Our Customer Advocacy program makes your Supplier Due Diligence simple.

Have you ever engaged a new person or supplier in your business or personal life and regretted not doing your homework on them?  It can be a costly error.

Receiving positive feedback, recommendations and testimonials from friends, colleagues and suppliers is always nice but what really tells you what you need to know about a person are the words from paying customers, particularly in a profession like recruitment where many people have had mixed experiences.

Here are a few examples of what my paying customers, people who have used me to help them hire the best possible talent in the digital procurement and supply chain markets, have said about me: 

  • Andrew is absolutely a key expert when it comes to recruiting in Procurement and Supply Chain.
  • Partnership is about mutual trust, and unique value proposition. Andrew is one of these rare businessmen who accomplishes both, building on his Procurement deep knowledge, unique Talent pooling capabilities, establishing long term relationships.
  • I’ve worked with Andrew for almost a decade to identify and recruit numerous roles into BravoSolution and subsequently JAGGAER across EMEA including Marketing, Pre-Sales, Field Sales and Professional Services. In addition to being fun to work alongside, Andrew has deep expertise and a broad network within the Procurement/ Technology landscape – a rare and valuable combination I’m delighted to recommend!
  • A step above the rest, Andrew is one of the best recruitment agents I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Andrew not only knows the procurement industry well enough to advise, he has great intuition for finding great people. Engaging with Andrew was easy, and allowed me to quickly build trust in him and the candidates as we assessed a number of candidates for various presales rolls across Europe. I look forwards to working closely with Andrew again in the future.
  • Andrew will challenge respectfully and operates with high integrity. A pleasure to work with and has intimate knowledge of the SaaS Procurement, AP and Supply Chain market. Adds great value to any Sales Leader engagement when hiring. He was also very supportive when it came to making what was a big decision for me and unlike many in his industry, he gave space to the process. His knowledge of the procurement tech market is a real asset.
  • I’ve had multiple dealings with Andrew over the last five years and what I’ve been impressed about on both sides of the head-hunting fence, is his commitment to providing the best experience for both clients and candidates. He’s thorough, has vast in-depth knowledge of the S2P space, really tries to understand the needs of the hiring organisation as well as the way in which it operates to ensure the person recruited not only has the requisite skills but also will be the right cultural fit.

Andrew has built quite a reputation over the years and is a valued asset in the procurement technology world.

If these sound too good to be true, you can view the people who left these kind words on my LinkedIn profile here.

Here are some insights into the other side of the equation from senior professionals in the sector who I have helped move roles:

  • Andrew’s industry knowledge and professional attitude is what sets him apart from the rest. Every friend, colleague and partner organisation I work with know and use Andrew, and for very good reason. His professional and client network is exhaustive, he has helped me on many occasions, not just personally but also with colleagues.
  • Throughout the process, he was very supportive and ensured that my expectations and skill set were aligned to the role and client’s expectations, this is where I believe Andrew goes above and beyond to ensure success.
  • Always proactive and ready to support, Andrew is determined to ensure his clients’ next career move is a success. I cannot recommend his services highly enough!
  • I’ve always seen Andrew as an Industry peer and long term coach/advisor. I think that’s the difference between regular recruitment and the experience I’ve had with Edbury Daley.

There are more references on my colleagues and I on our website here.

If this is the standard of service you need for your business or to further your own career, please do get in touch with me via andrew@edburydaley.com

Andrew Daley

Director – Procurement & Spend Management

Procurement & Supply Chain Technology Trends – Supply Chain Resilience, Risk and Visibility

We interviewed a series of business leaders from the procurement technology sector earlier this year about the key trends impacting the procurement and supply chain professions. Everyone we spoke to for our Insider report emphasized that supply chain risk and resilience have been the key areas of focus in 2020/1.

Franck Lheureux of Ivalua told us: “The increased focus on supply chain risk and resilience had moved direct spend to the top of the agenda for many companies across the various manufacturing verticals.”

“With planning made much more difficult by increased volatility, it’s very difficult for organisations to make predictions with any confidence. So with CFOs and CPOs facing the challenge of balancing costs versus supply chain resilience when making decisions about offshoring and nearshoring, the 20/80 model that often relies on a small number of large suppliers etcetera, there are significant risks impacting on production capability, cash flow and investment.”

Ivalua’s capability across these areas of spend and their ability to provide their customers with a single source of truth in their data has been vital in aiding the decision making as clients balance the variables in these complex equations. This is a key reason why Ivalua enjoyed a very successful year in 2020.

When people talk about events like Covid accelerating digital transformation, it’s examples like this where Ivalua has made a real difference across its customer base that should be celebrated across the market.

As one widely respected source from Coupa told us: “The industry needs strong competition as it pushes us all to get better and we respect the likes of Ivalua and Ariba for the part they play in that.” The focus on this area was echoed by many that we spoke to.

One consulting leader told us: “What we’ve seen in response to the Covid Pandemic is a much greater focus on managing supplier risk, particularly for those that were exposed by a reliance on business critical suppliers overseas.

Clearly the obvious example of that is those using international suppliers who had major problems earlier in 2020, but focusing on more local supply chains is also a factor for UK based organisations with concerns about the impact of Brexit.”

For solution providers able to offer greater visibility across the supply chain 2020 has seen the market move in their direction with increased demand for their services. Tealbook, a US based specialist providing a ‘Trusted Source of Supplier Data’ has experienced spectacular growth in 2020.

HICX founder Costas Xyloyiannis told his LinkedIn followers that the business had grown fivefold over the year. One of their hires was Steve Cobley, a hugely experienced sales specialist who has spent time at both Ivalua and Coupa.

Steve told us: “We saw companies realise just how vulnerable they are in their supply chains in 2020, particularly those in manufacturing sectors with international supplier bases. For example, if you are sourcing 60% of your materials from China and it effectively shuts down as it did in early 2020 that leaves you in a very difficult situation. That was an alarm call for a lot of organisations and the result of it is driving major transformation.”

In fact, Dun & Bradstreet found that five million companies, including 938 of the Fortune 1000, had tier two suppliers in the Wuhan region in China, where Covid first appeared. Steve Cobley continues: “As a result companies are looking at the diversification of their supplier communities as part of addressing how they mitigate against future global problems like the pandemic. They are also looking at how they get better information to help manage that situation.

For some companies, they may have already invested in cloud based procurement solutions which have helped them enormously but what if their production and planning systems are still on premise and key staff are home based? How do you get full visibility across your operations in that situation? So problems like this are driving the move to cloud, better interoperability between solutions and moving high onto the supply chain agenda alongside sustainability, visibility and risk management.”

There are many more who have told us similar stories. At the heart of all this is a reliance on accurate information to inform decision making. In very simple terms, those manufacturing businesses who have accurate supplier data have benefitted hugely from that in their response to what for many has been a crisis in their supply chains.

It’s clear that firms providing best of breed tools around supplier data saw a significant, in some cases drastic, increase in demand for their solutions in the second half of 2020 and this is driving more hiring in this particular niche of the procurement technology sector.

This article is an excerpt from our Spring 2021 Procurement & Spend Management Insider report. 

Skills Implications – The Rise of Digital and Sustainable Procurement

In our bi-annual Procurement and Spend Management Insider report we have consistently talked about the skills needed for the future of procurement, particularly digital procurement. 2020 saw the rapid rise of the ESG agenda in supply chain and further acceleration of the adoption of digital procurement tools.

Both trends had been around for a while, and are now more interconnected than ever with the rise of businesses like Circulor and Ecovadis, but the pace of change has materially changed in the past year as we’ve seen in this research.

So we are no longer talking about the future of procurement when we discuss digital or ESG because the future is here, and it’s called the present. This is procurement in 2021. You, your teams and your colleagues can either get on board or you and your employer can get left behind as the more agile, digitally enhanced businesses with a clear environmental and social purpose thrive.

In terms of further evidence to support this theory, management consultancy Hackett Group asked Procurement leaders if they recognise a need for more tech-centric roles in their teams. Here are the results:

It is clear from this that roles such as that of Digital transformation program manager are recognised by the leadership community as being important. For many, this function is effectively run by their advisory partners, but on the evidence of those that have specialist in house roles in this area, their management of the advisory businesses, specialist contractors or internal resources are vital to the successful adoption of procurement tools, whether they be full suite solutions or a range of best of breed, specialist tools.

There is now a significant talent pool of people who have undertaken this role on behalf of end users. There are also consultants who would like to go into this sort of position so they could see projects through to completion and ideally push for ongoing pursuit of best practice.

The frustration for the people we know in this space is that there are so few organisations who currently have dedicated in house roles. There is growth in this space but it has been slow so far. We hope and expect that will really start to change now.

The other roles that score heavily in this research like RPA or AI/ cognitive specialists, and data architects are also on the rise but again at a disappointing pace. There is a much smaller talent pool of people who can point to experience in this area dedicated to procurement and supply chain but they do exist.

In each of these areas we hope to see accelerated growth in demand for the skills but it will be constrained by the availability of skills. The answer to that question lies in the ability of CPOs to attract sought after external talent and/or train and develop these skills in house.

The best examples we see involve hiring an expert who has been down this path already in their career who can then influence those around them in a new organisation to become a catalyst for upskilling colleagues and ultimately the function as a whole.

The key is to know who the early adopters are, the companies who have got it right and then understand who their trailblazers are. If you can find a way to attract them into your organisation you can do great things.

It’s a similar story when it comes to identifying people who have been at the heart of innovative projects that have materially changed the impact procurement and supply chain teams can have on environmental and sustainability initiatives. Many of them have joined the wonderful Sustainable Procurement Pledge initiative created by a group of visionary leaders, the growth of which tells its own story.

Looking at the achievements of some of the members of this initiative supports our belief that great hires in these areas can be a catalyst for raising the contribution of procurement and supply chain teams, raising the bar across the function and helping leaders to position their functions at the heart of the sustainability agenda.

If you know which companies are already at the forefront of these initiatives, you can identify the people who can make a real difference to your organisation. It’s all about prioritising your objectives and attracting the talent that will enable you to deliver on those aims.

Procurement Leaders – if this resonates with you then Edbury Daley can help you make real progress when it comes to identifying, attracting and ultimately hiring high performing specialists in these areas.  Please contact Andrew Daley via andrew@edburydaley.com or Peter Brophy – peter@edburydaley.com

If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, perhaps you might be interested in Fairmarkit’s piece that raises some relevant points on this topic –  The hidden threats COVID-19 poses to procurement sustainability

Procurement & Supply Chain Technology Trends – Accelerated Digital Transformation

When the Covid crisis first hit Europe everyone was faced with an unprecedented set of circumstances. Understandably there was an initial move away from major transformation projects as more short terms measures were prioritized.

Franck Lheureux, General Manager EMEA at Ivalua told us that: “2020 saw CPOs have two dominant areas to manage as the focus shifted towards a short term emphasis on savings and analysis of where and why you spend.”

That latter point was echoed by Nadia Law, Client Director at Rosslyn. She said: “The major issues for our clients last year centred around cash flow. There was a shift from ‘what are we spending and from whom? ’ to ‘what and when are we paying?’

Fundamentally, the objective is to understand the future commitments of the business and to prioritise supplier payments to maintain the integrity of the supply chain. For example, some SME suppliers may need more urgent support than others and our solution is able to provide vital insights to support business critical decisions in this area.”

So, it’s clear that companies who had already adopted some of these tools successfully had an advantage through the efficiency in their systems and/or the value of having accurate data to support their decision making. This is supported by Deloitte’s recent CPO flash survey where they reported that “organisations that are thriving (in the pandemic) had higher visibility into both tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers and were twice as likely to prioritize digitization in their day-to-day operations.”

For those that didn’t have the data that gave them the supplier visibility, the events were acting as a potential catalyst for change within their organisations and this resulted in the market becoming much more active in the third quarter of the year as conversations about how to solve these problems with better use of technology really started to increase with customers.

We asked Mo Ahmad, Vice President, Alliances and Channel, EMEA/MEE, at SAP Ariba & Fieldglass what he’d seen change in 2020 from a customer perspective. He told us: “We have seen two particular trends in our market develop over the course of 2020. Firstly some CIOs have taken the view that they need to embrace the transformation agenda more than ever and this has accelerated the process.

“At the other end of the spectrum, you have companies that are fearful of such a big commitment whilst they are fighting for survival. In this community the tendency has been to start small with a solution that can deliver real value, effectively pay for itself and help build the business case to go to the next level.”

SAP has had success offering solutions like Ariba Discovery and Start Sourcing for free or significantly reduced cost to help organisations out and show what they can achieve when they adopt these solutions.

Other solution providers who offer a full suite solution like Ivalua have also had success with the “land and expand” philosophy encouraging customers to start small and build the business case to take the next step by delivering meaningful return on the investment. Mo told us: “In 2021 we expect the market to talk more about this philosophy and SAP will be driving this model as a core part of our business strategy going forward. This will mean agile solutions, delivered faster with a quicker ROI but at the same time connected into the Intelligent Enterprise which gives you the room to expand your operations in the areas where you need business transformation the most.”

Much of Mo Ahmad’s role focuses on working closely with SAP’s key partners who support the implementation and adoption of tools like Ariba. When we asked him what the partner organisations were experiencing, he said: “In terms of Partners, companies need more help. They are leaning on the advisory businesses more than ever to get the results they need. So it’s not just about the solution, they need the advice and experience to reap the benefits and deliver the value that justifies the investment.”

This is a view shared by consultancies themselves. Speaking to a senior leader from one of Coupa’s key transformation partners, we were told that companies generally fall into two brackets when it comes to adoption: “There are those willing to embrace the full transformation agenda and adopt a full suite solution like Coupa and others that are more risk averse, or possibly have smaller budgets, who are adopting the solutions module by module, ideally justifying the investment by demonstrating value before moving to the next step. Either way, there is certainly some stimulation to digital procurement and supply chain from the events of 2020.”

Fred Akuffo of specialist Supply Chain planning consultancy Olivehorse offered a similar view. “What we’ve seen in 2020 is an acceleration in organisations moving to the cloud, particularly for solutions that support integrated business planning (IBP). One reason is the simple practical problem of employees accessing old, clunky on premise systems from home but the others are more around speed, agility, efficiency and opportunity to drive profitability from superior systems.”

Covid hit at a time when there’s been a revolution in the capability of systems to address issues around supply chain maturity and resilience in a more proactive fashion enabling people to ask, ‘how can we do this better?’

That thinking has pushed more companies to explore alternatives to their current systems and whilst they probably would have gone this way eventually, the unique problems caused by Covid have accelerated the process for many organisations.”

Besides the practical benefits of cloud over on premise, what has driven this? In some cases it’s fear of getting caught out by this sort of crisis again in the future. For others it’s the need to stay competitive in the face of changing market conditions and possibly more agile competitors gaining competitive advantage over them. As Fred Akuffo said: “Procurement and supply chain leaders can’t wait days to make decisions whilst planners evaluate hundreds of lines of Excel information and different potential scenarios. They need accurate information that can be interpreted quickly to support better decision making and this is what IBP solutions can offer.”

At the other end of the market, Paul Heron of specialist vendor Claritum offered the view that the trend was away from ‘static’ ERP packages or those difficult to customise to those with high levels of functionality.

His clients want to see value and real benefit so off the shelf solutions are not enough and many customers want a tailored solution that is flexible and adaptable. They also need a partner whose strengths are a willingness to listen with the capability to adapt their solution to their needs.

Recently he has found clients are approaching them, often from old projects that never progressed beyond the RFP stage.

They also have created a new BRIGHT by Claritum solution which is aimed specifically at SMEs and provides capabilities that to date have only been available to larger enterprises, usually at a higher cost.

Regardless of scale, their clients want to know if their software solution can help them do more with either fewer people or with constrained headcount and enable them to work smarter with transactional work done automatically and easily.

It is our view that these events have driven an increase in demand for both solution providers and transformation consultants’ services. That has resulted in greater demand for people in client facing roles for both sectors late in 2020 and already in 2021. This is driving relatively buoyant job market conditions compared to many other sectors and particularly compared to the second and third quarters of 2020.

This article is an excerpt from our Procurement & Spend Management Insider Report for Spring 2021.

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised, please email andrew@edburydaley.com.

How Covid has unsettled the professional labour market – trust and reputation are more important than ever.

Our recent research into “The importance of job security and the criteria for your next job move – How have your opinions changed since Covid?” has produced some very interesting results.  Here are our findings:

Question 1: Given the events of 2020, how would you describe how your confidence about job security has changed?

The results given demonstrate that almost half of all respondents feel that their job security has been affected in some way by the Covid 19 pandemic. Within that group around 4 out of 5 feel less secure, perhaps unsurprisingly given the rising unemployment figures and the adverse effect of most companies’ revenue streams. Perhaps more intriguing is the remaining fifth who feel more secure as a result of the pandemic. Specific industries such as food retail, healthcare and certain technology businesses have thrived in response to global behavioural changes. However, the headline remains that Covid has unsettled the labour market and a much greater number of people are at least keeping an eye on other job opportunities.

Question 2: How have the events of 2020 affected your attitude towards a job move?

The results here tie into the first question in respect of those more likely to seek a new job being an almost identical proportion of those feeling less secure in their current position. This makes perfect sense, as to some degree, these individuals are being pushed towards the job market by their present less certain circumstances. However, for the remainder, around 60%, over half are less likely to move jobs than a year ago. Economic uncertainty and a volatile employment market are undoubtedly triggering a cautious approach amongst professionals who might otherwise have been open to a switch of employer. The takeaway here appears to be a polarisation of people’s attitudes towards changing jobs: if they feel insecure then consider a move but otherwise be extra conservative about moving.

Question 3: How receptive would you be if you received an unsolicited approach about a job move from the following sources?

Times of uncertainty tend to throw a spotlight on trust and this is borne out by the results to this question. From the five possible options “A former colleague” ranks top as a source of a job opportunity that a prospective candidate would pursue. Second highest was a “recruiter you already knew” which contrasted sharply with “recruiter you didn’t know” which was bottom of the five options offered. In summary, there is a clear divide between willingness to pursue a job through a known and trusted source versus a previously unknown or untested channel.

Question 4: Reflecting on the events of 2020, how have your attitudes changed? Are you more or less receptive to unsolicited approaches about a job from the following routes than you were previously?

The responses here reinforce the findings in question 3. In short, the better known the source of the job vacancy the more likely the individual is to follow up and express some interest in pursuing.

Question 5: Which of the following factors are important to you when considering a job move?

Work/Life Balance and Company Reputation have topped the priorities for job seekers in the current climate. Covid 19 has pulled the genie from the bottle in terms of home working and for many the prospect of going back to being 100% office-bound is undesirable. Apart from saving time associated with travel to an office, workers are able to have more flexibility when they work during the day facilitating school dropoffs for example. The increased importance of company reputation potentially has a couple of dimensions to it. Firstly, in a volatile economy, it makes sense for professionals to be more circumspect in choosing a new employer with a strong reputation as this associates closely with better job security and fair treatment during difficult trading conditions. Secondly, people are showing greater awareness of a potential employer’s corporate social responsibility and want to work for a firm that positively engages with customers, suppliers and the wider community.

Question 6: Bearing in mind the events of 2020, have the following factors become more or less important to you?

The responses to this question do much to support the conclusions from the previous question. The slight deviation is the higher ranking of a company’s financial performance suggesting that prospective candidates are more sensitive to the wider fortunes of the business than a year ago and are more reluctant to join a company that they perceive as suffering during the crisis. Again, there is a strong association between a company’s profit and future employment and career progression opportunities.

 

If you would like to discuss the implications of our findings for your hiring plans, and how we are helping our clients overcome some of these issues, please contact Simon Edbury via simon@edburydaley.com

How is the UK Procurement job market recovering?

Hiring might not be top of your agenda at the moment but the procurement profession is lucky to have one of the more robust professional job markets.   Furthermore, the profession is facing unprecedented challenges to make some major cost savings in difficult circumstances, so it’s interesting to consider how that will impact on the demand for interim and permanent resources in the procurement job market?

We thought it would be useful to help you understand what we are seeing in the market whether you are planning to hire, trying to keep your best people or considering your own options.

Firstly let’s consider some interesting data seen by Edbury Daley from a report produced by Vacancysoft in conjunction with APSCo.   The research looked at trends across all professional job markets (with salaries of £40k upwards) in London and offered sector by sector trends. It told us the following:

“Prior to the COVID-19 crisis we would expect on average that there would be between 500 and 600 professional vacancies per day in the capital, across all sectors. With that in mind we can see that at the beginning of Q2, the five day rolling average was 167, understandable given that we were in the early stages of lockdown. In contrast, on July 31st, this had increased to 358, and, in fact, there were multiple days in July where daily totals exceeded 400. While there’s certainly still some room for improvement, the capital’s hiring is clearly heading in the right direction.

When analysing activity by sector, Technology continues to dominate in terms of vacancy numbers, with activity up 33% compared to June. However, while it accounts for a significant proportion of the capital’s hiring, Technology was far from the best performing sector when measuring month on month change, with other specialisms outperforming it including Consumer Goods & Services (up 58%) and Real Estate & Construction (up 46%.)

The fact that so many other sectors outperformed Technology in this regard has resulted in the share of professional vacancies in the sector dropping to under 30% of all roles posted in London, for the first time since before the outbreak.”

The top six sectors for hiring activity in London are Technology, Banking, Retail, Consumer goods, Professional services (accounting & consulting), Real estate and Construction and Insurance.

So what is happening specifically in the procurement job market?  Here is what we are seeing and hearing from across our network:

Hiring restrictions for permanent staff are still commonplace for major organisations in the UK across many verticals in the private sector.

Anecdotal evidence that we have gathered through speaking to people across the profession tells us that the picture is most positive in technology markets, pharmaceuticals, professional services, healthcare and banking.

New or additional headcount for procurement departments, a key factor that drives demand in strong markets (and salary inflation over recent years) is understandably rare and that in turn impacts on the demand for replacement hiring as there are less moves in the market generally to warrant said replacements.

There is little evidence of redundancies being made in procurement teams so far. The wider UK job market is braced for this in September and October but we expect procurement to be in a stronger position to maintain headcount than other functions.   Procurement leaders certainly hope this will be the case given the pressure they are under to deliver in key areas, particularly driving cost down projects where possible and maintaining business-critical supply lines.

The Interim Market

During lockdown there was a spike in interim contractors coming to the market having had their projects canceled or delayed with organisations moving swiftly to limit non-essential spend.  This has since slowed and there is now evidence of contractors having their assignments extended as cost-saving initiatives become more important, and in many cases gathering pace as organisations adapt to the current climate.

However, there is still significant spare capacity in the interim market as is demonstrated every time we advertise a role, and from the amount of incoming CV’s we have from people seeking new assignments.

With experienced procurement leaders talking about “pressure for cost savings like never before,”  (something we’ve also heard that consultancies and software vendors in areas like spend analytics) the interim market may offer quick, effective solutions to many organisations, particularly with the option to hire for six months or so before IR35 kicks in for the new tax year in 2021.

New Hiring Challenges

For those companies that are recruiting or thinking about their plans for later this year, it’s worth thinking about the questions that are facing hiring managers in this unique set of  market conditions:

How do you make effective hires without meeting candidates face to face?

How do you onboard people if your offices aren’t open or have limited capacity?

Are people reluctant to move jobs for security reasons?

What are employers’ work from home policies and how are they going to change?

We’ve been working with clients to address all these questions so if you want to hear how other companies are managing these challenges we’d be happy to help.

Please contact me via andrew@edburydaley.com

Andrew Daley

Director – Procurement & Spend Management

Career Development In A Crisis

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 edition of The Procurement and Spend Management Insider report.

The procurement, supply chain and spend management communities are taking this unique opportunity to prove their value in the midst of a truly global crisis. Procurement and supply chain is in a lead role for many companies, acting as the guiding light for organisations with supply chains under immense stress or sourcing new components for essential medical equipment required by health services all over the world.

We should be proud of the contribution and celebrate it when the opportunity comes along, whenever that may be. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see our colleagues in a work or social setting!

We should also appreciate the fact that these unprecedented circumstances are offering some amazing opportunities for personal growth for the people involved.

There are opportunities to do different things that might not happen under normal circumstances in supplier collaboration and innovation. There are new challenges managing supply chain risks and visibility across multiple tiers of the supplier base, particularly for companies that rarely look beyond tier one suppliers.

For leaders, the need to bring your teams together to achieve great feats of teamwork whilst remote working presents real challenges. Employers and stakeholders are relying on you to adapt to these changes with the future of your business on the line.

For many senior management teams, seeing how your suppliers are adapting in these circumstances and understanding what they are capable of when managing their own crisis, fighting for survival, fighting for supply is a real eye opener.

Maybe you urgently need to find a new supplier or get to the front of the queue with existing ones? How are you doing that?

Whether it’s working with your stakeholders, customers or colleagues in new ways, making progress in circumstances where tools that you have traditionally relied on aren’t necessarily available to you, or overcoming problems when everything you have traditionally relied upon goes out of the window, this is all great professional experience.

And what should you do with it? Well one thing you can do is keep a diary of this period. You should document what you are doing, maybe share experiences with current and past colleagues, see what they are doing, what they are learning and what you might have done differently with the benefit of hindsight.

Because at the end of all this, it will be a great time to strengthen your CV because these are all great learning opportunities that are providing experience that will prove invaluable in the future. Experience that could be the key to your next promotion, internal or external job move because you now have knowledge that could prove invaluable when we work out what the new business environment looks like after all this.

And what if you aren’t on the front line, what if your company has furloughed you or doesn’t see the value of what procurement can contribute? Well don’t despair because that means you’ve got more spare time during all this which, if used wisely, could be very beneficial. There are so many valuable resources available to consume that will help you get some professional development.

Andrew Daley made a video about how to prepare yourself for the future of procurement. In it, he gives some guidance on how you can take responsibility for your own personal development, and for those that have more spare time than normal now is the time to embrace his suggestions and his six point plan to protect the future of your career.

You can access the video here.

Coronavirus Response – The Vendor View

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 edition of The Procurement and Spend Management Insider report.

Most organisations have faced challenges they just haven’t seen before in recent weeks. Many have relied on their procurement and supply chain teams to act quickly and decisively to address those challenges, whether it be urgent cost saving activity or managing supply chain risks and stresses they might never have imagined.

The stories that we are about to share demonstrate how companies have been relying on their digital procurement and supply chain solutions partners to deal with some of the challenges they face. They also demonstrate the value of having adopted these solutions in better economic circumstances and perhaps send a message to those that had yet to truly embrace the era of digital transformation.

SAP ARIBA

SAP Ariba was possibly the first solution provider to make a high profile move by opening-up Ariba Discovery by giving free use to customers and suppliers. They advertised this via their website and social media as soon it became clear that Covid19 was developing into a global supply chain crisis.

“We are witnessing unprecedented disruption to global supply chains as the effects of the Coronavirus continue to unfold,” said President of SAP Procurement Solutions Chris Haydon. “By removing barriers we aim to help accelerate connections between buyers and suppliers so they can quickly fulfil immediate supply needs during this time.”

Here’s a real life example of how this is helping out in the current crisis:

In March of 2020, ViaQuest Home Hospice was in short supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). In less than a day, SAP partner Premikati got ViaQuest ready to use SAP Ariba Spot Buy via the Premikati Marketplace.

By 4:00 p.m., ViaQuest had placed their first order for safety glasses. By 8:00 p.m. the much-needed glasses were shipped.

In addition to this SAP told us that: “To help buyers proactively analyze the overall risk associated with potential disruptions in their supply chains, SAP Ariba and Qualtrics created Qualtrics Supply Continuity Pulse. This offer is valid to new Qualtrics accounts for up to three months.”

The Qualtrics solution “combines procurement and experience management expertise from SAP Ariba and Qualtrics to deliver a pre-configured solution to help procurement and supply chain leaders quickly gain visibility into the health of their suppliers”.

SAP recognised that during this time of uncertainty and high stakes, active listening, visibility and collaboration are more critical than ever. To help buyers proactively analyze the overall risk associated with potential disruptions in their supply chains, SAP Ariba and Qualtrics created Qualtrics Supply Continuity Pulse.

Procurement and supply chain leaders can quickly launch this pre-configured solution, which issues a questionnaire to suppliers and reverts results immediately after suppliers respond. This supplier feedback can be used to help identify:

  • potential supply constraints and jeopardized delivery timelines;
  • areas to optimize business continuity and recovery plans; and ways to collaborate with and assist suppliers to help them meet demand.

As part of the launch of this initiative, Chris Haydon said: “We are trying to do what we can right now to help companies navigate this new world of unprecedented disruption. With Qualtrics Supply Continuity Pulse, we aim to help buyers gain the visibility they need to understand the operational status of their suppliers in near-realtime so they can better manage risks and disruptions.”

SAP has created a landing page with all available offers designed to help clients manage disruptions caused by Covid-19. As more offers are rolled out, you’ll find them here.

To us, this is just the sort of response that was required from one of the sector’s long standing leaders. We know from speaking to some of our long standing contacts in the SAP Ariba business that they are as busy as ever, working from home, doing all they can to support their customers and strengthening their business relationships in the process.

ROSSLYN DATA TECHNOLOGIES

Rosslyn was very quick to react on behalf of its existing customers, immediately recognising that global supply chains were facing unprecedented challenges and risks.

Their initial communication to customers outlined that “the ever-changing landscape of countries affected and the knock on effect on global supply chains will need to be closely monitored by procurement and supply chain teams.”

To help existing customers with this business critical issue Rosslyn told them: “We have built a Covid-19 Supply Chain Risk dashboard for you. This dashboard will be provided on your RAPid home page as a separate Business Application titled GeoPolitical Risk Dashboard.

“This dashboard will be refreshed on a daily basis to help you with your efforts to stay on top of the changes within your supply chain. We will be providing this information free of charge to all of our valued clients. We will be fine tuning and updating this dashboard as quickly as we can. All updates will be provided free of charge to existing customers.

The dashboards will reflect your current data held within RAPid as of your last data refresh. As with all of your dashboards you can select and view data by category, supplier, country etc.”

One customer commented: “I appreciate that you have created this free for us, great customer service, this will no doubt be very useful as we plan our emergency supply chain process.”

This quick, effective response from Rosslyn has been greatly valued by customers across multiple industry sectors and helped identify many cost saving opportunities to particularly short time frames. We’ve all heard about the power of data for procurement, this is a great example of how companies that have embraced it are benefiting.

Further information about Rosslyn can be found here. www.rosslyndatatech.com

HICX – FOR BAE SYSTEMS, ACCURATE SUPPLIER DATA PROVES ITS WORTH

Here HICX tell us a great story about what they’ve done with one of their key customers:

There are many reasons why a single source of truth for supplier data is essential for large enterprises, and much emphasis is rightly placed on the strategic benefits associated with supplier collaboration, joint innovation, risk and performance management and seamless integration of supplier data across multiple systems. But during times of crisis, such as we’re seeing with Covid-19, an even more fundamental benefit quickly re-surfaces: who are our suppliers, and how do we effectively communicate with them all?

For large organisations with tens of thousands of suppliers, having supplier data spread across multiple systems, with duplicates, gaps and errors makes even answering these apparently simple questions something of a nightmare.

There are three steps which look simple, but without perfect supplier data, will seriously hamper a business as it responds to a crisis.

Firstly, where are our suppliers located? With the timing, magnitude and response to the Covid-19 impact varying so significantly, not just by region but by country, an accurate picture of risk has to be based on precise information about where suppliers are located.

Secondly, once you know where the suppliers are, do you have accurate and up to date contact information in order to be able to communicate with the right people?

And thirdly, even if you have accurate company and contact data, how exactly will the business communicate efficiently and quickly with the supplier community?

A single supplier information management system, designed to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of the supplier relationship, and built on sound supplier data management foundations, will enable very rapid and highly efficient communication to the right contacts at the right supplier unit, and in a way that delivers genuine business intelligence to support the critical decisions Boards need to be taking.

As a long-term customer of the HICX Supplier Management Platform, BAE Systems is already feeling the benefit of having this foundation in place. “We sometimes take it for granted but, without HICX, in a situation like this I don’t know how we would manage to contact 30,000 suppliers and build a picture of supplier readiness to support our continuity planning,” said Jerry Grable, Director, eBusiness at BAE Systems, Inc. “It would take a whole team of people pounding the phones for days or even weeks to do something I’ve been able to do on my own in a matter of hours.”

In response to the crisis, HICX is also providing a free-of-charge add-on module to its Supplier Management Platform that will enable companies like BAE to take the next step in understanding their potential supplier impact. Firstly, by mapping real-time and continuously changing Covid-19 outbreak and response data to a company’s own unique supplier footprint, and secondly by enabling fast and comprehensive surveys of supplier readiness without the need to email and then collate thousands of responses.

HICX estimates that the majority of businesses over $1B in revenue already rely on third parties to generate 50% or more of their total economic value, making it more important than ever that companies treat their supplier relationships as a board-level concern, and that starts with accurate supplier data.

Further information about HICX can be found here.

C2FO – WALMART AND DANONE SUPPORT THEIR SUPPLIERS

On a normal day, C2FO runs 250+ cash flow optimisation programmes for large corporates (including 25 of the 100 largest companies in the world) which spend $trillions with their suppliers every year. Due to the unique way that our platform works, we not only see which suppliers are interested in getting paid early (by the corporates or their banks) but precisely how much each individual supplier wants that capital to thrive or survive. As a result, we’ve seen the strain on supply chains and the increase in suppliers’ need for cash match the inexorable spread of Covid-19 across the globe.

We watched as demand from suppliers in China exploded in the run up to Chinese New Year. As the virus spread, we saw similar supplier behavior in EMEA and The Americas with demand for accelerated payment from SMEs increase more than tenfold.

Fortunately, our customers could map the impact on their suppliers from the near real-time data the technology provides and assess the damage that breaks in their supply chain could have on their business, now and when the health impact of the crisis subsides. As everyone knows, good suppliers are hard to find and harder to replace.

Here are a few of the heartening ways in which customers have helped their suppliers to survive and in other cases, have made it more likely that some of us will survive:

Walmart – dedicated cash flow for the most vulnerable suppliers

Walmart didn’t get to be the largest retailer in the world (> 2.2m employees, turnover > $500bn) by ignoring the needs of their suppliers. Before the crisis could bite chunks out of their supplier chains they concluded that the most efficient and effective way to get liquidity to their SMBs, which make up more than two-thirds of their suppliers, was to create a dedicated section of the C2FO platform for them and automatically focus support at especially low rates of finance exactly where it was most needed. As a result, the uptake has been extraordinary with thousands of suppliers that have never used the platform before signing up in just a few weeks.

Danone – rapid deployment of new technology
As a top 10 global food manufacturer that sells its products in more than 120 countries, Danone has experienced disruption to its operations as well as unprecedented, localised spikes in demand for its products, as customers raced to the shops to prepare for the worst. To help address this, it slashed weeks off the deployment of its supplier early payment technology.

“It is imperative for Danone to support its suppliers in their financing needs. Fortunately, C2FO allows us to make the most of our customer-supplier relationships, by implementing a flexible solution for us and personalised financing for them. The use of a digital solution is an advantage that will strengthen our links with our partners in a secure and efficient environment,” explains Yves Pellegrino, SVP Corporate Finance, Control and Services at Danone. You can read more here.

European top five medical device company – ramping up production of ventilators

While this company has been using C2FO for a couple of years the challenge for their supply chain was somewhat different: how to pay for the prodigious increase in resources required to satisfy the global demand for ventilators. The solution, was at their fingertips, allocated dedicated liquidity to those supplier partners at the tightest pinch points in supply.

RISK METHODS

We are currently supporting procurement and supply chain professionals with a variety of tools and sources of information.

We offer non-customers a special Coronavirus Supply Chain Visibility Kit which we designed just in time for this current crisis and is available until May 31 for special conditions. It gives organisations immediate insights into how their suppliers and supply chains are affected by various factors, for example, lockdowns, transportation barriers such as closing of borders, ports and airports, Force Majeure or bankruptcy.
We are providing a Coronavirus daily update summary by email which helps people understand the impact on their businesses.

It covers:

  • Status Quo
  • Impacts
  • Implications
  • What to expect with regards to global supply chains
  • Recommendations
  • Short and long-term actions

We have also organised a series of helpful webinars with industry experts and customers. Earlier in April we had a webinar entitled How to Protect Your Supply Chain During Times of Crisis with TIm Mishchiara, VP of Global Sourcing at Chamberlain Group. In May we have one with Forrester entitled Beyond Coronavirus: Finding the Right Balance for the Next Normal. All our webinars can be found here.

The riskmethods Solution helps customers to identify risk early, assess the impact and mitigate. This is particularly helpful in the Coronavirus crisis. Here is our customer Swiss Steel talking about how The riskmethods Solution supported them.

SIEVO

Another procurement analytics business that was quick to recognise its ability to support its customers was Sievo. They told us that: “Understanding the supplier base to be able to mitigate risks is crucial and that’s what we can provide to our clients. On top of the standard procurement analytics offering, we developed Corona Response Analytics a few weeks ago and that has been a really popular subject. There have been about 800 registrants in our webinars about that topic.”

They consider building the Corona Response Analytics dashboard to be “our biggest effort in supporting customers during this period. It combines customer spend and supplier data in Sievo with external data sources on the spread of the epidemic (Johns Hopkins University data) and supplier risk (including data from RiskMatters). Customers can also bring in updates from their suppliers, as they work to build an understanding of their spend-at-risk, status of suppliers etc. In crisis times, having a single source of truth for procurement spend is increasingly important.”

Sievo offered these observations from their customer base:

  • Some customers are shifting from a monthly to weekly refresh cycle with their spend data to track their situation more closely. Many customers are already on a weekly cycle, but we’re moving quickly to set it up for those that would like to switch
  • Primary questions for many have been: are a) my suppliers ok / financially stable? and b) what are my alternative suppliers for (single-sourced) categories or components.

So some great examples of how technology vendors are really making a difference at such a difficult time for their customers.

We’ve heard several other stories about vendors really making a difference for their customers, most notably the likes of Jaggaer and Proactis supporting the sterling work being done by their public sector clients in areas of critical, high demand like PPE.

What’s clear to us is that procurement and supply chain professionals are really reaping the reward for having invested in these solutions and training their people to use them. It’s giving people great career opportunities (more of that later in the report) and reinforcing the case for the digital transformation of the procurement and supply chain.

Many people believe this could be a catalyst for accelerated digital transformation in several industry verticals. We’ll be observing that closely over the coming months. Further information about Sievo can be found here. sievo.com

You can download the full version of our Insider report here.

Is recruitment about to get harder?

 

We offer some valuable insights into how recruitment actually works in a market like the one we are about to experience as the global economy gets back on its feet.

We are all hearing about how the Covid pandemic is changing the world as we know it and it’s pretty clear that it’s going to affect employment markets, hiring trends, and potentially recruitment activity but do you actually understand what this means for the mechanics of the job market?  If you don’t then how will you understand the changes and take advantage of them for your organisation? For many, making the assumption that you will automatically have lots of good candidates applying for your vacancies who will be willing to accept reduced salaries is a misconception.  It’s also a dangerously floored strategy.

Now for many years recruitment in these markets has been what we recruiters call “candidate-driven”. i.e. there is a shortage of specialist skills so those that offer them are often in high demand when they come to the market, and this puts proven candidates in a strong position when it comes to selecting who they work for. It also strengthens their hand when negotiating salary.

Recruiters like us spend a lot of time nurturing our relationships with these people so they decide to consider moving roles we are the first to know and can give our clients the first opportunity to hire them – this is a fundamental benefit of our Talent Intelligence offering.   Specialist recruiters also spend a lot of time actively headhunting these people for open roles in our clients in order to find talent to fuel their headcount growth.

A good example of this is software sales and presales people who truly understand the value proposition of procurement solutions to the client community.  This has come about because the market has grown quicker than the talent pool can keep pace with and is one reason why such people command very high basic salaries – the simple demand/supply equation.

One major impact of Covid is that many organizations are reducing headcount or at least taking their foot off the growth pedal which reduces demand.  So it’s quite likely that we could move to a “client-driven” market.   This appears to be great news if you are a hiring manager from a growing software company, but is it all good news?

If you look at why people are coming into the job market in the current climate, they fit into three main categories:

Made redundant – employers have had to cut costs drastically to survive and have to lose people quickly.  These people have largely been unfortunate and will include both top and underperformers as well as those in between. The trick is knowing which of those categories they fall into – it’s our job to know this and/or find out for our clients.

Fearful of employers long term stability – the financial implications of Covid are massive with many companies seeing a drastic reduction in sales in recent months.  The impact of this is clear, especially to those close enough to the leadership team to have an insight into decision making.  There are some excellent people who have been retained by their employers because they are such strong performers that are keeping a close eye on the job market in case there is a better option available to them.  People who fall into this category often reach out to recruiters like us to let us know they are potentially in the job market.  We’ve probably tried to headhunt them for roles in the past or helped them move jobs at some stage.  This is where our specialist market expertise enables us to be talent magnets and get access to people that others can’t.

Unhappy with decisions made at the top of the organisation in the current crisis – business leaders have had to make some tough decisions recently.  Often these decisions are questioned by people in the organisation.  Time will tell who calls it right and wrong but frustration with those above you in the management structure has always been a key driver in people wanting to move jobs.  The net result is the same as above – they come to people like us that they know and trust to keep an eye on the market for them.

So what does all this mean to you as a hiring manager?

Do you use valuable time and resources to sort through the huge numbers of job applicants to try to find the right hires and hope you get it right?  The benefits are that you will make use of your internal recruitment/talent attraction/HR team and save on recruitment fees in the process.

However, it’s likely that you will miss out on that specialist market insight and background information that will help you hire the top performers I refer to above.

So do you engage a specialist to guide you through it and increase your chances of  success because:

We save you time and resources and therefore money.

We put proven high-quality performers in front of you quickly.

We don’t waste your time with unsuitable candidates who may be unqualified, lacking relevant experience or have patchy track records of performance.

If you want to read a brief summary of how we are able to do exactly this for our clients, you can read about our Talent Intelligence approach here.

If you want to discuss how we can help you with these particular challenges please contact me via andrew@edburydaley.com or +44 7711 715258.

Andrew Daley

Director – Procurement & Supply Chain Technology

Talent Intelligence – The Future of Procurement Technology Recruitment

In a fast paced market like procurement technology, service providers like us can’t operate in isolation. Whilst our deep market knowledge has enabled us to see the patterns and market trends as they emerge, we need to stay close to our clients to understand their challenges and adapt our services to meet their needs, now and in the future.

So our recent client audit was undertaken in order to understand what our clients truly value in our services. We wanted to know what the expectations were from the digital procurement community and how those expectations are likely to evolve in the future.

It’s been a fascinating, rewarding process giving us vital information.

We’ve used that information to help refine and improve our service delivery and define the value we add to help potential customers understand what we offer.

This is the result:

Imagine the benefits of partnering with a recruiter that has deep sector knowledge. One that maps the market and knows it intimately, often identifying a company’s recruitment requirements before they are even aware of their own needs. One that boasts a strong network of contacts and pre-qualified candidates.

A recruiter loved by its candidates because it invests time to get to know them, offering regular advice and giving feedback, leading to a more streamlined and professional recruitment process for all involved.

An agency that doesn’t simply tick all of today’s ‘must have’ boxes but, with an eye on tomorrow…

One that has the vision to recognise that, as technology advances, it must anticipate change – in order to help turn visions and innovations into reality – by providing its clients with the right talent in a manner that enables great hiring decisions.

But who presents themselves as that recruitment agency for today and tomorrow? A company that’s passionate about finding the talent that will shape the future of procurement by utilising technology, making it innovative and exciting? A true specialist that invests considerable resources and doesn’t work anywhere else apart from in the procurement technology sector.

One that connects great talent with career development opportunities that result in successful long term appointments, business success and fulfilled employees.

Combining all of our skills and sector knowledge gives us a unique asset and point of difference. It’s the added value that’s a game changer for our clients and what they value the most. We call this Talent Intelligence and if you work with us, it will positively transform how you source your talent, now and in the future.

That’s our commitment to you, that’s what makes us the solution for companies operating across the digital procurement ecosystem – solutions vendors, their consultancy partners and the end users – the cream of the procurement profession.

And the benefits of using Edbury Daley don’t end there. Keeping a close eye on tomorrow, we promise that no matter how quickly procurement technology evolves, we’ll always be there, evolving alongside the market to put the right talent within your reach.