Recent topical events have offered new perspectives around the work we do for our clients.

First there was the recent activity around the mandatory audit rotation reform. Then came the horse-meat scandal. If you couple these with our own research into how modern companies spend two-thirds of their revenues with third parties, a picture quickly builds into the state of spending behaviors in large corporates - and how poorly it is aligned to corporate aims. 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).

But what should we be doing about it?

Well, perhaps the best place to start is to accept that a new perspective is needed. A perspective which focuses on understanding why your organization is spending money, rather than how much it is spending. After all, 'how much' depends on why the money is being spent in the first place. Feike Brouwers, former CFO of ING Direct, in a recent interview advises that the true value procurement can offer is "an understanding of what is driving a particular spend pattern… where the demand is coming from and how can it be managed effectively".

Whilst the underlying theme here is transparency, wider issues of control, assurance and ultimately accountability of supply is increasingly becoming a board level agenda item.

So a good place to start to help with this thinking is ask yourself this question: how much 'horse-meat' is there in YOUR supply chain?

Guy Strafford
Chief Client Officer

Quick links

Banks seek agility, transparency and transformation from procurement

Interview: A sure bet for better business at Ladbrokes

Leadership challenge: protecting enterprise value - not just cutting costs

Procurement as a catalyst for business growth - not there YET

Strategic vs tactical procurement - getting into the senior execs mindset

How to boost profits to invest more in the 'customer experience'

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Banks seek agility, transparency and transformation from procurement

Former Chief Financial Officer of ING Direct, explains how he finance and procurement need to work together to create better visibility and transparency around cost and cost management.  Feike Brouwer explains that the role of the CPO has become much more sophisticated over time and that the new value this role can offer any business is a true understanding of what is driving a spend pattern, where demand is coming from and how to manage it effectively.

Click here to read more

Interview: A sure bet for better business at Ladbrokes

Ladbroke's CPO, Clive Rees, discusses the changing role of procurement in supporting a merger and acquisition, driving greater value from suppliers and how to ensure there is a constant understanding of the overall business.

Click here to read the interview

Leadership challenge: protecting enterprise value - not just cutting costs

The challenge for corporate leaders today, is finding and employing innovative means of protecting enterprise value - not just cutting costs. Our research reveals that businesses spend, on average, two-thirds of their revenue on non-labor costs - 68.3% in 2011. This far outstrips their collective labor costs, which averaged just 12.9% of their revenue. Yet traditional cost cutting measures such as headcount reduction are still seen as the best way to tackle cost. This raises a number of questions around how businesses are ensuring their cost base is being effectively managed.

Click here to read the research and commentary in full

Procurement as a catalyst for business growth - not there YET

Positioning 'Procurement' (in the minds of senior executives) as a catalyst for bottom and top-line growth often requires an augmentation of capabilities (greater focus on account /stakeholder management), access to best-in-class tools, technologies, processes and deep, up-to-date knowledge in all areas in which the business spends its revenues. In most cases, this is simply not attainable without either a significant investment into the in-house team or looking outside the business for support.

Click here to learn more about the external procurement market

Strategic vs tactical procurement - getting into the senior execs mindset

An interesting discussion is brewing around the comparison of tactical and strategic procurement as a corporate directive. Business leaders (particularly CFOs) are asking: why are CPOs hesitant to look externally (to the procurement service provider market) as a means of attaining a more strategic, business mindset (vs a traditional procurement or sourcing mindset)?

Click here to join the discussion

How to boost profits to invest more in the 'customer experience'

Retailers are still facing a tough time as a result of poor economic conditions. Ensuring a heightened level of customer experience has remained a top priority for many as they look for other areas to reduce costs or manage cash flow. Our work at a FTSE100 retailer took this on board as we looked to transform GNFR without hindering the strategic directive of customer experience.

Click here to read the full story

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Proxima Video

Critical business costs are no longer 'people costs'
In the press
The curious double-act of CEO-CFO
Source: Critical Eye
Stop riding the labor roller coaster
Source: SIG (Sourcing Interests Group)
Earnings lift bigger from non-labor cuts
Source: Financial Times (UK)
Firing on all cylinders
Source: The Sunday Telegraph
The 'Celebrity' of CEO salary
Source: Chief
Proxima - a view on procurement outsourcing from across the Atlantic
Source: Spend Matters UK/Europe
Standing on the edge of the cliff: Cut costs, not jobs
Source: Business Finance
Proxima: Procurement BPO with a category and customer-intimate twist
Source: Spend Matters US
Careers at Proxima
Procurement Advisor (IT)
Cwmbran, Wales

Procurement Advisor (Generalist)
Santa Monica, US

Senior Procurement Specialist (IT)
London, UK

About Proxima

Proxima takes full responsibility for handling an organization's third party cost base - on an actively managed, long-term basis.

Over the last 20 years, large organizations have externalized their cost base, thanks to specialization and a trend to outsource.  As a result, the conventional approach to procurement is no longer able to effectively service an organization's needs.  For example, conventional procurement has traditionally focused obsessively on savings. But savings do not necessarily mean that money is being spent well in the first place.  In today's economy, how well you mobilize your suppliers, drive innovation and manage risk in the supply chain can materially impact long term profitability.

At Proxima we approach procurement differently: first spend well, then save well.

We work closely with our clients to improve business performance by making procurement deliver more, providing a complete procurement solution that enables them to change the way they think and operate. It's this change that ultimately delivers long-term business success.

We accomplish this by:

  • Offering business solutions for procurement challenges
  • Providing market expertise - up-to-date and on-demand
  • Winning hearts. Changing behavior
  • Delivering more than you thought possible
  • Never being satisfied with the status-quo

Procurement has traditionally been an under-valued and under-developed business resource. At Proxima, we proved time and again that by focusing inwards on behaviors and aims as well as outwards on vendors, procurement can have a hugely positive impact on an organization's bottom line. 

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