The Procurement Category

5 Young Supply Chain Professionals on What They Wish They Knew Earlier

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Whether you're a recent college grad or starting your first job in the supply chain, consider the following pieces of advice from five young professionals whom ISM and Thomasnet.com named as “30 Under 30” Rising Supply Chain Stars. As Christina Gill, one such “star” with over a decade of experience in supply chain, said, “This is an exciting time in your career. Be open, be adventurous, be a sponge, listen, learn, and take risks in your career.” So read on!

Cannabusiness: The Riskiest Legal Supply Chain in the World?

Because marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, it’s still federally illegal. For that reason, states that have legalized cannabis for medical — and especially recreational — consumption have had to implement considerable systems of regulatory compliance for businesses to follow.

Category Manager at Greeting Card Company Brings Sentiment and Feeling to Dying Supply Chain

Alex Decker, a senior category manager at a well-known greeting card company, has developed an innovative supply chain management approach that promises to breathe new life into an industry disrupted by digitization. For over 25 years, Decker has been responsible for sourcing paper stock and ink, the two main materials inputs to the production of traditional paper greeting cards. Not long ago, he suddenly be became interested in innovation and in holding onto his job until retirement age.

Who are the Employers of Choice for Today’s Procurement Leaders?

As a function, we’ve discussed at great lengths over the past couple of years how procurement has climbed up the corporate ladder to take on a more strategic role in many businesses. Although technology and a changing business landscape have undoubtedly increased the pace of this subtle shift, talented professionals have been the driving force behind it. Also well documented are the difficulties in locating and enticing these gifted individuals. While most companies still find themselves struggling to find the right talent, a select few have sourcing leaders lining up to work for them.

What You Should Expect from Best-in-Class E-Sourcing User Experience and Functionality (Part 2) [PRO]

E-sourcing technology is becoming increasingly defined by the user experience as much as the underlying functional and technical capability. But in the future — and we see this trend starting already with best-in-class capabilities — the combination of the user experience (i.e., design) and underlying technology solution components and feature/function capabilities will become increasingly intertwined and inseparable. This Spend Matters PRO series examines the intersection of what a best-in-class user experience and functionality capability means for e-sourcing solutions today and tomorrow.

In Part 1 of this series, we explored what capabilities and experience procurement organizations should expect from best-in-class guided event creation, clutter-free views and simplified template creation and management within e-sourcing solutions. In this installment, we turn our attention to how the world of best-in-class user experiences and underlying functional capability are coming together to support bulk upload/attachment association, starting bid population, bid validation and verification and procurement/supplier delegation for strategic sourcing, category management and auction/negotiation enablement. These are capabilities that buyers of these solutions should evaluate vendors on based on demonstrated capabilities, approach and planned releases, and they are capabilities that technology providers should continually strive to enhance.

What You Should Expect from Best-in-Class E-Sourcing User Experience and Functionality [PRO]

E-sourcing technologies have been around for two decades now. The authors have played various roles over the years in helping architect them, design them, configure them, select them and use them. Yet while today e-sourcing should be a mature and functionally rich technology out of the box, the reality is that there are still a number of offerings that don't have some of the most basic features you would have expected some years ago.

In contrast, other offerings continue to push the envelope in various areas of what the product can offer. In this two-part Spend Matters PRO brief, we outline what specific elements you should expect from best-in-class e-sourcing user experience and functional components. In the first installment, we cover how best-in-class solution designs feature guided event creation, clutter-free views and simplified template creation and management. As will soon become clear, it is impossible to separate a best-in-class user experience from underlying functional capability in many areas of strategic sourcing technology — the two are becoming increasingly yoked. Form following function. Or function following form. You decide!

‘Innovation’ the Connective Tissue to this Year’s 50 to Watch, 50 to Know Lists

The 100 procurement technology solution providers that make up the 2017 50 to Watch, 50 to Know lists represent quite a bit of diversity. From consulting to healthcare, big data to supply risk, there truly is something for every practitioner in this year's lists. But there is one unifying quality that transcends the 2017 listees: Innovation.

The Salesforce.com of Bud: Putting Some SaaS into the Marijuana Supply Chain

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As we introduced in the first part of this series, marijuana purchasing managers have long been putting up with managing orders, inventory and supplier relationships the old way. Faxes, texts, emails, Excel spreadsheets and even corkboards littered with Post-It notes were all fair game. But it wasn’t helping the buyers at the dispensaries or retail shops advance strategically. Enter SaaS platforms to save the day.

The Future of the Procurement Technology User Experience (Part 2): Advanced Mobile and ‘Mission Control’ Dashboards [PRO]

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Does anyone remember how bad early procurement technology interfaces were? While there are some folks we can blame directly — for example, whoever designed SAP SRM’s original interfaces in earlier releases should be doomed to spend his retirement managing the search, requisition and approval process for the coffins of all of the licenses that were never used — the limitations of early UIs were mostly due to where technology was at the time. We are not just talking about the latest in “Amazon-esque shopping” or “type ahead” search capability, or minimizing the number of clicks required to perform a task, clever menu nesting, tab structures, integrated activities within “suites” that transcend being within a specific module and the better use of icons and colors. That’s so 2015. Rather, nearly all elements of the modern 2017 technology stack are starting to come together in a manner that is driving the start of a radical shift in creating more usable procurement technology overall. This is big. It’s much bigger than Coupa rising to fame (initially) by creating a UI that was vastly superior to Ariba at the time (not SAP Ariba today, mind you).

As we noted in an earlier installment of this series exploring “smart systems” and messaging, chat and collaboration (MCC), “Smart systems drive integrated guidance leveraging new "AI" techniques ... They do this by mixing semantic technology, sentiment analysis, key-phrase driven expert systems and other machine learning techniques with history to determine what the user is doing and what the user wants to do … [and] new approaches to MCC represent a new ‘layer’ of the user experience. Just as third-party analytics dashboards have become a standard ‘front end’ in many procurement suites for drilling into spend, supplier or modular based data, so too are these components becoming a standard addition to procurement technology applications. As with front-end analytics, they can either be developed internally (by a procurement software vendor) or they can be OEM’ed/licensed by a provider — as is often the case with analytics — and incorporated as a component of the product.”

Today, we turn our attention to advanced mobile enablement and “mission control” dashboards — two other components driving the next-generation procurement user experience in technology. In this research brief, we define these areas and their components, and provide practical use cases of how they are leveraged within technology.

‘Best of the Best’ 10 Years On: APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi on the Past, Present and Future of the Procurement Profession

Sales and operations planning hardly seems sexy on paper. Yet as more than 200 cross-functional professionals poured into the grand ballroom of the Chicago Marriott O’Hare for the 10th annual Best of the Best S&OP Conference Thursday, the participants seemed excited to tackle this essential business process, as well as learn from an impressive lineup of senior supply chain leaders. To learn more about the topics the presenters chose to speak on this year, I sat down with APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi, who provided a fascinating perspective on how the conference has developed over the last decade.

‘Or Accept the Consequences’: Advice for Women in Supply Chain from Dr. Lisa Ellram and Dr. Wendy Tate (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this two-part interview, Dr. Lisa Ellram, distinguished professor of supply chain management at Miami University, and Dr. Wendy Tate, associate professor of supply chain management at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, talked to me about the challenges that women working in supply chain face and how different professionals they’ve known have dealt with the challenges – from learning how to play golf to taking on extra responsibilities. This second half of the interview covers the difficulty of changing traditional work cultures, the subtlety of modern-day workplace challenges, and advice that the two professors give their female students.

Getting Ahead by Playing Golf: Dr. Wendy Tate and Dr. Lisa Ellram on Challenges Faced By Women in Supply Chain (Part 1)

This past spring, I talked to Dr. Wendy Tate, associate professor of supply chain management at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, to find out why female student enrollment in the university’s supply chain program had been dropping significantly. The conversation eventually led to the topic of both real and perceived weaknesses of female professionals in supply chain. Tate introduced me to Dr. Lisa Ellram, distinguished professor of supply chain management at Miami University. The two of them recently talked to me about the challenges that female professionals in supply chain face and how different women they know have tried to deal with these challenges to varying degrees of success.