L2 Content

What Procurement’s Talking About at the Thanksgiving Table This Year

Spend Matters has very special powers.

We were able to travel into the future and become a fly on the dining room wall, joining several procurement practitioners gathered around the Thanksgiving table.

What is Procurement mad about this year? What are their concerns? What do they want to see changed? Here are some highlights of Procurement’s Thanksgiving 2017 discussion.

A Tale of Two Case Studies: Centralizing and Getting Spend Under Management in Fast Food and CPG

Centralization of sourcing operations and overall spend has literally been at the center of debate in a number of ways for procurement practitioners.

A few months ago, our editor at large Sydney Lazarus answered a reader’s question on the very topic. In her reporting on whether centralizing or decentralizing sourcing structures of procurement organizations is the way to go, she wrote that “company size, location, expansion rate, purchasing category and industry are all factors that affect whether a more centralized or more decentralized structure is better.”

Several of those factors played into two case studies from BuyerQuest focusing on how a large quick-service restaurant corporation and a CPG organization used e-procurement technology to confront their centralization challenges.

The Specter of Amazon Rx

Shares of Rite-Aid and CVS initially plummeted on rumors of Amazon’s possible move into pharmacy. Surprisingly, however, their stocks prices have recovered of late, trading places with major medical distribution companies McKesson and Cardinal Health. With rumors of Amazon lurking, it was apparently their turn, as McKesson and Cardinal share prices have recently hit the skids. First grocery, an $800 billion business, then drugs, about a $500 billion business, and now medical products?

More on Healthcare’s Saline Bag “Shortage”

The saline bag “shortage” in healthcare has been going on for a few years. I’ve got some strong opinions on the matter, as I have had the pleasure of interviewing the assigned category managers at the nation’s largest healthcare GPOs, health system sourcing professionals and executives at Baxter, B.Braun and Hospira, the nation’s three largest manufacturers and suppliers of the product. It turns out that there are very few resin producers that make the type and grade used to manufacture saline bags. Not only did these producers cut production, but they’ve increased their pricing by more than 300% in the last year. Why?

The Amazon Effect: Competition for Procurement Talent

No one and no thing is now safe from what is known as the “Amazon effect.” As Bezos’s behemoth continues to expand in multiple locations, including the addition of the impending HQ2, it is disrupting hiring and retention efforts in all business functions. Top procurement talent is especially susceptible, as it’s hard not to be seduced by arguably the No. 1 supply chain company in the world, with a Gartner Supply Chain Masters honor to boot. This should rightfully strike fear in leaders of procurement organizations.

New Research: Using Collaboration in Bringing Competitive Advantage to Your Supply Chain

If your organization wants to create competitive advantages through its supply chains, collaboration is crucial, according to new research from the Global Supply Chain Institute at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. The findings were presented in a white paper, End-to-End Supply Chain Collaboration Best Practices, written by Mike Burnette, managing director of the institute. Burnette and other supply chain faculty at the university interviewed 17 leading companies in eight industries to determine the best practices that help organizations achieve success through collaboration.

Cobalt and the Sustainability of Electric Vehicles

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Nick Peksa, opportunities director at Mintec.

Recently I have been reading a number of case studies based on some of the world’s leading sustainable and socially responsible firms, ranging from Unilever’s work in Brazil and Danone’s work in India to Vodafone and their mobile payment systems in Kenya. One of the other favorite firms for academic research is Tesla, with its “greener than thou” philosophy. Delving a little deeper into the mechanics of batteries, however, the word “cobalt” rang a number of alarm bells.

What Does The Age of Digitalization Mean for the Travel Services Buyer?

services sector

The role of today’s corporate travel manager or category manager is more demanding than ever. The manager must not only take responsibility for the travel budget, be a skilled negotiator, understand technology, leverage data and manage travel policies, contracts and compliance, but also deliver value to the organization. And of course, they must also keep the corporate traveller safe and be risk-aware. How can practitioners prepare to handle all of this and more?

Supplier Rationalization — Revisited

category management

Rationalizing a supply base is typically defined as picking the right suppliers and the right number of them, but in common practice, it has too often come to mean shrinking or consolidating a supply base in the name of securing more strategic relationships. We tend to forget that supplier rationalization can also mean increasing the number of suppliers used, routinely changing your mix of suppliers or expanding and then reducing the number and types of suppliers you select in support of changing organizational objectives, tests, hunches and the desire to accelerate the transfer of innovation.

How to Incorporate Diversity and Inclusion Practices Into Contingent Labor Programs

supplier diversity

Many organizations struggle with how to incorporate D&I practices within their contingent workforce. In response to concerns regarding co-employment, buying organizations tend to keep non-employees at arm’s length. But given the increasing number of contingent workers in the workforce mix, as well as the central role they are playing in more organizations, one could argue that a different approach should be considered in acknowledgement of the changing dynamics.

What Procurement Needs to Know About the High-End Gig Economy

consultant

Do you have a clear idea of what the gig economy is? That was the question that Andrew Karpie, research director of services and labor procurement at Spend Matters, posed on a recent webinar that he hosted with Jody Miller, chief executive of Business Talent Group (BTG). The way attendees answered may surprise you.

Market Speculation Puts Soybean Oil Prices on Roller Coaster Ride

GMO

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jonathan Stokes, market analyst at Mintec.

We, as analysts, steer the market more than we like to think. A prediction or forecast one way or another can be a significant factor in driving commodity pricing. During the summer, the USDA did exactly this, surprising markets when they forecast higher US soybean production, despite adverse weather conditions throughout the crop development period. So when market prices of soybean and soybean oil shot up at the beginning of October due to the downward revisions of USDA production estimates, what went wrong?