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Lessons in Supplier Risk Management: How a Fire, Strike Lost the Auto Industry $500 Million

Nissan

With powerful hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires threatening business operations and logistics, supply chain risk professionals across manufacturing industries usually have their hands full when it comes to mitigating disruptions. While the focus is usually on extreme weather, two operational disruptions at a supplier level in May and June revealed once again the full diversity of supply chain risks that can impact industrial production lines. In total, both events caused automotive and machinery supply chains more than $500 million in financial losses. These events are stark reminders of how a disruption at a single sub-tier supplier can ripple across manufacturing supply chains, impacting both upstream (sales) and downstream (production) operations.

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Procurement’s Spend Analytics Expertise is Untapped Strategic Lever for M&A success

Mergers and acquisitions provide a constant reminder of how business is always in flux and how executives need to meet the challenge of managing it. The first 100 days after a merger or acquisition often set the tone for the new entity and can influence long-term success. The environment is typically perfect for early procurement synergy capture, where when executed correctly, procurement optimization can improve EBITDA by an average of 10% to 30%, which is one reason why procurement is an untapped strategic lever for M&A. With effective spend analytics, organizations can better size up the savings based on the combined entities spend in key procurement categories and identify the commonality of suppliers across the merged entities and categories where spend is highly fragmented.

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10 Questions to Ask in a Purchase-to-Pay Demo

Sometimes cleverly crafted demos can gloss over important nuances or mask inadequacies, which can cause major problems later during implementation — and the dreaded scope creep. So, here are some areas that I recommend digging into and questions to ask during a purchase-to-pay demo. 

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5 Essential E-Procurement Operations Capabilities

A wealth of information exists for companies contemplating the launch of an e-procurement platform. Yet learning about the capabilities needed to support ongoing operations has been extremely difficult — until now. Our latest eBook, E-Procurement Operations: Post-launch Capabilities to Ensure Your Success, provides insights on the capabilities needed for successful e-procurement operations.

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Working Capital Optimization: 3 Things to Avoid

In my last blog I outlined why you needed to reconsider your approach to working capital and why current programs are limited in their capabilities. In this blog I wanted to outline the things you need to avoid, or at the very least be aware of when approaching a working capital program.

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Procurement Benchmarking in the Era of Big Data

Let’s be honest: most benchmark reports promise much but deliver little. They often start with good intentions but focus on high-level best practices or rely on survey questionnaires to gather their data. Benchmarks can take weeks or months to develop, and even then they are often discarded if they can’t give concrete action points to procurement. At the same time, we live in the era of big data. Perhaps you’ve heard that more data has been created in the last two years than all of the previous human history. As data becomes the oil of the fourth industrial revolution, why wouldn’t we put all this data into action?

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ROI, Today: Making the Near-Term Business Case for Spend Analytics

spend analytics

Most varieties of procurement software deliver some form of return on investment. Whether it’s an e-procurement system that consolidates process costs or a sourcing tool that optimizes supplier selection, successful vendors can always point to clear ways their solutions deliver value, both immediately and in the future. When it comes to spend analytics, however, demonstrating ROI has proven more elusive. This is because dedicated spend analysis tools are often viewed as enablers to saving money through other methods, rather than a benefit in their own right. Yet while it is true that spend analytics deliver value by illuminating new savings opportunities, these tools can also be used to obtain tangible wins in their own right.

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How Procurement Best Practices Are Stifling Innovation — And What to Do About It

disruption

Many companies have discovered that best practices for managing professional services spend have imposed financial discipline but have come at the expense of innovation and organizational agility. Now, growing interest in agile development methodologies — in which small, cross-functional teams are empowered to work independently on complex problems — is prompting procurement officers to wonder whether the on-demand talent marketplace could help them regain ground at a lower price point. After all, the push for agility is driven by a need for companies to respond more quickly to opportunities and threats by nimbly adjusting the assets — including human ones — they put against each one.

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The Imperative to Improve Working Capital: Driving Forces and Emerging Solutions

Improving working capital performance has become increasingly important to companies in recent years, yet few procurement and finance organizations have found truly sustainable, long-term solutions to support this goal. The problem is that immediate external forces are pushing businesses to make working capital improvements now, while the sound financial strategies to maintain these changes require more than a few “quick fixes” to ultimately succeed.

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How to Proactively Defend Against Supply Chain Risks from Section 232 and 301 Tariffs

trade

The escalating U.S.-China trade war has put billions of dollars of Chinese imports under tariffs — but thousands of Chinese products are about to fall under additional duties. Off the back of the Trump administration's Section 232 investigation, which resulted in steel and aluminum tariffs, the recently finalized Section 301 investigation has targeted numerous Chinese products. Many procurement organizations have been following the investigation and its potential effects on their supply chains, but knowing exactly how a decision could introduce risk on a part, supplier and regional level has been far from easy. To shield their businesses from uncertain trade risks, procurement organizations need to take a proactive approach.

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Working Capital Optimization: Why a Game-Changing Approach is Needed

Game changers are easy to spot. They are the ones who want to make sure that tomorrow is better than today. They are the dreamers, the innovators, the ones who think the impossible is a challenge waiting to be bested. And in today’s competitive marketplace, it will be the game changer, more specifically, the financial game changer, who will stand out from the crowd. How will they do this, you ask? They will understand that working capital optimization is so much more than jargon.

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One (Direct Procurement) Tool Fit for All

digital

When considering indirect procurement departments, I often distinguish several tools used in parallel. But while this may be perfectly acceptable for the software providers, it is much less so for the users and company. Imagine the amount of effort for the administration of four separate tools, each different from the next — with their own supplier database and knowledge spread over multiple departments. The worst component of having four separate tools is there is no centralized flow, no process integration and different upgrades and training are required for each.