Supply Chain Visibility Content

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Supplier Risk & Ethics Analysis: Time to Get Started

For many buying firms, the quality of goods and services are contingent on their suppliers. Suppliers can indirectly impact brand perception from business to consumer. While delivered goods can be inspected through quantitative metrics, there are a host of other metrics that firms should track related to their vendors, including risk and ethics.

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Mid-Market Procurement — The Pitfalls of Current Approaches

procurement

Mid-market companies are at a significant disadvantage when compared to larger corporations — a key finding from Simfoni’s analysis of its customers’ procurement and savings delivery capabilities in mid-market companies.

It’s OK to obsess about top-line growth, but what lies beneath is a supply chain that eats into profit since it is not controlled and optimized. Mid-market companies are missing out on at least 5-10 percentage EBITDA points achieved through procurement effectiveness that their larger corporate peers routinely extract.

So why the disadvantage? Essentially the mid-market procurement challenge can be broken into three areas: resources, technology, leverage. Let’s look at each.

The Evolving Power in Spend Visibility

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from John Callan, Senior Director at Coupa.

It’s no secret that businesses struggle with full visibility when it comes to spend management, with many still believing that it simply isn’t possible to find a comprehensive solution that is easy to implement but will also deliver value. Time and time again, we see the price that businesses pay when they lose control over the procurement process.

Spend that is fragmented across multiple categories and suppliers often leads to payments being incorrectly classified — or not classified at all — due to inconsistent and disjointed spend processes. This can render payments invisible, easily becoming the pocket where procurement fraud is concealed.

There are also many operational considerations. When spend is miscategorized, it results in poor, inaccurate data, potentially damaging the credibility of the procurement process. Business leaders need more comprehensive, effective and data-driven business spend management (BSM) solutions.

AI in Supplier Management: Tomorrow (Part 2) [PRO]

complex sourcing

In Part 1 of AI in Supplier Management: Tomorrow, we began our discussion of some of the AI-enabled capabilities that you can expect to find in tomorrow's supplier management platforms, where we define AI as assisted intelligence (because, as we have discussed, there is no true artificial intelligence in enterprise platforms today and there won't be tomorrow either). AI is a buzzword, not a reality. But we don't need true AI to achieve software that can radically increase our productivity. Reaching assisted intelligence will add multiples to our efficiency and effectiveness.

In our last article, we discussed how tomorrow's supplier management platforms will offer smart, automatic, supplier profile update (suggestions) — taking the headaches out of profile maintenance that results in most profiles being out of date in a supplier management system shortly after they are created; market-based supplier intelligence that is more in line and reflective with reality — and not just the experience of an anomalous customer subset; and real-time relationship monitoring that paints a relatively full picture of the relationship, not just a point-based performance picture.

So what else will tomorrow's platforms do to help you focus more on the strategic side of supplier management? Let’s look at the next three areas:

— Automated resolution plan creation, monitoring and adjustment
— Automated risk mitigation strategy identification
— Optimized real-time resource re-alignment

Visibility is Key to Managing CSR Risks in Indirect Spend, EcoVadis Says (Part 3)

Indirect spend often gets overlooked by businesses because the outcomes from buying those goods and services are not the company’s core product, which relies on direct spend. But the potential for lost money and increased risk is so great that businesses must find a way to manage indirect spend.

“The broad reach of indirect spend, coupled with a lack of visibility creates risk, so the key to gaining visibility and managing this risk is to prioritize indirect spend management within an organization and start assessing indirect supplier performance in a formalized way,” said EcoVadis, a risk mitigation provider that offers business sustainability ratings and intelligence.

EcoVadis joined us for a Q&A to explore the next steps to figure out how to identify weak points, prioritize areas to defend against and create a plan for mitigating risks.

Are Supplier Relationships Evolving with Technology for Better or Worse?

As the digital transformation of procurement matures, relationships with suppliers are changing — in good ways and in challenging ways. To give us a close-up view of developments in supplier relationship management, we did a Q&A with Daryl Hammett, the general manager of ConnXus, a provider whose SRM solution helps buyers and suppliers work together to be efficient, responsible and sustainable.

Basware Connect 2019 Chicago: ‘Visible Commerce’ — A Look at the Future of Visibility Itself

Two speeches this week at Basware’s Connect 2019 customer event in Chicago gave glimpses into the future of how procurement technology can make businesses faster, stronger and more efficient — as well as make them better businesses for people and societies.

To do that, businesses will need to harness all the data that’s being generated by devices, apps, the internet of things (IoT) and other technology to offer unprecedented visibility into all transactions — a new concept called “visible commerce,” said Eric Wilson, senior VP and general manager of North America for Basware, a global leader in networked source-to-pay solutions, e-invoicing and financing services.

“Visible commerce is believing that technology and humanity are interdependent and not in competition with each other.”

After EcoVadis’ Sustain 2019: Product Strategy, Roadmap and Prospect/Customer Analysis (Part 3) [PRO]

EcoVadis, which provides vendor ratings and scorecarding for sustainability and broader CSR metrics as a component of an integrated “many-to-many” supplier network and platform, has an aggressive product roadmap to expand how users interact with and leverage the supplier intelligence, which is at the very core of its value proposition.

Today, in this final installment in this Spend Matters’ PRO series based on our analysis from the EcoVadis Sustain 2019 customer event, we turn our attention to the future direction of where EcoVadis is expanding its capabilities. We also include customer/prospect recommendations.

In previous Spend Matters PRO coverage on EcoVadis, we offered a recap and update on the provider’s most recent capabilities and solution footprint — and an analysis of where EcoVadis fits in the broader supplier management and supply chain risk management landscape.

Resilinc EventWatch: Top Risks to Supply Chains in 2018 Were Extreme Weather, M&A Activity, Brexit and Explosions

With deadline questions looming about Brexit and high levels of uncertainty about U.S.-China trade negotiations still hanging over global markets, risks to supply chains may already seem well above average. As reported by Resilinc’s EventWatch 2018 annual report, however, some of the greatest risks to supply chain operation may be something that stakeholders don’t realize.

After EcoVadis’ Sustain 2019: Company Update, Solution Overview and Technology Enhancements (Part 1) [PRO]

sustainable

This week, Spend Matters founder and analyst team member Jason Busch represented the Spend Matters team at the EcoVadis Sustain 2019 customer conference in Paris, where about 500 attendees gathered.

EcoVadis, a sustainability/CSR solutions provider that combines ratings content (CSR focused) and a technology platform, is not so dissimilar from providers such as Avetta and ISNetworld, albeit that it focuses on vendor sustainability practices and metrics rather than general compliance/credentialing (e.g., insurance validation) or “pre-qualification” for health and safety.

But like these related firms, EcoVadis is able to take advantage of platform economics (network-based economics) in its business model by qualifying and rating suppliers a single time — with yearly updates — and then leveraging this information across the procurement community. What is special about all of these models is that unlike pure-play technology solutions (e.g., supplier information management) or even general risk management offerings, they tend more toward “winner take all” markets because suppliers carry their credentials with them from customer to customer.

This approaches provides value for all parties and makes switching potential solution providers such as EcoVadis more painful (when alternatives even exist), creating an incentive for buyers and suppliers to remain using the system on a permanent basis. But unlike Avetta (which is growing but still must compete with Achilles and ISNetworld), the only material competition that EcoVadis faces — in a single industry/vertical only — is via the highly specialized, not-for-profit Sedex.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO update provides an overview of what is new at EcoVadis. Today, we provide an update on EcoVadis (overall) and explore its recent solution update and overall platform. An introduction to EcoVadis can be found in our PRO Vendor Snapshot coverage: Background & Solution Overview, Product Strengths & Weaknesses, and Competitive & Summary Analysis.

Icertis Blockchain Framework: A Glimpse of CLM’s Expanding Footprint into the Supply Chain

blockchain

Icertis recently announced it has developed, in partnership with client Mercedes-Benz, a blockchain framework to address multi-tier supply chain visibility challenges. Called the Icertis Blockchain Framework, the new offering allows companies to deploy a permissioned, standards-based blockchain (using one of the ecosystem standards through Hyperledger) within the core ICM platform on Microsoft Azure, as well as record specific transactions based on rules and metadata. Icertis developed the framework as an initiative within Mercedes-Benz Cars to better enforce requirements for CSR and compliance obligations without compromising contract confidentiality.

The Future of Procurement is Mobile — Here’s Why

SciQuest

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Aman Mann, CEO of Procurify.

Even though procurement is actually evolving, it’s still playing catch-up. E-procurement was surely a step in the right direction, but in its current state, it’s still fundamentally flawed. On-boarding suppliers that have their products incorrectly catalogued for instance is still a common headache, and then there’s the considerable amount of time wasted on approval chains.

But what if it was more efficient?

Currently, there are only a few mobile procurement solutions on the market, but they’re slowly changing specific tasks in the procurement process, such as automating purchase orders.