Process and Best Practice Content

How ‘first-mile’ flaws hinder last-mile success

Businesses want and need to deliver for their customers, and that’s often done by putting a ton of thought and effort into the last mile of the process to ensure success and customer satisfaction. But, while getting products and services to customers is vital, it’s not the first step.

For that, we need to focus on the first mile — that time in any company’s supply chain process where you can set a solid foundation to work with suppliers, engage services and order direct materials. The first mile is just as important as the last mile for meeting customer commitments, and it’s even more important when it comes to maximizing margin, managing inventory and recognizing revenue.

To succeed, you’ll need to improve your processes by implementing a digital transformation. That involves more than using digital forms instead of paper. To truly transform, real-time data and visibility need to be at the heart of how your company runs. Problems in the first mile need a modern solution.

How to Tackle Spend, Pick the Right Technology and Gain Visibility

We recently talked with Nikesh Parekh, CEO of Suplari, to find out how companies are handling all of their spend data and learn why they need to digtialy transform. "The traditional function of procurement was, in the early days, to enforce a set of processes to prevent employees from making irresponsible or unwise spending decisions. It’s the quickest path to saving money," he said. "But today, our customers tell me that they are being asked to provide strategic value above and beyond cost savings and risk reduction. This is where digital transformation comes into play. If organizations want to move the needle beyond the tactics they’ve been employing, they need to be open to leveraging innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence."

How smart data extraction makes for smart AP automation

What you really want to know when investigating AP automation solution providers is whether the solution has a complete technology, combining OCR (converting images to text), smart data extraction (transforming the text into relevant data) — and machine learning (remembering the data and populating it into the applicable data fields each time the data is recognized). You are looking for a system that gets smarter the more you use it!

Recession is on the mind of many procurement, finance professionals: Study

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Despite economic growth, recent headwinds have procurement and finance professionals considering how to deal with a possible recession in the next year or so, according to a survey by the data-aggregation firm Suplari, which published “Plans & Tactics to Recession-Proof the Enterprise in 2019 and Beyond.” The study notes that many recent surveys spotlight executives’ concerns that job markets, credit risks and tariff policies could push the economy to decelerate. The survey evaluates how to avoid disruptions of performance, growth and profitability, considering what strategies can be employed swiftly to identify cost-savings and risk-optimization.

Taulia’s customer reviews are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for Taulia, which offers payment processing solutions. Its applicable SolutionMap category for this report is in Invoice-to-Pay. SolutionsMap Insider members can click here to read about Taulia in our latest report.

In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of qualitative — and select rating and quantitative — insights from the SolutionMap peer review process. The Customer Insights summary includes ratings on how well the vendor meets user expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes about the vendor’s greatest strengths.

Supplier diversity and supplier management: Don’t choose, do both

Supplier diversity connects to many trends occurring in supplier relationship management (SRM) these days, including developments like the rise of digital transformation, supplier networks and supplier collaboration.

As a business trying to start the supplier diversity process, it can be a daunting task to wade through-diverse supplier certifications and classifications to help you find a certified minority-, woman-, veteran- or LGBT-owned vendor for your company. But it can be worth it.

The methods that have made supplier diversity successful over the years now apply to other areas of procurement as well. Find out how.

5G and IoT Offer Big Opportunities for Communication Service Providers (CSPs): Ericsson

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A handful of the first 5G enabled smartphones are being released this year, signaling the start of a new era of faster data speeds, more reliable connections and significantly lower latency for many electronic devices. The impact of 5G will be felt across a wide-reaching group of businesses and industries, creating entirely new sources of data and allowing it to be transmitted and analyzed with speed, accuracy and completeness that was simply not possible using previous generations of wireless communications technology.

The Swedish multinational telecom Ericsson has worked closely with many of the world’s leading communication service providers (CSPs) and recently released its “Realizing IoT Strategies” study, drawing on its planning, operational and strategic experience to examine the traditional strengths and weaknesses of CSPs and highlight how they are working to position themselves for the enormous opportunity that 5G technology represents.

SpendHQ’s customer reviews are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for SpendHQ, a specialist in analyzing spend data that uses cloud-based software to organize and remove unnecessary data and provide spend visibility. Its applicable SolutionMap category for this report is in Spend Analytics.

SolutionMap Insider members can click here to read about SpendHQ  in our latest report.

Zycus Analyst Day — 3 Quick Insights

Along with colleagues Pierre Mitchell, Xavier Olivera and Nick Heinzmann, I attended Zycus’ analyst day in Park City, Utah, on Friday. Analysts from Ardent, Gartner, Levvel (formerly Paystream) were also in attendance. While I’ll leave it to my esteemed colleagues to provide more insightful commentary on where Zycus stands today overall, let me share three quick insights that I walked away with.

What’s Your Story? Coupa Brings Color, Context, Influence and Emotion to Inspire19

In an increasingly STEM and data-driven world, boy do we need to keep the tradition of storytelling alive. What’s millions of rows of data without any context or color behind it? What’s a success story without some kind of emotional denouement? When I work with Spend Matters clients on the marketing and sales side of things, I’m floored by how often people think their software will “speak for itself, if only we can get the prospect on a demo.”

At Coupa Inspire19 this year, sure: I saw some screenshots and product demos. I’d expect to, given the tech wonk crowd I run with. But what I absorbed and took home with me is the customer stories, from United Airlines to Lululemon to MGM to a thousand others.

What Puts the ‘U’ in Coupa? Look to the FAANG Playbook on Usability

Rare is the presentation where a Coupa employee fails to reference the acronymic meaning of the company’s name. We heard this numerous times at Coupa Inspire 2019 this week in Las Vegas, and while few these days would confuse the Palo Alto cafe with the unicorn software provider, I have to admit the repeated messaging on the name has clearly sunk in with customers.

Case in point, over multiple conversations at Inspire, customers have frequently referred to the “U” — usability — as a key reason why they either signed with Coupa or have remained a client.

Sponsored Article

Big Savings in Small Spend — Tales from the Tail

In the world of strategic sourcing, realizing 5 to 8% savings is considered to be impressive. After all, these are the high-spend categories and are supposedly already well-managed and frequently revisited for improvement opportunities. In contrast, when our clients work with Simfoni on tail spend management or low-value spend engagements, we witness savings that can easily exceed 20% from time to time. This article explains how — with the right combination of subject matter expertise, leverage and technology — such savings are achievable.

In the world of tail spend, we typically pursue the following sourcing levers: Demand Challenge, Specification Alignment, Volume Leverage, Competitive Bidding, Alternate Solutions, Supply Chain Optimization.

I’ll explain each lever and illustrate how savings can be achieved in excess of 20%.