AP Content

Exploring A/P and Procurement Best Practices at P&G: Lesson 8

Lesson 8 is "Whoever has the best hand wins." While this adage pertains most literally to poker, the procurement lesson is really about finding the best resources (e.g., internal vs. external) to execute procurement processes, whether they are "steady-state" or transformational. Processes might be executed by salaried staff, contingent labor, BPO firms and/or suppliers themselves. There is even a rise of a category we have begun to cover on Spend Matters called “procurement managed services,” which falls somewhere in between consultancy, skilled contingency and BPO work.

Exploring A/P and Procurement Best Practices at P&G: Lesson 6 (Part 2)

For companies like P&G, GE, J&J, etc., there will always be a tension and trade-off between opportunities at the business unit level versus the corporate level. Functions like procurement will need to walk the fine line between both rather than swinging wildly from one to the other. Procurement must help the business units and functional partners get more value from their supplier spending individually, and also look for cross-BU opportunities not just by spend category, but also by risk type, opportunity type (e.g., supply chain financing), region, corporate-wide program, etc.

Exploring A/P and Procurement Best Practices at P&G: Lesson 6 (Part 1)

Trade-offs exist everywhere, especially in regards to the trade-off of cash, cost, service and risk. “Service” is broadly defined, starting with the end customer and aligning back through internal stakeholders and back to suppliers. We discussed the cash versus cost trade-off above. But it could just as well be trading off raw material inventory levels (cash) vs. inventory (service) level performance vs. the cost of replenishment. Similarly, the trade-off could be between the relentless search for innovation and revenue traded off against the costs of creating that growth.

Procurement and Finance: How to Close the Budget Loop

Budgeting is obviously one of the most effective ways to meet profit goals and avoid maverick spend. Budgeting and planning help organizations invest their resources to best benefit, based on cautious consideration rather than the urgency to make a short-term decision. They are essential to sustain your company's economic growth. But how do you close the loop between budget preparation, execution and forecast? This can be a challenge. Like William Feather said, “a budget tells us what we can't afford, but it doesn't keep us from buying it.”

Exploring A/P and Procurement Best Practices at P&G: Lesson 5

By the “hand of God,” I don’t mean soccer player Diego Maradona’s famous soccer goal but rather the ability to take invoices that might have otherwise been DOA (dead on arrival) in terms of capturing an early payment discount— and bringing them to life via a dynamic discount offer (i.e., “pay me now” – even past the early pay discount date) to the supplier. I saw P&G do a presentation a few years ago. This was something they wanted to implement more thoroughly, and I suspect that they might use one of their banking partners to help offer this (e.g., JP Morgan Chase is a good example of this with their Order-to-Pay service, acquired from Xign), but of course there are many other options from a landscape of providers.

Exploring A/P and Procurement Best Practices at P&G: Lesson 3

The third lesson to remember is that the invisible hand needs to make invisible opportunity visible. Even when companies strive to simplify the value chain, there are still opportunities, albeit they tend to be hidden and difficult to find. P&G has employed many typical strategies for creating value in the P2P process, including an ERP backbone "wrapped" with appropriate best of breed solutions, a supplier portal strategy and others.

Exploring A/P and Procurement Best Practices at P&G: Lesson 1

In this ten-part series of procurement lessons from P&G, the first thing to keep in mind is that there is "no rest for the best." I have yet to meet a single “award winning” procurement organization that does everything well and has run out of opportunities to pursue. I always roll my eyes when companies want to find the ultimate world-class procurement organization to learn from. That’s impossible – it’s a search for a purple squirrel.

When AP Meets Common Sense: Discounting and Payment Terms (Part 1) [PRO]

When I first came across “payment terms” outside of a classroom setting it was in Japan in the ‘90s. I must admit, from my vantage point in domestic (domestic Japanese, that is) sales engineering activities, I found it rather confusing. As I recall (translated of course), the terms given to us, a Tier 1 supplier to a leading Japanese manufacturer, went along these lines: “50% of the amount owed will be paid in cash two months after the end of the month following the month the invoice is presented and the balance will be paid 3 months after that.” Try telling that to a typical payables clerk in the US to have them explain to suppliers.