Procurement News from the US: Natural Disasters, Why CIOs Secretly Hate Procurement, Basics of Supplier Development, St. Vincent and David Byrne, and More

Jason’s back from his mini-sabbatical! Here are some of his post-vacation reflections:

Back in Black (We Hope) -- As loyal Spend Matters readers know, I spent the past five weeks away on a mini-sabbatical (I now can't wait for a full one someday). On both Spend Matters and Spend Matters PRO, Thomas Kase, Sheena Moore, William Busch, Peter Smith, and roughly half a dozen or so guest contributors did an outstanding job of keeping the content current when I was gone. Upon returning -- and checking in by reading the site during my absence -- it was a real accomplishment to see that Spend Matters could not only survive in my absence, but also thrive. Eight years on, I feel this site has finally achieved a voice that far transcends my own, with a range of expert contributors with their own voice, style and expertise. We'll be continuing to add to this mix of voices and look forward to welcoming additional contributors and team members.

Along with a tan, Jason also brought back a revamp of his old, conversational writing style:

Why CIOs Secretly Hate Procurement And Other VMO Tales (Part 1) -- Many lesser-performing CIOs really do hate procurement for good reason. On some levels, you can't blame 'em. I should provide some context here. Almost 20 years ago now, I got my start in the professional world as a summer temporary worker for Liberty Mutual's IT division in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (in between my sophomore and junior year at college). At the time, I observed that all of my colleagues really had no idea what purchasing did, other than push back -- or rubber stamp -- on manual requisitions.

Finishing off our series on Hubwoo.

Stepping Away from SAP/Ariba Uncertainty, Hubwoo Moves Its Network Vision Forward (Part 5) -- In the earlier posts in this series, we examined Hubwoo's recent product enhancements and solution roadmap – as well as the current capital market situation they find themselves in following SAP's planned acquisition of Ariba. To summarize the last post, it's our belief that given Hubwoo's current valuation (at the time of a recent Spend Matters PRO article: How Has the SAP/Ariba Deal Affected Other Firms' Stock Prices?), that the SAP procurement BPO and network partner is likely to be acquired. (Please click here for Part 1Part 2Part 3, and Part 4 of this series.)

The impact of an unexpected natural disaster can go further than you think.

Supply Risk and Costa Rica: How Earthquakes Can Rock Western Supply Chains as Well -- The 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami quickly became both a deadly and painful reminder about how fragile supply chains are, especially in geographic areas prone to natural disasters. But supply regions that see disasters less frequently are also at risk. Yesterday, Costa Rica was hit by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake prompting tsunami warnings throughout Central and South America. Fortunately, in this case, no material tsunami occurred, but sadly, two deaths were reported at the time of our research for this post.

...and we have more questions than commentary.

IDC Study: Procurement is Supply Chain’s Top Initiative to Reduce Costs... -- Supply Chain Digest recently featured a number of highlights from a recent (July, 2012) IDC Manufacturing Insights report that considered the responses of 355 participations about the primary focus for their supply chain. The results, especially for those that have historically read AMR/Gartner reports focused on supply chain issues historically centered on inventory turns, sales and operations planning (S&OP), supplier collaboration/product innovation and the like might be surprising: procurement is the top issue and area to reduce costs.

A quick refresher on supplier development.

Supplier Development: Refreshing the Basics -- Within procurement, supplier development, especially across a broader supply base (rather than select, strategic suppliers or those in crisis), typically gets short shrift. One of the fundamental challenges of supplier development is that the ownership and responsibility often falls across multiple parties -- category owners/managers, buyers, materials managers, supply chain/operations, manufacturing, and, of course, third parties such as supplier audit firms acting on behalf of a procurement organization. In such a quick analysis as this, it would be impossible to go into details about the intersection of supplier development with supplier performance management, but as anyone involved in such programs knows, putting information and measurement at the core is an absolutely critical foundational element.

And now for a new musical curiosity that I’m not sure how I feel about yet...

David Byrne has teamed up with indie songstress St. Vincent to create the album Love this Giant. On first go-around I’m annoyed by the horns but I love how they sound together vocally. Have a listen for yourself.

Andreas Laszlo Konrath/Courtesy of the artist

- Sheena Moore

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