Purchasing Insight

Purchase to Pay, Purchasing & Procurement Process, Electronic Invoicing

The 2014 Hackett Key Issues report on procurement priorities reveals some interesting trends and it’s backed up with some highly insightful statistics and analysis. The headline issue is the most interesting. The report shows that cost saving, as a driver for procurement, is diminishing in importance compared to a more strategic agenda. That might be news to some but it confirms what many of us have known for some time.

For a more in depth insight on the report, I spoke to David Rennie in London, European Practice Leader, Procurement & Supply Chain Transformation at The Hackett Group and he explained some of the findings in the report.

Hackett’s survey shows that cost saving ranks a mere 4th in the priority list for procurement. Upstaged by the need to expand influence and the need to innovate, cost saving is a relatively minor priority.

Hackett Chart


The report reflects a maturity of thinking in the procurement profession and moreover it shows that procurement is falling in line with broader commercial objectives of business.

Pete Loughlin can be found on twitter @peteloughlin

Today we’re delighted to welcome Angus Craig from Craig Hall Consulting who shares some interesting perspectives on Mergers, acquisitions and supply chain finance.

The last year has seen some significant changes in technology and the economic environment for supply chain finance (SCF). Together, these changes will dramatically affect the SCF market. Although there will be many winners, there will also be some losers.

Purchasing Insight has been charting the changes in technology for some time. In February this year for example, Pete Loughlin observed that Taulia had automated or removed the cost of Know Your Customer (KYC) from their traditional SCF package, thereby opening up the market. In September last year he commented that Crossflow Payments offer their EDI platform for free, encouraging suppliers to switch. All of these technology changes have made the SCF proposition more compelling and have increased the number and value of transactions.

The changes in the underlying economic environment need to be viewed in two separate ways: those economic trends that encourage customers and suppliers to adopt a SCF solution and those that affect the intermediaries that offer it. continue reading…

The soundtrack to my formative years was the Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Clash, Deaf School, Gregory Isaacs and Aswad. It was fun that the generation I was a part of had music that was revolutionarily different from previous generations yet there were still those older people who wished we would all just calm down and listen to Bing Crosby and Doris Day as though Elvis, the Beatles, The Doors and Pink Floyd had never happened in the preceding two decades.

Punk rock had woken an older generation and reminded them of how much they enjoyed their heyday. And this is exactly the impression I got today when I read that the International Chamber of Commerce is to rationalize the language used to describe supply chain finance. continue reading…

I had the pleasure of attending the formal launch of “Electronic Invoicing, the next steps towards digital government” on 30 April.

The report is a welcome indication of the seriousness with which the issue is taken in government. It is also a sensible document which does not fall into the trap of underestimating the complexities of the subject. I particularly liked that, although it favours some form of overt or covert mandating of eInvoicing, it does not mandate any particular technical means of achieving this.

Inevitably, when reading the document, questions arise and I explore a couple of them here. These are not intended to be criticisms of the work of the inquiry team, more ‘thoughts occasioned by’ the document and also as indications of some of the difficult issues facing them. continue reading…

Francis-MaudeIt was announced yesterday that the UK Government will be fully supporting the introduction of electronic invoicing in public sector. Speaking at the launch of a Parliamentary Report: ‘Electronic Invoicing – the next steps towards digital government’, Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, expressed with enthusiasm his commitment to see the use of e-invoicing as part of the UK’s ‘Digital by Default’ agenda.

The venue for the launch of the keenly anticipated report was the Strangers Dining Room in the Palace of Westminster, London. I was amongst a group of about 50 people, experts in electronic invoicing from both public and private sector, who listened with some excitement to the strongest endorsement yet by a UK Government Minister of a policy to see payables processes in public sector automated in order to liberate, an estimated £2 billion per year. And despite the wealth of expertise in the room, we all would have struggled to articulate the opportunities with greater clarity than Francis Maude. continue reading…

It was announced this morning that Luke McKeever, the former CEO of OB10 and, until today, Executive Director of Tungsten Corporation is moving to pastures new. He had already transferred the bulk of his responsibilities to focus on the integration programme following the acquisition of OB10 by Tungsten and he leaves the business in the safe hands of the senior management team who are focused on, as their communication says: “meeting customer needs and becoming the world’s largest trading network.”

Luke joined OB10 almost exactly 3 years ago and was, in my opinion, directly responsible for the transformation of the business.

OB10 was a Marmite company – people either loved them or hated them. There wasn’t really a middle ground. The OB10 founders, quite rightly, laid claim to the “invention” of electronic invoicing as we know it today. They struggled in their early years to gain ground in the regulatory nightmare of Europe and Luke joined just as the market began to grow rapidly. That may have been an accident of timing but it was no accident that the OB10 corporate identity changed. Luke successfully transformed OB10 from the bad guy – the arrogant, dominant network that had a reputation of bullying and cajoling suppliers into the slick 21st century business solution that attracted the Truell brothers to acquire it in 2013.

Luke is one of those people who dispels the myth that being a nice guy is somehow inconsistent with the role of successfully leading a business. On a personal level, I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Luke. He is leaving at a time when Tungsten is progressing impressively and his legacy will prove to be an important asset for Tungsten going forward.

Pete Loughlin can be found on twitter @peteloughlin

A few weeks ago I visited Israel to meet some of Nipendo’s customers. Nipendo are attracting quite a bit of attention from the analysts because of the success they’ve had in their home country and now that they’re making progress in North America and Europe it’s important to see their solutions in action to see what all the fuss is about. It was a fascinating trip. Meeting end users and seeing the solutions in action was a real eye opener. Each client was able to share something unique about the transformation that their business had seen through the implementation of Nipendo and collectively they provide an insight into what makes Nipendo worth some serious consideration. continue reading…