The Purchasing Process Category

So You Want to Build a B2B Marketplace: 8 Business Scenarios & Case Examples (Part 2) [PRO]

Just what is a B2B marketplace and, most important, why would you, as a procurement organization or distribution/business intermediary, want to build one? This Spend Matters PRO series provides insight into these and other questions. Part 1 and today’s installment begin by segmenting the market into (and defining) eight business scenarios they can enable that go beyond standard procure-to-pay or storefront/e-commerce enablement, which include “private” and “public” marketplace models.

Thus far, we have explored four models: Digital Trading Company (“buy/sell” models), Extended Bill of Material Orchestration, Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) and Distributor “Value Add.” Today, we turn our attention to four additional B2B marketplace concepts: Procure-to-Pay (P2P) Innovator, New Business Intermediary, Industry Captain and Supply Chain Steward.

For each of the eight areas we provide a summary description of the marketplace concept, technologies (off-the-shelf) that can enable it, selected vendor shortlists, best-fit industries that it can support and best-fit spend categories (if applicable). Later installments in the series will provider deeper insight into the following: what you’ll need to build one, technology vendors to consider capable of providing marketplace technology/infrastructure (based on SolutionMap benchmark data), and whether a marketplace, for procurement organizations, is a substitute (or not) for traditional cloud-based source-to-pay applications.

Spend Matters is involved in technology strategy and RFI projects for organizations building — or evaluating building — marketplaces using “off-the-shelf” technologies. Contact us to learn more.

‘I Think Demand Management Is the Bigger Play,’ Roy Anderson Touts Visibility into Spend, Risks of Not Buying In (Part 2)

“I saved you all $5 million,” procurement veteran Roy Anderson tried to tell one CFO he worked for. “To this day, he’s never totally believed that.”

In Part 2 of Anderson’s conversation about his career and digital changes in the industry, he talks about change management, demand management and how he did convince another CFO that Anderson’s team had saved him $150 million.

Anderson, now at Tradeshift, sat down with another procurement veteran, Pierre Mitchell of Spend Matters, to share some laughs and lessons about how the industry has adapted to technology over the last 40 years.

The following is the second of three-part series of their conversation, which has been edited for clarity. Part 1 ran Monday, and Part 3 will run Friday.

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.

How to Make Time for Value-Add Activities by Controlling High-Volume, Low-Dollar PO Spend

purchasing

Editor’s note: This is part of the Ask Spend Matters series, where readers send in their burning questions about procurement and supply chain.

A reader recently wrote in asking for ideas on controlling high-volume, low-dollar PO spend on readily available commodity items in order to free up time for value-add activity. The conventional wisdom is that purchase orders act as a point of reference and an insurance of sorts against fraud or unintentional errors related to invoicing, pricing, duplicates and wrong products. Yet POs can undoubtedly be a pain for buyers to draft, not to mention that all of the paperwork lengthens and slows down the entire purchasing process. There are two main options here to consider.

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3 Reasons Catalogs Can’t Be Trusted to Manage Low-Value Spend

For many procurement organizations, catalogs have become the default way to manage indirect spend. It’s easy to see why. Catalogs offer a simple way to manage recurring, low-value purchases. By grouping previously sourced categories and commonly requested items into a single interface, catalogs promise ease of use, efficiency and, of course, increased savings, especially through the reduction of maverick spend. In practice, however, catalogs often create as many new problems as they solve. To help you understand why, here are three reasons why catalogs can’t be trusted to manage low-value spend — and how you can go about protecting your organization.

Ask Spend Matters: Should You be Asking for Prices in the Supplier Prequalification Process?

finance

A North America-based reader from a professional services company recently wrote in with a question about asking for prices in the supplier prequalification process. She noted that procurement organizations in the public sector tend to ask for prices in the RFI process and then again in the formal RFQ process, whereas in the private sector they typically ask for prices in the RFI process only when they need to explore the market, saving price requests for the RFQ. Why does the public sector need an RFI with prices and then an RFQ, likely with the same prices? It seems inefficient to this reader, who wonders if there are some advantages to this approach that she is missing

The 6 Different Approaches to Buying and the Implications Each Holds

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jonathan O'Brien, CEO of Positive Purchasing. 

Everyone has a choice about how they buy. Within companies, this could be determined by marketplace understanding, suppliers, future needs or how important a supplier is now and in the future. However, to understand what level of “buying power” you may have, it’s important to understand what type of buyer you are.

All We Are “Saved” — Give Purchasing Consortia (Including GPOs) a Chance [Plus+]

Purchasing consortia and group purchasing organization (GPO) models have been accused of being fads in the past. But there are reasons they could more than go mainstream as a common procurement lever across industries, working outside of just healthcare environments, where they have thrived in the past. Spend Matters research suggests that there certainly are a number of underlying factors that make the consortia and GPO models more attractive than before (even if some suppliers, such as the airlines, will never play ball in working with these intermediaries). Indeed, several GPO and consortia providers not focused on one particular industry have a lot to offer to procurement organizations looking to better manage cost and quality for certain categories of spend.

In this Spend Matters Plus analysis, we will explore the reason behind the current and rising interest in these models and the benefits they can bring to procurement in such categories as IT spend (e.g., hardware, software, etc.), human resources (e.g., contingent staffing and MSP programs), office supplies, employee benefits (e.g., retirement/pension, pharmacy benefits, etc.), facilities and other professional and services categories (e.g., operations consulting, energy management, etc.), not to mention some areas of direct spend as well (e.g., metals). First up: exploring the different GPO benefits for both less mature and more mature procurement organizations.

How Relevant is Personality to a Negotiation?

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jonathan O'Brien, CEO of Positive Purchasing. 

There are many personality traits that can both help and hinder a negotiation: a fear of failure, a desire to win or even our own sense of self-belief. Of course it’s not just our thoughts and feelings that are affected by our personalities — they also drive our behavior and make us unique. Personality has a big role to play in any negotiation, as it influences how we see the world and make decisions. This, in turn, drives how we behave. If some or all of our personality is shaped by early environment and through education and experience, it would explain why there is such a thing as culture-specific behavior.

The Services Procurement Machine is Broken — Here’s Why You Should Trade it in for a New Approach

Channel the original Apple Macintosh ad. Remember the people staring into the screen before our hero destroyed it? They weren’t just nameless faces in some Orwellian dystopia. They were procurement team members tasked with buying services. Category managers led astray by a misguided authoritarian philosophy. Call them part of the services procurement machine, if you will.

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.