The Purchasing and Sourcing Category

Amazon Business Prime Updated: Analysis and Procurement Recommendations (October 2018 Update) [PRO]

AnyData Solutions

Earlier today, Amazon announced a host of enhancements to its Amazon Business Prime offering. To help procurement organizations understand the implications of these added capabilities, this Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an overview and analysis of the new solution components and offers recommendations to procurement organizations already using or considering Amazon Business.

The emphasis of this PRO analysis centers on the spend visibility/analytics, e-procurement (guided buying) and working capital/payment capabilities of the October 2018 Amazon Business release. While some of these areas are likely to be less interesting for organizations that already use a third-party e-procurement solution that integrates with Amazon Business (either via punch-out or API), Amazon’s enhanced invoicing, working capital and payment components can be applied to all potential users.

But perhaps most important, these enhancement offer some signals of how Amazon may continue to build out the capabilities of its Prime business solution. Let’s delve in.

‘Just Coupa It’: By Buying Aquiire, Coupa Targets Google-like Search and the End of Punch-Outs [PRO]

Coupa announced its latest acquisition Monday with its purchase of Aquiire, a provider of e-procurement and procure-to-pay software. The deal brings to Coupa’s business spend management suite — which now includes support for e-procurement, P2P, source-to-pay, travel and expense management, and services procurement — many of the latest features for front-end shopping and catalog management, particularly several patents related to real-time search and third-party-hosted catalog integration capabilities. Viewed as part of Coupa’s larger strategy, however, Aquiire is just one piece of a larger puzzle that Coupa has been trying to assemble for the last decade.

The purchase of Cincinnati, Ohio-based Aquiire, along with Coupa’s own innovations in the guided buying area and the company’s 2017 acquisition of Simeno, forms the basis of a shift away from one-to-one, proprietary “punch-out”-based B2B e-commerce models and toward a streamlined, almost touchless approach to finding and buying goods and services. This entails far more than creating a friendly user experience that’s “Amazon-like.” Coupa wants to go one step further, making the search for a corporate purchase as easy as answering a question with Google: one question (sometimes auto-suggested) into the box, numerous answers delivered within the next screen, in real time, prioritized by relevance, price and desired procurement controls.

Coupa’s goal is to make B2B purchasing as easy and reflexive as everyday information retrieval on the broader web. Said another way, when you need to know something, you Google it; when you need to buy something at work, you would Coupa it. Obviously, Coupa is not going to become a verb anytime soon on the scale of Google. The key is to provide a B2B buyer-relevant search that is tuned to the “persona” of the individual buyer to quickly get him or her the needed goods and services from the preferred supply sources and buying channels.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the feasibility of the “Google-like” search concept, as well as how Coupa’s acquisition of Aquiire enables it. It also touches on how Coupa’s approach to front-end shopping enablement compares with the broader e-procurement market, as well as what this means for competitors.

Write Better RFPs: How to Get What You Want (and Need) From Suppliers [Plus+]

RFP

The typical business challenge when you go to market with an RFP centers on getting ideas for what is possible, and identifying suppliers that either already have these ideas or are willing to work with you toward that end. Targeted activities are often services or complex products where quality, service or the engineered final product will be different from each vendor responding. We've put together some fresh ideas to an old challenge: conveying your needs in ways that a supplier can relate to and that encourages them to put their best foot forward, with a proposal that goes beyond your wants and addresses your needs, as well.

12 Ways E-Catalogs Can Enhance Your E-Procurement Mojo [Plus+]

E-catalogs (catalog management) are a key part of any e-procurement solution. For e-procurement, catalogs provide more than just a list of items. They enable the loading of prices, and they enable features of products and services to be approved and integrated into an e-marketplace in order to purchase against.

Catalogs are a living, often-changing and integrated source of information (within a single database) that enable all purchasing scenarios. Combined with the support of a robust e-marketplace — advanced search engine; advanced purchasing mechanisms such as e-forms, lists, kits, etc.; a powerful workflow engine and flexible system integration capability — they provide key support for buying requirements.

As I’ve been known to say, I consider e-catalogs the “fifth element” of procurement. “The fifth element” comes from the eponymous 1997 fiction action film starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich. In the movie, earth is considered "north," fire is "south," air is "east," water is "west" and the fifth element is the "spirit" or "soul” — the "spiritual force" that earth, air, fire and water descend from.

Although they may not be truly spiritual in nature, I think that e-catalogs are a sort of hidden force that breathes new power into broader e-procurement. In this Spend Matters Plus brief, we give procurement practitioners 12 ways e-catalogs can do just that.

Need an e-procurement and invoice-to-pay primer before reading or subscribing to Plus for the first time? Download this free report.

Ethical Sourcing: Do Consumers and Companies Really Care?

eggs

Do people really care about ethically sourced goods? Some reports say consumers do, while other research shows it doesn’t actually change shopping habits. For companies and supply chain organizations, ethical and sustainability efforts are often linked to business factors like reducing costs and improving brand image. We take a look at how ethical sourcing is shaping the way products are produced and sold today, and if it’s having an impact on what people are actually purchasing.

How I Spent Oktoberfest Going to School on German Procurement Practices

German procurement

A few weeks back, I had the good fortune to spend two days in Munich during a time that just happened to coincide with Oktoberfest. Of course, there was absolutely no relationship between the visit and the festivities at the time. And getting into a small “tent” — part of the activities with the Volksfest if you have the right friends — together with some colleagues from a startup in town was a complete coincidence as well. Or, that is what I tell my wife at least.

Taylor Swift’s Lesson for Procurement Professionals

Spend Matters welcomes this guest article by Vengat Narayanasamy of GEP.

Most of us are aware that Apple Music is offering a three-month trial to anyone who signs up for the streaming service. Apple negotiated numerous agreements with music companies to provide this service, and in the agreement it was mentioned that the artists and music companies would not get paid for the music streamed during this trial period. As anyone would imagine, Apple had a leverage to get away with it; however, Taylor Swift decided to call it out in an online letter this summer titled, “To Apple, Love Taylor.”

Services Sector Growth Slows Amid Global Economic Contraction

Tianjin

Growth in the U.S. services sector slowed in September, driven largely by a softening retail market and weakening of the global economy, the Institute for Supply Management reported this week. ISM’s latest Report on Business showed the non-manufacturing index (NMI) registered 56.9% last month, down 2.1% from August. In a conference call with reporters on Monday, an ISM official pointed to contractions in the mining and retail industries, as well as economic activity both domestically and globally for the slowdown in the services sector.

Stages of a Global Sourcing Strategy

Spend Matters welcomes this guest article by Shruti Agrawal, director at Excella Worldwide.

Global product sourcing refers to a procurement strategy through which an enterprise works to identify the most cost-effective location for product manufacturing, even if that location may be in a foreign country. The general sourcing process can be divided into the following 5 stages, as we explain in detail.

The Sourcing and Stakeholder Disconnect

supplier management

For those who are not deep into procurement, strategic sourcing sounds like little more than mumbo jumbo, or as my colleague Pierre Mitchell says in a recent analysis, “the n-step sourcing process can be unintelligible to a stakeholder.” And quite often, that’s in the best of cases – it gets worse. In certain cases, procurement can sound adversarial in relation to the business. Read more in new Spend Matters e-book, Supercharging Category Management: Free Yourself from Siloed Sourcing to Unlock Breakthrough Value.

Presenting 3 Best Practices for Sourcing Commodities in 2015

global trade

Are you sourcing commodities on the spot market in 2015? Are you using an index? You might want to take a minute and familiarize yourself with 3 Best Practices for Buying Commodities in 2015 from husband-and-wife team and noted experts Lisa Reisman, CEO of Azul Partners and executive editor for MetalMiner, and Jason Busch, founder and managing director of Spend Matters. This FREE PDF download will provide you with an entertaining argument against conventional wisdom that will lead directly to not only profit, but the highest possible value available for your commodities purchases this year. Get your copy today!

Peeling the New Amazon Business Marketplace Onion: Part 1 – Selection, Pricing and Experience [PRO]

In our previous post on Amazon Business (an expansion of Amazon Supply), we discussed the basics of the new release and model in its current form. But, there’s much more to this story for procurement professionals – good and bad. After spending time with members of the Amazon team, and “reading through the tea leaves” from both these conversations and other sources, there are some critical factors to consider for buyers, sellers and technology partners when they “dance with the [Seattle] bear.” Some of these are specifically commercial, and others are more strategic (IP protection, for instance). We’ll also highlight some no-brainer short-term opportunities and some more strategic opportunities and issues. For example, Amazon Business is currently an e-marketplace and not an e-commerce platform that facilitates non-intermediated commerce. Yet that doesn’t mean Amazon couldn’t become a true “platform” intermediary leveraging the technical components of the IaaS and PaaS side of the company house. Such a scenario could be closer than many might think (e.g., consider Mechanical Turk in relation to emerging contingent work platforms or think about Amazon Home Services/TaskRabbit applied to fixed-fee B2B services). Anyway, I’m foreshadowing too much. Let’s get started and dive in. In the first part of this PRO research series, we’ll focus on selection, pricing and user experience as well as highlight 10 shortfalls (or “opportunities,” if you will) in the solution stack that warrant serious consideration.