Proxima — See the change

Insight & opinion

 

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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Tender touches for better audits - five recommendations

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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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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

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

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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: 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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