We were recently reading a back copy of The Economist and came across a Chevron advertisement that plays up the value of supplier diversity directly with a headline that asserts "big oil should support small business." The individual advertisement is part of a broader campaign intended to make consumers perceive Chevron as an oil and gas firm that also cares about corporate social responsibility (CSR). On a broader level, it also has a message for all of us in procurement and supply chain: what we do has applicability outside of just bottom line savings, risk reduction, compliance, and getting better products to market.
All too often, procurement is caught on the wrong side of the news headlines (supply disruption reduces availability of key products, X number of workers killed in a supplier factory tragedy, etc.) In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Managing Director Jason Busch and VP of Research Thomas Kase discuss how to flip the cards, using procurement in advertising and marketing efforts. They’ll also provide some thoughts on putting a better marketing spin on what procurement actually delivers – not just for the business, but for customers, prospects, investors and even regulators. Marketing and advertising should be based on procurement successes (and no, none of them involve sourcing or cost savings!)more ▸
Spend Matters Premium Content - Ask the Expert Video Replay
Warning – this session is for those who have realized that most actual risk lurks in areas where visibility is poor. We will disappoint anyone just looking for a clever algorithm around analyzing publicly available financial information.
The topics of supply chain risk and supplier management are perennial favorites at Spend Matters. But the truly nifty thing about technology in the supply risk area compared with other procurement and supply chain technologies is that there is massive innovation occurring behind the scenes – as well as incremental and clever progress. Recently, we informally circulated ideas around the office regarding technology vendors that show where supply chain and supplier risk management is headed. Below we list 10 providers that we recommend companies talk to in order to expand their understanding of risk management today and where it is likely to go tomorrow. In this first installment, we will cover SAP, Cortera, Sourcemap, Seal, and Lavante.more ▸
The typical business challenge when you go to market with an RFP centers on getting ideas for what is possible, and identifying suppliers that either already have these ideas or are willing to work with you toward that end. Targeted activities are often services or complex products where quality, service, or the engineered final product will be different from each vendor responding. We've put together some fresh ideas to an old challenge: conveying your needs in ways that a supplier can relate to and that encourages them to put their best foot forward, with a proposal that goes beyond your wants, and addresses your needs as well.more ▸
- Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud offering brings the operational IT benefits of lower cost, greater reliability, improved accessibility, better scalability and agility. What benefits to the procurement process are typically associated with cloud applications?
- What drives companies to move mission-critical supply chain-related applications to the cloud?
- What does Spend Matters see that’s creating the most reluctance in companies or individuals in migrating to cloud applications?
- As individuals, we do banking and investments and enter our credit card numbers to make purchases online. Some even freely share personal information with social media tools. Is there any procurement information that you believe is not appropriate for being stored in a cloud application? If so, can you characterize that information?
In the world of procurement technology (and technology in general for that matter – think the original iPhone and IOs) there are certain solutions that have brought umami qualities and truly helped them stand out from the crowd. Like in cooking, it's a "wow" factor that separates out certain approaches and capabilities from the pack without ever being directly comparable in a feature/function manner to others. We could name names, but it's better to know in the buying process whether the procurement technology has umami. So here's a checklist of questions to ask yourself. And we can't hesitate to also toss in a list of providers we think have the umami qualities -- as well as a couple of solutions that do not (hint: does "15 clicks to buy" ring a bell?) Spend Matters PRO subscribers can click through to read the full text.more ▸
Risk Management – Standing Still, Looking Backwards Trying to Look Forward (and Vendors You Should Get to Know) [PRO]
Consider the phrase “risk management” switching to “compliance management” – a change that would be far more productive for everyone. As part of your supplier onboarding (and ongoing performance management) processes, if you pull a report from a credit agency, look at those numbers, and then check off your list, have you really “managed” any risk? Risk management must change. It is tempting to gaze into the rear view mirror, the warm and fuzzy certainty of audited financials, or at least a cuddly third-party data provider to snuggle with and to point the finger at in case something goes wrong. Just don’t think you’re “managing” any risk. Here are some more robust approaches, along with our vendor recommendations.more ▸
We recently caught up with Ivalua for a long-overdue update. Ivalua’s growth is all the more remarkable given their limited investment in marketing and channels, especially in North America. For example, Ivalua is not formally working with any of the large consultancies or SIs. It is working with boutique firms such as Nitor and Shelby for implementation support, but we think that if Ivalua were to build formal relationships with firms such as Deloitte, KPMG, PWC, and E&Y (which should embrace it), Ivalua’s growth would be even greater.more ▸
Yesterday, we discussed the first five of ten possible strategies to justify a spend analysis initiative to Finance/IT despite the Catch 22 that comes from not knowing the potential value that may come from the initial investment. Today we pick up with recommendations #6-10, ("Help IT...Help You!" to procurement-ize the quote from Jerry Maguire) and close with some final remarks and recommendations. PRO members, click on through. If you're a qualified practitioner who would like access to a free trial of Spend Matters PRO, please don't hesitate to reach out to Sheena: email@example.com ▸
Analytics are all the rage. And spend analysis is Procurement 101. So, getting some reasonable investment shouldn't be a problem, right? Wrong. The problem with analytics is that the identified value is all “option value.” You don't know how much value opportunity you will uncover with the analytics until you actually perform them (and implement the identified opportunities)! This article is designed to help you overcome this Catch 22 problem - we've prepared ten strategies to help you get the ball rolling with IT and Finance (even if the ROI isn't clear).more ▸
As we continue this analysis in the wake of the PwC and Booz combination, we’ll transition our attention to project delivery, measurement/performance, and due diligence. One recommendation which we explore in this area includes holding firms accountable based on a scorecard but not just any scorecard. Pick one that is not generic to consultancy work, instead, it should be specific to the type of work they’re doing. This may include using non-price factors and conducting an overall value scoring approach to measure the overall effectiveness, value, and cost of a given engagement. Such an effort may also include using granular performance outcomes to measure consultant performance -- which we explore in detail in this Spend Matters PRO analysis.more ▸
On my way home from San Antonio, I had a chance to gather some more information from a few seasoned supplier diversity managers that I know – and there’s actually a good deal more to the story than I mentioned in the earlier article. The consolidation is officially around merging several chapters – where, as I mentioned, the San Diego chapter is supposed to join with Arizona, and Las Vegas should sort under Northern California, with the St. Louis area going to Indiana, and Ohio’s two councils becoming one. As it turns out, this is the national NMSDC position, several local councils including the ones listed above have not gone along with the plan – no can do! In fact, they’ve more or less waved a stiff one-fingered New York salute and walked out the door – allegedly taking their corporate members with them. In other words, we have a split under way! This just took place, so the story will undoubtedly take on more wrinkles as it unfolds.more ▸