Process and Best Practice Content

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5 Easy Steps to Better Manage Your Suppliers

If you work for a large organization, you most likely have tens of thousands of suppliers, and any of them, to some extent, can pose a risk to your organization's operations, brand or customers. In addition, managing that many business partners is a difficult task that takes time, attention, organization and resources.

You and your suppliers are intimately linked, and what they do affects you, for better or worse. As a result, you need to be able to monitor, manage and collaborate with your entire supply base more broadly and effectively than ever before.

Before you get started, ask yourself these questions:

Customer reviews for SynerTrade are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for SynerTrade, a source-to-pay suite provider. The applicable SolutionMap categories for this report are Source-to-Pay, Procure-to-Pay, and Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT includes Sourcing, Analytics, CLM and SRM).

SolutionMap Insider members can read about SynerTrade in our latest report.

In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of details from the SolutionMap peer review process. It includes ratings on how well the vendor meets its customers' expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes from customers about the vendor’s greatest strengths.

Use of eProcurement software evolves to mitigate costs, risks and add strategic insights, report says

As business executives become more interested in the use of electronic procurement software — or eProcurement — as a means to bring about more proactive results, industry leaders have begun to use the technology to target new methods of cost reduction and to yield growth and insights amid evolving industry standards.

In a recent report by Levvel Research, “2019 Procurement Insight Report,” experts discuss industry trends and business spend management strategies, which were collected in a market-wide survey conducted in April 2019. The research, sponsored by Coupa, evaluates how procurement automation software is being implemented and its effects throughout the industry. In Part 1 of this series, the report said one trend is that more business that are smaller and mid-size companies are considering the switch to digital procurement solutions.

In this article, we’ll look at what the study found about companies that have already adopted digital procurement.

Smaller, mid-size businesses now looking to digital procurement solutions to cut costs, bolster strategy and growth, report says

Business leaders in the supply chain procurement space are continually seeking out ways to streamline procurement methods and cut costs. As the possibility of a looming recession remains on the minds of decision makers, procurement-minded industry members are considering how electronic procurement software — aka digital procurement or eProcurement — can ease these efforts.

Levvel Research recently launched its “2019 Procurement Insight Report,” which evaluates current industry trends and spend management strategies following a market-wide survey conducted in April 2019. The report, sponsored by Coupa, examines the ways in which procurement automation software is being implemented as procurement teams continue to shift.

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A ‘Big Picture’ Procurement Mindset

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There is a considerable difference between what procurement can do with an eProcurement platform, what they should do, and what they actually do. Part of the problem is the level of technology segmentation that exists in the typical enterprise. Procurement has technology, legal has technology, sales has technology, etc. Everyone transacts with and stores their information separately. It may not be intentional, but it prevents companies from getting the full benefit of the technology they implement.

Huge strides have been made in digitizing procurement, but the work is not nearly done. Procurement needs to move into a larger business role where it is highly involved in the development and execution of enterprise-wide business strategy — and therefore enterprise-wide technology and data development.

If procurement is to think “big picture” when it comes to data and technology, it has to include suppliers as well. Corcentric has some reasons why.

Customer-centric focus can help digital procurement departments stay relevant and unlock upside

Modern procurement departments expect digital transformation to raise their profile across their business beyond just helping their main customer — the CFO. They want to be strategic partners with all of the C-suite leaders, but does digital deliver this? Is there a disconnect with procurement that may be exacerbated by digital (done badly) as it expands to serve other customers — the various functions across the business?

For example, how is procurement’s value measured when helping customers like product development teams or the group assessing corporate social responsibility (CSR)? Success for procurement’s customers like these cannot be measured just by cost-cutting. Procurement should also offer influential information that adds value and helps move the business forward.

Once procurement understands how to be agile in serving customers — internal stakeholders and ultimately every end user — it has so much upside to drive value for the business.

To learn more about digital transformation and the customer-centric approach, we did a Q&A with Simon Geale, SVP of Client Solutions at Proxima, a leading procurement consulting firm.

The value of branding: 9 tips for procurement to create a strong brand, improve its standing

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post by Amanda Prochaska, the president of High Performance Procurement. Part 1 of this two-part guest series appeared yesterday and was written by Charlotte de Brabandt, a member of the Institute for Supply Management’s Thought Leadership Council.

For years, procurement’s role has been to reduce costs, or at least this is how it has been seen by others.

Procurement has always been a value provider, not just a cost-cutter. It is unfortunate that in the past it has been looked at so negatively, with such a narrow view. Perhaps this was because the procurement environment was heavily focused on negotiating prices. It did not focus so much on people or assets. The bottom line was always price and value.

However nowadays, most of the low hanging fruit where an easy monetary negotiation could be made is gone. And procurement is moving more toward being known as the value providers.

Part of making the transition to value providers is to change the brand of procurement. Learning from those who do this well, here are nine tips that marketers use to create a strong brand.

The value of branding: 6 ways procurement can redefine its brand, change misperceptions

Spend Matters welcomes this two-part guest series by Charlotte de Brabandt, a member of the Institute for Supply Management’s Thought Leadership Council, and by Amanda Prochaska, the president of High Performance Procurement, whose article will appear tomorrow.

Procurement professionals are not typically known for their ability to be great marketers. However, having a strong brand ensures procurement is at the very center of any business strategy. Look at any of the world's great brands and you will see that they all use their brand strength to gain attention. Strong brands are simply the key to creating value, and when this is done well, the full potential of procurement is realized.

Unfortunately, procurement’s brand has been largely left to their customers to define. These include definitions like “those are the people who negotiate contracts,” or “they buy stuff,” or “they are slow and non-responsive.”

As procurement professionals, we understand we deliver much more value than how we are being defined. So, what does it take to proactively define the value of procurement? Let's look at six tips:

Beyond savings: How procurement departments can digitally transform and elevate to world-class status

Business competition across industries is intense, so companies are looking to their procurement departments to increase capabilities, become even more efficient and save money. To meet those demands, many are turning to technology, seeking ways to implement digital transformation. While few organizations have fully made the shift to digital, many are taking steps to move their departments forward.

A recent webinar, “World-Class Procurement: Redefining Performance in a Digital Era,” sponsored by the business spend management experts at Coupa and presented by Amy Fong, senior procurement adviser and P2P program leader at The Hackett Group, looks at current research data and where it situates procurement departments now and into the future. The webinar grew from the 2019 Hackett Group report of the same name, where procurement executives were asked about their views on trends impacting their departments and how they see their futures.

While today’s procurement departments are still tasked with finding cost-savings, Fong said savings alone are no longer the primary driver. Meeting the needs of customers, both internal stakeholders and external clients, is quickly rising to the top of the list. In previous years, The Hackett Group found that efficiency and effectiveness were the top performance metrics, but in the recent report, customer experience is now an equal factor.

DPW — The Best New Procurement Event in Years

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A couple of weeks ago, I attended and spoke at Digital Procurement World (DPW) in Amsterdam. The event was the brainchild of one of the first employees at Procurement Leaders, Matthias Gutzmann. With DPW, his idea was to bring together not only procurement organizations and technology (and services) firms in a conversation around digital, but also to engage the start-up community — and investors.

On just about every count, DPW was a runaway success. It was the very first procurement event I’ve been to that did a great job of engaging early stage technology companies and connecting them with buyers, consultants and others.

Here are a few of my observations:

Hackett finds stark differences in typical digital procurement use vs. world-class digital transformation

Digital transformation is impacting businesses all around the globe, with procurement functions in particular feeling the pressure to redefine their role within organizations. While some procurement professionals are still working to increase their percentage of spend under management and generate savings at a tactical level, the recently released World-Class Procurement: Redefining Performance in a Digital Era report from The Hackett Group highlights significant gaps between how a sample peer group of procurement departments operate and perform versus the top performing departments, or world-class procurement operations.

A look into the future: AP automation and Basware’s roadmap

AP automation holds a lot of promise for businesses that want to reduce manual tasks, improve insights into transactions and create value for customers. But the choices of procurement software can be dizzying. In a previous article in this series, we looked at how and why digital transformation will vastly reshape procurement and finance roles. In this article, we’ll examine how one provider is addressing that change.

We asked Basware’s analysts relations specialist Jeff Meredith to discuss what future capabilities the suite provider sees on the horizon. Basware’s roadmap includes more developments in spend analytics, better ways to identify risks, and an increased focus on the supplier experience. Spend Matter’s procure-to-pay specialist Xavier Olivera offers a market perspective afforded by assessing demos and doing interviews for SolutionMap, which ranks more than 50 procurement providers.