The Industry News Category

Efficio Panel Debate: Good Banter, Robot Jokes and 3 Points About the Future of Procurement

Last week in London I participated in one of the livelier and more spirited panel debates on the future of procurement (skills, technology and more) in recent memory. The event, held at Efficio’s offices Thursday to mark the release of its latest report, “Procurement 2025: Is Digital Transformation Driving More Effective Procurement,” included not only a handful of esteemed panelists and facilitators from the procurement/CPO, consulting and academic ranks, but also a robot — which led to many robotic process automation jokes throughout the discourse. If Efficio does something like this again, ask them for an invitation — you won’t be disappointed!

Here are three points that stuck in my mind from the different panel discussions and chats that I had.

Commodities Roundup: Falling Oil Price, Steel Production and G20

oil oversupply OPEC

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters. This week: Price of oil is falling, updates on steel production and imports, G20 Summit begins today, and is GM leading the way on downsizing?

Interview with Malcolm Harrison, CIPS New CEO (Part 2 — Growth, Change and the U.S.)

Spend Matters UK's interview with new CIPS leader Malcolm Harrison continues with a focus on the professional organization's short-term and long-term plans.

"We must remain relevant to the UK," Harrison says, "but many organizations who employ our members are very interested in what CIPS can do outside the UK — we were invited into the U.S., for example."

Harrison also digs into the institute's strategy to serve its core membership in the UK while also making tough decisions about leadership that can help it expand in other countries. For example, the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply recently decided to not appoint a new president when the previous term expired. 

"As we get more international and diverse, it is hard to see that one person can fulfill all the needs," Harrison says.

Procurement veteran Peter Smith, of Spend Matters UK, recently sat down with Harrison to catch up on his first 100 days or so in office.

In Part 1, the interview looked at CIPS' commercial focus. This installment of the three-part series focuses on the future.

"You know the saying 'a tree is either growing or dying' — there is no steady state," Harrison says. "I feel that way about CIPS, we have to move forward and change."

Interview with Malcolm Harrison, CIPS New CEO (Part 1 – Commercial)

Malcolm Harrison took over as CEO for the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) in the summer, and he promised an interview with Spend Matters UK/EU to talk about his first “100 days” or so. Spend Matters' Peter Smith, a former CIPS president, recently caught up for a chat about where the organization is going with its certification programs, its commercial work and more. "I do feel that we may not have the balance quite right in terms of our commercial activities and the core purpose of supporting the profession and our members," Harrison said. "I have some sympathy with the view I’ve heard that 'CIPS has got too commercial.' ” Read the first of the three-part series here.

Gary Hare Talks Amazon Business and Turning the Internet into the ‘World’s Largest Supplier Network’ (Part 2)

“I think the market is going to move from being buyer-centric ... to supplier-centric. [Suppliers] need help going digital,” says procurement veteran Gary Hare. “We really have no choice if we want to get this right.”

Hare’s assessment came during a discussion about Coupa’s purchase of Aquiire and the future of e-procurement shopping, which he says involves a way of outworking Amazon Business and turning the internet into "the world’s largest supplier network." He knows the issues because until 2009 he led Vinimaya before it rebranded as Aquiire. Hare, now the CEO of Vurbis USA, talks about the future of e-procurement in Part 2 of this Q&A, which has been edited. Part 1 ran Monday.

Commodities Roundup: LME Nickel, Auto Sales Down in China and Oil Price Sliding

Chinese demand

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters. This week: Surcharges fall on LME nickel and stainless steel, auto sales stall in China and oil prices drop after a peak in September.

Commodities Roundup: Auto Sales, Construction Spending and China’s Rare Earth Output

Toyota supply chain

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters. This week: auto sales, copper prices, China's rare earth output and more.

Why Community Intelligence is the Leading Coupa Value Proposition

Brexit

The Spend Matters team is on the ground at Coupa Inspire 2018 EMEA, in London, where Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn kicked off the event by reiterating the company’s vision through a letter-by-letter explanation of Coupa’s name. We’ve covered this approach to defining Coupa before, and while the attributes of openness, usability, prescriptive and acceleration are all of course applicable, we respectfully disagree with choice for “C.” While Coupa is indeed “comprehensive,” there is a better choice: community.

Supplier Relationship Management Needs a Jolt of Technology, State of Flux’s SRM Summit Finds

Procurement has made significant strides in supporting supplier relationship management initiatives, but poor investment in technology could limit the potential benefits those programs can deliver in the years to come, according to State of Flux, a consulting firm that specializes in SRM and which held its annual SRM summit in Chicago on Oct. 23. Over the decade that State of Flux has monitored SRM maturity, procurement organizations have made considerable improvements in several areas — but not in adopting and using technology dedicated to SRM.

Business Talent Group: A Specialist in Sourcing High-end Independent Talent [PRO]

Business Talent Group (BTG), which launched in late 2007, is a unique direct-sourcing, flexible talent intermediation solution focused specifically on “high-end” business talent and the organizations that need to engage this talent on a project basis. Over the past several years, online platform intermediaries of various kinds have captured the spotlight.

But BTG has not been trying to be one of the cool kids. Instead, it has been quietly refining its own talent sourcing and engagement model, its special blend of personal curation services and proprietary technology, which was designed from the start to service the unique needs of its F1000 client base.

Rather than being a “technology first” player in the developing segment of “next-gen alternative intermediaries” (i.e., neither a staffing supplier nor a professional services or consulting firm), BTG has maintained a primary focus on meeting the specific needs of hiring managers and organizations, on the one hand, and the specific expectations of highly skilled — often expert — independent professionals, on the other. For BTG, technology is critical, but always as a means to an end, like optimizing its specialized service and business models for clients and talent. And, more recently fueled by an $8 million funding round led by Next Equity in late 2016, BTG has been ramping up its investment in technology to create applications and tools to improve client and talent experiences and results.

At this time, BTG seems to have begun sharing the spotlight, recently attracting a minority investment from Kelly Services and becoming a part of SAP Fieldglass’ digital network. In this article, we try to provide some insights into where BTG is today and where it fits into the bigger picture.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Product Strategy Emphasizes 3 Key Areas

As the second day of Zycus’ Horizon customer event kicks off in Virginia (see day one coverage: Facts/Investment/New AI Direction and Building the Partner Ecosystem) we thought it would be useful to distill what we’ve learned so far as the global provider (now with about 1,000 employees) continues to build out its procurement technology suite. From the various main stage sessions and conversations we had with key Zycus personnel, we can segment Zycus’ product/solution strategy into three areas.

Concord Raises $25 Million for its CLM Platform

The contract lifecycle management vendor Concord announced Tuesday morning that it has raised $25 million in a second round of funding that will be used to further develop its CLM platform, hire more workers across several departments and grow internationally, the San Francisco-based company said in a press release. Tenaya Capital led this round of investment, and one of its partners, Paul Drews, will join the Concord board, the statement said.