Author Archives: Guest Contributor

Happy digitized, purposeful Christmas to everyone …


Organizations that have a strong sense of purpose will do much better than those that don’t during this period. For people working from home, remotely from their teams, their office and their boss, there would inevitably be times when they weren’t sure quite what to do or how to act. And they wouldn’t be able to pop over to ask a colleague or their manager in the same office. But if they were guided by a clear sense of corporate principle and purpose — as firms such as Mars, Unilever, J&J and others have developed over the years — then they would have a much better idea of how to behave, compared to those whose firms did not have such clarity. Peter Smith explores.

Investor perspective: The Rise of Verticalized Supply Chain in Large Enterprise SaaS

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jack Freeman, Principal at PeakSpan Capital who is a growth-stage software investor.

The next generation of supply chain software leaders will be verticalized. The pace of innovation seen in the supply chain software space over the past handful of years suggests we’ve reached an inflection point, in no small part due to our ability to collect, analyze and harness the power of data, but that is a story for a future guest post. When you look at where supply chain scale-ups have found success over the years, it’s quite telling as to the future direction of this space. The time for horizontally oriented SCM platforms has come to an end. The next class of leaders in supply chain management will compete (and win) off focus and specialization.

IT supply chain: Backlog of demand for PCs highest ever; higher IT prices impacted by logistics and transportation


The prospect of a no-deal Brexit loomed large over the UK economy in November as the EU and UK struggled to finalise terms. One of the biggest hurdles looks likely to be delays at ports, which will impact product delivery and higher prices due to weaker exchange rates. Adding to this volatility was a strain on logistics and transportation, largely driven by consumer spending in the run-up to Christmas.

This pressure means we may see further delays and price hiking as demand for key lines remains high, reports Ian Nethercot, MCIPS, Supply Chain Director at Probrand.

Companies need to adopt spend agility to survive and thrive post-COVID

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post on spend agility from Nikesh Parekh, the CEO of Suplari, a specialist in spend analytics and supplier management.

Companies need to adopt spend agility — the ability for enterprises to rapidly assess, predict and change spend, investments and operations strategy in real time. That ability helps you create value in the moment, rather than figure out long after the fact that you spent what you couldn’t afford.

As with many things in technology and business, 2020 and COVID-19 laid this reality bare.

Covid pandemic — a forerunner for the impact of Brexit on consumers and the supply chain?

Scurri supply chain

With the UK leaving the EU customs union and single market, new bureaucracy is on the way, whether there is a deal or not. From the EU point of view, the UK becomes a “third country” – we just don’t know whether it will be one where a trade deal is in place.

Now more than ever, the supply chain needs a smart, well-coordinated multi-carrier strategy. Capacity is tight, volumes are high, and peak season surcharges are unprecedented. But to truly optimize multi-carrier parcel shipping, shippers need to go beyond rating, rate shopping and label printing, and analyze their shipping data to answer the question: how can I get the most out of my carrier network? Digital optimization is not only an increasingly important sales channel but it can also help companies adapt cost structures and make each step of the value chain better, faster and cheaper. For example, digitization can enable new logistics and sales-fulfilment options, fuel innovative ways of customer acquisition, and help predict and manage inventory to create a more resilient supply chain. The fundamental enabler to all this will be data — the transparency, governance and accuracy of which have never been more important.

How procurement can lead amid a fractured global economy

supply chain AI

A redrawing of global supply lines is under way. Amid this uncertainty, resilience is the new supply chain imperative. Across industries, there is growing recognition that managing supply chains for maximum efficiency hampers companies’ ability to respond to risk events. And the frequency of such disruptions is rising, with a recent McKinsey Global Institute survey showing that companies now expect severe supply chain disruptions every 3.7 years. Yet when resilience can mean many things to different industries, how should leaders prioritize?

Enno Lueckel, VP at Scoutbee, talks about the building blocks of a resilient supply chain. To reap the benefits of resilience, such as improved flexibility, responsiveness and agility, companies must first make their supply chains transparent and diversified. And artificial intelligence can provide a much-needed boost to procurement’s data capabilities.

What exactly is a ‘sustainable turkey’?

sustainable turkey

Thanks to our friend and former colleague Peter Smith for addressing this seasonal burning issue. 

Knowing my interest in “procurement with purpose” and the sustainability agenda generally, a friend recently asked me the question "What exactly is a sustainable turkey?" with Thanksgiving and Christmas in mind. Their angle was that a turkey can’t be “sustainable” really, as we eat it and it’s gone!

Let’s start by thinking about animal welfare issues and the conditions in which the birds are bred and reared. That can range from genuine free-range approaches, with turkeys roaming around fields and experiencing considerable freedom, to much more intensive “battery farm” methods, which meat-eaters might not want to know too much about. But an “organic”-labelled turkey should mean the bird had access to the outdoors and have adequate scratching space, nesting areas and so on.

Then we need to look at what the birds have eaten. We might want to know that they are antibiotic free, for a start. Then, in most cases, producers will be using bought-in feed for the birds, and that’s where some serious “sustainability” issues can kick in. For organic birds, the feed should be plant-based and free from any animal products. But that’s not enough to assure ourselves of the turkey’s sustainability credentials, unfortunately.

Is your turkey being produced and supplied in a sustainable way?

We should stop overpaying for digital procurement solutions

Here's an uncomfortable truth: procurement teams are overpaying for digital solutions. It doesn’t have to be this way. But the key to win-win technology partnerships and deploying “best of breed” procurement transformations is understanding the true drivers behind digital solution pricing.

Using low-code platforms to supplement your procure-to-pay solution and get more spend under management

low code software integration

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Doug Hudgeon, CEO of Managed Functions, which provides integration as a service.

Low-code is the hot new enterprise software category. These platforms (of which I consider RPA to be a sub-category) enable “citizen developers” to build and deploy applications that solve niche business problems. This article takes you through the world of low-code platforms and how they may supplement your procure-to-pay capability. Low-code software can help integrate a business's patchwork of systems, allowing for more insights into the company's spend.

IT supply chain: Product-delivery delays; Tablets up, smartphones fall; Prices volatile

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Ian Nethercot, MCIPS, Supply Chain Director at Probrand, a marketplace for IT products, services and solutions.

2020 has undoubtedly been a challenging year for many, with new ways of working driving demand and constraint for work-from-home IT products. To help navigate the ups and downs, here are the latest developments and major movements that are influencing key IT product categories.

Is coaching the missing link as an accelerator to embed Category Management capability?

category management

Future Purchasing regularly talks to new clients who tell us that they have tried category management several times but never make it stick, is this true of your organization? In this article, we will explore coaching as the missing link in sustaining and embedding category management.