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Temporary Staffing and COVID-19 — A Snapshot of Disequilibrium

As we enter June, many of us are thinking about what lies ahead in terms of how contingent workforce will be used in the COVID-19 “new normal” disequilibrium we will be in through this year and most likely next year.

Temporary staffing has been the largest category of contingent workforce that companies have spent their dollars on (knowingly, at least). In 2019, organizations in the U.S. spent over $150 billion on temporary staffing and on average engaged just under 3 million temporary workers each month.

Not surprisingly, COVID-19 closures resulted in massive cancellation of orders/requisitions. According to one source, Brightfield/TDX, orders/requisitions for new temp jobs were slashed by almost 100% from week 2 of February to week 1 of April (something which could seem like a nuking of the staffing industry).

But what has really happened in the past months, where are we now and where are we going to from here?

Digital procurement’s new frontier: Closing the knowledge gap with market intelligence tools


The last several weeks of the COVID disruption has laid bare just how little companies sometimes know about their suppliers. It has become evident that truly knowing your suppliers goes beyond which one has passed their certifications or which one is hitting their KPIs. Your teams probably keep tabs on that, or soon will. But who is keeping tabs on what’s happening outside of your organization, giving your business visibility into the things that are outside of their sphere of vision?

“As organizations seek to become faster, more resilient and more agile, the modern procurement professional needs to know, in real time, what is happening in the suppliers’ world,” said Tim Czerwonka, COO of CatalyticsHub, a newly launched supplier intelligence tool from procurement consulting firm Proxima. “For example, it should influence your thinking if your supplier (or a prospective one) has had poor financial results, made an acquisition or divestment, made a key hire, announced a new innovation or is facing litigation.”

B2B payments: Are digital wallets for business here to stay?

Digital wallets have been popular in the consumer world for some time, enabling shopping online (e.g., PayPal), instant money transfer (e.g., Venmo) and payment at retail (e.g., Apple Pay). The aim is to store your credit and debit card numbers in the cloud and access them from your phone or laptop.

Over the last year, there has been a huge investment by the payments community to create digital wallets for business customers. PayPal, of course, has been in this space for some time. But emerging B2B payment companies see wallets as a revenue opportunity. When money goes into a wallet, there may be additional foreign exchange (FX) conversions and transfers to customer-owned bank accounts.

U.S. companies optimizing working capital through digital transformation, Hackett finds

Companies surveyed by The Hackett Group reduced their working capital as a percentage of revenue by 2% in recent years, according to the Hackett 1000 Cost and Cash Optimization survey. Although the survey was published prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the findings are beneficial to companies looking to make the most of their working capital.

Fueled by faster receivables payments and inventory optimizations, businesses are trying harder to optimize working capital after several years of pushing suppliers to extend payment terms. The survey found inventory levels fell by 2.8%, the first decrease in six years. In total, working capital of the Hackett 1000 is equal to 6.2% of U.S. GDP.

Procurement must identify third-party risk: Owning and mitigating threats

Business performance relies heavily on the strength and efficiency of relationships external to the organization. Our third-party partners’ performance, and exposure to risk, can make or break our own profitability, reputation and overall success if we do not monitor and manage these partnerships strategically.

As supply chains grow, and become ever more interdependent, and as outsourcing booms as an alternative to growing in-house talent, our exposure to risk grows too, and becomes harder and harder to mitigate.

Spend Matters opens the ‘TAP’ at SIG’s Procurement Technology Summit

This week at the Sourcing Industry Group’s Procurement Technology Summit, Spend Matters Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell and Founder Jason Busch led a SIG session titled “Creating Your Procurement Technology Action Plan (TAP).”

The theme of the session was that procurement should have a “TAP” that focuses on the demand side (linking the TAP tightly to stakeholder requirements), the supply side (i.e., out to the procurement technology and services markets) and then bring those elements together to drive change and deliver value.

Read the details and a Q&A too.

Supplier management — the need to implement at speed in times of crisis

Spend Matters in the U.S. and in Europe has amassed a whole spectrum of insight through our Coronavirus Response series to bring you a set of go-to places for specific guidance and advice during this time of crisis. One key area is supplier information and performance management (SXM). To that, we recently joined a webinar-based conversation with State of Flux, who, as experts in the field, are working with firms around the globe to help them build business resilience toward supplier risk exposure. The webinar offers seven areas of risk to consider, and CEO Alan Day says procurement pros need to act while the spotlight is on procurement and supply chains. "Because of COVID-19," he said, "we now have the focus and attention from the executives, so the time is now to implement or improve supplier management at speed.”

‘50/50’ webinar rewind: Spend Matters’ analysts answer questions about 2020 lists of top providers

Spend Matters recently hosted two webinars about our annual lists of top procurement companies called “50 Providers to Know” and “50 Providers to Watch.” The webinars were held for audiences in the U.S. and Europe, and we’ve summarized the Q&As here for readers.

The bulk of the webinars went over the dynamics of this year’s “50/50” lists, offering insights into the qualifications that Spend Matters’ analysts take into account when creating the lists. But with so many determining factors going into these lists, European and North American attendees naturally had some questions.

Ivalua NOW 2020 (dispatch 3): SIG’s Dawn Tiura champions leadership, digital change to succeed in coronavirus era

In these uncertain times, business leaders must get ready to help others overcome fear, create a new future, and get through the death, social change and business disruption that the coronavirus pandemic has wrought, said Dawn Tiura, the President and CEO of Sourcing Industry Group (SIG), at the Ivalua NOW 2020 online conference Tuesday.

In her keynote address about leadership, change and digital transformation in the coronavirus era, she painted an ominous picture that there will be no return to normal — but she offered an optimistic outlook for people who are willing to embrace change.

Ivalua NOW 2020 (dispatch 2): La licorne française va directement pour la route moins fréquentée

The Ivalua NOW 2020 conference began today online because the coronavirus disruption canceled two other in-person events. During the event, Ivalua announced that it currently has at least nine major enhancements in the development queue, with (the beginnings of) seven major enhancements being planned for the next two releases. (It's OK, it's not all in French.)

Ivalua NOW 2020 dispatch: The unicorn and its quest for the One Platform

FM Global Resilience Index

The Ivalua NOW 2020 conference began today online because the coronavirus disruption canceled two other in-person events. Still, a lot of speakers are scheduled for the two-day event. CEO David Khuat-Duy kicked it off Tuesday, and Chief Product Officer Pascal Bensoussan outlined the Ivalua vision for 2020-21 that highlighted Ivalua’s plans for Procurement Domination ... err ... enhanced customer success over the next two years.

Coupa acquires ConnXus, adding a wealth of supplier diversity capabilities

In its second acquisition this year, Coupa has acquired the supplier diversity specialist ConnXus, according a Spend Matters interview Monday with Coupa, a suite provider of business spend management solutions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Coupa said talks had been going on since 2019 and that the coronavirus disruption played no role in the negotiations.