Proxima — See the change

Insight & opinion

 

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

animated-men

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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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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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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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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Managing cost to generate growth and unlock competitive advantage

managing-cost-to-generate-growth

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

is-that-pork-in-my-moose-lasange

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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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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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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How the 'shareholder spring' should evolve

proxima-insight-and-opinion-v2

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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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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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

global-myths-of-procurement-outsourcing-v1

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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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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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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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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