Best Practices

The Post-COVID Supply Chain: Driving Value with Sustainable Procurement

Sustainable Procurement

COVID-19 has created a ripple effect of disruption through supply chains across the world, causing many companies to assess their weak spots and reevaluate their operations to ensure future resiliency and continuity.

Rebounding from the current crisis with more solid resilience is itself creating immense value. Forward-thinking companies are looking a step further, perhaps with the climate crisis clearly in view. They are leveraging sustainability and purpose – with an upside creating long-term value across a wide range of business levers, from competitive differentiation, grow sales revenue, supplier innovation to support future circular business models, talent recruitment and retention.

Procurement’s Key Role in Turning Purpose into Profit

With momentum growingtoward stakeholder capitalism, businesses have made a greater commitment to sustainable purpose through reducing emissions of greenhouse gas, limiting plastic use, providing decent working conditions and more. The recent COVID-19 pandemic hasbrought risk mitigation and resiliency top-of-mind – and we’re seeing clear proof points that sustainable procurement is the answer.

David McClintock, Marketing Director, EcoVadis

COVID-19 Resources for Sourcing, Procurement and Workforce Management

Covid-19 resources

SIG is always asking our event attendees, current and future members, and readers about their current issues and concerns. I have been tracking and analyzing their responses for almost 10 years now. While cost savings and value-add remain consistent and strong priorities, there's no doubt many are very concerned about meeting pandemic-related needs.

We are blessed to have a community of thought leaders and generous, experienced professionals who are willing to share their experiences and describe their wins.

We offer the following resources in your quest for COVID-19 related items specific to sourcing, procurement, and workforce management. You can continue to search for related articles here.

In the resources listed here, you can learn how to set up crow's nest and a war chest, hear how Sprint/T-Mobile are managing the crisis using AI for their spend analytics, specific procurement best practices for today's market, how technology enhances continuity in your workforce and what happens if and when this is "all over." Plus, so much more.

Checklist: 6 Steps for Navigating Through the COVID-19 Storm

Covid-19 has transformed from a short-term hiccup to a perfect storm at an unprecedented pace. It is normal to feel disoriented and to feel like you're running in eight directions at once.

>>Read More

Mary Zampino, Vice President – Content, Research & Analytics

Procurement KPIs: The Keys that Unlock the Value of Spend and Supply Management

Procurement KPIs and Spend Management

In the first two parts of this KPI series, we highlighted some of the foundational measurements for procurement pros and the problems of traditional procurement key performance indicators in terms of how they can be incomplete, misleading and even damaging to a value chain transformation.

So how do you get from tactical procurement metrics to more powerful spend/supply measures that help build new capabilities and favorably impact critical business outcomes?

We have mentioned some of the more expansive sets of metrics that organizations use to measure several areas:

●      Spend/cost management and savings

●      Supplier/supply performance

●      S2P process metrics for process performance

●      Underlying capabilities in talent management, digital, etc.

●      Stakeholder-specific metrics related to the above

In this third installment, we’ll dive a little deeper into some example metrics, but the first order of business is to provide a framework giving the backdrop on the KPIs and use it to hone in on metric types before listing individual KPIs.

The enterprise value framework below shows where spend/investment is made to business units (and supporting functions like procurement, finance, IT, HR, etc.) that delivers business performance/returns — and enterprise value (e.g., as measured by EVA, ROIC or equivalent). Organizations that use such enterprise value metrics also tend to have more robust strategic planning and FP&A (financial planning and analysis) processes that in turn help procurement organizations align to.

Pierre Mitchell, Chief Research Officer, Spend Matters

Three Questions To Ask When Framing Technology Decisions in Procurement Functions

By asking three key questions, innovation, procurement and their organizations will be best-suited to choose the tools that best fit their business needs.

SIG University Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) Program graduate Daryl Hammett discusses the three key questions organizations should ask when framing technology decisions in procurement functions to best suit their business needs.


While legacy resource planning systems are key to all global supply chains, they are also cumbersome, expensive and not designed to support the type of relational data businesses deal with to drive decisions.

Procurement organizations are thinking more often about innovating old processing systems. What areas have inherent risks in innovating? To what degree do we change? How do we manage it? Who do we get involved? A lot of attention is focused on getting the results from innovation and change, especially those associated with people. Most companies have implemented procedures to manage and grow innovation, but I believe one of the most under-analyzed risks in innovation, and one that could be the biggest threat going unaddressed today, is the risk of group think in implementing change in procurement teams.

>>Supplier Management Made Simple: Listen to Daryl on The Sourcing Industry Landscape Podcast<<

Daryl Hammett, CSMP, CSP, C3PRMP, General Manager/Chief Operating Officer, ConnXus

Utilizing Soft Skills to Navigate Change Management

Kimberly Morelli discusses how essential components such as soft skills and change management can be.

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program student Kimberly Morelli works at Driven Brands. She shares how essential components such as soft skills and change management can be and how she is implementing newly polished tools and best practices to tackle organizational challenges.

In the CSP program, students focus on the hard and soft skills of sourcing, including strategic sourcing and outsourcing methodologies, as well as best practices in negotiations.


My enrollment in the CSP Program from SIG University has proven to be timely and I am excited at the opportunity to have lessons that can be readily applied to our procurement organization. I also was heartened to find emphasis by SIG on positive supplier relationships versus an adversarial stance as used to be popular. The procurement team I am on has been in a state of transformation over the past few years, shifting from transactional buying to category management with a specific focus on increasing our sourcing processes. I found the CSP program to have laid a strong framework that is applicable to my organization, both in procurement and business areas.

Kimberly Morelli, Senior Category Manager

Why Secure Sourcing Starts with Automation

Automating supplier-related processes benefits businesses.

Growing economic uncertainty, geopolitical unrest, and emerging cyber threats mean that security and risk management are now critical boardroom priorities. If that weren’t enough, businesses today are not only accountable for the factors that impact them directly, but they’re also responsible for those that impact their suppliers.

Take the recent Quest Diagnostics data breach as an example. Despite Quest’s strong internal cybersecurity infrastructure, the sensitive information of 11.9 million patients was hacked through a third-party billing vendor with subpar security standards. The lesson is clear: a company is only as safe as its weakest vendor.  

Many organizations continue to manage suppliers, contracts, and procurement processes manually or with outdated, clunky technology that is too complicated for efficient use. These haphazard systems are, unfortunately, perfect harbors for risk, but there is tremendous opportunity here. According to a recent McKinsey & Company report, 56% of source-to-pay tasks could be “fully or largely automated using currently available technologies.”

While automation isn’t a cure-all, it does have the potential to drastically decrease overall risk. How? By reducing the “human factor” in supplier management and allowing sourcing employees to focus on more critical projects. In addition to putting risk mitigation at the forefront, automating supplier-related processes benefits businesses in these four key ways:

Chris Crane, Co-Founder, Product, Scout RFP, a Workday company

Talking to Your Tail Spend – Chapter 4: Frameworks to Manage and Find Savings

Find savings and learn how to build a strategic sourcing framework to help you manage tail spend.

This is the final chapter in our tail spend series and we’ve covered some significant ground to understand what tail spend is, why it happens, and the potential issues with ignoring it or managing it in the wrong way. In this final chapter, we'll explore the ways you can find savings in your tail and how to build a strategic sourcing framework to help you manage it going forward.

To get up to speed, you can read the entire Talking to Your Tail Spend series on our blog:

Amy Fong, Principal - Procurement and Purchase to Pay Advisory, The Hackett Group

Talking to Your Tail Spend – Chapter 3: The Potential Risks Lurking in your Tail Spend

Unmanaged tail spend results in significant risks to organizations.

We’ve released a series of articles to answer your questions about tail spend. We started by defining tail spend, discussed how to better work with stakeholders to manage it, and now we’re diving into the potential risks lurking in your tail spend and the problem with taking a scorched Earth approach. To get up to speed, read our prologue, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 on what this tail spend series will help you accomplish.

What is the risk exposure in my tail spend?

Risk is an increasingly important consideration in procurement and we’re right to think about the impact of risk hidden in our unmanaged spend. The tricky thing about risk is that it can differ across companies, even within the same industry. Supplier financial risk is important to most, but what about brand risk, geopolitical risk in the supply chain, and the risk of payment fraud? Depending on the spend category, IP risk or labor practice risk may also be a consideration.

The starting point, once again, is the spend analysis, with the category manager charged with determining the highest risks for their category. If a category isn’t actively managed, it can be assigned to a risk team for a basic analysis. Given that the average company only actively monitors about a quarter of suppliers for risk, there’s a lot of unwatched suppliers even outside the long tail. Risk assessments are typically driven by supplier spend or a triggering high-risk factor.

Amy Fong, Principal - Procurement and Purchase to Pay Advisory, The Hackett Group

SWOT Analysis: A Procurement Best Practice

SWOT Analysis graph

A Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) student rediscovers the benefit of SWOT analysis, a tried and true procurement best practice. In the CSP program, students focus on the hard and soft skills of sourcing, including strategic sourcing and outsourcing methodologies, as well as best practices in negotiations. 


It is common for many procurement professionals to lose sight of the basics and fall into a pattern of just following along with the habits they’ve built through the years. During SIG University’s Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program, I was able to take a step back and evaluate some best practices that seem to have fallen off in my procurement department.

Within my organization, as with many, there is a never-ending sense of urgency when internal stakeholders come to us with sourcing or contracting needs that they would like completed yesterday. By actively embracing SWOT analysis, procurement would be able to better serve its stakeholders. This analysis would provide better oversight of issues as they arise and increase the potential of solving business issues with enhanced results.

Sammi Kiesel, Strategic Sourcing Advisor

Talking to Your Tail Spend: Chapter 2 – 4 Tips to Work with Internal Stakeholders

Advice on how to work with internal stakeholders to manage tail spend

We’re releasing a series of articles to answer your questions about tail spend, starting with the basics so you understand what tail spend is and we’ll progress along the spectrum to help you manage it. To get up to speed, read our prologue and Chapter 1 on what this tail spend series will help you accomplish. In this chapter, we'll explore how to better communicate with stakeholders to get tail spend under control.


“Who purchased you and why?”

This is perhaps the most intriguing question and the right place to start when looking at tail spend. A spend analysis is often the first step in building a procurement capability, and if used on an ongoing basis, it can help to understand what spend consolidation efforts leave out. To accurately capture the full picture, analysis should pull in data from multiple sources, such as purchasing/payment systems, purchasing card data, travel and expense systems, and often multiple ERP systems, even petty cash if local branches still use it.  

Fortunately, there are many helpful tools on the market that range from free-for-use apps to complex software platforms enabled with artificial intelligence (AI). Nearly all of these will help with generating what we call a “spend cube,” which is an analysis, at the line-item level, of global spend. This can include:  

Amy Fong, Principal - Procurement and Purchase to Pay Advisory, The Hackett Group

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