The Industry News Category

Commodities Roundup: Steel Momentum, Copper and Rising Oil Prices

oil oversupply OPEC

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.

Tidbits and Lessons Learned from the 50 to Watch and 50 to Know Lists for 2018

Spend Matters has released the 50 Providers to Know and 50 Providers to Watch for 2018, and there are plenty of interesting tidbits to draw from this year’s lists. From Accenture to Zycus, the 50/50 lists represent the procurement providers and solutions procurement organizations should be aware of, whether they’re making a tech selection or simply want to understand the playing field. The Watch and Know lists should be looked at separately, and there’s much debate that goes into each list. While the Know list features the rock-solid major industry players, the Watch list tends to generate more excitement, as it taps into the latest and most innovative industry trends.

Ivalua Now Dispatch: Proving You Don’t Need to be a Megacorp to Succeed

One of the most curious points featured in each of the opening keynotes at Ivalua Now was that while technology providers have to grow to succeed in today's world, they don't have to become part of “Global Megacorp” — my words, not Ivalua’s— or acquire their way to global megacorp status to be a smashing success in the source-to-pay space. The private equity irony was not lost on us if we compare which companies KKR has invested in (Ivalua) versus Accel-KKR (Jaggaer). Queue Whiz Kalifa in that latter case.

‘Collabs’: What Procurement, the Billboard Chart and Supreme Have in Common

Michael Lamoureux, Xavier Olivera and I are in New York City today at Ivalua Now, the procurement technology provider’s customer event. Alex Saric, Ivalua’s CMO, kicked off the morning’s festivities with a quick introductory presentation highlighting parallels between music and procurement. One of these, which I think is ingenious, is the notion of “collaborations” in the recording industry. Saric extended the concept to procurement partnering with the business.

How Current and Future Leaders are Managing a Changing Procurement Function: ISM 2018 Roundup

digital business transformation

The future of procurement will be agile, digital and strategically focused. Regular readers of Spend Matters are familiar with these trends, of course, but how exactly organizations will realize those projections is often less clear. Clarifying this path forward was a top focus for attendees at ISM 2018 last week in Nashville, particularly for procurement’s current and future leaders. During a series of roundtable talks on the second day of the conference, CPOs from household-name companies and winners of the ISM/Thomas 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Star awards convened to discuss how they’re approaching digital strategy, the increasing trend toward externalization and ways they’re preparing for risks both in the near term and on the horizon.  

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.

Fiverr Delivers A New Slant on Independent, Specialized Knowledge Workers

Coworks

Fiverr, a marketplace for creative and digital services, recently published a unique study focused on independent, specialized knowledge workers (ISKWs). The study, conducted in collaboration with the market research firm Rockbridge Associates, seeks to provide a better understanding of ISKWs — “where [they] live, what kind of work they do and how much they’re growing as a population and in terms of revenue earned.” From our perspective, the study is unique in its sharp focus on ISKWs and its sophisticated, transparent methodology. 

Commodities Roundup: Developing European Lithium, Cobalt Supply Chains Under the Microscope

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 scoured the landscape for what mattered this week.

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.

Coupa Inspire Dispatch: Rob Bernshteyn on the Shift to Business Spend Management

Rob Bernshteyn, Coupa’s CEO, kicked off Inspire 2018 this morning with an hour-long speech that only he could pull off.

Rob’s talk zig-zagged between providing an overview that framed spending and buying in a new context (“business spend management”), providing a fly-by of Coupa’s suite on a high level, diving deep into products in specific areas, sharing what seemed like 100 screenshots of current and emerging capabilities (especially centered on community intelligence and user guidance) and ploughing through some 50+ facts and figures highlighting different areas of progress Coupa is making.