Ethical, Critical, Strategic: All Sorts of Sourcing and Supplier Management in Best Posts of 2016

In many ways, the Sourcing & Supplier Management space is the broadest- and farthest-reaching of all the categories Spend Matters covers.

There are a ton of aspects to consider when defining “sourcing” (of the “e-” variety or otherwise), while supplier management is a catch-all description for a set of activities and technologies that are often carried out in silos across an organization.

Using this admittedly loose rubric, we’ll take a quick spin through some of the top posts on Spend Matters in 2016 that dealt with the challenges of — and best practices behind — sourcing and supplier management.

1.  Ethical Sourcing: Do Consumers and Companies Really Care?

We’ve confronted ethics quite a bit lately, especially as pertains to the contingent workforce and gig economy overall, but this provocative headline got a lot of folks thinking in 2016. Back in February, Kaitlyn McAvoy explored the push and pull behind many consumers saying they do care about ethically sourced products and processes, while in many cases stubbornly keeping their shopping habits the same. McAvoy collected insight on the topic from leaders at Cargill and KPMG, while tracing a line through several studies with fascinating conclusions.

Ultimately, “there is opportunity for ethical sourcing and sustainability efforts, such as the one demonstrated by Denny’s [and other organizations], to prove profitable for companies and to spark positive change.”

2.  5 Critical Supply Risk Mitigation Principles for Your Sourcing Process

Risk management activities with a supply chain focus are very much part of effective Supplier Management as a whole, and supply risk mitigation is exactly what Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell unpacks, before building his foundation of key principles, in this popular post from May.

“Many organizations try to deal with through-point-based supply risk management solutions centered around supply chain visibility, corporate social responsibility or supplier management, trying to implement the top-down 'program du jour,'” Mitchell writes. “But what usually happens is a solution is acquired, key strategic suppliers are vetted once in a ‘check-the-box’ compliance initiative and that's it.”

Check out the five principles for yourself, and compare it to what your company already does — or should do.

3.  Deloitte’s Game-Changing Analytics Platform Puts ‘Strategic’ Back into Sourcing

This past September, Mitchell gave readers a quick look at an interesting Deloitte product to rev up strategic sourcing. Deloitte’s Global Sourcing Insights (GSI) analytics platform is “a subscription-based supply chain sourcing analytics platform that uses a Tableau-styled set of modular analytics that plug into an extended supply network modeling environment. You load up your spend and your suppliers into the platform (like other tools in the market), but then the fun really begins.”

Mitchell went on to write, “I spent many hours with the Deloitte team going through the various analytics and was pretty much blown away by what they’ve developed and where they’re going with it.”

He then promptly dated himself: “I literally heard Austin Powers in my head saying, ‘Yeah baby yeah!’”

But be sure to check out the post, if only to learn more about the platform and Mitchell’s take on why sourcing is often not so “strategic.”

Rest of the Best

Here are a few more top-read posts of 2016 in Sourcing & Supplier Management:

  1. Donald Trump: A Real Risk for Outsourcing?
  1. Sourcing, Bid Portal and RFI/RFX Tools — Is it Time to Look at New Vendors in 2016?
  1. 5 Things to do to Prepare for Extending Payment Terms with your Suppliers
  1. Supplier Management in 2016: Onboarding, Risk Management, Development and More

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