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The Point

"The Point" is written by BMP Editor Kelly Barner as well as a diverse group of guest contributors.

Recommended Procurement Webinars March 5-9: Optimizing Performance and Value, Digital Transformation, AI for Due Diligence

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Just like last week, this week is light and webinars – and all of the events we have to chose from are on the same day! Next week the pace picks back up, with a number of webinars and two live events already scheduled. If you are interested in a ‘long shot’ webinar worth considering, I recommend “The New Corporate Cash Environment: Understanding Impacts On Financial Supply Chain & Cash Management” from SAPAriba on March 20th at 11am ET. Click on the title of each recommended webinar below to view the full description and register.

BTW: If you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be sure you get my weekly recommendations in your Inbox each Monday.

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Death of a Software Salesman

Death of a Software Salesman

Arthur Miller’s 1949 play ‘Death of a Salesman’ is often listed as one of America’s finest and most influential stage dramas of the twentieth century. It was a tale that conveyed the American Dream but was interlaced with flashbacks that betrayed the contrast between illusion and reality. The Enterprise software sector echoes this drama in numerous ways and shares its inevitable ending.

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Why it is Not Worth Preventing Every Disruption in Your Supply Chain

Why it is Not Worth Preventing Every Disruption in Your Supply Chain

Supply chains are similar to humans—imperfect. Their successes within business plans are a product of accurately forecasting how to survive crises and minimize damage in high-risk scenarios. Balance is the key to surviving most situations. In a supply chain, the accord between supply chain efficiency and risk mitigation can be difficult to achieve.

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Keelvar’s Ability to Handle Complexity Based on Clarity and Simplicity of Purpose

Keelvar’s Ability to Handle Complexity Based on Clarity and Simplicity of Purpose

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Alan Holland, CEO of Keelvar. Based in Ireland, this relatively small company reminds me of the way CombineNet used to fit into the overall solution space – before they were acquired by SciQuest that is. CombineNet was never intended to be the solution that addressed 80-90% of categories, but rather to be high performance enough to handle the requirements and scale of the largest or most complex 10-20%. But I think, to be fair to both companies, that is where the comparison must end.

Holland and I spoke about the Keelvar solution, not in terms of the number of line items it can handle, or the combined data points it can analyze as a result of the umpteen suppliers, items, and bid fields of a large event. We mostly talked about how it might change the way procurement thinks about optimization. After all, there are many more opportunities than just freight or location-based retail that would benefit.

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Webinar Notes: Beyond the Merchandise – Victories in Retail Indirect Procurement

Webinar Notes: Beyond the Merchandise – Victories in Retail Indirect Procurement

This week’s featured event was presented by CombineNet and took us ‘Beyond the Merchandise’ for a look at ‘Victories in Retail Indirect Procurement’. Click here to view the event on demand.

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Webinar Notes: Is Your E-Sourcing Process a Trick or Treat?

Webinar Notes: Is Your E-Sourcing Process a Trick or Treat?

In the spirit of this week being Halloween, CombineNet hosted an event that absolutely wins the award for creativity so far this year. In “Is Your E-Sourcing Process a Trick or Treat?” they walked through best practices for avoiding “rotten pumpkins” (the feeling you get when using an inefficient approach), “spreadsheet zombies” (created when you spend too much time staring at Excel-based bids), and “pitchfork-wielding mobs” (frustrated stakeholders – need I elaborate further?)

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Working Smarter not Harder

Working Smarter not Harder

This week's eSourcing Wiki article is about Guided Sourcing. We have all heard the phrase: "Work Smarter not Harder". With the proper tools and processes, that is certainly the goal and is achievable.

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The Benefits of Optimization

When I was growing up, we had shortcuts to our friends houses in the neighborhood. There was a well worn path through the backyards. Grass did not have a chance of ever growing!!

Everyone loves the benefits of shortcuts. Easier and faster! This week's esourcing Wiki is about the benefits of utilizing optimization. A fancy word for shortcut!

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Optimization: Playing the What If Game

Most of us ask the 'what if' question to ourselves about many of our personal decisions. "What if I eat another piece of cake?" "What if I take this job?" "What if I say yes to.....". For such a small word, "if" carries a lot of weight.

In the use of optimization for your analysis of a procurement bid, using "what if" scenarios also carries a lot of weight. In this week's featured eSourcing Wiki article, we introduced the idea of Optimization. 

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Webinar Notes: Taking Strategic Sourcing to the Next Level at A.P. Moller-Maersk with Procurement Leaders and CombineNet

 

The featured speaker on this event was Jacob Gorm Larsen, head of eSourcing at Maersk procurement. I’m almost always impressed by the key speakers on these webinars, but Jacob is the first speaker that I would absolutely want to work with. You can watch the on-demand version of the webinar by clicking here. If you are interested in doing some additional reading, you can check out our Wiki-Wednesday page on Mathematical Optimization or our blog post on Optimization in the Real World.

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Optimization in the Real World

This week’s Wiki-Wednesday topic is Mathematic Optimization, and that article is the source of all quoted text below. We are covering it because of the CombineNet/Procurement Leaders/A.P. Moller – Maersk event on taking strategic sourcing to the “next level”. For many companies, whether they have implemented a strategic sourcing solution or not, optimization functionality may take a little longer to make use of, both because it is a more complex part of the software but also because the categories that can truly make use of optimization are not low-hanging fruit.

You can read an excerpt from the Wikipedia page on mathematical optimization here, but I am going to take this opportunity to break it down and use examples from procurement/sourcing.  The article starts with a straightforward definition of optimization as “the selection of a best element from some set of available alternatives”.

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