Process and Best Practice Content

Deriving Competitive Advantage from a Sustainable Supply Chain

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Suhas Apte and Jagdish Sheth, authors of The Sustainability Edge: How To Drive Top-Line Growth With Triple-Bottom-Line Thinking.

The focus of supply chain management has historically been cost reduction and risk management. Therefore, much time tended to be spent on maintaining transactional supplier/buyer relationships that entail dictating supplier policies and mandating supplier compliance auditing. Doing so has only ensured that businesses become incrementally “less bad.”

The State of Sustainable Procurement: Latest EcoVadis/HEC Barometer is Released

EcoVadis released its seventh and latest Sustainable Procurement Barometer on Tuesday, a joint study with HEC on supply chain sustainability that was first carried out over a decade ago. These studies measured sustainable procurement practices in global procurement organizations and aimed to provide a landscape view, including “sector and geographical differences, industry strengths, improvement areas [and] new frontiers for innovation.” In short, companies worldwide are now investing in sustainability practices across the supply chain, and sustainable procurement has become vital for revenue and costs, risk mitigation, brand reputation, and innovation and growth.

3 Insights for Procurement from aPriori’s Cost Insight Conference

Spending the last 24 hours surrounded by design and cost engineers has taught me quite a bit about operations beyond procurement and supply chain management. Those in the buying and sourcing profession often spend a lot of time thinking about cost, and they sometimes get a bad rap for it. But based on my discussions with attendees, it’s clear to me that procurement is far from the only organizational unit worried about helping revenue get to the bottom line.

Yet procurement struggles with its image: it’s slow, it’s a roadblock to progress, it’s not knowledgeable enough to be valuable in new product development. The practitioners in attendance at Cost Insight, however, have worked doggedly to change perceptions such as these at their firms — to great success, in many cases. Here are three insights for procurement I’ve gleaned from various sessions.

4 Habits That Can Sink a Procurement Consultant’s Career

consulting

So you told the corporate world that you’re going to go do it your way. (Congratulations, and cue inspirational theme song.) And for the purpose of discussion, let’s assume that you have taken care of the basics in going freelance: building an emergency fund, buying healthcare insurance, setting up retirement contributions, getting the right business insurance and so on. I have been on all sides of the client-consultant relationship. I have engaged and managed consultants as a corporate client, I have engaged consultants for my own clients and I am also a consultant myself. So, I’ve seen where the landmines are and learned how to avoid them. Here are the top temptations that can send you straight back to a corporate role — the “fateful four” — definitely in order of importance.

ERP or Best-of-Breed (BoB)? Here’s How to Quickly Settle That Whole Thing

Even though Spend Matters declared the "ERP vs. Best-of-Breed" debate dead way back in 2014, the issue has a funny way of rearing its head. Sure, IT organizations are still somewhat biased towards ERP suites and business units/functions still prefer BoB solutions that will help them accomplish their goals, but asking "ERP or BoB?" is fundamentally a losing proposition. Why?

2017 Procure-to-Pay (P2P) Preview: 3 Key Tech Trends and Disruptors

Whether you’re looking at the services procurement and contingent workforce space, supply chain risks or the procure-to-pay landscape, it’s hard to throw a rock — or a snippet of code — and not hit some hand-wringing over digital disruption. (We’ve even ranted about it.)

Procure-to-pay, also known as P2P or the procurement/purchasing process cycle, is now front and center. Turns out 2017 may just be the most disruptive year yet for P2P technologies and processes.

Supplier Networks and P2P: The Benefits of Direct Connectivity for Suppliers

In this last installment, I will focus on the risks of insufficient connectivity, the benefits of doing it properly and why it is worthwhile for suppliers to invest time and resources to stay connected in the most automated means possible.

For organizations that still use their ERP as their only (or primary) system to process all procurement, invoicing and payments activities, typical document exchange and communication methods are done either by paper, fax or email (some firms may also have EDI technologies or web services in place — to interact with select suppliers). Although these forms of communication have been used for years, they are insufficient today, as they introduce significant risks to the buyer/supplier connectivity process.

Platforms, Networks and Suppliers: Concepts and Benefits

What is a network? What is a platform? Technology providers often confuse customers with these terms. But it is important that procurement and AP organizations become comfortable with the terminology.

A network concept centers on supplier connectivity that joins buyers with suppliers. It can provide value in areas such as supplier management, catalog management, e-invoicing automation, payment automation, financing options and sourcing effectiveness while also offering value-add services for enhancing or simplifying these processes.

Managed Services and Connectivity Vs. Software and Networks

Evaluating a comprehensive business solution can be tricky, especially when the organization is evaluating just software capabilities — which is to say “features and functionalities” — but the provider brings more than this alone. For example, it can be difficult to do apples-to-apples sourcing comparisons when considering the types of value-added services that a solution provider can offer (by itself or a third party) to complement or strengthen its own technological solution.

It’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day: Here’s How to Get Your Supply Chains Out of the Dark

The issue of forced labor is incredibly serious business when it comes to major supply chain risks. Not only that, it is also incredibly widespread and pervasive, covering myriad industries from clothing to mining, fishing to farming, and many in between. Awareness exploded onto the global scene with the Thai fishing scandal back in 2014. At the time, Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch wrote, “it seems every quarter there’s a new supply chain crisis involving supplier practices and labor management capturing the attention of consumers.” On this year's National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, here's some food for thought for procurement practitioners looking to get more visibility into slavery in their supply chains.

3 Ways Contingent Workforce and Services Procurement Professionals Can Stay Ahead in 2017

services procurement

New Year’s resolutions are a fun, time-honored practice that are often made with the best of intentions – yet, quite often, they melt away like the the gray-brown remnants of snow by the time February and March roll around. However, we’ve resolved to help contingent workforce and services procurement professionals stay on top of their game as we head into 2017. Last week, Spend Matters’ Research Director of Services and Labor Procurement, Andrew Karpie, gave his look ahead on platform-intermediated work trends in the coming year, including possible scenarios stemming from how digital platform intermediation for work and services will increasingly become “a mainstream sourcing mechanism in the enterprise.” So how exactly can procurement practitioners in this space stay ahead?

Reeling in IT Programming and Development Costs

IT requirements, more than any other category, are dynamic and fast-moving. Even veteran IT project managers struggle to define exact milestones, work plans and deliverables when new ground is constantly being broken on untested IT requirements in their firms. As we are quickly approaching the end of the year and are inevitably inundated with requests for open-ended IT consulting, programming or support engagements, let us have a look at some levers we can apply to try to control costs and arrive at last-minute savings.