Author Archives: JP Morris



CIPS’ Bill Michels talks China trade, other global insights: ‘Brexit. What a headache!’

“The days of chasing low-cost labor around the globe, manufacturing in one location and shipping things around the globe are numbered,” said procurement veteran Bill Michels, VP of operations for the Americas at The Chartered Institute for Procurement and Supply (CIPS).

The U.S.-China trade war is the latest development in a trend away from overseas manufacturing, said Michels, who in part 2 of our Q&A also discusses automation, reshoring, protecting intellectual property, and the fallout of Brexit if the U.K. splits with the European Union at the end of this month.

CIPS’ Bill Michels shares the latest on growing in the Americas

The Chartered Institute for Procurement and Supply (CIPS) is a well-known group for professional development and certifications. Its roots lie in Europe and Australia, but it has recently been expanding to the Americas.

For the past year or so, procurement veteran Bill Michels has been CIPS’ vice president of operations for the Americas, leading the group’s efforts to grow beyond its traditional areas.

To find out how that’s going, we caught up with Michels for a two-part Q&A series, where he discusses new CIPS’ initiatives, the lifecycle of a CPO, what it means to be strategic in the digital age, and the role of soft skills.

Procurement pros rise to the occasion at Big Ideas Summit Chicago

When the city of big shoulders hosted the Big Ideas Summit last week, the procurement executives at Procurious’ event in Chicago generated a lot of excitement and a powerful list of insights.

An array of speakers led thought-provoking sessions and imparted plenty of big ideas — from the latest in neuroscience to how procurement technology and policies affect issues like human trafficking and forced labor in supply chains.

‘What other needs do you have?’ — Lessons from ConnXus, a supplier relationship expert

Supplier relationship management (SRM) has grown from just sourcing the best deal to really evaluating suppliers for diversity, ability to innovate, value generation and their risk.

In this series on SRM, we’ve discussed how the development of supplier diversity has improved supplier management overall, and we’ve explored how companies can meet their goals to have a robust supply chain that’s diverse.

Businesses now know to get their spend data in order and should know how to measure the impact of that spend. They should be able to develop suppliers and drive innovation. Responsible businesses can protect their brand reputation by assessing their main suppliers (tier 1) and those deeper in the supply chain, as well as having a plan to mitigate risks, like unethical sourcing, forced labor in the supply chain or poor performance in the past. But, it’s also clear that lacking in supplier diversity or being weak in supplier information management (SIM) are risks themselves.

To learn more about these issues, we talked with SRM expert Daryl Hammett, the general manager of ConnXus, a provider that connects buyers and qualified suppliers.

Mastercard Track adds payment features in bid to disrupt B2B market

procurement

Mastercard is ramping up its effort to be a player in the B2B payments market by adding payment tools for Mastercard Track, its product launched in 2018 that intends to make inroads into the procure-to-pay technology space.

This week, Mastercard Track announced in a press release that it has added the product Business Payment Service, describing it as “a single connection bringing together multiple payment types, greater control and richer data to optimize B2B transactions for both suppliers and buyers.”

Automation of accounts payable and facilitating payments are hot topics in P2P, and Spend Matters’ analysts have been covering the issues with our PRO subscription series defining AP automation and an in-depth look at Mastercard Track, introducing its capabilities and analyzing its potential to disrupt the market.

CPOs can get the top procurement technology but not make material gains

The mantra of tech companies is that modern businesses must have high-powered procurement technology to reduce costs, automate manual tasks, save time, generate insight and allow for more strategic work. While true, the benefits are not the whole story. Chief procurement officers need to know what they are “digitally transforming” and why. The digital CPO must have a vision for how technology is going to improve procurement, why it will be good for customers and what to do next with all the data, insights and “time saved” by intelligent process automation.

When is the right time for mid-market digital transformation?

Procurement software providers that target large enterprises get a lot of attention, but the increased use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is raising the profile of vendors who serve a vast group of businesses that also are doing some heavy lifting — the mid-market companies seeking to digitally transform.

One of those providers is Paramount WorkPlace, which focuses on the procure-to-pay areas of e-procurement and e-invoicing for the middle market practitioner. And it also has a sliver of the enterprise market. We talked to Paramount for a Q&A to gauge how it’s helping to deploy technology and aid digital transformation across a range of businesses.

Contracts Aren’t Just for the Legal Department Anymore

Cost-savings and strategic advantages hide in every business, and the latest procurement technology can reveal how to find it — in your contracts. In our recent article about spend management, we focused on the flood of spend data that businesses face and the technology that can help make sense of that.

But that technology, like artificial intelligence, is also being used to connect contract data and accounts payable information. That connection offers insights into novel ways to think about contracts that can add profits to the bottom line.

Contracts represent a direct link to suppliers, and that can offer profitable information about supplier activity that can help with contract renewals, a common way to control spend and find savings. But with AI, it gives your business the advantage and reduces risk.

How to reach your goals on supplier diversity and supplier management

When a company considers how to improve its supplier diversity, it can do so along with improving its supplier management overall. But how does a business go from getting started to reaching its goals with suppliers?

In the first article in this series, we showed that businesses starting this process don’t have to choose between supplier diversity and supplier management. You should do both at the same time.

But now, let’s consider how to execute a plan to build relationships with suppliers and reach your business goals. You’ll need to understand three areas of SRM, or supplier relationship management: how your suppliers align with your business goals, how you manage supplier risk and how you address supplier development.

3 tips to improve the ‘first mile’ of your supply chain

Overhauling how your business manages its supply chain is a daunting task, but a good starting point is to look at a segment of the supply chain and focus on three tips: clean your data to improve visibility, automate supplier collaboration and consider what new technology is available to you to make these things happen.

The specific part of the supply chain that many organizations would benefit from focusing on is the “first mile” — when businesses set a solid foundation to work with suppliers, engage services and order direct materials. In our previous article, “How ‘first-mile’ flaws hinder last-mile success,” we discussed the problems that snowball, add to risk and cut into margins.

Now, let’s dig into the top three tips for addressing these problems:

More Trump tariffs to be levied on goods from China — starting Sept. 1

In a tweet Thursday that rattled stocks, the Trump administration announced that, starting Sept. 1, 10% in tariffs will be levied against $300 billion in more goods that are made in China for companies that import them into the United States. The companies pay the tariffs, and the extra expense typically leads to higher prices for U.S. consumers. The Dow had been up about 300 points, but on the news, it fell 200 points.

Procurement Leaders is acquired by World 50

Procurement Leaders — an organization known for its executive conferences, membership and research in the procurement sector — has announced its acquisition by World 50, an executive membership organization. Procurement Leaders CEO Nandini Basuthakur, announced the news Wednesday, saying: “We will continue to offer our unique suite of insights, applications and connections that accelerate global and cross functional transformation to our customers. This will now be further strengthened by the pairing of World 50’s powerful access across the broader C-suite.”