Supply Networks Content

Community-based Procurement — Get a Buy with Some Help from Your Friends (Part 1) [PRO]

The Oxford dictionary defines “community” as “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common” and secondarily as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.” Procurement practitioners inherently have kinship with each other based on shared experiences, pain, rewards and knowledge/know-how. Being in the tribe means you can learn from this collective intelligence and apply it individually and locally.

But, what are the best ways for practitioners to gain the wisdom of the community? Certainly peer networking events (in person or virtual) are popular, but they can be time-intensive and difficult to justify on a hard ROI. Training, memberships, conferences, subscriptions and other discretionary expenses are the first to get slashed during budget cutting. The other related issue is that the knowledge being shared is scattershot rather than a focused knowledge transfer that delivers capabilities that will pay off toward some outcome.

Community-focused outcomes can take many forms (e.g., supplier diversity, sustainability, supply chain resiliency, innovation, quality, etc.), and these communities can have many “community owners” (e.g., associations, service providers, B2B networks, tech vendors and even practitioner organizations themselves creating communities with suppliers and other ecosystem partners), but nearly all procurement folks have a common goal: cost reduction.

If cost reduction is the goal, there are many levers to pull, but good old-fashioned buyer leverage through demand aggregation never seems to go out of fashion. The notion of collective buying power is certainly not a new concept. Agricultural buying cooperatives have existed for hundreds of years. And group purchasing organizations (GPOs) are certainly a tried-and-true strategy for procurement organizations, especially those outside the Fortune 500. We’ve written a lot about GPOs, and there are plenty to choose from that provide not just aggregated volume pricing, but also varying community-based services such as events, benchmarking and partner services.

While GPOs are great, the beast known as “digital” is eating, well, everything! So, we have to look at where tech providers are playing here. And even the idea of digitally enabled GPOs isn’t new. Ever heard of MobShop or Mercata? They tried to do automated demand aggregation almost 20 years ago and are now a footnote in the dot com dustbin. Even ICG Commerce (now Accenture) had a horizontal e-marketplace with a GPO component to it before it transitioned to its BPO model. Back then, Accenture and EDS formed ePValue and CoNext, respectively, as consortia buying groups within their client bases, but that didn’t pan out either.

Times have changed, though, and newer technology and business models are gaining traction. Back in that era, I was bullish on digitally enabled group buying and, more broadly, large buy-side app vendors harnessing the power of their collective installed base for economic benefit. I bemoaned that “enterprise application vendors with large installed bases are not bringing the leverage of group purchasing to their communities,” and posited that “many of these vendors have active vertical and horizontal user communities that could be leveraged into powerful group purchasing entities. Some vendors might choose to use as an attractive differentiator while others could offer it as a value-added service.”

Yet, while I’m happy to see so many evolving options in the market right now, there still are some areas for buyers to consider in building out their own ecosystem capabilities that may leverage various types of digitally enabled solution/service providers.

In this SpendMatters article, I’ll address the following:

* Evaluating practical group-buying options available in the market
* Looking beyond traditional GPO models for community-based value
* Examining how companies like Honda and Toyota use a community-based approach with their suppliers
* Broadening the focus from “community-based sourcing” to “collective intelligence” in procurement as a means to perform more scalable knowledge transfer than just traditional community approaches
* Examining our SolutionMap criteria element called “Community Knowledge and Collective Intelligence”
* Providing a snapshot into a serious multi-pronged effort that one vendor in industry is pursuing in this area — and should be considered the pacesetter

Without further ado, let’s jump into it ...

SAP Ariba: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

procurement software

SAP Ariba was arguably the first true source-to-pay (S2P) suite vendor. Back when Emptoris was going strong (pre-IBM) and Coupa was an open-source e-procurement application, SAP Ariba had already assembled various source-to-pay pieces from organic development and acquisition. This suggests it was the first vendor (at least with any scale and depth) to lay claim to having full coverage across sourcing, spend analysis, supplier management, contract lifecycle management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay — even if all of the components were not perfectly integrated at the time.

But how does SAP Ariba stack up today from a source-to-pay perspective?

This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines SAP Ariba’s solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up the vendor’s end-to-end offering. It provides insight into which areas SAP Ariba is strong in (and where it lags), and how competitive individual modules compare with best-in-class alternatives. It also explores how SAP Ariba competes in three “suite” markets — procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technology (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) — in comparison to SAP Ariba’s broader peer group, including Jaggaer, Coupa, Ivalua, Oracle, SynerTrade and Zycus.

Overall, SAP Ariba performed admirably across several categories within the Q4 2018 SolutionMap and on an overall basis, with particularly strong scoring for the P2P areas and supplier management. Its long history in the space, comprehensive offering, recent enhancements and close SAP linkages make it a “must-shortlist” vendor in a range of technology selection scenarios, and its status as one of the providers “to beat” is indeed supported by its frequently above-the-benchmark functional capabilities and notable UX/UI improvements. Moreover, its targeted investments in technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning illustrate that it is not resting on its accomplishments to date.

For this analysis, our report uses the aggregate results of nine SolutionMaps from Q4 2018 (the most recent in our quarterly update cycle), comparing a total of 58 solution providers across more than 600 granular functional benchmarks, which are aggregated into more manageable, tiered buckets for the purpose of this analysis. (Those procurement organizations leveraging SolutionMap for a software selection process gain insight into comparative performance at a significantly more granular level of detail that maps business requirements to functional performance.) The SolutionMap analyst ratings used in this analysis are based on more than 3,000 hours of live product demonstrations and validated vendor RFI responses.

In subsequent briefs exploring Coupa, Ivalua, Oracle and others, we will take a similar approach to analyzing source-to-pay providers, breaking down where end-to-end platforms excel (or fall below the functional benchmark) on module and suite bases. Previously, we covered Jaggaer’s suite performance: Jaggaer ONE: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis).

McDonald’s Supply Chain May Set Bar on Sourcing Antibiotic-Free Beef, Expert Says

cows

In December, McDonald’s Corp. said it aims to rid its global beef supply of antibiotics, putting a new fast-food trend on the radar, and in an interview, a professor details what it takes to implement the supply chain shifts that McDonald’s is seeking and how that might affect the fast-food industry. On its website, McDonald’s says that although the company does not raise its own animals, its supply chain includes beef and dairy cattle, pigs and chickens. “We understand and acknowledge the significant responsibility we have to help ensure these animals experience good welfare throughout their lives. Good welfare is also necessary to guarantee high-quality products,” the company states.

Supplier Management: Dozens of Markets in One (Market Introduction) [PRO]

supplier management

The supplier management technology and services market is one of the broadest, most complex and mysterious to those who try to make sense of it — and take advantage of the many solutions that it offers. Spend Matters tracks well over 100 providers in this market, and they fall into more than a dozen individual areas. Some vendors and services firms offer solutions that address multiple components, but not a single provider comes close to offering a comprehensive solution.

This Spend Matters PRO Research brief explains and segments the supplier management market into five solution categories: core supplier process and data enablement; supplier and supply chain risk; community/network; supplier and worker/contractor; and disruptive enablement.

Supplier Relationship Management Needs a Jolt of Technology, State of Flux’s SRM Summit Finds

Procurement has made significant strides in supporting supplier relationship management initiatives, but poor investment in technology could limit the potential benefits those programs can deliver in the years to come, according to State of Flux, a consulting firm that specializes in SRM and which held its annual SRM summit in Chicago on Oct. 23. Over the decade that State of Flux has monitored SRM maturity, procurement organizations have made considerable improvements in several areas — but not in adopting and using technology dedicated to SRM.

Why Platforms and Source-to-Pay Networks Need Finance

More and more procurement software platforms and source-to-pay networks are receiving RFPs from clients requesting way to help improve working capital. Companies, even middle-market companies, have global supply chains. Working capital is important and could manifest itself in the form of yield management, ROI and balance sheet improvement. This is a box on the RFP that vendors need checked. But the path is not easy.

Manufacturers Are Moving Toward Digital Supply Networks, Despite Barriers

Manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits digital supply networks offer, but implementation of the technology still lags, according to a new study conducted by Deloitte and the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI). In contrast to a traditional supply chain, a digital supply network is a “flexible, interconnected matrix that allows data and information to move non-linearly to maximize efficiency to meet changing consumer and market demands,” the study authors write.

Extending Procurement Information Architecture to Provider Ecosystems (Part 2) [Plus+]

Let’s recap where we ended up with conclusion of the first installment in this series. A range of application vendors are trying to build out native platforms or sit on top of others flexibly. For example, Coupa hedges its bets by building on top of AWS, but also partnering with IBM (on SmartCloud) and showing up on SuiteApp.com. Providers are also trying to develop healthy B2B ecosystems that are creating B2B activity and, as a result, “liquidity.” There’s no way to better monetize that liquidity than from B2B e-commerce networks for source-to-pay (S2P) on the buy side and both attract-to-order and order-to-cash on the sell side. All this talk of liquidity reminds us of a different time and place in the procurement and supply chain world: the “marketplace era” from the late 1990s and early 2000s. This time, however, there are many technology differences that will make the vision of liquidity a reality faster than many will imagine. But not without a key application rub that should be top of mind for all procurement and IT organizations.

10 Supply Chain Areas Needing Gene Therapy: Supply Network Information Models — The Missing DNA in the Digital Supply Chain (Part 4) [PRO]

dna

In the previous post in this series, I began outlining 10 supply chain provider areas that could benefit from the infusion of a robust supply network information model. In this final installment in the series, I highlight the remaining provider areas, the convergence in supply chain intelligence and analytics and look at x potential providers that span multiple adjacent services and solutions sectors in business process outsourcing (BPO), management consulting, supply market intelligence, business intelligence, content management and others.

10 Supply Chain Areas Needing Gene Therapy: Supply Network Information Models — The Missing DNA in the Digital Supply Chain (Part 3) [PRO]

dna

In these final two installments of this series on supply network information models, I will outline the gaps in 10 different supply-side process areas and technology solution types that would greatly benefit from supporting the key attributes of these models. More importantly, by tying each of these areas to a common robust information model, they’ll be able to integrate with each other more easily and support the needed process integrations. I’ll also discuss the extent that supply chain information networks like E2open, GT Nexus (Infor), GHX, Elemica, Elementum and others can play a key role in building the digital DNA needed to support modern supply networks.

Extended Supply Network Information Models: The Missing DNA in the Digital Supply Chain (Part 2 — Why it Matters) [Plus+]

dna

In part one of this series, I wrote that “a supply network data model must live at the heart of any supply chain” and how “the required data model implicit in running a true global supply network is as fundamental as the data model change required to move from an on-premise traditional enterprise class application to a true SaaS multi-tenant application”. In this follow-up analysis, I want to share my rationale for this argument and what it means to practitioners and providers — and the blurring of those two roles as their worlds converge. The premise is simple. If a manufacturer is going to operate a global, multitier supply network, and if that manufacturer wants to digitize that supply chain for improved efficiency and effectiveness, then it should possess an IT system that has an underlying data model that mirrors the physical network. More specifically, a supply network information model should have five distinct characteristics.

Extended Supply Network Information Models: The Missing DNA in the Digital Supply Chain (Part 1 — A Backstory)

supply networks

A supply network data model must live at the heart of any supply chain, whether that model is used for projects in supply network design, bid optimization, supply risk management, supply market intelligence or other areas. The problem is that no single solution or even class of solution offers up this robust data model that can be used in so many areas.