Process and Best Practice Content

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?

Strategic Sourcing and E-Sourcing Defined and Explained: A Preamble

What the heck is strategic sourcing? As with most things in life (and business), it depends on whom you ask.

One cynical definition might suggest it was an initial set of activities to make purchasing become more strategic without having to more broadly embed the function within the business — or at least sound more strategic. Another cynical lens might suggest that the terming of the phrase was a ruse by consultancies to prove they could identify savings (and of course leave behind a “process” to further justify their fees).

Yet we won’t just start the New Year with our cynical cap on. Strategic sourcing really does have multiple definitions.

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.

The C-Level View of Procurement, From Russia With Love

Russia

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Zelimkhan Suleymanov, CEO of PrECA, a Russian procurement outsourcing and spend optimization company.

I have frequently discussed procurement optimization issues with CEOs and CFOs, typically of Russian or multinational companies with turnovers of between 200-300 million USD, operating within the retail, FMCG or the manufacturing industry. Below, I have put together my top four most common stereotypes held by top-level management in Russia on the procurement function and its role in a company.

ICYMI: What Does Polymorphism Have to Do with Procurement? Everything!

In case you missed it (ICYMI) last week, Spend Matters’ Pierre Mitchell introduced procurement to the world of polymorphism – or polymorphism to the world of procurement, pick your pleasure. This term, which hasn’t necessarily been connected to procurement until now, is about how an object can take on multiple forms or behave differently depending on what context the object is operating in. Find out just how polymorphism should be applied to procurement.

Survey Shows Value of Procurement Early Involvement

Spend Matters and the Institute for Supply Management recently teamed up to find out how well procurement and finance organizations work together. Specifically, one of the goals of the survey was to see the differences in savings when procurement was involved earlier in the supply negotiation and contract process versus when procurement was brought in later – maybe too late – in the process. The survey garnered more than 250 validated responses, and the responses showed a 2% savings difference between early involvement and late involvement. Over on our Chief Procurement Officer website, Spend Matters Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell dives into more detail on this finding in the article What’s the ROI of Earlier Spend Influence? Big.

Lessons From the Bagel Man to Tackle Procurement Fraud

Spend Matters welcomes this guest article by Somdipto Ghosh, Product Marketing, Zycus. In the year 1984, Paul F. decided to make a radical career transition from heading a public research group to selling bagels at corporate offices. He devised a unique “honor system” where he would leave bagels and a cash basket in company cafeterias in the morning and return in the evening to collect the payments. His business flourished and soon he was selling 700 dozen bagels a week to 140 companies. Over the course of many years in business, he documented and analyzed the fraudulent activities of his clients and leveraged his background in research to find unique irregularities.

Strategic Irrelevance: The Real Cost of Getting Lost in the Weeds

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jim Kandilas, CPA, EVP and founder of The Shelby Group. Strategic relevance is a concern of all shared services providers in today’s enterprise. We know what we do in procurement is important. But all too often, we overlook the root causes of perceptions held by stakeholders who don’t regard procurement as a strategic partner. In today’s environment, perception is a reality that all procurement professionals need to better understand, diagnose and manage. Here, I’ll explore some of the symptoms and consequences of operating in an environment where procurement is not regarded as a strategic enabler of business outcomes.