Sourcing & Categories Content

More on Healthcare’s Saline Bag “Shortage”

The saline bag “shortage” in healthcare has been going on for a few years. I’ve got some strong opinions on the matter, as I have had the pleasure of interviewing the assigned category managers at the nation’s largest healthcare GPOs, health system sourcing professionals and executives at Baxter, B.Braun and Hospira, the nation’s three largest manufacturers and suppliers of the product. It turns out that there are very few resin producers that make the type and grade used to manufacture saline bags. Not only did these producers cut production, but they’ve increased their pricing by more than 300% in the last year. Why?

Cutting BigLaw Down to Size: New Alternatives for Legal Services Procurement (Part 2)

forced labor

While it has been said that the wheels of justice turn slowly but exceedingly fine, the process may be accelerating in the procurement of legal services. In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how monolithic, traditional BigLaw firms are being challenged to radically adapt by disruptive economic forces, the ascendance of legal procurement in enterprises and, last but not least, by the growth in a broad range of alternative legal services providers. But more important, as we noted in Part 1, BigLaw’s nightmare is also a shared opportunity for legal services procurement and for emerging alternative legal services providers. According to some industry observers, we are witnessing an ongoing paradigm shift from BigLaw to what is being dubbed NewLaw. In Part 2 of this series, we provide an introduction to the increasingly important, complex and rapidly evolving NewLaw world of non-traditional/alternative legal services providers (ALSPs).

Cobalt and the Sustainability of Electric Vehicles

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Nick Peksa, opportunities director at Mintec.

Recently I have been reading a number of case studies based on some of the world’s leading sustainable and socially responsible firms, ranging from Unilever’s work in Brazil and Danone’s work in India to Vodafone and their mobile payment systems in Kenya. One of the other favorite firms for academic research is Tesla, with its “greener than thou” philosophy. Delving a little deeper into the mechanics of batteries, however, the word “cobalt” rang a number of alarm bells.

What Does The Age of Digitalization Mean for the Travel Services Buyer?

services sector

The role of today’s corporate travel manager or category manager is more demanding than ever. The manager must not only take responsibility for the travel budget, be a skilled negotiator, understand technology, leverage data and manage travel policies, contracts and compliance, but also deliver value to the organization. And of course, they must also keep the corporate traveller safe and be risk-aware. How can practitioners prepare to handle all of this and more?

Commodity Price Volatility in the Cannabis Supply Chain: The Biggest Growing Pain?

As I write this on the eve of participating in a conference panel discussion about how corporate communications can better work with trade media firms, I can’t help but think about my relationship with the legal cannabis industry — and particularly its supply chain. Sounds like a stretch, right? Not so much.

Supplier Rationalization — Revisited

category management

Rationalizing a supply base is typically defined as picking the right suppliers and the right number of them, but in common practice, it has too often come to mean shrinking or consolidating a supply base in the name of securing more strategic relationships. We tend to forget that supplier rationalization can also mean increasing the number of suppliers used, routinely changing your mix of suppliers or expanding and then reducing the number and types of suppliers you select in support of changing organizational objectives, tests, hunches and the desire to accelerate the transfer of innovation.

5 Key Procurement Insights from Upwork’s 2017 Freelancing in America Study

Lystable

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Contingent workforce procurement practitioners are increasingly encountering the idea that freelance/independent workforce is growing in importance. This idea comes from many sources, including business users who are strapped for the skills and talent they need, media and analyst coverage of a new “gig economy” and, last but not least, new workforce solution providers that specialize in the provisioning of skilled freelancers and independent professionals.

For procurement practitioners — who for many years tolerated the use of independent contractors (1099 ICs) as a necessary evil and a last resort in exceptional cases — the idea of increasing use of the independent workforce can be challenging in a number of ways. One of those is figuring out whether this phenomenon is real and important enough to be spending more time on and enabling rather than minimizing. Practitioners might think, “Sure we’re hearing that skills and talent are migrating to an independent workforce. But is that true? Is there data to support this?”

In this article, we turn to fresh data on this subject and try to provide some helpful insights for practitioners grappling with this issue.

Certify T&E Report: Business Travelers Go for Starbucks, Delta and Uber (But Lyft is Catching Up)

Oversight Systems

Travel and expenses management software provider Certify recently released its latest SpendSmart Report, analyzing business travel spending for Q3 2017. Lyft is experiencing impressive growth, while its ride-hailing rival Uber, as well as taxis and car rentals, are seeing declines. The data comes from 10 million business travel receipts and expenses that are processed via Certify’s system. Certify then analyzes the data by category, such as ground transportation, meals and lodging.

New Research: Supply Chain Risks Lurking Behind the Electric Vehicle Boom

Fourteen countries (including the U.S., believe it or not) have joined the Electric Vehicle Initiative, aiming for battery-powered cars, trucks and buses to reach 30% market share by 2030. According to IEA calculations, we would need 600 million electric vehicles globally by 2040 in order to reach the global warming target set by the Paris Agreement. A new report from risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft, however, shows that the electric vehicle supply chain is far from devoid of social and even environmental risks. It largely comes down to the raw materials needed for electric vehicles, such as aluminum, cobalt, mica and rubber.

Commodity Price Risk Management: For the Many, Not the Few

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Tom Lawrence, director at Flow&Ebb. 

Commodity markets affect us all. Wild swings in commodity prices affect how much we pay for groceries, how much we pay for aluminum cans for our organic soda, how much we pay for electricity. Yet traditionally only large businesses had the budgets to pay for, and enough clout to embed, commodity price risk management into their supply management strategy.

Analyzing 2017 E-Sourcing Savings and Trends with Scanmarket

Last week I touched down in London to attend and speak at Scanmarket’s eSourcing Exclusive Summit. Scanmarket is a provider of strategic sourcing software and over the years has developed a particular expertise and customer following based on its reverse auction capability and formats. During the event, Henrik Balslev, senior vice president of operations for Scanmarket, gave a presentation on e-sourcing and reverse auction trends. I thought it would be valuable for Spend Matters readers to hear some of the data Balslev shared.

Nothing New Under the Sun: Taking an Advanced Approach to Supplier Diversity

supplier diversity

Growing up I remember hearing two phrases constantly: “There is nothing new under the sun” and “Numbers never lie.” Both statements I have found to be half-truths. Try telling dinosaurs, phone booths or the former milkman that nothing ever changes. People, things, ideas — all evolve. The time has come for supplier diversity to evolve, as well.