Process and Best Practice Content

The value of branding: 9 tips for procurement to create a strong brand, improve its standing

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post by Amanda Prochaska, the president of High Performance Procurement. Part 1 of this two-part guest series appeared yesterday and was written by Charlotte de Brabandt, a member of the Institute for Supply Management’s Thought Leadership Council.

For years, procurement’s role has been to reduce costs, or at least this is how it has been seen by others.

Procurement has always been a value provider, not just a cost-cutter. It is unfortunate that in the past it has been looked at so negatively, with such a narrow view. Perhaps this was because the procurement environment was heavily focused on negotiating prices. It did not focus so much on people or assets. The bottom line was always price and value.

However nowadays, most of the low hanging fruit where an easy monetary negotiation could be made is gone. And procurement is moving more toward being known as the value providers.

Part of making the transition to value providers is to change the brand of procurement. Learning from those who do this well, here are nine tips that marketers use to create a strong brand.

The value of branding: 6 ways procurement can redefine its brand, change misperceptions

Spend Matters welcomes this two-part guest series by Charlotte de Brabandt, a member of the Institute for Supply Management’s Thought Leadership Council, and by Amanda Prochaska, the president of High Performance Procurement, whose article will appear tomorrow.

Procurement professionals are not typically known for their ability to be great marketers. However, having a strong brand ensures procurement is at the very center of any business strategy. Look at any of the world's great brands and you will see that they all use their brand strength to gain attention. Strong brands are simply the key to creating value, and when this is done well, the full potential of procurement is realized.

Unfortunately, procurement’s brand has been largely left to their customers to define. These include definitions like “those are the people who negotiate contracts,” or “they buy stuff,” or “they are slow and non-responsive.”

As procurement professionals, we understand we deliver much more value than how we are being defined. So, what does it take to proactively define the value of procurement? Let's look at six tips:

Beyond savings: How procurement departments can digitally transform and elevate to world-class status

Business competition across industries is intense, so companies are looking to their procurement departments to increase capabilities, become even more efficient and save money. To meet those demands, many are turning to technology, seeking ways to implement digital transformation. While few organizations have fully made the shift to digital, many are taking steps to move their departments forward.

A recent webinar, “World-Class Procurement: Redefining Performance in a Digital Era,” sponsored by the business spend management experts at Coupa and presented by Amy Fong, senior procurement adviser and P2P program leader at The Hackett Group, looks at current research data and where it situates procurement departments now and into the future. The webinar grew from the 2019 Hackett Group report of the same name, where procurement executives were asked about their views on trends impacting their departments and how they see their futures.

While today’s procurement departments are still tasked with finding cost-savings, Fong said savings alone are no longer the primary driver. Meeting the needs of customers, both internal stakeholders and external clients, is quickly rising to the top of the list. In previous years, The Hackett Group found that efficiency and effectiveness were the top performance metrics, but in the recent report, customer experience is now an equal factor.

DPW — The Best New Procurement Event in Years

Bid Ops

A couple of weeks ago, I attended and spoke at Digital Procurement World (DPW) in Amsterdam. The event was the brainchild of one of the first employees at Procurement Leaders, Matthias Gutzmann. With DPW, his idea was to bring together not only procurement organizations and technology (and services) firms in a conversation around digital, but also to engage the start-up community — and investors.

On just about every count, DPW was a runaway success. It was the very first procurement event I’ve been to that did a great job of engaging early stage technology companies and connecting them with buyers, consultants and others.

Here are a few of my observations:

Hackett finds stark differences in typical digital procurement use vs. world-class digital transformation

Digital transformation is impacting businesses all around the globe, with procurement functions in particular feeling the pressure to redefine their role within organizations. While some procurement professionals are still working to increase their percentage of spend under management and generate savings at a tactical level, the recently released World-Class Procurement: Redefining Performance in a Digital Era report from The Hackett Group highlights significant gaps between how a sample peer group of procurement departments operate and perform versus the top performing departments, or world-class procurement operations.

A look into the future: AP automation and Basware’s roadmap

AP automation holds a lot of promise for businesses that want to reduce manual tasks, improve insights into transactions and create value for customers. But the choices of procurement software can be dizzying. In a previous article in this series, we looked at how and why digital transformation will vastly reshape procurement and finance roles. In this article, we’ll examine how one provider is addressing that change.

We asked Basware’s analyst relations specialist Jeff Meredith to discuss what future capabilities the suite provider sees on the horizon. Basware’s roadmap includes more developments in spend analytics, better ways to identify risks, and an increased focus on the supplier experience. Spend Matters' procure-to-pay specialist Xavier Olivera offers a market perspective afforded by assessing demos and doing interviews for SolutionMap, which ranks more than 50 procurement providers.

Procurement pros rise to the occasion at Big Ideas Summit Chicago

When the city of big shoulders hosted the Big Ideas Summit last week, the procurement executives at Procurious’ event in Chicago generated a lot of excitement and a powerful list of insights.

An array of speakers led thought-provoking sessions and imparted plenty of big ideas — from the latest in neuroscience to how procurement technology and policies affect issues like human trafficking and forced labor in supply chains.

‘What other needs do you have?’ — Lessons from ConnXus, a supplier relationship expert

Supplier relationship management (SRM) has grown from just sourcing the best deal to really evaluating suppliers for diversity, ability to innovate, value generation and their risk.

In this series on SRM, we’ve discussed how the development of supplier diversity has improved supplier management overall, and we’ve explored how companies can meet their goals to have a robust supply chain that’s diverse.

Businesses now know to get their spend data in order and should know how to measure the impact of that spend. They should be able to develop suppliers and drive innovation. Responsible businesses can protect their brand reputation by assessing their main suppliers (tier 1) and those deeper in the supply chain, as well as having a plan to mitigate risks, like unethical sourcing, forced labor in the supply chain or poor performance in the past. But, it’s also clear that lacking in supplier diversity or being weak in supplier information management (SIM) are risks themselves.

To learn more about these issues, we talked with SRM expert Daryl Hammett, the general manager of ConnXus, a provider that connects buyers and qualified suppliers.

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5 benefits of multi-tier supply chain transparency

Consumers expect brands and retailers to know much more about their products than in the past, such as where it was sourced, how it was manufactured, who was involved or what countries it passed through on its journey to the store. All this requires a deeper understanding of the supply chain.

While multi-tier supply chain transparency is challenging to achieve, it can reap serious benefits for businesses that invest the time and resources. Taking progressive steps to achieve visibility at multiple tiers can benefit businesses in five ways.

7 Simple Ways to Control, Automate Your Accounts Payable

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Finly, a provider of business spend solutions.

Accounts payable involves a lot of challenges, like providing payment approvals on time, budgetary restrictions, ensuring policy compliance and keeping the accounting systems up to date. Organizations reach a saturation level where manually processing all these becomes increasingly tedious and difficult to maintain.

An automated accounts payable system is a great way to overcome these issues and increase effective communication as well as employee productivity. To control your accounts payable, let’s understand the bottlenecks involved in the manual process of accounts payable.

How risk, technology reshape the CFO role

Traditionally, chief financial officers have spent their time poring over budgets, auditing seemingly everything and ensuring compliance. In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, their role is shifting, incorporating strategic planning, risk management and predictive analytics.

To find out what CFOs are facing and how they’re making changes, the survey “The Strategic CFO: Thriving with Risk” compiles the answers from 500 CFOs and global financial executives about their evolving experiences. The survey was prepared by The Wall Street Journal Custom Content group in association with Coupa, a business spend management technology solutions provider. In a webinar, Coupa CFO Todd Ford and Wall Street Journal contributor Rosa Harris discuss finance’s role as it tries to take on risk and other findings from the survey.

SRM and tariffs: Supplier relationship management provides dream ticket to control purchasing in a complex international landscape

trade

Purchasing is a core part of any business. That means software that can address the whole purchasing value chain and integrate closely with key areas of an organization is a real bonus for companies looking to expand their operational flexibility with suppliers. Applications such as supplier relationship management (SRM) provide the answer, limiting non-value-added work, offering real-time insight and playing a key role in helping companies come to grips with purchasing in a complicated, unstable global market.