There always seems to be plenty of commentary around what’s driving innovation and growth in both large enterprises and startups. By comparison, the mid-market seems slightly neglected; this seems an oversight given the crucial role it plays in the UK economy. Although this market segment represents just 1% of UK firms, medium-sized businesses are increasing revenues by an average of 6.7% each year and the mid-market is expected to boost the economy by 18% over the next five years.
Congratulations! It’s been three years since you decided to outsource accounts payable. Or, accounts receivable, or customer care, or payroll, or HR, or procurement, or any one of a dozen business process functions typically outsourced, in part or in full. You’ve finally stabilised operations, established consistent market standard processes, addressed the fears from the field, started realising those projected savings, and convinced IT that it is possible to improve response time without creating a horrific security breach.
"There has got to be a better way!" That’s the common lament from all aspects of the healthcare industry from providers, payers, and patients alike when talking about the relationship between those three parties. It not unusual to hear complaints like, “misaligned financial incentives”, the “tyranny of the 15-minute visit”, or it’s an “unsustainable system”.
As the drone flew over the factory in North Carolina and captured pictures and videos both inside and outside the factory, little did the company whose factory was being photographed realise that their practices would be questioned. Here is a factory that processes pig meat. The way the factory is designed is to optimise the number of pigs and the weight of these in order to get maximum production out of it. So, what is wrong with all this?
Emerging technology services have revolutionised the sourcing industry. These disruptive technologies like autonomics, interface technologies, big data analytics and other computing technologies have permitted smaller companies to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses. Specifically, as incumbents focus on improving their products and services for their most demanding (and usually most profitable) customers, they may exceed the needs of some segments and ignore the needs of others.
Ever since the 2016 elections, America’s outsourced manufacturing has consistently been front-page news. Now news stories are shifting towards the larger world of foreign imports, rather than just outsourcing. That means new policies and taxes that will impact, well, just about everything! That means all consumer goods, cars, electronics and a lot more. But what about... cartoons? Yeah… what about the Saturday morning ghetto, Hanna-Barbera, The Simpsons, and the Cartoon Network?
As regulations and consumer pressures shift and organisations are increasingly exposed to risk – reputational and beyond – the procurement industry faces a critical juncture. This dynamic has created a business environment where sustainable procurement programs are no longer just nice to have, but an integral organisational function that is responsible for protecting and improving brand reputation, driving revenue and mitigating business risk.
John Wanamaker once commented, “I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” Likely this is often said of marketing as a whole - and in fairness, applies to other business functions as well. Have you struggled with this conundrum when considering your sourcing options for marketing spend? Proper mechanisms to track performance, ROI, and effectiveness need to be in place to ensure that the money spent is adding value and not being spent because you have always done it that way.
Robert Kurzban, Ph.D., an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the Psychology Department, is a proponent of evolutionary psychology as a key to understanding human behaviour in all of its complexity.
Last October I attended the Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) Global Summit in Carlsbad, California - an event I have attended more than 40 times over the last 25 years. Why? Because professionally, it is truly worth the time and treasure required. Because of its strict “no selling” and supplier code of conduct agreement, attendees can freely collaborate and discuss topics without waiting for a vendor to start their sales pitch. Unlike traditional trade show vendor-fests, SIG attendees are typically about 75% buyer, 20% supplier and 5% advisor.
Outsource got together with Raleen at last October's SIG Summit in Carlsbad, California, to hear about some of the key developments in the global labour market - and how procurement departments need to refine their approach to procuring people...
Outsource: Raleen, let’s begin with an introduction… Can you tell our readers what you do at ManpowerGroup?
Undoubtedly, digital has huge potential: to fundamentally transform the business operating model; to unlock the “impossible challenge”; to greatly accelerate change; and to intimately connect a company to its customers in real time. However, digital can also expose a company’s inner contradictions, reveal hidden pockets of poor performance, and even lead to perceived core capabilities being seen as critical weaknesses.
Kit Cox is the founder and CEO of UK-based BPO software company Enate, and a long-time observer of and commentator upon the international outsourcing space. He's also, now, the latest professional to come under the microscope of our Life Lessons series: we're in your hands, Kit...
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career, and why?
The sourcing industry has so far had a spectacularly wonderful run. Twenty-five years of constant change, dynamism, technical competencies; business-aligned, people-centric, and bottom-line focused; intrinsically able to deliver on all promises made. As with any journey, bumps and roadblocks are expected. Navigating them painstakingly has created heroes of many an organisation, spilling over benefits into the developing world, and capital markets.
It’s clear that procurement has evolved over the past several years. And it continues to evolve. Digitisation has helped take it from what was viewed as a back office function to a key differentiator and value driver. But why have some procurement organisations soared with the change while others lag behind?
What do winners know that others don’t? What makes some procurement organisations more efficient or effective, more successful, more innovative, more on top of their game?