Author Archives: Spend Matters Brand Studio

How supplier collaboration can lead to growth and sustainability

supplier collaboration

Enterprises large and small are realizing the extended gains to be had from collaboration, both with suppliers and partners, to bring an opportunity to drive synergies. Those might come from joint initiatives on R&D, expanding business reach that is not possible within their own confines, or working to optimize costs for the consumer. It is when they extend these collaboration models to more and more, perhaps tens of thousands, of suppliers that business capabilities increase. This is a business model that is becoming not just more common but essential, and is one which needs managing as the number of suppliers we work with increases. Many firms seek technology that can help them cultivate and manage those alliances at scale.

Multinational consumer goods firm Unilever explains how it is actively pursuing a partner and supplier collaboration approach and forging a world-changing initiative with a responsibility for sustainability, people and the planet. “In order to achieve our sustainable growth ambition, we must collaborate with our suppliers and partners, and the technology we use to facilitate that engagement plays a vital role,” explains Alexandra Tarmo, Head of Partnerships & Social Procurement at Unilever.

Can platform consensus make finance, procurement play better with IT?

common platform

With the proliferation of cloud-based source-to-pay solutions, departments like procurement have access to more technology options than ever before. They can choose from dozens of potential vendors for technologies that address different business processes, like AP automation, contract lifecycle management and sourcing, or they can even select a suite provider that wraps these processes into a single offering.

Yet with greater choice comes newer problems. One issue, often voiced by IT departments, is that bringing aboard multiple software solutions with different cloud networks leads to data duplication and integration challenges, forcing the business to do extra work to support a patchwork of systems.

That’s where the right platform comes into play.

Aligning procurement and payables — The why and the how


For decades business has been talking about how procurement and finance must work closer together and the benefits of doing so, like improved decision making, better demand planning, a greater understanding of the vendor landscape, and faster, more efficient workflows. That’s because they both touch all areas of the business; they both see across all regions and business units; they both focus on the ROI of every item of spend. So their mutual sharing of information and the combined visibility of the ‘where,’ the ‘who’ and the ‘when’ of spend, is beneficial to the whole organization.

While technology and digital transformation have developed over the decades to help bring the two closer together, the events of 2020 have been the real pivotal moment behind this need and have accelerated its urgency. We recently discussed not just the ‘why’ but the ‘how’ of procurement/finance collaboration with a solution provider that has a foot firmly planted in both camps. Medius is a leading player in cloud-based spend management field, but has a strong heritage in the payables sector.

Business intelligence platform ‘Suppleye’ launches with free insights tool


The new business intelligence tool Suppleye launched today with the goal of giving businesspeople a free, real-time view of how their clients and suppliers are faring.

“Generally speaking, commercial roles have got harder over the last few years,” said Suppleye COO Tim Czerwonka. “There are masses of important information out there that is going unseen, and the solution to which can only be sources and software.”

With no technology for total talent management, companies must build a workforce plan that is ‘truly flexible’

The external workforce space is difficult to manage and define because of its many moving parts and multiple names, like “extended workforce,” “contingent workforce” or “temporary workforce.” But with the right strategy and understanding of the latest technology, you can better manage all of your personnel and attain workforce flexibility.

The complexity begins inside a company, where siloed departments seek different types of workers and use different technology to find and manage them — effectively creating a hidden workforce for any CEO who wants to have a snapshot of all personnel.

The coronavirus crisis further complicates workforce matters. As companies get used to the new normal of remote work, they are having trouble finding talent fast enough as they try to complete projects or start new initiatives.

So companies must try to address problems with their workforce visibility and performance. They have a lot of internal job needs and a lot of external options to find the right people to do the work.

In a Q&A, we’ll get insights on how to achieve that flexibility from BearingPoint’s Dietrich Pankratz, the Operations Consulting Leader in the US. He has been researching the issues around how the use of external workers has evolved in the US, Europe and globally.

COVID lessons: 5 ways to protect your manufacturing business from supplier risks

supplier risk

Businesses cannot lose time or money to inefficient processes and supplier risk — especially while other businesses are digitally transforming to prepare for future risks. Communication between suppliers and manufacturers has been key to surviving the coronavirus’ supply chain disruption, and SourceDay, a provider of ERP-to-supplier collaboration technology for direct materials, has shared five insights that it is seeing with its clients.

Three years down the line: How Amazon Business is revolutionizing procurement

Amazon Business UK Dave Brittain

In a nutshell, Amazon Business was created to make businesses’ lives easier by saving them time and money. It is essentially the convenience of an e-commerce site optimized for the needs of B2B businesses. It has various clever tools and features to help increase efficiency and improve productivity, and is expanding the use of machine learning to automate manual and time-consuming tasks, making processes more streamlined. In a short period of time, it has helped millions of companies in Europe reap the benefits of digital buying. Spend Matters talks to the head of Amazon Business UK.

Why you are thinking about direct spend AP automation all wrong


In light of all the disruption over the last year, businesses must re-examine how they operate, and bottlenecks in back-office operations are ripe for digital transformation that can make companies more agile and resilient. One of the key chokepoints where supply chain operations teams think about procurement technology the wrong way is believing that an indirect AP automation solution can solve direct invoicing as well.

The nature of what’s being bought in direct procurement is more detailed, so your solution needs to account for that. Learn more here.

Can services spend for engineering/maintenance be helped by a new technology approach?

Services procurement creates so many headaches across companies, and business leaders’ frustrations with it have risen to a level that it needs to be addressed.

Spend Matters has heard from procurement pros that technology doesn’t properly address all services workflows, doesn’t offer enough spend visibility, can’t be easily used by anyone across the company, and doesn’t fully meet compliance and audit needs due to the complex requirements of services procurement across various groups.

With an estimated $1 trillion in annual services spent by U.S. firms, those are big issues — especially when trying to buy engineering/maintenance services for manufacturing facilities and equipment, large turnaround projects, capital-intensive projects and IT operations outsourcing.

Managing this process takes a lot of manual, time-consuming attention and often doesn’t efficiently result in the desired outcomes. The effort and time to get engineering drawings or big projects from an offline team into the source-to-pay process raises the question: Why not start the digital process sooner, in the engineering/maintenance phase so the workflow, like sourcing for materials and vendors, can begin sooner and with more visibility?

Tax technology prep: Consider these 4 areas when digitally transforming your business


In the first article in our look at tax issues and digital transformation, we noted that problems with tax transactions include overpayments or underpayments, penalties for not complying with the patchwork regulations across state and national borders, the risk of audits, and the lack of tax expertise in departments that handle technology — like IT, sales, finance and procurement.

Tax technology can curb these problems, add visibility and boost confidence in the business. Let’s take a look at what businesses should consider when looking for tax technology.

Supplier collaboration is key to coming out of disruption on top

In an effort to showcase the importance of supplier collaboration in SRM, Vizibl is hosting a webinar this month titled “The Future of Procurement: How Sanofi Are Reinventing Their Approach To Supplier Relationships.” Sanofi is a Vizibl customer that has real-world knowledge of how supplier collaboration works. The company’s CPO will provide first-hand experience of the Supplier Collaboration and Innovation solution. To learn more and register for the free Nov. 25 webinar, visit Vizibl’s registration page.

5 tips to build supply chain resiliency now and for 2021

The global coronavirus crisis shocked supply chains this year, causing a lot of disruption but also setting the stage for something unexpected — the C-suite finally understanding the need for supply chain resiliency and digital transformation. And as stakeholders want to avoid the problems they’ve seen this year, they’re now leading the charge for operational upgrades.

You have to build a supply chain backbone that’s strong, flexible — and capable of continued optimization.

To learn more about ensuring resiliency, we talked with the specialists at Bristlecone, a provider of services for supply chain transformation and product engineering. We wanted their insights because they’re on the ground helping reduce workloads, cutting the time to approve suppliers, adding visibility into spend and improving a full suite of source-to-pay (S2P) processes.

Bristlecone shared five ways you can improve supply chain resiliency as you look ahead to 2021 —  because even if you’ve weathered the coronavirus disruption so far, you’ll need to rebuild your supply chain and procurement functions for future problems, even if they’re not as bad as this pandemic.