Proxima — See the change

Insight & opinion

 

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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