US Procurement News: New Year’s Resolutions, Commodity Forecasting, Revisiting OB10

Happy 2013! We’ll be fully back online as of Monday, January 7th, but here’s what went on this week:

Jason made some New Year’s Resolutions.

New Year's Resolution #1: Don’t Indulge “Smoking Something” Statements -- Earlier in my career, I once did a double take at a manager who exclaimed that a colleague "must be smoking something" based on some outlandishly bad comment they made in a meeting. Now there are obviously varying degrees of "bad." But a rhetorical point that is inanely stupid, especially coming from a position that shows a complete lack of market/customer understanding or is just plain misinformed, is a waste of everyone's time. It's a waste of air. And the utterer is either stupid or smoking something. Because I tend to believe the glass is half-full in most circumstances, I like to think it's the latter.

New Year’s Resolution #2: Get Back to the Real Value in the Purchasing Process -- Transactional procurement has been a hot area these past few years. The rise of Ariba/SAP, Coupa, Basware, and others in the eProcurement and e-invoicing sectors (not to mention supplier network providers like OB10 and Tradeshift) has been consistent, with varying degrees of product innovation tossed in for good measure. But let's call a spending and buying spade a transactional spade.

We delved into US politics.

Is Washington Finally Serious About Sourcing and Procurement? (Part 1) -- It appears that the US federal government is finally taking lessons from the private sector in getting serious about sourcing and procurement – strategic sourcing, to be exact. In a Whitehouse memorandum addressed to the "Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies" dated December 5th, Obama's Deputy Director for Management Jeffrey Zients Obama outlines a detailed approach to "improving acquisition through strategic sourcing." Those interested in reading the memo for themselves can find it here. (Part 2 here)

Have you looked at your commodity management strategies for this year?

2013 Commodity Forecasting: Cost and Supply Management Intersections -- Last week, Spend Matters featured a recap of metals-focused commodity management strategies for 2012 (here and here), including offering a forward look into what companies should be considering and forecasting for 2013. Yet what should we make of general commodity management and related trends going into next year? A recent Bloomberg summary captures a number of salient concepts we should take under careful consideration as we plan our overall commodity management strategies going into next year.

“Despite the competitive trash talking, OB10 continues to execute.”

Revisiting OB10 – Flogging the E-Invoicing and Network Workhorse -- There are a few vendors in the market who tend to under-invest in marketing and know nothing about how to turn up the rhetoric for competitive and positioning banter. But these providers do often know how to quietly grow and sign deals. Yet buzz abhors an information vacuum. If the IRS got a buck for every time one of OB10's competitors said something negative about their prospects to a customer or analyst, it would go at least some way to paying down the Federal deficit!

Cheers to 2013!

- Sheena Moore

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