Tagged Content: L1

Information Spend Matters: Procurement Should Think Twice before Cutting Paid Subscriptions

- July 25, 2014 6:39 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Spend Management

physical newspapers While there are major strategic implications for media companies and society as we turn into a culture of “free” news and information, there is one group of people that still expects to pay for their information: business executives. As companies look to cut costs by shifting from paid subscriptions to free sources of similar news and information, it is likely that they will find stiff resistance from executives. While moving to free news sources might make short-term financial sense, a recent study has found that executives around the world use and trust paid media in a way that produces value for themselves and their companies.

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What Do You Mean, a Coed Sauna? On Sourcing Activity Synchronization and Customers

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 5.03.41 PM Art van Bodegraven, managing principal of Van Bodegraven Associates and founding principal of Discovery Executive Services, is back with another essay for Spend Matters. As we look for better ways to integrate and synchronize sourcing and procurement activities intelligently within the greater supply chain, it is easy to become confused about who and where the customers are. You know, the ones we are supposed to be delighting? This is a burning question in both the B2B and the B2C worlds. And the obvious answer is not always the complete answer. For example, when a company's customers are the ones actually paying the bills, and the sales and marketing mission is to get them to buy as much as can be rationalized, plus some extra “just in case,” we cannot afford to overlook sales and marketing as an internal customer, whose needs and demands we must at least recognize.

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The Love of Pulp — and How to Get the Wall Street Journal on the Cheap

- July 18, 2014 10:06 AM | Categories: Commentary, Travel

Man with newspaper on ordinary bench Living in the Atlanta area, I have a certain travel bias in favor of Delta – can’t be helped – so I rack up SkyMiles at a good clip. And here’s the trick – you use your miles to pay for the WSJ. Ok, so it’s not entirely free but comes pretty close. Delta has changed partners for this over the years. Right now it is a company called Newspaper Rewards, and the deal has only gotten better since I got my last subscription. I had to hand over 2,700 miles for about nine months (I think – I renewed back in July last year, but the copies keep coming…) of just the print edition. Now the deal is even better – pay 2,417 miles for 39 weeks of the print and electronic editions. And what's more -- having a newspaper subscription doubles as a weather forecast.

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Ariba the Avid Patent Collector: Analyzing Three That Should Keep Providers Up at Night

Patent Office Intellectual property rights and patents are great assets for many companies and procurement are at least partial stewards of them. They are often attractive assets of course (even from just a sales/marketing perspective), but they are sometimes open to legal disputes. In the case of procurement solutions, competing vendors have material legal exposure – in part because there are so many competitors in the sector that have filed for protections with the US Patent Office.

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Purchases: Of Urban Pride and Prejudice

- July 11, 2014 2:26 AM | Categories: Commentary

pizza on pavement For many years, the Gay Pride Parade in the heat of the summer marked the culmination of this openness. People of various backgrounds and orientations could be seen cheering on the parade as it worked its way down the local street. Everyone was respectful (granted, there are some outfits – or lack thereof in certain spots – that I’d rather my children not see). But the respect extended to being respectful of the neighborhood, including cleaning up one’s beer cans and vodka bottles after the party. In recent years, however, the Pride parade has marked an opportunity for every manner of troublemaker to trash Lakeview, leaving garbage and pavement pizza (no, not the literal kind) for all to see and be nauseated by for days after the event.

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Using Technology to Transform Sourcing and Supplier Management: Build or Buy?

- July 10, 2014 2:23 AM | Categories: Guest Post, Sourcing, Supplier Management

Construction worker The first two posts of this series by Directworks' Michael Cross looked at the people and process aspects that manufacturers must consider as they start working on sourcing and supplier management transformation. Once the hiring, skills development, and process improvements are on the right track, it is time to turn to technology. If you are a manufacturer, true sourcing and supplier management transformation requires tools that enable automation, integration, standardization (but with configurability), collaboration, and real-time analytics. Email and spreadsheets cannot be your primary system, and general-purpose e-sourcing tools cannot handle the complexities of direct materials sourcing. A technology solution is absolutely required. The question is: will you build it or buy it?

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Transforming Sourcing and Supplier Management: People, Process, and Technology

- July 8, 2014 2:23 AM | Categories: Innovation, Sourcing, Supplier Management

Work space The positions of procurement, sourcing, supply chain, and supplier management have become very strategic. There should be no more order taking, and your team needs to be able to show that they add significant value. Your staff must be good communicators who can manage upward and across business functions. They need to be very good at project management and data analysis. In addition, there are three specific qualities you need to look for and develop. This is the first in a three-part series by Directworks' Michael Cross to be published this week.

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Comments from Readers: Independence Day Edition

- July 4, 2014 2:46 AM | Categories: Commentary

Pig Welcome to another edition of “Comments from Readers,” where we take the most recent and interesting comments and give them a proper shout-out in a blog post. In honor of July 4th, today’s comments are particularly independent – or, if you prefer, disagreeable. And the post topics run the gamut from education to fairness in supplier management to the price of limes. Read on and chime in!

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Ranking Supply Chain Resilience and Risk: The U.S. is Rather Mediocre

American horse The new 2014 FM Global Resilience Index, issued by FM Global, a leading U.S.-based property risk insurer, along with Oxford Metrica, an analytics and advisory firm focused on risk analysis, is an exciting development that C-level executives not just in the procurement area, but also marketing, IT, and overall corporate management will likely find useful for assessing supply chain risk. This newly created index takes a data-driven approach to looking at countries where firms and their suppliers are located and assesses these operational bases on three key dimensions that provide these areas both stability and the ability to recover from potential disruptive events - whether they be caused by preventable or non-preventable forces. Even looking beyond a firm’s inbound supply to the sites involved with both distribution paths of its products and the locations of end-customers, the index can allow companies to examine the relative risk of critical parts of its entire value chain from a location perspective.

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Google, Skybox, and Your Suppliers

Space Kudos to The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims, who did a fantastic job putting into perspective how Google’s acquisition of satellite imaging company Skybox could truly change everything in regards to how we monitor competitors, suppliers, and just about any specific location under the sun (provided it’s not a classified site). The article frames the acquisition by noting that “by 2016 or so, Skybox will be able to take full images of the earth twice a day, at a resolution that until last week was illegal to sell commercially – all with just half a dozen satellites.” Further, by 2018, once Skybox’s planned 24 satellites are in orbit, Google will “be imaging the entire Earth at a resolution sufficient to capture, for example, real-time video of cars driving down the highway.”

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“This Is Are Story” – the Value of Quality Education and Competition

- June 20, 2014 2:44 AM | Categories: Friday Rant, Innovation, Public Sector

Class record book You might have come across the photo of Paul Robeson High School's senior prom sign, which read "This Is Are Story." The school is located in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s notorious South Side, probably one of the worst neighborhoods in the country and certainly in the Chicago area. This high school is of course part of the dysfunctional Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system. How bad is it? Well, four out of 10 freshmen don’t graduate. Among those that do graduate and then go on to college, over 90 percent have to take remedial courses since they are not up to basic math and general school work. Note that the average CPS teacher is paid a solid $76,000 per year. And in the most recent teachers’ union deal, teachers received a salary hike of 17 percent over the next three years. That’s over 5 percent per year, well over inflation. Consider that the typical Chicago household earnings are around $47,000 per year and in Englewood the typical household earnings are only half as much. In other words, the dismal failure is not because of insufficient teacher compensation. So, what is it?

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Tungsten’s Completed Acquisition of FIBI Bank Makes the Front Page of the FT

- June 18, 2014 2:22 AM | Categories: Industry News, M&A, Trade Financing

_DSC3068 Tungsten made the headlines – the front page in fact – of the Financial Times’ Companies and Markets section: “Tungsten Bank sets its sights on providing small business finance.” The FT covered the news that Tungsten had completed its planned acquisition of FIBI Bank, which will now be renamed Tungsten Bank. The FT writes that “the move means Tungsten will not only be able to process billions in suppliers’ invoices for large companies such as General Electric, but also advance cash to suppliers that need money immediately … [through] a cheap form of funding in the form of bank deposits.”

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