Category Archives: Procurement Strategy & Planning

Spend Visibility: It’s Best in the Raw

Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Paul Blake, a sales manager at GEP. Earlier this week, I met with a prospective client to talk about spend visibility, big data. and all that good stuff. With the best of intentions of course, and having applied a very great deal of resource and brain power (and inevitably cold hard cash), this client had built a program of data capture, manipulation, and transformation, based on all sorts of rules and manual interventions all designed to make sense of their global spend patterns. I got the impression that they felt that had created a bit of a monster that they'd yet to get anything really, you know, useful out of.

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Woodbrowser: Exploring a (Highly) Category-Specific Procurement Approach to Softwood Lumber

- September 15, 2014 2:30 AM | Categories: Procurement, Procurement Strategy & Planning

With each passing year, there are fewer categories in which supply chain transparency (including visibility into total cost at different tiers) is not rising – often considerably. But the lumber industry is one in which total cost transparency is blurred through an intermediary-led brokerage model that has evolved little for over half a century. Woodbrowser is hoping to change this. With the support of one of FreeMarkets co-founders, Sam Kinney - probably one of the most authoritative experts on real-world market mechanisms and market design (and, in full disclosure, a friend and mentor) - Woodbrowser is hoping to shake up the economics of the lumber market.

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ATTN: CPOs! Pop-up Webinar this Friday! Register Below

The Best-of-Breed vs. ERP Debate is Dead: What Really Matters in Best-in-Class Procurement Suites? will take place this Friday, September 12 at 11 a.m. CDT. Join us for this brief, half-hour event as we attempt to study the nature of procurement suites and identify emerging trends. There will also be a brief demo to demonstrate functionality of the trends we’ve detailed during the webinar. Register here.

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Influencing Change: Addressing Bad Procurement Behavior

- September 10, 2014 10:39 AM | Categories: Learning / Research, Procurement, Procurement Strategy & Planning

file3671269347953 The bigger the organization, the more political the decision-making process is – a maxim all too familiar to most of us. Sourcing, by definition, will step on numerous toes as it navigates the shark infested organizational waters toward better total cost and value outcomes. Internal silos and fiefdoms will have to be cracked open in order to create the best results.

Along the way, as we have all seen, many worthwhile initiatives fail for the lack of adoption sword – the unimplemented savings – as the industry euphemism goes for the negotiated savings that the sourcing team created, but the business users passive-aggressively ignored. Even worse, relationships, both internal and external, take a turn for the worse as toes are crushed under a well intended, but perhaps awkwardly placed, sourcing boot. Some stakeholders run for the mattresses and start sniping you. Others approach the procurement challenge as a no-knock, no-survivors SWAT team effort, doing more harm than good; equally destructive of long-term trust with stakeholders and suppliers.

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Webinar to Outline Best-in-Class Procurement Suites, this Friday!

Join us this Friday, Sept. 12 at 11 a.m. CDT for The Best-of-Breed vs. ERP Debate is Dead: So What Really Matters in Best-in-Class Procurement Suites? Register here

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Involvement of R&D and Manufacturing Can Benefit Procurement

Many organizations recognize that the procurement function can provide the business with much more than simply getting the lowest cost for purchased materials and services. These organizations understand the potential for having procurement align its efforts with the strategies and goals of other business units as well as the enterprise as a whole.

In practice, this can take the form of involving other business groups and even external partners in the selection and appraisal of suppliers. According to APQC’s Open Standards Benchmarking in procurement, organizations involve a variety of groups in this activity, from marketing and sales groups to other suppliers, depending on the needs of the organization. However, the R&D/engineering group and manufacturing group are most often involved in this process. About 60 percent of organizations involve the R&D group in supplier selection and appraisal, and just over 56 percent of organizations involve the manufacturing group.

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Sourcing in Latin America (with Mexico Focus): A Primer for U.S. and Canada Procurement Organizations

- August 29, 2014 12:32 PM | Categories: Procurement Strategy & Planning, Sourcing, Technology

Earlier today, Jason Busch, Spend Matters’ founder and managing director, and Xavier Olivera, director of Spend Matters Mexico and Latin America, conducted an “Ask the Expert” webinar titled Spend Matters en Español: The State of Procurement in Mexico and Latin America. Given the interest among both practitioners and providers in the U.S. in understanding priorities and how to do business in Mexico and neighboring countries most effectively, we decided to write a quick primer to showcase those items that companies should be considering as they develop their efforts in the region. For U.S. and Canadian organizations, the total cost equation is increasingly adding up for Mexico sourcing – and the ease of doing business is rising as well (aside from new regulations and compliance requirements for e-invoicing, which we will be exploring in more detail in a separate analysis).

Considering rising U.S. interest in nearshore sourcing, the timing could not be more perfect to launch a new site focusing on Latin America procurement and supply chain (Spend Matters will be launching this site in conjunction with Xavier in Sept/Oct 2014). Awareness and interest is at an all-time high among Latin American companies. Mexican organizations, in particular, are prioritizing efforts to get smart on tech solutions including analytics, P2P, and sourcing. This Spend Matters PRO research brief begins to explore top procurement priorities in the region and the state of solution adoption – as well as how to do business effectively with local suppliers and procurement organizations.

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Procurement Lessons for Small Businesses and Large Multinational Corporations

In the world of procurement, there is a handful of strategies that can be adopted and reused across categories and clients. This can create a redundancy that slows innovation and prospects of future growth. GEP's Sanyam Khurana recently met and talked with the owner and staff of a small bakery in New Delhi and observed that there are many parallels between how this small outfit operates to what is and should be practiced at larger organizations

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Millennials and Procurement: Changes Ahoy for Recruiting, Management, and Talent Development

A recent Procurement Leaders blog post, Millennials To Shake-Up Procurement, authored by my old friend Paul Teague, began to peck around at a topic that’s been on my mind for quite sometime: how to think about the future of delivering procurement capability in an environment where a new generation of workers, many of which have quite a different set of motivations and values from older generations, make up the majority, not the minority. It’s a topic of keen interest to me as my own broader organization grows (now 23 people) because the bulk of our new hires also come from the “millennial” generation as well. For those on a different planet, millennials range in age today from young teenagers to their young thirties.

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Beware Ariba’s Patent Treasure Chest (Part 6): Dynamic Data Access and Storage

In Part 6 of this Spend Matters Plus series on Ariba's patent portfolio, Thomas Kase (VP of research) looks at a patent that, interestingly enough, a former Procuri colleague of his (David Woods, a talented data base analyst with an insatiable appetite for coffee) has his name on. Note that this particular patent predates Ariba. It came from Procuri and from a different platform and development environment than what Ariba uses. So it’s not indicative of Ariba’s current solution or technical prowess, and David, the creator, has since moved on to other opportunities. The patent has to do with dynamic data access and storage. Read on for the layman's explanation of what the patent covers and its impact.

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50 Shades of Pay: Level 2 – Total Cash Disbursements to Suppliers

50 Shades of Pay is back! Here is the second "shade" in this Spend Matters Plus series from Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell. The intent of getting to level two is to gain a complete picture of total cash disbursements to suppliers. To do this, some obstacles must be overcome. If improving your spend analysis is a topic of interest and you're not a Plus subscriber, contact us to inquire about a free trial.

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Making Friends: How CPOs and CFOs Can Come Together in Harmony

Connecting individuals' roles with the planets of the solar system is nothing new (see: Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus) but we’re taking it one step further with this new, downloadable research paper -- Procurement is from Mars and Finance is from Jupiter: How to Align Planets. In the paper, Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell examines how the CPO and CFO can come together for the better of both procurement and finance.

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