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Optimizing spend in the small parcel category is no small task. eCommerce has given many consumers the sense that shipping a package is as easy as clicking 'Confirm.' Any Procurement professional with category experience, however, knows it's never nearly so simple.

Looking to drive cost reduction in this complicated category? Check out the infographic below for some quick tips from the Strategic Sourcing experts at Source One.

Source One's Supply Chain specialists are well-versed in all areas of Freight & Logistics spend. Whatever your organization's particular needs, trust our dedicated team to provide for cost savings and renewed efficiency. Reach out to the Procurement leaders to learn more.

For Marketing professionals, budgets are often a moving target. With Source One's new Marketing Infrastructure & Network Diagram solution, long-terms goals and strategic roadmaps don't have to be.

Source One designed MIND to supplement the standard spend analysis and category planning processes with a Marketing-specific solution tailored to the category's unique nuances. It provides Marketing sourcing professionals with increased visibility into their agency relationships and enables them to optimize budgets and drive efficiency across the organization.

"Marketing is more than just a cost center" says Megan Connell, a Senior Marketing Consultant at Source One. "That's why we approach the category as an investment and strive to take pains to maximize the value of our clients' agency relationships."

Historically, organizations have established a dichotomy between Procurement and Marketing. Source One's expert consultants excel at bridging this gap and encouraging productive collaboration. Like other areas of their service offering, the MIND solution is applied through a hands-on, multi-step process:

  • Source One conducts an in-depth data collection process to build their understanding of Marketing's current and future state. 
  • Leveraging a customized spend taxonomy, Source One conducts a Marketing-specific spend analysis exercise. 
  • Following the analysis, the Marketing Procurement consultants develop a visual representation of the marketing agency network. Where necessary, they work to re-engineer the client's agency roster. 
  • Armed with their results, Source One collaborates with the client's Marketing unit to build a roadmap for delivering on their goals and objectives in the category. 
Organizations that leverage Source One's MIND solution enjoy greater visibility, develop more actionable strategic roadmaps, and quickly identify emerging risk factors. Contact Source One's Marketing Procurement specialists to learn more about this innovative new service offering today. 

Ask any organization where they want to be. Though specific terminology will differ, their answers will all point toward one particular goal. Whatever their size, their industry, or their short and long-term goals they're hoping to attain world-class status.

Even in a business world that's increasingly tech-enabled, organizations know this means investing in talent. Those with mature Procurement organizations are looking to identify the next generation of professionals. Others are in search of executive-level talent, leaders who'll advocate for Procurement and pave the way for function that's more attractive to applicants and internal stakeholders alike.

Achieving world-class status takes time, money, and effort. This is particularly true where talent is concerned. With the number of open positions outstripping unemployment, wooing promising candidates is perhaps more challenging than at any point in recent years.

What's more, accepting a more strategic role has empowered Procurement professionals to demand higher and higher salaries in recent years. Hays, a UK-based recruiting firm, found that 69% of Procurement and Supply Chain practitioners saw their pay increase during 2017. This affected professionals from the Analyst-level all the way up to executives like the Chief Procurement Officer. Hays expects this trend to continue. Their Salary and Recruiting Trends Guide for 2018 also found that over half (56%) of employees are unhappy with their current compensation. Growing discontent could mean growing salaries as more organizations look to invest in their spend management function.

What should companies expect to pay an experienced Sourcing Professional?

According to Source One's Supply Chain Staffing specialist, Andy Jones, the answer will vary slightly based on factors including location and spend category. Staffing for Procurement jobs across a wide geography, Jones' has seen the impact cost of living can have on salaries. "Someone headquartered in Philadelphia," he suggests, "will almost always command a higher salary than a similarly-qualified resource based in Central Pennsylvania. In either case, however, companies should expect to break out the checkbook."

Sourcing professionals with five years of experience, the sort capable of overseeing numerous spend categories, can command around $80,000 a year. Jones is quick to point out that this figure does not include a potential bonus or any additional benefits. A contractor or full-time hire to manage this Sourcing Specialist can easily collect more than double that. In Philadelphia, Jones has seen such professionals - tasked with managing all direct or indirect spend - consistently earn over $180,000 a year.

In addition to bonuses, organizations need to consider a wealth of additional costs when they go to market for new Supply Chain hires. Whether you're leveraging the services of an external hiring organization or your own HR staff, posting to job boards, conducting background checks, and (eventually) on-boarding a new hire.

The latter process can prove especially costly. MIT's Sloane Review has found that employees take anywhere between 8 and 26 weeks to reach full productivity. More senior hires will - predictably - take longer to develop than their junior peers. However long this period takes, the organization is effectively losing money until it concludes.

The Society for Human Resource Management has found that the average cost-per-hire is over $4,100 and that it takes organizations an average of 42 days to fill open positions. No average can accurately reflect the rigors of identifying world-class Procurement talent, but these figures should give organizations an idea of what to expect. They cannot afford to enter the market for Procurement talent without thoroughly assessing both their resources and their particular requirements.

When in doubt, Jones suggests leveraging the budget optimization and decision support services of a supply chain recruiter. Bringing Procurement talent on-board is a nuanced, multi-stage process. Even world-class organizations can benefit from additional support. Want to learn more? Reach out to Source One and ask about their end-to-end staffing support.

The term logistics has its origins in military strategy. According to Supply Chain Dive, readers can learn the virtues of effective Supply Chain Management in texts published as far back as Sun Tzu's The Art of War.

It's clear that America's military personnel are more than warriors. They are also superlative logisticians. In the highest of high-pressure situations, they work to ensure that troops, weapons, ammunition, and life-saving equipment dependably reach their destination. As such, veterans are perfectly equipped to fill just about any position along the supply chain. From inventory management to decision planning, these are positions that organizations are increasingly eager to fill.

Abe Eshkenazi, the CEO of the Association for Supply Chain Management suggests that demand for Supply Chain leaders is far outstripping supply. "It's estimated," he remarks, "that demand for supply chain professionals exceeds supply by 6-1." He adds that demand is only expected to grow in the coming years. "The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of jobs in logistics will grow by 26% between 2016 and 2020."

In spite of high demand, many organizations still neglect to actively recruit military veterans. Citing findings from Deloitte and The Drive Project, Procurious writes that 30% of businesses have never even considered employing a veteran. Though the other 70% appear more open-minded on paper, the majority will not hire someone without explicit industry experience. Companies like SAP and institutions like Pennsylvania State University are offering veterans the chance to gain the experience, but far too many organizations are ruling out this valuable class of professionals.

Obviously, veterans boast hands-on experience with a unique brand of Supply Chain Management. In honor of Veteran's Day, let's take a closer look at the impact they could make on your Procurement team.

1. They Understand the Importance of Trust and Teamwork
Veterans are the ultimate team players. From the moment they join the Armed Forces, they are compelled to plan every action and make every decision with their team's well-being in mind. They should have no trouble applying these principles to help foster mutually beneficial relationships across the supply chain. Their facility for instilling trust could prove especially valuable in the Procurement consulting space. Suppliers and stakeholders will feel confident following the lead of an individual who has tailored their collaborative skills in the heat of combat.

2. They Can Both Lead and Follow
This is another unique skill that veterans begin developing from the moment they enlist. Our country counts on its servicemen and women to both follow orders and - where necessary - confidently take on a leadership role. While veterans understand the importance of carrying out their own tasks, they are willing and able to take the reins at a moment's notice. A veteran promises to gift your organization with a uniquely flexible and adaptable approach to Supply Chain Management. They'll happily embrace the chain of command, but they won't hesitate when new and unexpected responsibilities come their way.

3. They Embrace Diversity 
There's no place for biases or prejudice on the battlefield. Veterans are used to working alongside and placing their trust in a diverse group of people. They have experience leading and following people from a variety of backgrounds and they've likely internalized the value that diverse perspectives can bring an organization. As businesses look to place a greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion, the disciplined, goal-focused mentality of military veterans could also prove useful. Veterans can speak to diversity's tangible value in high-pressure situations and leverage their experiences to enforce compliance.

4. They are Comfortable with Ownership and Accountability
More than any group of people, perhaps, veterans understand that responsibilities matter and actions have consequences. Given a task, they see it through to the best of their ability whatever the personal cost. What's more, they'll actively seek out new opportunities to optimize Procurement's procedures and processes. They will not, however, make an excuse, attempt to hide, or look for a chance to pass the buck. Veterans cannot help but hold themselves to a high standard during their military service. Procurement groups who hire veterans can expect them to do the same once they've entered the workforce.

Eshkenazi acknowledges that, however eager and accomplished, every veteran will take to time to re-adjust as they enter the workforce. "One of the biggest challenges when employing veterans," he says, "can be chalked up to a simple translation problem . . . human resources specialists often don't understand the crossover between military and civilian experience."

As they look to fill a record number of open positions, these hiring professionals need to undergo an adjustment of their own. They need to begin retooling their processes and rethinking their methodology to better serve the pool of highly-qualified military veterans. The perfect hire could be out there waiting to report for duty.

Source One's Procurement Marketing and Sourcing team excels at driving collaboration between disparate business units. Though Procurement and Marketing aren't known for their close relationship, Source One's team has continually excelled at bringing them together to optimize budgets and agency relationships. This week, they'll join dozens of other thought leaders and innovators in San Diego for ProcureCon Marketing.

The three-day, executive-level conference is the world's only event dedicated to exploring the unique goals and challenges of Procurement professionals working in the Marketing space. Bringing peers and competitors together, the event's agenda focuses on topics including digital disruption and effective stakeholder engagement.

"Every year, ProcureCon's events provide a valuable opportunity to both absorb new insights and share thought leadership of our own," says Marketing Procurement consultant Megan Connell. "ProcureCon Marketing will welcome a number of true innovators this year and enable our team to advocate for our approach while further refining our service offering."

This year's conference will see Source One's team discuss their new agency assessment solution. The Marketing Infrastructure & Network Diagram (MIND) tool represents a major evolution in the firm's approach to Marketing Procurement and Sourcing. They look forward to introducing this innovative new solution to forward-thinking professionals.

Every year, ProcureCon's agenda includes thought leadership sessions and panel discussions featuring Procurement and Marketing specialists from a number of industries. This year's attendees include representatives from Toyota, Adidas, Visa, Uber, and dozens of other household names.

Can't make it to San Diego? Check out what Source One's Marketing Procurement specialists have had to say about some of this year's featured speakers:

Will these organizations use their time at ProcureCon Marketing to discuss these recent developments? There's only one way to find out. Stay tuned for more updates from Source One's budget optimization team.

ICYMIM: November 12, 2018

Source One's series for keeping up with the most recent highlights in procurement, strategic sourcing, and supply chain news week-to-week.  Check in with us every Monday to stay up to date with the latest supply management news.

Disrupting the Source-to-Contract Cycle: Putting Contract Management at the Start of Sourcing
Nick Heinzmann, Spend Matters, 11/12/18
"The typical sourcing cycle begins," Heinzmann writes, "by searching for and evaluating suppliers on two key criteria: Capability and Price." While this is the most popular process, Heinzmann suggests it may not be the most effective. Evaluating suppliers based solely on these factors fails to provide a truly comprehensive picture of their capabilities. Procurement can better understand its suppliers and - ultimately - make more strategic business decisions by emphasizing contract compliance and moving the contracting process from the end of the sourcing cycle to the beginning. The move will accelerate the pace of the entire sourcing cycle and encourage better relationships between Procurement and Legal teams. 

Michael Lamoureux, Sourcing Innovation, 11/5/18
The Doctor continues his series on rampant supply chain fraud by examining a number of suspicious activities and outlining the steps an effecting platform could take to combat them. Lost returns, for example, might affect the bottom line of a company that leverages an outdated tool. In this instances, someone will mark products as defective and ensure they go missing before credit is received. A next-level platform will calculate average defect rates and average return success to assess whether or not fraudulent activities are taking place. Advances solutions could also point our abnormal vendor selection, unusual payment patterns, and fixed asset fraud before these behaviors mature into serious cause for concern.

Walmart, Sam's Club Implement Food Safety Blockchain 
ThomasNet, Nicole Garman, 11/12/2018
Garman reports on Walmart's recent efforts to promote food traceability and protect the safety of its customers. Joining IBM's blockchain-empowered Food Trust, the company expects each of its leafy greens suppliers to provide farm to shelf visibility by September of next year. Before experimenting with IBM's solution, it took Walmart stores a full week to trace their produce back to the farm level. The retail giant can now do so in a matter of seconds. Walmart and its Food Trust partners hope emerging tools will ensure the next contamination is stifled before it can become deadly. This summer's E. coli outbreak proved particularly harmful and seems to have inspired Walmart's ambitious plans.
Tail spend can be a big pain in the, well, tail. There’s a lot of it, not much is known about most of it, and that high volume of nominal transactions makes wrangling these dollars difficult. Many Procurement pros question how much of an opportunity there really is in addressing it.

I ended my last post on the subject with the question, “is it worth it?” The most I could offer was a resounding maybe depending on your overarching goals and the criticality of the other initiatives you have on your plate. That said, I did give you all a week to think on it and a few benefits and risks  to chew on while you pondered.

For some, now may not be the right time, and that’s fine. However, if you’ve decided to take a deeper dive into tail spend management or just want to know how to do so before committing, then read on. I’ve outlined five steps we’ll need to cover as we move towards a well-managed tail.

Step One: Conduct a Spend Analysis
It’s the curse of a hammer to see every problem as a nail. I spend enough time in the world of spend analysis and opportunity assessment that it is usually a go-to recommendation when tackling a procurement problem. Be that as it may, a proper spend analysis really is critical to managing tail spend.

Spend data quality will be poor here – significantly worse off than core spend items. There will be little to no consolidation among business units, so data collection won’t be a one-stop shop. Supplier names will be a mess, with a dozen ways to misspell any given word. In fact, call it a baker’s dozen and consider this example from a client’s Einstein Bro’s spend:

  • 20 different spellings, ranging from “Einstein Bagel” to “Einstein Brothers” to “Einstein'S Bros Bagel.”
  • 210 transactions across a dozen organizations.
  • $11.16 median transaction value over a total of about $4,300, which would allow one to buy nearly 300 boxes of a dozen bagels (were one inclined to feed their entire home town or build a respectable yet unstable bread-based fort).

Keep in mind, our goal isn’t to dig into those 210 transactions. All we want to do is cleanse those names and aggregate our consolidated annual spend to arrive at out $4,300 spend mark so we can ask the question, “is this spend relevant to us?” In this case, maybe not.

This same client spends millions with Grainger on industrial supplies as a second example. Home Depot, not so much. Tens of thousands, maybe a hundred thousand a year. Same with Lowes and Menards and… Hmm. Nearly 100 other tail spend suppliers. Grainger makes up about 10% of total industrial supplies spend alone. While these suppliers are tiny individually, they total around 5% of the spend category when combined – all with offerings similar to Grainger.

Let’s ask the same question – is this tail worth looking into? This time, I’d say yes – we’ll talk more about this in step three.

Step Two: Prepare Internally
After our spend analysis is completed, we will likely see a few points along our tail where we could make an impact. There will likely be many more points that look tempting but fall outside of our areas of expertise, so we don’t know how well we can qualify them.

Given the small size and (up until now) relative obscurity of tail spend, Procurement likely won’t have a wealth of category subject matter expertise. We’ll need to seek out such SMEs from relevant departments and business units. Be forewarned – these spend owners and stakeholders hold the same views of tail spend that we held previously. Odds are good they’re not going to readily invest their own time and resources into chasing spend they don’t see as valuable. Luckily, we have the evidence we need in our spend analysis to show them the value.

Share your analysis with these stakeholders as well as upper management. Get the team on board to champion this cause. Brainstorm ways to bring this spend into the light and under management. The subject matter experts may bring ideas of their own to the table. Otherwise, steps three and four may both provide some inspiration.

Step Three: Integrate into Core Spend where Possible
Supplier consolidation strategies bring tail spend into the fold naturally. We discussed the relationship between Grainger and Home Depot spend earlier and should expand on that example. Now that we’ve classified our tail in step one, try to align these smaller suppliers with our marquee partnerships. Is there enough aggregated spend among them to move the negotiations needle with bigger suppliers? One easy way to tell is by referencing any tiered discount or rebate structures built into our agreements if we have them. If consolidating our tail brings us to the next tier threshold, then we’ve identified a good opportunity.

Minimally, we’re likely going to earn some unit cost savings as well as tiered discount dollars in addition to any free shipping or other concessions by migrating to our Grainger deal. Even better, we can leverage this additional spend to negotiate better deals with Grainger moving ahead – better terms, better discounts.

Ideally, however, our first option shouldn’t be to simply consolidate to our incumbent. We’ve found a great carrot by bringing more spend to them, but what about an equally great stick? Now is the perfect time to go to market. Identify competitors in the market and issue an RFP or RFQ using a new and improve market basket containing the spend from our tail. Now we have a carrot and stick: Incumbents can renegotiate our agreement to earn more of our business – or lose it all to a hungry competitor.

Step Four: Reduce Transaction Costs Everywhere Else
At the end of the day, suppliers stuck in the tail that are purchased from regularly cause a specific headache: Left unattended, they can start to cost more in terms of handling than they are worth from a product cost perspective. As such, the name of the game is to minimize the resource impact associated with these suppliers as much as possible.

Not all tail spend will naturally roll up to one of our larger suppliers as discussed in step three. That doesn’t mean consolidation isn’t beneficial. Even if we didn’t have our aforementioned Grainger deal, consolidation leads to fewer suppliers and therefore less time spent among organizational resources.

Other strategies help in a similar fashion. We should look for ways to automate and streamline ordering, and start to standardize products being purchased. Make ordering these products as fast and easy as possible to reduce the amount of time and operational cost of making these purchases. 

Step Five: Monitor Results
If we’ve followed the four steps above, we now have a clear view of our tail spend and used it as leverage to improve our core supplier relationships or, short of that, at least minimized the impact of the tail suppliers in terms of costs associated with maintaining them. Great!

But we aren’t done yet.

We need to ensure that buyers don’t fall back into bad habits. First, we need to establish proper SOP around orders to get them in the right habits. Buyers probably weren’t intentionally going to Home Depot and maliciously forsaking our Grainger deal – they likely went to Home Depot because doing so was easier. Understand their reasons, and work to build a plan to make such ad-hoc trips unnecessary.

Then, we need to monitor spend to ensure spend doesn’t end up sliding back into the tail. If employees are making Home Depot purchases on company cards, monitor card usage. If needed, tweak rules around maximum spend amounts that can be made on a card without seeking authorization or completing a PO.

Tail Spend in Review
Make no mistake, these steps take work. As you can see, we’re front-loading a lot of resource allocation to solve our tail spend problem. Considering how small a lot of this spend looks, it may seem like a bad investment.

However, these five steps are an effective way to manage tail spend and reduce costs that Procurement may not even have noticed before. Before disregarding this opportunity, perform some due diligence – Get a good view of your tail first and foremost, and judge for yourself how much of an impact tackling it can have.

Transformation is a scary word. To many, it connotes nothing less than a total overhaul, a metamorphosis, an admission that all previous processes and policies were a failure. Though it aims to inspire change, it often succeeds at doing just the opposite.

Procurement professionals working for leading organizations might scoff at the idea of Transformation. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? At the other end of the spectrum, under-staffed and under-resourced teams might hear the word and feel discouraged. Surely, Transformation is beyond their limited means.

In both cases, the Procurement team in question is dead wrong. Transformation is something that every organization can and should actively pursue. Whether incremental or sweeping, ongoing Transformation is necessary for any organization looking to remain adaptable and agile in the face of disruptive changes across the value chain.

Kick-starting the process is as simple as starting a conversation. By listening actively and asking the right questions, Procurement teams at any maturity level can set about instigating a cultural shift. With some effort, they can make turn an inert organization into an innovative agent of change.

Like the journey toward transformed Procurement, this initial conversation will differ based on your organization's size, industry, and approach to Procurement. Looking to build the business case? Here's how Procurement Transformation might fit into your organization's plans for the near future.

Fortune 500 Companies
Businesses at this level are perfectly equipped to let Procurement look beyond cost savings and deliver greater strategic value. In all likelihood, they have the resources to position the function as a driver of digital innovation, supplier risk management, and talent development. The business is probably already dedicated to advancement in these areas, why not offer Procurement a more prominent role in seeing it through?

Fortune 500 to 1000 Companies
Growing rapidly and gaining market share, these organizations are in an ideal spot for reassessing their approach to Procurement. By affording the function a new spot at the executive table and drawing up plans for transformation, these organizations can ensure they hold onto the competitive advantages they've got while adapting to develop new ones.

Mid-Size Enterprises
Organizations of this size have likely tuned their processes for efficiency and consistent results. It's time for them to start looking at the bigger picture and invest in Procurement's people and technologies. By transforming their approach to recruiting and retaining employees, mid-sized businesses can set the stage for evolution enterprise-wide.

Small Businesses
Sweeping transformation is probably a reach at this point, but even the smallest business is perfectly capable of inspiring a cultural transformation. At this stage, research and boundless curiosity are essential. By assessing competitors and building market intelligence, small organizations can begin adopting new Procurement best practices and retool their approach to the function altogether. In time, they'll have what it takes to initiate broader transformation.

Public Entities 
Public organizations are beholden to different rules and regulations than businesses from the private sector. That does not mean, however, that they cannot learn from these companies. Transformation tactics and best practices could serve these organizations well as they look to improve customer satisfaction and refine their internal processes.

Companies at Risk 
A sense of urgency is great fuel for a Transformation. So long as these companies take the time to carefully assess their pain points and plot a realistic roadmap for making a change, a Procurement Transformation could be just what they need to course correct.

These initial conversations could prove challenging. Treating Procurement as a tactical, low-value entity is a bad habit like any other. After years and years, it's not easy to break it right away. Procurement professionals looking to earn buy-in necessary for a Transformation need to come prepared. They must tell a compelling, data-backed story that frames Procurement as a much-needed ally in the journey toward best-in-class operations.

Want help selling your business on Procurement's value? Reach out to Source One's spend management specialists today. 

November 9, 2018

Here's a look at where Source One's cost reduction experts have been featured this week!

New Whitepaper:
MRO Demystified Part III: The Role of Strategic Sourcing in Spend Management
The third installment in Source One's whitepaper series on managing MRO spend offers actionable best practices for carrying out strategic sourcing events. Detailing the typical inputs and outputs, this MRO Demystified Part III offers readers the insights they need to develop an effective methodology for sourcing in this complex category. 

New Podcast:
Redefining Spend Under Management 
Just about every organization likes to believe it has its spend under control. On this episode of the Source One Podcast, Brian Seipel suggests they're often mistaken. In many instances, so-called 'spend under management' is really just spend that's been out of sight and out of mind. The term's nebulous definition doesn't help. Seipel advocates for a new understanding of spend under management and offers best practices for making it a reality.

New Blog:
Run for Your Life! 4 Signs it's Time to Quit
Bennett Glace, Procurious, 11/5/2018
Halloween has passed, but many Procurement and Supply Chain Management professionals are still living through their own personal horror movies. In this blog, Glace uses cinematic tropes as a jumping off point for a discussion of toxic and stifling workplaces. Quitting isn't a decision to make lightly, but Glace suggests it's sometimes the only strategic option. 

Upcoming Events:
ProcureCon Marketing | 11/12 - 11/14 | San Diego, CA
Source One's Marketing Sourcing team excels at bridging the gap between Procurement and Marketing. At this week's ProcureCon Marketing, they'll gain new insights for optimizing budgets and navigating the agency landscape. The thought leadership conference will feature presentations by experts from leading organizations including Visa, Toyota, Uber, and Adidas

A business is like a body. When one component starts to slow or deteriorate, it can quickly produce widely felt ripple effects. In time, these effects can worsen and small symptoms can evolve into serious illness. Acting fast and treating issues at their source is critical if an individual - or an organization - wants to avoid such a situation.

Unfortunately, many organizations lack visibility into their health. Operating with un-diagnosed, unrecognized illnesses, they experience diminishing returns and disappointing results. They require a rapid assessment, a check-up to identify the source of their symptoms and devise a treatment before its too late.

Source One's Procurement Rapid Assessment tool helps you take a holistic look at the function's vital organs. Assessing the maturity and stability of each, it provides a sense of your overall organizational well-being. Chrome users, Download the chart below to try it out.

Want a second opinion? Reach out to the Procurement doctors at Source One today. Together we'll develop a plan to boost Procurement's immune system, treat its symptoms, and not only help it recover, but ensure it thrives for years to come.

It's been a rough year for the food and beverage value chain. Consumers and corporations alike have suffered the consequences of contaminated products ranging from romaine lettuce to cake mix. While few episodes were as frightening as this summer's E. coli outbreak, each new headline has diminished consumer trust and amplified the calls for a more transparent, traceable supply chain. In late-May, a letter signed by nine consumer groups read, "It is no longer acceptable that the FDA has no means to swiftly determine where a bag of lettuce [for example] was grown or packaged."

Businesses including Nestle and Walmart hope that blockchain-powered solutions will provide the means to do just that. Joining IBM's Food Trust program, both brands have outlined ambitious plans for increasing traceability, improving product quality, and protecting the health and safety of their customers. They're not alone.

Cargill first experimented with blockchain-enabled tracing last Thanksgiving. The company's traceable turkey program - the first of its kind - began with years of surveys and focus groups. In 2017, Cargill's Honeysuckle White brand found that a whopping 88% of consumers want more visibility into food production and 80% prefer Thanksgiving turkeys raised by family farms.

To serve these discerning consumers, Honeysuckle White engaged four of its farms to participate in a pilot traceability program. Turkeys arrived at stores with special codes on their packaging. By entering these codes into their phones, consumers could quickly and definitively trace their Thanksgiving dinner back to its origin. They announced the program in a press release that concluded on a speculative note. "Cargill will use the pilot," it read, "to learn more about the value of traceability in its turkey supply chain."

Presumably, Cargill's findings were promising. The Minnesota-based corporation recently announced it would not only reintroduce the program, but expand it to include a full third of Honeysuckle White's fresh Thanksgiving turkeys. While last year's program mostly served Texas-based shoppers, this year's iteration will send traceable poultry to metropolitan areas in 30 states. These include Denver, Nashville, Seattle, and various markets across the Midwest. Kassie Long, brand manager for Honeysuckle White, remarks, "We launched this program as a pilot in 2017 and are expanding it this year to meet increased consumer demand for farm to fork transparency."

Consumers aren't the only ones eager to see the program grow. Honeysuckle White reports that their farmers have also "expressed an overwhelming interest in participating in the traceable turkey program" over the last year. The program's second iteration serves their enthusiasm by expanding to include more than 70 family farms. The codes on this year's batch of turkeys will also enable shoppers to engage more directly with these farmers and develop their understanding of the agricultural supply chain. In addition to the farm's location, these codes will tell a story by providing photos and personalized messages from each participating farmer.

Shoppers who elect to purchase a Honeysuckle White turkey will get an early holiday present this year. They'll enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a traceable, verifiable food supply chain and, in Cargill's words, "greater confidence in the food they purchase and eat."

Every organization likes to believe it's got a handle on its spend. IT? No problem. Marketing? You bet. Telecom? It's all under control.

In his years as a spend management consultant, Brian Seipel has learned that just about every Procurement professionals thinks they've done their due diligence. On this week's episode of the Source One Podcast, he discusses an unfortunate truth. These Procurement pros, he suggests, are often mistaken.

Oftentimes the process of bringing spend under management is really a matter of saying, "out of sight, out of mind." With Marketing spend, for example, an organizations might carry out "brand-wide strategies" without "searching for the agency best suited to see them through. 

Seipel places some of the blame on ambiguous definitions. He offers the typical working definition for spend under management, "any spend under active control by Procurement." While this is an appealingly simple way of addressing the issue, it doesn't actually tell Procurement much about the process of managing its spend.

He sets about developing a more useful definition for this all-important Procurement metric.

To determine whether spend is truly under management, Seipel encourages Procurement teams to ask themselves four questions:

As a concluding note, he reminds listeners that it's dangerous to consider this process a one-off. "Make no mistake," he says, "this needs to be a cyclical process." When it comes to bringing and keeping spend under management, Procurement's work is never done.

Want to hear more spend management insights? Subscribe to the Source One Podcast today.