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Staying in the Know: Ten Procurement Influencers to Follow

Posted by Michelle Fombelle on Jun 16, 2016 8:30:00 AM

When you work in procurement, social media might not seem completely related to your job. After all, it’s a platform for reconnecting with old friends, keeping up with what’s going on with family and distant relatives, and posting photos from your most recent vacation, right? Although those notions are true, social media, especially LinkedIn, can be a valuable tool for sourcing teams looking to stay abreast of the latest trends and news impacting their space.

Procurement leaders understand that using social platforms can be a great way to learn from and engage with industry peers and satisfy a thirst for knowledge while balancing a busy schedule.

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Topics: Motivational, Strategic Sourcing In The News

Smart Sourcing: A New Way to Drive Positive Financial Performance

Posted by Brian Miller on May 26, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Last month, Vestis Retail Group, parent company to Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports, joined the growing list of retailers forced to declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is unique to every company, and is made up of a myriad of complex issues that companies need to carefully consider when creating a plan for regaining financial health. However, one strategy that can be beneficial to all organizations and can ensure financial viability and growth in the face of mounting fiscal pressure is implementing a holistic approach to sourcing. Procurement can drive positive financial performance through sourcing by raising value for customers, generating increased savings and limiting the amount of risk the company comes into contact with.

Consistent value for customers

Procurement has the unique ability to create cost savings on a regular basis by taking various products and services the company purchases to bid. By frequently conducting reverse auctions, the procurement team develops a solid understanding of the prices, products and contract terms available to them and can decipher whether a current or perspective supplier is offering a fair price with more certainty.

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Topics: Strategic Sourcing In The News

PROACTIS Named to Spend Matter’s 2016 Providers to Know

Posted by Kelly Deacon on May 23, 2016 8:10:00 AM

We’re excited, not only to be back, but to have improved our position from a Spend Matters Provider to Watch in 2015, to a Provider to Know in 2016.

According to Spend Matters, The 50 Providers to Know list “highlights firms that continue to lead the charge on new procurement technologies and services driving innovation and changing the way we do business.”

In 2015 PROACTIS was hailed as a Provider to Watch for successfully carving out a niche in the UK for P2P as well as the acquisition of EGS Group, Intesource, and Intelligent Capture Limited. It was a strategy that allowed PROACTIS to expand and strengthen our Spend Control and eProcurement solutions and grow our vertical and geographical footprint.

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Topics: Strategic Sourcing In The News, Analysts & Research

Sourcing Beyond Dollars and Cents

Posted by Tracie Rohn on Feb 4, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Measuring sourcing success comes in a variety of ways. The first place owners tend to look is at the bottom line - what does this mean for profit and loss? 

Of course, looking at the cold hard numbers is incredibly important for the success of any organization but those in the procurement industry have to look outside the box and explore less tangible measurements for success. 

Andrew Bartolini of Ardent Partners and CPO Rising discusses the importance of developing metrics to help measure the less concrete aspects of procurement, in the article “CPO Scorecard - How to Keep Score in Procurement”.  

According to Ardent Partners these four points will help create a reliable and balanced measurement system:

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Topics: Strategic Sourcing In The News, Analysts & Research

5 Sourcing Strategies to Take Today's Challenges Head On

Posted by Kelly Deacon on Jun 4, 2015 8:00:00 AM

It’s difficult for even the most popular chain stores to grow and profit amidst a constant state of new and evolving market pressures. With the onset of volatile food and commodity prices, unpredictable consumer spending, more regulations, new entrants (did someone say food trucks?) and consumer empowerment, the fight for consumer dollars has never been more intense.

So, in the face of all this pressure, how do chain stores thrive? The answer lies in incorporating a strategic approach to sourcing as a part of the overall procurement strategy.

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Topics: Strategic Sourcing In The News, e-Sourcing Strategy

The Effects of California’s Drought on Your Business

Posted by Alanna Pashley on Apr 30, 2015 8:00:00 AM

California is in the thick of one of their worst droughts in recent history, now entering its fourth year. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 92 percent of California is considered in severe drought, with more than 44 percent of the state experiencing the highest designation of exceptional drought.

Last year, more than 400,000 acres of farmland were plowed but left unseeded and approximately 17,000 jobs were lost at a cost of more than $1.5 billion to the state’s economy.

QSR Magazine summarized the major causes of the drought…

“California suffers from two big problems: First, water demands are immense in the nation’s most populous state; some 38 million people call California home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, applying astronomical pressure to the state’s water supply. Second, the last few years have been some of the driest on record, with very little rain and snowfall in the winter, the state’s wet season. Without the rain and water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains’ snowpack, the state’s reservoirs and groundwater are drying up. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa) reports that natural oceanic and atmospheric patterns are driving the drought, from which many say it will take several years—and perhaps an El Nin~o–type wet weather event—to recover.”

California produces a considerable majority of America’s fruits, vegetables and nuts such as almonds, spinach, avocado, strawberries, grapes, tomatoes citrus, and garlic.

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Topics: Strategic Sourcing In The News

Restaurants: Thriving through Sourcing and Procurement

Posted by Brian Miller on Apr 23, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Food service is a tough industry to navigate. It’s difficult for even the most popular chains to grow and profit amidst a constant state of new and evolving market pressures. With the onset of volatile food and commodity prices, unpredictable consumer spending, more regulations, new entrants (did someone say food trucks?) and consumer empowerment, the fight for consumer dollars has never been more intense.

For the first time in four months, U.S. consumer spending rose in March, but this tiny gain wasn’t enough to offset the winter slump. Sales at retailers and restaurants increased only 0.9% last month to $441.4 billion, which is disappointing considering economists projected that the industry would need at least a 1.1% increase to offset three months of decline.

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Topics: Strategic Sourcing In The News, e-Sourcing Strategy

Keep Costs Down and Generate Value in the Age of the Unpredictable Consumer

Posted by Kelly Deacon on Feb 26, 2015 10:00:00 AM

One would think that with a 9.3% decline in gas prices and a buoyant labor market, consumer spending would be increasing and retailers would be reeling in the extra cash… but that’s not necessarily the case.

The reality? Retail spending fell 0.8% in January, leaving retailers to wonder what consumers are doing with the extra savings and why profit margins aren’t higher.

Instead, consumers are using the money they’re saving at the pump to pay off debt and boost personal savings. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, the personal saving rate jumped from 4.3 to 4.9% in December.  

It’s going to be a while before savings from gas prices start to trickle into the U.S. economy – but it will happen eventually. Assuming gas prices remain low, 55% of consumers surveyed expect to spend more in discretionary categories over the next six months. While this increase will likely impact retail positively, especially in home goods, apparel, accessories and electronics, restaurants and grocers are unlikely to gain spending share over this period.

Welcome to the age of the unpredictable consumer -- where spending habits are highly variable, and make it difficult for businesses to accurately project how they will fare. This places the onus directly on procurement and sourcing teams to protect financial performance. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind for keeping costs down and generating value despite the tumultuous times.

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Topics: Strategic Sourcing In The News, About e-Sourcing

4 Ways to Address Supplier Risk

Posted by Kelly Deacon on Feb 19, 2015 8:00:00 AM

We've all heard the recent headlines that remind us that supplier risk is serious business. Just take a look at these three recent examples:

Conservation group Oceana found that 30 percent of inferior farm-grown shrimp is intentionally mislabeled as a premium product by vendors, and sold at a higher markup.

Chipotle restaurants recently suspended one of its pork suppliers for violating animal welfare standards, which resulted in hundreds of locations without carnitas.

Earlier this month, McDonald’s went through a leadership transition after posting one of its worst financial performances in years. While there was a lot at play, one of the major issues was supply chain disruptions.

In Asia and the Middle East, sales slumped after a McDonald’s meat supplier was forced to close a processing facility in China over food safety concerns; then, a slowdown at the Port of Los Angeles resulted in shortages of French fries in several markets.

There will always be a certain amount of unforeseeable risk. The good news is there are steps every organization can take to limit their exposure to risk, prepare for the unknown, and ensure their reputation remains intact.

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Topics: Strategic Sourcing In The News

Best Practices for Handling Supply Disruptions

Posted by Kelly Deacon on Feb 5, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Recent national headlines have captured the hype of the “Blizzard of 2015,” a record-breaking Northeast snowstorm that blasted up to 3 feet of snow on the region. Along with the safety concerns around travel, flooding, and power outages, there were also a handful of sourcing ramifications that hit grocers and retailers.

Grocery retailers experienced a spike in demand, as “panic shoppers,” expecting to be snowed in for a couple of days, flocked to the stores to stock up on supplies, leaving the shelves of everything from bread and milk to toilet paper almost completely empty. Cleaned out of everything, grocers scrambled to quadruple their orders the following day.

That’s not all- there were also disruptions in shipments, UPS deliveries, operations at fulfillment warehouses, and essentially any other sourcing process that required transportation.

But blizzards are far from the only risk the supply chain faces- droughts, supplier closures, geo-political disruptions and contract violations are all risky situations that can impact retailers’ and restaurants’ supply bases. In fact, one survey of supply chain professionals reported that risk stemming from natural disasters was actually a larger concern during 2013 and 2014 than general customer demand volatility and safety incidents.

Effectively managing supply chain risk is essential for business success. How do you plan for and limit risk? 

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Topics: Strategic Sourcing In The News, e-Sourcing Strategy