US Procurement News: Apple Reshores Manufacturing, Managing Commodity Volatility, Supplier Diversity, A/P Navel Gazing

A PR stunt, or a deeper meaning?

Is Apple Manufacturing in the US an Important Move? -- Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from David Simchi-Levi, MIT engineering Professor and OPS Rules Chairman. On December 6th, Apple's CEO Tim Cook announced a plan to invest $100M in manufacturing a line of Mac Computers in the US. While cynics may say that this is only assembly, will create only 200 jobs, and is partly motivated by public relations, there may still be practical considerations for the move and it may ultimately have some positive unintended consequences for US manufacturing.

Smooth operators...

Cost Management Must Extend to Currency and Commodity Volatility -- More and more businesses, including many small and middle market organizations, are beginning to think about how they can "smooth" costs associated with volatility, taking supply risk and distraction off the procurement table. Unfortunately, the cost management skill sets required for effective hedging often don't reside (even physically) within the same offices as core procurement teams.

Procurement needs to make more data-driven decisions.

Sourcing and Procurement Measurement: Metrics That Fail To Deliver -- we've all heard that procurement needs to become more data-driven in making decisions. But how can a function make better decisions leveraging data and analytics in sourcing and risk management when it can't even accurately measure its impact to the bottom line?

Coming soon: our next Compass research paper. Here’s a peek!

Source-to-Pay: Selecting More Than One E-Sourcing Tool -- Later this week, Spend Matters will publish our latest Compass research brief covering the source-to-pay technology market: Next Level Sourcing and Commodity Management: Evaluating the Capabilities of ERP Providers Compared to Independent Vendors. This paper isn't an in-depth research analysis and comparative ranking effort based on a large-scale data collection, demonstration/review and customer validation effort (that will be coming later in Q1 for Spend Matters PRO subscribers). Instead, it's a relatively quick-hit effort to explain how ERP e-sourcing tools (including SAP, Ariba and Oracle) can fit next to best-of-breed vendors.

Learn the nuances, see the results.

Curing a Supplier Diversity Headache -- One of the largest challenges facing diversity programs is need for greater visibility into spending activity. Everyone needs it. Diversity-focused spend analysis and vendor classification work is absolutely necessary for accurate reports that will stand up to audits. Spend Matters PRO recently featured the start of a four-part series that provides just about everything you need to know to put an analytically and platform oriented supplier diversity program into practice, alongside other types of initiatives (strategic sourcing, supplier rationalization, supplier management, risk management, etc.)

A/P navel gazing.

Accounts Payable Looks Inward: Developing Alternatives to Outsourcing -- If looked at by the typical scope and structure of most new transactions, Procurement BPO has largely remade itself in recent years, with a significant focus on bringing in targeted expertise and category knowledge rather than a broader organizational hand-washing (AKA: outsourcing) initiative. And many companies are beginning to focus on developing internal competencies for emerging procurement and sourcing areas, often in a shared services type environment for purchasing process and beyond.

Your relocation relation station.

Category Management Strategies for Relocation Services -- The supply management landscape and opportunity for relocation services is changing dramatically. But these shifts have also come with increased questions from both HR and procurement. For example, we all want to strike the correct balance between getting employee mobility services (also known as relocation services) suppliers motivated to provide the most competitive pricing as well as to offer strict and productive service level agreements. But this is easier said than done, especially on an ongoing, sustainable basis while keeping internal employee satisfaction high across a high-stress period in their professional (and personal) lives.

A how-to guide to dealing with management consultants from Archstone.

Straight from the Horse's Mouth: Contracting with Management Consultants -- "Straight from the horse's mouth" is said to be the notion in the horse racing world that a tip is so legitimate that it originates from one-step closer than the inner circle of trainers and owners, i.e., directly from the horse. In the business of contracting with management consultants, I am that horse. And I have some tips for you.

This week in music: THEEsatisfaction.

Mash Frank Ocean together with Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” and give it a dose of female power, Pacific Northwest gloom, and some hot beats. I am obsessed with this Seattle-based duo. Here’s their latest, awE naturalE, from Sub Pop Records.

- Sheena Moore

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