The Purchasing and Sourcing Category

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?

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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.

DHL’s Global Connectedness Index – A Must Read For Supply Chain and Procurement Professionals

While some of the more advanced procurement organizations that we know and work with have reached the “devolution” phase of maturity – i.e., centralized support and enablement but with localized, decentralized execution and capability – the general linkages of global supply chains is a trend that is likely not to reverse itself. Even as companies localize supply chains rather than center global sourcing efforts from an export perspective, interconnectivity between countries and organizations is rising, not falling. For companies that are increasingly “sourcing locally,” the underlying sources of supply for lower-tier materials, semi-finished goods and ingredients are becoming more reliant on global sources. With this in mind, DHL’s academic, yet outstanding Global Connectedness Index should be required reading for those with any sort of global orientation or interest within supply chain and procurement.

Spend Matters 50/50: Corporate United – A Provider to Know

After a second hiatus, we're back to covering providers who made our 50/50 list this year! Now, on to Corporate United, a provider to know. Some providers in the procurement services market can be very complex and difficult to understand – and then there are group purchasing organizations (GPOs) like Corporate United. Buying consortia have been around for hundreds of years (think agricultural co-operatives), and the core value proposition remains unchanged: there is buying power in numbers.

Calling All Metal Heads: MetalMiner to Host Aluminum Price and Commodity Risk Webinar With CME Group

Blame the blood moon. Webinars are really more our thing, but our sister site MetalMiner will be hosting a webinar with CME Group on Thursday, May 1, from 10 to 11 am CDT. Join Frederick Penha, Lisa Reisman, and Stuart Burns as they cover a number of high-level, industry-relevant topics, including how metal buying organizations stand to benefit from the new all-in pricing represented in CME Group’s aluminum contract and how that will lead to enhanced liquidity and potentially new commodity risk management strategies.