Category Archives: Industry News

Approaching Data Security: IT Procurement in the Time of World War Zero

- July 31, 2014 2:53 AM | Categories: Commentary, Industry News, Innovation, Technology

Lock Organizations need to realize a simple truth. Today, there is simply no distinction between an organization’s IT strategy and its overall strategy. And as we have seen, when an organization experiences a major IT embarrassment, there are larger, strategic ramifications that must be dealt with, often with very expensive and long-lasting consequences. Protecting customer data is a requisite for retaining the trust and loyalty of customers. And as the Target case has proven in recent traffic numbers for the retail giant, shoppers will be slow to come back to spend both on your website and in your stores after a major data breach.

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Taulia Raises $27 Million, Valuing Company at 15X Trailing Revenue (Roughly)

We continue to be surprised at some of the funding rounds and public company valuations in the sectors of procurement and trade financing (receivables and payables financing). However, Taulia is one of the few vendors that I’d bet my own money on to grow into what is a curiously high valuation based on historical – even historical tech – norms. It’s my estimate that the recent Taulia valuation round was done on a valuation multiple roughly around 15 times trailing top line numbers. I base this multiple on a napkin sketch of Taulia’s current accounts and business activities (including program adoption) and a WSJ blog pegging the overall valuation at $200 million.

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Ariba the Avid Patent Collector: Analyzing Three That Should Keep Providers Up at Night

Patent Office Intellectual property rights and patents are great assets for many companies and procurement are at least partial stewards of them. They are often attractive assets of course (even from just a sales/marketing perspective), but they are sometimes open to legal disputes. In the case of procurement solutions, competing vendors have material legal exposure – in part because there are so many competitors in the sector that have filed for protections with the US Patent Office.

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Fish Meal Prices Rise 11 Percent Since Beginning of 2014

- July 14, 2014 2:33 PM | Categories: Guest Post, Industry News, Price Forecast

Fish meal is a globally traded commodity principally used as feed for shrimp, salmon, and other farmed fish. Despite fish meal in the US being mainly used as feed for pigs and chickens, global fish meal prices still affect the price of fish in the US. That’s because over 90 percent of fish consumed in the US is imported, of which roughly half is farmed. The price of fish meal has increased sharply since the beginning of June and could be set to rise further as the world prepares for a possible El Niño.

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The Great Telecom Shakeup – How Will Enterprises Benefit?

Unless you’re in the telecom industry, you probably haven’t noticed that it is in the throes of an historic shakeup – one that will have a lasting impact on enterprise buyers. Think of all the M&A deals, plans, and rumors in the market. How does this affect enterprise customers? Will the outcome be in their favor? NPI's Matt West argues yes.

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2014 Trends in Procurement Services – Strategy Firms Slum It

- July 2, 2014 10:32 AM | Categories: Commentary, Industry News, Procurement Strategy & Planning

Quick, what do venerated strategy consulting firms such as McKinsey and BCG as well as the streets of Brazil outside the nicer spots have in common? They’re both slumming it (although the type of procurement one might do in the back streets of Brazil crosses into categories that we don’t think have ever been professionally sourced). OK, bad joke. But there’s an unmistakable trend in the market at the moment concerning firms that are better known for corporate strategy work building very significant practices in the procurement and operations area.

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Shrimp Slavery – The True Supply Chain Costs of Cheap Seafood

We could argue consumers are getting precisely what they want (and don’t want to know about under the surface). Inexpensive prices for Asian seafood, among other regions, have created a bifurcated seafood market. In the US, for example, as a colleague recently pointed out to me, a consumer in might have the choice of four types of cod at the same store – the cheapest (farmed), a middle tier product (sustainably farmed and certified), a “wild product,” and the most expensive, a sustainably caught wild product. The price of the fresh and sustainable wild product can be three times as high as that of the cheapest frozen variety.

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Ranking Supply Chain Resilience and Risk: The U.S. is Rather Mediocre

American horse The new 2014 FM Global Resilience Index, issued by FM Global, a leading U.S.-based property risk insurer, along with Oxford Metrica, an analytics and advisory firm focused on risk analysis, is an exciting development that C-level executives not just in the procurement area, but also marketing, IT, and overall corporate management will likely find useful for assessing supply chain risk. This newly created index takes a data-driven approach to looking at countries where firms and their suppliers are located and assesses these operational bases on three key dimensions that provide these areas both stability and the ability to recover from potential disruptive events - whether they be caused by preventable or non-preventable forces. Even looking beyond a firm’s inbound supply to the sites involved with both distribution paths of its products and the locations of end-customers, the index can allow companies to examine the relative risk of critical parts of its entire value chain from a location perspective.

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MBA = Macroeconomic Business Development Ability?

This guest post by Sudeep Misra is an analysis based on a recent move by Infosys, regarding the hiring of top business school graduates to improve sales metrics in a macroeconomic-driven industry. Sudeep has worked for Infosys in the past. As was written in a Financial Times article last month: “The Indian technology services outsourcing company Infosys, recently announced plans to hire up to 200 MBA students from leading business schools such as INSEAD and Harvard Business School, which is the largest recruitment drive of its kind for the company. The hiring exercise will make it one of the biggest recruiters of top business school MBAs in the world.”

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Shrimp Supply Chain Slavery – The Latest Negative Headline to Hit Procurement

It seems every quarter there’s a new supply chain crisis involving supplier practices and labor management capturing the attention of consumers. The latest is a rather sad story coming out of the UK papers that points to slave labor behind the production of food in supermarket aisles. A Guardian reporter wrote that “the continued enslavement of migrants working in the Thai fishing industry highlights flaws in the monitoring of suppliers … The Thai seafood sector employs about 650,000 people, the vast majority of whom are migrant workers from poorer neighbouring countries including Burma, Cambodia and Laos. Many of these workers are trafficked into Thailand and exploited by companies using undocumented, cheap, underpaid workers."

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Shippers, Get Ready – UPS Moves to Dimensional Weight Pricing for Ground Delivery

- June 25, 2014 2:30 PM | Categories: Guest Post, Industry News, Logistics, Spend Management

Last week, UPS announced that it will move to dimensional weight pricing for all ground shipments in 2015. For certain packages, the impact of UPS’s changes is huge. For lightweight shipments in packages less than three cubic feet, the price increase could be 30 percent or more. Many shippers won’t be able to handle these cost increases without passing it on to their customers – especially those in industries like retail, where margin is razor thin and consumers are accustomed to low-cost or free shipping options. Here are some things you need to do as soon as possible if you are using FedEx or UPS ground services to ship in 2015.

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Google, Skybox, and Your Suppliers

Space Kudos to The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims, who did a fantastic job putting into perspective how Google’s acquisition of satellite imaging company Skybox could truly change everything in regards to how we monitor competitors, suppliers, and just about any specific location under the sun (provided it’s not a classified site). The article frames the acquisition by noting that “by 2016 or so, Skybox will be able to take full images of the earth twice a day, at a resolution that until last week was illegal to sell commercially – all with just half a dozen satellites.” Further, by 2018, once Skybox’s planned 24 satellites are in orbit, Google will “be imaging the entire Earth at a resolution sufficient to capture, for example, real-time video of cars driving down the highway.”

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