Author Archives: Sydney Lazarus

About Sydney Lazarus

Editor-at-Large - Spend Matters | Sydney is editor-at-large at Spend Matters, where she writes on a variety of supply chain and procurement-related topics. Her reporting interests include labor conditions, corporate social responsibility, and women and millennials in supply chain. Like most of her editorial colleagues, Sydney is an alum of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast Traveler, and a couple places where she chose to be published anonymously.

Afternoon Coffee: Microsoft to Require Suppliers to Provide Paid Parental Leave, Is the New NAFTA a Boon for Labor Unions?

Microsoft announced in a blog post yesterday that it will be requiring its U.S. suppliers to offer employees a minimum of 12 weeks of paid parental leave, up to $1,000 per week. Also via a blog post, Amazon refutes Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)'s claims that many of the its employees are on food stamps, although the company's counterarguments are, well, less than strong. In today's special Labor Day edition, Afternoon Coffee brings you the good and the bad in labor news, as well as the latest in supply chain and procurement.

Concord, Cloud-Based CLM Provider, Doubles Enterprise Customer Base, Posts 300% Y-o-Y Revenue Growth

Concord, a provider of contract management software, announced in a press release Thursday morning that it has achieved a 300% year-on-year revenue growth, in addition to doubling its enterprise customer base over the past 12 months. The fast-growing CLM company has seen brisk market adoption of its solution, with more than 180,000 companies currently on the Concord platform. Find and compare contract management software companies: Check out the Q2 2018 CLM SolutionMap. In the past 12 months alone, Concord has added more than 150 new customers, including Kickstarter, Spark NZ, Altria, Newell Brands and Rent the Runway.

World-Class Procurement Organizations Boast 29% Fewer Staff and 21% Lower Labor Costs

Deloitte Global CPO Survey 2016

For every 10 employees that average procurement organizations have, their world-class peers have just seven, according to new research from The Hackett Group. Not only do world-class procurement organizations boast 29% fewer staff, but their labor costs are also 21% lower. These numbers come from The Hackett Group’s 2018 analysis of its procurement benchmarking database, the results of which are published in the report “Raising the World-Class Bar in Procurement Through Digital Transformation.”

New LinkedIn Research: Use of Freelance Labor on the Rise Among U.S. Small Businesses


It’s not just big companies that are increasingly incorporating contingent labor into their talent management strategies. Small businesses in the U.S. are also turning to freelancers. According to the latest research from LinkedIn, 70% of U.S.-based small businesses (defined as those with fewer than 200 employees) have hired freelancers. LinkedIn’s ProFinder marketplace, a service for businesses to find freelance workers, had seen a rise in small business hiring across all sectors. To better understand this trend, LinkedIn surveyed more than 1,500 small businesses on whether they have ever worked with freelancers, and if so, how often and why.

IT Sourcing in 2018: Best Practices That Companies Need to Know


Organizations will spend $3.7 trillion on IT in 2018, marking a 6.2% increase over last year’s spend. Moreover, IT buyers spend more than they need to on purchases and renewals in more than 75% of the time. Kim Addington, chief operating officer at NPI, provided these statistics as context during a webinar she co-hosted last Thursday with Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer at Spend Matters. The webinar provided a look at today’s IT sourcing landscape, key challenges and how cutting-edge IT sourcing organizations are handling these challenges.

U.S. Apparel Industry Scrambles to Diversify Sourcing Strategy in Wake of Escalating U.S.-China Trade War


For many U.S. companies in the apparel industry, the old sourcing strategy of “made in China” is turning into “China plus Vietnam plus many,” with emphasis on the many. As Washington and Beijing continue to one-up each other’s tariff threats, the prospect of a looming trade war is driving U.S. apparel companies to further diversify their sourcing strategy and shift production away from China. While China remains the top sourcing destination for the U.S. apparel industry, the country now accounts for 11%–30% of companies’ total sourcing volume, compared to 30%–50% in the past.

The Amazon Prime Effect: Rising Expectations for E-Commerce Delivery and Fulfillment

If the 100 million-plus shoppers who pay $119 a year for fast shipping via Amazon Prime are any indication, a smooth and expedient delivery and fulfillment process is crucial to e-commerce success. And expectations are rising. According to a recent survey of 3,000 online shoppers from Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., younger generations are particularly critical, with less than half of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 saying that they receive their orders on time and in perfect condition. These findings are published in a new report from Radial, “The Everyday Essentials of Successful E-Commerce Fulfillment.”

Are Companies Doing Enough to Prevent Software Supply Chain Attacks?

cyber attack

Software supply chains are at ever higher risk of cyberattacks, a recent report from the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) has warned. With seven significant events reported last year — compared to four between 2014 and 2016 — 2017 “represented a watershed in the reporting of software supply chain operations.” NCSC notes that “software supply chain infiltration already threatens the critical infrastructure sector and is poised to threaten other sectors.”

A.T. Kearney’s 2018 Reshoring Index: Has the Reshoring Trend Reversed?

Toyota supply chain

Harley-Davidson was in the news last month when it announced that it would be shifting some production overseas as a result of the E.U.’s planned retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. The American motorcycle manufacturer is also closing its Kansas City factory and opening a plant in Thailand, decisions that were spurred by sluggish domestic sales and the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). As it turns out, Harley-Davidson is hardly alone. Since 2013, A.T. Kearney has been tracking reshoring, and its 2018 Reshoring Index shows that the practice has not taken hold.

The Rise of the Social Enterprise (Part 3): Are Humans and Robots Smarter Together?

Robots are not our overlords (yet), but they will be our colleagues — if they aren’t already. According to Deloitte’s survey of 11,070 business and HR professionals around the world, the findings of which are published in the colossal 2018 Global Human Capital Trends Report, 47% say that their organizations are already undertaking automation projects. Twenty-four percent are using artificial intelligence and robotics to perform routine tasks, 16% are using automation to augment human skills, and 7% are restructuring work altogether.

The Rise of the Social Enterprise (Part 2): Why Corporate Citizenship is Crucial

As the nature of work changes, so too does our understanding of careers. This is one of the most important trends covered in Deloitte’s 100-page 2018 Global Human Capital Trends Report. While 84% of respondents who took part in Deloitte’s survey deemed the ability to build a 21st-century career as “important” or “very important,” only 37% think they are ready to do so. Part 1 of this series covered C-suite, contingent workforce and compensation trends. Today’s post will discuss four more trends in human capital: corporate citizenship, corporate wellness, longer careers and the redefinition of the career itself.

U.S. Companies Improve Working Capital Performance — But Is It at the Expense of Suppliers?


U.S. companies’ working capital performance is at its strongest since 2008, according to The Hackett Group. However, this is in large part a result of companies shifting their working capital burden on to their suppliers by extending payment terms. The average days payable outstanding in 2017 was 56.7 days, 3.4 days more than in 2016. This data comes from The Hackett Group’s 2018 U.S. Working Capital Survey of the 1,000 largest non-financial companies with headquarters in the U.S.