“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.
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.
The Internet of Things - challenging human behaviour
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.
3 reasons social media is important to procurement
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.
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”.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One world, one business model – the impact of globalization
I was chatting to a management thinker the other day – a former CFO, as it happens – and he said something so compelling, yet so simple, that I was 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.”
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.
Panel session to discuss HBR article; Corporate Virtualization
Following on from our recent Harvard Business Review coverage, I’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.
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).
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 upcoming webinar). But are the smart ones just copying the companies that have always understood that this is a key source of value?
Proxima clients nominated for a Procurement Leaders Award
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.
Harvard Business Review recognizes today's leaders cannot afford to downplay procurement
I am 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.
Benefits for media & entertainment companies from better supply management
With the average media & entertainment business spending twice as much on suppliers than on its own people, I thought I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2014 the year of 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.
Top 5 tips for managing your virtualized/extended enterprise
‘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.
Why are businesses failing to get the most out of their non-core costs? (pt 3)
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, I will discuss why businesses need to approach procurement in a completely different way.
Why are businesses failing to get the most out of their non-core costs? (pt 2)
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, I explore three further points, namely the necessary skills, knowledge and perspectives required to effectively manage non-core procurement.
Why are businesses failing to get the most out of their non-core costs? (pt 1)
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, I would argue, the problem lies in five very different areas, which we’ll explore below.
Outsourcing is NOT offshoring – why procurement outsourcing needs an alternative approach
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.
The Competition Commission and statutory audit – a lot of sense and sensibility – part 2
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.
The Competition Commission and statutory audit – a lot of sense and sensibility – part 1
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.
Catalytics: the end of the unhealthy obsession with savings
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.
3 ways Dutch businesses can get more value from suppliers – part 1
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.
One year on: an even more compelling case for smarter cost management
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.
Corporate virtualization - 100 years in the making
This year 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.
Today's growth is fueled more by suppliers than internal staff
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.
Infographic: Ever wondered about global business’ spend patterns?
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.