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.


What Does the Data Say About Millennials in Supply Chain Management?

millennial

Judging from the many interviews and casual conversations that we’ve had with millennial professionals in supply chain management over the past few years, we can say with some certainty that this generation (roughly defined as those born between 1981 and 1996) is characterized by a desire for purpose, a willingness to collaborate, and an eagerness to look for technological solutions to problems. A new report from APICS, APQC and Supply Chain Management Review on millennials in supply chain largely supports these assertions.

Will Real-Time Payments Replace Cards? Majority of Merchants Worldwide Think So

early pay

Merchants around the world are warming up to real-time payment, with 77% expecting that it will eventually replace payment cards, according to a recent survey conducted by Ovum and ACI Worldwide. Survey respondents based in the Netherlands, Argentina and Belgium are particularly sanguine on the adoption of real-time payment. A real-time payment system, as the name suggests, lets one use a smartphone, digital wallet or other channel to conduct interbank electronic transfers instantaneously so that the received funds would be immediately accessible

Cyber, Political Resilience Rankings Shuffle in Latest FM Global Resilience Index

MBO Partners

FM Global released Wednesday its 2018 Resilience Index. While overall resilience rankings have remained largely unchanged from 2017, cyber and political resilience rankings have shifted. The Global Resilience Index is an annual ranking of 130 countries and regions according to 12 economic, risk and supply chain factors, which include supply chain visibility, supplier quality and rate of urbanization, in addition to the aforementioned cyber and political risk.

To Digitize T&E and Invoice Management, Companies Must Improve IT-Finance Alignment

Oversight Systems

The digitalization of manual processes is viewed as increasingly vital across functions, and travel and expense (T&E) management is no exception. According to a Forrester report commissioned by SAP Concur, the majority of companies face challenges linked to manual processes, from errors in expense reports to the time-consuming nature of dealing with paper documents. Surveying 378 IT and finance professionals involved with T&E and invoice management at their companies, Forrester found that only 13% are very satisfied with the T&E and invoice management processes that their companies are using.

How to Make Time for Value-Add Activities by Controlling High-Volume, Low-Dollar PO Spend

purchasing

Editor’s note: This is part of the Ask Spend Matters series, where readers send in their burning questions about procurement and supply chain.

A reader recently wrote in asking for ideas on controlling high-volume, low-dollar PO spend on readily available commodity items in order to free up time for value-add activity. The conventional wisdom is that purchase orders act as a point of reference and an insurance of sorts against fraud or unintentional errors related to invoicing, pricing, duplicates and wrong products. Yet POs can undoubtedly be a pain for buyers to draft, not to mention that all of the paperwork lengthens and slows down the entire purchasing process. There are two main options here to consider.

Companies Are Investing in AI and Automation to Boost Talent Recruitment and Retention

interview

If you haven’t yet listened to the demo of the much-buzzed-about AI-powered Google Duplex, which can book your haircuts and make dinner reservations, certainly do so. The ambition is remarkable — can artificial intelligence really master the nuances of polite conversation? — even if the product does not completely deliver. (At times, Google Duplex sputtered and jumped jarringly between different speech cadences.)

Google’s developers confirmed that the human on the other end of the call would be informed that she or he is speaking to AI, which makes me wonder how social norms would change in a human-AI conversation. I thought of this when I came across Randstad Sourceright’s recent report showing that businesses are increasingly using AI to recruit skilled employees and address talent shortages, a well-reported challenge in the procurement sector.

30 Under 30 Supply Chain Star Steven Clowney Shares His Top Advice for Young Professionals

Now a global commodity manager at AGCO Corporation, Steven Clowney has worked at a plethora of big-name companies, from Coca-Cola and Kellogg to Best Buy and Target, and made a name for himself as well. At Best Buy, Clowney identified $1 million in parcel shipping costs avoidance, and his leadership of strategic sourcing activities at National DCP resulted in $4.5 million in annual cost savings.

APICS Publishes Report on Supply Chain Salaries, Benefits and Career Satisfaction

First off, here is the figure that everyone is curious about: The average salary for U.S.-based supply chain professionals last year was $85,210. This number, along with a wealth of new data on salaries, benefits and career satisfaction in the supply chain sector, comes from APICS’ first annual Supply Chain Compensation and Career Survey Report. More than 2,600 professionals took part in the survey. About half held positions at the associate level, while 42% were managers and 11% were at the C-suite, VP or director level. More than three-quarters hold an undergraduate degree or higher, and more than half have been in the supply chain industry for at least a decade.

30 Under 30 Supply Chain Star Neta Berger on What Predictive Analytics Tools Can Learn from Excel

Supply chain has been a part of Neta Berger’s life for well over a decade, starting from her high school DECA days to her supply chain management studies at Arizona State University to Google, where she currently works as a supply chain program manager. Risk mitigation is a central part of Berger’s role at Google, and she certainly has ample experience in this area. Berger was working as a commodity manager at Cisco at the time of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and she managed daily meetings focused on resolving immediate shortages.

Afternoon Coffee: Walmart Buys Majority Stake in Flipkart, Aluminum Price Volatility Shakes Up Supply Chains

Following more than a year and a half of negotiations, Walmart is paying $16 billion for a 77% stake in Flipkart, India’s leading e-commerce platform. The deal puts Walmart into direct competition with Amazon, whose India site launched in 2013. India’s e-commerce market is currently limited, but Morgan Stanley has estimated that it will increase to $200 billion in a decade. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Afternoon Coffee: Nestlé, Starbucks Sign $7.15B Licensing Deal, Suppliers to Lose in Sainsbury’s-Asda Merger

Suppliers and manufacturers are expected to bear the bulk of Sainsbury’s and Asda’s planned merger, which will lower prices for consumers by up to 10%. In other food and beverage related news, Nestlé will pay Starbucks $7.15 billion for the exclusive right to sell the latter’s coffee and tea worldwide. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Afternoon Coffee: Apple Supplier Issues Warning About U.S.-China Trade Dispute, Toyota Announces Autonomous-Vehicle Testing Facility

According to industry experts and Apple’s own suppliers, the dispute would increase the costs of electronic parts shipped to the U.S., with Apple suppliers without major production sites outside of China most vulnerable to risks resulting from the new tariffs. And Toyota has announced that it is constructing a track to test autonomous driving under "dangerous" conditions. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.