Category Intelligence (Direct) Content

Procurence Vendor Introduction (Part 2: Strengths/Weaknesses, SWOT, Selection Checklist and Market Overview) [PRO]

In Part 1 of this two-part Spend Matters PRO series, we introduced you to Procurence — a relatively new entrant to the global direct material supplier management space, based out of Warsaw, Poland. It’s a recent entrant to our SolutionMap ranking of vendors, where its scores make it a customer leader in the SRM category. While still a small player, its solution already has a lot of the breadth of more established players like Jaggaer Direct (Pool4Tool), Ivalua (Directworks) and Allocation Network. Procurence’s utilization has been growing tenfold year-over-year by its buy-side user base of over 10,000 users and supply-side user base of over 30,000 users. Whether it has everything your organization needs, however, will come down to your mix of direct vs indirect, and how similar your needs are to its existing client base, which it has been developing its Meercat solution with for the past seven years.

While Part 1 of this brief provided some background on Procurence and a high-level overview of its offering, Part 2 will provide a breakdown of what is good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis and a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Procurence might be a good fit.

Procurence Vendor Introduction (Part 1: Background and SRM Solution Overview) [PRO]

direct materials sourcing

Supplier management is one of the most misunderstood terms in the procurement solution space, especially since the exact scope of processes supported by such systems varies by analyst, vendor and customer interpretation. In order to clarify, or at least differentiate, many vendors have begun slicing and dicing the SXM solution space to offer the likes of:

* Supplier Discovery Management: that help an organization identify potential new suppliers that can help it meet its products, services, diversity and/or sustainability requirements
* Supplier Information Management: that can help a supplier track all of the information it collects on a supplier, including locations, employees, products, services, certifications and certificates
* Supplier Performance Management: that can track not only supplier information but also relevant performance data on quality, reliability, delivery, invoice accuracy and sustainability
* Supplier Relationship Management: that includes not only performance data but also functionalities to manage the relationship, such as capabilities for supplier development, collaboration and innovation management
* Supplier Network Management: that can support supplier discovery but are primarily designed to support transactions (through e-document and e-payment exchange) with suppliers on the network
* Supplier Quality Management: that includes specialized capabilities to support direct materials procurement, including the management of non-conformance cost of poor supplier quality, and general quality management
* Supplier Risk Management: that includes the capability to gather multiple sources of risk data (financial, environmental, regulatory, geographic, etc.) and provide an overall risk profile

Very few vendors do more than half of this, at best, so when evaluating a supplier management software vendor, it's important to understand what fraction of this they do and whether that fraction is relevant to your business.

We'll take, for example, supplier quality management — this goes well beyond supplier performance management because it's not just tracking defect rates, uptime / reliability statistics, etc. but managing the quality process from the beginning of production to delivery of the product to the consumer. Ensuring the materials that are being sourced are of the appropriate standards and tested on receipt, that the appropriate production process is followed, that the machines are regularly tested, that the outputs are spot tested, securely packaged, and delivered to spec. Such a system should support ISO (International Standard Organization), ASQ (American Society for Quality) processes, Six Sigma, 8D Reports (based on Eight Disciplines methodology), and/or QDX (Quality Data eXchange). Very few solutions come close to this, even if they are designed for supporting direct procurement.

And while Procurence may not do all of this, it is one of the few supplier management solutions on the market that tackles quality management in addition to information, performance and risk, as well as aspects of relationship management.

Procurence was founded in 2009 in Warsaw, Poland, to provide tools to help buyers achieve transparency in their supply base, decrease supply risk, and streamline internal supplier management and communication processes.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Procurence and its supplier management capabilities. (Non-supplier management specific capabilities are excluded.) Part 1 includes a short company overview and a detailed look at Procurence’s offering. Part 2 will provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis, a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Procurence might be a good fit, and some market implications and takeaways.

Freelancer Management Systems: How Companies Can Find and Retain Independent Contractors via Direct Sourcing

As technology changes the work landscape, as companies seek more specifically skilled workers and as those workers push for non-traditional work arrangements, companies need to find effective ways to meet those changes. Direct sourcing is emerging as a viable, practical option to fill on-demand and other staffing needs.

When used alongside traditional hiring methods, including third-party staffing firms, direct sourcing allows companies to find and hire previously untapped independent contractors.

For decades companies have relied on staffing firms, managed service providers (MSPs), and other internal HR or procurement processes to handle their hiring, so how can they successfully integrate new technologies and methods? A readily available and reliable choice is to enlist a third-party technology provider that specializes in freelancer management systems technology (FMS). This technology can be integrated into an existing vendor management system, allowing companies to glean data from all sources to support the entire contractor management program.

Commodities Roundup: Steel Prices, Sustainable Mining and U.S.-China Tariffs

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. We scour the landscape for what matters — from price movements to policy decisions. This week: Domestic steel price weakness, sustainable mining, and U.S-China trade tariffs and talks fallout.

SourceDay: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

The broader procurement technology market has always had a tenuous relationship with the direct procurement technology solutions. Old timers may remember SupplyWorks from the early 2000s, but it folded — and the SupplyWorks brand name now belongs to a janitorial/sanitation service provider (we won’t go down the easy joke paths on this one). More recently, DirectWorks, a perfectly decent solution for direct materials sourcing, also struggled until getting picked up by Ivalua.

Part of the challenge is that direct procurement is not only a subset of spend but also a superset of processes, because it’s essentially infused into the broader supply chain. This makes it addressable from multiple solution sectors like SCM apps, supply chain networks, integration players and industry players.

Source-to-pay application suites, for their part, are picking off some low-hanging fruit functionality here, but the broader requirements are spelled out well in our coverage of a distinct segment that may be forming for direct materials procurement solutions.

Manufacturers today are slowly seeing an expanding set of purchasing tools beyond ERP and MRP alone, and choice is generally a good thing if you have your overall solution strategy/approach nailed down before you go tool shopping. Many will be more than happy to explore this new market.

One of these newer choices is SourceDay, an Austin, Texas-based vendor that directly integrates with ERP and MRP systems to automate the management of purchase orders and supplier performance. By providing a more usable and procurement-centric layer over the data housed by a legacy ERP or supply chain application, SourceDay takes on many of the problems that procurement organizations find in managing direct materials spend.

The result is that procurement can save time, reduce errors and systematically manage supplier performance from a common cloud or mobile interface while still claiming the benefits that an ERP system can offer. There are obviously caveats to this statement — namely around integration — but we’ll touch on this later.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on SourceDay and its capabilities. The brief includes an overview of SourceDay’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

Direct Spend to See an Increase in Outsourcing: Report

A new report from Texas-based research firm Everest Group analyzes the factors contributing to suboptimal direct spend management. The report — “Is It Time to Outsource Direct Spend Categories?” — aims to provide a process for enterprises to begin changing their approach to direct spend management.

Is Direct Materials Procurement a Separate Technology Market in North America? (Part 1: Introducing a Decision Framework)

Germany, Austria and some adjacent markets have something North America doesn’t — a distinct technology market for direct materials procurement. In Europe, Pool4Tool (now Jaggaer Direct), Allocation Network, SynerTrade, SupplyOn and a range of other solution providers succeeded in creating a distinctive European direct materials procurement solutions market that exists outside the generic source-to-pay realm.

But in North America, as these providers — also joined by Ivalua and SAP Ariba, and specialists like SourceDay and Supply Dynamics, as well as the offspring of the original MFG.com, LiveSource — attempt to reach customers, I question if all of these providers are selling to individual buyers rather than a clear market segment in which procurement organizations know they need a specialized solution set.

For the sake of argument, let’s define the “bounds” of direct materials procurement solutions as encompassing any or all of the following technology areas:

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 2) [Plus+]

In the first installment of this series, I introduced six distinct platform areas that manufacturers are making investments in as part of core efforts to drive more successful savings, efficiency, compliance, collaboration and supplier engagement programs. The first, design/engineering and sourcing enablement solutions, represents a new class of direct materials e-sourcing toolsets that attempt to accomplish numerous objectives. Why are all of these areas so essential, especially in concert together? This Spend Matters Plus analysis examines why.

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 1) [Plus+]

In enabling basic strategic sourcing capability for indirect, services and basic direct materials spend, there are now a lot — and we mean it — of solid choices in the market. And it’s a space that’s getting more crowded everyday. Yet in comparison to the broader sourcing marketplace, the direct materials market is, unfortunately, given short shrift. There are potentially many reasons for this. First, it’s complex — there is not one category of solution. Second, the user for these tools is not always the same as one who might use a more generic sourcing toolset (at least not alone). And third, the processes that direct materials sourcing toolsets support are complicated because they are used not only across numerous internal functions (materials management, plant management, operations, supply chain, design/engineering, procurement, sales and operations planning, etc.), but span multiple tiers of suppliers.

In a three-part Spend Matters Plus series that will deliver a cursory attempt to segment this market, we’ll attempt to overcome the current lack of research in this area by providing a concrete segmentation of different technology categories and the capabilities within each. Today we’ll consider additional context and provide a high-level segmentation and explanation of tools (which we’ll flesh out and provide vendor short-lists for later in the analysis).

Commodities Roundup: Shale Gas Expansion Slows, Europe Drops Solar Panel Duties

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, our MetalMiner editors scour the landscape for what mattered this week.

Sponsored Article

One (Direct Procurement) Tool Fit for All

digital

When considering indirect procurement departments, I often distinguish several tools used in parallel. But while this may be perfectly acceptable for the software providers, it is much less so for the users and company. Imagine the amount of effort for the administration of four separate tools, each different from the next — with their own supplier database and knowledge spread over multiple departments. The worst component of having four separate tools is there is no centralized flow, no process integration and different upgrades and training are required for each.

Sponsored Article

What is Market Intelligence, and is it Relevant to Procurement?

Torchlite

As procurement takes on increased strategic importance within companies, purchasing professionals are being asked to do even more with their limited time. This is especially true when sourcing direct materials, which requires keen attention to many changing economic factors outside of the organization. To make the best decisions possible without falling behind, procurement must ensure it has access to and effectively uses supply market intelligence. To help practitioners understand why, this three-part series first outlines the key pillars of market intelligence, explaining why companies seek out this capability. It then explores why market intelligence matters to procurement, and concludes with an analysis of why businesses should seek help from a third-party provider to build out a market intelligence program.