Category Archives: Sourcing Blogs

eSourcing – what does it take in the modern economy?

Sourcing technology over the years has come a long way. While its beginnings initially focused primarily on auctions and RFx, today strategic sourcing efforts can provide a much more comprehensive and integrated view of the supply base. What can be attributed to this development over the past decade is the change in the endgame for procurement, and how procurement views its role in the proverbial organization. Don’t get me wrong, managing cost is, and continues to be, the motivating factor … More

Getting clarity for building a holistic approach to Procurement technology (Part 1)

Terms like eSourcing, ePurchasing, and eProcurement that describe the electronic “source-to-pay” processes have been established for some time, probably a decade or more. But when they become interchangeable, or are used inconsistently within our industry, it makes understanding their differences and why they’re important confusing. Lack of common definition is not just a challenge for practitioners but for analysts as well. For example, Forrester Research notes the definition of ePurchasing as the entire source-to pay-process, while Gartner describes ePurchasing as … More

How much can procurement change on their own?

As procurement professionals, we have come to take certain ideas for granted. Savings is still our primary performance metric given the ever-increasing challenges of today’s market environment. However, savings can no longer be the exclusive North Star to our voyage. We need to become more strategic by increasing our ability to create shareholder value and contribute to corporate competitive advantage. Collaboration with suppliers, at least in certain categories, requires that we take a multi-dimensional look at each commercial opportunity and … More

4 Things Procurement Should be Thankful for This Season

As we approach the holiday season, our schedules can become busy and chaotic. It’s easy to get bogged down and forget the true meaning of why we celebrate Thanksgiving. So, in order to energize our hearts and minds, grab some coffee (lots and lots of coffee!) and start counting your blessings! I’ve put together a list of things a procurement pro should be thankful for this holiday season. 1-Technology: Innovative technology helps you overcome the challenges of modern sourcing- making … More

7 Scary Moments When Building Sourcing Projects

Imagine this: It’s Halloween night and you’ve just committed to complete a sourcing project with a tight deadline. You must stay late at the office in order to complete the project in time. Everyone has left for the day and you’re all alone. Suddenly, the lights flicker. You hear a creek at the door and then footsteps in the distance… Are your palms sweaty? Is your heart racing? Unfortunately, I can’t help you avoid that scary situation. Although, I’d recommend … More

5 Critical Mistakes Sourcing Managers Make

There is no denying the power and influence that sourcing managers have today. Organizations are leaning heavily on sourcing teams to keep costs low, value high, and supplier risk even lower. Even sourcing mangers that use top-notch platforms and follow a strict sourcing process can fall short if they are making one (or all) of these critical sourcing mistakes. Here are the five sourcing mistakes we hear (and see) sourcing managers make – and how to avoid them. Inviting suppliers … More

4 Tips to Tame the Sourcing Monster

Is there a sourcing monster lurking around your office? He’s known to wreak havoc in your sourcing software, causing your database to become messy and confusing. The sourcing monster makes using eSourcing tools increasingly more time-consuming, degrades the efficiency of your standard processes, compromises integrity of the eSourcing process, frustrates users, and lowers adoption. You’ll know the monster’s been hiding under your desk once you log into the system and realize he is: Sending RFPs with outdated and inconsistent legal … More

Procurement’s Ever-Growing Role in Retail

It’s been 10 years since AT Kearney categorized retailers into three different categories: Food and drug retailers, who sell just what you would expect (food and drugs) Soft line retailers, who sell apparel Hard line retailers, who sell appliances, electronics, and furniture Although these classifications still exist, the definitions have blurred considerably in recent times. Take Wal-Mart, for example. Wal-Mart is a hypermarket giant that combines all three of the above categories under one roof. And as we all know, … More

Iasta Team Shares Favorite Moments from ISM 2014

What was your favorite conference session at ISM 2014? Theresa says… “Sourcing and Spend Analytics – Maximizing Impact, Influence, and Effectiveness” by Francisco Montecinos, Chief Information Officer of GE Energy Management. Francisco was very knowledgeable of the space and had loads of experience; he was realistic in his expectations, had grown up through the ranks, and understood the value of data for procurement. He also discussed Colin Powell’s “40-70 rule” regarding tough decision-making, and shared several relevant quotes with us, … More

3 Reasons to Choose BoB vs ERP

By design, ERP solutions were intended to cover the ground of multiple applications on a single platform. But while great in theory, ERP solutions don’t always work effectively using only “one” platform. In fact, organizations are often pressured or forced to think using an ERP suite is the only option. However, choosing a Best-of-Breed (BoB) solution somewhat negates this approach and in some cases simply makes sense for an organization to adopt this single platform approach. While one size does … More

5 Common (and Dangerous) Misconceptions about Sourcing

With the constant changes and innovations occurring in today’s world, sourcing is often a bit of a moving target. And often other departments and stakeholders are confused about (or unaware of) the definition and value of strategic sourcing. What’s the strategic sourcing process look like? Who is responsible and accountable for sourcing events? What technology is used, and how can other departments benefit from this technology? These are just a few of the questions that drive the misconceptions about strategic … More

What Do Chess and Strategic Sourcing Have in Common?

When strategizing on the management of your team in a sourcing tool, you should think about building your players in the game of strategic sourcing in terms of pieces in a game of chess. Having pieces that move differently or perform different functions is essential to the successful implementation of the sourcing solution and critical to developing smooth business processes across the team. Having the fundamentals of chess in the back of your mind also allows you the flexibility and … More

3 Spend Analytics Lessons…From My Closet

Sourcing professionals and researchers advocating spend analytics often say, “You need to be able to predict future spending based on past spending behavior.” However, as for AOL and the industry we are in, I personally believe this statement isn’t always accurate, so I’d like to offer a different perspective – from my closet. We’ve all been there… We grab a pair of pants from our closet, put them on, and realize they do not fit the way they did last … More

4 Procurement Predictions for 2014: Part 2

Welcome back! Just joining in? In Part 1 I discussed two trends that we should look for in Procurement in 2014. Today, I’ll share the final two trends: 3-Increased consolidation of procurement and supplier data analytics –Analytics will continue to drive improvements in the ability to take action in business, probably more than any other technology medium for procurement and business at large. Due to the “Big Data” phenomenon, Analytic / BI platforms will increasingly need to accommodate third party … More

Is Your Supplier Management Strategy Inclusive?

Supplier diversity programs are common in large organizations such as Apple, Johnson & Johnson, and Walmart. Even smaller organizations are starting to recognize the importance of having a supplier diversity program in place. Usually procurement is responsible for managing and reporting on progress against diversity targets, but successful organizations will find ways to include and inspire the entire company to participate in the supplier diversity program. Even though supplier diversity can mean something different for every company, a recent article … More