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Shop as if a Procurement Professional is Sitting Next to You

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In 2016, Amazon Business began building a beta feature to allow individual organizations to augment the entire buying experience based on their specific procurement and spend compliance needs. During our development process, procurement managers told us that they needed a solution that would make an employee shop as if “a procurement professional was sitting right next to them,” whereby both the employee and pro would learn from each other during that buying journey. This was at the heart of the beta’s purpose — to leverage technology to give both roles a continuous feedback loop to enable purchasing convenience with scalable guidance. The new feature needed to be customizable and powered by the procurement intelligence of their organization. In October 2018, the beta ended and “Guided Buying” was publicly launched as an Amazon Business Prime benefit.

Using Technology to Develop Strategic Supplier Relationships

In Efficio's recent survey — “Procurement 2025: Is digital transformation driving more effective procurement?” — around two-thirds (64%) of respondents agreed that strategic supplier relationships will become increasingly important as companies look to achieve their future objectives — yet only half (52%) have formally selected their strategic suppliers. This gap indicates that while there is consensus on the value of the strategic supplier relationship, many companies have yet to define what a strategic supplier truly looks like for their organization, much less how technology can help to develop these relationships.

Uncovering the ROI of E-Procurement

We understand that to justify the spend of an e-procurement system, every organization must first show the expected return on investment. To help uncover potential ROI for your organization, check out this e-procurement ROI calculator here, and read the City of Philadelphia case study.

The State of Sustainable Procurement: What to Expect in 2019

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We’re just a month into 2019 and all signs point to an interesting year ahead. There already has been developments on climate change, business ethics, anti-corruption efforts, air pollution and sustainability in general. What does this momentum tell us about the state of sustainability this year — and what does the current landscape specifically mean for procurement teams? Answers to these questions lie in a few critical trends assembled with the input from our team of experts at EcoVadis.

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Achieving a Personalized Buying Experience for Businesses

Today’s technology enables fine-grained customization and personalization. When applied correctly, personalization can lead to a better customer experience and higher sales or engagement. If applied poorly, it can detract from the user experience, causing frustration and possibly missed sales. In this article, we’ll walk through some of the personalization that can be enabled when using Amazon Business, helping to make it easier to find the right products and better control rogue spending.

If you’re not familiar with it, Amazon Business makes it easy for business customers to find and buy from hundreds of thousands of sellers and helps sellers reach millions of registered business customers around the world. Similar to Amazon.com, buyers search for products from millions of available items. For businesses, personalization helps make the buying experience fast and efficient. From relevant search results to customized messaging, buyers can find the items they need, and know upfront if they are approved for company purchase.

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The Past, Present and Future of the MSP Industry: A Visual Guide for Procurement

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As the world of work changes rapidly, so too must managed services providers (MSPs). The “same old” execution of a traditional contingent workforce program that includes VMS technology is no longer cutting it, and MSPs that fail to realize this risk being replaced by new entrants intent on disrupting the old industry model.

In a world of accelerating change, enterprises expect their service providers to be right there with them, successfully navigating those changes. Enterprises cannot compete with an eye on the past — they need value-added solutions that help them to succeed now and into the future. What does this look like? Check out the infographic below to learn how the MSP industry is evolving today and tomorrow.

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For Hospitals Only (Part 3): How Prodigo Helps Pave Procurement’s Path to Clinical Integration

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The hospital market in the U.S. is undergoing a significant transformation at all levels. Rapidly consolidating markets, declining revenues and a fundamentally new reimbursement paradigm that links provider payments to improved performance are the current headliners. The latter is a value-based form of reimbursement that holds healthcare providers accountable for both the cost and quality of the care they provide. It’s a data-driven payment system that will reward the best-performing providers and penalize those that don’t measure up. Almost by definition, it’s a system where data accuracy and transparency have become the essential currency for improved decision making.

Traditional silos are giving way to cross functional collaborations, as the clinically integrated supply chain compels it.

In this final installment of our three-part series on Prodigo Solutions, we not only address how the company is helping to solve healthcare’s data standards challenge, but how it has successfully positioned itself to directly support the industry’s drive to clinically integrate its supply chains.

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What Exactly Is in the Tail Spend?

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At a headline level, I think most procurement folks are now familiar with the concept of tail spend: the low-value spend items that are non-core but still essential to the smooth operation of an organization. And of course, as the segment matures, even the tail itself comes under greater scrutiny or micro-segmentation with expressions such as tip of the tail, tail of the tail, mid-tail, tactical spends, spot buys, catalog buys, guided buying, “precision buying” (Simfoni’s own attempt to join the party!) and so on.

So what exactly are we talking about in terms of the items that fall under all these different expressions? In this article I’d like to offer a simple model that describes the types of spend that reside within the tail spend category, and propose the optimum technique for how best to address each one.

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Ensuring a Positive Return on Technology Investment

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A recent Efficio survey of 225 procurement leaders found that technology is driving significant activity in their organizations. Indeed, 63% of survey respondents admitted to completely rethinking their procurement approach as a result of new technologies, while 78% believe digital transformation should be a boardroom priority. Transforming processes with technology was also the single most popular procurement objective in 2018, indicating the level of focus currently on digitalization.

The same survey revealed that 82% of organizations prefer to make better use of existing technologies before investing in new ones. This implies that the benefits of technology investments made to date are yet to be fully realized and that, so far, technology is failing to meet expectations. In our view, companies can take a number of steps to ensure they get the best return from their technology investments.

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Insights into Supply Chain Cyberattacks: From Ports to Production

While cyberattacks have taken place in a variety of forms since the 1990s, the threat has become more palpable and acute in the past decade with businesses increasingly relying on networked systems and the internet of things (IoT), especially in the logistics and supply chain space. In a recent survey conducted by the American cybersecurity technology company Crowdstrike, 66% of IT decision makers said their companies had suffered a supply chain cyberattack in the past 12 months, bringing to light a threat that many considered an abstract concept. Whether the risk stems from a virus, internal bug or insider threat from within one’s organization, the effects on production line, distribution network, shipping, supplier communication or even residual risks left over from a terminated vendor relationship, pose considerable danger to firms and beyond. Moreover, the scope with which cyberevents must be observed and mitigated require an ever-more invested and communicative approach to ensure that when the inevitable does occur, all parts of one’s supply chain can effectively work together to defend and keep operations on track. Check out five recommendations to get you prepared.

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Preparing Supply Chains for Climate Change: Top Risks and Strategies for Adaptation

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On Nov. 23, the Trump administration released the findings of the fourth National Climate Assessment, which detailed a dire set of predictions for U.S. businesses over the next several decades.

In addition to the headline statistic projecting that the U.S. economy will shrink 10% by the year 2100 due to effects from climate change, the report, which was compiled by leading climate scientists and 13 federal agencies, warned that numerous facets of global supply chains are at risk for disruption. These include not only common problems from natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes but also breakdowns in critical logistics infrastructure, geographic shifts in resource availability and volatility in global trading relationships, to name a few.

The report paints a bleak picture, but it also offers several takeaways that can help businesses get a grip on how to understand the supply chain risks of climate change and begin addressing them. Key among these is the suggestion that material, facility and logistics planning will all need to begin adapting today to effectively tackle climate change-related effects in the near and long terms.

To help you get started, here are the top three areas that procurement and supply chain organizations should examine when assessing the risks that climate change poses to their supply chains, as well as the NCA report’s key recommendations about how to address them today.

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How to Increase Supplier Collaboration: Where to Start Today

Only 23% of procurement leaders plan to increase the level of supplier collaboration as a lever to deliver value in 2018. We know the days of squeezing suppliers for every penny of savings are gone and that procurement teams recognize supplier relationships as being key to success — so why are only 23% of procurement leaders planning to increase the level of supplier collaboration this year compared to 26% last year and 39% in 2016?1 My hypothesis is that the mandate to “increase supplier collaboration” is easier said than done. 

So, in this post let’s focus on six steps you can take now to kick off your initiative to increase supplier collaboration.