Author Archives: Nick Heinzmann



Transparency-One: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT

Procurement and supply chain organizations are facing pressure from consumers, governments and investors to clean up their supply chains. Whether it’s traceability of ingredients (including their source and their quality), assurance that labor and facility conditions are up to code, or proof that emerging compliance standards like modern slavery laws are being met, companies are increasingly being tasked with mapping their entire supply chain while ensuring that suppliers are meeting, and tracking, myriad metrics for safety, sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

This is the narrative that Transparency-One, a provider of supply chain visibility and compliance tracking solutions, is betting the farm on. (This is apt, because the provider actually models and monitors farms as part of the extended supply chains being tracked within its system.)

Founded in 2016, Transparency-One enables executives in charge of sustainability or responsible sourcing to report accurate supplier and compliance data to sales, marketing and regulatory compliance functions about what’s happening in their supply chains end to end, as well as to map product tracking and quality information down to the lot/batch level.

While many such efforts are already underway at major companies, compliance tracking is often fragmented, with initiatives like conflict minerals compliance managed separately (and in different tools) from the tracking of, say, facility safety certifications. Transparency-One is seeking to bring all of these efforts into a single platform, starting first with the food, retail (e.g., grocery, apparel) and industrial materials (e.g., rubber, chemicals) sectors.

Currently operating in 30 countries and in six languages, Transparency-One counts traceability projects with Intermarché, Carrefour and Mars among its pilot customers. It has offices in Boston and Paris.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Transparency-One and its capabilities. The brief includes an overview of Transparency-One’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider. It also touches upon graph databases and their use in this supply chain management, supplier management and risk management mashup area.

Streamlining Supplier Management to Scale Globally: A Case Study of Geosyntec Consultants and AdaptOne

MRO as a service

Geosyntec Consultants, an engineering and consulting firm, needed to upgrade its supplier management system so it could streamline and improve its business. The Florida company works with public and private sector clients across the U.S., Canada, Malaysia and the U.K. It employs more than 1,200 consultants (engineers, scientists, technical personnel) and manages more than 8,300 suppliers, many of which require stringent safety certifications and compliance requirements that come from their clients.

As Geosyntec expanded its practice, it looked for a supplier management solution that could streamline its manual and disjointed processes, all while maintaining needed organizational accountability. Find out what it learned in the process and how it made its choice: AdaptOne.

Afternoon Coffee: Some Countries See Bright Side in U.S.-China Trade War

The U.S.-China trade war is widely viewed as a drag on the global economy, but for some Asia-Pacific nations, the ongoing dispute may have some silver linings. After nine months of increases, U.S. consumer prices fell in December, mainly due a steep drop in the price of gasoline, CNBC reports. Still, underlying inflationary pressures remained strong, with rental housing and healthcare costs rising steadily. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

TenderEasy: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT

trucking

Despite the current tide of populism, the growing globalization of businesses and, thus, corporate supply chains is a trend no procurement organization can ignore.

Alongside this push into new markets for both sales and production comes a need to more effectively procure transportation because moving commodities or finished goods between facilities, like factories or distribution centers, and their final destinations has become more complex. Add to this a litany of procurement-specific obstacles to effective freight sourcing and management — from a dearth of qualified internal resources to sparse, inaccurate data about freight spend — and the challenge becomes even more daunting.

This combination of logistics category complexity and insufficient procurement capability to manage it is what originally gave rise to the sourcing optimization solutions that most North American organizations are familiar with.

Trade Extensions (now Coupa Sourcing Optimization), CombineNet (now Jaggaer Advanced Sourcing Optimization) and Keelvar (one of the few independent sourcing vendors that currently supports bid optimization) all got their starts enabling logistics procurement across thousands of lanes. As they grew, however, each of these vendors evolved their solutions to support additional categories beyond freight, enabling larger and more complex scenarios while leaving other elements of the transportation equation (like execution) to other technology providers.

TenderEasy, a 14-year-old firm that launched its SaaS solution for freight procurement in 2012, has taken the opposite approach. Rather than expand its sourcing optimization capabilities beyond logistics, TenderEasy has doubled down on freight, positioning itself as the entry point to a broader transportation management ecosystem. It committed to this strategy in 2018 when it became part of the Alpega Group, a global logistics software company that offers end-to-end solutions for transport needs, including not only freight sourcing but also access to freight exchanges and transportation management systems.

Leveraging this network of transportation solutions, Stockholm-based TenderEasy is hoping to bring its Europe-centric expertise across the Atlantic — the company already counts Heinz, adidas Group and British American Tobacco (BAT) as clients — taking on incumbent sourcing optimization vendors in the process.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on TenderEasy and its capabilities. It includes an overview of TenderEasy’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

Afternoon Coffee: U.S. Renews China Travel Advisory, Washington and Beijing Set Trade Talks for Monday

American citizens should exercise caution when traveling to China, as they could face the risk of arbitrary detention, according to a travel advisory the U.S. State Department renewed Thursday. Beijing announced Friday that American envoys will travel to China on Monday for new talks to resolve the ongoing trade war. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

New Year’s Truths for Procurement: 6 Tips from Spend Matters UK/Europe

Where is procurement going in 2019? While it would be easy to fall into the perennial trap of describing long-term trends as the next big thing, we’d like to offer a more realistic alternative. To start off the year, we suggest reaffirming some hard truths about procurement that can help decision-making in the months to come. To that end, Peter Smith, procurement veteran and outgoing editor of Spend Matters UK/Europe, decided to leave readers in December with a list of six enduring truths about the function. While this advice surely won’t be the last readers hear from Smith, he offers these points as “most of my critical IP” as he steps out of the spotlight.

Afternoon Coffee: Apple Guidance Rattles Investors, ‘Unprecedented’ Typhoon Heads for Thailand

Apple announced Wednesday that it was cutting its earnings guidance for the holiday quarter, knocking its shares down as much as 7% and fueling investor concerns over global economic contraction. A tropical storm has formed within a mass of thunderstorms that recently passed through Vietnam, potentially bringing a typhoon to Thailand — an event that has not happened in that country during January in at least 68 years. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

Afternoon Coffee: Pacific Nations Welcome New Trade Deal, Customs Challenges Front and Center in Brexit Scenario Planning

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a replacement deal for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), entered force Dec. 30, bringing revised trade rules and tariff cuts to the pact’s six currently participating nations. The uncertainty surrounding how cleanly the U.K. will exit the European Union in March could lead to what The Wall Street Journal is calling “the world’s largest traffic jam.” Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

New Year’s Countdown: Spend Matters’ Top 10 Articles of 2018

Another year is ending and 2019 is officially upon us. For procurement professionals and technology providers, that means we’re nearing the end of a decade’s worth of industry innovation — and that various “2020” forecasts will soon become outdated.

While many claims of what 2020 would be like now seem laughable, there have been, to be sure, numerous developments worthy of note. See what caught our readers’ attention in 2018 by counting down our top 10 posts of the year with us. Here’s wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2019!

Top P2P Articles of 2018: Technological Leapfrogs, Market Forecasts and New Frontiers

The procure-to-pay area may seem straightforward. Procurement primers on the subject often segment the P2P process into seven or nine steps, making its components easy to grasp even for the uninitiated. Yet go one layer deeper and numerous complexities emerge — to be followed by still more as one peels the process architecture and technology onion. (Consider, for example, our multiple stories on the intricacies of catalog management.)

This cascading complexity is one reason that P2P-related topics — like e-procurement, invoicing and payments — are consistently some of the most-read articles on Spend Matters. To see why, here are the top five posts that readers sliced, diced and consumed.

ConnXus Envisions a Next-Generation Supplier Network With myConnXion: Vendor Snapshot Update

supplier management

ConnXus has grown in less than a decade from a specialized supplier diversity compliance tracking service to a notable provider of supplier relationship management solutions.

As Spend Matters’ Q4 2018 Supplier Relationship Management and Risk SolutionMap indicates, ConnXus offers mid- to top-tier functionality for capabilities including supplier performance management, risk management, configurability and services — making it a recommended fit for all five supplier management personas and a Value Leader in two personas: Nimble and Turn-Key. The Mason, Ohio-based solution provider has driven these results primarily by supporting procurement organizations in their efforts to identify, qualify and introduce the right suppliers, including the right diversity suppliers, into global supply chains.

Recently, however, ConnXus expanded the scope of its offering with the introduction of myConnXion, a platform that connects buyers and suppliers into a single network where both sides can create, edit and share their profiles with anyone (even users outside of the network). While myConnXion may appear to be an incremental evolution for ConnXus, filling in some of the core supplier information and master data management functional gaps that handicap it relative to other providers, the new platform is also more than that. Going forward, myConnXion will be the foundation for ConnXus to pursue all future innovations, including ambitions for a global e-sourcing capability and blockchain-based compliance tracking.

This Spend Matter Vendor Snapshot Update reviews ConnXus’ new myConnXion platform and explains why it’s more than just another supplier network concept for procurement organizations looking to tackle supplier diversity tracking. It is an addendum to our previous review and analysis of ConnXus.

Addressing CSR and Sustainability Goals Through Improved Indirect Spend Management (Part 1): Background and Challenges

The list of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability risks in the physical supply chain is long. When securing direct materials, procurement organizations must assess factors from restricted or hazardous substances to the kind of labor that went into raw material extraction and even political restrictions like sanctions on whether companies from certain countries are even allowed to do business with you. Because of these and numerous other potential issues, many companies have begun to focus on identifying and eliminating such risks from their supply chains with the help of third-party CSR data sources and risk-monitoring platforms. But while the value of assessing CSR risks for direct materials spend has gained prominence in recent years, the other side of the procurement coin, indirect spend, has not received nearly as much interest. That’s a shame — and a risk in itself.