SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Jeff Piatt illustrates the importance of a supply chain that needs to be nimble enough to adapt, not just for the needs of the business but for the greater good.
Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, was quoted as saying, “Business cannot succeed unless the world succeeds.”
As corporations navigate the global health crisis created by COVID-19, the importance of balancing economic outcomes with social and environmental values has never been higher.
Before COVID-19, we’d already started seeing a mindset shift in economic thinking and consumer attitude. Sustainability and diversity are, arguably finally, being prioritized. Corporations are thinking more about shared values than simply shareholders’ value.
Social Responsibility of Sourcing & Procurement
2020 presents companies with an obligation, not just an opportunity, to prioritize social impact and corporate citizenship. Companies that are fortunate enough to be thriving during this pandemic, or even functioning as normal, have a duty to give back to their communities. The companies that win long term will prioritize social responsibility throughout this crisis.
As business leaders and procurement professionals, we must use this opportunity to demonstrate and elevate procurement's value. Sourcing and procurement have had their own paradigm shift over the past decade. We’re shaking the stereotype that being a strong negotiator requires being the bad guy or that one can be “too nice” for Sourcing. Now is the time to be the perfect combination of empathetic and strategic. Showcase the true value of Strategic Sourcing.
Jeff Piatt, Director of Global Travel & Expense, Zendesk
Procurement is a business function that offers so much in the way of value. However, its not always easy to showcase the full spectrum of what procurement provides to other teams or get the necessary buy-in from sponsors or stakeholders to support procurement activities. In fact, one of the common pain points for procurement practitioners is the ability to align finance.
Finance is a critical business function. So much of what guides operations is based on the bottom line and therefore it is absolutely essential that procurement align with finance. Without this collaboration, procurement teams will struggle to gain credibility within an organization and will be less able to contribute to the overall success of the business. In order for procurement to truly be successful, it needs to align with finance. Here are some tips for helping achieve alignment between finance and procurement.
Develop a reporting structure that promotes collaboration
Reporting is essential for keeping different departments aligned. It’s only logical that the department in charge of managing money and the team that handles buying should coordinate. To really make the most of your collaborative efforts, try syncing on reporting structure to increase adoption. Ideally, procurement would actually fall under the purview of finance wherein the CPO reports directly to the CFO to increase that alignment. Benefits include:
With the passing of the year, 2020 became more than a hindsight. We saw the emergence of human resilience and world leaders stepping up to shape a sense of leadership in young minds – be it in the area of politics, entrepreneurship or grassroots movements.
Many equate the COVID-19 pandemic to the 1918 Spanish flu. I see the similarities, but the impact today is much larger. Some basic statistics: Worldwide population in 1918 was ~1.8b, compared to ~7.8b in 2020 (4x larger). On mobility, estimates place ~23.5m travelers arriving on U.S. shores in 1918-19, compared to ~79.3m in 2020. Travel and military embankments were at close quarters in 1918, with distancing, tracing and lockdowns more the norm in 2020. On communication, wireless communication was the novel technology in World War I, limiting civilian communication to letters, postcards, newspapers, and some telephone and radio. Today, social media and the internet are primary communication modes today, with hand-held devices now reaching the farthest corners of the world.
With all this evolution in the area of mobility and communications, one would expect the mobilization of essential goods and services, inter- and intrastate communications, interlaced with the very basic of humanity, would be the norm of trade policies and corporate goals.
Padmini Ranganathan, Global Vice President, Product Strategy, SAP Procurement
To wrap up 2020, we highlight the top 10 SIG Speaks blogs of the year. From sustainable sourcing to mastering the art of negotiation, this year has been filled with thought leadership to help weather the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Guide to Understanding Category Management
By drilling down on spend categories, procurement can become established as a trusted advisor to the business. Check out our guide for a category management template to build your business case.
It is hard to believe 2021 is at our doorstep, and while the immediate future is uncertain, the mid-to long-range outlook is virtually unknown. What we thought would be a ‘two-week’ work-from-home in March, has turned into a full-blown pandemic, and with it, the uncertainty surrounding it. Now, with a new wave of COVID-19 outbreaks breathing down our necks, tough times are here again.
As procurement professionals, we are, by nature, resilient. The toughest of times takes the strongest leadership and most innovative strategies. The pandemic and the consequences of it provided a proving ground for the often-overlooked sourcing and procurement team. Over the past year, sourcing and procurement became the lynchpin for many organizations’ survival, securing critical business and PPE-related goods and services to keep businesses afloat and employees protected. Throughout, procurement professionals were working tirelessly to create innovative cost savings and expense reduction opportunities when other departments went right to cutting staff and payroll.
At a time when the needs of the business are buoyed through critical sourcing and procurement activities, there is, perhaps, no more important function to a business.
Procurement Myth Versus Reality
Unfortunately, not everybody understands that. Many business stakeholders still think of sourcing and procurement as tactical purchasing and contract administrators, or bottlenecks that create delays in the buying process and upset suppliers. In reality, sourcing and procurement is really about negotiating critical multi-million-dollar contracts and finding the right supply chain partners to mitigate the significant risk in today’s market. Critical, not just in savings, but in the essential value and impact you have on the business.
At the time of writing this piece, I am just one of five million people emerging from the world’s longest coronavirus-related lockdown, in Melbourne, Australia. For nearly two months, I was only allowed to leave the house once a day for essential items and required to stay within three miles of my home. From takeaway meals to IT support, to doctor’s appointments, most of the goods and services I've needed have been ordered virtually. Since COVID-19 hit, I’m amazed at how quickly the world went virtual.
Along with SAP colleagues and millions of workers globally, I’ve quickly adapted to working from home – connecting with others through virtual collaboration and networking tools. Imagine my surprise, then, when I received a notification in the mail that my driver’s license needed to be updated to reflect my correct birth date, requiring me to physically go to VicRoads, the DMV for the state of Victoria. How is it possible that under the strictest lockdown in the world, with thousands of workers operating remotely, I was still required to be physically present at the DMV to confirm my birth date and identity; especially knowing that the documents required could have easily been scanned and sent?
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the journey to digital transformation was underway across many industries. Whether through the purchase of large-scale enterprise resource planning (ERP) offered by companies like SAP, or through individual contracts with suppliers specializing in virtual banking, e-signatures, contracts or hiring, companies have taken steps to manage their businesses digitally. This move has paid off in the current environment.
Baber Farooq, Head of Product Strategy, SAP Procurement Solutions
With the launch of the SolutionMap Fall 2020 release, Spend Matters’ analysts have assessed 77 procurement technology vendors, adding 12 providers since our Spring 2020 update.
SolutionMap, which began in 2017, has become the definitive procurement technology benchmark due to the depth of analyst assessments, quantity of real-life customer inputs and frequency of release (twice a year) to accurately reflect vendor capabilities and market developments.
If you’re new to SolutionMap, here are the basics:
Amy Fong is a Vice President in Everest Group's Strategic Outsourcing and Vendor Management practice. In this role, she advises enterprises on maximizing value from strategic provider relationships in outsourced services categories. She is a featured presenter at SIG’s upcoming virtual SIGnature Events taking place throughout the fall of 2020. Virtual SIGnature Events are free to all qualified buy-side practitioners and sell-side members.
What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
I work with our procurement members to ensure they are getting the research and support they need to maximize value in outsourced services categories. We have 200 analysts focused on the outsourcing, global services and intelligent automation space. My role is to work across those content areas to bring it all together and ensure we’re helping procurement.
For instance, developing category strategy templates with the market intelligence we provide, facilitating briefings and peer discussions, and designing surveys that answer top of mind questions. I’m available to our members to answer their questions or guide them to the right expert analyst to dive deep into their challenges.
In the time of COVID-19, this also means helping procurement teams understand how service providers are reacting and what they can expect. Also, helping them identify cost takeout and risk reduction opportunities for the “next normal.”
This is the final chapter in a four-part series on procurement KPIs. Catch up on part 1, part 2 and part 3.
One of the goals of a business is to have as much spend (with a capital “S” for all expenditures: CapEx, OpEx and COGS) under management as possible. And that goal should be extended out to supplier spend, where procurement wants to have as much supplier spend influence as possible.
That way you know what you’re spending on suppliers (and the pricing component of that, of course), what you’re getting from those suppliers (i.e., supplier performance), and how well you’re spending in terms of applying best practices and tools/intelligence to the process (e.g., proactively guiding stakeholders and minimizing maverick spend).
Pierre Mitchell, Spend Matters’ Chief Research Officer
Today, procurement must not just find ongoing opportunities to reduce cost, but also mitigate risk, improve supplier performance, improve cash management, unlock innovation, support CSR objectives and a long list of other goals. Those increasingly include ensuring agility in the face of Covid-19 and the next crisis. As the list of procurement’s objectives continues to expand, continuous improvement is essential. It is not just the number of goals but their broad scope that make transformation a must, and a lengthy journey. Success requires mapping the right path, continuously tracking progress and course-correcting along the way.
As renowned management guru Peter Drucker famously said, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Unfortunately, all too often, procurement leaders can’t measure everything they need to or measure it in the right way. When looking at any challenge, it often helps to investigate how the very best operate and what distinguishes them from the rest. So Ivalua partnered with Forrester to take a broad look at Effective Procurement Performance Measurement across over 400 organizations globally. The study showed a marked difference between the performance of the most advanced procurement teams and the rest (categorized as either beginners or intermediates), and similarly noticeable differences in measurement.
The Best Measure More
On average, procurement teams that are most advanced measure roughly 50% more KPIs than beginners (and around 30% more than intermediates). They don’t just measure more, their performance reviews and bonuses are tied to those KPIs.