supply chain Content

After this college freshman spent his COVID quarantine building a $200 million PPE supply chain, he’s ready for more

The whole world went into overdrive in the spring and summer to ensure proper supplies of key disease-fighting products. And although the world is shifting into a new procurement issue — the mass vaccination effort — PPE is still being relied upon to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Since Jack Yuan's company’s inception in early 2020, Tianchi has collaborated with hospitals, governments, nonprofits and businesses to help bring critical PPE to organizations around the world. It has already supplied more than 600 million PPE products and recorded a revenue of $200 million. The ability to create such a successful supply chain, especially as manufacturers around the globe were pressed thin, is remarkable.

And the college sophomore isn't planning on stopping anytime soon. Yuan talked with Spend Matters about PPE procurement and how the 19-year-old created a successful supply chain.

Investor perspective: The Rise of Verticalized Supply Chain in Large Enterprise SaaS

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jack Freeman, Principal at PeakSpan Capital who is a growth-stage software investor.

The next generation of supply chain software leaders will be verticalized. The pace of innovation seen in the supply chain software space over the past handful of years suggests we’ve reached an inflection point, in no small part due to our ability to collect, analyze and harness the power of data, but that is a story for a future guest post. When you look at where supply chain scale-ups have found success over the years, it’s quite telling as to the future direction of this space. The time for horizontally oriented SCM platforms has come to an end. The next class of leaders in supply chain management will compete (and win) off focus and specialization.

What exactly is a ‘sustainable turkey’?

sustainable turkey

Thanks to our friend and former colleague Peter Smith for addressing this seasonal burning issue. 

Knowing my interest in “procurement with purpose” and the sustainability agenda generally, a friend recently asked me the question "What exactly is a sustainable turkey?" with Thanksgiving and Christmas in mind. Their angle was that a turkey can’t be “sustainable” really, as we eat it and it’s gone!

Let’s start by thinking about animal welfare issues and the conditions in which the birds are bred and reared. That can range from genuine free-range approaches, with turkeys roaming around fields and experiencing considerable freedom, to much more intensive “battery farm” methods, which meat-eaters might not want to know too much about. But an “organic”-labelled turkey should mean the bird had access to the outdoors and have adequate scratching space, nesting areas and so on.

Then we need to look at what the birds have eaten. We might want to know that they are antibiotic free, for a start. Then, in most cases, producers will be using bought-in feed for the birds, and that’s where some serious “sustainability” issues can kick in. For organic birds, the feed should be plant-based and free from any animal products. But that’s not enough to assure ourselves of the turkey’s sustainability credentials, unfortunately.

Is your turkey being produced and supplied in a sustainable way?

IT Supply Chain: Tech sales see some silver linings

IT market trends

COVID-19 continues to depress some parts of the economy but, from a financial perspective, there were some silver linings. Sales in technology that support work and play at home were on the rise in September, giving the IT supply chain and business users some much needed respite in what has been a difficult year for supply of these products.

As per usual, it was not all rosy, and fortunes continue to drop in the smartphone market. No one can deny the general downturn in sales in this category. To help navigate the ups and downs and maintain a clear view of what represents a fair price, here are some of the latest developments and major movements that are influencing key IT product categories.

IT Supply Chain: Pandemic continues to impact the technology sector

IT supply chain

The pandemic continued to have an impact on the technology sector in August, with everything from smartphones to servers affected. Smartphone shipments continued to fall, with analysts saying they don't expect a proper recovery to pre-pandemic levels before 2022. There were a few positives though, with sales increases in the notebook and WLAN markets. But these mostly occurred in the consumer space.

To help navigate the ups and downs and maintain a clear view of what represents a fair price, here are some of the latest developments and major movements that are influencing key IT product categories.

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Global trade trends and their impact on procurement

As businesses settle into their “new normal,” we at Basware commissioned a report with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to dive into the latest global trade trends and topics that executives are most concerned about. Together with Pete Swabey, Editorial Director of EMEA Thought Leadership, we looked at what these trends mean for procurement and finance professionals and identified three themes procurement should prioritize to minimize disruptions to their supply chain and day-to-day business.

The Hidden Procurement & Supply Chain Benefits of Chinese/US Cross-Border Swine Deals (Part 2)

As the NYT pointed out in a column highlighting some of the details (and regulatory scrutiny) surrounding the recently announced acquisition of Smithfield Foods by Shuanghui International, a partially state owned/influenced Chinese firm, closure of this deal in particular is not a given. But something we can take away from the proposed transaction regardless is not just Western capacity in the agricultural and food supply chain, but also the value of enhanced supply chain visibility and risk standards in driving deals and valuations in these areas.

Exploring A/P and Procurement Best Practices at P&G: Lesson 4

Lesson Four here is that project participants must understand improvement objectives and how to handle trade-offs. So let’s assume you’ve seized a nice prize, and per the WSJ article, let’s say the prize for P&G is $2B in cash. The prize could be taken as freed cash (or to a supplier, an increase in cash held captive!) But it could also be taken as a cost reduction in the form of an early discount. So, we have the classic cash vs. cost trade-off (we’ll ignore the service aspect of on-time payments that AP is measured on). So, which is more important? In this case, it’s cash.

FMC’s Total Cost of Ownership Equation: Safety, Quality, Delivery and Price

FMC Technologies’ four business drivers are: safety, quality, delivery and price. They use these to create a total cost of ownership model. With the deployment of a hybrid supplier performance management and spend analysis solution (Spend Radar – SciQuest), FMC Technologies’ initial challenge was centered on definitions (i.e., how to ensure that the same report would generate results that were equally robust and well-defined regardless of area of operations). If FMC Technologies could not achieve this, it would be impossible to benchmark across areas or have meaningful discussions with business owners and suppliers around why there were dips in performance in certain areas.

Trading “Apps” for Applications: May the Best Supply Chain Platform Win (Part 2)

So far, I’ve only been talking about this concept in a single-tier fashion. Now imagine the network or platform serving not just as the glue that allows companies to plug and play different best-of-breed applications but also as applications that sync across multiple tiers of a supply chain. Such a vision is not too radical. In fact, it is beginning to happen right now, and it will transform the basis by which we buy applications, as well as the value they create, based on the “data exhaust” that comes out of them.

Thought Innovation – Considerations for Supply Chain and Procurement in the Share Economy

Disruptive trends continue to shift the business landscape and challenge longstanding operations. Disruptions come in many forms (natural disasters, raw material availability, factory and line down situations), but innovative and disruptive trends are often overlooked, in particular the share economy. The impact of these trends on supply chain and procurement is not the first to come to mind, however it is an integral part of evolving models to thrive in the future for the share economy.