Sourcing and Categories Content

Focusing on the Other Rich Vein of Procurement — Public Spend

Spend Matters plans to broaden its views on procurement in the new year with occasional forays into public spend issues — but let’s unwrap a present early to see what’s what.

There are numerous challenges that public sector procurement organizations face now and in the coming year. Mazes of emerging regulatory structures, high barriers to entry for suppliers and digital disruption, to name a few, all weigh on practitioners looking to better serve their governments and constituents.

To help navigate these and other issues, we’re diving into the Public Spend Forum archives to bring you some of the best public procurement-related news and research around. Our colleagues at PSF suggest we start by examining a story on the techniques for conducting efficient, effective government market research.

Commodities Roundup: Steel Prices Stay Down, Precious Metals Prices Stay Up, Brexit Stays Confusing

The Raw Steels Monthly Metals Index (MMI) fell again this month, dropping to 83 points. Platinum reversed its uptrend from last month, landing lower at $806 per ounce. This widens the platinum-palladium spread even further, forcing many analysts to wonder what will happen in 2019. And our MetalMiner colleague in the UK shares his thoughts on living through the confusing times of Brexit and what to expect.

Manufacturing Skills Shortage Creates Challenges, Opportunities for Digital Transformation

Toyota supply chain

Manufacturing has a shortage of skilled workers, and year by year it is expected to grow to about 2.2 million unfilled jobs over the next decade, according to a study that has been tracking the gap for almost two decades. The shortfall in workers who can handle the technical nature of manufacturing and its digital transformation could cost the U.S. economy $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years, says the 2018 study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute. As one manufacturing executive said in the study, “With the positive turn in the economy, we don’t have enough job candidates with the right skills and work ethic to fill our openings, and this is making it difficult for us to accept the orders our vendors are asking us to complete.” Find out how companies are trying to bridge the gap.

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For Hospitals Only (Part 2): How an Internal Marketplace Drives Hospital Standards

healthcare

More often than not, procurement projects that finally make the docket address problems that staff have been complaining about for a long time. Therefore, having a detailed understanding of the problem is essential. To get there, cross-functional input must be solicited from staff representatives of all affected organizational layers throughout the system design and implementation phases.

One thing that successful change management efforts have in common is that they are typically driven by a combination of front-line workers and back-line executives. When this happens, success if virtually assured. When it doesn’t, well, the odds aren’t great, but sometimes we get lucky (according to statistics, about 46% of the time).

In Part 1 of our series on Prodigo Solutions, we talked about the company’s dedication to the needs of hospital procurement organizations and how it has allowed Prodigo to achieve dominant status in its market. From a change management perspective, Prodigo provides a shining example of how desired results can be achieved when we focus ourselves on doing certain things particularly well. As we know, when we don’t, pushback is a certainty.

Commodities Roundup: G20 Outcomes, Century Aluminum Expands and DRC Raises Cobalt Royalty Rate

Global Risk Management Solutions (GRMS)

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters. This week we look at developments from the G20 summit, like the USMCA signing and the U.S.-China tariff truce; Century Aluminum expanding capacity; Rio Tinto's first bauxite haul in Australia; auto sales flagging and more.

Interview with Malcolm Harrison, CIPS New CEO (Part 3 — Will artificial intelligence wipe out procurement?)

CIPS’ leader Malcolm Harrison says the professional organization is concerned for the future of procurement workers as “more work is ‘outsourced’ to technology.” Harrison, speaking in an interview with Spend Matters UK’s veteran procurement expert Peter Smith, was asked if artificial intelligence (AI) will wipe out procurement. “My view is there will always be events that happen that haven’t happened before — we will still need people to make those judgements based on new facts and situations,” Harrison says in this third and final installment. “But one of my concerns is this: How do we ensure we develop judgement skills in the profession?”

Interview with Malcolm Harrison, CIPS New CEO (Part 2 — Growth, Change and the U.S.)

Spend Matters UK's interview with new CIPS leader Malcolm Harrison continues with a focus on the professional organization's short-term and long-term plans.

"We must remain relevant to the UK," Harrison says, "but many organizations who employ our members are very interested in what CIPS can do outside the UK — we were invited into the U.S., for example."

Harrison also digs into the institute's strategy to serve its core membership in the UK while also making tough decisions about leadership that can help it expand in other countries. For example, the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply recently decided to not appoint a new president when the previous term expired. 

"As we get more international and diverse, it is hard to see that one person can fulfill all the needs," Harrison says.

Procurement veteran Peter Smith, of Spend Matters UK, recently sat down with Harrison to catch up on his first 100 days or so in office.

In Part 1, the interview looked at CIPS' commercial focus. This installment of the three-part series focuses on the future.

"You know the saying 'a tree is either growing or dying' — there is no steady state," Harrison says. "I feel that way about CIPS, we have to move forward and change."

Interview with Malcolm Harrison, CIPS New CEO (Part 1 – Commercial)

Malcolm Harrison took over as CEO for the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) in the summer, and he promised an interview with Spend Matters UK/EU to talk about his first “100 days” or so. Spend Matters' Peter Smith, a former CIPS president, recently caught up for a chat about where the organization is going with its certification programs, its commercial work and more. "I do feel that we may not have the balance quite right in terms of our commercial activities and the core purpose of supporting the profession and our members," Harrison said. "I have some sympathy with the view I’ve heard that 'CIPS has got too commercial.' ” Read the first of the three-part series here.

Making It Real: Workforce Agility in Context

talent management

Organizations are increasingly being driven by market and competitive demands, new technology and other environmental factors to become more responsive to rapidly changing opportunities, challenges and threats — to become, in effect, more agile. The question of specifically how an organization can become agile is still being answered by executives, management consulting firms, framework creators and academic researchers. But what we do know is that how human capabilities are engaged, organized and used is a big part of the answer to the question. In this brief, we explore how workforce agility is connected to organizational agility, where most organizations actually are on the road to organizational agility and why the drive to agility is both urgent and incremental.

Commodities Roundup: LME Nickel, Auto Sales Down in China and Oil Price Sliding

Chinese demand

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters. This week: Surcharges fall on LME nickel and stainless steel, auto sales stall in China and oil prices drop after a peak in September.

Focus on Supply Risk Management Can Aid Supplier Relationships, State of Flux Reports

supplier management

Positioning supplier relationship management (SRM) programs as a way to ensure broader supply risk management is an untapped opportunity for businesses looking to address sustainability challenges, according to a recent State of Flux report.

As we’ve reported on the “Sustainable SRM: Nurturing Growth in a New Climate” report from State of Flux, sustainability is becoming a greater consideration when it comes to supplier relationships, due to increasing demand from consumers for ethical products and pressure from governments and investors to consider environmental factors in production. The report highlights a number of challenges facing organizations as they integrate sustainability into their procurement goals, including buy-in up and down the organization, proper segmentation of suppliers and others.

While setting up a proper governance structure, getting buy-in throughout the entire organization and deepening relationships with suppliers takes time, companies can also assess their level of SRM, determine how they manage risk, evaluate their staff’s skills and resources, and ensure their technology is working for them.

Disrupting the Source-to-Contract Cycle: Putting Contract Management at the Start of Sourcing

contract

The sequential source-to-contract cycle is an accurate representation of how most procurement organizations identify and select suppliers. But it’s not necessarily the best way to approach this process. The typical sourcing cycle begins by searching for and evaluating suppliers on two key criteria: capability and price. Yet evaluating suppliers on these criteria alone does not provide a complete picture of whether that company can and should win the business. For many reasons, contract management should not be considered a final step in the sourcing process. Instead, procurement should include contract compliance at the beginning of the cycle, defining it as an essential reason alongside capability and price.