Tag Archives: procurement

Global economy set to enter recession in 2023

According to organisations such as the World Bank, Bank of America and Citi, as well as various economists, it is expected that the global economy will enter into a recession in 2023. A combination of factors has led to this global economic downturn, ranging from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and constriction of macroeconomic policies, to the current European energy crisis and the prolonged periods of supply disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The US and European economies are expected to be the most heavily impacted by a recession this year. The USA’s real GDP growth is expected to be 0.0 per cent Year-over-Year (Y-o-Y) in 2023, while the real GDP of Europe – including the UK – is predicted to come in at 0.1 per cent this year. Nevertheless, it must be noted that the degree of recession is still being debated, and the actual economic impact remains under close observation as market conditions continue to change.

Rashi Singh, AVP, Procurement and Supply Chain at The Smart Cube comments on what impact a potential recession in 2023 could have across different sectors:

“A possible recession in 2023 is likely to significantly impact the CPG sector. In the upcoming months, high levels of volatility are expected when it comes to the prices of dairy and agricultural commodities as a result of recessionary pressures. It is also likely that food service firms will record a fall in sales figures. The expectation is for consumer preferences to transition from away-from-home to at-home food due to the expected decline in real personal income, resulting in decreased demand for food services in 2023.

“Meanwhile in the industrial sector, there is a high likelihood of semiconductor and electronic shortages easing as end-user businesses that stockpiled chips during the COVID-19 pandemic are cancelling or delaying orders to reduce inventory in case a recession takes place in the coming months. Additionally, while it’s expected that the demand for automobiles will fall during the recession – amid the potential decline in personal income – this won’t necessarily be the case. Industry growth is expected to be sustained this year due to the backlog of demand for automotives since the start of the pandemic.

“Finally, the logistics industry is not immune from being impacted by a recession. Expected fall in average annual price of oil and decline in manufacturing activities in 2023 because of the potential decline in consumer spending, is likely to lower down demand for logistics.”

How IT procurement holds the key to a greener business

Written by Tim Westbrook, director at Stone Group

With sustainability rising up the agenda for governments, customers and staff alike, more businesses are committing themselves to a greener and more sustainable future. However, many don’t realise the importance of tackling e-waste if they are to truly make changes to their environmental footprint.

The amount of e-waste generated through 2021 was predicted to total an estimated 57.4 million tonnes – greater than the weight of the Great Wall of China, Earth’s heaviest artificial object. Much of this waste ends up in landfill, being incinerated, hoarded, or illegally traded. If no action is taken, the UK is set to become the biggest e-waste producer in Europe per capita by 2024, according to Spring. And, when you consider that the average business upgrade cycle happens every three to four years, an abundance of devices are deemed surplus to requirements on a regular basis.

According to our own research conducted with almost 1,200 employees, 55% place responsibility for tackling this issue firmly with business, a sentiment shared particularly amongst employees aged 25 to 34 and 24 and under with 82% and 74% respectively believing companies should be doing more to make a difference to the problem of e-waste.

So how can you help to tackle this growing problem?

Stop hoarding!

Now that many businesses are settling into new patterns of hybrid working, it is a great time to conduct an audit of your IT estate as there are likely to be many devices that are no longer required and many that have long been gathering dust in rooms and cupboards.  While you may not think this hoarded kit is of any value, making sure that these are disposed of responsibly can have a huge impact as they can go on to have second lives elsewhere and reduce the need for the manufacturing of new kit – more on this later!

Make, use, recycle

Rather than the traditional ‘take, make, dispose’ approach, a lot can be gained through a more circular ‘make, use, recycle’ route. This puts sustainability at the heart of every stage of the IT equipment’s lifecycle and considers how a business can maximise the lifespan of a product through repair or re-use as well as how they can re-use or recycle products when they reach the end of their lifespan. By doing this thinking up front, it also allows the business to be clearer on specification as they have the kit’s entire lifecycle and cost in mind. What’s more, the added environmental and ethical importance of the procurement process can also act as a barrier or deterrent to those employees that buy equipment outside of the agreed specification and process – an age-old and costly headache which leads to engineers and support teams being unable to sufficiently manage the kit.

Buying new is not the only option

As the saying goes, if you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got, so in order to make a difference, change really has to come right at the beginning of the process.  This could include buying remanufactured or refurbished products, an approach that would not only help to lower e-waste but is more cost-effective and also reduces the carbon footprint and environmental impact of manufacturing new products.

Alternatively, lease or buy-back options could also be a more sustainable route, either leasing the equipment you need for a period of time or buying the technology but with a clause in the contract for the supplier to buy-back all or part of the equipment which they can then go on to remanufacture or reuse.

There is still some hesitation from businesses around these sustainable routes, ranging from a fear of receiving inferior products, inadequate guarantees or a belief that they have a shorter shelf life. In truth, refurbished IT equipment is a great way of achieving the specifications a business needs at a lower cost. Reputable sellers offer refurbished equipment in a ‘like-new’ condition and offer warrantees that rival those for new devices.

Consider how to dispose of your unwanted kit

Whilst our research showed that a quarter of businesses were unsure what happened to their e-waste or admitted sending it to landfill, 2 in 5 (41%) organisations were trying to give their kit a second life by donating it to charities or schools and 31% use an IT asset disposal (ITAD) facility. In fact, those using an ITAD facility were not only reaping the benefits of their equipment being recycled or refurbished but cited the ease of the items being collected from their organisation and the fact that they could trust that data was securely wiped from their devices as significant factors behind their choice.

However, if you go down this route it’s vital to check a company’s ITAD accreditations to ensure their service complies with the necessary environmental and health and safety laws and guidelines. It is also a good idea to ensure they can provide a full report and traceability as proof that your equipment has been disposed of responsibly and make sure you choose a provider that guarantees zero waste to landfill.

Make sure it works for you

If any change is to be permanent, then it needs to work for the business and not be a burden. Your ITAD provider should make it easy for you to book collections via an app or website and, contrary to the many providers who charge a premium for collecting old kit, you should in fact look for a company that will offer rebates for your old equipment as many items will hold a residual value. The money you get back for your old kit can then be put towards your new IT purchases or reallocated elsewhere in the business. An increasing number of ITAD providers also now offer refurbished products from major manufacturers, and the option to tailor each machine to your specifications.

If every business was to adopt even one aspect of this circular procurement approach then it would make a significant impact on the world’s sustainability mission.

Estonian government calls for Europe’s developers to join in a ground-breaking project to build next-gen e-government services

Estonian government looks to maintain its status as the most digitally advanced AI-led Government, with the launch of a new procurement process 

The Estonian Government this week launched a new procurement process, aimed at finding developers that will work on the nation’s Siri of digital public services’, Bürokratt. Those with experience in software development, language technology, and machine learning are being called to lend their expertise to the programme, to directly shape and elevate the country’s leading AI programme, giving the chance to collaborate and work with Europe’s most digitally advanced government.

Bringing together an interoperable network of AI applications, Bürokratt, an award-winning AI- solution provides Estonia’s entire population with a range of voice-activated public services. These services cut past bureaucratic processes making public services easier to use, more convenient, and easily accessible through virtual assistants and voice-based interaction. The highly successful initiative has elevated the Estonian Government to become one of the most technologically sophisticated public services in the world.

The Estonian Government is calling for qualified developers, data scientists, data analysts, and data architects from countries belonging to the World Trade Organization with experience in software development, language technology, and machine learning to participate in the procurement process. Launched today, the deadline for applicants will close on 26 August 2022 and is open to a minimum team size of one person, with no requirements on a company’s history or previous work portfolio.

The process will run as a series of mini procurements for specific tasks. These will focus, primarily on privacy-enhancing technologies, developing AI for data-driven decision-making, language technologies, and Bürokratt. Example tasks would include developing and extending privacy-enhancing technologies, working on AI innovation projects as part of government data and AI sandbox, establishing different language technologies, working on federated learning, publishing government-held data as synthetic data, developing and implementing machine learning solutions, training of a speech robot, replacing existing individual functionalities with more efficient systems, for instance, for customer service, and for voice- and sign-language based service provision.

Andres Sutt, Estonia’s IT Minister, “We take great pride in knowing that our AI-led public services have significantly improved the lives of many of our population, transforming the citizen user experience for the better. Since its launch in 2022, Bürokratt has saved users time and effort by enabling them to communicate with the government through one single point. Buoyed by the success of Bürokratt, we warmly welcome a range of expertise to support us in raising the service offering to even greater heights.’’

Ott Velsberg, Estonian Government’s Chief Data Officer, “Having built and been recognised by the World Government Summit as the best AI-Powered Government Service with Bürokratt, we’re keen to improve the service even more, to provide citizens with more control over how their personal data is leveraged to access government services. We’re also looking to offer citizens the opportunity to share their data with the private sector, where they can explore and receive a range of additional services. For instance, when applying for a bank loan there will be no need for applicants to enter their data into a form, as all relevant information will be gathered automatically from the state’s databases. We look forward to welcoming a range of specialists to come and work with us and become part of one of the most technologically advanced government projects in Europe and contribute to the development of an AI gov stack that benefits the whole society.’’

For more information or to apply to be part of the procurement process, please visit https://e-estonia.com/ai-govstack-testbed_eng

The Smart Cube releases latest version of Amplifi PRO

Brand new category insights dashboards including key supplier risks will support procurement teams to proactively respond to current and future volatility

The Smart Cube, a global provider of strategic research and analytics solutions, has released the latest version of Amplifi PRO, its on-demand digital procurement intelligence platform for the worldwide procurement community.

With procurement teams facing continued volatility in many of their key categories, The Smart Cube has introduced 40 brand new category insights dashboards, bringing together all its in-depth category intelligence into one easy to consume view.

The new category dashboards also feature the competitive landscape and risk profile for the top suppliers in each category, powered by Smart Risk – The Smart Cube’s proprietary risk monitoring platform, which leverages AI combined with human expertise to track suppliers’ risks on an ongoing basis.

The latest release also includes:

  • Procurement KPI/ benchmarking reports: These new reports collate key procurement performance metrics and industry benchmarks for three key sectors (Life Sciences, CPG and Industrials) plus one focused on Indirects categories.
  • Greater insights on categories, commodities, suppliers and inflation indices: Core intelligence has been strengthened, building on the developments introduced in the January 2022 release of Amplifi PRO – including supplier intelligence powered by Craft; broader and deeper commodity intelligence; integrated commodity intelligence dashboards; and new inflation monitors.
  • User journey enhancements: Based on user feedback and analytics, content has been re-structured to group related intelligence, creating a more seamless user journey. The route for existing customers to transition from Amplifi PRO to their custom workflow portals and solutions has also been reconfigured, helping procurement professionals get to the contextualised insights they need, faster.

Gaurav Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, The Smart Cube, commented: “Procurement teams had hoped 2022 would bring a period of greater stability, however a whole host of factors continue to disrupt key categories – from the Russia-Ukraine crisis and supply chain shortages to intense inflationary pressures. This release of Amplifi PRO will help our customers get the critical category intelligence they need, and support their decision-making processes.”

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About The Smart Cube

For leading businesses around the world, The Smart Cube is a trusted partner for high performing intelligence that answers critical business questions. And we work with our clients to figure out how to implement the answers, faster.

Through custom research, advanced analytics and best of breed technology, we transform data into insights – enabling smart decision-making to improve business performance at the top and bottom line. We call it: Intelligence. Accelerated.

Our clients include a third of the companies in the FTSE and Fortune 100, primarily in the CPG, Life Sciences, Energy, Chemicals, Industrials, Financial Services, Professional Services and Retail sectors.

We serve our global client base from our offices in the UK, the USA, Switzerland, Romania and India.

Aquanima Grupo Santander wins Prestigious El Diamante de la Compra Award for transforming the way it buys B2B services using Artificial Intelligence

Aquanima Grupo Santander, a global procurement company that provides value solutions to Santander Group and other clients from different sectors around the world, has won the renowned AERCE El Diamante de la Compra® Award in the Innovation category for the way Santander is using Globality’s AI-powered Platform and Marketplace to transform how the bank sources B2B services.

The AERCE El Diamante de la Compra® Awards – organised by the Spanish Association of Purchasing, Contracting and Procurement Professionals (AERCE) –recognize outstanding work from procurement teams, and highlight the increasingly important function they play within their organisations, showcasing best practices and strategically valuable projects over the past 12 months.

The Innovation category recognizes a project, action or initiative that has demonstrated true innovation. The award is given to the procurement team that can demonstrate a radical new method or approach to one of the most challenging aspects of the sourcing process.

As a result of the partnership with Globality, Aquanima Grupo Santander is enjoying improved demand management and increased sourcing competition, and able to make more effective decisions, realise significant time and cost efficiencies, and foster greater collaboration between business stakeholders, procurement, and suppliers.

“We are delighted to receive this award, which is testament to our shared vision for the Future of Procurement,” said Jorge de la Vega, CEO of Aquanima. “That future, based on self-serve sourcing, is a competitive advantage for Aquanima Grupo Santander, helping us to continually evolve and boost our capabilities to give the best service to our clients.”

Aquanima’s project realised significant results within 90 days of adopting Globality’s Platform. In particular, Santander Bank realised substantial efficiencies by scoping their requirements in days instead of weeks, and awarding work in less than a month, drastically increasing speed to market and also saw average cost savings of 15% across projects awarded on the Platform.

“Globality is proud to partner with Aquanima Grupo Santander in revolutionising the way Fortune 500 and global 2000 companies buy services,” said Joel Hyatt, Chairman, Co-Founder and CEO, Globality. “For the first time, sophisticated, AI-powered technology exists to enable fair, competitive, sustainable self-serve sourcing for all indirect spend – unlocking a huge, new opportunity for procurement to create strategic business value and help meet the challenges of today’s volatile global economy.”

Keysource Extends Consultancy Offer with New Partnership

Keysource, the data centre and critical environment specialist, has extended its consultancy offer to include detailed analysis on the sustainability and environmental impact of clients’ IT hardware in their data centres. It follows a new partnership agreement with Interact, the specialist company that uses machine learning to deliver verifiable analysis of energy and carbon usage of IT hardware in data centres.

Keysource’s consultancy team will utilise Interact’s unique software to quickly and accurately provide clients with a detailed analysis and report on the current state of its on-premises data centres/server estate (e.g., racks, blades etc.), with actionable advice on selecting the IT Hardware for their requirements, taking into account cost, energy efficiency and sustainability.  Reliable recommendations (backed by groundbreaking scientific research and studies) will then be provided within a detailed report allowing organisations to make informed lifecycle decisions.

Considerations will include assessing server hardware to replace and/or what components to upgrade, server/blade/rack consolidations that can be achieved (usually 55% or higher, delivering the same compute performance at the same utilisation level) and the energy and critical environmental impact (CO2) these changes will have from a cost and time perspective. Results from recent datacentre projects over 5 years include over £900,000 savings and 2,800 tonnes of CO2.

Richard Clifford, Head of Solutions at Keysource, said: “This is an exciting evolution of our energy efficiency and sustainability services, expanding further into the IT Stack, increasing the energy efficiency and carbon reduction savings across the Stack. This service will help our clients to deliver maximum performance, with the lowest possible impact on the environment and with a lower and highly optimized cost. We will recommend the best possible cost optimised IT hardware configurations with the lowest energy draw and CO2 footprint, ensuring sustainability goals are accomplished and the circular strategies many businesses now wish to focus on and embrace are quickly and efficiently addressed and accomplished. Our Managed Services team are also best placed to enact these changes, and realise these savings over the life of the infrastructure”.

Pam Kline Smith appointed as Chief Marketing Officer of Globality, to lead brand and marketing journey

Globality, the company transforming the way global enterprises buy services with its leading AI-powered digital solution, announced today it has appointed Pam Kline Smith as Chief Marketing Officer.

Pam Kline Smith is a highly experienced enterprise software marketeer, and will further enhance the capabilities of the world’s first AI-powered Platform and Marketplace for B2B services

Globality’s Platform and Marketplace is used by leading global companies, including British Telecom, Santander and GEA, to transform the sourcing of high-value services by automating the demand creation, supplier identification, proposal evaluation and statement of work creation processes through an intuitive self-service experience.

Smith joins Globality from Intapp, where she was Senior Vice President, Strategic and Corporate Marketing, and she successfully led an IPO in June 2021 for the provider of cloud platforms to professional and financial services companies. Prior to that, she was Head of Strategic Marketing at the SaaS planning software company Anaplan, where she also led the company’s successful stock market debut.

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School, Smith spent ten years early in her career at the McKenna Group, a pioneering marketing firm known for the successful launch of Apple and the birth of concepts that became foundational for marketers and were set forth in the classic marketing book, Crossing the Chasm, written by Geoffrey Moore.

“I’m excited to join Globality and lead the next stage of such an innovative, fast-growing company’s marketing evolution,” Smith said. “Many companies talk about their purpose, but Globality’s raison d’être is to help build a fairer, more equal global economy, and I’m relishing the opportunity to help tell that story both within the procurement industry and also to a broader market beyond.”

Further recognition of the impact of that story and the potential of Globality’s vision for the transformation of global services sourcing came recently when the company was recognized by Gartner® as a Cool Vendor in Strategic Sourcing Technology.

“Pam’s vast experience spans the full marketing spectrum, but she remains a hands-on marketer whose true love is in creating positioning, messaging, and content that “moves the dial,” said Globality Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO Joel Hyatt. “This, along with her deep knowledge of the enterprise software market, will prove invaluable as we continue our mission to transform the way global companies buy B2B services, utilizing innovative AI-powered technology to enable fair, competitive and transparent sourcing.”

The Smart Cube: Russia-Ukraine conflict disrupting supply of key raw materials, leading to knock-on effects across sectors

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has led to significant supply disruption of vital commodities such as natural gas, corn, nickel and petrochemicals, of which Ukraine and Russia are major producers and exporters. This has caused the prices of these raw materials to spike since the conflict began, remaining at an elevated level as the military action continues.

What’s more, these supply disruptions are also set to cause knock-on effects across a number of different industries. This includes:

  • Industrials – Aerospace and defence markets are likely to be impacted due to Russia’s control over titanium supplies, with major players forced to seek out alternative suppliers
  • Consumer goods – Increase in prices of grains, leading to a rise in input costs for packed foods, quick service restaurants, and beer manufacturers
  • Life sciences – Hurdles in production of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine are likely to impact major customers in APAC, Africa and LATAM
  • Logistics and supply chains – Port shutdowns, closed airspaces, and the rising cost of fuel has led to disrupted logistics movement and increases in freight rates

According to Hemant Bansal, Commodity Solution Lead at The Smart Cube, multinational corporations are set to be heavily impacted by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

“2,100 US-based firms and 1,200 European firms have at least one tier-1 supplier in Russia,” said Bansal. “The number increases drastically to 190,000 and 109,000, respectively for US and Europe, in the case of tier-3 suppliers. Adding to this, as Russia and Ukraine are major suppliers of several commodities, we can expect a supply shortage and, ultimately, a significant increase in the prices of natural gas, wheat, palladium, and other commodities, particularly if supplier diversification proves to be a challenge. This indicates significant exposure of global firms’ supply chains in the Russia-Ukraine region.”

Just 6% of leading companies have fully embraced digital transformation in the way they buy and sell services

A new report from Globality, an AI powered procurement platform and the Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) has found that just 6% of leading companies have fully embraced digital transformation in the way they buy and sell services in the £3.9 billion global market, a new survey released today has revealed.

The study also found that 94% are in early- to mid-stages of their transformation, meaning the vast majority have considerable work to do.

Further, only 15% of organisations surveyed believe that they are either “best in class”
or “industry leaders when it comes to digital transformation of their procurement processes and operating models, and 50% of global procurement leaders admit their companies are ‘laggards’ when it comes to the digital transformation of their B2B sourcing processes and operating models.

“Organisations who take proactive measures to transform their current procurement processes and operating models will enjoy considerable competitive advantage in a rapidly changing market, both now and well into the future,” said Dawn Tiura, SIG Chief Executive Officer.

The survey questioned more than 120 global procurement leaders with 84 percent of respondents in positions at a director level or above. The industries represented ranged from arts and entertainment to manufacturing, finance and insurance. More than half of the respondents were responsible for procurement spend in North America, and more than 40 percent were accountable for global spending.

“The average Global 2000 company spends over £3.9 billion a year on services and all of it can be spent smarter and better,” said Keith Hausmann, Globality Chief Revenue Officer. “These findings highlight the need for companies to utilise the sophisticated, AI-powered technology that now exists to enable fair, competitive, sustainable self-serve sourcing.”

“Through digital transformation, procurement can create far more impact on a company’s profitability, as well as helping to enable its ESG agenda,” he added.

Globality’s Platform and marketplace is used by leading global companies, including British Telecom, Santander, HSBC, GEA, and Dropbox, to transform the sourcing of high-value services by automating demand creation, supplier identification, proposal evaluation, and the statement of work creation process through an intuitive self-service experience.

The Smart Cube releases January 2022 edition of Amplifi PRO

Latest release includes supplier intelligence from Craft and new commodity insights dashboards

The Smart Cube, a global provider of strategic research and analytics solutions, has released the latest version of Amplifi PRO, its on-demand digital procurement intelligence platform for the worldwide procurement community.

As procurement teams are challenged with mitigating pandemic-induced disruption, as well as the planning for rising inflation and increasing commodity volatility, The Smart Cube is continuing to invest in developing new content and features for Amplifi PRO, its global procurement intelligence platform, following the last release in July 2021.

The January 2022 release of Amplifi PRO includes:

  • Supplier intelligence powered by Craft: Under a new partnership, Amplifi PRO will now host 150,000+ suppliers via Craft – a significant addition to supplier coverage on the platform. 6,000+ key suppliers will be tagged to categories and subcategories, a major advantage for users, as this connects existing category intelligence with new supplier information, aiding effective supplier discovery.
  • Broader and deeper commodity intelligence: With commodity price inflation on the rise, this release sees a significant expansion in breadth and depth of commodity intelligence, across 80 key commodities, including expert analysis. Beyond the existing pricing data, users can now access price intelligence, commodity news, supply and demand information and analysis, value chain, and cost structure.
  • Integrated commodity dashboards: With more intelligence comes the need for easier access. Building on the last release in July 2021 which saw the introduction of integrated category dashboards, Amplifi PRO now features 80 brand new integrated commodity insights dashboards, which bring together all intelligence and related insights into one place.
  • Inflation monitor: Users can now view inflation trends distinct from specific category inflation. The aim is to provide category managers with a regular and an up-to-date view on the inflationary trends across their key cost drivers. It comprises inflation indices for labour (850+), electricity (30+), and PPI (7,500+).
  • Category intelligence: Increases in key category report types, including Insight Reports (560+) and Deep Dives (110+).

Gaurav Kumar, COO, The Smart Cube, commented: “With ongoing supply chain disruption and the continued rise of inflation, the latest release of Amplifi PRO is designed to provide procurement teams with new and relevant intelligence to help them tackle their biggest challenges. Our partnership with Craft further strengthens the platform’s supplier intelligence offering for clients. We stay committed to investing in Amplifi PRO to offer greater digital and analytically-enriched procurement intelligence to our clients.”