Supply Chain Content

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?

Supply Risk Management in Mexico: Tips and Analysis For Multinational Procurement Organizations [Plus+]

Editor's note: This is a refresh of our 2015 briefing on supply risk management, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO.

Supply risk management continues to be an important topic of not just debate but practice, too, within global procurement organizations. And on a more frequent basis, supply risk management efforts are extending “south of the border” for North American companies, as manufacturers continue to emphasize a more prominent role for Mexico and Mexican suppliers in their global supply chains. In this Spend Matters Plus analysis, we explore how Mexican companies are managing supply chain risk. We also share survey results from a study in the region and provide tips and lessons learned for multinational procurement organizations that are increasingly sourcing and manufacturing in the region as well as general supply chain risk management best practices.

McDonald’s Supply Chain May Set Bar on Sourcing Antibiotic-Free Beef, Expert Says

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In December, McDonald’s Corp. said it aims to rid its global beef supply of antibiotics, putting a new fast-food trend on the radar, and in an interview, a professor details what it takes to implement the supply chain shifts that McDonald’s is seeking and how that might affect the fast-food industry. On its website, McDonald’s says that although the company does not raise its own animals, its supply chain includes beef and dairy cattle, pigs and chickens. “We understand and acknowledge the significant responsibility we have to help ensure these animals experience good welfare throughout their lives. Good welfare is also necessary to guarantee high-quality products,” the company states.

A 2019 Wish: U.S. Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership Will Learn to ‘Just Say No’

My 2019 wish is directed at healthcare’s supply chain leadership. More than encouraging investments aimed at making their supply chains more dynamic, I would like to see the gloves finally taken off and the bullying behavior of major suppliers called out for what it is. To make that happen, healthcare’s supply chain leadership must think more strategically about their supply rationalization strategies across their most important service lines. If for no reason other than to establish balance in important relationships, the effort is essential. Finally, staff must be remotivated to challenge the established order, so programs that reward them for doing it must be instituted, promoted and monitored for results.

Commodities Roundup: Palladium Shines, China Decreases Auto Tariff

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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 matters. Here's what mattered this week.

Interview with Malcolm Harrison, CIPS New CEO (Part 1 – Commercial)

Malcolm Harrison took over as CEO for the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) in the summer, and he promised an interview with Spend Matters UK/EU to talk about his first “100 days” or so. Spend Matters' Peter Smith, a former CIPS president, recently caught up for a chat about where the organization is going with its certification programs, its commercial work and more. "I do feel that we may not have the balance quite right in terms of our commercial activities and the core purpose of supporting the profession and our members," Harrison said. "I have some sympathy with the view I’ve heard that 'CIPS has got too commercial.' ” Read the first of the three-part series here.