Richard Waugh's blog

Procurement's New Year's Resolutions for 2015: More Saving, More Doing (But Not More Budget)

Since the New Year has arrived, it's time now for the annual onslaught of Procurement Prognostications for 2015. Of course a year from now, what actually transpires may bear little resemblance to what was predicted – and who really goes back and reconciles results with resolutions anyway? But at least in this case, an educated guess can be made as to what procurement leaders will actually be focused on in 2015, based on their responses to a recent joint survey conducted by Zycus and The Hackett Group of over 200 procurement leaders and practitioners.

Richard Waugh, Vice President, Corporate Development, Zycus Inc

Collaborating in the Cloud: Where Procurement Process Meets Social Networking

The "cloud" is allowing Procurement organizations to engage beyond their four walls with peer organizations - for benchmarking and collaborative buying - and with suppliers for new product innovations and supply chain efficiencies. Procurement organizations have long focused most of their attention on getting their own houses in order...streamlining internal transactional processes to promote efficiency, realigning organizational resources to focus more on strategic and less on tactical or transactional activities...all for the betterment of their organizations. With foundational internal platforms and processes in place, more organizations will begin utilizing the cloud to get connected outside their enterprises in a number of new and exciting ways. Cloud technologies make it easier than ever before to collaborate with external enterprises – both suppliers and their peer group. And according to Capgemini Consulting, procurement needs to rapidly shift their attention to supplier collaboration, especially early involvement in new product introduction, in order to drive innovation: "Organizations are still reluctant to involve procurement and suppliers early enough in product development and innovation. And Procurement is still viewed as a silo function with KPIs that remain focused on tactical and cost reduction activities." While 80% of more than 1,000 CPOs surveyed by Capgemini concede that suppliers are involved too late in the corporate innovation process, they recognize that suppliers contribute value beyond the products and services they provide, both in terms of the quantity, speed and agility with which they provide them:

Richard Waugh, Vice President, Corporate Development, Zycus Inc.

Predictive Analytics Replace Reactive

Leading procurement organizations will increasingly be able to anticipate future spending patterns rather than just analyze historical spending, and will be able to prevent supply risk failures, such as supply chain disruptions, before they occur.

When it comes to analyzing historical spend data, there already exists a major divide between world class and non-world class. Looking at a "significant amount" of spend visibility company-wide, the gap is getting bigger: 23% more world class had this level of spend visibility overall in 2012, and the gap more than doubled in 2013 to 47%, when 89% of world-class organizations achieved this mark overall. Top performing organizations also have better visibility as to how their suppliers are currently performing. In 2013, 80% of world class performers were utilizing a formal, supplier scoring methodology as compared to just 50% of the total peer group, according to Hackett Group benchmarks. Going forward, these leading organizations will seek to further extend their advantage by leveraging spend and supplier analytics in more proactive and predictive ways, for example:

Richard Waugh, Vice President, Corporate Development, Zycus Inc.

Procurement Must Think "Small" to Unlock "Big Data" Opportunities

Spend Visibility at the most granular level identifies what is being purchased and from whom it is being purchased. Taking spend analytics a step further - to see who is buying, how they are buying and why, and also comparing what an organization is spending as compared to the industry overall, will help leading organizations uncover previously untapped savings opportunities by looking at spending behaviors and identifying new and better ways to proactively influence demand. Today procurement organizations are swimming in data, in fact Capgemini Consulting forecasts that over the next 5 years, the growth of data – both structured and unstructured – is expected to grow at over 650%. So the procurement data is plenty "Big" – the problem is having real analytical visibility to do something with it. As Capgemini points out, most analytics provide aggregate visibility which is not actionable: "Aggregates in isolation provide very little actionable information. Analytics, on the other hand, can tell you what's happening in the business and how well you are servicing it." So to make sense of "Big" Data, first think "Small" by being able to interpret purchasing patterns through transactional level insights, something world-class procurement organizations are much more likely to be able to do than their counterparts. According to Hackett Group benchmarks, 23% more world class procurement organizations had a "significant amount" of spend visibility company-wide than the peer group in 2012, and the gap is getting bigger, more than doubling in 2013 to 47%, when 89% of world-class organizations achieved this mark overall. Procurement organizations will be putting their money where the mouth is by upgrading their investment in analytics during 2014.

Richard Waugh, Vice President, Corporate Development, Zycus Inc.

Supplier Managers, the New Category Managers

Procurement's historic focus on managing categories of supply too often assumed that the category was comprised of interchangeable sources of supply to be manipulated to produce perpetual annual cost reductions at the category level. The new realization is that material cost savings are not an annuity and commodity suppliers are not a "commodity." The best suppliers, and the supplier's supplier, are the source of innovation and competitive differentiation, and a supply management, not category management focus, is needed to nurture them. While the orientation towards Category Management remains ingrained - the latest CAPS (Center for Advanced Purchasing Studies) Manufacturing Industry Benchmarks still show nearly double the amount of procurement resources allocated to Category Management as compared to Supplier Management (31% to 16%) - the shift towards Supplier Management has already begun. In a Zycus sponsored, December 2013 webinar in collaboration with The Hackett Group, titled, "Real-time Procurement Benchmarking," almost half of webinar attendees polled expect to get more than 10% of "total procurement value" from Non-Sourcing or Category Management activities - in other words, Supplier Relationship Management. More organizations are turning their attention to Supplier Management as a new source of savings - and value - as a matter of necessity. Hackett Group Benchmarks point towards a leveling off of savings achieved by World-Class performers, whose Total Spend Cost Savings as a percentage of Annual Spend (Cost Reduction and Avoidance), are forecast to decline by more than a full percentage point (7.56% to 6.46%) from 2012 to 2013. And according to Hackett benchmarks, Top Performing organizations are already realizing 3.4% savings annually as a percentage of Total Spend above and beyond savings from sourcing or category management, twice as much as their peer group.

Richard Waugh, Vice President, Corporate Development, Zycus Inc.

Procurement, the New Profit Center

Procurement organizations will evolve from cost centers or even shared services centers to be measured as true "profit centers" that are accountable to executive management and shareholders to deliver specific, measurable ROI targets - or risk being outsourced to more efficient third parties. Procurement organizations will continue to be challenged with finding new savings opportunities – a Capgemini Consulting survey of over 1,000 CPOs indicates that 39% say their organizations expect procurement to increase savings, with 35% of respondents expected to generate savings in excess of 6% and 5% targeting better than 10%. However, many organizations may be reaching a point of diminishing returns as evidenced by Hackett Group Benchmarks that point towards a leveling-off of savings achieved by World-Class performers, whose Total Spend Cost Savings as a percentage of Annual Spend (Cost Reduction and Avoidance), are forecast to decline by more than a full percentage point (7.56% to 6.46%) from 2012 to 2013, but are still posting better than 2X greater savings than those achieved by the non-world class peer group (2.93%). In this climate, where savings expectations are increasing while savings opportunities are increasingly hard to come by, procurement organizations will be under the microscope to demonstrate their ability to contribute to corporate profitability by achieving world-class ROI from their procurement operations – 10.72 in 2013 as compared to just 3.89 for the Peer Group – as calculated by dividing spend savings by the cost of procurement. Those procurement organizations that are unable to demonstrate world class Procurement ROI, risk being outsourced. Already, the Capgemini survey indicates about 10% of organizations have chosen to outsource some form of their procurement operations and another 25% are considering that option. Procurement organizations have a real opportunity to be seen as a profit center.

Richard Waugh, Vice President, Corporate Development, Zycus Inc.