Category Archives: Supply Chain

Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain – Best Practices and Business Drivers

Spend Matters welcomes this guest article by Elizabeth Ichniowski from The Hackett Group. Many multi-billion dollar companies have been making headlines, announcing important and ambitious sustainability initiatives ultimately designed to reduce total carbon emissions. August saw Coca-Cola, a $46.9 billion company, announce an additional $5 billion investment in its Africa supply chain project. The investment will support new manufacturing lines, cooling and distribution equipment and production, as well as a program called "Source Africa," which will seek to secure more "consistent and sustainable" local ingredients and raw inputs for Coca-Cola from across Africa. Following Coca-Cola's announcement, Kellogg, a $14.8 billion company, announced a more comprehensive program to commit to a sustainable supply chain. Kellogg plans to disclose its greenhouse gas emissions and require its suppliers to do the same, promoting accountability and transparency throughout its own supply chain.

McDonald’s and Deforestation: Supply Chain Traceability vs. Visibility

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We recently started to cover McDonald’s recently announced commitment to eliminating deforestation throughout its supply chain. The announcement pays more than lip service to the opportunity, in part because if will cascade across multiple tiers of suppliers rather than just tier-1 or direct suppliers to the fast food giant. There’s also a number of other rather curious elements to the program that warrant further analysis, one of which is contained within the Supporting Addendum McDonald’s Corporation Commitment on Deforestation that explores the difference between how McDonald’s is defining traceability vs. visibility.

McDonald’s CSR Commitments Go Multi-tier – But is the Fast Food Giant Ready?

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McDonald’s recently announced an important commitment to sustainability by moving to eliminate suppliers that engage in any potential deforestation practices in its supply chain. For quick background reading on the topic, see McDonald’s Corporation Commitment on Deforestation pledge. On the surface, the pronouncement would seem to have corporate social responsibility teeth. I share some of the main points the fast food company has made in its new commitment.

VIVA Las Vegas: Kicking Off Coverage of the ‘VMSA Live 2015’ Contingent Workforce Management Conference

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In keeping with Spend Matters’ growing coverage of the services and contingent workforce management procurement category, I am heading to Las Vegas today, where I’ll be attending and reporting on VMSA Live, a unique conference designed for practitioners in all parts of the rapidly changing contingent workforce (CW) supply chain/ecosystem. I am looking forward to having this opportunity to get an up-to-date, direct read on current CW supply chain and management issues, as they are being discussed and thought about by a cross-section of top practitioners and thought leaders in the field.

Peeling the New Amazon Business Marketplace Onion: Part 1 – Selection, Pricing and Experience

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In our previous post on Amazon Business (an expansion of Amazon Supply), we discussed the basics of the new release and model in its current form. But, there’s much more to this story for procurement professionals – good and bad. After spending time with members of the Amazon team, and “reading through the tea leaves” from both these conversations and other sources, there are some critical factors to consider for buyers, sellers and technology partners when they “dance with the [Seattle] bear.” Some of these are specifically commercial, and others are more strategic (IP protection, for instance). We’ll also highlight some no-brainer short-term opportunities and some more strategic opportunities and issues. For example, Amazon Business is currently an e-marketplace and not an e-commerce platform that facilitates non-intermediated commerce. Yet that doesn’t mean Amazon couldn’t become a true “platform” intermediary leveraging the technical components of the IaaS and PaaS side of the company house. Such a scenario could be closer than many might think (e.g., consider Mechanical Turk in relation to emerging contingent work platforms or think about Amazon Home Services/TaskRabbit applied to fixed-fee B2B services). Anyway, I’m foreshadowing too much. Let’s get started and dive in. In the first part of this PRO research series, we’ll focus on selection, pricing and user experience as well as highlight 10 shortfalls (or “opportunities,” if you will) in the solution stack that warrant serious consideration.

In the Desert on a Horse with No Name – Reflections on the IQNsiders Conference, Talent Pools and the Shimmering Future of Contingent Workforce Management

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IQNavigator’s recent client conference in Phoenix, Arizona, where Jason Busch and I saddled up earlier in the month, provided a perfect environment for attendees' further thinking about the changes, challenges and opportunities that are now emerging in the services procurement category of contingent workforce management. I share my top observations of the event and the current contingent workforce market.

Basware Acquires Procserve – Exclusive Interview with Basware CEO Esa Tihilä

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Last week, Finnish technology firm Basware announced it will acquire Procserve, which is headquartered in London. According to the stock market release on the acquisition news, (Basware is quoted on the Finish stock exchange), “The acquisition price is approximately EUR 25.9 million. In 2014, the net sales of the acquired business amounted to approximately EUR 9.6 million.” Procserve has a strong position as a provider to the UK public sector, particularly with its marketplace technology, having grown from what was initially an early in-house venture into e-procurement by the UK government itself. Esa Tihilä, CEO of Basware, was in London recently to meet and present to the Procserve staff and explain the vision for the future. I was able to catch up with Tihilä as he headed back to Heathrow Airport.

You Say You Want a Revolution, Industrial Supply Chains?

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The future is now. The industrial supply chain is yearning for a revolutionary take on mass integration of big data, analytics, smart sensors, mobile, cloud computing and more. In the new, FREE research download, Supplier Catalogs for Maintenance: The Internet of [Getting] Things by Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer, you will learn how: 1) Smart catalogs can enable MRO process participants to meet their objectives, 2) They can efficiently find what they need to accomplish the task at hand and 3) To maximize productivity, uptime, reliability, profits and return on assets. Download this research paper today!

Study: Extending “Best-By” Dates Could Prevent Millions Worth of Wasted Food

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Changing how companies set “best-by” and “use-by” dates on food products could prevent thousands of pounds of food from going to waste every year, according to a recent study from UK charity WRAP. The study, titled Reducing food waste by extending product life, said as much as 2.6 million tonnes of food goes to waste annually throughout the food supply chain because the product has “expired,” based on the “use-by” or related labels on food products. Yet WRAP estimates that with a one-day increase in product life, about 250,000 tonnes of food waste would be prevented. Additionally, if food retailers extended the use-by dates by just that one day, they could save about $150 million in waste prevention, WRAP found.

Where Does the Services Supply Chain Lag the Physical Supply Chain?

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It is not overly surprising that the services supply chain lags the physical supply chain (i.e., direct materials) in rigorous management processes. But the delta between relative maturity and sophistication of indirect materials (e.g., MRO, IT) procurement management compared with services spending is perhaps even more suggestive of the comparative immaturity of how organizations are managing the lifecycle of services suppliers and services engagements overall compared with other spend types. Check out some of the details Spend Matters research reveals.

US Imports Decline Blamed on West Coast Port Slowdown

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While the worst of the West Coast port disruptions may be over, the damage has already been done this year. Total US container imports sank more than 5% during January and February, compared to the same 2 months in 2014. The drop is attributed almost entirely to the months-long contract disputes and worker slowdowns at the West Coast ports. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach each saw container imports fall 19% and 20%, respectively, according to a new report from trade research firm Zepol.

US Imports Decline Blamed on West Coast Port Slowdown

While the worst of the West Coast port disruptions may be over, the damage has already been done this year. Total US container imports sank more than 5% during January and February, compared to the same 2 months in 2014. The drop is attributed almost entirely to the months-long contract disputes and worker slowdowns at the West Coast ports. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach each saw container imports fall 19% and 20%, respectively, according to a new report from trade research firm Zepol.