The Suppliers Category

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

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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

Apple Expands Supplier Audit, Publishes Results in Latest Annual Progress Report

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For 12 years, Apple has published reports on its supplier audits, and the 2018 Progress Report was released earlier this month. In 2017, Apple conducted audits of 756 suppliers in 30 countries, including 197 suppliers that were audited for the first time. The expanded audit unearthed 48 “core” violations of Apple’s supplier code of conduct, double the number from the year before. However, the good news is that the overall trend is toward greater compliance.

How Supplier Relationships are like Marriages: Lessons from ProcureCon Indirect East

Cultivating a meaningful relationship with your suppliers can be difficult at first, but when accomplished, the effort can produce positive and lasting growth opportunities for both companies. Taking steps to get to this point, though, takes care and mutual respect. Recently at ProcureCon Indirect East, I had the privilege of listening in to “Providing The White Glove Treatment To Your Suppliers,” a panel moderated by Joseph Richardson, president and CEO of Professional Purchasing Partners. During the session, Richardson challenged the audience to think beyond a simple checklist for managing their supplier relationships, encouraging them to instead seek a true change in mindset and a willingness to develop flexible for each supplier their company worked with.

A Revamped Operating Model is Key to Alleviating Retail’s Sourcing Woes, Report Suggests

As countries continuously replace one another on the list of new, promising apparel sourcing destinations, a report from Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy, suggests that this is but a short-term fix. The report, “From Cost-Cutting to True Value Creation — On the Road to Analytical Sourcing and Supply Chain,” proposes a smarter long-term strategy that would require retail to adapt its operating model.

Supplier Retention Seen as Increasingly Important to Businesses, But What About Screening?

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For today’s executives, achieving supplier retention is increasingly seen as vital to the business. When the payables automation provider Tipalti surveyed executives on issues related to supplier payment, 68% of respondents said that maintaining long-term business relationships with their payees is critically important.

No More Ariba Network Prisoners: 75,000 Suppliers (and Counting) are Transacting for Free

Procurement transformation is usually about incrementalism. For a function that’s fairly conservative — and stands to lose more by making individual mistakes than it stands to gain from individual successes — this is a reasonable approach. But sometimes step changes happen fast. And sometimes, it happens with suppliers to procurement organizations, too. The rapid rise of Amazon Business has been one of these changes, whether that’s perceived as good or bad. But for SAP Ariba customers, another one on the same order of magnitude in the past 12 months has been the adoption of suppliers transacting with free accounts.

An Entrepreneurial Take on Supplier Relationship Management: Best Practices (Part 3)

Forward-thinking executives are reacting to this faster rate of change by challenging their teams to be more entrepreneurial. This concept, as applied to procurement, lies at the heart of the latest State of Flux report on supplier relationship management (SRM). There is perhaps no industry that is immune to technology-enabled disruption. Successful procurement leaders, State of Flux argues, will need to become entrepreneurs. Below, we’ll look at a number of best practices that can be distilled from the report.

How Are Your Peers Doing on Supplier Relationship Management? (Part 2)

Last week, Spend Matters began covering the recent report from State of Flux on supplier relationship management (SRM), “Entrepreneurial SRM: Solving the Value Puzzle.” Part 1 focused on defining SRM — what it is, what it isn’t, and the six most important components of SRM, as according to State of Flux. The State of Flux report provides a host of interesting data on how organizations are doing on their SRM efforts, which will be the topic of today’s post. How does your organization compare in this regard to your peers? Are you ahead of the pack or somewhere in the middle, or do you have some catching up to do?

More on Healthcare’s Saline Bag “Shortage”

The saline bag “shortage” in healthcare has been going on for a few years. I’ve got some strong opinions on the matter, as I have had the pleasure of interviewing the assigned category managers at the nation’s largest healthcare GPOs, health system sourcing professionals and executives at Baxter, B.Braun and Hospira, the nation’s three largest manufacturers and suppliers of the product. It turns out that there are very few resin producers that make the type and grade used to manufacture saline bags. Not only did these producers cut production, but they’ve increased their pricing by more than 300% in the last year. Why?

Supplier Onboarding: Implementation Tips and Key Recommendations (Part 3) [Plus+]

So far in our PRO series exploring the nuances of setting up a supplier onboarding program we’ve delved into many specific steps and elements necessary to implement an effective process. Yet achieving a level of program certainty around these recommendations and plans is not realistic prior to engaging with a solution provider – unless you are prepared to pay separately for the provider to go through the scoping and delivery documentation as an independent engagement (which can be a smart approach, and probably something that you can get at least partial credit for if you award the solution business later on).

What is Your Supplier Management (SXM) Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

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No two procurement, finance, supply chain or IT organizations are alike. Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own unique requirements but also the stakeholders it serves.

The same principle holds true when analyzing supplier management solutions. Each provider has a persona — or set of personas — that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, procurement organizations should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is essential, because supplier management applications are critical for not only identifying savings opportunities but also the effective management of the procurement function.

SolutionMap depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their Solution capability as well as on Customer Value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking for supplier management and other strategic procurement technologies, the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational personas that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations.

We have used these personas to weight the requirements used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers. Having collected feedback from hundreds of procurement organizations in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we see these personas as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves before looking at solution rankings of providers in the market.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis shares five of the most common customer personas for supplier management buying requirements. Aimed at practitioners as well as vendors and the consultants advising them, this research brief will be helpful to drive the type of mass customization of strategic procurement technology solutions needed to meet specific organizational needs.

Below, we present our five personas for supplier management. For each, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution and customer value emphasis, and recommended selection processes.

Supplier Onboarding: Defining and Setting a Strategy (Part 1) [Plus+]

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The sourcing exercise is over, and you've found a great new supplier. You've vetted, scrubbed and polished throughout your diligent sourcing process. The contracting has just concluded, and the new contract still smells of fresh ink. The savings look great, so you toss everything over the fence to the vendor management team and accounts payable to get it sorted out so users can start saving money. A month later, you meet the new supplier and find out that no new business has been awarded to them, and that they are still being held up in the onboarding process. So, what is this onboarding process, and how can it be improved? That is the topic of this three-part Spend Matters Plus series.