On the Future of Direct Procurement Tech: An Interview with Dan Willmer, VP Sales and Operations at Jaggaer

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Today we present another installment from our ongoing series exploring where manufacturing procurement technology is headed. Produced in collaboration with our sister site MetalMiner, these interviews feature questions from Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch posed to multiple experts at technology vendors on topics such as the current direct procurement renaissance, the increasing centralization of procurement departments, the volatile commodity environment and more.

The most recent interview, published earlier Tuesday on MetalMiner, features Dan Willmer, vice president of sales and operations at Jaggaer. Leveraging his experience as a global managing director of Accenture's BPO practice and earlier positions at FreeMarkets and SAP Ariba, Willmer delves into the history and evolution of the direct materials sourcing area, as well as identifies the top areas of concern for global manufacturing customers that procurement leaders should take note of.

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In response to the central question of our series — why are we hearing about a “direct procurement” renaissance of sorts in terms of procurement technology? — Willmer said short-term fixes had been previously preferred when it came to gaining a competitive advantage over one's peers in sourcing. While engagements like those surely add value, they had edged out more sustainable, long-term solutions to sourcing challenges that technology can provide.

"I think we’re finally at a point where some solutions are getting critical mass in addressing a larger portion of those challenges," he said.

Part of that momentum includes the technological advances that are starting to upend manufacturing procurement solutions. In Willmer's view, aggregation technologies will become the most valuable. As managing the ever-increasing volume of data coming into the enterprise continues to top procurement's priority list, the ability to pull data from multiple systems to address spend visibility, supplier management or sourcing has become highly popular.

"If I can’t see what I buy or have a platform to get insights, any other tool I have would be a guess as to what I need to do," Willmer said. "The insights you should be getting from your spend analytics solution are hiding in a usually cumbersome array of disparate data and inputs. Providing a tool that peels that onion to your most intellectually curious team members would be a crucial step toward procurement excellence."

Finally, Willmer discussed how the direct materials renaissance related to the broader economic picture. Globalization, M&A and several other factors in the manufacturing sector have created a lot of opportunities but equal amount of challenges for procurement organizations. The answer, in Willer's view, "is that solutions within procurement/sourcing require a technology- and back-end-system-agnostic solution that aggregates knowledge and data into one work desk so that they can appropriately prioritize and act against the savings opportunities that are available." (Which makes sense from his perspective, given Jaggaer's recent acquisition of Pool4Tool.)

To learn more about this and related direct procurement topics, be sure to check out the full interview on MetalMiner.

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And much more — Join us at 12 p.m. EDT/9 a.m. PDT on Tuesday, June 27, for the FREE WEBINAR: “Turbulent Times Demand Smarter Supplier Commodity Risk Management.”


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