Author Archives: Dave Cravens

Think global: A worldwide procurement roll-out.

SIG Global Executive Summit next week, I had the chance to step back and take an objective look at what we’ve accomplished together, and how. I find it a really compelling procurement case study.

A Current Scandal Proves Why Employee Contracts Shouldn’t Live in Spreadsheets

Identity theft is a huge concern these days with estimates of 15 million people becoming victims each year. And if you’re one of the unlucky ones like me – you know firsthand that identity theft can be expensive! Each year, identity theft cases can total up to more than $50 billion in damages, according to With these concerns on the rise, it’s no surprise that employees for a large entertainment organization are upset that hackers found pay rates, social … More

ISM Review: Transforming Data into Actionable Intelligence

It was an honor and a privilege to speak to the local ISM Chapter in Dallas in August. The house was packed with many familiar faces (and some new ones). Everyone made me feel very welcome with good Southern hospitality. In case you missed my last blog post or my presentation last month, I shared how data is the key to procurement transformation. Today, I’ll dive deeper into the topic of transforming data into actionable intelligence in supply management. Procurement … More

Data: The Key to Procurement Transformation

What is the key to a successful procurement transformation today? The question could be answered in a variety of ways, but for me – it simply comes down to the data ownership and visibility. In just a few days, I’ll be speaking at an ISM Dallas meeting about how best-in-class procurement organizations are using data as the enabler of change and the communicator in the procurement lifecycle. Consider the power of having a single interface to analyze your spend, supplier … More

Spend Visibility Leads to Improved Sourcing Efficiency

In a previous blog, we discussed the use of spend analysis technology as a compliance tool. Today, I want to introduce an additional value that spend analysis can greatly improve—sourcing cycle time performance. In today’s world, spend visibility has become vitally important for procurement organizations to make the right sourcing decisions, especially when there is an increased focus and visibility on driving bottom-line results. With added pressures on procurement teams, often the primary way to improve the bottom-line is to … More

Put on Your Detective Hat & Solve Mysteries with Spend Analysis

When procurement professionals are speaking with me about spend visibility, one of the first questions I ask them is: “What do you want to accomplish with improved spend visibility and data?” I lead with this question because there are many ways to define spend analysis as part of the strategic sourcing process and countless ways to empower sourcing professionals with actionable information. I encourage my clients to start with spend velocity reporting as a traditional starting point, which helps access … More

Five Ways to Put Discipline into Your Sourcing Process in 2012

As procurement departments are trudging down the path to becoming best-in-class, Integrated Category Management organizations, it can help to take a step back to look at the big picture. Putting out fires and maintaining laser-like focus on cost reduction and other tactical activities can consume our days and force us to put more strategic endeavors on the back burner. So, before you move into the holiday season and start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions, do what you can to … More

eSourcing Does Not Equal Reverse Auctions

It seems that there are still some misunderstandings in the marketplace about the place of reverse auctions in eSourcing. I’ve noticed that several procurement professionals are facing resistance from their internal stakeholders to using eSourcing platforms. This puzzled me, so I decided to put on my detective’s hat. In my investigation, I determined that many procurement professionals: • Use a rigorous sourcing process or “playbook” • Have a common platform that provides a centralized place for everyone to collaborate and gain visibility … More

Change Management Would Be Great if it Weren’t for the People …

The old joke is that work would be great if it weren’t for the people. I have updated it to reflect one of the biggest challenges that Procurement professionals face as they try to implement their spend management programs: Change Management. Throughout my travels, from Texas through the Carolinas, I keep hearing a similar story: Change Management is one of the top hurdles that must be overcome in order to accomplish cost-reduction goals. The best multi-step sourcing playbook powered by … More

Have You Gone Hybrid Yet?

No, I am not talking about your vehicle selection; I’m referring to your spend management strategy and organizational structure. As Procurement departments face resource constraints and the ever-present need to drive hard dollar savings each year, choices need to be made: 1. Do we centralize? 2. Do we decentralize?  3. Do we find a third way? Perhaps a “hybrid”? Center-led or “hybrid” organizations are becoming more and more popular among the Fortune 1000 companies. Becoming a hybrid company is a great way for … More

Is there any good news out there?

It seems like everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong this month. The credit markets are frozen, the stock market has lost $2 trillion worth of value in the blink of an eye, and here in Atlanta, it has been a re-run of that 70’s show where a Hurricane Ike-induced gas shortage has created waits of over an hour for cars that are lined up for blocks to buy gas. It seems like there is nothing but bad news … More

Sustainability Suggestions

Last week, the Doctor gave some good information on green purchasing. I do not want to be repetitive, but I ran across an article by Kimberly Knickle of Manufacturing Insights that had some great tips that expand upon this topic. Here is a summary of the suggested guidelines that resulted from her research: • Your company may need to rethink its business model: Energy companies clearly face this, with their shift away from a model where revenue increases with demand. … More

Purchasing Jobs are White Hot

A recent article about the value of purchasing positions in Purchasing Magazine made me a little nostalgic. During my time in the wilderness between my GE/TPN days and my current position with Iasta, I ran my own business as an executive recruiter for purchasing and supply chain professionals. My pitch was…instead of selling software and services, I got people jobs. As anyone who has tried to hire someone using newspaper or Internet job sites, a flood of resumes will come … More

Have we reached a turning point?

While slaving away each week at the gym on an ARC trainer, I have picked up an interesting thought. While others are focused on the Family Guy or Friends re-runs, I usually watch shows like Kudlow & Company on CNBC. Every day the major media are trumpeting the line that recession is here and we are facing Malthusian shortages in food and oil that remind me of my childhood in the 1970’s. Meanwhile, gold has dropped back down below $1,000 … More

Evolution of Digital Marketplaces

Back in the go-go days at the turn of the millenium, digital marketplaces were taking the world by storm. Everywhere you looked, industry groups were creating business-to-business marketplaces. Sales at Commerce One and similar software companies were exploding by selling to digital marketplaces and exchanges. Millions of dollars in revenue were anticipated by charging transaction fees to suppliers. Large amounts of venture capital poured in for just about any market segment imaginable. Unfortunately, “the music stopped” when the suppliers rebelled … More