helpful comments and perspectives on last Friday’s introductory post about our new coverage on the printing industry, service, and supply chain. They have reaffirmed for me how the recent recession, subsequent recoveries, and unrelenting technological advances must remain at the forefront of effective coverage on these markets – and they are individual supply markets. I plan to verify and provide well-referenced metrics where needed, but for now let’s consider what is widely believed to be the current state of the industry, much of which is counterintuitive and reminiscent of the quip often attributed to Mark Twain: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

How to Achieve Huge Savings from Jan-San SKU Optimization

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Amit Bedaye of A.T. Kearney. Janitorial and Sanitation (Jan-San) supplies are a common spend area for many companies. Companies with sizable spend in this area often look to conduct strategic sourcing events to select preferred suppliers and negotiate favorable discounts. However, beyond just achieving pricing reduction, there is significant opportunity in this category to realize 10 to 20-percent incremental benefits over those achieved from price negotiations (estimate based on recent A.T. Kearney optimization projects). To realize these incremental benefits, companies need to pursue comprehensive SKU optimization initiatives.

Print, Paper, and Hard Copy Procurement: A New Category on Spend Matters

Contrary to popular belief – just ask Ikea what they spend on their catalog – print spending is not dead. Granted, while digital has completely upended the market, print and its intersections with broader marketing and agency spend refuses to be completely recycled into something else. If anyone enjoys telling the history of it, I do. Print buying once comprised a very large chunk of spend across all sectors with most large non- and for-profit Purchasing departments, employing many dedicated buyers. And it has refused to die, despite all the prognostications that it might. Even back in 1980, when personal computing began to skyrocket, predictions that we would be a paperless society by the year 2000 abounded. It hasn’t exactly happened that way, even though we’ve become much more efficient at sourcing and managing the lifecycle of print procurement – and spend volumes have dropped. From a practitioner’s point of view, print buying today has become just one of many categories handled by a single buyer. In many cases, we’re still buying truckloads of paper. This shift fascinates me – and raises a lot of questions.

New Category Intelligence Coming to Spend Matters Plus


I’m excited to announce a new relationship with Accenture that I know our Spend Matters Plus+ readers will be excited about. Accenture currently publishes a broad set of category intelligence and analysis to its community of procurement clients. These Spend Trends insights offer some of the latest thinking, from strategies for third-party management to optimizing MRO spend and risk management approaches in critical categories like energy.

5 Reasons Your Marketing Procurement Strategy is Doomed

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Peter Portanova, senior project analyst for Source One Management Services.

Marketing Spend: The last bastion holding out against procurement’s advances. Looking toward this previously untamed category, you dust off your copy of “Sourceror’s Guide to the Galaxy” and pick the ideal strategies for wrangling this seemingly unmanaged spend. You are riding a high from recently optimized spend in the MRO, HR, and IT categories, where your tried-and-true classic approaches have proven themselves time and again. The expectation for marketing is no different; however, like dominos, countless strategies topple, expectations are not met and stakeholders are disappointed with your efforts. So where did you go wrong?

Should We Kill or Evolve the Catalog?

We’ve long written in favor of catalog management as a form of controlling indirect spend. For starters, a catalog-driven approach to controlling buying activities is pretty much standard practice in Europe (for companies that have adopted a technology solution for procure-to-pay activities). In the U.S., spend going through true buyer-managed and supplier-managed catalogs, as a percentage of overall buying activity with P2P platforms and networks, is material. Although, to be accurate, we should also point out that punch-out, web storefronts and marketplaces (e.g., Amazon Business) capture a substantial percentage of spend as well, even though many of these are really catalogs in disguise (in which procurement has less SKU-level control).

How Different Business Travelers Approach Expense Reports


Business travelers can end up spending a lot of time filling out expense reports after returning from a business trip. Employees with more experience traveling and more knowledgeable about a company’s travel policies may be able to complete this task quicker than those who travel less frequently. Concur’s new State of Business Travel report details how different types of travelers — from the savvy business traveler to the cautious planner — complete expense reports and how long they take to do so.

Lean Manufacturing and Kaizen: Becoming an MRO Sensei

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Kevin Tacik, of GEP.

Internal and external environmental factors affect an organization’s maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) spend and cause MR “Woe” each and every day. This comes in the form of exposing vulnerabilities in MRO reliability during manufacturing. Organizations often tend to find quick fixes, gamble on running production non-stop and approach MRO spending with the attitude of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This vision results in inefficiencies, and ultimately, the organization becomes uncompetitive, as the only way forward will seem to be passing the increasing costs down the value chain.

Will Google Apps Be the New Way of Life for Companies?

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jamie Leonard, of GEP.

Over the past few years, we have seen Google become more prominent within the enterprise system space. Essentially, Google Apps for Work has become Microsoft’s largest threat and competitor, especially as companies decide to move toward cloud-based models.

Toyota Material Handling Talks Digital Transformation


Last week at the SAP Manufacturing Industries Forum in Lombard, Illinois, we got a glimpse into how Toyota Material Handling North America is helping its customers with information about the equipment they use and how TMHNA manages all of that collected user information using SAP's Hana database management system.

ICYMI: Why We Were Surprised by the Staples-Office Depot Merger Decision


A possible Staples and Office Depot merger is off the table. Last week, a federal judge blocked the $6.3 billion deal from going through — a decision Staples reportedly will not appeal. The Federal Trade Commission argued the merger would hinder competition in the market. The news came as a surprise to Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer at Spend Matters, as he explained in his analysis on the news last week, titled “The Staples-Office Depot Merger Fail — A Post-Mortem Analysis.