Process and Best Practice Content

How supplier collaboration can lead to growth and sustainability

supplier collaboration

Enterprises large and small are realizing the extended gains to be had from collaboration, both with suppliers and partners, to bring an opportunity to drive synergies. Those might come from joint initiatives on R&D, expanding business reach that is not possible within their own confines, or working to optimize costs for the consumer. It is when they extend these collaboration models to more and more, perhaps tens of thousands, of suppliers that business capabilities increase. This is a business model that is becoming not just more common but essential, and is one which needs managing as the number of suppliers we work with increases. Many firms seek technology that can help them cultivate and manage those alliances at scale.

Multinational consumer goods firm Unilever explains how it is actively pursuing a partner and supplier collaboration approach and forging a world-changing initiative with a responsibility for sustainability, people and the planet. “In order to achieve our sustainable growth ambition, we must collaborate with our suppliers and partners, and the technology we use to facilitate that engagement plays a vital role,” explains Alexandra Tarmo, Head of Partnerships & Social Procurement at Unilever.

The duality in leading others: Trust optimism in trying times

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Daryl Hammett, Amazon Web Services’ Global Head of LM and Operations.

Duality continues to teach us that every aspect of life is created from a balanced interaction of competing forces. Yet these forces are not just antithetical; they are interdependent of one another. One such concept that we can identify with is also one of the most consequential in all of our lives: Happy and Sad.

What has become crystal clear to me during the Covid pandemic is that we should embrace and understand the challenges ahead of us, but also acknowledge the fundamental role that obstacles have in helping us grow.

How to make the case for procurement technology investment: Expert practitioners share their tips

Buying procurement technology

Spend Matters SolutionMap offers a helpful benchmark when a company is ready to identify a procurement technology provider to support its procurement business processes, and our new TechMatch℠ tool can get you a shortlist fast. But before you get to this point, you must successfully make the case for investment within your organization, and that’s a major hurdle for many. This article is part of Spend Matters' new 5-step "Guide to Buying Procurement Tech." Read this article to find out what procurement leaders have to say about making the case for investment.

Brexit — a challenge or an opportunity for CPOs?

Brexit EU CPOs

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Philip Woode, Principal at Efficio Consulting.

Britain leaving the EU brought about the biggest change in the UK’s trading relationships for decades. While Brexit appears to be the main factor for some disruptions, global supply chain problems resulting from the pandemic and the impact on trade in general from Covid are also being cited. Amidst the ongoing chaos caused by events in 2020, it has become apparent that rather than a single event, Brexit will see businesses face a series of smaller obstacles that are yet to be fully realized.

With so many moving parts, do you have the ability to change your strategy and react quickly? Supply chains were certainly stress-tested in the lead up to Brexit, and this uncovered procurement weaknesses and inefficiencies that were already in existence. Constant change requires a more joined-up business and the ability to adapt quickly. So, when faced with an unavoidable catalyst for change, like Brexit, does that change represent more of a challenge or an opportunity for the CPO? Efficio discusses.

Women in Procurement Wednesday: Maria Prince on equity and taking a seat at the table

Whether it be in procurement, supply chain or any other field today, diversity, equity and inclusion (or DEI) are immensely important. Of those three components, many in the procurement field are focusing on equity.

“Equity” and “equality” may sound very similar to some. However, there is a clear distinction between the two — one that Maria Prince, the Vice President of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), detailed in a recent Women in Procurement interview.

Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine contamination could have been avoided with traceability, monitoring of supply chain risk from procurement


Mix-ups in supply chain and procurement happen. But when it’s a high-profile issue, like the recent Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine mishap, it can make the general public distrustful and leave procurement professionals wanting to lend their expertise.

Although the mass vaccination effort is more of a focus for supply chain teams, it’s actually a great opportunity for procurement to step up and provide a way forward. Read why in this interview with John Bermudez at TraceLink, a pharmaceutical procurement solution provider.

Investor perspective: The rise of category spend solutions in enterprise procurement

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jack Freeman, Principal at PeakSpan Capital who is a growth-stage software investor.

In a previous post titled “Investor perspective: The Rise of Verticalized Supply Chain in Large Enterprise SaaS,” we discussed the merits of focusing on a single end-customer vertical. While there were light references to category solutions like Yapta, we didn’t give nearly enough airtime to the rise of category spend solutions. Key difference being in the last post, the focus was more around deeper supply chain functionality for specific end-customers (hospitals, CPG, pharmaceuticals companies, etc. ) whereas here we are more concerned with serving any type of company but with a solution centered around a specific type of spend.

Legal is a nice concrete example. While increasingly, plenty of software platforms exist to serve law firms (as the buyer of the software), legal spend management as a category solution is more of a horizontal play given every Fortune 500 enterprise has legal spend to manage (so, serving corporate legal departments). Whether you are in pharmaceuticals, healthcare, manufacturing — everyone has legal bills! Further (and to the point of this post), legal spend is extraordinarily nuanced and is best left for a best-in-breed category spend solution to manage (versus horizontal procure-to-pay platforms that attempt to cover all spend).

The various flavors of category spend are not hard to uncover and rarely change (legal, travel, services, etc.). There are rare examples of “new” categories, but these typically take decades to mature. One such example of a “changing”/“evolving” spend category is “software” — given enterprises weren’t buying tons of software 10-20 years ago (but they sure are now!).

‘Sell me this procure-to-pay solution’

procure-to-pay pen

So often in the selection of procurement technology solutions, one of the fundamental challenges in the case of technology shortlisting and decision making is that people confuse wants with needs. I believe this stems from the fact that few organizations are truly on the same page in the first place about what their specific business requirements are. In the best case, they accept a vendor-led value engineering sales methodology that will identify specific ROI factors, KPIs, and so on, that the solution will impact — and that ideally will be measured post implementation. 

Jason Busch explains why you should own the technology shortlisting and selection process at the start to avoid the potential of having a third-party’s want seem like a need.

Direct sourcing of talent grows as a business strategy, but requires technology and a plan

While engaging an extended workforce is nothing new, the ways that companies find those workers is changing. The global pandemic, paired with a fragile business climate and so many people out of work, has amplified the need for contingent workers and the ability of those workers to choose where and when they prefer to work.

A recent survey from the HR Research Institute, “The State of the Free Nation and Contingent Workforce,” shows that 90% of HR professionals expect their companies’ contingent workforces to grow or remain the same over the next three years. Currently, about 40% of the workforce is contingent labor, with an expected jump of 10% to 20% at Fortune 1000 organizations over the next three years.

Over the last decade, direct sourcing of workers has emerged as a viable alternative to traditional staffing and recruiting methods.

2021 and the war on supply chain talent: How tech can create a win-win

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Richard Lebovitz, President and CEO of LeanDNA, an analytics platform for factory inventory management.

Last year’s coronavirus disruption was quite a time for the supply chain. As if 2020’s supplier shortages, factory shutdowns, demand changes and excess inventory weren’t enough, new challenges affecting the workforce are emerging due to furloughs, remote work and more. The result is low productivity and morale, as well as high turnover. Couple this with an already aging workforce, and the industry has a problem in terms of talent.

Despite looming economic uncertainty, 41% of supply chain professionals are unlikely to stay with their current employer over the next few months in pursuit of better opportunities for career progression, according to a report by the recruitment agency DSJ Global.

Facing a potential talent exodus, industry leaders can leverage technology to boost productivity when operating with a smaller workforce. Empowering the team with tools that make their day-to-day easier and open them up to be more strategic also positively impacts morale, retention and employee happiness.

‘Are you ready?!?’ — Change management at the start of a technology implementation


Change management is a seemingly "soft" topic that can have a highly adverse impact on hard ROI because failure to manage change undermines the success of your technology rollout.

When it comes to change management for a technology implementation, most people think of ensuring user adoption once the technology is installed, but it should start sooner than that. You need to understand the motivation to change from the perspective of each stakeholder well before you select a new technology. That ensures buy-in and a willingness to adopt new practices at the time of rollout. Read this post to get tips and expert insights to help you better implement your new technology.

Talent trends: Incorporating talent diversity into your contingent workforce management program improves business performance

Talent diversity

As the global economy continues to react to recent economic- and pandemic-related shocks, organizations must shift how they define, find and retain talent. In many cases, this means incorporating more remote work and using more contingent labor, like temporary workers, contractors, gig workers and freelancers. Talent management technology also has evolved to meet market demands, offering solutions around talent diversity.

“Talent diversity is no longer a ‘nice-to-have,’ but is now a requirement to attract and retain workers in all categories. Incorporating talent diversity into your contingent workforce management program is now a strategic focus for business growth, but not many companies look at it that way when they start,” said William T. Rolack, Sr., Workforce Logiq’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion.

Until now, contingent workforce diversity typically revolved around supplier diversity status with little thought given to the diversity of the actual people working within an organization. While there is still a need to focus on suppliers, the shift from diversity business strategy to diversity people strategy is even more important to driving tangible, significant change.

To learn more about how Workforce Logiq is using big data and AI to improve its clients’ diversity hiring practices, we talked with Rolack, Sr.

Click to read the Q&A.