Plus Content

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 2) [Plus+]

In the first installment of this series, I introduced six distinct platform areas that manufacturers are making investments in as part of core efforts to drive more successful savings, efficiency, compliance, collaboration and supplier engagement programs. The first, design/engineering and sourcing enablement solutions, represents a new class of direct materials e-sourcing toolsets that attempt to accomplish numerous objectives. Why are all of these areas so essential, especially in concert together? This Spend Matters Plus analysis examines why.

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 1) [Plus+]

In enabling basic strategic sourcing capability for indirect, services and basic direct materials spend, there are now a lot — and we mean it — of solid choices in the market. And it’s a space that’s getting more crowded everyday. Yet in comparison to the broader sourcing marketplace, the direct materials market is, unfortunately, given short shrift. There are potentially many reasons for this. First, it’s complex — there is not one category of solution. Second, the user for these tools is not always the same as one who might use a more generic sourcing toolset (at least not alone). And third, the processes that direct materials sourcing toolsets support are complicated because they are used not only across numerous internal functions (materials management, plant management, operations, supply chain, design/engineering, procurement, sales and operations planning, etc.), but span multiple tiers of suppliers.

In a three-part Spend Matters Plus series that will deliver a cursory attempt to segment this market, we’ll attempt to overcome the current lack of research in this area by providing a concrete segmentation of different technology categories and the capabilities within each. Today we’ll consider additional context and provide a high-level segmentation and explanation of tools (which we’ll flesh out and provide vendor short-lists for later in the analysis).

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

Welcome to the October 2018 edition of Spend Matters’ monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List,” available to Plus and PRO subscribers. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important and sometimes just plain interesting technology and innovation developments within the CW/S space. Over the last several months, this space has seen both significant change and inertia co-exist, yet the change is not slowing down — quite the contrary.

The September Hot List covered a broad range of developments, ranging from the Ernst & Young acquisition of U.K.-based alternative legal services provider (ALSP) Riverview Law, to the partnership of Jaggaer with Science Exchange, a marketplace for outsourced R&D, all the way to some of the latest blockchain-based work intermediation intermediation platforms, such as Moonlighting. In the meantime, other developments continued percolate around the innovative edge of the defined CW/S space. Altogether these developments reflect an industry that is undergoing widespread transformation.

CPOs Owning Accounts Payable: Does Supply Chain Finance Make it Interesting at Last? [Plus+]

Historically, most CPOs and procurement leaders have not taken a huge amount of interest in the final stage of the end-to-end purchase-to-pay process. The mysterious land of accounts payable (AP) has been out of bounds to many of us in the profession. But that was, if we’re being honest, how we liked it. In my 10 years as a CPO in three organizations, I never had any desire to expend my empire in that direction. It didn’t look like a “mysterious” place in a good way; it was full of people doing what looked like pretty dull administrative tasks for a start — not what we wanted to be as we tried to build our procurement functions into strategic, business-focused powerhouses. So in the vast majority of organizations, procurement has been happy to let AP stay under the auspices of finance.

Are Your Procurement KPIs Balanced or Obsolete? [Plus+]

As our Spend Matters Plus analysis of procurement key performance indicators (KPIs) continues, we will turn our attention to additional metrics by which you can measure procurement performance including supply base development and spend under management. We will also examine how to discover if organizational procurement KPIs are off balance, favoring one area over another or the strategic over the tactical, or if they’re just right.

This analysis builds on a prior chapter of this research brief that provides an introduction to procurement KPIs. While intended for everyone in procurement from buyers to chief procurement officers, this series is particularly suited for individuals and organizations looking to put in place the right measurement foundation to change how procurement is viewed by the business from a function that only reduces input prices and “keeps the production line running,” to one that brings new areas of value, from supply chain risk reduction to creativity and innovation.

Foundational Procurement KPIs Every CPO, Supply Manager and Buyer Needs To Know [Plus+]

This research brief is intended as an aspirational piece for more transactional-focused procurement team members who are aiming to add value to procurement and the business beyond mere efficiency improvements and price reduction efforts. It is not a compendium of financial metrics to convince your CFO about the value of procurement – you have to develop your business case tied to your needs and strategy for that. (Though, do reach out to us because we’ve done quite a bit of research in this area as well if you’re interested.) Rather, it is our hope that this series will leave you with a laundry list of prioritized ideas and open your mind to the qualitative side of the business – and the ways in which you can begin to measure procurement contribution and key performance indicators (KPIs) to quantify the return of the various activities you’re up to.

In the first installment of our introduction to KPIs and related considerations, we will examine why KPIs matter and how to use them and discuss basic procurement metrics, the role of innovation in setting measurement variables and how certain KPI approaches can mislead.

Offsets, Local Content and Supplier Information Management (Part 2) [Plus+]

We wrote in Part 1 about offsets in the defence industry, and the commonality they have with wider issues around “local content” — using procurement and supply chain activities to show support for building capability and capacity in local economies and supply chains, often as a lever to win contracts, concessions (e.g., mining) or similar.

So bringing this back to practical considerations, what can we learn, and how can organisations position themselves successfully in this field? That’s important because the need for organisations to show how they are impacting and benefitting local, regional or national economies is only going to increase in our view. That’s particularly true for firms who wish to trade and work internationally, particularly in the developing world. And looking at the growth rates in Africa, South America and the emerging parts of Asia, these are markets in which more and more Western firms will want to operate.

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

Welcome to the September edition of Spend Matters’ monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List,” available to PLUS and PRO subscribers. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important and sometimes just plain interesting technology and innovation developments within the CW/S space. Over the last several months, this space has seen both significant change and inertia co-exist, yet the change is not slowing down — quite the contrary.

The August Hot List reported that July was a particularly sweltering month (in terms of innovation, of course). The news of Beeline’s acquisition by New Mountain Capital soaked in, rumors of a possible Upwork IPO made their way through the industry, co-founder of Elance and former CEO of Upwork became the Chairman and CEO of Snag (formerly Snag-a-job). And those were just a few.

Now, Labor Day has passed. Gone are the dog days of summer, so let’s welcome September by reviewing what happened in August.

Offsets, Local Content, and Supplier Information Management [Plus+]

suppliers

The principle of offsets is this: assume a country doesn’t have its own indigenous capacity or capability to manufacture, say, fighter aircraft, so they obviously have to buy from foreign suppliers. But the government making the purchase will (not unreasonably) wish some of that purchase price to be re-invested back into their country.

Six Best Practices for Procuring Marketing Services (Part 2) [Plus+]

marketing

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

In Part 1, we pulled together a number of key learnings (and some personal experience) to come up with six best practice suggestions for CPOs or marketing services procurement leads to consider. We previously looked at three recommendations around category strategy and suppler management. Today we’ll take a look at three more that focus more on the procurement function and individuals in it, how they align with marketing colleagues, and the skills they need to succeed in this area.

Six Best Practices for Procuring Marketing Services [Plus+]

marketing spend

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. 

My personal involvement with procurement functions trying to get to grips with the marketing spend category goes back some 25 years, and I had some successes and failures in my time as a CPO in several large organisations. It’s a category where procurement has been slow to increase influence, but according to figures from the World Federation of Advertisers, we have gradually reached a position where the procurement function is estimated to have between 50%–80% spend coverage in the category (depending on the geographic maturity, with firms in Europe at the top of the scale and South America at the bottom).

This is starting to feel like a coming of age for marketing services procurement, with some very impressive people in senior category roles speaking and a general air that clear best practice is emerging. There are still tensions between procurement and marketing staff in some organisations, but relationships seem to be improving and a sense of where and how procurement can contribute is certainly developing.

In this Spend Matters Plus article, we’ve pulled together some key learnings to come up with six best practice suggestions for CPOs or marketing services procurement leads to consider. We’ll have three around strategic category and sourcing issues today, and three focusing more on engagement strategy and people in Part 2.

A Critical Look at Category Management (Part 4) [Plus+]

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. 

In the last few weeks we’ve looked at some of the drawbacks related to what we might call “traditional” category management (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). However, we should stress that they’re all aspects of the process that can be overcome by appropriate thought and management effort. The lack of stakeholder involvement we’ve sometimes seen — the overly procurement-centric approach — can be addressed by ensuring that the right engagement takes place. The risk of over-standardisation of approach can be mitigated by being aware of that issue and ensuring it doesn’t happen. But today’s discussion will consider an alternative approach that perhaps challenges more fundamentally the conventional steps in the category management process.