The need for a new approach to complex, global supply ecosystems
Customers are punishing companies they no longer trust. Research conducted by Proxima revealed that 45% of consumers would stop spending with a company whose supplier practices were called into question.
accountingWEB: Five tips for more 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.
Harnessing supplier insight to spot crises and opportunities
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?
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.
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.
The digital debate - are digital budgets being wasted?
The importance of being able to assign tangible ROI to a multi-faceted marketing campaign that uses both traditional and digital methods is a top priority to brands, according to participants on our recent digital marketing panel discussion.
Buyers Meeting Point: Webinar notes - The Digital Disconnect
Buyers Meeting Point outline the highlights from the digital disconnect webinar, available here. Webinar panelists Mark Simester, Marketing Director at Warburtons, Charles Ping, Chief Executive at Fuel, and John Butcher, Marketing Specialist at Proxima outlined in the webinar how procurement can play a role in better managing digital marketing spend.
An executive's guide to driving better commercial outcomes from digital marketing
The digitization of media has created a plethora of new opportunities for companies to better communicate, connect and deliver goods and services to the world. However, in this fast moving environment, how many are investing in the right digital tools and channels to support key business objectives?
Up to 60% of global marketing budgets being wasted every single year
LONDON, UK - 3 August 2015 - New research by procurement services provider Proxima, finds that spend on digital marketing such as search engine optimisation, mobile apps and video-on-demand services in 2015 is failing to deliver the value companies should expect. With 50% of total advertising budgets in the UK (totalling around £7.9bn), and around 30% in the US (around £32.9bn) being spent on digital marketing, poor commercial management means brand and commercial content is not reaching the right audience.
Quite often, we use this blog to discuss the increased reliance companies have on their global network of suppliers – the notion of corporate virtualization - and the importance of carefully managing suppliers and understanding their behavior and ethics. We have seen and written about many circumstances in which a supplier-related failure or business behavior has impacted a company’s reputation or bottom line. In many ways, company and supplier have become one, with the lines between the two increasingly blurred.
Leading businesses see procurement as a value, not a function
It’s not often that a story about new supply chain management software becomes a feature in a publication as respected as The Wall Street Journal. For that to happen, the deployment of said software has to represent something much more significant or herald a trend of highly compelling proportions.
The length of a relationship between marketing agency and client is often a relatively accurate measurement of a successful partnership. Though every agency-client relationship is structured differently, particularly now with so many specialist agencies in the market, recent studies suggest a typical contract length is in the vicinity of three years. That’s not a very long time, particularly when compared to the typical relationship length between company and legal representation or company and auditing firm (and also when taking into account the time it takes to on-board a new agency).
Media Post: Viewability + fraud = you're wasting a lot of money
Media Post explore Proxima's latest research into The Digital Disconnect, highlighting why global businesses are wasting up to 60% of digital marketing budgets on ineffective digital marketing activity.
US retailer plays chicken with notorious egg supplier
When a major, well-known and generally respected retail brand retains a supplier with a shady track record for food sourcing, it should hardly be a surprise when that supplier drags that retailer into a PR fiasco. In the recent case of a popular US retailer (which stocks everything from cleaning supplies to electronics to groceries), and Hillandale Farms of Gettysburg, the question of “the chicken and the egg” and which comes first is quite a literal one, as it relates to who gets the blame.
For some time, we have been talking about the opportunities for procurement and supply chain specialists to assume larger, more significant roles within their organizations. These opportunities have emerged as the supply chain has become more complex and companies grow more reliant on suppliers to fulfil their respective business promises.
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.
CPOs: Beware false confidence in your procurement function
A recent Deloitte survey of Chief Procurement Officers suggested that more than 50% of CPOs are optimistic about their role and confident in their department’s abilities, but also raises flags about just how much of that confidence is warranted.
New study suggests American consumers intend to punish companies involved in supplier-driven scandals
NEW YORK, NY and London, UK – May 14, 2015 – A newly published survey suggests that companies who are not actively monitoring the business practices of their suppliers, or who are engaged in questionable supplier practices themselves, are placing their reputations and their balance sheets in harm’s way.
Another Chinese supplier drops McDonald's in the fryer
In the latest example of the extent to which a geographically far-flung supplier can negatively impact a corporation’s reputation, we present the case of McDonald’s and their Chinese french fry supplier.
Creating growth opportunities through smarter supply chain strategies
It’s election time. All over the place, actually. General election fever/exhaustion (delete as applicable) is dominating headlines in the UK. And with Hilary Clinton, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul (among others) declaring their 2016 presidential ambitions in the US; and Le Pen family squabbles in the run-up to France’s regional polls, democracy is headline news all over the world.
Spend Matters: How change management can change procurement for the better
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.
Spend Matters: Influencing change - the solution to procurement's change challenges
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.
Is Microsoft its suppliers’ benevolent benefactor or dictator?
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.”
New US legislation takes aim at 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.
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.
Proxima secures $40m in new contracts and sees significant growth in procurement consultancy services
LONDON, UK and CHICAGO, IL – February 23, 2015 – Proxima, a leading international procurement services provider, announced today that the company has kicked off the year by securing $40 million in new contracts and has increased its spend under management by a further $1.5 billion. Additionally, the company is turning its attention to growing its procurement consultancy services in response to demand from clients who are continuing to recognize the contributory value of procurement operations to corporate profitability and overall organizational health.
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.
Getting your procurement function in shape for 2015
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.
3 reasons procurement needs to focus on winning 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…)
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…)
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?
Year end reflections are usually about the changes that will happen ‘next year’. 2015 will be the year when (insert as appropriate!) will finally take off... But this year, we first want to reflect on the year gone by. It’s hard not to make bold statements about how much procurement and the management of suppliers have come to the fore. Take three examples that have shaped the front page news.
Procurement Insights: Buyers Meeting Point Weekly Update
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.
This round-up of sought after research, articles, webinars and interviews offers some insight into the journey that procurement has undertaken throughout 2014 and offers some thoughts around what might be to come in 2015.
Buyers Meeting Point: Webinar notes - 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.
Commitment Matters: Are organizations incapable of running successful trading 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.
“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.