The Sourcing Category

What To Expect from Best-in-Class Sourcing Optimization Technology and User Design (Part 2) [PRO]

Sourcing optimization has played a somewhat curious side role in the history of e-sourcing technologies. Approximately half a dozen procurement vendors have offered varying degrees of capability over the years, but customer adoption, especially in the user base of vendors offering other sourcing and procurement technology suite capabilities, has remained variable, as have the capabilities of the underlying optimization solutions themselves.

As we noted in the first installment in this series, sourcing optimization is “heady, complex and requires significant mathematical, technical and domain expertise to use” — at least in the past. It’s not a common skill combination. Developing and supporting such capability has also required skilled R&D (academic), product development and product management resources, so assuming you could find the right people, adding sourcing optimization to existing sourcing products required significant investments.

This Spend Matters PRO series provides a “how-to-guide” to selecting and developing best-in-class sourcing optimization technology, inclusive of a user design and interface that can maximize adoption. We suspect it will be useful for procurement organizations, consultants, business process outsourcing (BPO) firms and third-party logistics (3PL) providers evaluating or cobbling together solutions to use internally or own behalf of customers.

But this brief should also be equally valuable for technology vendors that are looking to build capability in the area, or improve upon existing sourcing solutions. In Part 1 of this series, we explored how powerful constraint support, solid mathematical foundations and advanced cost modeling capability must come together in a solution that dovetails best-in-class functional capability with optimal user design. In this second installment, we turn our attention to e-sourcing and reverse auction integration approaches, guided sourcing “what-if” support and automatic missing/outlier data identification.

Putting the ‘Strategic’ Back Into Sourcing with Deloitte: New Research Brief

cloud solutions

Strategic sourcing can be more "strategic" despite its best efforts. Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer at Spend Matters, has more in the complimentary research brief, Deloitte's Game-Changing Analytics Platform Puts 'Strategic' Back into Sourcing. Pierre lays out the many reasons why strategic sourcing can fall short of the strategic aspect, as well as provides a four-pronged solution overview of the areas you need to focus on change that. Read his in-depth take on "The Big Picture" and how Deloitte GSI factors in by claiming your copy of this brief.

What To Expect from Best-in-Class Sourcing Optimization Technology and User Design (Part 1) [PRO]

There’s a reason Coupa spent a healthy chunk of its IPO proceeds to purchase Trade Extensions: sourcing optimization technology is heady, complex and requires significant mathematical, technical and domain expertise to build. But more important than the barriers to entry in bringing it to market, the value sourcing optimization can bring to customers is materially greater than what standard e-sourcing and reverse auction technology can deliver. So if you’re pitching “savings” or “value” as a service for procurement, you’d be hard pressed to prioritize any other area over strategic sourcing optimization and related supply network design capabilities — even if it’s still somewhat a novelty in terms of adoption outside of logistics and transportation spend.

While we have explored and defined sourcing optimization technology in the past (including specifically what makes Trade Extensions great and why Coupa bought it from a customer perspective), we have not yet defined what the optimal (no pun intended) components and user design elements of a sourcing optimization solution look like more generically. This Spend Matters PRO series aims to do just this, breaking new ground in spelling out for procurement and supply chain professionals, consultants and technologists what they should look for (or strive to build) when considering sourcing optimization capability. It is meant as a companion to the other PRO articles in this series thus far covering what best-in-class technology and user design look like for e-sourcing (see: here and here) and reverse auction (see: here and here) technologies .

So what does best-in-class sourcing optimization look like and how does form follow function from a design perspective in supporting it? In this first installment in our series, we cover the concepts of powerful constraint support (and what’s required to support it), solid mathematical foundations and advanced cost modeling.

Viscose Suppliers to H&M and Zara Linked to Severe Health and Environmental Hazards

Zara and H&M are among the fast fashion giants that have been found to source viscose from manufacturing sites whose processes pose serious health and environmental dangers, according to a new report from Changing Markets Foundation. When the foundation visited 10 such sites in China, India and Indonesia, it found that untreated hazardous waste was leading to severe air and water pollution, and for people who lived near the manufacturing sites, physical and mental disorders.

The Salesforce.com of Bud: Putting Some SaaS into the Marijuana Supply Chain

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As we introduced in the first part of this series, marijuana purchasing managers have long been putting up with managing orders, inventory and supplier relationships the old way. Faxes, texts, emails, Excel spreadsheets and even corkboards littered with Post-It notes were all fair game. But it wasn’t helping the buyers at the dispensaries or retail shops advance strategically. Enter SaaS platforms to save the day.

Deloitte’s Global Sourcing Insights: Best Shoring Becomes Best Sourcing

Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer at Spend Matters, has high hopes for strategic sourcing (emphasis on "strategic") and leading the way for this evolution is Deloitte's Global Sourcing Insights (GSI) solution. But that's just the beginning. You can download Deloitte's Game-Changing Analytics Platform Puts 'Strategic' Back into Sourcing' and Deloitte's Global Sourcing Insights (GSI) – From Best Shoring to Best Sourcing compliments of Spend Matters.

Legal Recreational Marijuana: How to Manage a Brand New Supply Chain

The relatively recent votes to legalize either medical or recreational marijuana in seven new states during the November 2016 election — California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada (recreational); and Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota (medical) — have opened our eyes to the vast opportunities for players on all ends of the supply chain within this young industry.

Commodity Management: Drilling into the Supply Chain and the Technology Landscape [Plus+]

My colleague Jason Busch and I have written earlier about how, with the exception of a few top procurement organizations, procurement is failing to deploy the right sets of strategies, tools and tactics to bridge commodity management, sourcing and broader procurement activity.

In this Spend Matters Plus article, I want to dive into some of the details around commodity management and its relation to the broader supply chain, as well as the different solution approaches being used to tackle it. In a value-chain mega chart in the article (which basically follows a design > source > plan [supply] > deliver [inbound] process flow from left to right), I’ve outlined the various processes (brown rectangles) and some supporting solution types (blue ovals) for commodity management.

Putting “Strategic” Back into Sourcing with Deloitte — New, Complimentary Research

The need is there for a wholly strategic supply chain sourcing platform built on a supply network design model. It's time to move on from the standard BOM-based sourcing workflows and low-level commodity sourcing efforts that utilize e-RFX tools. Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer at Spend Matters, makes his case in Part 1 of his two-part series: Deloitte's Game-Changing Analytics Platform Puts 'Strategic' Back into Sourcing.

This two-part research series is culled from his four-part series (linked to in this paper) and features a comprehensive approach to strategic supply chain technology and trends.

Wednesday, May 31. Downtown Chicago. Sourcing, AI and Optimization.

I rarely pimp things I'm participating in, but I'm really excited to go back to my FreeMarkets roots tomorrow (May 31) at this breakfast and morning session in Chicago on the future of strategic sourcing and e-sourcing. The event is free, and it’s open to procurement practitioners and consultants.

Keelvar is hosting the event and the topic is about the massive transformation (thanks to artificial intelligence [AI], robotics, optimization and more) starting to take shape in strategic sourcing and e-sourcing. Alan Holland (Keelvar) and Josh Brogan (A.T. Kearney) are speaking as well.

Verisk Maplecroft Releases Latest Geopolitical Risk Outlook: Keep An Eye on Emerging Markets

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Emmanuel Macron’s win in the French presidential election was a temporary boon for geopolitical stability, as was Moon Jae-in’s election as the new president of South Korea. U.S. president Donald Trump, however, has managed to become even more of a wildcard. In addition to the above, many emerging markets are at risk of growing instability, according to global risk research firm Verisk Maplecroft, which recently released its 2017 Geopolitical Risk Outlook.

Ethiopia’s Apparel Sector Beset By Land Disputes and Labor Risks, New Research Finds

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As a sourcing destination for apparel companies, Ethiopia can hardly be called up-and-coming anymore. Since 2013, East Africa — and Ethiopia in particular — has been on the radar of apparel companies seeking low-cost manufacturing labor. New research from global risk consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft, however, suggests that Ethiopia’s apparel sector is likely to face significant risks in the near future, from land disputes to human rights concerns to political protests and instability.