Category Archives: Risk Management

Trump & Brexit Woes? Optimization is the Answer!

SI has been preaching the gospel of strategic sourcing decision optimization since day one, noting how it was the only way to not only achieve the year over year cost savings that could be identified by spend analytics but also identify additional value necessary for struggling under-staffed and under-budgeted supply management organizations to realize the value that was being demand of them. Year-over-year was key. During the noughts, thanks to the success of FreeMarkets and Ariba, everyone thought that e-Auctions were king, as the first e-Auction often returned 20%, 30%, or even 40% savings and the second a healthy 5% to 15% in a host of categories, but no one realized these savings were just a result of excess fat in supplier margins, shaved out by more aggressive, hungrier, competition looking for a chance to prove themselves and grow. Once the fat was trimmed, and inflation began to return near the end of the noughts, subsequent auctions not only failed to identify additional savings, but also resulted in cost increases.

SI knew this, as the early adopters were already beginning to experience this when SI started and multiple options for strategic sourcing decision optimization were available (CombineNet [now Jaggaer], Emptoris [now IBM], Iasta [now Determine], VerticalNet [now BravoSolution], Trade Extensions, and Algorhythm), but the auction providers had big marketing budgets (as a result of their big successes, % of savings contracts, and VC funding) and bigger mouths to spread the auction word. And by the time the blush faded from the rose, most organizations weren’t ready for what seemed to be complex solutions, so the focus turned to better RFX, should-cost models, spend analysis, and weighted evaluation models. This worked for simpler categories, and the fact-based negotiations shave the remaining fat while also identifying processes or unnecessary non-value add offerings that could be trimmed, and savings continued, but began to trail off. That’s why the leaders are slowly accepting decision optimization and why Trade Extensions has been growing aggressively year-over-year for the last five years or so.

But let’s face it … when 40% of the market still doesn’t have any Supply Management tool and only 20% of the organizations that due are leaders (which kind of explains the Hackett 8%), the adoption is still low and the usage still minimal. As long as savings can be squeaked out through other means (analytics, cost modelling, aggressive negotiation, GPOS, etc.), the average organization seems to be doing everything it can not to evolve. Cognitive Procurement is the buzzword, but cognitive dissonance is the reality.

But that could all be about to change. Why? Between Trump continually threatening new border taxes, border closings, and visa program overhauls and Brexit looming on the near-horizon, which will totally change the tax and border situation in Europe, supply chain costs are totally unknown for a large majority of global supply chains. Considering how many global organizations are headquartered (at least regionally) in the US or UK and how many more have their Procurement Centers of Excellence there (either in a distribution hub or a financial hub, of which New York and London are two of the biggest in the world), it’s looming chaos. Are your costs going up? If so, are they going up 10%, 20%, 100%? Are sources of supply going to be cut off due to trade bans? Is your best talent going to be locked out of the US or UK? It’s a nightmare waiting to happen. It’s enough to put even stock market traders into full panic mode.

So what do you do? You manage the risk? But how? Most of the traditional supply chain risk management platforms (Reslinc, Risk Methods, Achilles, etc.) are geared at supply chain visibility — attempting to identify potential disruptions [as a result of external or internal events] before they happen so that mitigation plans can be identified and put in place before they do. However, when the disruption is not an event but an unpredictable [and unaffordable] tax hike or border closing, these solutions, even those that reach level 5 on the Spend Matters scale, are pretty useless. That’s why Sourcing Innovation has recently stated that Supply Management Risk Management Needs to be Cranked to 11. (It’s important to go to 11.)

You see, the key to survival is “what if” the current supply chain becomes unsustainable due to a tax hike or border closing in the US or UK. Running a new scenario with all of the inputs except any lanes, countries of origins, and / or products where you expect to see disruptions, trade bans, or extreme import/export duties. And then running another new scenario under a different set of assumptions on lane, country, and/or product restrictions. Running scenarios at the product level and the category level. Running with current supply base, previous bidder supply base, and newly identified scenario supply base until you have a mitigation scenario that is acceptable and ready to go if something happens.

Only a good supply management decision optimization solution with what-if scenario support can do this – nothing else.

So, since we’ve all forgotten Kermit’s Lesson, this is what we’re left with. But considering how it will enhance your overall supply chain operations in these turbulent times, that’s not a bad thing.


Supply Management Risk Management Needs to be Cranked to 11!

SI has been preaching the message of the need for strong supply chain risk management for a while now, given that the chances of your organization NOT experiencing a significant disruption over the next 12 months is about 1 in 10 and dropping fast. In fact, the doctor recently authored an entire risk management series for Ecovadis:

But given the uptake in deep supply risk management solutions, SI is not yet preaching to the choir. Don’t worry, this is not another post preaching from the pedestal, unless, of course, you are a vendor.

You see, even the best solution doesn’t have what you need to suitably address risks in today’s risk-laden supply chain. Consider the current enabling technology components, as addressed in the Supply Risk Management Landscape Report, co-authored by the doctor with the prophet and the maverick.

  • basic portal and information tracking capabilities which tracks all suppler and product info and allows a supplier to manage their end
  • risk analytics and reporting that focusses on relevant spend, supply, and supplier metrics that provide good risk indicators
  • risk intelligence feeds that report on current real-world (third-party) metrics and events that can effect your supply chain
  • commodity management enablement with price benchmarking and forecasting, availability projections, price risk exposure, etc.

These are good, but all these let you do is identify potential risks. Once a risk is identified, you need to do something about it. But a solution that only tracks, reports, augments, and projects — while it may give you some ideas — doesn’t let you do anything about it.

Some providers (like Resilinc) give you a command center that allow you to create disaster recovery plans for specific occurrences, or run what-if reports/scenarios based on decisions on how to mitigate a risk, but this doesn’t help you identify how to mitigate the risks appropriately.

And that’s why supply risk management platforms need to crank it to 11. And how will they do that?

The answer, as the doctor outlined in the aforementioned co-publication with the prophet and the maverick, is to also contain support for:

  • supply chain re-design and optimization based on decision optimization, supply chain modelling, predictive analytics, and “what-if” scenario planning

Now, not a single supply chain risk management solution supports even one of the four core capabilities required (although some will claim they do), but hopefully, now that the flashlight has been shone, they will … or maybe, just maybe, a true SSDO (strategic sourcing decision optimization) provider will hire a few risk experts and build a risk management platform on the right underpinnings. Only time will tell. The most important thing is that you realize when you go to market for a supply chain risk management solution is there is no perfect solution and more innovation is needed.

On the Eighth day of X-Mas (2016)

On the eighth day of X-Mas
my blogger gave to me:
Risk Management Posts
Sustainable Posts
e-Procurement Posts
some SRM Posts
some CLM Posts
some Best Practice Posts
some Trend Bashing Posts
and some ranting on stupidity …

Risk is everywhere. Embedded in everything.

The categories of risk are truly The Dirty Dozen.

Every organization is Playing With Fire: [with all of the] Hidden Risks Lurking in The Supply Chain!

These risks stay hidden thanks to the common practice of Siloed Supply Risk Management [which] Just Wastes Time, Money, and Resources.

It doesn’t have to this way. For instance, here are 3 Best Practices in Supply Risk Management That You Are Likely Overlooking.

These will help you understand that Supplier Risk: [is just] The Tip of the Iceberg.

Because, and it is worth repeating, Hidden Risks are Everywhere!!

And when one rears its ugly head, that’s when you find out that Turbulence [is] Not Just for Airplanes Anymore!

But while the enormity of the situation may drown you, despite what your ERP vendor will tell you, your ERP is a big risk. Here are A Few Reasons Why Your ERP is a Disaster Waiting to Happen.

When it comes to risk, could you be managing it right? Yes, and you could start with some Risk Monitoring.

After all, when you consider what a realized risk costs, It Shouldn’t Be Hard to Justify Investments in Risk Avoidance.

Come back tomorrow for the ninth day of X-Mas.

Oversight for more than just your Travel & Expense budget management

Oversight is an Atlanta-based software (as a service) company founded back in 2003 to help organizations monitor spending in an effort to identify errors, waste, misuse, and fraud in the grey area of enterprise spend. As every recovery firm will tell you, the average organization will overspend by 1% to 3% as a result of over billings, duplicate billings, unnecessary spend on superfluous demand, maverick spend, and even fraud. (And they make their living recovering a portion of that, typically a third, and then charging you 33% of the recovery as their fee. Sounds small, but 1/3 of 1/3 of 3% of spend is 0.33% of spend, and if the organization spends 100 Million, they get 330,000 for an effort that can be largely automated and, even worse, be avoided with proper up-front spend monitoring.)

For example, if all invoices are compared to invoices and goods receipts before payments are authorized, this can prevent overpayments. Duplicate billings can be identified in the same way (and duplicate payments prevented). Potential fraud can be identified by forcing all invoices from unknown suppliers, for unknown products, or for unexpected amounts to be manually reviewed. (This can’t prevent in-house fraud, where a buyer pays a fake invoice to a fake company controlled by a relative, or a co-conspirator, but it can prevent external fraud.) Unnecessary spend on superfluous demand will require up front requisition control, as will maverick spend, but at least there will be no overspend or duplicate spend that can be unrecoverable once the contract with the supplier expires.

Oversight is unique in that it is not so much a software platform but an insights platform. Employing a team of data scientists focussed on identifying new algorithms and techniques for fraud detection, Oversight uses their in-depth knowledge of fraud to build solutions that will help the clients identify potential cases of fraud that they could never hope to identify on their own. The best most companies can do is sample based audits and spot checks which are unlikely to identify much fraud as these will generally only be on a few percentage of invoices or transactions, and most employees who have been getting away with fraud for a while will not be doing anything obvious, and the fraud will not be detected without correlations across documents and systems. That’s where Oversight comes in.

The Oversight solution is a web-based software solution for automatic spend analysis and identification of high-risk or potentially fraudulent transactions that comprehensively analyzes T&E, purchase card, and accounts payable spend using a suite of statistical, clustering, data mining, break point, rule-based, evidentiary reasoning, and machine learning algorithms that look for discrepancies, suspicious patterns, known fraud, and risk indicators to identify those transactions that need to be manually reviewed. The dashboard-driven, or work-bench driven, interface allows an analyst to drill into suspicious transactions by country, organizational unit, risk level, or exception type and can be configured to show the analyst only those exceptions assigned to her, or her team, or every unresolved exception in the system.

When a user drills in by exception type, she sees an overview of the overall risks by country and can drill into suppliers to see the specific exceptions. When a user drills in by country, she can see the overall risk by supplier and then by exception. In other words, she can drill into at-risk transactions using country, organizational unit, supplier, and at-risk type in any manner they please.

Or, they can look for exceptions by process. Right now, Oversight supports the identification of at-risk transactions in the travel & expense, procure to pay, and purchase card processes and has recently added support for FCPA, Anti-Bribery, and Corruption Risk — including the identification of known politically exposed parties.

Plus, the platform not only integrates with all of the big supplier and financial data providers — such as Dunn & Bradstreet, Bureau van Dijk, and CreditSafe — but also integrates with providers of risk indicator data such as Ecovadis and Sedex Global. Plus, they maintain their own databases of known politically connected parties, gentlemen’s clubs, denied parties, and other parties that an organization typically should not be allocating funds to. This last capability is quite important … just ask American Express which once received a 241K strip club bill authorized by the CEO. (Source)

Since fraud attempts differ by country, and collusion is hard to detect with a standard m-way match invoice processing platform, Oversight brings a powerful offering to the expense management space. It’s a platform worth checking out. For a deeper dive into the platform, check out the recent coverage by the doctor and the prophet over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required]. (Part I is up with Parts II and III coming within a week.)

Twenty-Two Years Ago Today …

The PlayStation was released in Japan. Even though Sony was late to the scene, as the PlayStation was released with the fifth generation of video game consoles, it was the first “computer entertainment platform” to ship 100 million units and set the gold bar for computer entertainment platforms at the time.

But this is not the only reason it is significant. It’s also significant because it also set the need for a gold bar in supply chain management as Sony lost $150 Million in sales and product reformulation when Dutch authorities halted a shipment of 1.3 Million PlayStations back in 2001 due to illegally high cadmium levels.

What do you think, LOLCat?

All PlayStations are great to sleep on!