The Procurement Strategy & Planning Category

How to Minimize Exposure Risk in a Global Food Supply Chain

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Megan Ray Nichols, a freelance writer covering STEM topics.

We all live in a global society now — a reality that includes, to a greater extent each year, our entire world’s food supply chains. If you and your business represent some of the critical pieces in this vast and interconnected ecosystem, you need to know you’re doing everything possible to insulate yourself, your product and, perhaps most critically of all, your end users from all types of risk that may introduce themselves along the way.

An Opportune Time for Collaboration: Procurement and Accounts Payable (Part 1) [Plus+]

Historically, procurement and accounts payable have been slightly awkward bedfellows in many companies. They’ve been loosely coupled through the front-end (e.g., vendor on-boarding, registration process) and the back-end (e.g., approvals, dispute management, discounting, payment, invoice auditing) in both online and offline worlds for various aspects of supplier engagement and management.

Yet in the past decade, procurement as a role and business focus (not always as function, mind you) has garnered greater respect as a means of driving bottom line savings — often identified, not always implemented. It has still been one part of an odd couple, unfortunately, but the lesser odd partner. But that’s the subject for another post, let alone a volume of books. More important, for our purposes, accounts payable has not garnered the same level of interest, and has truly remained an odd cost-center and stepchild under the broader finance umbrella.

In fact, as many procurement organizations have been able to make the business case for more strategic resources based on quantifiable value (e.g., cost reduction, risk analysis/reduction) in the past decade, accounts payable has faced a near constant pressure to cut costs through reduced resources based on various automation schemes — internal shared services, business process outsourcing (BPO), technology or a combination thereof.

Procurement has not been overly keen on taking ownership of accounts payable, either. This goes back a long way. One of my favorites comes from Spend Matters UK/Europe Managing Director Peter Smith. Below, we feature his story and view into accounts payable from a CPO perspective.

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Infographic: How to Lead Your Procurement Organization to Analytics Mastery

spend analytics

The expert use of enterprise analytics is a key component of any modern business strategy. But while leading companies have adopted analytics systems across functions — from operations to sales and HR — many procurement organizations have had to wait their turn to start their own analytics journeys. As procurement climbs the ranks of strategic importance to the business, practitioners will need to begin to quickly find the data, insights and strategies that will take them from backroom processing to strategic advisor in the boardroom — and there’s no better place to start that journey than by getting a handle on your contracts. Check out the infographic within to learn how to start your journey!

What the Super Bowl Can Teach About Risk Management

Pause for a moment to consider how adept the NFL has proven itself at proactively addressing logistics and risk management. Whether we’re talking facilities, security, transportation or emergency services, there’s obviously a lot more behind the curtain than we know about. Suffice it to say that little imagination is required to accept that the NFL sets an interesting, if not teachable, example — not just in terms of how to pull off a mega-event but how to react to most anything that could possibly go wrong. It expects problems and is prepared for them.

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Private Equity Procurement Optimization: Spend Visibility is Foundational for Accelerated EBITDA Improvement

Procurement optimization has become one of the most important EBITDA improvement levers for private equity firms and their operating partners. With investment valuations on the rise, private equity firms are increasingly relying on implementing operational efficiencies to quickly accelerate savings and maximize profits — and focusing in on procurement is becoming the “go-to” strategy. In addition, extended hold times of portfolio companies and lower management fees due to less capital being deployed on a regular basis has led to PE firms to ask their operating partners to do more with less.

Developing a Digital Operating Model: GEP Releases 2018 Procurement Outlook Report

trade

GEP recently published its 2018 Procurement Outlook Report, which provides insight on important business and technology trends for procurement and supply chain professionals. Now in its sixth edition, the report tackles changing political and economic policies, emerging technologies and trends in eight major spend categories. And 2018, according to the authors of the report, will be the year for procurement to develop a new digital operating model.

Unlocking Deeper Value in the Procurement and Finance Relationship (Part 3): The Top 10 Impact Areas for Procurement’s Involvement in FP&A [Plus+]

invoice

In the second installment of this series, we discussed procurement’s role in helping finance professionals and budget owners use spend data to improve the FP&A process and general business planning. Now in Part 3, we get specific about how to tackle this beast with some specific recommendations that we’ve seen proven out at both advanced firms and at firms that are further back in the bell curve of procurement maturity.

Procurement’s Innovation Deficit: The Wisdom of ‘Why Not?’

Procurement doesn’t have customers, it has prisoners. Although the statement is paraphrased (borrowed from sentiment long associated with enterprise software companies), does our profession deserve such criticism. Is it fair? Let’s face it, when it comes to driving innovation, procurement’s less than stellar reputation is well earned. Its inability to act as an intelligent and informed customer of the would-be innovator is generally so bad that companies have established separate offices dedicated to the practice. And here’s the rub. What do these innovation offices typically cite as their single biggest obstacle to success? You guessed it: internal procurement. We’ve got to fix this.

Unlocking Deeper Value in the Procurement and Finance Relationship (Part 2): Spend Planning and Analysis [Plus+]

e-invoicing

In the first installment of this series, we discussed ways to align procurement with the finance function, starting with financial accounting and then moving into cost accounting. Although cost accounting has one foot in the financial accounting world in terms of tracking costs and having them flow to the general ledger (GL), the more important side of cost accounting is its part in managerial accounting and total cost management.

Managerial accounting is about analyzing financials to make good business decisions. It includes analyzing historical costs and spending, but only in the context of improving future spending and reduce total economic costs. One aspect of economic costs is opportunity costs, and procurement must work hard with finance to understand the procurement ROI that comes from strong management of external spending led by the procurement organization. This ROI is measured in triple digits but must be demonstrated with hard numbers.

More importantly, however, procurement’s ability to partner with finance to better influence future spending is the most practical way to influence financial and business results. This comes from procurement aligning well with finance within the financial planning and analysis (FP&A) processes that occur in finance. Hopefully, FP&A is more than just basic budgeting at your organization. Done well, it provides the critical linkage to not only financial planning but also strategic and operational planning that drive success for budget owners, broader stakeholders and shareholders.

Given the importance of FP&A, we’re going to focus on this collaboration area and how to apply it to spend management, which you can think of as “spend planning and analysis” before the spend actually occurs, as opposed to traditional “spent analysis” of spend that already happened. This focus upstream is fundamentally about transformation and changing procurement’s role in the planning and budgeting process. Luckily, this area creates much higher quality of spend influence, which drives proven levels of spend savings.

Success with Value-Based Design: Identifying Critical Factors of a Key Value Indicator (KVI)

AnyData Solutions

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Paul Staelin, senior vice president of go-to-market for business intelligence and analytics at Birst, an Infor company.

Value-based design (VBD) — a methodology that uses analytics to drive meaningful results — has proven to have a great impact on a company’s bottom line. When it comes to VBD, the most important metric for any group of people within a company is the key value indicator (KVI). This metric is often used to evaluate the group manager’s performance, resulting in great reward or potential termination. Once KVIs are identified, they are then arranged into a value plan, which is later addressed and tracked via an analytics solution.

Who’s Adopting T&E Management Software, and Who Isn’t? Breaking It Down by Industry and Revenue

Oversight Systems

If expensing that hotel stay or work lunch requires you to keep paper receipts, you are in good company. According to a report from PayStream Advisors, more than a third of employees file expenses either by mailing paper receipts to their AP department or through a combination of scanned receipts and spreadsheets. Nearly two-thirds, however, report that their organizations use a dedicated expense software tool. And as companies move along in their digital transformations, the trend in travel and expense (T&E) management is certainly away from manual systems.

The Consequences of Eliminating Purchase Orders (POs) [Plus+]

finance

Should procurement eliminate purchase orders (POs) entirely? This is a daring concept in theory, provided an organization has the right processes and systems to control internal purchasing and buying activities and to protect against mistakes suppliers might create, accidentally or otherwise, for unsuspecting purchasing and accounts payable organizations to correct. These errors could include duplicate invoices, use of substitute products or materials, wrong line-level pricing, invoices based on the wrong quantities and invoices impacted by escalation/de-escalation clauses that are tracked incorrectly.

But procurement has been trained (mostly by control-crazy finance) to require the PO. In fact, think about CPOs touting 100% “no PO, no pay” policies.  Yes, it’s highly controlled, but does it make sense? Are the purported controls worth the cost and risk (in the form of time not monitoring other more important risks)? Procurement and AP organizations considering a “no PO” policy not only need to find ways to protect against these types of errors and mistakes, as well as outright fraud, either supplier-driven or internal. They also need to consider other side issues where key workarounds are necessary