Supply Chain Insights is kicking off its two-day “Imagine” supply chain conference today. The firm is run by Lora Cecere, an ex-supply chain practitioner, author, blogger, entrepreneur and research/industry analyst from AMR Research, who is likely the deepest CPG industry supply chain expert you will ever meet. And since CPG is probably the most difficult industry to orchestrate (i.e., being caught between the retailer “rock” and the commodity price volatility “hard place”), and since this bellwether industry is therefore one of the most progressive, she is a great source to tap for knowledge. I only overlapped with Lora for a short while at AMR, but we’ve kept in touch and I’ve really been impressed with what she’s been able to build at Supply Insights, and we certainly are kindred spirits with regards to our views of traditional industry research, benchmarking, media, solution providers, objectivity and so on. I couldn’t make the event, but Lora was kind enough to host our fearless principal analyst Thomas Kase who will be reporting on the conference.more ▸
According to media reports, Concur is being courted by acquirers like SAP. Does it make sense for SAP to buy Concur? What is the strategic fit between the two companies? Hint: we are skeptical, and we can see better homes for Concur (ahem, exits for Concur’s management) than joining SAP.more ▸
Yesterday, Tungsten announced its acquisition of DocuSphere, a niche provider of accounts payable automation and integration technology that largely flew under the radar of most finance and procurement organizations in the sector (its entire 2013 revenue was less than some of the larger accounts payable automation deals that have been completed in recent years). e can largely conclude that the acquisition was done for two reasons: first, to extend Tungsten’s product capability outside of e-invoicing and supplier connectivity, and second, to bring additional volume onto the Tungsten network.more ▸
Zara, that darling of the fashion world with the most innovative speed-to-market business model, invented the concept of “fast fashion.” The company has received heaps of praise for its innovations that have allowed it to reach more than $20 billion in revenue (see here, here, and here). And, let’s face it, the clothing chain has a lot to offer, particularly if one craves the latest looks. I have shopped there many times. But I can’t say that I will again because of a recent “blunder.”more ▸
We move into the start of a new academic year in many parts of the world, children try on their new school uniforms, and summer inexorably turns into autumn. And the thoughts of procurement people turn to matters of great import – such as whether the Proactis share price can keep rising and why Hubwoo’s just doesn’t seem to move at all.
Yes, another month has gone by, and it is time to review Spend Matters' virtual stock portfolio, made up of 21 stocks in firms that have a procurement content to their portfolio. Peter Smith and Jason Busch have been tracking them all through 2014 in this Spend Matters Plus series to get a sense of where the market for firms in this industry is going. They then chose their preferred portfolios from those stocks, using an imaginary $1 million initial fund each. Jason focused on just eight firms; Peter spread his risk with 14.more ▸
En estos días se dio a conocer la firman convenio de colaboración Inadem y Ternium mediante el cual Ternium fortalecerá sus cadenas de valor a través del desarrollo de sus proveedores. Esta noticia lleva a dos reflexiones, el suministro como motor de desarrollo nacional y la colaboración gobierno - empresas.
English translation: Inadem and Ternium just signed a collaboration agreement to strengthen their value chain by developing their suppliers. This news leads to two reflections -- the supply as an engine for national development and the collaboration between government and companies.more ▸
AbbVie's $55-billion bid for UK drug maker Shire was approved, providing yet another footnote in the history of corporate inversion on the part of US companies mainly looking to avoid corporate taxes. The combined firm will move to UK, saving upwards of $8 billion in US corporate taxes by some estimates. While such a move certainly rubs policy makers the wrong way, in reality isn't this a perfect case study in the free market economy?more ▸
On Monday, Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing services suffered an outage that lasted approximately five hours. The disruption was one of the most severe Azure outages in history, affecting multiple data centers and customers across the globe. So, what happens if you’re one of those affected customers? Or, if you’re considering a move to Microsoft Azure or another cloud computing service? Here are a few things to keep in mind.more ▸
Every August Spend Matters runs "Best Of" posts from the past six or so months. Today's topic, as you can see from the title, is technology coverage. From individual “Vendor Snapshots” to overarching viewpoints on where the sector’s technology has been and where we see it going, this is one of our favorite areas to explore here at Spend Matters — and one where we are proud of providing original thought, insightful analyses, and unbiased opinion. Hedge, obfuscate, or pander? Never.more ▸
In our discussions with Beeline and their customers earlier this summer, we learned about and explored a number of emerging priorities in global services procurement. A number of these customer requirements are already being partially or fully supported by Beeline and other leading VMS providers – other requirements are still on the roadmap or in their early days on the product release schedule. In the first installment in this series, we considered the increased scrutiny that companies are giving to specific geographies where they will or will not host technology, as well as related access permission issues. In the second installment of this Spend Matters PRO series, Jason Busch, Spend Matters founder and managing director, and Thomas Kase, VP of research, turn their attention to the following areas of emerging interest in global services procurement efforts: deeper technical integration between VMS and others systems; security in a mobile world; emerging audited processes and control mechanisms; regional requirements; and cultural observations.more ▸
Specifically, will we get a clear definition of what a "foreign official" is? Also, what an "instrumentality" might be? Why is this important? Well, consider that right now, under current statutory constructions (to paraphrase the example used in the FCPA Professor's article), a janitor working for a partially state-owned (or otherwise financially supported) enterprise could qualify as a “foreign official.” That should scare you.more ▸
The New York Times ran a story on its front page last Sunday on “Patient Zero” in the Ebola outbreak spreading through Western Africa. Researchers suspect that the current epidemic started with a 2-year-old boy who died on Dec. 6 in Guinea. His mother, sister, and grandmother soon died afterwards, after falling ill with the same symptoms. This week on Spend Matters PRO Thomas Kase covered the implications that Ebola and epidemics in general could have on supply chains. To accompany the research brief, here is a rough timeline of how the epidemic developed.more ▸