Process and Best Practice Content

Workers’ Digital Skills Gap a Key Challenge for Businesses, The Hackett Group Says

Digital transformation has and will continue to have far-reaching consequences in manufacturing, purchasing, compliance, advertising and just about every other function in the business world. Another function to add to the list, according to the April 2019 Hackett Group study, will be hiring and training of existing and incoming employees.

The Next-Generation Talent Profile: How Will You Fill the Digital Skills Gap focuses on how the procurement function in particular will need to train and improve their existing workforce, because the demand for skills and knowledge like strategic thinking, smart automation, social media, creativity and innovation, and process excellence will far exceed supply over the next three to four years. The Hackett Group notes that research by the World Economic Forum indicates that more than 50% of existing workers will need to be reskilled or upskilled by 2022.

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Customize your internal payment processing needs with ‘Pay by Invoice’ at Amazon Business

No two businesses are alike. Each one has their own goals, internal policies and procedures. At Amazon Business we obsess around the differences in our customers, and how we can best support their internal procurement, reconciliation and payment teams to streamline their procure-to-pay processes. To do this, Amazon Business is helping innovate on behalf of its customers by offering a customizable invoicing payment method for businesses of all sizes and industries — Pay by Invoice.

Pay by Invoice allows eligible customers the option to buy now and pay later with payment terms and a purchasing line offered on Amazon Business.

Amazon Business believes a trusted invoicing experience enables worry-free purchasing — and we do this by making invoicing configurable, accessible and dependable for customers. Pay by Invoice provides Amazon Business customers access to millions of suppliers, with the convenience of using a single configurable invoicing solution to purchase. The vision of Pay by Invoice was to put businesses back in the driver’s seat. No need to change internal policies to work with a supplier or have separate negotiated terms with each individual supplier. With Pay by Invoice, the customer chooses what works for them.

Retiring Murphy’s Law — Time for Procurement to Move On

supplier network

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Paul Martyn, VP-North America at SirionLabs.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with several mid- to large-size companies' supply chain leaders. And while I assumed our conversations would be dominated by their views on the latest flurry of AI-enabled SCM tools, instead, several of our discussions turned toward recent advances in supplier performance management. Should I have been surprised? After all, the space is white hot, with several new risk and contract management vendors recently entering the solution market.

What follows is a brief summary of what I heard, plus some personal observations:

3 Reasons to Love ‘Nimble’ Procurement Technology Providers

Spend Matters’ analysts have been writing personal essays on their favorite SolutionMap personas: Nimble, Deep, Turn-Key, Configurator and CIO Friendly, as well as Optimizer for sourcing providers and Global for CWS vendors. The personas help companies select which solution provider is right for them. This week’s essay is by Nick Heinzmann, an associate analyst and a former editor of Spend Matters.

Let’s be blunt: If you’re going to pay five or six figures for a software license, you’d better hope your employees actually use it. But can your technology provider guarantee that everyone who uses the system — from admins to power users to the everyday requisitioner or collaborator — will adopt it? What about enjoy it, willingly log in and encourage everyone to collaborate on the platform?

For many companies, this is easier said than done. Implementations that seem well planned on paper can quickly become nightmares. Systems with deep, powerful functionality but archaic user interfaces can scare less ambitious users back to the warm embrace of Excel.

Issues like the above and others are why I love the Nimble persona — that best at understanding the “millennial” mindset when it comes to technology. Why can’t procurement software be as fun and easy to use as apps like Instagram, Venmo and Slack?

7 Steps to Better Government Market Research

Doing better government market research is the latest topic from Public Spend Forum that we’ll address in Spend Matters’ weekly look at public sector procurement. PSF, a sister site of ours, has published articles addressing four of the seven steps for better government market research. It also offers free tools and templates that you can use to improve your market and supplier research outcomes. Let’s look at the full list and then delve into the details on the first four steps.

Direct Sourcing of Labor, Total Talent Management Strategy Help Companies Improve Independent Contractor Success

talent management

When companies decide to engage contractors, the strategic approach should include methods for compliant engagement and management throughout the talent lifecycle, which incorporates sourcing and re-engagement.

So how can companies achieve this? Direct sourcing is becoming a more common option. This approach allows companies to seek out their own candidates to fill contractor roles, bypassing traditional third-party methods.

Automation, digitization, global trade pose challenges for business leaders, report says

A new report by The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Basware, is shedding light on how technology innovation and shifting global trade dynamics are challenging businesses.

The report considers three trends — automation, digitization and shifting trade dynamics — that finance and procurement executives expect to affect their companies most, what their impacts will be, and how business leaders are preparing for the developments. The report’s findings are based on a survey of more than 400 finance and procurement leaders in the U.S., the UK, France and Germany.

How to Use Drones in the Public Sector and Procure Their Services

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Public Spend Forum, a sister site of ours that each week helps us look at public sector procurement. This week we explore the increasing use of drones — in agriculture, construction, emergency response — and how to procure those services.

We are truly in the modern era — drones are now everywhere, no longer just tools for movie making or toys for tech-savvy teens. And “everywhere” includes their increasing use in the public sector. Between 2016 and 2017, drone bids and RFPs saw a growth of 194%. To properly cover this important topic, this article will focus on:

— What drones can be used for in the public sector
— Tips to keep in mind when procuring drones

Contract Workers Needn’t Be Bad News — Unless You Allow Them to Be

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Pradeep Chauhan, founder of OnContracting, an online directory of U.S. staffing agencies that helps jobseekers find temporary contract jobs.

Companies’ procurement of contract workers has in recent times become a flashpoint, sometimes tarnishing the pristine reputations of even the most reputable companies. A number of stories in the media have covered reports that some of the best companies are mistreating their contract workers. In damage control mode — and sometimes under pressure from their own employees — companies have responded reactively to these stories, updating their policies and buffing up their legal and audit teams but not after getting a black eye in public.

Why are businesses and contractors facing this now now? And what can companies do to manage it better? In this article, I’ll try answer both of those questions.

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Finding the Right Fit and Function for Your Procurement Vision

Most procurement departments would agree that introducing a category management structure is a good way to secure the best-in-class status they crave. On the tactical-to-strategic spectrum, it’s still a notch below “trusted adviser” status, but it’s several more notches removed from reactive purchasing and the three-bid-and-buy mentality. While they’ve largely got a consistent end goal, procurement departments vary wildly when it comes to progress.

Many are still hard at work introducing even a foundational level of strategy. Others are mired in damage control after trying and failing to build a more strategic procurement function. Even those exemplary departments that can call category management a next step have a lot of work ahead. Like their less advanced peers, they’ve got to change their organization’s mindset if they want to truly transform procurement. To transform the function, they’ve got to first change the way other business units perceive and engage it.

Basware’s customer reviews are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s vendor spotlight in the SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews of the suite provider Basware. In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of qualitative and quantitative insights from the SolutionMap peer review process. The Customer Insights summary includes ratings on how well the vendor meets user expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes about the vendor’s greatest strengths.

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Mid-Market Procurement — The Pitfalls of Current Approaches

procurement

Mid-market companies are at a significant disadvantage when compared to larger corporations — a key finding from Simfoni’s analysis of its customers’ procurement and savings delivery capabilities in mid-market companies.

It’s OK to obsess about top-line growth, but what lies beneath is a supply chain that eats into profit since it is not controlled and optimized. Mid-market companies are missing out on at least 5-10 percentage EBITDA points achieved through procurement effectiveness that their larger corporate peers routinely extract.

So why the disadvantage? Essentially the mid-market procurement challenge can be broken into three areas: resources, technology, leverage. Let’s look at each.