COVID-19

CPO & Executive Virtual Series Recap: Maximizing Supply Chain Potential with Contract Intelligence

contract lifecycle management

Recently, SIG had the pleasure of hosting Nitin Khorana, Vice President from Icertis for the September CPO & Executive Virtual Series. It was a very engaging discussion that lasted nearly two hours with tons of excellent takeaways. Let’s get into it!

Contract Intelligence Driving Visibility into Supply Chain

Nitin kicked off the day discussing the impact that COVID-19 has had on supply chains and bottom lines. As Nitin highlighted from one particular study, 97% of supply chains reported that their workforce was impacted by COVID-19. The resulting question from organizations became "how do I manage risk and how do I react quickly to maintain supply chain performance post-pandemic". 

This is where Chief Supply chain officers have come to the forefront. These key players for the business have become increasingly recognized for their ability to deliver profitability & long-term business objectives. What helps these supply chain leaders elevate this supply chain performance? Visibility into their supply chains.

As Nitin points out, contract management plays a vital role in supply chain performance. Contract intelligence is able to set qualification benchmarks and processes for existing and new suppliers. By using blockchain framework delivers visibility into tier 2 and tier 3 suppliers by quickly being able to identify contracts that don't align with risk & category strategies. 

Icertis Blockchain

A More Resilient & Efficient Supply Chain Starts with Contracts

Corporations are increasingly using their financial strength to address supply chain performance through contract-driven supply chain visibility and diversification. There are three ways that contract lifecycle management (CLM) can drive this visibility. 

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Manager

How to Build A Productive Hybrid Work Culture in 2021 and Beyond

hybrid work culture

As access to COVID-19 vaccines increases and covid variants become increasingly concerning, companies around the world are actively discussing how to build a hybrid work culture, somewhere along the continuum of fully returning and fully remote, with many options in between.   

After a year of working from home, the employee mindset has shifted with many people discovering that they enjoy the additional flexibility to balance their family lives while others are “Zoom fatigued” and eager to get back to the office for face-to-face interaction and personal growth.  The answer probably lies in a range of options and the phasing of return to office (RTO), creating the “new normal”.  

At SMC Squared we’re actively discussing and preparing for RTO for our own teams and guiding many clients.  The goal is to continue to maintain a safe environment for an engaged and highly productive workforce. I’ve challenged our management team to rethink how we listen, remain flexible, and importantly retain our employees.  We are working to ensure they feel safe returning to the office while also maximizing their opportunities for career growth, collaboration, and mentorship.

It’s not going to be easy as the workplace mindset has rapidly shifted over the last year.  Companies must define what a hybrid working model means for them while putting in place different options to balance the needs of the organization and of their people. In addition to the internal challenges,  organizations face external factors such as vaccination availability, COVID-19 caseloads, work-life balance, and the highly active and competitive job market.

Patricia Connolly, CEO and Co-Founder, SMC Squared

How to Avoid Hidden Costs of Offshore Hourly Rates

offshore hidden costs

For many US companies, understanding the total cost of IT talent services has always been challenging, and is even more concerning now as budgets and resources have tightened in a post-COVID-19 world. But as the need for change and innovation continues to grow, companies are rapidly shifting focus towards outsourcing as a solution to assisting in digital innovation.

Procurement commonly compares hourly rates because it’s an easy comparison.  Well, not exactly.  But the issue is that the invoice at the end of the month for a committed amount of work is what matters, not what the hourly rate states.  Overtime, 45-hour billing weeks, etc. are ways offshore vendors distort billings and make your hourly rate look lower to win deals. So, how can you avoid additional costs associated with services provided by your outsourcing partner?

At SMC2 we find that many Global Insourcing Center RFPs ask for hourly rates as a selection criterion to support cost control or optimization.   Hourly rates themselves are easy to compare but do not accurately reflect the actual costs to deliver services or projects.  Fixed bids make an attempt at solving this issue, but are often laced with caveats and take a significant effort to understand scope.  

Also, many people believe that although the rates in India are lower, it takes more resources to deliver the same value as a US resource. Ratios such as 3:1 or 2:1 are often cited, demonstrating a lack of understanding of India’s technical capabilities and, more so, the opportunity to optimize under a global team structure.

SMC2 has solved this issue by focusing on value generation instead of billable hours.  Our teams are measured at the same level as their US counterparts in terms of productivity. This is expressed as 1:1 productivity.  We provide the necessary time each week to guarantee a US-full time equivalent of contribution.   

Steven Stephan, SVP of Global Services and Co-Founder, SMC Squared

New Priorities for Procurement Leaders

women procurement leaders

Your employees helped you navigate a historical disruption. Now they deserve your investment in their personal and professional development.

Everyone wants to “get back to normal.” I am anxious to safely hug friends and family, talk without the muffling of a mask, enjoy a meal in a restaurant, and travel abroad again. While the saying get back to normal is mostly a turn of phrase, going back to normal in the professional world is impossible.

Procurement professionals are constantly preparing for localized Black Swan events, like natural disasters, geopolitical conflicts, cybercrimes and such. But the impact of COVID is unique in its size and scope. What started as an epidemic in late 2019 quickly spread into a pandemic, consuming the entirety of 2020, and it’s still rearing its ugly head in the world.

Leaders in all sectors need to realize that the world as we know it has changed, and your employees are holding company leadership accountable. If you want to keep the talent you have and be an employer of choice to attract new talent, it’s vital to stop, listen, and learn from the people who help make your business successful.

Here are my recommendations to build a more inclusive, resilient, and agile workforce as we look ahead.

Back to the Office ... or Not

Now that vaccines are making inroads and people can safely congregate again, some look forward to going back to the office full time. After a year of working from home, others don’t want a full-time return to the office.

Before COVID, there was in many companies a conservative attitude about working from home. It was accepted on occasion but not wholly embraced. At Scanmarket, we will not return to a situation where people have to be at the office five days a week. Instead, we will pivot to a hybrid, part-time office model.

Betina Nygaard, CEO, Scanmarket

Rethink and Rebuild for the New Normal

Sustainable Procurement

Just last month, when thousands of people took time away from their day-to-day, to gather to focus on Sustainable Procurement at the 2021 Sustain event. There was an air of anticipation, with a whiff of panic. The 5000+ registrants and 3000+ attendees (over twice the number from last year and ten times the number just five years ago) are a testament to how Covid and all the calamity of 2020 has moved the supply chain into a very bright spotlight. A year as disastrous as 2020 demands a deep strategic rethink of how we approach, value, build and optimize our value chains, with an ESG/Sustainability lens.

Procurement, supply chain and sustainability leaders alike are groping for guidance on how they can rebuild better and more resilient supply chains in the face of such massive uncertainty. There is a visceral passion and ambition by the sustainable procurement community to reinvent. But along with this spirit was an unsettling mix of uncertainty, anxiety, and trepidation about HOW to do it right.

Four Ways we Must RETHINK Supply Chain

We see four key factors that we must RETHINK about supply chain sustainability, which sets a framework and direction for launching or accelerating a sustainable procurement program to meet the needs of the New Normal.

Emily Rakowski, Chief Marketing Officer, EcoVadis

An Exposé from Procurement Insider Peter Smith

Procurement business

Career procurement professional turned author Peter Smith, MA, FCIPS, FRSA, recently joined the Sourcing Industry Landscape Podcast to lift the lid on some of the worst procurement scams in history, offers practical advice on avoiding embarrassing mistakes, and shares how to make sound, strategic procurement decisions. 


If you're going back to 2019 is when you wrote the book, can you share some of their global disasters or the big stories that you included in the book back then?

When it comes to procurement failures, there are many areas, and some of them do not really understand what you're buying. And that can be something very simple, like the printing equipment the Irish government bought that didn't actually fit into the building they were putting it in. Or much more complex technology failures and so on.

But then, there are some interesting areas we perhaps don't think about so much in supply chain procurement, and I believe getting incentives wrong is a fascinating one. So, how do you incentivize suppliers to do the right thing?

And some of the failures there are clearly failures, but when you ask the question, "Well, how would you have done it, so it wasn't a failure?" those answers are not simple. Just something as straightforward as, "How do you get the incentives right for somebody running an outsourced call center for you? They're handling customer queries, doing inquiries or complaints. How do you incentivize them to work efficiently but give excellent customer service to the people calling in?

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Coordinator

The Future of Procurement and the Shifting Supply Chains: Reflections 2020

The future has to be about possibilities to reshape our supply chains.

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

The Top Webinars of 2020

a round-up of the top webinars of the year

2020 was a great year for thought leadership sharing as everyone suddenly experienced the same issues all at once. Many of the innovations and trends we saw emerge will continue to be essential as we move to 2021. To keep you informed, we bring you a round-up of the top webinars of the year!


5 Procure-to-Pay Trends to Watch in 2020

With the new year upon us, it’s the perfect time to take a look at look at the future of procure-to-pay (P2P).

 

The State of Procurement’s Value Measurement: Evolution and Best Practices

Today, successful value measurement in procurement requires understanding the mindset of stakeholders and leveraging the trove of procurement data that's available.

 

The Future of Procurement Technology

Industry-leading procurement technology has one job: providing a robust yet easy-to-use system for transforming needed goods and services into value for a company so that it can excel at its own business.

 

Coronavirus Town Hall - Leveraging the Power of Procurement to Address COVID-19

Leaders in the business and nonprofit space share how organizations can -- and should -- bridge the gap between businesses and beneficiaries for the wellbeing of the world.

 

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Top 10 SIG Speaks Blogs of 2020

To wrap up 2020, we highlight the top 10 blogs of the year.

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.

20 Questions About Life Post-COVID-19

SIG CEO & President Dawn Tiura discusses the future that lies ahead post-COVID-19.

Sustainable Sourcing 101

This guide provides a basic overview on sustainable sourcing, including links to resources.

7 Sourcing Business Models to Improve Sourcing Effectiveness

This article outlines seven sourcing business models that organizations should consider to improve their sourcing effectiveness and get the best results from supplier relationships.

Measurable Success: 7 New KPIs to Optimize Your Procurement Pipeline

This article outlines seven sourcing business models that organizations should consider to improve their sourcing effectiveness and get the best results from supplier relationships.

Desmond Williams, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Importance of Stakeholder Management – Amplified in the pandemic

Anirudh Sundareshwar outlines how managing stakeholders is well-served via effective communication.

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Anirudh Sundareshwar outlines how managing stakeholders is well-served via effective communication.


A generic definition of stakeholder management is “Stakeholder management involves taking into consideration the different interests and values stakeholders have and addressing them during the duration of the project to ensure that all stakeholders are happy at the end.” It is important to understand that this may not always be true, especially in projects where multiple stakeholders and personal stakes are involved.

However, it is essential to ensure that most stakeholders are happy with the project's end result or initiative you are working on. That is not accomplished only by the end result but builds up along the project's lifespan.

As we have learned, one of the most critical tenets of stakeholder management is communication. It is vital to know what to communicate to whom, when to communicate and how to communicate, especially to senior stakeholders. This is an art and not easily achievable. Even more so in the current scenario where most people work remotely and do not have the advantage of picking up cues (verbal/non-verbal) as you would have in the pre-COVID era. Stakeholder management in our world involves both internal and external stakeholders, of course.

Communication Strategy

For important initiatives,  a procurement professional must invest time in building a communication strategy followed by a redesign of plans & templates to suit the virtual meeting format and eventually deploy. Since this is new to both you and the recipient, it is vital that you actively seek feedback to assess your communication effectiveness.

Anirudh Sundareshwar, Director & Head of Sourcing, BNY Mellon

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