Plus or PRO Content

A Critical Look at Category Management (Part 2) [Plus+]

category management

Editor's note: This Spend Matters Plus brief is a refresh of our 2013 series on category management, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. 

As we wrote in Part 1 of this series, category management (“CatMan”) has been perhaps the most powerful sourcing tool in the procurement armoury for some years. But 20 years on from the beginnings of its widespread adoption in the general procurement world (it has earlier origins in retail), we think it s a good time to review the state of CatMan and ask some fundamental questions. Is it still relevant? Has it outlived its usefulness? Does it need radical updating? Or is it still fit for purpose?

LexisNexis Entity Insight: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

LexisNexis Entity Insight (LNEI) is a modern, “self-service” supplier management solution that the global data/market intelligence giant built to satisfy increasingly surging market demand for all things supplier risk management. Designed as a cost-effective, off-the-shelf solution, LNEI helps procurement, finance and supply chain organizations manage risk across their own supply networks, regardless of how nested or complex.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores LNEI’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering LNEI. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List: August 2018 [Plus+]

Welcome to the August edition of Spend Matters’ monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List,” available to Plus and PRO subscribers.

While the months of May and June were on the cool side, we saw a return to hot technology and innovation temperatures in July. Perhaps it’s extreme weather patterns? CW/S climate change?

Indeed, new hotspots could be found across the entire space, from the established core of traditional suppliers and intermediaries to new solutions that either complement or challenge the core (or both). While there has been friction and overheating on the demand side, developments on the supply side have also been heating up, with the mercury rising in places across the globe.

Now that our warmup is complete, let’s begin our first routine.

A Critical Look at Category Management [Plus+]

category management

Editor's note: This Spend Matters Plus brief is a refresh of our 2013 series on category management, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. 

CatMan’s main impact was in the indirect spending area. Procurement in a manufacturing environment was run on what we might call a category management basis for many years, even if we didn’t call it that, probably since the beginnings of the function. I was the “Raw Materials (EU controlled materials)” buyer for Mars in my first functional role, then Head of Packaging Buying. We would now see those as first a fairly junior then a more senior CatMan role, but that was well before the days of consultants such as Kearney and McKinsey popularising the approach and the associated terminology.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 5d — Analytics Components) [PRO]

data analytics

Analytics is an essential component of effective program management. All processes within procurement depend on analytics, and the more individual tasks become integral threads in a tapestry of activity, the greater the value that the analysis of data brings to an organization.

But obtaining such value requires a software platform that supports the program, which in turn requires certain functional components to be successful. In this installment of our ongoing series on program management, we define the analytics solution components needed to facilitate both initiative identification and initiative support.

The Game of Professional Services: Procurement vs. Providers [Plus+]

Editor's note: This Spend Matters Plus brief is a refresh of our 2012 series on buying professional services, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. 

Procurement executives are often their own worst enemy in this context. Too often they measure their success purely on some hourly or daily rates achieved from the professional services provider. So the negotiating goal becomes a simple one. Your list price for a lawyer with around three years post-qualification experience is $300 an hour – we want a rate of $200 an hour. Or last year we paid £2000 a day for a managing consultant — how much discount will you give me this year?

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 5c — Analytics Examples) [PRO]

Analytics

Perhaps more so than any other category of procurement software, spend analysis tools, used either as a standalone product or as part of a broader procurement suite, succeed the most when they bring together visibility and insights in ways that helps users take action. That’s why we’re focusing on analytics as we continue our series on how procurement can support broader enterprise program management. In our last installment of this series, we dove into various spend and supply analytics that support key enterprise programs. Today’s installment explores six of those analytics areas and provides examples worthy of consideration.

Building the Business Case for Managing Suppliers With Technology: 7 ROI Levers (Part 2 — Supply Risk Management) [PRO]

risk

Thus far in this series we have examined six levers procurement organizations can pull, both at the front-end of the supplier lifecycle and those in the active phase of supplier management, to build a business case for managing suppliers with technology. In the case of the former, we focused on business case components for supplier search and discovery, supplier onboarding, and supplier enablement. In the latter, we examined contract compliance and enforcement, compliance and credentialing, and supplier performance management.

All of these areas can form core components of a supplier management business case. But on a standalone basis, thousands of global companies have already invested in data sources, specialized software or a combination of the two to monitor at least certain elements of supplier risk outside of these other supplier management areas. Indeed, of the seven levers organizations can pull in building a business case for managing suppliers through technology, supplier risk management — and broader supply risk management — is the one that is often most put to use.

In today’s installment, we zero in on the seventh supplier management business case lever, introducing business case and enabling technology considerations for supplier risk management. We discuss select solution components within this area, as well as high-level ROI considerations. Later in the series, we will provide more detailed ROI model inputs and ranges procurement teams can use in building a business case in each of these areas.

Spend Matters PRO clients can also contact their client services representative for an interactive Excel-based ROI model that can serve as the basis for building supplier management business cases.

Building the Business Case for Managing Suppliers With Technology: 7 ROI Levers (Part 1 — Active Supplier Management) [PRO]

category management

The return on investment (ROI) for supplier management does not have to be nebulous. With limited effort, procurement organizations can build a compelling business case for supplier management either as a component of broader source-to-pay implementations or on a standalone basis, as well as to develop specific KPIs to measure overall program savings and ongoing cost avoidance.

In the first two installments of this series, we introduce the primary ROI levers of supplier management technology initiatives. Our introduction to the topic explored the three levers at the front-end of the supplier lifecycle that can form the foundation of a business case. Today we continue our exploration of the seven primary ROI levers, with an emphasis on those in the “active” phase of supplier management efforts. These include contract compliance and enforcement, compliance and credentialing, and performance and risk management. Later in the series, we will provide more detailed ROI model inputs and ranges procurement teams can use in building a business case in each of these areas.

When you’ve got your supplier management business case ready, check out the latest Spend Matters Supplier Management SolutionMap to see how supplier management solutions such as Aravo, ConnXus, Determine, GEP, HICX, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, State of Flux, SynerTrade and Zycus stack up in each of the areas we pinpoint as savings levers.

Spend Matters PRO practitioner clients can also contact their client services representative for an interactive Excel-based ROI model which can serve as one of the basis for building supplier management business cases.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 5b — Example Analytics within Enterprise Programs) [PRO]

analytics

In the most recent installment of this series, we explored how program management is a foundational capability that supports business transformation through a closed loop performance management process. If you’re a procurement organization that is trying to drive change in increasingly diverse, complex and collaborative areas, you’ll need to:

  1. Coordinate that enterprise-driven change vis a vis program management
  2. Align with your stakeholders on where you’ll add value
  3. Plan for the change and what it mean to you, stakeholders, and suppliers
  4. Bring forth your digital enabled supply management capabilities
  5. Execute (and keep coordinating)
  6. Measure your progress and adjust
  7. Rinse and Repeat
And as you do all this, you’re going to need analytics to find opportunities, prioritize projects, launch projects/workflows, manage KPIs and set up processes that have embedded analytics that allow them to adjust to changing conditions and spot risks that threaten them. In this installment of our series on program management, we’ll:
  1. Detail the analytic categories and specific analytics based on the program management life cycle
  2. Map enterprise programs to supporting analytics
  3. Dive into some selected analytics use cases and required technology components
And of course this will all be with a supply-side focus.

Strategic Technology Planning: A New Imperative for Contingent Workforce and Services Procurement (Part 2) [Plus+]

In Part 1 of this series, we provided a context and rationale for the adoption of strategic technology planning for contingent workforce and services (CW/S) procurement. We also began the discussion of what strategic technology planning explicitly means for an organization and how it can be enacted. Part 2 of this series continues that discussion.

By way of summary, we defined “strategic technology planning” as a specific type of strategic planning that lets an organization (i.e., CW/S procurement) know where it is now, where it wants or needs to be some time in the future, how technology can be leveraged as an enabler and what changes in resource allocation and investment must occur or what constraints will condition progress. We should emphasize that strategic technology planning is not the same as a tactical plan or roadmap, though ideally it would lead to these.

Strategic planning is more about high-level understanding (insight and foresight) than it is about immediate, direct action. We believe it must become a critical component to any CW/S procurement function and program that wants to avoid being caught flat-footed and aims to deliver a new (and necessary) level of business value over a reasonable planning horizon (e.g., three to five years). This type of planning effort may represent a shift of gears for many procurement practitioners. For this and other reasons, we suggest and outline a process in this Spend Matters Plus research brief that is intended to help practitioners get started and pointed in the right direction.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 5 — Analytics Strategy) [PRO]

Procurement doesn’t just drive value through “steady state” sourcing activities that pop up in the enterprise. It helps lead the transformation of the extended value chain and also supports and improves enterprise-level transformation activities. In both cases, such transformational activities will require strong supply analytics that procurement organizations are increasingly supporting through procurement centers of excellence where analytics and market intelligence (especially for sourcing processes) occupy the top functions within a procurement CoE (see more on the topic of procurement CoEs).

Any experienced procurement professional knows that business alignment is critical. This alignment process inevitably leads to a set of enterprise-led (or procurement-led) programs that in turn require a set of analytics capabilities to support. In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we’ll share:

  • A DuPont-style enterprise value decomposition to nearly two dozen enterprise programs and support supply analytics areas
  • How to frame supply analytics within an overall close-loop performance improvement cycle — and examples within each step of the life cycle
  • A drill down into some of the top enterprise programs into the specific analytics required
  • A further drill down and set of examples in some of the most used analytics