Supply Chain Content

SoftBank invests $1.65 billion in supply chain finance. Why?

At $100 billion, the SoftBank Vision Fund is both the largest private equity fund ever raised and one of the most complicated. On the heels of some public wounds with the likes of WeWork and Uber, I wondered why the keen interest in supply chain finance (SCF).

CIPS’ Bill Michels talks China trade, other global insights: ‘Brexit. What a headache!’

“The days of chasing low-cost labor around the globe, manufacturing in one location and shipping things around the globe are numbered,” said procurement veteran Bill Michels, VP of operations for the Americas at The Chartered Institute for Procurement and Supply (CIPS).

The U.S.-China trade war is the latest development in a trend away from overseas manufacturing, said Michels, who in part 2 of our Q&A also discusses automation, reshoring, protecting intellectual property, and the fallout of Brexit if the U.K. splits with the European Union at the end of this month.

CIPS’ Bill Michels shares the latest on growing in the Americas

The Chartered Institute for Procurement and Supply (CIPS) is a well-known group for professional development and certifications. Its roots lie in Europe and Australia, but it has recently been expanding to the Americas.

For the past year or so, procurement veteran Bill Michels has been CIPS’ vice president of operations for the Americas, leading the group’s efforts to grow beyond its traditional areas.

To find out how that’s going, we caught up with Michels for a two-part Q&A series, where he discusses new CIPS’ initiatives, the lifecycle of a CPO, what it means to be strategic in the digital age, and the role of soft skills.

LIBOR Phase Out: Considerations for Supply Chain Finance

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LIBOR has been the default benchmark interest rate for supply chain finance since this technique was developed approximately 20 years ago. By year-end 2021, LIBOR will be phased out.

So how does this impact supply chain finance? For a market that is approaching $500 billion globally in size, it’s a significant challenge.

As colleges restart, so too does ASCM’s supply chain competition for students

The 2020 ASCM Case Competition, previously called the APICS Case Competition, is an event that allows student teams to use their knowledge of supply chains to solve real-world business problems. It is hosted by the Association of Supply Chain Management, which evolved from APICS, and Deloitte, the consulting firm that helps companies combine supply chain initiatives with business strategies. Registration opened Aug. 1. Find out the next steps for your team.

An Interview with SAP Intelligent Spend Group’s Marcell Vollmer: From CPO to CDO

SAP recently has consolidated its separate business units SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass and SAP Concur under its new SAP Intelligent Spend Group division. So it seemed like a good time for me to catch up with an industry insider to shed light on the issues.

Dr. Marcell Vollmer is now the chief digital officer of the Intelligent Spend Group, after filling the CDO role for SAP Ariba since 2017, when I talked to him in a series of Spend Matters interviews about digital transformations and about his stint as the chief procurement officer for SAP.

Recently, he said one area of opportunity that he sees is in procurement, where CDOs should spend more time.

Afternoon Coffee: U.S. Unemployment Rate at Historic Low; Big News for Gig Economy Companies?

The U.S. unemployment rate hit a 49-year low of 3.6%, according to today’s Labor Department data release — the lowest since 1969. The Labor Department also decided, in the specific case of one gig economy company, that the company's workers were contractors, not employees, which has the potential to shift the paradigm for many similar companies. And at least 100 organizations have joined a new initiative by the World Economic Forum called “Redesigning Trust with Blockchain in the Supply Chain.” Afternoon Coffee: shifting the paradigm for procurement and supply chain news.

Healthcare Supply Chain Has Its Own Needs, Challenges: An Insider’s View

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With companies like Amazon and Walmart trying to break into the healthcare supply chain sector, it’s curious why they haven’t made great strides. It turns out that what works in many supply chains doesn’t automatically translate to the healthcare provider supply chain.

Mike DeLuca, executive vice president of operations at Prodigo Solutions, learned that lesson well from his work at UPMC, a $19 billion healthcare provider and insurer based in Pittsburgh and his current experience serving the technology needs of some of largest healthcare provider organizations in the country that are Prodigo’s clients. DeLuca was able to juxtapose the experiences after working in supply chain for Motorola and Alcoa.

“I naively thought supply chain was supply chain,” DeLuca said, “but what I learned over time is that’s not the case in healthcare.”

At ISM 2019, Janet Yellen and Carly Fiorina See the Supply Chain as a Force for Change

Supply chains get the spotlight at ISM conventions, of course, but businesswoman Carly Fiorina and former Fed Chair Janet Yellen put them in perspective, giving them credit for driving change, addressing tariffs and uncertain trade policies, as well as keeping inflation at bay. On Tuesday at ISM 2019 in Houston, Yellen discussed global economic issues, had an upbeat outlook ("I see a decent year this year; I don’t see a recession”) and said the work of supply chain professionals can drive down inflation, which is key to maintaining growing economies. Fiorina spoke Monday about leadership and how supply chain teams can drive change for their companies.

Oracle’s Modern Business Experience Event: What’s On Our Mind This Week

Spend Matters analyst Xavier Olivera and I are attending Oracle’s Modern Business Experience event this week in Las Vegas. Procurement is well represented as a component of supply chain, with over 30 breakout sessions and other activities catering to purchasing, supply management and spend management-related areas. In addition, there are numerous sessions on blockchain, the internet of things (IoT) and related subjects that overlap with procurement.

We’ll attempt to cover as much as we can from the event this week and next. But here are some questions that we have on our mind as the festivities kick into high gear:

Is Telecom and Freight ‘Commodity’ Spend? Look How Uber/Lyft and Amazon Manage Them!

I’m sitting in on a webinar tomorrow with some amazingly deep transportation experts over at Spend Management Experts. These guys live and breathe small parcel, and if you want to learn about what’s really going on in this category and what you can do to bring more than a knife to a bazooka fight, you should check it out. For a preview, read how telecom for Uber equates to logistics for Amazon.

Growing Customer Expectations: Will Digital Supply Chains Save The Day?

E-commerce and the rapidly growing digital supply chain capabilities of brick-and-mortar and online retailers have made a massive impact on customer preferences and expectations while shopping, according to the Deloitte report “The Customer-Driven Supply Chain.” Today, customers expect integrated systems that allow them to check stock across multiple retail outlets, that guarantee curbside pickup or two-day delivery, with customization options in person or online — all with complete accuracy and available in real time. Digital transformation drives these changes in consumer preferences while providing the means to accommodate a customer-centric shopping experience at the supply chain level, but with just 8% of supply chain executives responding that their organizations are prepared for such a comprehensive system, are these customer dreams a supply chain nightmare for retailers and manufacturers alike?