The Procurement Category

Thomas/ISM’s Newest “30 Under 30” Rising Supply Chain Stars Value the Greater Good

For four years now, Thomas and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) have partnered in holding the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program and showcasing the most talented young supply chain professionals out there. Earlier this month, they announced the results of the 2017 competition. To learn more about this year’s rising supply chain stars, Spend Matters spoke with Deb Stanton, executive director at ISM; Tony Uphoff, president and CEO of Thomas; and Rita Lieberman, director of marketing communications at Thomas. We came away truly impressed by the talented young professionals in supply chain today.

The Modern Contract: Connected Sets of Data

The purpose of almost every business contract is the same: to define the relationship and allocate risk. To effectively do the latter, supply chain managers must manage external risks and internal risks. But even considered separately, the point is that managing both kinds of risk is challenging. With a plate that full and interdependent, is it any wonder that contracts seem to create more operational friction than they’re worth? Why haven’t we figured out that we can’t adjudicate such variability?

Commodities Roundup: How the Trump Tariffs Will Affect GOES, Nickel Price Momentum


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, our MetalMiner editors scour the landscape for what matters this week.

The Trade War

Chinese demand

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Michael Liberty, market analyst at Mintec.

While the U.S. and Russia have been imposing tariffs on each other since the annex of Crimea in 2014, the U.S. now finds itself bickering with one of its major partners, the E.U. While the U.S. is not directly trying to affect the E.U. market, the implications of it increasing tariffs on aluminium and steel imports will be felt worldwide.

When HR is in Charge of Your Recruiting, or Why a Hands-Off Approach Doesn’t Work

Meet Jane. Jane is the generalist HR business partner who supports procurement in your organization. Her management has decided that, in order to save money, Jane and her colleagues will now act as recruiters, reducing the need to pay external firms. As a procurement professional, you understand the concept and support an effort to save the company money. As a manager with open positions to fill, you sigh deeply and hope Jane knows the first thing about procurement. Internal recruiting is the new normal in many organizations looking to lower costs in the HR space. I’ve worked in and around indirect procurement long enough to recognize that this is one of those things where you can argue the merits, but you can’t argue the math. Cutting external recruiting all together equals 100% cost savings. High five! Except this approach can be a terrible idea.

Ariba Live 2018 Kicks Off: “Very Nice”

Global Procurement Tech Summit

Three members of the Spend Matters analyst team (Pierre Mitchell, Xavier Olivera and Jason Busch) are attending SAP Ariba Live this year. By our count from the initial tech analyst session, more than 25 other analysts and influencers are attending, as well. We didn’t know we had so many peers who actually covered procurement technology! Perhaps this illustrates the rising interest in procurement solutions generally. We can almost hear Sacha Baron Cohen saying in his Borat voice, “Procurement Tech. Finally. Very Nice.”

Adoption of Sustainable Sourcing Practices Remains Limited, First Large-Scale CSR Study Finds


For all the corporate sustainability reports that many companies dutifully release every year, how widespread are sustainable sourcing practices really? A new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that adoption of these practices remains limited, particularly when it comes to non-consumer-facing companies and lower-tier suppliers.

The Medical Device Reprocessing Industry: Will the Third Time be the Charm?

Alfred Hitchcock provided a great definition of the difference between surprise and suspense. It goes like this: If a bunch of guys are playing poker and a bomb goes off under the table, that’s a surprise. If, however, we know that the bomb is there and we watch the timer tick down while the men play on, that’s suspense. When Warren Buffett said that the ballooning costs of healthcare “act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” the financial markets acted like a bomb went off and the media covered the story like none of us knew it was there. Let me save you the suspense: egregious profiteering in the medical-industrial complex is the head of the tapeworm that Buffett spoke about.

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Why Marketing Contributes to a Terrible Spend Culture

marketing spend

Notwithstanding the obvious differences in personality, the mutual look of incomprehension when the CMO and CFO try to explain to each other what they actually do, marketing and finance have never been particularly pally. It’s not just the stark difference in their background, it’s not even the daunting task of proving ROI on an ingenious marketing campaign to a number-crunching CFO, or the danger in committing company funds to some radical idea based on a marketer’s sudden, Steve Jobsian flash of insight into the minds of customers. The things that can cause an ugly spat between marketing and finance are actually much more prosaic.

The State of Procurement (Part 3): Solutions and Procurement Technology


Jim Wetekamp is the former CEO of BravoSolution. In Part 1 of this series, he addressed the state of people in procurement, starting with the CPO, and in Part 2, he examined the state of the technology selection process.

“How is the technology space in procurement evolving?” A few months ago, I delivered a presentation and related article entitled, “What Procurement Needs.”  This overview focused on the key demands that procurement is seeking to fill to best serve their organizations and drive sustained value. Those needs for strategic, intelligent, integrated and holistic solutions are what are largely shaping the evolution of the procurement landscape today.

Beyond Logistics: 6 Non-Traditional Categories Where Companies Should Apply Sourcing Optimization

What exactly is sourcing optimization, and where can it be applied, besides the obvious areas? Earlier this month, Spend Matters analysts Michael Lamoureux and Tom Finn teamed up with Garry Mansell, sourcing optimization general manager at Coupa, on a webinar on this very topic, “Sourcing Optimization in New Categories: A ‘How-To’ Guide.” As the webinar title suggests, this isn’t about logistics or MRO, but rather some more non-traditional categories — six to be exact — where sourcing optimization can bring significant savings.

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What is Market Intelligence, and is it Relevant to Procurement?


As procurement takes on increased strategic importance within companies, purchasing professionals are being asked to do even more with their limited time. This is especially true when sourcing direct materials, which requires keen attention to many changing economic factors outside of the organization. To make the best decisions possible without falling behind, procurement must ensure it has access to and effectively uses supply market intelligence. To help practitioners understand why, this three-part series first outlines the key pillars of market intelligence, explaining why companies seek out this capability. It then explores why market intelligence matters to procurement, and concludes with an analysis of why businesses should seek help from a third-party provider to build out a market intelligence program.