Proxima — See the change

Insight & opinion

 

Staying ahead of search: selecting the right agency for your needs

David Fenlon

SEM is an increasingly important part of a marketer’s toolkit, and as ad spend and audience figures continue to rise, its importance is only set to increase. But for many marketers staying abreast of SEM and SEO trends and ensuring true value for money presents a number of challenges.

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The need for a new approach to complex, global supply ecosystems

JCB-New

Customers are punishing companies they no longer trust. Research conducted by Proxima revealed that 45% of consumers would stop spending with a company whose supplier practices were called into question.

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The Modern Slavery Act 2015: Steps to compliance

Modern Slavery Act: Implications for your business

How confident are you in knowing the ins and outs of your suppliers’ working practices? Confident enough to stake your reputation on them?

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What's more important than growth and customer relationships?

Modern Slavery Act 2015

Move over business growth and customer relationships; if slavery isn’t on your boardroom agenda you’re not only missing a trick, but you could be falling foul of the law. The Modern Slavery Act 2015, which aims to stamp out modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking in the supply chain, has serious implications for vast swathes of business. Around 12,000 organisations in the UK across a variety of sectors are predicted to be affected. But with change comes opportunity – the opportunity to beef up best practice among procurement partners and tick a very large customer box in the process.

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accountingWEB: Five tips for more effective budgeting

5 tips for effective budgeting

For many businesses the budgeting and planning process, although laborious, is critical for the success of the business in the coming year. Proxima's Guy Strafford offers five tips for a more effective budgeting strategy; to encourage spend effectiveness and boost efficiency and competitiveness.

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Supply Management: Purchasers failing to pass on supplier insights to wider business

Supply Management: Supplier insight study

Supply Management highlight that 81% of procurement professionals do not pass on supplier insights to the wider business, according to a study by Proxima. The study of 40 senior procurement executives finds that there is a disconnect between information being collected from supppliers and the insight that business leaders use to make strategic decisions.

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Supply Management: How to drive better commercial outcomes from digital marketing

Supply Management logo

Proxima's John Butcher explains to Supply Management that the secret is out – up to 60 per cent of digital marketing spend is wasted and, as a result, failing to deliver the promised return on investment.

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Supply Management: Changes to audit market will unleash ‘flood’ of tenders

Supply Management logo

There has been a “flood” of tenders for audit services from FTSE 100 firms this year, as companies prepare for new regulations to come into force.

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realbusiness: Five strategies to maximise your budgeting process

realbusiness logo

The budgeting and planning process, although often laborious and time consuming, is one of the most critical activities of the year. Proxima's Guy Strafford gives five strategies to maximise the effectiveness of your budgeting process.

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B2B Marketing: $38bn of worldwide marketing budgets wasted on poor digital marketing

B2B Marketing: Proxima Digital Disconnect research

B2B Marketing look at Proxima's research into the Digital Disconnect; exploring why the inability to measure the effectiveness of digital marketing means that up to $38bn of global marketing budgets are being wasted every year.

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Spend Matters: Proxima - a provider to know in 2015

SpendMatters: Proxima - a provider to know

Spend Matters highlight Proxima as a Provider to know in 2015. Discussing our services and overall approach to procurement, Spend Matters note that "Proxima is certainly a firm to have on your shortlist for pretty much any procurement outsourcing opportunity".

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Digital marketing: the blurring between agency and client worlds

Blurring between agency and client worlds

It is clear to us all that times are changing in the media arena and that the lines of responsibilities (or rather outcomes) are blurring.

With an ever increasing level of sub-contracting and work sharing going on amongst digital agencies/providers, it has become harder to measure the strength (let alone the boundaries) of a solitary agency, devoid of the numerous value contributors that now feed into it.

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Harnessing supplier insight to spot crises and opportunities

Harnessing supplier insight

If like the rest of the world, you’ve been keeping a close eye on the movement in the market over the past week or so, from the sudden slump, to the rapid recovery, you may have found yourself asking the same questions being asked by nervous boards the world over. Why did no-one see it coming?

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On the front foot: Procurement’s response to economic fears

On the front foot: Procurement's response to economic fears

For many businesses around the world, it has become suddenly apparent how close the connections between European / US and Asian economies are - with the suddenly tumultuous Chinese economy having a global impact. An impact that will no doubt continue to swing wildly over the coming weeks, even months.

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Procurement's perceptual problems no more?

Influence, commercial sense and excellence

The procurement community has long bemoaned its internal reputation as a relatively un-strategic cost centre. While that reputation has been, at least sometimes, well deserved, the promise of an innovative procurement programme offers benefits well beyond purchasing discounts. 

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Digital Marketing Magazine: Six in ten digital adverts are not seen by humans – so where is the value in digital marketing?

digital_marketing_magazine_logo

Digital Marketing Magazine discusses Proxima's latest research: The Digital Disconnect which highlights up to 35% of all web activity fraudulent or artificial and 54% of online ads not even seen by a human – the truth is that between 40% to 60% of global digital spend is potentially wasted.

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MyCustomer: Has digital marketing moved from high impact to high risk - and how can procurement help?

MyCustomer logo

 

MyCustomer discusses Proxima's latest research: The Digital Disconnect highlighting CEOs and CFOs are becoming increasingly concerned by the lack of business transparency regarding the commercial impact of digital marketing. From wasted investment to the risk associated with brand damage, digital has fast moved from high impact to high risk. 

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Spend Matters: 6 in 10 digital adverts are not seen by humans - so where is the value in digital marketing

Spend Matters - Proxima Digital Disconnect

Spend Matters discusses Proxima's research: The Digital Disconnect. While digital may be the fastest-growing channel, with spend on digital marketing set to consume around 50 percent of total advertising budgets in the UK, how much of that investment is reaching the right audience? 

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Wallblog: Infographic - Six in ten digital adverts are not seen by humans

Proxima in the press

Wallblog provide key highlights from The Digital Disconnect infographic, available here. The infographic outlines trends from our recent research into digital marketing spend. Digital may be the fastest growing channel, with spend set to consume around 50% of total advertising budgets in the UK. But the research asks how much of that investment is reaching the right audience?

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The digital debate - are digital budgets being wasted?

CMOs should embrace procurement

The importance of being able to assign tangible ROI to a multi-faceted marketing campaign that uses both traditional and digital methods is a top priority to brands, according to participants on our recent digital marketing panel discussion.

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Buyers Meeting Point: Webinar notes - The Digital Disconnect

Proxima in the press

Buyers Meeting Point outline the highlights from the digital disconnect webinar, available here. Webinar panelists Mark Simester, Marketing Director at Warburtons, Charles Ping, Chief Executive at Fuel, and John Butcher, Marketing Specialist at Proxima outlined in the webinar how procurement can play a role in better managing digital marketing spend.

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The Digital Disconnect

An executive's guide to driving better commercial outcomes from digital marketing

The digitization of media has created a plethora of new opportunities for companies to better communicate, connect and deliver goods and services to the world. However, in this fast moving environment, how many are investing in the right digital tools and channels to support key business objectives?

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Aligning procurement to get more from your marketing spend

Aligning procurement with marketing

The marketing landscape is an ever evolving entity; with trends, movements and best practices as changeable as the wind, marketers face the often insurmountable challenge of constantly staying ahead of their competition. And, while there are many opinions on where marketers should be focussing their attention, or “the biggest challenges for CMOs today” (a quick google search will deliver a plethora of articles), something that will always remain a critical consideration for marketers is the ability to get more from their marketing spend.

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Up to 60% of global marketing budgets being wasted every single year

LONDON, UK - 3 August 2015 - New research by procurement services provider Proxima, finds that spend on digital marketing such as search engine optimisation, mobile apps and video-on-demand services in 2015 is failing to deliver the value companies should expect. With 50% of total advertising budgets in the UK (totalling around £7.9bn), and around 30% in the US (around £32.9bn) being spent on digital marketing, poor commercial management means brand and commercial content is not reaching the right audience.

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Role reversal: Apple drags down suppliers

Apple drags down suppliers

Quite often, we use this blog to discuss the increased reliance companies have on their global network of suppliers – the notion of corporate virtualization - and the importance of carefully managing suppliers and understanding their behavior and ethics. We have seen and written about many circumstances in which a supplier-related failure or business behavior has impacted a company’s reputation or bottom line. In many ways, company and supplier have become one, with the lines between the two increasingly blurred.

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accountingWEB: Gain control of your marketing expenditure

Gain control of your marketing expenditure

Proxima's John Butcher talks to accountingWEB around the role procurement can play in ensuring the CMO and CFO can attain better control over digital marketing spend.

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Leading businesses see procurement as a value, not a function

Procurement as a value, not a function

It’s not often that a story about new supply chain management software becomes a feature in a publication as respected as The Wall Street Journal. For that to happen, the deployment of said software has to represent something much more significant or herald a trend of highly compelling proportions.

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Spend Matters: Proxima research - how to fix the 60 percent of digital budget spent ineffectively

Spend Matters - Proxima Digital Disconnect

Spend Matters discuss Proxima's research: The Digital Disconnect, which explores why global companies are wasting up to 60% of digital marketing budgets through commercial mismanagement of spend, plus offers best practices for overcoming this disconnect.

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CMOs should embrace procurement

CMOs should embrace procurement

The length of a relationship between marketing agency and client is often a relatively accurate measurement of a successful partnership. Though every agency-client relationship is structured differently, particularly now with so many specialist agencies in the market, recent studies suggest a typical contract length is in the vicinity of three years. That’s not a very long time, particularly when compared to the typical relationship length between company and legal representation or company and auditing firm (and also when taking into account the time it takes to on-board a new agency).

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Supply Management: $37bn spend on digital advertising 'wasted' study estimates

Supply Management: Proxima Digital Disconnect Research

Supply Management highlight a recent study by Proxima entitled The Digital Disconnect which explores why up to 60% of digital marketing spend is wasted by global businesses every single year. 

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Media Post: Viewability + fraud = you're wasting a lot of money

Media Post: Proxima Digital Disconnect

Media Post explore Proxima's latest research into The Digital Disconnect, highlighting why global businesses are wasting up to 60% of digital marketing budgets on ineffective digital marketing activity.

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Digital Marketing Show: Up to £37bn of global marketing budgets being wasted every single year

Digital Marketing Show and Proxima

Digital Marketing Show discuss Proxima's Digital Disconnect research, which explores why companies are wasting up to $37bn of global marketing budgets every year due to ineffective digital marketing practices.

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Strategy Eye Digital: Digital ad bubble in danger of bursting

Strategy-Eye-Digital and Proxima

Strategy Eye Digital report on the increasing disconnect between the money spent on digital advertising and the actual return on investment. Highlighting Proxima's latest research: The Digital Disconnect, Strategy Eye Digital take a look at the reasons behind this disconnect and how companies can overcome it.

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US retailer plays chicken with notorious egg supplier

US retailer comes under fire for supplier failure

When a major, well-known and generally respected retail brand retains a supplier with a shady track record for food sourcing, it should hardly be a surprise when that supplier drags that retailer into a PR fiasco. In the recent case of a popular US retailer (which stocks everything from cleaning supplies to electronics to groceries), and Hillandale Farms of Gettysburg, the question of “the chicken and the egg” and which comes first is quite a literal one, as it relates to who gets the blame.

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Tesco aside, supermarket-supplier relations improve in the UK

Tesco aside, supplier relations improve in the UK

We are in an age where companies of all shapes and sizes turn to global suppliers more than ever before. There is perhaps no group of companies more reliant on suppliers than supermarket chains. Without suppliers, the supermarket chain is nothing more than a store with empty shelves, baskets and a neon sign.

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Five reasons why supplier relationship management is important

John-Hatton-Portrait.png

Ask ten people to define “what is supplier relationship management (SRM)?” and you’ll get ten different answers. My version is that it’s a means of aligning your business appropriately with your suppliers. Yet it’s far less well understood (and adopted formally) than CRM. So why should we in procurement be bothered?

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Procurement’s happily ever after

Procurement's involvement Mergers & Acquisitions

There’s a marriage craze in the US – at least on the corporate side. Already this year, according to The Wall Street Journal, “the value of M&A deals in the U.S. has set a 20-year high of $821.2 billion…with 4,373 such deals so far this year, compared with 4,627 in all of 2014.”

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in-tend: Auditing needs an MOT

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Proxima discuss why auditing needs a check-up in April's edition of in-procurement magazine from in-tend. Looking at the current reforms and regulations, Proxima's Richard James identifies the opportunities that have arisen from this changing audit market, and how companies can use these to their advantage when tendering their audit. Find the full article on page 34.

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The search for procurement catalysts is on

Catalytic procurement

For some time, we have been talking about the opportunities for procurement and supply chain specialists to assume larger, more significant roles within their organizations. These opportunities have emerged as the supply chain has become more complex and companies grow more reliant on suppliers to fulfil their respective business promises.

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Defining procurement success

Defining procurement success

The Webster's dictionary defines success in a fairly straightforward way – an accomplishment, or meeting of an aim or objective. Success in the procurement field, however, is a more nebulous concept. Perhaps that’s because procurement’s objectives aren’t usually clearly defined. Or perhaps, more accurately, it’s because procurement’s objectives are defined quite differently by its practitioners and the business leaders they serve.

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Business Wire: NelsonHall launches NEAT vendor evaluation & assessment tool for procurement BPO services

Proxima highlighted by NelsonHall for BPO services

NelsonHall have launched a tool to assist strategic sourcing managers in assessing vendor capability in procurement BPO services. The NelsonHall Vendor Evaluation and Assessment Tool (NEAT) for procurement BPO enables sourcing managers to differentiate between providers by showing how vendors are positioned within a specific market segment.

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BlogTalkRadio: Buyers Meeting Point weekly commentary for June 1st, 2015

Proxima's resarch into supplier-related failures on BlogTalkRadio

In this Procurement Perspectives podcast, Buyer's Meeting Point's Kelly Barner discusses Proxima's latest research into consumer attitudes towards companies involved in supplier-related failures.

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Influence, commercial sense and commercial excellence

Influence, commercial sense and excellence

In the increasingly virtual corporation, it's the support functions that knit everything together. Well - the strategic elements of them anyway. The process-driven parts have either been outsourced, or are so securely locked away in their silos that they have other, bigger problems to solve.

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Looking for commercial excellence in all the wrong places

Guy-New.jpg

What drives excellence? Is it the relentless drive for customer delight? Is it the fanaticism of engineering to “get it right”? Is it the single-minded pursuit of maximum profitability?

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Aligning your procurement mindset to the growth agenda

Ian Ingram, European Commercial Director at Proxima

Growth is back on the agenda. Actually, in an increasingly lumpy economy, for many businesses it never went away, despite the vicissitudes of national and regional economies. (“Vicissitudes”? Well, the UK grew robustly in Q4 2014, then posted its slowest GDP gains for three years in Q1 2015…) And with the ongoing prevalence of risk in many markets, we’re in a period where organisations want to expand, but just don’t seem ready to invest, spend and grow in the way that macroeconomic data suggests they should.

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Buyers Meeting Point: New research reveals consumer expectations for supplier management

Buyers Meeting Point and Proxima

Buyers meeting point discuss Proxima's latest research into consumer attitudes towards companies linked to supplier-related failures, and explain what this means for procurement.

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CPOs: Beware false confidence in your procurement function

CPO Confidence

A recent Deloitte survey of Chief Procurement Officers suggested that more than 50% of CPOs are optimistic about their role and confident in their department’s abilities, but also raises flags about just how much of that confidence is warranted.

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New study suggests American consumers intend to punish companies involved in supplier-driven scandals

NEW YORK, NY and London, UK – May 14, 2015 – A newly published survey suggests that companies who are not actively monitoring the business practices of their suppliers, or who are engaged in questionable supplier practices themselves, are placing their reputations and their balance sheets in harm’s way.

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Another Chinese supplier drops McDonald's in the fryer

JCB-New.jpg

In the latest example of the extent to which a geographically far-flung supplier can negatively impact a corporation’s reputation, we present the case of McDonald’s and their Chinese french fry supplier.

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Procurement Leaders: Big company supplier squeeze - a disturbing trend continues

PLN_logo_300x300.jpg

Proxima's Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall submits a guest post to Procurement Leaders, explaining why in the sometimes complicated area of supplier management, a disturbing trend is emerging.

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Creating growth opportunities through smarter supply chain strategies

growth opportunities

It’s election time. All over the place, actually. General election fever/exhaustion (delete as applicable) is dominating headlines in the UK. And with Hilary Clinton, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul (among others) declaring their 2016 presidential ambitions in the US; and Le Pen family squabbles in the run-up to France’s regional polls, democracy is headline news all over the world.

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Spend Matters: How change management can change procurement for the better

Spend Matters: Influencing change

In this article Spend Matters discuss why change management initiatives can have a huge impact on procurement. Featuring Proxima's research into the current perceptions of indirect procurement, the article offers insight and statistics supporting the need for improvement in change management initiatives. 

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Spend Matters: Influencing change - the solution to procurement's change challenges

Spend Matters: Influencing change

Spend Matters and Barbara Ardell discuss influencing change in the first of this two part article; addressing the challenges that procurement faces, discussing attitudes towards procurement and featuring Proxima's research into current perceptions of the procurement function.

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Virtualized business: the interface between costs and customers

Making something out of nothing

There is a simple, but very powerful image circulating around social media this week, that really struck a chord with us. So much so, that we thought we would share it with you here:

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Is Microsoft its suppliers’ benevolent benefactor or dictator?

Microsoft and its suppliers

Last week, the technology giant Microsoft took a progressive stance with its supplier base, taking steps to ensure that the suppliers with whom it conducts business give their employees at least 15 days of paid leave each year. Sure there’s the questionable policy of corporate dictation (especially in the case of Microsoft, with its Samson and Goliath overtones). And, there’s the inevitable fine print: “this new benefits minimum will apply to suppliers with 50 or more employees in the United States. It will apply to their U.S. employees who have worked for them for more than nine months (1500 hours) and who perform substantial work for Microsoft.

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New US legislation takes aim at supply chain slave labor

New legislation around supply chain slave labor

In our blog and in our ongoing dealings with clients, we continue to advocate the importance of having explicit insights and knowledge into the business practices and ethics of those companies that live within one’s supply chain. We’ve pointed quite extensively to our corporate virtualization research that reveals just how much modern organizations rely on external suppliers for the services and goods necessary to not just run a successful business, but to have one in the first place. The importance of supply chain visibility has grown exponentially in recent times, as has the potential negative impact failures can have on brand and profitability.

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Procurement is the 'marriage counsellor' between agency and client

Procurement as a marriage counsellor between agency and client

I’ve been noticing more and more the disconnect between agency fee and creative output. My observation is that a significant number of buyers (more than you might think) that pay a premium on agency fees, rarely get the best creative work. This observation fuelled a recent panel discussion I sat on during this year’s Advertising Week Europe.

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The evolution of the audit market - live discussion

Procurement can help CFOs navigate audit market

Every five years companies in the FTSE350 will have to rotate their auditing partner, and it is interesting for me to see how that will help drive the timing of when the remaining companies that haven’t tendered, choose to tender and who they choose to include in the tender process.

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Spend Matters: Why humans win over machines and speed in outsourcing

Spend Matters: More top companies tendering audit services

Spend Matters feature our very own Richard James, Category Director for Professional Services in their hot topic of procurement outsourcing. We look at what companies should consider when looking for a procurement company to help with outsourcing.

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Quick wins to align with the growth agenda

Aligning with the growth agenda

As key indicators of market growth point skywards and business confidence increases, boards are looking to align every aspect of their business to the wider growth agenda. But, for many of these companies, not all of their internal functions are able to shift their sights from defence to offence at the same time (or at all, in some cases). This creates a disconnect between the board’s ambition and the operational reality – a common source of frustration for many senior executives.

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Proxima secures $40m in new contracts and sees significant growth in procurement consultancy services

LONDON, UK and CHICAGO, IL – February 23, 2015 – Proxima, a leading international procurement services provider, announced today that the company has kicked off the year by securing $40 million in new contracts and has increased its spend under management by a further $1.5 billion. Additionally, the company is turning its attention to growing its procurement consultancy services in response to demand from clients who are continuing to recognize the contributory value of procurement operations to corporate profitability and overall organizational health.

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Driving shareholder value

Driving shareholder value

It’s always fashionable to muse on the parlous state of capitalism. Seven years ago, it was all broken: financial services run wild had all-but-destroyed our way of life. Four years ago, the Occupy neo-hippies were camping out to find something – anything – as an alternative to the broken promises of the market. A year-and-a-half ago? Thomas Piketty’s algorithmic tear-down of the balance between capital and economic growth.

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Can procurement help CFOs navigate the statutory audit market?

Procurement can help CFOs navigate audit market

It is perhaps unsurprising that more and more FTSE350 companies will start to shake up their auditing process with the new regulations now in place by the Competition and Markets Authority. However, the tender market is still at a teenage stage. While experience is bringing greater sophistication of approach, both in how the auditors are bidding and how they are being hired; companies still have some work to do in recognising what true value looks like and how to drive maximum value from their auditors.

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Getting your procurement function in shape for 2015

Fitter, faster procurement

Traditionally the aim for many of us at the beginning of the year is to get fitter; but this doesn’t just mean getting a beach body. Businesses the world over are looking to get into shape for the New Year too. Toning-up processes, cutting slack and beefing-up innovation are priorities that are making their way to the top of the agenda for many leaders for the first quarter of 2015. However, a word of caution, getting your business in shape doesn’t necessarily mean getting “lean”. There are better ways to create fitter, faster, functions for the year ahead.

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3 reasons procurement needs to focus on winning hearts and minds

Procurement hearts and minds

The notion of “winning hearts and minds” is remarkably recent. The phrase was first used by Vernon Bartlett, a journalist and MP who was reporting on British efforts in the Malayan Emergency in 1954. (It was also a cornerstone of President Johnson’s campaign in Vietnam and an evolution of George Bush’s Iraqi adventure. As a military tactic, it’s never been that successful…)

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ICSA: The right firm and the right terms

ICSA: The right firm and the right terms

With new regulations requiring businesses to tender their audit more frequently this offers companies a chance to revisit a key supplier relationship; enabling them to run a tender that will encourage closer relationships, promote best practices and drive additional value.

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Supply Management: Interview with InterContinental Hotels Group

Supply Management: Interview with InterContinental Hotels Group

Supply Management speaks to Annie Brown from InterContinental Hotels Group about how the company revitalised its procurement function, and the crucial part that Proxima played in this revamp.

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Quick procurement wins for 2015

Quick procurement wins are key to success

This year is all about risk. We’re barely into February and the ruble’s collapse looks permanent, the Swiss franc has soared, oil continues its terminal decline and there’s so much conflicting data from the world’s major economies that most strategic planners’ heads are spinning. (And that’s nothing compared to the market analysts…)

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Procurement Insights: Audit tendering process will force procurement professionals to go beyond traditional boundaries

Procurement Insights: Audit tendering forces procurement beyond boundaries

Procurement Insights' Jon Hansen looks at how mandatory audit rotation will force procurement professionals to go beyond traditional boundaries.

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Procurement 2.0: Moving beyond data and process

People don't scale

Getting your processes right is one of the axioms of the industrial (and now digital) economy. People don’t scale well – and if you come up with a great way of working, you need to codify it. If it’s reliant on people, it’s vulnerable. If you have good process, people are (to quote former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld) “fungible”. 

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Financial Times: Auditors - shopping around

Financial Times cover Proxima's audit market research

Are companies long-term relationships with their auditors a thing of the past? The Financial Times discusses our research into the UK audit market, and why many more companies are choosing to shop around when it comes to buying audit services.

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Proxima offers further commentary around audit tendering debate

Guy Strafford: Proxima discuss the audit market

Continuing our campaign to support FTSE companies tender their statutory audit, Proxima have again been asked by the Financial Times for commentary around the topic of mandatory audit rotation.

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5 top tips for maximising your next audit tender

Guy New

Just one year ago the Competition and Markets Authority proposed reforms that mandate all FTSE350 companies tender their audit services every ten years; and in April 2014, this reform was also passed by the European Parliament. The new rules also require Public Interest Entities (PIEs) to change auditor every 20 years.

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4 traits of the procurement team of the future

4 traits of the procurement team of the future

Many of you may already be in the midst of planning your procurement function for the year ahead, and deciding how your team will be shaped in 2016. What will they achieve? What challenges will they face? And what will be expected of them?

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Accounting Today: The virtues of mandatory audit rotation

The virtues of mandatory audit rotation

Proxima's Richard James discusses the virtues of mandatory audit rotation with Accounting Today and looks at how audit rotation can benefit both company and auditor in the long run.

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UK Audit Services

Key recommendations for your audit

Five key recommendations for maximizing your audit tender process

Prior to 2011, the average tenure of a FTSE100 audit firm was almost 50 years, with the majority of firms never having changed auditors in living memory, some being retained for over a century.

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Professional Services: what are we paying for, exactly?

Richard James: Proxima's Professional Services expert

As supply management evolves into a strategic business function, one of the key roles procurement teams often play is to challenge stakeholders to justify what they are paying for. In “traditional” cases this is relatively easy: you can count the number of laptops you need to buy, you can benchmark the wholesale price of utilities, you can understand the need to use a recruitment agency to find new or replacement staff.

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Spend Matters: Proxima gets us thinking about procurement in 2014 and 2015

Spend Matters: Proxima gets us thinking about procurement

Peter Smith from Spend Matters, discusses Proxima's predictions for procurement in 2015, and adds his own thoughts as to why 2015 may be the year that more budget holders attempt to "do it themselves", reducing the involvement of procurement.

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2014: The year procurement changed

2014: the year procurement changed

Year end reflections are usually about the changes that will happen ‘next year’. 2015 will be the year when (insert as appropriate!) will finally take off...
But this year, we first want to reflect on the year gone by. It’s hard not to make bold statements about how much procurement and the management of suppliers have come to the fore. Take three examples that have shaped the front page news.

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Marketing procurement: Utility and commerciality - drivers of innovation

Proxima: Marketing Procurement

I attended the WARC prize for innovation awards yesterday evening, which certainly got me thinking about what innovation means to different people, companies and industries.

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The Accountant: Audit needs a check-up

The accountant: Audit needs a check up

Proxima's Richard James discusses why regulatory change has shaken up the sleepy world of audit and why this could lead to a key opportunity for companies to reassess their relationships with auditors.

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Director of Finance: Audit needs a check-up

Directorof Finance: Audit needs a check-up

Director of Finance speak to Proxima's Richard James about the new rules around statutory audit rotation; and why this could be a valuable opportunity for companies to revisit a key supplier relationship.

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Spend Matters: Buying audit services - advice from an expert

Spend Matters - Buying audit services, advice from an expert

Following their previous coverage of our research into the UK audit market, Spend Matters discuss how procurement can get involved in the complex business of purchasing audit services, and offer advice from our expert Richard James.

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Global Banking & Finance Review: Competition Commission reforms make audit a procurement challenge for FTSE350

Global-Banking

Global Banking & Finance Review cover our research into the UK audit market, highlighting why the reforms by the Competition and Markets Authority are creating a challenge for procurement.

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Procurement Leaders: Reforms shake up audit market

Procurement Leaders: Reforms shake up audit market

Procurement Leaders discuss Proxima's research into the UK audit market. The research highlights that although over half of the FTSE350 companies have been using the same auditor for a decade or more; proposed reforms by the Competition and Markets Authority are encouraging more firms to tender.

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Procurement Insights: Buyers Meeting Point Weekly Update

Procurement Insights: Buyers Meeting Point

Jon Hansen (Procurement Insights) and Kelly Barner (Buyers Meeting Point) discuss our recent webinar around the procurement team of the future, offering their own thoughts on the discussion, and the issues that it raises for the wider procurement community.

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Spend Matters: More top companies tendering audit services in response to new reforms

Spend Matters: More top companies tendering audit services

Spend Matters discuss our research into the UK audit market and why new reforms are forcing companies to learn more about the audit tendering process. 

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Supply Management: Top companies changing auditor more often

Supply Management: Top companies changing auditor more often

Proxima's Richard James talks to Supply Management about why the top UK companies are switching auditor more frequently; and why research shows that the number of companies tendering their audit looks set to rise dramatically.

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2014 wrap-up: What's the point of procurement?

proxima-blue-background

This round-up of sought after research, articles, webinars and interviews offers some insight into the journey that procurement has undertaken throughout 2014 and offers some thoughts around what might be to come in 2015.

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A fresh pair of eyes

Guy Strafford: A fresh pair of eyes

The traditional way to explain the role of an auditor is that they’re a watchdog, not a bloodhound. They keep an eye on what’s happening, sit up when something looks suspicious and occasionally bark when they see something dodgy. The job is explicitly not turning over every rock they can find to test ethics or legality - no bloodhounds chasing the bad guys through the woods here.

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Financial Times: BDO revenues rise above $7bn for first time

Financial Times: BDO revenues rise

The auditor BDO has seen larger revenues than ever before this year. The Financial Times discusses how Proxima's research into the UK audit market can explain this rise.

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accountingWEB: One in four FTSE 350 companies switch auditor

Accounting Web: One in four companies switch auditor

Companies change many things regularly, but are usually reluctant to change their auditor. Proxima's research, featured in accountingWEB, highlights a growing trend of FTSE 350 companies tendering their audit.

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Audit services: Four reasons why it pays to be a first mover

Richard James: Proxima Audit Services

During the original dot-com boom, the idea of first mover advantage gained massive currency. Staking out a digital domain before anyone else showed up was considered the best way to guarantee success – gaining mindshare, customers, and above all, experience and personnel that would be denied your rivals.

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Financial Times: Proxima weighs in on new audit market reforms

Guy Strafford: Audit market reforms

There was a strong feeling of anticipation and suspense throughout the Proxima office in London on Wednesday, as we all waited excitedly for Financial Times City Correspondent Harriet Agnew’s article - discussing the shake-up to the audit tender process - to be published. A few weeks earlier, Richard James (Category Director for Professional and Financial Services) had been interviewed by Harriet, and asked to weigh in on what impact the changes to the UK audit tender process are having on the wider market.

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Buyers Meeting Point: Webinar notes - the procurement team of the future

Buyers Meeting Point: The procurement team of the future

Buyers Meeting Point reviewed our latest webinar (the procurement team of the future) and offered some additional thoughts on the discussion, in which they discuss the complex relationship between procurement and innovation.

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Financial Times: Accountants warn on audit market reforms

Proxima and the Financial Times

Proxima's Guy Strafford speaks to the Financial Times around the consequences of sweeping changes to the UK audit market, and the implications that this has for both auditors and their customers.

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Commitment Matters: Are organizations incapable of running successful trading relationships?

Commitment Matters: Are organizations running successful relationships

IACCM's Tim Cummins joined Proxima for a live panel discussion around the procurement team of the future. The discussion inspired Tim to go on to discuss whether or not organizations are really capable of running successful trading relationships.

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Tender touches for better audits - five recommendations

Richard-James-Proxima

Following new regulations and a deep desire to restore lost public faith in business, audit is making a conceptual comeback. The European Commission’s new rules on mandatory tendering for audit every ten years (along with increased scrutiny; demands for transparency in the audit process; and controls on what other work your auditor can do) make the process of choosing and contracting and auditor incredibly important.

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Infographic: Accountants warn on audit market reforms

Guy Strafford - Proxima

When analysing the current FTSE 350’s use of audit services, our research highlights the impact of the Competition and Markets Authority’s reform on the UK audit market – finding that there is more happening under the surface than meets the eye...

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Are you buying what you want...or what you need?

Guy Strafford and Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall Math Men and procurement

“The fish rots from the head”. Strong words from a recent FT article rounding up a series of accounting issues besetting large companies in the UK. Following a discussion between Proxima and respected commentator Stefan Stern; Stern argues that boards need to open their eyes to all activities in their business (from top to bottom) – but without getting involved in day-to-day tinkering. 

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Accounting Today: Audit rotation best practices

Accounting-Today-Image.png

 

For publicly traded companies, the audit process is among the more arduous and mundane of all corporate responsibilities. Accounting today discuss Proxima's best practices guide to the audit process.

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Financial Times: Good governance is about more than just numbers

Guy Strafford speaks to the Financial Times

Proxima’s Guy Strafford talks to the Financial Times around the impact of procurement practices on wider corporate governance.

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What’s better for procurement: Mad Men vs Math Men?

Guy Strafford and Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall Math Men and procurement

Many people love to believe the world is driven by “Eureka!” moments – flashes of inspiration or genius leading to a revolution in thinking. 

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3 reasons big data is important to procurement

Guy Strafford: Big data's impact on procurement

Following my previous post, exploring the importance of social media for procurement, this post aims to address the second topic covered in the Financial Times piece - the impact of ‘big data’ on supplier management practices, and why it is essential that this concept is not ignored.

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The Internet of Things - challenging human behaviour

Guy Strafford - The Internet of Things

The progress made by humanity in how we communicate has changed the very nature of how we behave – from the advent of the electric telegraph in the 1700s, to the internet being publicly introduced in the 1980s, to Wi-Fi in 1991.

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Proxima client IHG nominated for CIPS Supply Management Award

LONDON, UK and CHICAGO, IL – September 4, 2014 – Proxima, a leading international procurement services provider, is pleased to announce that its client, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), has been nominated for a 2014 CIPS Supply Management Award in the category of Most Improved Procurement Operation – Step Change. The nomination is in recognition of IHG’s successful transformation of its procurement function across its global operations.

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3 reasons social media is important to procurement

Guy Strafford - Proxima

I recently read an interesting article in the Financial Times that discussed how social media and big data are being used to help solve supply chain issues and improve supplier management practices at a number of large companies.

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Spend Matters: FT highlights supply chain lack of insight and potential crisis

Proxima in Spend Matters

Spend Matters welcomes a post by Proxima's Chris Gayner summarizing the results of a recent study that portended a supply chain crisis in the UK; driven by procurement's lack of visibility into their supplier network and poor supplier relationship management.

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The Challenger manifest: fortune favours the brave

Guy Strafford

Over the centuries, the development of thought and constant challenge of the world around us has enabled mankind to achieve some amazing breakthroughs, which have transformed our lives:

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The Challenger banks

Ian Ingram

In 1596 Shakespeare wrote the Merchant of Venice - a play in which a young Venetian merchant, named Antonio, signs an interest-free loan to help his friend, Bassanio, romantically court (with lots of money) Portia, the woman of his dreams. The catch is that if Antonio defaults on the loan, Shylock (the financier in this scenario) has the right to take a literal “pound of flesh”.

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Spend Matters: Insight for CPOs - how might CEOs address procurement's failings?

Spendmatters300

Following on from Part 1 of this series; Spend Matters highlights the key learnings that CEOs and CPOs can take away from Proxima's Ebook

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Spend Matters: Insight for CPOs - Proxima lays out procurement's failings, but are the answers here?

Spendmatters300

Spend Matters further discusses Proxima's Ebook highlighting the ways in which senior executives might address the multitude of challenges facing their procurement departments.

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Spend Matters: Proxima Ebook proposes some solutions to the procurement dilemma

Spendmatters300

Spend Matters' reviews, in part 2, Proxima's Ebook which outlines solutions to the procurement dilemma. It is not all about cost savings but changing internal behaviour, demand management, innovation and growth.

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The Grocer: Dairy Crest looks to cut costs with outsourcing move

Proxima media mention

The Grocer mentions Proxima's multi-year contract with Dairy Crest to improve performance across its business and supply chain.

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Spend Matters: Proxima asks – are businesses drowning or waving when it comes to procurement and managing suppliers?

Spendmatters300

Spend Matters' highlights Proxima's Ebook which takes the idea of an organisation as an island and business executives fishing in deeper and deeper waters to find the “fish” (the suppliers in this analogy) to help their businesses succeed.

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Proxima selected by Dairy Crest for long term outsource contract

LONDON, UK - July 28, 2014 - Proxima, the global procurement services provider, announces today that it has been appointed on a multi-year contract to manage the costs of all indirect categories at Dairy Crest, the leading British dairy products company. 

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Your procurement team is drowning

Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall

By now you will already be familiar with our corporate virtualization research, showing that the average company now spends around 70% of its revenues with suppliers. But what does it mean for your business, and how can you uncover the opportunities that this trend encourages?

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BBC News: Procurement firm Proxima creates 68 jobs in Cwmbran

bbc-news

Proxima, supported by the Welsh Government expands its Cwmbran office.

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Are business leaders out of their depth? Proxima launches procurement Ebook

CHICAGO, IL and LONDON, UK - July 22, 2014 – Proxima, the global procurement services provider, has launched a new Ebook for business leaders. Entitled Drowning not waving: How corporate virtualization has got business leaders out of their depth, this new and original publication seeks to highlight the opportunities available to senior leadership through keeping control of, and truly understanding, suppliers and the optimal means of engaging them.

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Canary song

Canary song

The headline on a capital markets report looking at bond yields was worrying: “Canary in the coalmine”. Canaries were useful to miners because, although small, they sing sweetly until they get a whiff of gas and then they abruptly stop singing. The miners say a short prayer for the little bird, then get out as fast as they can.

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The real issues keeping CFOs up at night

Ian-New

Deloitte recently published an article in the WSJ highlighting 10 Issues that are keeping CFOs up at night.

Whilst the Deloitte list highlights some of the important issues, we’ve reached out to our own network (of client teams and readers) and come up with five additional issues that are most likely to make their way to the top of the CFO’s agenda over the second half of 2014.

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Spend Matters: Why is procurement suffering a crisis of confidence?

Spendmatters300

Spend Matters' research into the future of the procurement profession, highlights Proxima's research into corporate virtualization as a trend that has important implications for the function.

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The next step to supplier success

Guy-New

At Proxima, an essential part of our work is making sure our finger is on the pulse of opinion and sentiment in our clients’ markets. It means that our advice and strategic development work is contextualised correctly within the environments in which our clients operate, which in turn enables us to find the best solutions to their challenges.

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How to uncover your hidden treasures within indirect procurement

Proxima blog; Guy Strafford

Alsbridge have written a whitepaper outlining why business leaders should look to managed service providers to drive out hidden treasures within their indirect spend.

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Proxima launches study into scope for change through supply chain management

LONDON, UK and CHICAGO, IL - June 23, 2014 – Proxima, the world’s largest pure-play procurement outsourcing and services provider, has today launched a new study that seeks to establish how supplier engagement can change the way that businesses operate.

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The beautiful game

The beautiful game

There’s something a little forced about coming up with a World Cup analogy for business and procurement in light of the quadrennial football festival in Brazil. But – you’ve read this far, so it would be remiss not to give it a go.

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Are you dis-'content'?

Content Marketing and lessons for procurement

The idea of a supply chain for a business sharing 'content' used to be so simple. But it’s not just digitization that’s shaken up the natural order of creator, publisher, retailer and consumer. It’s the way we think of middlemen.

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Publishing: a story of supply management

Guy-New

Twenty years ago the web promised a relentless march of disintermediation. For publishers, often seen as the classic middle-man, the prospect was scary. But all has not been lost…

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Gaining competitive advantage through effective supplier management at Norland

Norland

Rachel Lee, Group Procurement Director, for Norland Managed Services speaks with Proxima about leveraging supplier relationships to create a competitive advantage.

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One world, one business model – the impact of globalization

Supplier Management

We were chatting to a management thinker the other day – a former CFO, as it happens – and he said something so compelling, yet so simple, that we were stunned. “The problem with the runaway success of MBA schools is that we’re developing a global corporate monoculture,” he said. “We’re concentrating risk in similar places around the world.”

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The realization of Corporate Virtualization

Procurement_Insights

Jon Hansen, Editor for Procurement Insights talks with Proxima about the trend of Corporate Virtualization, and it's impact on business.

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Proxima appoints Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall Executive Vice President, Global Commercial Operations

CHICAGO, IL and LONDON, UK – May 6, 2014 – Proxima, a leading international procurement services provider, today announced the appointment of Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall as Executive Vice President, Global Commercial Operations. In this capacity, Cooper-Bagnall will be responsible for setting the future commercial strategy and driving growth. He will be hands-on in leading the sales organization to develop new relationships and win work by clearly demonstrating the value that will be delivered for Proxima’s customers.

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No cost is an island

Guy-New

It’s striking how many CFOs count leadership of a cost saving programme as a major part of their role. There’s nothing wrong with making procurement more efficient and streamlining the cost base, of course. But the best finance functions treat it as part of their commercial contribution, not a traditional bit of hard-nosed accounting.

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Panel session to discuss HBR article; Corporate Virtualization

Corporate Virtualization Webinar

Following on from our recent Harvard Business Review coverage, we’d like to invite you to join us for an online panel session – discussing practical perspectives and pragmatic insights into the trend of Corporate Virtualization.

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Procurement Insights: The more things change, the more they stay the same

Procurement_Insights

Jon Hansen, author of Procurement Insights, discusses Proxima's upcoming webinar and shifting attitudes towards procurement

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New way of looking at an old problem

Proxima blog

The European Food & Beverage Market is in a state of turmoil. Increasingly regular headlines are being published around deficiencies in quality standards and growing contamination cases. The reputation and financial damage of these headlines can be critical for any business operating in an already tumultuous industry (as discussed in my previous post).

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Value, values and the return to growth

Ian-New

New research shows that a growing number of corporates are refocusing their procurement functions away from cost and towards strategic innovation. A sure sign that corporate management's attitudes towards procurement are shifting. (We discuss this further in our webinar). But are the smart ones just copying the companies that have always understood that this is a key source of value?

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A moving feast for the Dutch Food & Beverage Market

Dutch food and beverage industry

For Dutch food and beverage (F&B) businesses, improving margins is a constant challenge and breaking out of the commodity trap is the name of the game.

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Proxima clients nominated for a Procurement Leaders Award

Guy-New

Since our inception, Proxima has set out to change the way procurement is both thought of and conducted at organizations around the world. Today we have more proof that we are successfully moving in that direction.

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Demand driven models at Alcon Novartis

Proxima image; Alcon Novartis logo

Vipin Rikhi, Finance Director, Business Planning Analysis for Alcon Novartis, talks with Proxima about demand driven procurement models and their impact on the business.

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Spend Matters: Don't downplay procurement

Proxima media mention; Spend Matters

Following on from Proxima's article highlighting the corporate virtualization research in The Harvard Business Review, Spend Matters have offered their opinion on the piece; describing it as "essential reading for procurement people".

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Harvard Business Review recognizes today's leaders cannot afford to downplay procurement

Harvard Business Review

We are pleased to bring you the news that Proxima’s research and thinking on how commerce has evolved, and the implications for modern corporations, is now being recognized at the highest level globally.

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Harvard Business Review: Leaders can no longer afford to downplay procurement

Proxima media mention; Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review comment on Proxima's recent research into corporate virtualization pointing out procurement should be treated as a driving force for innovation and viewed as critical partners in the company’s success.

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Spend Matters: Top 50 providers to know

Proxima media mention; Spend Matters

Spend Matters recently announced that Proxima featured in the top 50 providers to know for 2014. 

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OC&C: Retail nation

Proxima media mention; OC&C

OC&C and Retail Week recently collaborated to provide a report on the UK's retail industry. Proxima's latest research around corporate virtualization was featured to help understand the figures behind retailers' spend.

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Real Business: We need to talk about your suppliers

Proxima media mention; Real Business

Proxima's Guy Strafford talks to Real Business about how your suppliers could hold the key to better performance this year, and why it's time to start thinking about better management of the supplier base.

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Supply Chain Digital: The corporate virtualization phenomenon

Proxima image; Supply Chain Digital

A phenomenon we call corporate virtualization is sweeping across the global economy. Supply Chain Digital comment on Proxima's research.

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10 questions senior executives should be asking about their cost base

Questions

Over the past few weeks we have written about the journey towards corporate virtualization that many media & entertainment businesses have been on over the past 10 years.

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Sales and procurement – a corporate paradox

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

Sales and procurement are two ends of the same activity. So why, in non-core procurement, are they like the prince and the pauper separated at birth?

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Proxima success story: Game on

Learn how Proxima applied their catalytic thinking right across a multi-billion dollar publishing client, getting right to the heart of what mattered to our client - the level of engagement with gamers. Proxima was able to broaden the supply base which greatly reduced risk and reduced the agency cost base by over 30%, money which could be immediately reinvested in the business.

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Benefits for media & entertainment companies from better supply management

microscope-and-globe

With the average media & entertainment business spending twice as much on suppliers than on its own people, we thought we would share some of our industry insights on the benefits of successfully getting your suppliers under control and offer a real life example of this happening at leading video game publisher – Activision Blizzard.

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The shifting sands of procurement

Shifting sands of procurement

As the global economic recovery gathers pace, more and more businesses are turning their sights from cost reduction to growth. How well an organization’s procurement team supports this shift will materially impact overall business performance.

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Proxima success story: An energy boost for professional services

Learn how Proxima applied their catalytic thinking right across a multi-billion dollar global snack business and reduced the professional services cost base by a tasty 10%.

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Financial Director: Stop firing your best assets

Proxima media mention; Financial Director

Cutting too many jobs can damage quality control and undermine company performance, writes Proxima's Guy Strafford

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Proxima's Scott Sparks to speak at 2014 Chief Financial Officer Leadership Forum

CHICAGO, IL - February 12, 2014 - Proxima, a leading international procurement services provider, today announced that North American Deputy CEO & Senior Vice President, Scott Sparks, will be a featured speaker at the Argyle Executive Forum’s 2014 Chief Financial Officer Leadership Forum later this month in San Francisco.

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Corporate risk: when upside is a downer

Proxma image; Ian Ingram

Any accountant will tell you that more businesses go bust in the recovery from a downturn than in the recession itself. A big reason for this is poor risk management – because managers think they can stop worrying. They can’t.

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Media & entertainment’s journey of virtualization

Media and Entertainment's journey of virtualization

Business has changed - driven by globalization, technology and changing consumer habits.  Executives have had to rapidly adapt their business models, products, and distribution channels in response to these groundswell changes.  But the implications of these unstoppable forces don’t stop there.  Another impact is that suppliers today are providing an ever-increasing proportion of business activities, many of which used to be delivered by direct employees and internal operations.

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Proxima appointed by SAV Credit on five-year outsourcing contract

LONDON, UK –- February 3, 2014 - Proxima, the global procurement services provider, announces today that it has been appointed on a five-year contract to manage external supplier costs and relationships for SAV Credit.  

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Was 2013 the tipping point?

Proxima image; Proxima logo

As 2014 begins, we've taken a look back over 2013, putting together this selection of our most popular whitepapers, blogs, discussions, and videos.

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Re-evaluating procurement in 2014

Re-evaluating Procurement

We hope your 2014 has got off to a positive start – it seems there is an air of positivity covering global economies – with green shoots well and truly growing at pace in US and UK markets.

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Showing procurement's true value

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

I hope your 2014 has got off to a positive start – it seems there is an air of positivity covering global economies – with green shoots well and truly growing at pace in US and UK markets.

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Media & entertainment businesses are now hollow

Media & Entertainment businesses are now hollow

Did you know: The average media & entertainment business spends twice as much on suppliers than its own people?

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Proxima launches Media & Entertainment hub

CHICAGO, IL - January 21, 2014 - Proxima, a leading international procurement services provider, today announced that the company has launched a formalized effort to help companies in the media and entertainment sector better manage outside suppliers and costs by expanding its online resources to include content, analysis and insight specific to the industry.

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Commitment Matters: The case for an integrated commercial service

Proxima media mention; Commitment Matters

Tim Cummins' comments on a recent paper from HfS Research, which draws on research by Proxima to highlight the fundamental shift that has occurred in business operations and the challenge this represents to organization and skills.

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Industry Week: Auditing compliance - a heavy and expensive burden for Manufacturers

Proxima media mention; Industry Week

Proxima's Guy Strafford recently spoke to IndustryWeek to discuss the process around how audit services are bought and managed.

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Risks and rewards at Coventry Building Society

Proxima interview; Coventry Building Society

Feike Brouwers, Chief Risk Officer for Coventry Building Society, discusses the challenges behind running a successful risk function in a constantly evolving business environment.

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Chief Executive.net: The ‘Celebrity’ of CEO salary

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Outsource Magazine: Q&A with Richard Jones, Proxima et al

Proxima media mention; Outsource Magazine

Richard Jones, Chairman of Proxima talks exclusively with Outsource. With decades of experience right across the space and with a record of huge success behind him, Richard Jones is one of the most recognisable and respected figures in outsourcing. Richard he is involved at various levels with numerous other ventures and retains a unique perspective on outsourcing and the future of business.

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Sourcing Interests Group: The definition of a "company" has changed

Proxima media mention; SIG

"Corporate virtualization" is sweeping across the global economy, transforming the ‘company’ from what it was – to what it is today, a comprehensive and complex universe of specialist third-party suppliers who are critical but sit outside the organization and all across the planet.

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Trust us, fee decrees are not the answer

Proxima blog

Supplier management is challenging. Gaining the best levels of service, quality, performance and value takes work and relies upon employing the best in class. For marketers, it’s about employing suppliers that genuinely understand your business. And if you motivate them to perform, they will want to deliver.

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2014 the year of working the profit and loss harder

Working the profit and loss harder

CFO.com recently published an article around the Eight Top Issues for CFOs in 2014*. The number one consideration was to ‘avoid choking off revenue growth’ or put another way, focus on growth oriented cost management.

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HfS Research: Why so many cost-obsessed CEOs will fail if they ignore their supplier management capabilities

Proxima media mention; HfS Research

HfS Research have confirmed Proxima's latest research (corporate virtualization), explaining why so many cost-obsessed CEOs will fail if they ignore their supplier management capabilities.

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HfS Research: constant focus on savings counter-productive for success

CHICAGO, IL - December 9, 2013 - A new research report released last week from global business analyst firm HfS Research endorses findings from a recent Proxima report into the trend of Corporate Virtualization, affirming that organizations continue to direct more spend outside the organization, relying on external suppliers instead of investing in labor.

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Getting your extended enterprise working as one. Harmonising your suppliers and your business objectives

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

The modern business now consists of a small central core conducting a large virtual orchestra of suppliers. 

The maestro leading this symphony is procurement.

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Top 5 tips for managing your virtualized/extended enterprise

Supplier Management

Corporate virtualization’ has taken hold across all large businesses today - the on-going phenomenon of replacing internal functions and labor with suppliers has changed the very fabric of the modern company. It has not been a planned or even conscious decision – but over the last 20 years is has been an unstoppable force.

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Mending a fragmented function. Colt Technology discuss how they repaired a disjointed procurement unit

Proxima image; Colt

Grahame Ball, Chief Procurement and Supply Chain Officer for Colt Technology Services Group, discusses the challenges behind re-building a fractured procurement function to support increasingly dynamic business demands.

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Procurement Leaders: Does your function’s name hurt your influence?

Proxima media mention; Procurement Leaders

The debate around whether procurement is "toxic" rages on. Procurement Leaders discuss Guy Strafford's argument that procurement needs a re-brand

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Spend Matters: The future of procurement - an opportunity / threat paradox

Proxima media mention; Spend Matters

In this video, Peter Smith talks about the future of procurement, and discusses how the findings from Proxima's research could help shape this.

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Why are businesses failing to get the most out of their non-core costs? (pt 3)

Non-core costs

Part one and Part two of this three part mini-series have covered several reasons why non-core procurement is more complex, wider reaching and changes faster than most people imagine (compared to core or direct procurement). In this post, the final in the series, we will discuss why businesses need to approach procurement in a completely different way.

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The Drum: Procurement departments now 'friends to agencies and marketers' says Coca-Cola

Proxima media mention; The Drum

Proxima's John Butcher discusses the evolution of marketing procurement with Coca-Cola Europe's procurement director

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Why are businesses failing to get the most out of their non-core costs? (pt 2)

Non-core costs

Part one of this three part mini-series discussed how non-core procurement is more complex, wider reaching and changes faster than most people imagine. In this post, we explore three further points, namely the necessary skills, knowledge and perspectives required to effectively manage non-core procurement.

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Why are businesses failing to get the most out of their non-core costs? (pt 1)

non-core costs

Businesses are failing to get the most out of the non-core costs. Why? Well, simply put, because procurement is failing. But the issue here is far deeper than simply pointing your finger at the team of people in procurement - in fact, we would argue, the problem lies in five very different areas, which we’ll explore below.

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Outsourcing is NOT offshoring – why procurement outsourcing needs an alternative approach

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

The procurement brand has suffered greatly over recent times, at a time when the business need for it has grown. A history of under-performance, detachment from the real business needs and an unhealthy obsession with savings have all contributed to a widespread reputational problem, that ultimately undermines the credibility of the function.

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Chief Executive.net: CEOs - don't prepare the pink slips just yet

Proxima media mention; Chief Executive

Conventional wisdom and common sense suggest that the greatest ongoing expense for most companies is labor. However, Proxima's latest research contradicts this claim. Matthew Eatough aims to dispel the myth that keeping labor costs in line will maintain or even boost profitability.

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The broken bridge between business need and business supply

Supplier Management

On average, two thirds of any business’ activities today are performed outside of their organization by third party suppliers (see this research for more detail).  And it’s a growing trend.

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The Competition Commission and statutory audit – a lot of sense and sensibility – part 2

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

Our previous post discussed three of the seven remedies that the competition commission proposed as part of their ruling around statutory audit rotation. In this post, part two of this mini-series, Proxima's Richard James and Guy Strafford will look at the remaining four remedies and some key questions finance / procurement teams and audit committees should be asking when tendering this high profile service.

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The Competition Commission and statutory audit – a lot of sense and sensibility – part 1

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

The verdict is in, judgement is pronounced.

The Competition Commission (CC) has delivered its final ruling on the market for statutory audit services in the UK, amending its remedies from the provisional ruling announced a couple of months back (here are our comments from July) and the reaction from the industry is generally positive.

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Horses for Sources: Can HR ever overcome its obsession with the automation of obsolete processes?

Proxima media mention; Horses for Sources logo

Horses for Sources comment on Proxima's research, and explain why HR departments should look at cutting costs, not jobs, to improve their contribution to the wider business.

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The alignment of the procurement function to the wider corporate aims: Vodafone's Stephen Day talks with Proxima

Proxima image; Vodafone logo

Stephen Day, Group Supply Chain Management Director – IT at Vodafone, and Proxima discuss the importance of procurement to the wider business strategy; and the pros and cons of outsourcing, particularly in the area of procurement outsourcing.

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Catalytics: the end of the unhealthy obsession with savings

Proxima image; Matthew Eatough

We at Proxima believe too many businesses have an unhealthy obsession with savings. Whilst savings are of course important, no business ever saved its way to greatness.  Procurement should be offering much, much more.

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Spend Matters UK/Europe: External resource management - is this the new name for procurement?

Proxima media mention; Spend Matters logo

Proxima's Guy Strafford asked the very provoking question - does procurement need a new name?

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Spend Matters US: Quantifying suppliers’ contribution to revenue and profit - more than just productivity gains

Proxima media mention; Spend Matters logo

Spend Matters discuss Proxima's latest research. In the report, Corporate virtualization – A global study of cost externalization and its implications on profitability, Proxima and FTI Consulting show the P&L impact that comes from increasing external expenditure (i.e., on suppliers) compared with declining labor costs, set in the context of the overall economic environment since 2009.

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Proxima success story: Clear proof - the bottle (UK)

When it came to reviewing the cost of manufacturing a bottle, Proxima took a Catalytic Approach. We looked beyond the contract itself to the entire context of what the bottle achieves for our client.

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Some important questions for CFOs (UK)

Hear why the conventional approach of beating up suppliers and pushing them away means there is real and untapped value sitting in companies across thousands of suppliers.

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Procurement is broken (US)

Suppliers are integral to the modern company, and they know more about your supply chain, risk, governance and innovation that you do.

But where is procurement in all of this? Proxima explains...

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An example of the catalytic approach in action - the container (US)

This animation explains Proxima’s concept of Catalytic Thinking, by looking at how one man thought big and used the Catalytic Approach to challenge behavior and in doing so ended up reinventing global shipping.

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Catalytics: A new level of thinking applied across your business (US)

 

This animation explains Proxima’s concept of Catalytic Thinking, by looking at how one man changed furniture retailing forever by thinking about his customers’ behavior and answering their needs.

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Proxima success story: Clear proof - the bottle (US)

When it came to reviewing the cost of manufacturing a bottle, Proxima took a Catalytic Approach. We looked beyond the contract itself to the entire context of what the bottle achieves for our client.

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Some important questions for business leaders (US)

Hear why the conventional approach of beating up suppliers and pushing them away means there is real and untapped value sitting in companies across thousands of suppliers.

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Proxima client success story: Cold hard proof, the refrigerator (UK)

This animation tells the story of how Proxima applied their catalytic thinking right across a major retail business and delivered hundreds of millions to their bottom line.

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Proxima client success story: Cold hard proof, the refrigerator (US)

This animation tells the story of how Proxima applied their catalytic thinking right across a major retail business and delivered hundreds of millions to their bottom line.

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Spend Matters UK/Europe: Redefining procurement - non-labor cost’s growing impact on the bottom line

Proxima image; Spend Matters logo

Proxima’s latest report, found a clear trend line between 2009 and 2011 around labor cost and non-labor cost (both as percentages of revenue) in companies around the world.

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3 ways Dutch businesses can get more value from suppliers

maximizing supplier value

Business has already changed –- our research is clear that the cost base has been largely externalized in the Dutch AEX25, as it has in the UK FTSE350, the US Fortune 500 and in other markets around the world.

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One year on: an even more compelling case for smarter cost management

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

A year ago we researched the spend habits of the FTSE350. The findings of the research shocked many business leaders – especially those who thought cutting headcount was the best way to deliver sustainable cost savings. 12 months on, we ran the research again - but this time on a global scale. The results are even more interesting than before.

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Corporate virtualization - 100 years in the making

Guy-New

2013 marks 100 years since Henry Ford was faced with the dilemma of producing his latest invention, the Model T Ford, on a large scale - in an efficient, low cost way. His answer was to invent the first mass production assembly line. In doing so, Henry Ford revolutionized the world of manufacturing. Over the past 100 years, following this monumental milestone, business has changed beyond recognition.

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Today's growth is fueled more by suppliers than internal staff

Supplier Management

Today's definition of what a 'company' is varies dramatically from person to person, business to business and country to country. However, we can all agree that a company is no longer made up of just its people, its offices and its factories.

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CFO: Cutting costs? Don’t look at head count first

Proxima media mention; CFO.com logo

Trimming non-labor costs, especially by better managing your fast-growing population of external service providers, likely will have greater impact

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Infographic: Ever wondered about global business’ spend patterns?

Non-core costs

Businesses around the world have been on a journey, whether deliberate or not, of cost externalization. A significant portion of any business’s revenues are now being spent outside their own organization. What was once a labor cost, is now a supplier invoice.

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Corporate virtualization

Proxima image; Corporate virtualization

A global study of cost externalization and its implications on profitability

Businesses around the world have been on a journey, whether deliberate or not, of cost externalization.  A significant portion of any business’ revenues are now being spent outside their own organization. What was once a salary, is now a supplier invoice.

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Commitment Matters: Have procurement practices been self-defeating?

Proxima media mention; Commitment Matters

Tim Cummins' assessment of procurement over the last 10 or 15 years, looks at many proclaiming the birth and maturing of the ‘procurement profession’ and predicted a steady rise to ‘the top table’. But in truth, how much progress has been made?

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Spend Matters UK/Europe: Proxima Report – Corporate Virtualization and the central role of suppliers in business

Proxima media mention; Spend Matters

Peter Smith offers brief summary of Proxima's latest research - calling it an essential material to have in your library – a vital tool to help stakeholder engagement and promotion of the whole procurement raison d’etre!

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Study confirms reducing supplier costs more effective for improving profit

CHICAGO, IL and LONDON, UK –- September 9, 2013 - Proxima today released the results of a global study of nearly 2,000 publicly and privately traded companies, examining trends in spending and implications for profitability.

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The Sunday Times: Heads don’t need to roll, Mr Axeman

 Proxima media mention; The Sunday Times

Our latest global study, featured in The Sunday Times, shows companies may find greater cost savings in their supply chains.

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The verdict: procurement is toxic

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

WOW. Thank you all for your responses to last month'’s blog around the toxicity of procurement. If you only take a cursory glance at the blog, you will see that asking the question ‘'is the word procurement toxic?’' has elicited a strong and wide ranging response.

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How suppliers have changed Dutch management practices

suppliers impact on dutch business

To better understand the implications and opportunities of our latest research into the spending habits (and subsequent management practices around these habits) of modern day Dutch businesses, we have compared labor and non-labor (supplier) costs across the Dutch AEX25 over a two year period.

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CFO.nl: 3 new sources of profitability for Dutch businesses

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The Wall Street Journal: Outsourcing labor continues, poses risks for some

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Spend Matters UK/Europe: The Competition Commission and Auditors – shaking up the market or just stirring?

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The externalization of today’s Dutch corporation

Proxima blog

Even though the business environment today changes with unprecedented speed, perceptions of business continue to be rooted in tradition, more specifically -– traditional hierarchy structures and the resultant management practices.

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Thomasnet.com: Procurement by any other name is still procurement

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Spend Matters UK/Europe: Guy Strafford wants a new word for procurement. Can you help?

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Commitment Matters: Should procurement exist?

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Procurement Leaders: Auditing reform - does re-tendering deliver value?

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Is the word 'procurement' toxic?

Guy-New

I am not the first to observe that '‘procurement'’ has a branding and reputational problem.  The word means different things to different people.  I can think of several instances where, if I compare the service provided by '‘procurement'’ in two separate businesses, you could be excused for thinking they are operating in totally different areas of business management.

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Mandatory audit rotation – a sourcing challenge

mandatory-audit-rotation

So, after months of deliberation and consultation, the Competition Commission published its provisional decision on the remedies relating to the market for statutory audit services. But will this really achieve the CC’s laudable objectives to improve quality and broaden the competitive market for statutory audit?

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The Dutch market: looking outwards

Proxima blog

The Dutch economy is the fifth-largest economy in the euro-zone and is noted for its stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, a sizable trade surplus, and an important role as a European transportation hub.

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Economia: Counting heads

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How corporate virtualization has changed the game for Dutch business

Proxima blog

Businesses around the world have been on a journey, whether deliberate or not, of cost externalization. What was once a labor cost, is now a supplier invoice. Our latest research into the spend behaviors and patterns of the Dutch AEX25 has found that a significant portion of revenues are now being spent outside their respective organizations. A key and somewhat surprising finding from the research is the extent to which it has occurred.

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Supply Management: Procurement could unlock billions in profits

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With so much of your business activity being done by people not on your payroll, who’s controlling the talent?

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The media sector, along with many other sectors around the world, is experiencing a shift in where talent and expertise now sits within a business...

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Spend Matters Netherlands: Inkoop wordt belangrijker volgens Proxima

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Spend Matters UK/Europe: Procurement isn’t aligned with strategies for business success – Guy Strafford comments

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The 'virtual' Dutch company: an infographic

Proxima blog

The modern Dutch corporation has externalized its cost base. Our latest research seeks to understand the extent to which this has occurred across the Dutch AEX25, and explores the implications for Dutch business leaders. Below is a brief visual overview of the research (an infographic), highlighting some of the most arresting findings and important trends.

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New rules for cost management

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How 'corporate virtualization' is changing the game for Dutch businesses

Reducing non-labor costs could increase profits among Dutch AEX25 companies by billions of euros a year, a new report has uncovered.

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Het Financieele Dagblad: Snoeimes is bot (the sickle is blunt)

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Audit tendering may not turn out as hoped without some market change

Guy-New

The FRC and Competition Commission are causing change in the audit market, and when combined with pressure from the corporate governance teams of the largest investors, there is now real impetus for change.

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Procurement not following rules for success, time for a rethink

Guy-New

Every now and then a piece of fresh thinking comes out that upsets the apple cart.  There’'s a great one in April’'s edition of Harvard Business Review.  It references a study conducted by Deloitte, which identifies what the rules are followed by companies that are truly successful over a long period of time. The research reveals surprising results. And here is why...

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Q2 wrap-up: The issue with supply management and a call for change

proxima-blue-background

This round-up of sought after research, articles, discussions and interviews offers some insight into the challenges and concerns of senior executives looking to understand total cost management in their business - and the role that suppliers play.

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Summer is still a long way off for the financial services sector

Ian-New

The weather is pretty filthy, given it’'s almost summer. And summer looks like it might be a while coming in the financial services sector, too.

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Proxima helps Activision Blizzard create value and achieve sourcing success

Activision_Blizzard_logo

With pressure to control costs mounting, Activision Blizzard turned to Proxima in 2012 to better manage costs, supplier and partner relationships and sourcing efforts more efficiently. And in just over a year, the partnership yielded significant savings to the business.|

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CFO.nl: Inkopers zijn verslaafd aan besparingen

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The impact of ‘corporate virtualization’ on your supply chain

Guy-New

The FT recently ran a piece called “"Businesses unaware of supply chain risk" which followed on from the Bangladesh garment factory fire (killing over 600 people, spurring a fierce public reaction). And just this week, days after the FT article was published, news of a Cambodian shoe factory collapsing, killing at least two people, hit our headlines. These catastrophic events come just weeks after the horse-meat scandal and within memory of the Japanese earthquake disrupting car supply chains.

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Evolutionary cost management in financial services

Ian-New

Cost management techniques have been quietly evolving in the back offices of financial services businesses. It’s time for the new model to emerge.

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Faltering growth means proactive supplier engagement is required

Finance-Chart

Something has to change. Retailers face being subsumed by the economic conditions, drawing on increasingly limited funds for reinvestment back into their businesses. But sustained sector growth seems a small dot on the horizon. There will always be the trend-buckers and those that insulate themselves from the worst of the high street maelstrom, but for everyone else, it is time to think differently about how profits can be boosted from sources closer to home.

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Financieel-management.nl: Hogere winstgevendheid met nieuwe aanpak leveranciersmanagement

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CFO.nl: CFOs vaak onbewust van het verbeterpotentieel bij procurement

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Campaignlive.co.uk: Morrisons calls £73m ad review

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CFO.nl: Hoeveel 'paardenvlees' zit er in uw supply chain?

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Managing cost to generate growth and unlock competitive advantage

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Today, businesses are exposed to dynamically changing market conditions, regulatory pressures and increasingly intense competition (particularly from international markets). And since 2008, companies have focused heavily on headcount reductions and slashing budgets to improve balance sheets. But once these traditional means of cost reduction had been exhausted, there was, among some senior management, an attitudinal change to the concept of cost management.

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How to avoid value-erosion and cost-leakage in Financial Services

Ian-New

Cost management and 'cost-out' is critical for any business. As such, cost as a metric will always be near the top of the agenda for any business assessing the performance of their procurement or sourcing function. However, driving costs out of a business is not a one-off project - it's a continuous, evolving process.

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Critical Eye: The curious double-act of CEO-CFO

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"Waiter, is that pork in my moose lasagne?"

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It’'s not my fault. It wasn’t me. Sound familiar? These are common excuses we’ve used since childhood. And while they may pass in many circumstances of private life, they don’t often fly in the corporate world. Pointing the finger usually doesn’t protect shareholder value nor avert corporate reputational damage.

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How much ‘horse-meat’ is in your supply chain?

Guy-New

With so much activity going on outside the direct control of an organization, it is in hindsight no surprise that there has been a reduction in the level of transparency of spending behaviors, and an increase in potential risks (both reputational and financial).

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Sourcing Interests Group: Stop riding the labor roller coaster

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Ladbrokes Chief Procurement Officer bets on stakeholder management

Ian-New

Supplier relationships are obviously vital to a sound procurement strategy. But for Clive Rees, Chief Procurement Officer at betting giant Ladbrokes, keeping internal stakeholders close is just as important.

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Banks seek agility, transparency and transformation from procurement

Ian-New

Procurement adds value by offering transparency into where and how a business spends it's money. But when it offers “"an understanding of what is driving a particular spend pattern… where the demand is coming from and how can it be managed effectively,”" it can really start to deliver both strategic and tactical benefits.

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The troublesome threesome

Guy-New

March is budget month in the UK for the Government. And, unusually, it also is in the US. It is also usually the pivotal point in the year - as it becomes clearer whether the budget is going to be met or if it is time for remedial action. This March is shaping up to be no exception.

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Who is the customer of the audit?

Guy-New

There are some strict rules about the scope and execution of statutory audit. Things undoubtedly got tougher for the profession in the wake of the Enron scandal that brought down its auditor, Andersen. But interestingly, while there are now stricter rules around auditor independence from management and limits on non-audit services an auditor can provide, many of the issues that scarred audit then still linger.

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Audit: above suspicion

Guy-New

The world of audit is in a state of flux. For a start, the long-standing grumbles about the Big Four (Deloitte, E&Y, KPMG and PwC) dominance in the world of corporate auditing has resulted in debates about regulatory reform domestically and in Europe. Even the Competition Commission is getting in on the act.

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What CFOs can learn from Einstein

What CFOs can learn from Einstein

"“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”" - Albert Einstein. Time and time again organizations launch into programs with the aim of reducing costs from the supplier base. It’'s a perfectly rational thing to do. Who wouldn’'t want to get the cost base in a fitter state?

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Proxima responds to the Competition Commission’s audit market report

LONDON, UK - 22 February 2013. Proxima responded to today’'s preliminary findings from the Competition Commission report into the audit market.

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Sustainable sourcing? Don’t make me laugh.

Sustainable sourcing

The world is full of buzz words: big data, cloud computing, phablets, wantrepreneur.  Some have substance sitting behind them and go on to become mainstream (phablets are coming - mark my words!).  Others are created not to describe an innovation, but to describe a new concept that is hard to articulate (just try asking someone to articulate what cloud computing is.  It’'s fun listening to them attempt it).  

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Making sense of stagnation

Guy-New

January, traditionally long and cumbersome, seems to have raced by this year and to exhibit classic stagnation characteristics. The best evidence of stagnation is conflicting economic indicators. If the economy is flat, this is not actually because nothing changes. The average is a net of things improving and things deteriorating, which in this instance are cancelling each other out.

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Is Barclays getting holistic?

Ian-New

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”" That’'s an old saying attributed to management guru Peter Drucker, and it’'s been particularly pertinent over the past five years. A more modern meme is the "“new normal”", but I think they'’re closely connected. And a good illustration of how and why is the news coming out of Barclays.

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Stop riding the labor roller coaster

stop-riding-labor-roller-coaster

Within a short span of days late last month, we learned that in the final quarter of 2012, the US economy contracted for the first time in three and a half years - the nation’s gross domestic product shrinking by .01 percent.

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Best of 2012

proxima-blue-background

With 2013 off to a running start, we have cast a nostalgic eye over 2012, putting together this selection of our most popular whitepapers, blogs, discussions, videos and recommended reading materials.

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Sector spotlight: Energy (p2) - the opportunity for energy providers

Proxima blog

With consumers becoming increasingly sceptical of their energy providers, more mobilised by the value for money they achieve on their household costs and more able to take their business elsewhere, energy companies must do what they can to ensure that their business is match fit.

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Proactive protection amid uncertain times

Guy-New

There are nearly 4,000,000 economic statistics produced in the US every year, according to Nate Silver in his excellent book ‘The Signal and the Noise’. Choosing the one’s which give the most accurate or best insight is always a challenge.

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Facilitating change in Financial Services

Ian-New

Regulatory forces are the most obvious driver of change in financial services. There is no doubt that the Mortgage Market Review, Basel III, the Independent Commission on Banking, the Retail Distribution Review and other regulatory factors have added substantial cost and complexity to running bank operations.

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All change in Financial Services

Ian-New

New regulations, greater scrutiny, a more unpredictable operating environment, more severe exogenous risks... The financial services industry clearly needs to be fast on its feet right now.

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Fiscal cliff, growth in EU, executive pay – welcome to 2013

Guy-New

Happy New Year! We at Proxima hope that 2013 has begun productively and happily. There has certainly been no time to ease into the year gently - 2013 definitely has picked up seamlessly from where 2012 left off which, in our eyes, means continued opportunities and increased potential for enhancing value for our clients.

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Financial Services: it’s not about the money...

Ian-New

The financial services sector might have thought the worst was over by the start of 2012. Blamed for the global economic meltdown that was entering its fifth year, and made pariah in the court of public opinion, bankers in particular must have been hoping the worst was over.

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Source for Consulting: Procurement consulting - a crucible of change?

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Business Finance: Standing on the edge of the cliff - cut costs, not jobs

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How the 'shareholder spring' should evolve

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Following on from a previous post on this topic, the Shareholder Spring should turn its attention away from executive pay, and towards an area that has a far greater opportunity to improve profitability and shareholder returns - third party costs.

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Construction industry: is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

Guy-New

The UK Construction sector has blamed the "‘very wet weather"’ for a poor performing end to 2012 / start to 2013 - which saw a sharp decline in new business across the sector.

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The future of cost management


Continuing economic pressures means that today’s leaders need to be flexible while taking a holistic view of their business.

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Shareholder activism and cost management


Procurement is not about budget cuts. It is a mechanism to improve profitability and support growth, by helping people spend their budgets wisely.

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Are you adding value or just cutting costs?



In complex global business environments, it’s not easy to unify the unique skills of finance and procurement. But doing so will help aid growth and improve productivity.

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Cost management is a leadership issue, not a procurement issue


Leaders who manage their third party cost base effectively and creatively can derive significantly more benefits than most achieve today.

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Levers of profitability

To improve profitability, leaders should take a fresh look at how their third party cost base is managed.

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Are executive salaries becoming less relevant to a business?

Guy-New

I was and contemplating a potential reblossoming of the shareholder spring, particularly with regards to director's’ remuneration.

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Critical business costs are no longer 'people costs'

Business has changed: Labor costs are now significantly outweighed by third party costs. As a result, the old spans of control no longer apply.

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A new opportunity for CFOs amidst uncertainty and volatility


The pressure on CFOs to cut the fat and improve how the cost base is managed intensifies as the economic malaise continues.

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Award winning, industry expert joins Proxima's ranks

LONDON, 18 December 2012: Proxima, a leading international procurement services provider, announced today that it has appointed Gail Roberts as Shared Services Director.

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2012 in review and predictions for 2013

Guy-New

As we begin to think ahead to the prospects for 2013, let'’s first reflect on what has been an extraordinary year.

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Global myths of procurement outsourcing: Series summary

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This is a round-up of all the posts in our global myths of procurement outsourcing series. I'd like to thank everyone who contributed comments and offered insight towards dispelling some of the common myths that circulate around procurement outsourcing. Hopefully we have gone some way to help achieving that.

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Business has changed. Has yours?

Guy-New

We recently hosted a webinar - discussing the findings of our latest research - The £10 billion profit opportunity - and their implications on business today. This post recaps the discussion and poses some thought prompters for what looks to be another turbulent 12 months ahead.

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Global myths of procurement outsourcing: Myth 5 - PO means off-shoring

global-myths-of-procurement-outsourcing-v1

This myth is partially true - and partially a myth.  The offerings of many outsourcers are about off-shoring jobs to a low cost country, e.g. India.  However, not all providers operate this way.

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Global myths of procurement outsourcing: Myth 4 - PO results in a loss of control and increased risk

global-myths-of-procurement-outsourcing-v1

This is often cited as a reason why people are reluctant to even consider procurement outsourcing. Yet it’'s an unfounded fear.  As any CFO that has outsourced will tell you: control goes up.  Risk comes down.

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The changing nature of business: What next?

Proxima blog

This is the concluding chapter for the changing nature of business series. We hope you have enjoyed the series and the research.

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Announcement: Jeroen Huisman to strengthen European Team

LONDON, AMSTERDAM - December 3, 2012: Proxima, a leading international procurement services provider, announced today that it has appointed Jeroen Huisman as a Client Services Director, further strengthening its continental European client team.

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The changing nature of business (pt 9): Creating a cost-conscious culture

Proxima blog

While 88% of finance leaders believe that their focus on total cost savings has increased, according to recent research, 71% of them are continuing to see indirect costs growing and labor costs shrinking. And yet headcount reductions remain a top priority for cost reductions…

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Director of Finance: Look to operational costs to boost shareholder value

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Guy Strafford, Chief Client Officer of Proxima explains why FD's must look more deeply into how costs are incurred – specifically, non-labour costs.

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Global myths of procurement outsourcing: Myth 3 - PO damages stakeholder relationships

global-myths-of-procurement-outsourcing-v1

Successful procurement outsourcing hinges on a provider’'s ability to successfully engage with stakeholders.  You can have the world'’s best sourcing engine, but it'’s nothing if it doesn’t engage well with the business, and deliver what the business needs.

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Changing nature of business: the implications of non-labor costs

Guy Strafford, Proxima’s Chief Client Officer, discusses recent research findings: Non-labor costs outstrip labor costs by more than five times.

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The last thing on your mind could be the most profitable

Why reducing non-labor costs has a far greater impact on profitability than headcount reduction.

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Changing nature of business: who is responsible for cost management in an organization?

Guy Strafford, Chief Client Officer at Proxima, discusses recent research findings: How third party cost management is fundamentally a leadership issue.

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Today's economic models need a rethink

Exploring why today’s economic models are unable to offer clarity in the face of recent global economic events.

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Today's businesses spend more on third party costs than labor

Guy Strafford, Proxima’s Chief Client Officer, discusses our recent research findings: Today's businesses spend significantly more on third party costs than labor.

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Cost management: lessons from the Sales department

Guy-New

Having spent some time at ProcureCon, it is good to be reminded that many organizations have got over the initial challenge of getting good spend data. Quite a number of CPOs referred to having got to grips with this early in their tenure. However, I think that this is only the start of the journey - not the destination.

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What the UK can share with America...

Guy-New

This month's roundup of news and views from around the world was significantly dominated by business, political and natural happenings within North America. However, recent research within the UK might aid in clearing some of the fog that lies ahead for large corporates going into 2013.

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The changing nature of business (pt 8): The rise of the shareholder

Proxima blog

In 2011, JP Morgan published a report showing that shareholder activism in companies worth more than $1.6 billion / £1 billion increased by 90% in the first three quarters of the year. Without meaningful change in performance expected in the immediate future, executive remuneration in particular is likely to remain a highly contentious issue.

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Sector spotlight: Energy (pt 1) – the rise and rise of an industry

Proxima blog

In response to a new Ofgem report, warning that the high level of spare capacity in the UK electricity market is "“set to end quite rapidly over the next few years"”, UK Energy providers have begun to hike their prices, spurring the UK governments interest around Energy conservation.

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The changing nature of business (pt 7): You can’t shrink your way to greatness

Proxima blog

When a company announces a swathe of cost reductions, there are two ways investors can look at it. Many might cheer: management is making savings - and that means they’re shoring up earnings. But there’s a different way to see it.

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Global myths of procurement outsourcing: Myth 2 - the ROI from procurement outsourcing is insufficient

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Research by Horses for Sources from June 2012 identified that 29% of organizations have limited interest in outsourcing procurement due to the Return On Investment (ROI) being not compelling.

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Sourcing Interests Group: Why the global approach to procurement has failed. And how to fix it.

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Critical Eye: The hidden cost of business

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Global myths of procurement outsourcing: Myth 1 - ROI comes from cost reductions

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Following on from my introductory post in the Global myths of procurement outsourcing series, this post dives into the first myth - that ROI from procurement outsourcing comes from reducing the cost of running the function.

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The changing nature of business (pt 6): Benefits of the P-PEP Index

Proxima blog

Earlier this week we introduced the Proxima Profit Enhancement Potential (P-PEP) Index which provides companies with a benchmark for their cost management investments.

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Spend Matters UK/Europe: Proxima - a view on procurement outsourcing from across the Atlantic

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The changing nature of business (pt 5): Introducing the Profit Enhancement Index

Proxima blog

We'’ve already seen how non-labor costs are 4.8 times higher than labor costs. But our analysis of FTSE 350 data also reveals the potential enhancement to profitability that can be brought about by proportionally lower reductions to the non-labor cost base.

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Global myths of procurement outsourcing: New series introduction

global-myths-of-procurement-outsourcing-v1

In this post (part 1 of our latest series), I would like to offer a simple definition of ‘'procurement outsourcing'’ and set the scene for why Finance, and other business leaders, should be placing a greater emphasis on managing their cost base.

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The changing nature of business (pt 4): Sources of profitability

Proxima blog

Our research shows that in the FTSE-350, labour consumed on average 12.9% of revenue in 2011.  In contrast, non-labour costs consumed 68.3% of revenue. The difference between these two percentages suggests that bringing non-labour and third-party costs under greater control represents an opportunity for leaders to make more meaningful improvements to their profits than the traditional focus on labour cost.

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Spend Matters US: Procurement BPO with a category and customer-intimate twist (part 3)

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Why labor isn’t working (as a way of boosting struggling earnings)

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Apple is the world'’s largest company - and happily, for those who care about such things, it'’s both an innovator and a manufacturer. A symbol, if you like, for progressive capitalism in the 21st century: neither pure-play service business nor industrial-age dinosaur.

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The changing nature of business (pt 3): Who’s really responsible for cost management?

Proxima blog

If you talk to a CFO about '‘costs'’, you'’ll be listened to.  It'’s clearly the CFO’s area of responsibility.  Yet if you talk about '‘procurement'’ to a CFO, in most cases you will get very little air time.  And yet, they'’re the same thing.  How has this situation come about?

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New research - "an absolute must read for everyone in procurement"

Guy-New

New research, the £10 billion ($16 billion) profit opportunity, highlights the opportunity to boost growth and protect shareholder value in the face of stagnating revenue streams. Peter Smith of Spend Matters dubbed the report an "absolute must read for everyone in procurement" – we are also hoping it is a "must read" for any business leader concerned about the management of costs within their respective organizations.

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Proxima to analyse findings from major research study in online webinar session

LONDON - 10 October 2012. Proxima, a leading international provider of   procurement services, invites you to an online presentation and discussion around its recent research study, The £10 billion profit opportunity on 21 November 2012.

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Spend Matters US: Procurement BPO with a category and customer-intimate twist (part 2)

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The changing nature of business (pt 2): Economics remodelled

Proxima blog

Economic models use a sequence of assumptions and simplifications to describe how the world works - or more specifically to explain human behaviour.  Recently, economic models have received a bashing for their inability to accurately offer clarity around major global economic events.  Putting another nail into modern economics seems a slightly vindictive task, as there are so many nails in there already it is hard to know where to put another…..  But I’'m going to have a go anyway.

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Outsource Magazine: Is procurement outsourcing finally about to take off?

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Actually, the problem is not so much the “is it about to take off?” aspect of the question. It’s more the definition of “procurement outsourcing”. 

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New series: the changing nature of business (introduction)

Proxima blog

Management teams across the globe are filled with MBA-carrying executives - so let's assume they're all '‘smart cookies'’. Yet in the simple area of cost management, there are some very illogical behaviors going on in large corporates.

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Spend Matters UK/Europe: Procurement ROI: the right metric? (part 1)

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NEWS ALERT: “No savings – no fee” model fails to deliver. Again.

coin-thinking-question-mark

The recent news that Somerset County Council is in litigation with the IBM-led Southwest One consortium* has prompted me to dust off a blog I wrote a year ago condemning contingency fees models as a way to engage with a third party.

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Spend Matters US: Procurement BPO with a category and customer-intimate twist (part 1)

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Spend Matters UK/Europe: Proxima report emphasises the importance of procurement

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Supply Management: Focus on indirect costs, not job cuts, to boost earnings

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Be wary of very high ROIs in procurement

Guy-New

I’'ve had numerous conversations with CPOs in my time who have said they are very proud of achieving a 10x, 20x, or even 30x ROI on their team cost.  And research has claimed that world class procurement functions achieve a ROI twice as high as the average. But both of these measures are not only far too simplistic, they are misleading and are forcing the wrong behaviors in our business leaders. And here'’s why...

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1% drop in operating costs could unlock more than £10 billion in profits for the FTSE-350, study finds

LONDON - 18 September 2012. More than £10 billion in annual profits could be unlocked for FTSE-350 companies through just a one per cent reduction in operating costs, a study has found.

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The £10 billion profit opportunity

£10_profit

How smarter cost management can help the FTSE 350 delight their shareholders

Business has changed. Since the last major recession, we’ve seen the rise of globalisation, the internet has become all-pervasive and assumptions about the strength of our financial systems and governments brutally undermined. Management teams can no longer rely on the tried and tested methods for working through a tough economy.

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Financial Times: Earnings lift bigger from non-labour cuts

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Horses for Sources: Matthew Eatough approximates his US strategy

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Spend Matters UK/Europe: A good news week for Proxima, procurement outsourcers

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The changing nature of a business' cost base

Guy-New

As summer draws to a close, we see business and economic leaders returning to work and we can all be grateful that the Paralympic Games are staving off the effects of potentially damaging post-Olympics blues. I suppose it is worth beginning with a question. Has anything changed over the summer.

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Understanding strategic vs tactical procurement outsourcing

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Research undertaken by Proxima & NelsonHall found that many procurement outsourcing engagements, when led by the CPO, are tactical in nature (single categories, short term, department focussed). Conversely, outsourcing engagements are far more strategic (longer term, business focussed) when the CFO or even CEO are involved.

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Proxima signs procurement services contract with CSM for management of third-party expenditure

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - 4 September 2012.  Proxima, a leading provider of end-to-end procurement services to global, blue-chip corporations, today announced that it has signed a strategic procurement services contract for third-party expenditure with CSM.

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40,000 years of outsourcing

Guy-New

As I write this, five days into the Olympic Games, the pinnacle of global sport and the spotlight on London is well and truly switched on. The reality, of course, is that the City has been in the spotlight for some time now, but this past month has shown what's good in our business community and where we sometimes let ourselves down.

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Does your procurement function exist to deliver savings? Then you’re doomed...

cost-management

I am surprised by just how many people, including senior executives of many blue chip organizations, think that the purpose of procurement is to deliver savings. And it’'s evidenced by the performance of many procurement functions being measured predominantly on a savings metric. But this is an out-dated way of doing business. Think about it logically: budgets are not spent to achieve a saving. So procurement is misaligned to the needs of the stakeholders they serve if they are targeted on achieving savings.

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Soaking up the Olympic atmosphere at Proxima HQ

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As we descend into Olympic madness, we decided to join the feverish sense of patriotism, joining the rest of Central London this morning to cheer on the Olympic Torch as it passed by Proxima HQ.

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Obama v Romney: make v buy

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Outsourcing / BPO / Offshoring / Near Shoring / Right Sourcing / Right Shoring / Jersey Shoring… all of these terms, bar one, have become synonymous with the negative stigma (often hyped by sensationalist media owners) of sending local jobs to low cost, developing countries to be computerized/industrialized as much as possible and then resold back to the initiating business.

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Research excerpt: Perceived benefits of procurement outsourcing

Guy-New

In this excerpt from our Enhancing and Redefining the Role of Indirect Procurement series, we look at the benefits of procurement outsourcing (PO) in the minds of CFOs and CPOs and how both communities perceive PO as a strategy to support the wider business.

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Global concerns over increasing market uncertainty

Guy-New

With the summer break around the corner, I write once again amid very mixed outlooks. Political and economic headwinds of varying velocities and natures are creating a number of distractions on both sides of the Atlantic, which continue to dampen down the prospects for meaningful growth.

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Powering your business through procurement outsourcing

part3

This whitepaper, which is the third and final whitepaper in the series, investigates outsourcing as a strategy to augment existing capability, enhance expertise and enable procurement to power your business.

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Proxima increases annual client spend under management by $3 billion at the half year

LONDON & CHICAGO, June 25, 2012: Proxima, the leading procurement services provider, today announces that it has secured several major new client assignments during the first half of 2012, including significant new arrangements in the US, and several contract renewals.

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Driving commerciality through customer satisfaction at Daily Mail

DMGT

Nick Jenkinson [NJ], Head of Procurement at A&N Media (the B2C division of Daily Mail and General Trust) discusses procurement's changing proposition from process hungry ‘road-blockers’ to customer focused ‘Commercial Enablers’.

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Huffington Post UK: New outsourcing destinations emerge as companies cut costs

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Supply Management: Profession of choice campaign

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Volatility may be procurement’s best friend

Guy-New

Having just read the data revisions suggesting the economy shrank faster than thought, it might make a change to start with some good news for once.

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Does the SAP / Ariba deal signal the end of AP outsourcing?

value

The SAP / Ariba deal sent shock waves across the procurement community - prompting mixed reactions. Some practitioners are concerned about the impact of a virtual duopoly on the market, while others are embracing the benefits that are inherited from the combination of two market leading procurement technology platforms.

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Supply Management: Procurement profession needs more entry-level positions

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It may be the Jubilee weekend, but who is your 'king'?

experience and knowledge relationship with business

As we here in the UK prepare for a long-weekend full of festivities in celebration of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee (marking 60 years on the throne), I began to reflect on the importance of experience and knowledge particularly as it relates to business.

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'Shareholder Spring' presents silver lining for procurement

Guy-New

The opportunity to deliver enhanced shareholder value remains, even amid darker storm clouds.

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Reducing marketers' scepticism of procurement's value-add

value

A few articles have begun to crop up around procurement's relationship with various business stakeholders (their customers) - with finance being a primary focal point. However, another pot has begun to bubble from discussions heating up around the value procurement teams' can deliver their marketing department.

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Driving Fujitsu’s growth agenda: aligning business supply with business development

fujitsu_logo

Andrew Croston (AC), Chief Procurement Officer (UK and Ireland) at Fujitsu discusses how building business-wide communication, collaboration and relationship strategies into the functions overall operations, procurement has been able to act as a true partner to finance, operations and business development teams – embedding itself into the very core of the business.

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Overcoming M&A challenges through centralisation

a-story-of-supply-management

Deloitte have published a high-level report, on what North America’'s top finance executives are thinking. This post takes a look at how CFOs can potentially overcome some of the growing challenges associated with new M&A activity during a sluggish economy.

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How your business can apply more intelligence to the budgeting process

Guy-New

Over recent months there have been several articles written on the topic of Finance and Procurement coming together for the greater good. Following on from this theme, this post looks at what value Procurement can bring to the overall budgeting process.

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Predictions for procurement in 2022

Procurement predictions

Part of our job as a service provider is to think about the future of procurement, so that we build solutions to problems organisations don'’t know they have yet.  I want to share with you one major change we predict will occur over the next 10 years.

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Understanding the wants and needs of the North American CFO

Understanding the North American CFO

The need for Procurement to better serve their Finance colleagues has never been greater. However, one of the biggest challenges lies in educating Finance in how procurement can help power business - and I stress business. Procurement needs to be having business conversations with its stakeholders - not procurement conversations.

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Q1 in review: A need for innovative cost management

Guy-New

The first quarter of 2012 has come to a close, but familiar challenges persist. This post, taken from our latest e-newsletter, looks at some of the themes which clients and many others have raised with us, and from which we have drawn a number of observations.

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Right To Play: Proxima gold rush for Right to Play charity

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Can better cost management really improve profitability?

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Many UK businesses are facing deteriorating financial performance as a result of challenging economic times. Now, more than ever, the focus on cost management is at an all-time high as business leaders try to safe guard profits while maintaining competitiveness and generating value for stakeholders.

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Is indirect procurement following the path taken by the HR function?

Guy-New

An excerpt from our upcoming whitepaper takes a comparative look at the HR business partner concept and the changing role of indirect procurement.

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Do you feel procurement is under-appreciated & under-invested in your organisation?

chris-gayner

Our recent research has found that, in many cases, the traditional procurement skill-sets drive the direction of a procurement function - focussing on year-on-year savings. Too little focus is on influencing behaviours and achieving alignment between procurement and the business units.

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The 2012 Budget – were there any real winners?

Guy-New

I find the days and weeks around the Budget a singularly extraordinary time of year.  Perhaps inevitably, I approach the budget from the perspective of how it will affect our clients and partners, but, given the breadth and range of sectors our teams cover, this encompasses a great deal.

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A sure bet for better business at Ladbrokes

ladbrokeslogo

Clive Rees (CR), CPO of Ladbrokes (a leader in the global betting and gaming market) discusses the changing role of procurement in supporting mergers and acquisition (M&A), enhanced SRM and a much greater focus on understanding the overall business.

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Iron Maiden, Margaret Thatcher & coming of age at the 2012 CIPS Annual Dinner

Tom-New

Some highlights and stand-out moments from the highly successful 2012 CIPS Annual Dinner.

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Media & entertainment: the rapid pace of media formats

Tom-New

I thought I would share with you a great animation which shows how media formats have evolved enormously over the last 30 years...

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Procurement outsourcing - powering business improvement

Guy-New

The rebranding process we have recently gone through has given us amazing insight into the relationships we enjoy with our clients, and I'm very thankful for everyone's support and well wishes during the change. It has also enabled us to reflect on what our clients and the wider business community want and need from a procurement outsourcing partner.

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Why businesses struggle with indirect procurement

why_do_businesses_struggle

This whitepaper, the second in a series of three, examines why many businesses fail to drive maximum benefits and efficiencies out of their indirect expenditure.

Proxima, in conjunction with NelsonHall, ran a research study (involving 120 FTSE 100 CFOs and CPOs from UK, Europe and North America) to investigate the perceptions, attitudes and desired outcomes of Indirect Procurement to catalyse a common sense that procurement could and should play a greater role in most businesses.

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ING Direct: Refocusing on the core - a CFO perspective

ING_direct_logo

Feike Brouwers (FB), former Chief Financial Officer for ING Direct discusses his role in bringing the distressed UK business back afloat during the financial crisis, Barclay's acquisition of ING Direct and how cost management is a top priority for all involved in financial services.

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Survey: UK business performance and cost management

Guy-New

We are launching a brand new research and invite all to participate. The study aims to examine the implications and impact of cost management for UK business performance.

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buyingTeam becomes Proxima today

LONDON, UK – 20 FEBRUARY 2012.  Proxima, Europe’s leading procurement services provider, has today completed its brand transition and its new online presence is now live.

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Horses for Sources: More P's and less Zzzz's - say hello to Proxima

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Proxima expands into North America as it opens Chicago office

CHICAGO, IL – 13 FEBRUARY 2012. Proxima, Europe’s leading procurement services provider, has today announced the latest step in its expansion plans with the opening of its first office in the United States.

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Business Reporter/The Sunday Telegraph: Firing on all cylinders

The-Sunday-Telegraph

Cost management is a priority for every business. Procurement outsourcing can offer a number of benefits, including visibility and control of costs

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The face of Proxima: an overview of our new creative elements

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Week two into our transition to our new brand at Proxima, we continue to hear positive feedback and comments. Today we thought we would offer some insight into the creative aspects of our new brand identity.

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Banking fees: a bigger problem than banker's bonuses?

Guy-New

It is around this time of year that the earnings of individuals in the financial services sector come under close scrutiny and, following the storm whipped up by those of Stephen Hester, CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland, this year promises to be examined more sharply than most.

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Proxima: the rationale behind our new brand

Guy-New

On Monday 30 January 2012, buyingTeam announced that it was transitioning to a new brand name and identity - Proxima. I have received an influx of commentary around the new name and I thought I would take some time to explain the rationale behind the Proxima brand name.

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Spend Matters: Procurement outsourcers buyingTeam become Proxima

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Change in the procurement services sector as buyingTeam becomes Proxima

LONDON, UK - 30 JANUARY 2012: buyingTeam, Europe’s leading provider of end-to-end procurement services, announces today that it is to transition to a new brand and, from 20 February 2012, will be known as Proxima.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: buyingTeam to become Proxima

LONDON, 30 JANUARY 2012: buyingTeam, Europe'’s leading provider of end-to-end procurement services, announces today that it is to transition to a new brand and, from 20 February 2012, will be known as Proxima.

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Costs and cash: a new directive for today’s CFO

Guy-New

Deloitte has just released the findings from their latest CFO Survey.  Not surprisingly the results were pessimistic to say the least. The report identified that the single strongest priority for 50% of CFO respondents, who ran UK facing businesses, was to reduce costs.

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Retail's best kept secret

Retail's best kept secret

Today's post is an excerpt from our latest whitepaper focusing on the very uncertain and very volatile world of Retail.

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Outsourcing procurement at Universal Music brings commercial flair

Guy-New

Universal Music and Proxima teamed up at ProcureCon to present the rationale for outsourcing procurement and what the experience was like from Universal Music's perspective.

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Card charges and the consumer – the true story

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Over the last few days a lot of airtime has been given to the government’'s “"crackdown”" on "“excessive charges"” levied by airlines, other retailers and even the government'’s own agencies to process payments made by debit and credit cards. Consumers, championed by Which, have been rightly up in arms about the fact that these charges seem to bear little relation to the costs incurred and that these organisations appear to be profiteering from these extra fees.

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Redefining procurement series: Procurement outsourcing (part 5) – inhibitors and benefits

chris-gayner

As we approach the end of another year, so too we approach the end of our Redefining Procurement Series. In this post, our final post for 2011, we will look at the potential inhibitors and ultimate benefits of looking externally for procurement support.

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2011 in review and predictions for 2012

Guy-New

Before we dive into our end of year review and given 'tis the season of sharing and being thankful, I (on behalf of everyone here at Proxima) would like to thank each and every one of you for your support and contributions to our e-newsletters, our website and our vision of a world in which procurement has been redefined - from a decentralised, tactical function to a strategic business partner.

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Retail's best kept secret

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Achieving sustainable profit improvement through better management of GNFR costs

A major opportunity lays relatively unknown and under-exploited for many UK retailers - that is, sustainable profit improvement through better management of GNFR costs.

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Supply Management: 2011, the year of disruption and the unexpected

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A wrap up of 2011 - covering high-impact events, the global economy and increasing business uncertainty plus some predictions and forecasts for what is in store over the next 12 months.

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Purchasing & Supply Magazine: Redefining procurement (part 2 of 3)

Purchasing-and-Supply

Proxima discuss how far off we are from Procurement as an indispensable, strategic partner of the business.

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Proxima's Guy Strafford appointed to Board of CIPS

LONDON, UK - 28 November 2011. Proxima, Europe’s leading procurement outsourcing specialist, is pleased to announce that Guy Strafford, Chief Client Officer, has been appointed to the Board of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS).

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10 reasons why gain share fee models should be avoided

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Gain share fee models (otherwise known as contingency fee models, or 'no-win no-fee') initially appear attractive to organizations when seeking to engage with a procurement services provider (PSP).  However, they are frequently the road to ruin.  A closer inspection of such fee models shows why.

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UK retail: will history repeat itself?

a-story-of-supply-management

It is no secret that UK Retailers are having a tough time at the moment. Although year-on-year sales have increased 0.6%, consumer and business confidence is still low as we enter the festive period. The most recent sign of deteriorating confidence was M&S' announcement that it plans to make suppliers contribute towards its own £600m refurbishment programme.

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CIO: Cost cutting - surely we should be done with it by now?

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Redefining procurement series: Procurement outsourcing (part 4) – the marketplace

Conventional-Procurement

My previous post, in the Redefining Procurement Series, took a comparative look at the options available to business leaders for managing indirect expenditure more effectively - with outsourcing coming out as a very viable option. Today's post will quickly review the global procurement outsourcing marketplace.

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Defying commercial logic - a question of priorities

Guy-New

Recently, I have noticed that in certain industries, the accepted norm contradicts logic. Large businesses have an opportunity sitting within their businesses to improve their bottom line through better management of costs. But to date the accepted norm is to not take advantage of procurement.

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Supply Management: Digital marketing just one part of an overall strategy

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Redefining procurement series: Procurement outsourcing (part 3) – your options

Conventional-Procurement

Last week's post, in the Redefining Procurement Series, discussed why you should even consider outsourcing procurement. The post finished with the challenge most procurement teams face when looking to drive maximum efficiencies and value out of indirect expenditure. This post will take a comparative look at the options available for managing indirects effectively.

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Redefining procurement series: Procurement outsourcing (part 2) – why outsource procurement?

Conventional-Procurement

Our previous post in the Redefining Procurement Series offered a brief overview of successful Procurement Outsourcing and how it differs from the traditional BPO we have grown to know. This post looks at the fundamental question of why outsource procurement at all?

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Current perceptions of the indirect procurement function

final_Enhancing_and_redefining

Proxima conducted a research study, in association with NelsonHall, involving 120 CPOs and CFOs from global FTSE 100 businesses to understand the perceptions, attitudes and desired outcomes of Indirect Procurement within business today.

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Purchasing and Supply Magazine: Redefining procurement (Part 1 of 3)

Purchasing-and-Supply

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Supply Management: Time to give SMEs a chance?

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Working with SMEs, as opposed to larger companies, can certainly have its advantages. Smaller companies tend to place greater value on your business

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Outsource Magazine: Optimal procurement outsourcing

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Procurement outsourcing, which has been predicted for many years to take off, is finally moving into the mainstream. More and more large organisations are waking up to the fact that significant improvements to the bottom line are possible through improved management of non-core or indirect expenditure (otherwise known as GNFR in the retail sector). As top-line growth is hard to come by in the current economic climate, the opportunity is simply too good to ignore. Read the top ten tips to consider when embarking on your procurement BPO journey.

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Supply Management: Indirect procurement is ‘a sexy place to be’

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Research excerpt: Indirect procurement function needs to increase its coverage of indirect purchasing

Guy-New

A brief research snippet and commentary, around indirect procurement's coverage, as we prepare for our Enhancing and Redefining the Role of Indirect Procurement research study presentation.

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Procurement research excerpt: Procurement's role as a strategic partner

Guy-New

Some more research tid-bits leading up to the live presentation of the findings and results from our latest Enhancing and Redefining the Role of Indirect Procurement research study.

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European Business Review: Outsourcing, debunking the myths and unveiling the realities

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Proxima explains that there are firmly entrenched misconceptions that surround outsourcing, and they are holding many companies back from maximising the potential benefits from this fundamentally important tool.

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5 Reasons why consortia buying is a poor solution for indirects

coin-thinking-question-mark

I thought I would briefly share some thoughts around limitations and pitfalls of consortia buying for Indirect (i.e. Non-Core / GNFR) Categories.

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Redefining procurement series: Procurement outsourcing (part 1) - overview

Conventional-Procurement

My most recent post in the Redefining Procurement Series talked about how outsourcing has risen to be a key element in how businesses operate today. I will now discuss one specific type of outsourcing - Procurement outsourcing, (also known as Procurement BPO).

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Procurement research excerpt: Current management of indirect spend

Guy-New

Following our latest Enhancing and Redefining the Role of Indirect Procurement research study, I will be commenting on various snippets taken directly from the research.

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Translating the benefits of procurement for internal stakeholders at BP (part 2)

bplogo

The first part of our interview with Andrew Collopy [AC], Global Procurement Director, Downstream at BP concluded with a discussion around communicating the benefits of procurement internally and reducing stakeholder scepticism. Part two continues the internal validation conversation plus looks at how procurement can breakaway from it's typecast as a tactical buyer.

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In the news: procurement and the Stock Market

Guy-New

With rising fear of another Lehman's Brothers episode, how can procurement influence the stock market?

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Redefining procurement series: Outsourcing

Conventional-Procurement

We are quickly approaching the end of our Redefining Procurement Series, with the final chapter focussing on Procurement Outsourcing. Today's post aims to set the scene for the subsequent posts in the final chapter.

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Pragmatic procurement at WPP (part 2)

WPP-logo

In the first part of our interview Tom Kinnaird [TK], Head of Commercial and Procurement Service at WPP concluded with a lengthy discussion around talent management. We now delve deeper into the procurement life cycle, stakeholder engagement and being seen as a value adding operation.

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Spend Matters: Procurement outsourcing (4 part series)

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Friday response: 16 ways to successfully influence change

Guy-New

Dom Del Borrello, Client Director in the Melbourne office of Vantage Performance has recently published a thought piece around change management - highlighting 8 ways to influence change. I thought I would bring 8 additional ideas to the table.

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Proxima relocates in Leeds

LEEDS, UK - 12 August 2011. Proxima, Europe’s largest procurement outsourcing specialist, announces that it is relocating its Leeds office to 1 East Parade, Leeds, LS1.

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Rioting - a new chapter for UK retail

a-story-of-supply-management

If the past 18 months have not been hard enough for UK retailers, this last week of rioting and looting has added insult to injury.

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Spend Matters: Outsourcing’s role in procurement’s journey towards the heart of business

Spendmatters300

Proxima give a high level glimpse into the journey procurement is embarking on in today's business - and the role outsourcing will play.

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Proxima's Ian Thompson elected CIPS Councillor for South East Region

LONDON, UK – 8 August 2011. Ian Thompson, Managing Director Support Services at Proxima, Europe’s largest procurement outsourcing specialist, has been elected to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply’s (CIPS) Council. Elected by CIPS members to represent the South East, Ian’s three-year term as councillor will run from November 2011 to October 2014.

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Turning the traditional BPO model on its head

Guy-New

A lesson in customer experience and the rise of near-shoring.

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Redefining procurement series: Strategic planning (part 2)

Conventional-Procurement

 

Part one discussed the importance of strategic planning and some tools that can be used in developing your strategic plan. We now look a little deeper under the surface and dig into the actual make-up of your procurement operation.

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Pragmatic procurement at WPP (part 1)

WPP-logo

Tom Kinnaird [TK], Head of Commercial and Procurement Service at WPP discusses how applying a pragmatic approach to procurement can achieve high levels of compliance and improve stakeholder engagement.

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Redefining procurement series: Strategic planning (part 1)

Conventional-Procurement

Over the past few months, I have used the catch-phrase '‘strategic business partner' repeatedly -– looking at developing the capabilities within the procurement operation around leadership, stakeholder engagement, communication and talent management.

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Media’s growing fascination with procurement

Ron_New

During times of boom in the media sector, effective procurement was a ‘'nice to have'’. Now, it is playing an essential role in enabling operators to face challenges, survive and thrive.

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Friday response: measurement of procurement outsourcing success

Conventional-Procurement

Prerna Dhawan, Assistant Manager at The Smart Cube asked (via Linkedin) "any KPIs or metrics that can be used for tracking the performance of a service provider?"

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In the news - clippings from the week ending 15 July 2011

Guy-New

Shared characteristics of CFOs and CPOs; The procurement outsourcing supply market

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Investment in the future: procurement and investment banking

Guy-New

While investment banking has been somewhat off limits to purchasing professionals, applying procurement disciplines to this area can add significant value to a business.

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Supply Management: Investment in the future

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Redefining procurement series: Managing risk

Conventional-Procurement

Surrounded by business closures, law suits and a plethora of compliance / regulations, many C-level executives have reprioritized risk mitigation and aversion tactics much higher up their agendas. Increasingly, given that virtually anyone in an organisation can purchase something, there is a growing need for procurement to get involved in big ticket items as well as educating stakeholders about the impact of risk on business objectives.

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Balancing cost reduction with future demand at Siemens

siemens-logo

Dietmar Harteveld [DH], Director of Indirect Material for North West Europe at Siemens discusses how functional calibration and deep stakeholder engagement can help drive savings today and help understand where tomorrow’s value is really coming from.

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Procurement's impact on business performance according to Symington's

symingtons-logo

Sarah Bradley [SB], Purchasing Director at Symington's, discusses the key challenges for the Manufacturing Industry and Procurement's impact on Business Performance.

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In the news - clippings from the week ending 8 July 2011

Guy-New

A recent article in the BBC has advised that Santander has brought its call centres back to the UK from India following complaints coupled with rising costs of property, salaries and accommodation.

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Friday response: procurement - what is the true cost?

cost-management

Small marketing agency perspective on the arrival of the 'super-procurement' team.

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Industry insight: Oil and energy

microscope-and-globe

The surge in crude oil prices driven by tension in Libya has forced many organisations, that are high consumers of oil or reliant on oil, to look further across the energy sphere towards alternative energy options.

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Redefining procurement series: Bottom line impact

Conventional-Procurement

If I can, for a moment, direct your attention back to one of my previous posts around reducing stakeholder scepticism. The post talks generally about how to better engage with your stakeholder, gaining their buy-in, enabling you to increase your influence over their budgetary decisions. This is the first step towards being seen as a strategic partner of the business.

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Friday response: educating marketing on procurement

Guy-New

Procurement education begins with relationships!

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Proxima signs long-term procurement outsourcing contract

LONDON, UK – 30th June 2011. Proxima, Europe’s largest procurement outsourcing specialist, announces it has signed a long-term procurement outsourcing contract with global energy provider BG Group.

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Rise of the digital consumer

graph-results

The impact of e-commerce and technology on brick-and-mortar retailers and their supply chains.

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Redefining procurement series: Talent management (part 2)

Conventional-Procurement

My last post in the Redefining Procurement Series closed with the question "“who is this business partner and where do they come from -– someone inside the business or external to the organisation? From a procurement background or not?"”. This is actually part of a much wider question of - how are organisations, post economic crisis, structuring their procurement operation?

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Leveraging an innovative purchasing operation at LaFarge

lafarge-logo

Paul Harridine [PH] VP Purchasing for Europe at LaFarge discusses how an innovative Purchasing operation can deliver value, more than just savings, back to the end customers of the business.

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The future of procurement

Conventional-Procurement

The 'Vision 2020' report is clearly a well researched and insightful piece of analysis by Ariba, but what does the future hold for procurement professionals?

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In the news - clippings from the week ending 24 June 2011

Guy-New

I thought it worth sharing some comments on a few clippings that landed on my desk over the past week.

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Retail Week: Ten secrets of a happy supplier marriage

retail_week_300x300

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Falling sales: increasing profit from the bottom(line) up

chris-gayner

With recent reports that sales volumes dropped 1.4% between May and April this year, it is clear that customer’s willingness to spend is still battered as we emerge from the economic recession.

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Redefining procurement series: Talent management (part 1)

Conventional-Procurement

My past 2 posts in the Redefining Procurement Series were focused around the need for procurement to develop high levels of Stakeholder Communication Skills. However, the fact of the matter is there is a shortage of people with the right skills and experience to successfully communicate with the wide variety of stakeholders that exist within any business. Given your average category manager’'s role is to go out into the market and get the best value for money, there is no wonder the internal communications element has fallen by the wayside.

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In the news - clippings from the week ending 17 June 2011

Guy-New

I thought it worth sharing some comments on a few clippings that landed on my desk over the past week.

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Redefining procurement series: Stakeholder communication (part 2)

Conventional-Procurement

My most recent post in the Redefining Procurement Series placed procurement as a hub within the business highlighting interconnectedness with other key stakerholders. We will now delve into the thrilling second part, looking at developing stakeholder buy-in (we will focus on developing buy-in from individuals in the next post).

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The strategic development of procurement: A view from Grant Thornton

grant-thorton-logo

Oliver Colling [OC], Head of Financial Management and Effectiveness at Grant Thornton discusses Procurement's journey, following the footsteps of Finance and HR, towards strategic business importance.

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In the news - clippings from the week

Guy-New

I thought it worth sharing some comments on a few clippings that landed on my desk over the past week.

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Why GNFR (indirects) needs a different approach within retail

coin-thinking-question-mark

Picking up where the UK Retail Series left off last, I asked - given the enormous opportunity that can be had through better management of GNFR within the retail environment, why aren’t GNFR improvement initiatives on every retail Board member’s agenda?

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Redefining procurement series: Stakeholder communication (part 1)

Conventional-Procurement

My last post in the Redefining Procurement Series finished by stating that the key to being a great leader is understanding your stakeholders needs and drivers and adapting your approach and metrics to their unique needs. With this established, we now need to understand how procurement can (and should) engage with the various departmental stakeholders and forge close working relations.

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Getting back to procurement basics at William Hill

william-hill-logo

Karen White [KW], Group Procurement Manager at William Hill talks about the need for procurement to get the fundamental basics right and communicate the business benefits better.

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Where is the value in better management of GNFR for retailers?

coin-thinking-question-mark

Following on from my first post in the UK Retail Series (in which I asked how can UK retailers look to safe guard themselves over the coming 2 years?), I would now like to look a bit closer at the importance of the supply chain.

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Overcoming forecast uncertainty and volatility at Innocent Drinks

innocent-logo

James Davenport [JD], Finance Director at Innocent Drinks discusses the challenges today's FD's face in light of increasingly volatile markets and procurement's role in alleviating some of that volatility.

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Redefining procurement series: Relationships and building trust

Conventional-Procurement

Up to now, our Redefining Procurement Series has looked at procurement'’s trajectory towards a leadership role within an organisation and touched on the who, what, when and why. Now we will look at the how - how can procurement be seen as a leader, an influencer, an advisor and a trusted/respected strategic business partner?

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Spotlight on the UK retail sector

Microscope

I have recently read with great interest the latest Ernst & Young ITEM Club report, which forecasts UK consumer spending growth rates slowing to 2.0% p.a. until 2020, which (no doubt) will have major implications on UK retailers top-line growth figures

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SSON’s European Shared Services & Outsourcing week: final thought

microscope-and-globe

Pensively looking back at SSON’s European Shared Services & Outsourcing Week, a thought crossed my mind.

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Redefining procurement series: Becoming a great leader

Conventional-Procurement

For many years the procurement community has been talking about how it’'s about to get a seat at the board, yet somehow it hasn’t got there yet - why?

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Translating the benefits of procurement for internal stakeholders at BP (part 1)

bplogo

Andrew Collopy [AC], Global Procurement Director, Downstream at BP reflects back on the challenges associated with validating procurement's benefits to internal stakeholders.

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The 2011 European Shared Services & Outsourcing week event wrap up

a-story-of-supply-management

Proxima recently attended SSON’'s European Shared Services & Outsourcing Week to find out how high procurement really is on the outsourcing community'’s agenda and what the opportunities are for greater focus on procurement within global business services.

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Achieving higher ROI with fewer people at AXA insurance

Axa-logo

Stephen Wills [SW], Director of Group Procurement at AXA Insurance discusses how strategic business partnering allowed AXA to achieve more savings as a ROI year-on-year, while reducing absolute head count.

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Redefining procurement series: Understanding leadership

Conventional-Procurement

Who is responsible and accountable for leading procurement's charge towards the board room?

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Supply chain finance and procurement at Coca Cola

Coca-Cola_logo

Frits Van Zijdervelt, VP of Finance, European Supply Chain at Coca Cola Enterprises, discusses the intertwined roles of procurement and the greater supply chain.

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Redefining procurement series: Procurement as a strategic business partner

Procurement as a strategic business partner

Looking back over the past three years, UK Plc (as well as global business) has seen some radical changes in light of the economic crisis - most notably how cash flow and costs are managed across the business.

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Research Live: A new deal?

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Contracts, courage and change: Procurement as a leader

IACCM-logo

Tim Cummins (TC), President, International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) in a recent interview, discusses procurement’s role in proactively leading the charge towards the boardroom… and not waiting for a golden invitation.

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Redefining procurement series: Introduction

Redefining procurement

Procurement as an indispensable, strategic partner of the business - how far off are we?

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Industry update: procurement's new role in pharmaceuticals

Procurement's role in pharmaceuticals

Coming off the back of what was a turbulent year for everyone in the pharmaceutical industry, not only were poor economic conditions forcing everyone to batten the hatches, but new stringent regulatory hurdles and looming patent expiration dates have caused the entire industry to look inwards and either insulate or expand.

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A finance perspective of procurement within pharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca

astrazeneca-logo

An interview conducted with David Powell (DP), Senior Director of Global Finance Processes, AstraZeneca discusses how Procurement has gone from being the poor cousin, to a partner at the heart of business decision making within AstraZeneca.

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Bank charges should face procurement’s scrutiny

Guy-New

The amount paid to bankers will continue to be a hot topic while we wait for more of the banks to report their 2010 results. But less time is spent on why investment banks in particular continue to be able to pay large bonuses, and the implications for UK and global plc.

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What does procurement outsourcing mean?

Guy-New

A recent article, what's in a name, discusses how 'procurement outsourcing' has come to mean different things.

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Time to give SMEs a chance?

Time to give SMEs a chance?

Prime Minister David Cameron recently promised to increase the government’'s network of suppliers from the SME community. So what are the possible benefits and drawbacks of this new approach?

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The evolution of procurement - stay four steps ahead

Guy-New

How procurement needs to evolve - communication, coaching and commercial skills.

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Formula of net benefit

Guy-New

It is tempting for buyers to respond to current market demand for cost-cutting by focusing solely on the savings. But this approach may be detrimental to the longer-term health of the profession.

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Supply Management: Bank charges should face procurement’s scrutiny

Supply_management_300x300

The amount paid to bankers will continue to be a hot topic while we wait for more of the banks to report their 2010 results. But less time is spent on why investment banks in particular continue to be able to pay large bonuses, and the implications for UK and global plc.

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Indirect procurement is changing - are you?

Conventional-Procurement

To start with, lets get some clarity around what ‘indirects’ are - also known as ‘non-core’ and ‘Goods Not For Resale’. All these names are negative, nondescriptive words. None capture the true meaning of this spend.

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What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Procurement has come a long way in the past 20 years, but the journey is far from complete. As it heads down the path to success, could its name run the risk of throwing it off track?

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Amid the cuts, Local Authorities can’t have it both ways

Guy-New

Last week, 90 Liberal Democrat councillors wrote to The Times remonstrating about the speed and direction of Government spending cuts.  They argued, understandably, that their already ongoing spending reduction programmes had gone overlooked by Central Government and that its annual three per cent budget savings stood at odds with “"runaway”" spending on Whitehall.

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Pan-european savings delivery - procurement's holy grail or can of worms...?

Pan-european savings delivery

The challenge for indirects - Companies with operations across a number of different countries are facing new and increasing challenges in indirects. Indirects are hard enough to handle in just one country, but addressing them in many geographies, simply makes the challenges of the variety of suppliers, diversity of stakeholders and the multiplicity of processes even harder.

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Universal Music renews award winning procurement partnership with Proxima

LONDON, UK – 01 March 2011. Proxima, Europe’s largest procurement outsourcing specialist, today announced the renewal of its partnership with Universal Music UK, signing an extended three-year contract worth in excess of US$2 million.

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Direct v indirect procurement - market intelligence survey findings and whitepaper

direct-v-indirect-procurement-whitepaper

The purpose of this research was to find out the perceived differences between the procurement of direct and indirect products and services. It has revealed some fascinating results for procurement professionals.

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The Business Travel Magazine: Signs of the times

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The Business Travel Magazine: Loyalty pays... or does it?

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European CEO: Demystifying outsourcing

European_CEO_300x300

Guy Strafford, Chief Client Officer at Proxima explains for such a widely adopted business process, outsourcing is often misunderstood. Many business professionals are failing to appreciate the potential benefits.

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CIO UK: Reducing printing and paper budgets through managed services

CIO_magazine_300x300

Printing costs account for between one and three per cent of any company's expenditure. Managed services can reduce printing and paper budgets significantly.

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CFO Europe: Change of fortune

cfo-europe

Now can be the time to re-evaluate outsourcing contracts, writes Tim Burke

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Outsourcing Center: Helping companies buy better

Outsourcing_center_300x300

Most people don’t negotiate or buy particularly well. If they did, Tiffany’s wouldn’t exist.

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Sourcing Focus: Public sector efficiency targets - outsourcing's angel or demon?

The UK chancellor announced £15 billion of efficiency savings to be made over the next three years.  For organisations such as the NHS, this announcement will have significantly increased the weight on managerial shoulders. 

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