Volkswagen Supplier Dispute – Production Halted, VW Sends in the Bailiffs

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The current dispute involving Volkswagen and two of its key suppliers looks like going down in the annals of procurement and supplier relationship management history, […]

Ariba’s Alex Atzberger and Jason Busch on the ‘Golden Age of Procurement’

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Over on our sister Spend Matters US site, there is an interesting two-part discussion between Jason Busch, Spend Matters founder, and Alex Atzberger, SAP Ariba […]

Down the Procurement Pub with Tejari, Sunderland, the Olympics, RBS and The Beach

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Not too many pub trips to write about this week so let’s look forward to our next Real World Procurement events with BravoSolution in the […]

Public Spend Forum Europe – Public Procurement Highlights from this Week

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Public Spend Forum Europe is dedicated to European public sector procurement, and aims to be a global community and knowledge network for public procurement and the public […]

Nuclear De-Commissioning Authority Loses Supplier Challenge – So Much To Say!

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We mentioned the recent court case featuring the Nuclear De-Commissioning Authority, who lost a challenge to a procurement decision. The judgement is available here - […]

Your Complex Sourcing Dilemmas Identified and Resolved – Use Cases Reveal How

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Trade Extensions works with a varied group of customers across numerous sectors all over the globe to help with their strategic sourcing exercises. Ranging from manufacturers […]

Keelvar: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

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The capability of most e-sourcing suites has evolved relatively slowly compared with other procurement technology areas in the past decade. Yet there is one exception to this rule: sourcing optimization or, as some label it, “advanced sourcing.” On the supplier side, these technologies encourage vendor creativity in bid responses and even allow alternative bids. For procurement, they enable the application of flexible constraints (not just weights) against supplier responses to create optimal bid award decisions that factor into account price and non-price factors.

While advanced sourcing technologies got their start supporting logistics procurement events across thousands of lanes, they have now evolved to support just about any strategic category of spend where a direct competition route that encourages apples-to-apples bids in a reverse auction manner will likely not yield the best result. Sourcing optimization solutions today have supported some of the largest and most complex sourcing events ever conducted — in some cases, single events spanning multiple tiers of the supply chain with more than $1 billion in expenditure being awarded. Yet overall, adoption has lagged the market for general-purpose e-sourcing tools and suites.

Keelvar, a four-year-old firm that started as a spinout from a research lab at a university, is hoping to change this. Incidentally, CombineNet (now SciQuest) and Trade Extensions, two additional providers in this sector, also share similar academic roots. Keelvar's primary differentiation is that, unlike the majority of sourcing optimization software providers, it realized from day one that the solution wasn't a better optimization module, it was a better sourcing platform where ease of use was the most important driver of adoption. This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides a history and overview of Keelvar’s sourcing technology. This multi-part research brief comprises a company and solution overview, company-level SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses, competitive alternatives, a user selection guide and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Directworks: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive & Summary Analysis [PRO]

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While the number of providers in the generic sourcing platform market is overwhelming, the universe of direct materials procurement technology vendors, especially in North America, is small. Directworks is one of a handful of firms specializing in supporting manufacturing procurement activities, from design and engineering collaboration with suppliers to bill of material-based strategic sourcing activities to joint cost take out initiatives in the supply chain.

This final installment of this multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Directworks offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other direct materials procurement providers as well as alternative solutions (and vendors) that manufacturers may wish to consider. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Directworks.

Directworks: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

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The market for direct materials procurement technology and suites is well established in Western Europe. In North America, manufacturing is a component of a more complex GDP equation. Perhaps this is more of a political statement than anything else: Countries like Germany depend on manufacturing as the basis of their economy, the US less so today. Yet Directworks is one of a small number of providers attempting to create a separate market in North America that carves out source-to-contract (S2C) — and in the case of competitors, source-to-pay (S2P) — capabilities for direct spend from generic procurement technology providers.In many areas, direct procurement solution providers are as different from regular procurement technology suite vendors as a vendor management system (VMS) is from e-procurement. Granted, in certain components, there is material overlap with generic tools. But manufacturers will understand the difference between purpose-built solutions and regular procurement suites immediately (although whether they will budget for a specialized solution is a different question entirely).

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Directworks’ strengths and weaknesses in direct materials sourcing and related areas, providing facts and expert analysis to help manufacturers and procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the provider. Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Directworks. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface and experience (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

Directworks: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

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In North America, the vast majority of procurement technology expenditure, by Spend Matters estimates, has been focused primarily on automating indirect and services procurement activities spanning from strategy to payment. It’s worth noting that the opposite is true in countries such as Germany, where manufacturing is the focus of the economy. This has made it challenging for direct materials-focused technology providers like Directworks (and competitors such as Pool4Tool and SynerTrade, both of which have a strong base among European manufacturers) to be seen as a “must have” toolset compared with areas like indirect procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions and even more targeted modular areas like contract lifecycle management (CLM).

Directworks, along with its peers, is hoping to change this. Founded as Co-eXprise in 2004 with a goal of building a new type of direct sourcing solution not yet available in the North American marketplace, Directworks has since evolved since. What started as a solution to integrate the new sourcing tools of the day (e.g., RFX, auctions, project management, dashboards) with bill of materials, supplier management and collaborative workflow management has been evolving into a direct materials sourcing workbench.

Since then, Directworks has replatformed with an emphasis on being purpose-built for direct materials sourcing and cost management. There are gaps: auctions and sourcing optimization are absent, user-based workflow configuration is limited and product information management (PIM) is minimal. But the sum of how the parts interoperate is of more pragmatic value than before and should capture the attention of manufacturers.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides a history and overview of the Directworks platform, including how it can support direct materials procurement efforts today. This multi-part research brief comprises a company and solution overview, company-level SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses, competitive alternatives, a user selection guide and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Tamr: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis [PRO]

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It’s possible to look at what Tamr is trying to do for procurement through multiple lenses. From one angle, Tamr is bringing a revamped approach to data management and data classification for basic procurement analytics. But from other angles, Tamr is pursuing a different end game entirely: attempting to expand procurement’s data-driven horizons from traditional spend analysis to broader supply analytics (which includes spend data). Supply analytics is about much more than looking at “how much we spent.” It’s about bringing in new datasets to procurement analytics and expanding the value procurement can deliver through: exploring drivers of activity, linking specific category-based datasets to measurement and strategy development, influencing future buying behavior, quantifying the strategic value of spend and supplier relationships and much more.

This is a significant shift. We like to joke around the Spend Matters office that traditional spend analysis approaches should really be called forensic “spent analysis.” This statement can be, of course, read in two ways. Literally, spent analysis is rear-facing — and of diminishing value over time. But one can also read the phrase as an indictment of the actual benefit of most spend analysis today, especially when compared to its true potential. After all, if our analytics approaches are “spent,” then maybe procurement’s value-add is similarly at risk.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Tamr offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other spend analytics providers, as well as enterprise business intelligence vendors that are actually a better basis of comparison (if we want to move beyond “spent” analysis). It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Tamr.

BravoSolution & Puridiom Acquisition First Take: SWOT Analysis, Customer, Partner & Competitive Considerations [PRO]

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BravoSolution, a procurement technology suite provider historically focused on delivering analytics, sourcing, supplier management and contract management solutions to private and public sector customers in Europe and North America, recently announced its acquisition of Puridiom, a procure-to-pay (P2P) technology provider. In the coming quarters, the transaction will broaden BravoSolution’s organic footprint and provide the organization with greater control over the future of developing an integrated source-to-pay (S2P) suite instead of having to rely on partner solutions to fill missing gaps. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides a BravoSolution customer, partner and competitive landscape analysis and considerations based on the transaction, as well as a SWOT analysis (with the Puridiom asset).