AI: the value in cognitive procurement

AI: the value in cognitive procurement

Joe Temple Blog, Procurement

4C Associates’ Joe Temple considers the applications of AI in procurement. How much does it cost to store a gigabyte of data?  In 1980, the answer would have been hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In 2017, the figure is closer to one cent.  Improvements in computing efficiency have made it much cheaper for businesses to store and process data.  Thanks …

Do soft skills trump qualifications?

Do soft skills trump qualifications?

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement

Milan Panchmatia considers whether procurement departments should be focusing on recruiting candidates with soft skills over those with academic credentials. Few would argue that hiring a candidate based purely on their academic achievements is a good idea. Anyone who has managed a team knows that multiple elements need to be taken into account before recruiting someone. This is especially true …

Likely bedfellows - Procurement and Innovation

Likely bedfellows – Procurement and Innovation

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement

4C Associates’ Milan Panchmatia explores the complex and evolving relationship between procurement and innovation. The word ‘innovation’ is overused. It has become one of the cornerstones of corporate jargon and in doing so has lost much of its meaning. To innovate means to do something new. That does not necessarily refer to a completely new product, but also to finding …

What do monopolistic suppliers have in common with top-level footballers?

What do monopolistic suppliers have in common with top-level footballers

Alfred Morris Blog, Procurement

The issue with monopolistic suppliers and top-level footballers is the perception that under changing circumstances they have the power to dictate terms. Many of us will have seen our clubs held to ransom by one of its superstars and a few of us seen a similar situation at our organisations by that one tricky supplier. In this context, how can …

Procurement fraud – are we being complacent?

Procurement fraud – are we being complacent?

Philip Joss Blog, Procurement

As fraudsters get better and better at targeting businesses, 4C’s Philip Joss considers the gravity of the issue and looks at what counter measures can be employed to minimise risks. Procurement fraud is a difficult area for many organisations to tackle. This is not only due to the ever-growing array of threats facing businesses, but also the sheer magnitude of …

How procurement can drive internal collaboration

How procurement can drive internal collaboration

Mark Ellis Blog, Procurement

4C Associates’ Mark Ellis examines how procurement can reap the benefits of joining forces with other functions within the enterprise. When it comes to driving and extracting value within an enterprise, much is made of the need for procurement to work more closely, collaborating and partnering with key suppliers. However, there are many examples of organisations which have invested in their …

Businesses in the age of the internet of things

Businesses in the age of the internet of things

Jeremy Smith Blog, Procurement

4C Associates’ Jeremy Smith considers how the internet of things is changing the way businesses and consumers interact. The internet of things is not a new concept. The idea of countless devices connected to each other via the web has been around since the late 1990s. In fact, Kevin Ashton, Executive Director of Auto-ID Center, coined the phrase in 1999 during …

Finding value in the tail end

Finding value in the tail end

Robin Agarwal Blog, Procurement

4C’s Robin Agarwal examines the benefits organisations can uncover by taking a closer look at tail spend Many have discussed Indirect spend tail management and the benefits that it can deliver to companies. However, having worked in Direct materials and services procurement with numerous businesses, we have first-hand experience that Direct tail spend is frequently mismanaged as well. The reason? …

Achieving procurement leadership through external services

Whitepaper: Achieving procurement leadership through external services

4C Associates Procurement, Whitepapers

In this whitepaper, we look at why and how the use of external support and bought in services or resource has become so critical for procurement leaders. The range and complexity of what is expected from leaders now means that no procurement function can meet all the demands put on it without making good use of external resources, whether that …

Procurement's key role in exposing the hidden cost of currency fluctuations in contracts

Procurement’s key role in exposing the hidden cost of currency fluctuations in contracts

Mark Boswell Blog, Procurement

Mark Boswell, Senior Manager at 4C Associates considers the steps Procurement should take to understand and forecast pricing impacts due to currency fluctuations. Over the past 12 months’ sterling has fallen by over 20% versus both the US dollar and the euro. The decline really gathered pace post the UK’s June 23rd EU referendum result with the pound slumping c15% …

Procurement implications for environmental, social and governance

Procurement implications for environmental, social and governance (ESG)

Charlotte Wales Blog, Private Equity, Procurement

With limited direct impact on the commercial bottom line, environmental, social and governance is still viewed as a concern only for organisations struggling with public perception and looking to build their ethical or green credentials. The reality, however, is that all organisations must now consider the long-term ramifications of ignoring these corporate health assessments, where both unnecessary or unmeasured risk …

Putting procurement at the heart of the business

Putting procurement at the heart of the business

Mark Ellis Blog, Procurement

Mark Ellis, Managing Partner at 4C Associates considers the steps the function needs to take if it is to drive strategic business decisions. Procurement has come a long way in the past few years. In some enterprises, the function has gone from being seen as ‘blockers’, ‘bean counters’, ‘policy enforcers’ and ‘enemy of innovation’, to being viewed as a strategic …

Why would anyone want to be a CPO?

Why would anyone want to be a CPO?

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement

Rising risk levels, a lack of relevant skills and managing transition – Milan Panchmatia explores why anyone would choose to be a CPO. As procurement’s role evolves, this needs to be reflected in way it operates within the business. Savings and other traditional measures of success remain important, but no longer encompass everything the function brings. Delivering value – be …

Commodity Risk Management

Commodity Risk Management: Connecting the Arab spring, Manchester United and JFK

Philip Joss Blog, Procurement

Spring 2011: Prince William was getting married to Catherine Middleton, the Arab spring was dominating geo-politics, Portugal was being bailed out by the EU and Manchester United were winning the English Premier League. This was also the peak of the last commodity cycle. Unlike the financial collapse of 2008 (the previous commodity peak) it was not clear during 2011, or …

Why procurement has to stop only talking about ‘savings’ and focus on strategic value

Why procurement has to stop only talking about ‘savings’ and focus on strategic value

Jeremy Smith Blog, Procurement

A look at why the procurement  function needs to move beyond pure cost cutting and better publicise the leadership and revenue growth opportunities it can bring to the boardroom. It’s no secret that procurement was one of the few functions to emerge triumphant from the financial crisis. Leading businesses faced with increasingly uncertain forecasts found themselves reliant on optimising cost …

The future of marketing procurement

The future of marketing procurement

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement

Marketing is one of many functions which was put under growing pressure following the economic crisis. As a result, many businesses have seen increased collaboration between procurement and marketing. The latter needing an ally in the quest to maximise value and the former enjoying a more strategic role within the business. But what’s next? How can a forward looking business …

Changing the perception of facilities management

Changing the perception of facilities management

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement

I’ve written before about the challenges of getting more young people involved in strategic procurement and many of points I made apply to facilities management. The main issue I highlighted is the continued perception of procurement as a cost saver and not a strategic business partner and problem solver. Part of the problem is due to the way in which …

Is this the death of marketing procurement-

Is this the death of marketing procurement?

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement

This was the topic of this week’s webinar hosted as a debate between 4C and Spend Matters. The contention from Spend Matters’ Managing Editor Peter Smith was that following the demise of marketing procurement within PepsiCo all marketing procurement might be doomed. Peter, as we all know is a persuasive speaker who really knows his procurement, and he contends that …

How to incentivise suppliers

How to incentivise suppliers

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement, Supply Chain

In an economic climate where many businesses need to do more with less, procurement functions are increasingly looking to uncover new ways to incentivise their suppliers. Incentivising suppliers to deliver improved performances is not a new concept in the world of procurement. However, with an increasing number of businesses facing tighter margins, it is an area which certainly merits investigating. The …

Attracting best talent to procurement

Attracting the best talent to procurement

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement

Procurement is finally starting to get some of the recognition it deserves, but we need the right talent to make sure it keeps evolving. The challenging economic climate that we have experienced for the past few years has seen procurement make the step up from being a cost saver to a strategic partner. Whereas the function was once viewed as a …

Death of the generalist- Is this true for marketing procurement-

Death of the generalist? Is this true for marketing procurement?

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement

As PepsiCo announces the dissolution of its global marketing procurement department, 4C Associates’ Milan Panchmatia & Emanuel Modrovic examine the rise of the specialist In many sectors, a traditional career path will see someone work their way up through the ranks, over a period of time. As they continue this upwards trajectory, the expectation on them will be to take …

Effective Contract Management or compliance nightmare-

Effective contract management or compliance nightmare?

Andrew Davidson Blog, Procurement

I was recently reminded of the importance of running an effective contract management system when I was invited to do a contracts audit. This should have been straight forward, the company had an established governance standard defining what should and what should not be present and a team of capable procurement professionals The findings of the audit were eye opening. …

Talking programmatic buying with your Media Agency

Talking programmatic buying with your media agency

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement

There is, I believe, an inevitability that programmatic buying will play a larger part in your media buying landscape over time. The level of efficiency it brings as well as speed of response is likely to drive part of the agenda in the majority of media pitches. As with all procurement activities, understanding the subject matter and mechanics of how …

The art of negotiation

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

Despite the growing number of procurement functions embracing tactics such as SRM, traditional supplier negotiations still have an important role to play. Anyone not working in procurement would be forgiven for thinking the majority of work carried out is based on SRM and innovative collaborations. It is rare to read an article or attend a conference without hearing about procurement’s …

The secret to successful e-auctions

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

How can procurement make sure it’s getting the most out of the e-auction process? Historically, e-auctions were designed to ensure the best prices for commonly used low cost goods such as stationary or component parts. However, the practice has since evolved into an important asset in procurement’s toolset and can provide exceptional value when applied in the correct circumstances. A …

Marketing and procurement – making the relationship work

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

A challenging economic climate has seen many marketing departments put under increased pressure to optimise spend and reporting. Marketers across the globe have found themselves with little option, but to turn to procurement for support. In many companies this “mandatory” collaboration has led to a blossoming relationship. I do not doubt that many marketers were sceptical when they first began …

Turning more CPOs into CEOs

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

As procurement takes on a more strategic role, we examine what’s next for the function and how CPOs can make the move to CEO. A bleak economic landscape combined with a global financial crisis saw procurement take on a key role in many businesses’ growth strategies. With traditional growth patterns being undermined across many industries, CEOs turned to procurement to …

What can public and private procurement functions teach each other?

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

Many of those working in procurement think that public and private purchasing functions operate in different universes. They equate working in the public sector with red-tape and rule books and the private sector with freedom and innovation. Whilst this might be true to some extent, there are lessons to be learnt from both sides. The main difference between public and …

Predictions for 2014

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

Prediction one: Developments in procurement Jeremy Smith General – 2014 will be the year which will see organisations move away from short-term cost reduction approaches and become more mid- to long-term in regard to supply security and SRM, to control prices in a more collaborative approach with their suppliers. This is because it will be the year when suppliers start to become …

If the UK withdraws from Europe, what will be the impacts on UK procurement prices and practices?

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

Referendum Since the Prime Minister’s announcement of his intention to hold a referendum on the future of the UK’s relationship with the European Union, questions around the impact of a possible change have seldom been far from the minds of businesses and the media alike. But what would the impact be on procurement? Although it is possible that the UK will continue …

Contracts in volatile markets – Ocean freight procurement in 2013

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

Since the start of the recession the ocean freight market has become increasingly volatile. Slowing demand from shippers and increasing supply in space due to new vessels in the market have led to very low rates. Counteractive measures by carriers have included reducing space as well as pushing for General Rate Increases (GRI’s) to limit their losses. Another round of GRI’s …

UK Energy Market Reform and energy buying

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

Growing electricity demand along with tighter capacity margins, caused by the decommissioning of coal and older gas power stations in order to comply with carbon emissions standards, increased the need to replace and upgrade the UK’s energy infrastructure. To address these issues the UK government has planned the Energy Market Reform, which is estimated to require a public investment of £110 …

The only worthwhile measure of marketing performance is revenue growth

k a Blog, Procurement

4C Associates’ sixth breakfast debate of 2013 focused on different methods of measuring marketing performance. Topics discussed included comparisons of various metrics available, the relationship between sales and marketing performance, and the act of incentivising and managing agencies to deliver first class marketing performance. Peter Marson, Non-Executive Director of 4C, argued for the motion that revenue growth is the only …

Essential ingredients for incentivising advertising agencies

admin Blog, Marketing, Procurement 0 Comments

Measuring the performance of marketing campaigns is crucial for effective long term campaign management and the implementation of adequate incentives for agencies. Campaign, client and business performance should all be measured in order to develop an adequately informed view as all major metrics should be covered. Companies track campaign performance by surveying brand awareness through market research conducted before and …

Why procurement should play a key role in buying external audit services

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

With a recent study revealing that almost a third of the FTSE 100 have used the same auditor for more than 20 years, Antony Ray makes the case for increased procurement involvement. It was not too long ago that legal services and management consultancy were seen as areas which procurement should have little or no involvement in. Thankfully times have changed and …

Controlling external influences in negotiations-the Real Madrid case

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

The current high profile proposed transfer of Gareth Bale is all over the back pages as described by Jeremy Smith back in May 2013, Tactical Negotiation – Gareth Bale vs. Tottenham Hotspur FC. What we are seeing is Real Madrid, the buyer in this case, adopts their traditional negotiation tactic of leveraging their strengths of reputation, glamour and most importantly money. …

Tendering of external audit: the competition commission’s recommendations

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

Procurement has made great progress in recent years in influencing both Legal and Management Consultancy spend. However, procurement’s efforts to help re-negotiate or tendering the statutory auditing requirements have often fallen on stony ground. Lack of competition in the audit industry The Competition Commission (CC) has recently been seeking to address the Office of Fair Trading’s concerns relating to the …

Data driven procurement in the sports industry

Jeremy Smith Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

In the past decade, many professional sports teams have dramatically increased their reliance on Management Information (MI). This data, which includes player specific metrics such as average match speed, distance covered and successful tackles, has proven invaluable to coaches looking to develop game winning tactics. Rugby players, for example, are now tracked via GPS to enable coaches to evaluate an …

Tactical negotiation – Gareth Bale vs. Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

Jeremy Smith Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

The 2012-13 Barclay’s Premier League season saw Gareth Bale become one of the most in demand footballers in Europe. Players, pundits and managers alike lavished praise on the Welshman and he was awarded a number of honours including PFA Players’ Player of the Year and most recently Football Writers’ Player of the Year. His club, Tottenham Hotspur, is keen to …

Two sides of the same coin: traditional vs. budget airlines

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

During the past decade the rise in number of low cost carriers has generated significant interest from a number of businesses looking to reduce travel expenditure. However, as the distinction between legacy and budget carriers becomes increasingly minute, travel buyers have to look beyond simple pricing metrics to determine best value. Meeting Half Way A number of flagship airlines have …

Tall travel tales: improved processes needed to track travel expenses

admin Blog, Procurement, Travel 0 Comments

A recent survey carried out by Concur, revealed that one tenth of UK based employees exaggerated their travel expenses in 2012. The study, which was completed by 1,200 workers, also found that 28 per cent of those working in large private companies felt that overstating expenses was acceptable. In stark contrast only seven per cent of those who filed expenses over …

What do incumbent suppliers have in common with Luis Suarez?

Jeremy Smith Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

The underlying issue of long term contracts is that changing circumstances may render terms unappealing to one, or even both, of the relevant parties. In this context, how can the buying party ensure a certain level of control? In this post, I have turned to the lucrative world of football for inspiration. Benching Nasri The Premier League has seen several …

Benchmarking is crucial to cost leadership

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

Setting challenging KPIs for your business is all well and good, but needs to be done in line with what your competitors are achieving. Many companies are happy to set themselves internal savings and efficiency objectives which result in incremental, year on year improvements. Whilst this approach can provide significant benefits, aligning the process with what similar companies have achieved …

Five tips for getting procurement and marketing together

admin Blog, Marketing, Procurement 0 Comments

As many companies look to freeze marketing budgets, Steven Sargent examines how procurement can help maximise value. The latest IPA Bellwether Report has revealed an increase in marketing expenditure of just 0.1 per cent for the first quarter of 2013. This reigning in of spend could well prove problematic for marketing departments faced with mounting advertising costs. As a function dedicated to ensuring …

Effective Performance is not Dependent on Qualifications

k a Blog, Procurement

4C Associates‘ first debate of 2013, focused on the benefits of qualifications versus experience. Andrew Cox, Chairman of Advisory Board & Vice-President at International Institute for Advanced Purchasing & Supply, argued against the motion, whereas Tina Greer, Managing Partner at 4C Associates, debated for. Effective Performance is not Dependent on Qualifications Hiring managers agree that the key to selecting candidates, …

Legal Services 2.0

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

The section of the Legal Services Act (LSA) which allows for law firms to operate as Alternative Business Structures (ABS) came into effect in October 2011. In terms of ownership, this legislation means that for the first time non-lawyers are able to own and invest in law firms. Riverview Law, one of the first firms to take advantage of the …

Disruption in the music industry

admin Blog, Innovation, Procurement 0 Comments

Everyone is aware that sales of music CDs have been falling steadily for some time. Sales figures for physical albums in 2012 reveal a drop of 20 per cent, compared with the previous year. Digital sales, on the other hand, continue to grow. Despite this, CDs, DVDs and video games still represent 75 per cent of the market. This situation raises a …

Predictions for 2013

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

Prediction one: Cost leaders will continue to set the pace Ed Ainsworth With slow growth being forecast throughout much of the western world, companies which adopt a cost leadership approach are those most likely to succeed. This strategy, which entails becoming the lowest cost producer in an industry, for a certain quality of product, has been successfully adopted by a …

Nate Silver “The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’t”

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

Nate Silver, a statistician and political forecaster at The New York Times, first achieved fame in 2008, when his forecast for the US presidential election proved more accurate than most mainstream polls. He repeated this feat again in 2012, when he successfully predicted the election results in all 50 states. In “The Signal and the Noise”, Silver examines a variety …

Public sector cutbacks and private sector competition

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

As 2012 comes to an end, 4C Associates looks back at some of the predictions made earlier this year. Tina Greer considers prediction number 11: “Public Sector decline will increase competition in the private sector.” In the wake of government budget cuts, businesses which rely on public contracts have been forced to turn to the private sector to increase revenues. Recently I …

Temporary agency labour billing increases

admin Blog, Procurement 0 Comments

A recent study, issued by Markit, has revealed that for the first time this year, the billing of temporary agency labour has gone up. The report was released to coincide with the anniversary of the Agency Worker Regulation 2010 (AWR), which provides increased protection for temporary agency workers in the UK. Many expected the legislation, coupled with the financial climate, to …

Can Procurement Drive Strategic Business Decisions?

k a Blog, Procurement

Given the current financial climate, cutting costs and maximising efficiency have become key priorities for many businesses. As a result, the procurement function has not only gained in visibility, but also in strategic importance. In this context, 4C brought together a selection of professionals from several sectors to determine whether procurement can drive strategic business decisions. Jamie Ogilvie-Smals, Director at …