Category Archives: Supply Chain Visibility

Accelerate This! A Case for “Buy/Sell” Models in Automotive Supply Chain

The recent case of counterfeit parts in the Aston Martin supply chain (tied to non-DuPont resin that a lower-tier Chinese supplier illegally substituted) highlights the need for OEM and tier-one manufacturers to do more in assuring continuity of contracted supply in global supply chains. But what can be done in such a situation where Chinese suppliers will knowingly cut every corner possible to maximize margins if they know they’re not being carefully monitored?

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Did Ariba Cause the Target Credit Card Breach? No.

Over the past few days, the security and IT world has been abuzz with theories regarding exactly how the hackers who breached Target’s point-of-sale wall were able to steal credit card numbers from unsuspected shoppers. The latest provider with a finger pointed at it in speculative discussions is SAP / Ariba (Ariba, specifically). On his highly detailed blog, Brian Krebs reports the following based on what appears to be a phishing scheme that led to the Target breach: “…[It] appears to have begun with a malware-laced email phishing attack sent to employees at an HVAC firm that did business with the nationwide retailer, according to sources close to the investigation … investigators believe the source of the Target intrusion traces back to network credentials that Target had issued to Fazio Mechanical, a heating, air conditioning and refrigeration firm in Sharpsburg, Pa. Multiple sources close to the investigation now tell this reporter that those credentials were stolen in an email malware attack at Fazio…" But is Ariba at fault? We argue no.

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Supply Chain Data – How Many Puzzle Pieces Are You Missing?

- October 23, 2013 3:13 PM | Categories: Analytics, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Visibility

As an analyst I see good, better, and sometimes best practices. I actually don’t see the bad practices that often, but I still try to keep them in sight, figuratively. It’s really important to stay current with not just the cutting edge but also where most buyers actually are today. One of the more substantial elephants in the room is data quality around suppliers – providers keep dancing around this issue, with partial glimpses of the truth. We'll walk you through all the areas where data can hide, and give some solid advice around all the challenges associated with getting it squeaky clean.

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Sustainability in Procurement: Why Do Sweatshop Scandals Occur?

How can sustainability break out of its “niche” category in procurement? Is it even possible? The WSJ’s recent article “Why Retailers Don't Know Who Sews Their Clothing” touches on the issues with a broader aspect of sustainability. Survivability, to be precise. To summarize, the article points out possible consequences with procurement in verticals that rely on multiple tiers – particularly those with a heavy labor component in the value-add at the lowest levels. The labor aspect means that sourcing from low cost countries inevitably is brought into play. Textiles is one vertical; other industries that also rely heavily on inexpensive labor include small electronics (cell phones, tablets, laptops) assembly, low price point consumer goods (stuffed animals, toys) etc.

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LockPath – Taking a Hybrid GRC and SPM Approach to Conflict Minerals (Part 2)

In the first installment of this series looking at the LockPath approach to Conflict Minerals compliance, we considered the context of the intersection of GRC and supplier management efforts, as well as some of the approaches LockPath takes with their toolset. Continuing, we now move to an overview and analysis of LockPath’s capabilities, exploring how the solution lets companies address high-risk suppliers separately from others.

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LockPath – A Hybrid GRC and SPM Approach to Conflict Minerals (Part 1)

- July 10, 2013 10:25 AM | Categories: Supply Chain Visibility, Supply Risk Management, Technology

Spend Matters recently spoke with LockPath co-founder and CEO Chris Caldwell about his perspective on GRC in general, and in particular LockPath’s recent foray into Conflict Minerals. LockPath, a technology solutions provider, presents a slightly different approach to dealing with the Conflict Minerals (CM) disclosure requirements, which are rapidly breathing down the necks of publicly traded (on US exchanges) companies as well as their suppliers, given the cascading requirements of the legislation.

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Logistics Supply Chain Risk: Are 3PLs Taking on Risk Management for Shippers?

In the procurement sector, most business process outsourcing (BPO) firms aren’t doing very much in the area of supply risk (or broader supply chain risk) compared to more typical indirect procurement management, category management, tactical buying, and related initiatives focused almost entirely on operational and transactional efficiency and/or purchase cost reduction. Granted, supplier management BPO specialists such as Achilles are absolutely working in this space in outsourcing. But for the most part, supply risk is not something that most procurement and supply chain organizations have opted to outsource.

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Construction and Supply Risk: An Accident Waiting to Happen? (Part 1)

My dear stepfather is an old-school litigator at a law firm that’s older than many colleges and universities. He’s an academic and curious sort – more “professor” than lawyer when you talk to him – and the various conversations we’ve had over the years about liability in the construction supply chain (one of his specialty areas) are absolutely fascinating. If I had known him as a child, I might have gone into law, because the business and supply chain issues he deals with are exponentially more fascinating than dealing with most finance-related matters – which led me initially to consulting.

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Exploring A/P and Procurement Best Practices at P&G: Lesson 10 and Conclusion

Lesson #10: Make Your Invisible Hand Visible Key to any procurement journey is the demonstrated ability not only to implement successfully, but also to storyboard that success, celebrate it, self-fund your projects, and finally, promote success to build the procurement brand and support the broader company brand. P&G is no stranger to this, having won the now-defunct Purchasing Magazine’s Medal of Excellence in 2008 and remaining a benchmark company that many others look up to. Of course, some external communication and validation is crucial for the following: Attracting top talent Executing on corporate programs (e.g., working capital improvement) Protecting the […]

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Lost Sourcing Savings: Survey Data Suggests a Crisis (Part 3)

- March 11, 2013 10:05 AM | Categories: Supply Chain Visibility

Demand aggregation may seem tangential to savings implementation. It’s not because of the view such tools can provide into not only SKU/item-level buying history, but also underlying bill of material and related part/material information. This combined visibility can help organizations get procurement, operations, design/engineering and other stakeholders on the same page (as early in the sourcing process as possible).

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Lost Sourcing Savings: Survey Data Suggests a Crisis (Part 2)

- March 6, 2013 10:02 AM | Categories: Supply Chain Visibility

As much we like to jump to some “geek” answer to solve savings and supplier implementation challenges, hopefully you have realized by now that the right technologies alone will not get a procurement organization very far in overcoming the savings implementation hurdles. Indeed, the diversity of challenges surrounding implementing sourcing savings in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing environments run deep across functional and organizational DNA and capabilities. Tackling these first will enable procurement organizations to use the right set of technologies as a glue that binds all of the jigsaw pieces of the rest of the savings implementation equation permanently.

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Lost Sourcing Savings: Survey Data Suggests a Crisis (Part 1)

- March 4, 2013 10:21 AM | Categories: Supply Chain Visibility

Last week, I participated in an ISM webinar highlighting how (and why) procurement organizations fail to implement sourcing savings. During the event, Spend Matters asked the audience (approximately 500 practitioners) a number of poll questions: Does your organization have a formal program to ensure that identified savings through sourcing and supplier management programs become implemented savings numbers? What percentage identified savings do you estimate that your organization successfully implements from sourcing and supplier management events and programs?

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