Purchasing Insight

Purchase to Pay, Purchasing & Procurement Process, Electronic Invoicing

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One of my favorite Einstein quotes is this: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. It is quite likely that, like many other quotations attributed to Einstein, he never actually said it but I prefer to believe that he said something at least a bit like it. There are various forms of the quotation: “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself” or “It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid”. I studied Astrophysics at University and I seem to recall testing that last one out quite a bit.

This valuable aphorism doesn’t just apply to explanations of complex issues – this also applies to products – simple design nearly always reflects an intimate understanding of user requirements – the kind of design that makes you think “why didn’t I think of that?” One of the best examples of this is Taulia. They address what is actually a fairly complex set of business issues but they’ve turned their solution into something a kid could explain. Look at this very cool video illustrating their dynamic discounting tools.

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Nipendo has announced a new milestone marking the rapid adoption of the company’s Supplier Cloud platform by buyer and supplier organizations, exceeding one million automated procure-to-pay transactions per month.

With streamlined onboarding and a range of free to low-cost supplier connectivity options, buyer organizations working with Nipendo are reaching industry-best supplier adoption rates. By automating the entire procure-to-pay cycle through the Nipendo platform, over 90% of all transactions are processed straight-through to the buyer’s ERP system without any manual intervention. continue reading…

The BBC reports today the the Prompt Payment Code – a UK government backed initiative to encourage big business to pay on time – isn’t working.

In other news, the sun came up this morning and it is expected to get dark sometime tonight.

The Prompt Payment Code provides little more than gentle encouragement to business to demonstrate – in words at least – that they will pay according to terms. I wouldn’t criticize for one moment those businesses that have signed up to it. I know that they are sincere in their intentions. But the code doesn’t have teeth. It doesn’t name and shame transgressors. It doesn’t hold business to account if they pay little attention to actually delivering against the promise. And it’s hardly surprising therefore that it’s not working. continue reading…

Outsourcing is not a bad thing. It allows companies to focus on their core competencies and let others do the rest. But there are some unintended consequences. When companies outsource processes to low-cost labor, they lose the motivation to modernize the process.

Handcraft can be of value. You can argue that a handmade leather purse or a piece of pottery is nicer than a machine-made one. But a hand-processed invoice?! I don’t think you’d find much beauty there.

When we outsource invoice processing, we settle for a short-term -fix rather than challenge ourselves to innovate. That’s when BPO becomes detrimental to long-term success. We are settling for cost reduction rather than process improvement. continue reading…

You wait for ages without meeting any then two turn up at once.

I had a rush of reacquaintances some time ago. I met Mike Zealley, a former colleague from KPMG with whom I had the pleasure of working very closely about 15 years ago. After a stint elsewhere he’s now a partner at KPMG doing great things leading a Public Sector practice. Not long after, I met Roberto Moretti, CEO Europe of Oxygen Finance, for the first time. His first words to me were “Mike Zealley sends his regards.” Roberto had just come from a meeting with Mike and he’d mentioned he was seeing me. But before Roberto and I got down to business, I spotted another familiar face in the Oxygen Finance offices – Mark Hoffman, formerly of lots of businesses but most notably Sybase and CommerceOne. I last met him in 2000 at a CommerceOne event in Berlin.

It felt like it was a trend. Things were coming round in full circle. Bumping into old colleagues and business acquaintances was almost to be expected but then nothing. For ages I didn’t bump into any one – until last Friday when I bumped in to two at the same time. continue reading…

We would all love to replicate success and when we see new and innovative ideas that disrupt the established order it’s exciting to think that we can replicate it. But how do you do that? What’s the secret sauce to success?

We’ve all heard successful people say how their success was as a result of hard work. They deserve their success. They’ve earned it they say. But if it were true that hard work inevitably led to success, that would mean that those who are less successful work less hard. This is palpably untrue. Being in the right place at the right time, having a head start because of the country you grew up in or as a result of your parentage, possessing wealth and good health are all factors in becoming successful – and so is hard work – but the most important factor of all is good luck. Taking a success story and seeking to reverse engineer it to see how it can be replicated is like speaking to a group of lottery winners and asking them how they did it. continue reading…

Critical components in your supply chain are at risk – and you may not even know it. There are numerous points of failure in today’s complex supply chains and because of the difficulty that upstream suppliers have funding their business from day to day, the risk of a damaging and expensive failure is increasing. And it gets worse. Efforts to cut costs have resulted in leaner, riskier supply chains held together by a network small suppliers. If the risk of financial failure isn’t mitigated it could have disastrous consequences – which is why businesses – especially in Europe – should begin to take supply chain finance more seriously. continue reading…