The Art of Supplier Relationship Management

Please welcome this article from Paul Blake of GEP on our Hot Topic for this month. It is published in two parts and the second will appear tomorrow. For more interesting thinking on procurement, visit the GEP Knowledge Bank. British TV has just seen the completion of a competitive painting challenge show. Identical in format to the cooking and dancing shows, each week the contestants are set three challenges and one of them is sent home. It was bound to happen. We've had baking, sewing and even orchestral conducting subjected to the same formatting. If it works, do it again, seems […]

The Conservative Party Manifesto and Implications for Public Procurement


We discussed the Labour Party election manifesto here yesterday in terms of its relevance to public procurement, and today we will look at the Conservative party document. If Labour was pretty thin in terms of procurement, their three mentions trumps the Tories who use the p-word just twice. The first mention is significant though. "We will raise the target for SMEs’ share of central government procurement to one-third, strengthen the Prompt Payment Code and ensure that all major government suppliers sign up." So the good news first; strengthening the Prompt Payment Code seems sensible, and why not ensure all suppliers […]

Should CPOs Use Consensus Decision Making? Not Necessarily, Says Latest Research [Plus +]


Is consensus decision making the right approach for CPOs and other executives in leadership positions? Maybe not, according to some recent academic research. The headline finding from the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is that people tend to regard the views of other members in a group equally, regardless of competence. This "equality bias" then prevents them from making optimum decisions as a group. And, while consensus decision making is seen as a positive approach that motivates staff and helps to get buy-in from our teams and stakeholders in a business context, it may not make the best sense for procurement organizations.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust — Procurement Initiative in Health and Social Care Organisations

Here is another in our series of reports covering some of the entries from the recent GO Excellence in Public Procurement Awards. These short-listed entries are chosen from the categories for which Peter Smith was a judge, so they were studied very carefully, and each one is featured here based on how interesting we felt it would be for our readers, regardless of whether it won the award. Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust is a tertiary teaching hospital with an annual turnover of £400 million, 950 beds and 6,500 staff, and a catchment population of 700,000, making it one of the […]

Chris Lonsdale on Procurement Strategies and The Meaning of Kraljic

We're delighted to feature this excellent and thought-provoking guest post from Dr Chris Lonsdale, who leads the Procurement and Operations Management Group at Birmingham University. Like others, I found the recent discussion here and here on Kraljic fascinating. As was highlighted, the first task in evaluating Kraljic is to establish precisely what ‘Kraljic’ is, with a key issue being the labelling of the axes of the famous four-box matrix – named ‘Phases of Purchasing Sophistication’ in the original 1983 (completely ahead of its time) Harvard article. Pierre Mitchell recalled that Kraljic himself said that the four-box “must be adapted to […]

The Labour Party Manifesto and Implications for Public Procurement

So this week we will look at what the major UK political party manifestos have to say about public procurement issues. We'll take that in the broadest possible sense, otherwise frankly these would be very short articles! Let us start with the Labour Party, as they were the first to issue their manifesto. There are three mentions of the word "procurement." We'll look at those here, plus a couple of other relevant issues that get a mention. "We will continue to support the construction of High Speed Two, but keep costs down ..." was one of the first comments of […]

SciQuest’s 15.1 Release Ups the E-Procurement Ante – But How Does it Compare to Ariba and Coupa? [PRO]


SciQuest launched its Version 15.1 of its suite at its recent NextLevel customer event in Washington, D.C. At the show, the Spend Matters team had the chance to look at all of the modules in SciQuest’s latest release and also preview some of the items slated for the 15.2 release this summer. The 15.1 release represents a critically important step for SciQuest in the P2P area in an increasingly competitive market – especially in conjunction with an announced partnership with Transcepta for e-invoicing and supplier enablement. Most important, 15.1 marks a critical step toward a full-featured and integrated source-to-pay (S2P) platform for SciQuest. Yet core P2P capabilities matter as well – beyond sourcing and supplier management. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an analysis of the P2P capabilities and enhancements in 15.1 – and offers our perspective on cases where SciQuest e-procurement is likely to be a strong shortlist contender for customers.

Negotiating Tips – Do You Choose the Ugly Guy For the Tough Negotiation?


... But the issue is not what you might think it is from that headline! We're not talking about impressionable men being led astray by attractive women (or indeed vice versa) and conceding negotiating points in order to curry favour with the beauty sitting opposite. No, a recent study has pointed out a potential issue when it a man versus man negotiation. Their findings show that men are more likely to take risks when they are faced with a good looking man. As the New Scientist explains: In what seems to be a kind of compensating behaviour, when heterosexual men […]

Best of Spend Matters Network – Week of April 13 [Plus +]


Happy Friday! Welcome back to this week's edition of the best of roundup – giving you the most noteworthy or talked about posts from around the Spend Matters Network of websites. Change management and maverick spending were the highlights over on Spend Matters, while our sister site across the pond touches on supplier relationship management and offers tips for companies to win public sector contracts. MetalMiner introduces another type of CPO (not cheif procurement officer) and Trade Financing Matters dissects 2 sides of P2P. Enjoy!

SciQuest: The New Suite Dimension That Puts the Supplier First [PRO]


SciQuest has proven to be one of the source-to-pay (S2P) leaders in higher education and life sciences (as well as some public sector areas). The organic traction it has realized in these markets – albeit with increasing competition from ESM Solutions, Periscope Holdings (BuySpeed/BidSync) and Unimarket within higher education and state/local government – signifies that it has been successful even without a fully integrated suite (until now) in its core industries. Currently, with the new integrated suite value proposition and particular strength at the intersection of P2P and supplier management (and rising capability in sourcing), it is likely to be in an even better position to compete in these and new markets. If you’re considering other providers such as Ariba, Coupa, SAP, Oracle and Ivalua for integrated S2P, this analysis will provide context to understand if SciQuest should be added to your vendor shortlist.

Ask The Expert Webinar this Friday on Trade Financing Technology [Plus +]


This Friday, April 17, Spend Matters Founder and Managing Director Jason Busch will join David Gustin, editor and co-founder of Trade Financing Matters, for The State of Trade Financing Technology, an Ask the Expert webinar, open to Plus and PRO members. The webinar, taking place at 10:30 a.m., will touch on a number of topics – you wont want to miss it.

Maverick Spend Analysis, How to Re-Plumb Your Spend and Savings Flow – 50 Shades of Pay: Shade 14 [Plus +]

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In our last edition of the 50 Shades of Pay series, we touched on how to analyze maverick spending and patch a few of the “savings leaks” through reporting and through a fail-safe P2P system. But this is only a stopgap measure, especially if there are no systems that can be set up to “guide” the requisitioner to a specific product from a specific supplier. Why? Even if the preferred supplier meets the need, people are often too busy to look for a contract or read the memo and will generally go back to buying what they want when if they feel procurement has stopped watching over their shoulder. They want to be effective. And if the product from the preferred supplier doesn't meet the need, they will continue to bypass the system at every opportunity, especially if the closet procurement person in them wants to play the “beat the corporate price” game. You can certainly allow this (hotel rooms and rental cars are a good examples) and even have “meet-or-beat” clauses with your suppliers, but most don’t want to deal with the hassle and cost of managing this. The real solution is to identify why they are doing it and then fix it.