The Industry News Category

The Specter of Amazon Rx

Shares of Rite-Aid and CVS initially plummeted on rumors of Amazon’s possible move into pharmacy. Surprisingly, however, their stocks prices have recovered of late, trading places with major medical distribution companies McKesson and Cardinal Health. With rumors of Amazon lurking, it was apparently their turn, as McKesson and Cardinal share prices have recently hit the skids. First grocery, an $800 billion business, then drugs, about a $500 billion business, and now medical products?

More on Healthcare’s Saline Bag “Shortage”

The saline bag “shortage” in healthcare has been going on for a few years. I’ve got some strong opinions on the matter, as I have had the pleasure of interviewing the assigned category managers at the nation’s largest healthcare GPOs, health system sourcing professionals and executives at Baxter, B.Braun and Hospira, the nation’s three largest manufacturers and suppliers of the product. It turns out that there are very few resin producers that make the type and grade used to manufacture saline bags. Not only did these producers cut production, but they’ve increased their pricing by more than 300% in the last year. Why?

The Amazon Effect: Competition for Procurement Talent

No one and no thing is now safe from what is known as the “Amazon effect.” As Bezos’s behemoth continues to expand in multiple locations, including the addition of the impending HQ2, it is disrupting hiring and retention efforts in all business functions. Top procurement talent is especially susceptible, as it’s hard not to be seduced by arguably the No. 1 supply chain company in the world, with a Gartner Supply Chain Masters honor to boot. This should rightfully strike fear in leaders of procurement organizations.

5 Key Procurement Insights from Upwork’s 2017 Freelancing in America Study

Lystable

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Contingent workforce procurement practitioners are increasingly encountering the idea that freelance/independent workforce is growing in importance. This idea comes from many sources, including business users who are strapped for the skills and talent they need, media and analyst coverage of a new “gig economy” and, last but not least, new workforce solution providers that specialize in the provisioning of skilled freelancers and independent professionals.

For procurement practitioners — who for many years tolerated the use of independent contractors (1099 ICs) as a necessary evil and a last resort in exceptional cases — the idea of increasing use of the independent workforce can be challenging in a number of ways. One of those is figuring out whether this phenomenon is real and important enough to be spending more time on and enabling rather than minimizing. Practitioners might think, “Sure we’re hearing that skills and talent are migrating to an independent workforce. But is that true? Is there data to support this?”

In this article, we turn to fresh data on this subject and try to provide some helpful insights for practitioners grappling with this issue.

The Latest Worst Kept Secret: Amazon’s Move into Pharmacy

“I think Amazon getting into the PBM business (pharmacy benefits management) is a bunch of B.S.,” said Vishnu Lekraj, an analyst with analyst firm Morningstar. “I don’t understand how a company that can ship goods to a consumer can take over every single industry.” According to state pharmaceutical boards, Amazon has received approval for wholesale pharmacy licenses in at least 12 states: Arizona, North Dakota, Nevada, Alabama, New Jersey, Michigan, Louisiana, Connecticut, Idaho, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Oregon, with applications pending in other states. In fact, some of the license types go beyond prescription drugs and include approvals for products and devices that fall under the durable medical products category, such as oxygen and other medical gasses.

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.

Innovative Talent Sourcing Firm Genesys Talent Adds AI to the Mix with PREDICTe

Genesys Talent LLC (Genesys), an innovative talent sourcing and talent cloud curation firm headquartered in Houston, recently announced the release of PREDICTe, an AI-based set of capabilities for building and creating talent clouds.

Just over a year ago, we reported that Genesys had raised $2.1 million in a seed round that would be used to expand the Genesys team, invest in additional technology and enhance its existing talent sourcing and curation process. Since that time, the company has formed a data science team and have been developing PREDICTe. The solution has been in pilots with a number of businesses, and according to Genesys, the results have been very positive.

We recently had a chance to talk with the Genesys team to get further insight into PREDICTe and how it fits into the Genesys talent sourcing and curation model.

Almost Famous: Ivalua Acquires Directworks

Confirming the spend management industry rumor mill, Ivalua today announced its acquisition of Directworks. The deal lends serious credence to Ivalua’s tag line — “One Suite. Infinite Possibilities” — as it has the potential to establish Ivalua as the market’s only native, end-to-end S2P solution.

In terms of indirect spend know-how, Ivalua is a thought leader and its software is top drawer. On the direct side, Directworks goes deep, delivering Ivalua an arsenal of hard-won intellectual property based on battle-tested experience.

Procurement Expertise Platform Palambridge to Use Direct Sourcing Exchange MBO Connect

Palambridge, which describes itself as a virtual platform of procurement experts and intelligence, has announced that it will be using MBO Partners’ MBO Connect solution. MBO, a leading U.S. provider of compliance and engagement services for independent professionals and enterprises, launched the MBO Connect independent professional engagement platform in October 2015, and has since expanded MBO Connect as a direct sourcing exchange that enables the effective management and coordination of preferred talent networks. Palambridge, launched earlier this year, is now pioneering the procurement expertise and information service platform market.

GDPR: Fast Facts for Procurement Organizations

sourcing technology

On the home site for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a countdown advances toward May 25, 2018. Just over 200 days away, the enforcement date is marked on the calendar of every global organization, because the consequences are clear: non-compliance means heavy fines. As the clock continues ticking, we’ve assembled what you need to know about GDPR — its background, the changes that come with it and the repercussions of non-compliance.

Fast and Included: Amazon Business Launches Business Prime Shipping

Amazon Businesses customers in the U.S. can now access unlimited, free two-day shipping on eligible items through a paid annual membership for multiple business users, the company announced Tuesday. Called Business Prime Shipping, the program brings the Amazon Prime shipping benefits consumers are already familiar with to Amazon’s B2B offering. Membership fees are tiered based on the numbers of users on the business account.

Highlights from Across the Pond at Coupa Inspire 2017: A Fraud Detection Acquisition, Open Buy Launch and R19

Brexit

Coupa has acquired an AI fraud detection company and begun its official rollout of Open Buy with Amazon Business, our colleagues at Spend Matters UK/Europe reported from Coupa Inspire last week. The two announcements highlight Coupa’s recent push to integrate more advanced functionality into its spend management platform, from bringing sourcing optimization to a wider audience to enabling the elusive “guided buying” experience.