Procurement News from the US – Weekly Round-Up

As Peter has recently written about, it’s getting to be conference/event season. Why not brave a couple days in Chicago’s notoriously glorious March weather to attend Commodity EDGE? We’ve assembled a program of fantastic speakers (really, they actually won’t put you to sleep) and I can personally attest that the food at the InterContinental O’Hare is wonderful (because we all know what really matters). Early-bird registration is available through March 1.

Enough shameless plugging. Let’s talk “Big Data” and procurement.

Big Data and Procurement: Get Ready (Some Context First) -- Part 1 -- The New York Times ran an excellent primer on the subject of Big Data last weekend. If you missed it, I strongly recommend tapping into your 10 free stories a month (even if you're equally as offended as I am that the Times would give front page online billing to a story covering/giving credibility to the "Occupy" movement as it reflects on what it should do next, rather than covering real news). But back to the subject at hand, Big Data, and a primer you should not miss on the subject. It makes the most sense to first examine what "Big Data" is. (Part 2 here)

“Procurian” embraces The New Procurement with their new name.

Rebrand or Remake? ICG Commerce Becomes Procurian, Introduces "The New Procurement" -- Although word began to leak out in procurement circles that ICG Commerce was about to change its name, the company formally announced its new branding today. ICG Commerce has become Procurian. For those unfamiliar with Procurian, the organization is one of the largest providers in the procurement services space (inclusive of BPO, market intelligence, etc.). They're also fundamentally different than most in the market, shunning the offshore resource-led or "co-mingle your spend with our spend, contracts and team" approaches that categorize most of the rest of the BPO/high-touch procurement services market segment. Still, despite their differentiation and approach, until now, the company's brand image sounded more like a division of their major investor/owner (ICG) rather than a procurement powerhouse in its own right.

Jason finishes up our series on Fullstep.

No Half-Steppin' Here -- FullStep Tackles Manufacturing-Centric Procurement in Spain/Beyond (Part 3) -- As we continue our analysis of FullStep, we'll turn our attention to some of the workflow and process elements of their sourcing, project and supplier management capabilities as well as the customer experience of those rolling and using the technology. Perhaps the thing that stands out the most when logging-on to the FullStep sourcing portal is the flexibility of defining how different team members can participate and collaborate in specific activities (using an easy-to-define workflow and administrative controls toolset -- no code-level customization or even programming expertise required).

...VMS vendors are burning (in a good way).

VMS' 2011 Fire Grows to 2012 Inferno - Fieldglass, IQNavigator, ProcureStaff, Beeline & Beyond -- Spend Matters recently caught up with a number of VMS providers on an informal basis to gauge recent growth in 2011 and to dig below the adoption and revenue numbers to surface what's behind the excellent growth last year. While we'll save some of the more specific observations for posts on individual providers, several elements appear to contribute to the positive momentum as a whole. Collectively, we believe that these dynamics will pave the way for a very strong 2012, despite challenges in Europe, which are likely to slow the general hiring of contingent workers as potential recession situations take hold.

Nick Peksa (confirmed Commodity EDGE speaker!) talks plastic prices.

The Price Movements of Plastics -- Even if your core business isn't related to plastics, you will likely notice the effect of plastic price movements. Plastics are everywhere in modern life: from polyethylene carrier bags to polypropylene car bumpers to polystyrene office furniture to PVA adhesives to the nylon fibres in clothing. It is useful, therefore, to know where plastic comes from and how to begin to predict the price movements.

Finally, the important stuff. It’s Fashion Week!

And just to actually keep it somewhat procurement-related, here is an article that considers the CSR around the supply of something that might be more important than the clothes themselves: the models who trot the runway in them.

My favorites so far:

Marc by Marc Jacobs

Michael Kors

Ralph Lauren

(photos from The Sartorialist)

Have a fantastic weekend, all.

- Sheena Moore

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