26 episodes

Digital procurement technology, or "Procuretech", is a game changer. A key enabler and driver of rapid change in the profession. Want to find out how to significantly improve your operational efficiency and enable more to be done with fewer resources?

This show is for Procurement, Purchasing, Supply Chain and Finance professionals, as well as C-Suite executives. We showcase all the best new software out there and bring you interviews with thought leaders and practitioners, to show you how technology can give you a competitive advantage in procurement.

Show notes and further info available at:
https://jamesmeadsconsulting.com/podcast
Follow us on LinkedIn
https://linkedin.com/showcase/procuretechpodcast
Connect with me at:
https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/

The Procuretech Podcast: Digital Procurement, Unwrapped James Meads

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 7 Ratings

Digital procurement technology, or "Procuretech", is a game changer. A key enabler and driver of rapid change in the profession. Want to find out how to significantly improve your operational efficiency and enable more to be done with fewer resources?

This show is for Procurement, Purchasing, Supply Chain and Finance professionals, as well as C-Suite executives. We showcase all the best new software out there and bring you interviews with thought leaders and practitioners, to show you how technology can give you a competitive advantage in procurement.

Show notes and further info available at:
https://jamesmeadsconsulting.com/podcast
Follow us on LinkedIn
https://linkedin.com/showcase/procuretechpodcast
Connect with me at:
https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/

    E-Sourcing, AI and Game Theory - Edmund Zagorin from Bid Ops

    E-Sourcing, AI and Game Theory - Edmund Zagorin from Bid Ops

    Innovation never stops. Alongside the tools that are making manual processes digital, there are also a new breed of tools which are fundamentally changing the way we go about our job.
    How we structure and carry out tenders hasn’t really changed much over the last 20 years. E-sourcing tools have been around since the late 1990s, and have been pretty mainstream for the past 15 or so years (I used them myself way back in 2003)!
    There are a lot of cool apps out there that are disrupting the old-school world of procurement. One of these concentrates on simplifying, shortening and using game theory to influence the outcome of sourcing activities.
    Bid Ops was recognised for its disruptive contribution to the procuretech space when it won Best Startup award at the 2019 Digital Procurement World conference in Amsterdam.
    This week, I interview Founder and CEO Edmund Zagorin on how they’ve grown, how Covid-19 has changed the landscape and how they’re growing despite cuts to procurement and IT budgets through an innovative business model that delivers value from day 1 to their client base.
    Making e-Sourcing Faster and More Effective using AI and Game Theory: Edmund Zagorin from Bid Ops2:09
    Bid Ops recently won the best startup award at DPW 2019.
    So, has that propelled growth for BidOps, or is it more down to Covid-19 and everyone needing to deliver more, faster, and with fewer resources?
    5:42
    I ask Edmund how does BidOps differentiates itself from a standard eSourcing tool e.g. SAP Ariba for large organisations, or MarketDojo and RFP360 as a more accessible, cloud based solution for all businesses.
    We talk about “Best-in-Breed” cloud based solutions and how the “unbundling" of procurement tech is niching down into more specific applications focusing on one specific area.
    12:47
    BidOps straddles the two niches of being an eSourcing tool and also a platform to utilise AI for simulation of negotiations. I ask Edmund what he sees as being the biggest challenge here, and whether he sees a move-away from more traditional ERP systems for managing RFQs and tenders.
    Edmund’s answer about using technology for Sourcing versus using it for P2P optimisation is an interesting insight. Sourcing offers so many opportunities beyond traditional automation and digitisation of operational and transactional practices.
    18:15
    Budgets are tight right now, so I ask Edmund to tell us a little about how Bid Ops has tried to combat this with a more innovative pricing model.
    23:00
    It’s a bit of a hornet’s nets from a legal perspective when you work on a gain share model. How does one prove a saving? Because not everything has a last paid price…
    25:58
    Edmund talks about having to do more with less, and how using gain share to enable immediate implementation of a solution without a lengthy budget approval process is allowing teams to drive results faster. Especially in times where headcount and budgetary constraints are a very real issue for many procurement teams.
    27:07
    How to deal with sceptics: how is Bid Ops able to distinguish and differente itself from some of the more traditional e-sourcing tools which some of us in the procurement space have had a love/hate relationship with over the years?
    There’s a great discussion here about how mutually de-risking the first quote and using game theory in negotiations can lead to a more successful (and shorter, more convenient) outcome from sourcing tenders.
    32:17
    Finally, I ask Edmund the best way to get in touch to learn more about Bid Ops.
    If you’re interested in giving this tool a try, as a certified partner I can also help you learn more about what it can do and connect you to the Bid Ops team for a demo.
    How to connect with Edmund:
    https://bidops.com (Bid Ops website)
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/edmund-zagorin-41291b13/ (Edmund's LinkedIn profile)
    Send Edmund an Email
    How to connect with Ja

    • 36 min
    Increasing Day-to-Day Productivity – Richard Sains from Acada

    Increasing Day-to-Day Productivity – Richard Sains from Acada

    There are lots of options out there for software to facilitate and digitise our P2P processes, perform e-sourcing or manage our contracts more effectively.
    However, the surprising omission up until recently was having something that gets us out of our inboxes. Procurement still relies heavily on email, and the volume we receive means that important stuff can easily be missed.
    Storing Excel and Word documents, as well as project updates and meeting minutes on Sharepoint was able to do that to a certain extent. But let's be honest, Sharepoint's interface is pretty clunky. It's also difficult to find stuff on there unless you've got an experienced administrator.
    The solution? One answer is to have a cloud-based SaaS app which shares project updates, stakeholder and supplier communication and delivery objectives all in one space.
    That's what Richard Sains, my guest today, has developed. He's one of the growing contingent of former procurement professionals turned procuretech entrepreneurs!
    ! Note - my audio is a bit sketchy on this one due to me recording this outside of my usual podcasting space.
    Improving our Productivity for Day-to-Day Communuication and Project Management: Richard Sains from Acada1:43
    Rich explains what ultimately drove him to make the switch from being a category manager to a SaaS entrepreneur.
    4:54
    We discuss the biggest changes over the last 5 or so years in terms of developments in the procuretech space, and how the continuing trend seems to be the faster, leaner, more agile tools that are “best-in-breed” modular, niche solutions.
    With this comes some unique challenges in terms of integrating all of these together to get them to communicate, but technology is evolving to deal with this.
    Swapping things out and replacing them one-by-one makes it easier to upgrade on a modular basis rather than a major IT project each time there is an upgrade.
    7:52
    I ask Rich what he sees as the most common forms of waste or inefficiency in procurement teams and to what extent he sees automation or technology as the solution to combat some of these challenges?
    12:01
    Some inefficiencies of existing working practices will have been laid bare as a result of Covid-19 and the immediate shift in many cases to remote work. What therefore are the biggest challenges to larger organisations if we assume remote work in some form is here to stay?
    14:24
    Should technology be seen as a facilitator or productivity enabler? Or will it completely replace some manual tasks in their entirety and eliminate some operational or tactical procurement roles?
    18:32
    Rich in his own words describes Acada as an innovative system for procurement people to manage their workload and give visibility to their leaders and stakeholders. He expands on what he means by this here.
    22:29
    There are overlaps and similarities to some of the other tools out there, a couple of them have even been on the show. I’m thinking specifically Tarmo from ProcurementFlow (Episode 2) and Pierre from Per Angusta (Episode 13). Rich explains any specific inefficiencies or value adds that he feels Acada solves, that other SaaS tools in the procurement tech space can’t do.
    25:56
    Acada is a pretty new tool compared to some of the other solutions out there, so what are their next steps in terms of growth or development?
    28:12
    Rich walks through the business case of if I was a CFO, how would he convince me to buy Acada as a tool?


    How to connect with Richard:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/rsains/ (Richard's LinkedIn Profile)
    Send Richard an email
    https://www.acadatech.com (Acada website)
    How to connect with James:
    https://jamesmeadsconsulting.com/ (James Meads Consulting website)
    https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/ (James' LinkedIn profile)
    https://bookme.name/jamesmeads/lite/initial-consultation (Book a Call with James)
    https://linkedin.com/showcase/procuretechpodcast (Follow

    • 31 min
    Importance of a Data Strategy – Scott Taylor is The Data Whisperer

    Importance of a Data Strategy – Scott Taylor is The Data Whisperer

    The topic of data is like a boomerang. It always seems to come back into every discussion when we get into the nuts and bolts of implementing a digital transformation in procurement or even just implementing a software solution to get more visibility into spend analytics.
    Problem is, investing in it often doesn't yield a visible payback that can be directly tracked to a future PandL statement. So, how can data management ever become top of the agenda?
    My guest today argues that a significant part of the solution is being able to tell the right story to the right people, to help them better understand the implications of NOT doing this.
    The message is clear. At the point of putting together a business case and a budget appropriation request for implementing procurement tech, getting your data ducks in a row needs to be an integral part of the calculation.
    Scott Taylor joins me on this week's podcast to help explain why.
    Why Implementing a Digital Procurement Solution Must Include A Data Strategy: Scott Taylor is The Data Whisperer1:47
    What problems does Scott see when it comes to the causes and the effects of poor or inconsistent data?
    5:53
    Master data - what are the different types of data in the procurement space and where do the common pitfalls tend to come from? And how can feeding garbage into a procurement tech solution impact your implementation of a digital transformation?
    8:46
    Why is data management an important component in the various different procurement initiatives that are buzzwords at the moment?
    12:02
    Scott explains his "4C" concept and how it helps businesses to understand their potential flaws in master data management.
    18:12
    If we assume that cleaning your data is something that's a non-negotiable, I ask Scott how to approach the discussion with key decision makers. Specifically, how to pitch to CFOs to get buy-in to make the investment in something that doesn't have an immediate, demonstrable payback.
    21:10
    Scott explains why if digital transformation is part the journey of where a company wants to go, it requires highly structured data to successfully reach this destination.
    22:11
    Why selling data cleaning as a stand-alone project is likely to fail, and how to make the case for including data management and structure in the budget of any large-scale procuretech investment.
    23:59
    When it comes to data management, do smaller businesses have the advantage over larger corporations because they have fewer legacy systems and less data to manage, or do the larger businesses have the upper hand because they have the resources and expertise to stay one step ahead?
    27:41
    As a final question, I ask Scott about whether he thinks data scientists will be an integral part of procurement organisations going forward.


    How to connect with Scott:
    https://www.metametaconsulting.com (Meta Meta Consulting website)
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVQ1YhjNqc77GVsb3Xs4tvw (Scott's YouTube Channel)
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottmztaylor/ (Scott's LinkedIn profile)
    How to connect with James:
    https://jamesmeadsconsulting.com/ (James Meads Consulting website)
    https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/ (James' LinkedIn profile)
    https://bookme.name/jamesmeads/lite/initial-consultation (Book a Call with James)
    https://linkedin.com/showcase/procuretechpodcast (Follow The Procuretech Podcast on LinkedIn)

    • 33 min
    Spend Analytics with Process Mining – Samir Kharkan from SCALUE

    Spend Analytics with Process Mining – Samir Kharkan from SCALUE

    Understanding what you spend is the most important part of strategic procurement. Without this, you can't do much else. You're shooting in the wind, not really knowing whether what you're tackling are the ripest opportunities.
    While spend analysis tools have been around for a while, they're now becoming old hat.
    The new generation provides spend analytics and guides you to where the best opportunities may be hiding in your spend data.
    Taking it to a completely new level, the ability to combine spend analytics with process mining is game changing. If you're not sure https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Process_mining (what process mining is), it will save what would previously have taken days, if not weeks of work to find holes and inefficiencies in your processes.
    The P2P process is a classic case of where this can be implemented effectively, and combined with spend analytics to drive both performance improvement and cost reduction.
    That's what my guest today, Samir Kharkan, CEO of German startup SCALUE is here to talk about.
    The Killer Punch for Extracting the Most Value: Combining Process Mining with Spend Analytics

    2:40
    I start off by asking Samir the same question as I asked Kevin last week, and that is: what makes a vendor “cool”?
    3:14
    Spend ANALYSIS vs. spend ANALYTICS. What’s the difference, and how does analytics drive businesses forward more than just a standard analysis dashboard? How SCALUE and similar tools (see episode 3 with Eddie from Seaforth Analytics) differentiate themselves from the first wave of spend cube software
    6:54
    What is Process Mining, and how does this add further benefits beyond the spend analytics function in terms of analysing business processes to view potential inefficiencies and non-compliances?
    8:30
    Does a powerful tool such as spend analytics combined with process mining enable CPOs or CFOs to employ less experienced procurement managers now that software can do most of the heavy lifting? Spoiler: the answer is NO!
    11:45
    I ask Samir to walk through what the must-haves or prerequisites are on the customer’s side to ensure that implementation of a tool like SCALUE is successful. Samir’s "Captain of the ship" analogy is absolute gold!
    15:47
    We drill down into why this type of solution specifically solves a common problem for mid-sized companies, when considering this with the captain, ship and compass analogy that Samir so eloquently explains.
    17:53
    Is spend analytics and process mining also a relevant tool to use in professional service industries where there is no product being manufactured?
    20:43
    We drill down into an example of where an automotive supplier discovered 30% maverick spend in indirect services through the data made available by using SCALUE’s solution. Samir walks us through how they discovered it and then put measures in place to reduce this.
    26:00
    Let’s talk payback calculations…how long does it take for customers to typically see return on investment?
    27:18
    Samir gives a great example of how looking at invoice discrepancies based on drill down of incoterms can often give return on investment in just one swoop.
    How to connect with Samir:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/samir-kharkan-6b641a40/ (Samir's LinkedIn profile)
    https://scalue.com/en/ (SCALUE website)
    How to connect with James:
    https://jamesmeadsconsulting.com/ (James Meads Consulting website)
    https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/ (James' LinkedIn profile)
    https://bookme.name/jamesmeads/lite/initial-consultation (Book a Call with James)
    https://linkedin.com/showcase/procuretechpodcast (Follow The Procuretech Podcast on LinkedIn)

    • 32 min
    Tail Spend Sourcing - Kevin Frechette from Fairmarkit

    Tail Spend Sourcing - Kevin Frechette from Fairmarkit

    Tail spend is a huge, untapped opportunity that you're probably not exploiting to its full potential.
    If you're following the 80/20 rule, then managing the tail isn't going to be a key priority when it comes to resource allocation.
    Meaning a lot of opportunity goes to waste. Especially if headcount is being cut and procurement teams are having to deal with bigger workloads.
    My guest this week is Kevin Frechette, CEO and Co-Founder of Fairmarkit, who were recently recognised by Gartner as one of their "4 Cool Vendors" in the procurement tech space.
    I also recently wrote https://www.fairmarkit.com/blog/the-significance-of-tail-spend-in-a-down-economy (a piece for Fairmarkit's blog) all about leveraging tail spend in a recession, if anyone is interested to read my thoughts there!
    Strategies for Dealing with your Tail: How AI-powered Automation fits into the Mix2:20
    In light of their recognition by Gartner as one of 4 “cool vendors”, I asked Kevin what in his view makes a vendor cool.
    4:44
    Kevin explains how Fairmarkit came into the space of offering tail spend solutions. It’s an interesting story that shows a great example of pivoting what their initial idea was, to actually offering what the market is asking for to solve a specific challenge that kept cropping up in their discussions.
    7:10
    Kevin walks through the business case of why tail spend is a great untapped opportunity, and how a lot of the existing procuretech solutions were not addressing this as an opportunity.
    8:20
    We walk through some of the reasons why there is so much cash left on the table when it comes to tail spend and why organisations often overlook this as a valuable source of cost savings.
    9:28
    Is there a justification to allocate procurement resource to tail spend? If you can’t add headcount, especially under these economic circumstances, then how do you decide what to tackle and what not to? And for what you’re not tackling, what opportunity does this then offer to technology as a solution?
    11:20
    What actually constitutes tail spend? Is there a single definition? And what about services as well as goods?
    14:13
    What are the advantages of using a tech solution such as Fairmarkit vs. just leveraging other non-technical solutions such as BPO, catalogues, MRO and FM integrators and Group Purchasing Organisations?
    18:16
    We explore finding where the "sweet spot” is between value of purchase order and available resources in procurement teams to be able to leverage a tech solution like Fairmarkit to drive value and reduce sourcing cycle time of tail spend items. Kevin then walks through an example of how the process would then work when running a sourcing request through Fairmarkit.
    20:50
    Dealing with data quality and how Fairmarkit can manage non-perfect descriptions of what requisitioners are trying to source. Kevin explains how machine learning will improve the ability to work with imperfect data as the amount of requisitions Fairmarkit processes continues to increase.
    26:26
    We discuss Fairmarkit’s strategy of moving beyond just tail spend to offer a more end-to-end solution, and what the driving factors behind it were.
    28:02
    Kevin explains the concept of “intelligent sourcing”, and how data and automation can be leveraged to streamline and optimise the sourcing process.
    30:32
    Are clients using the productivity gains achieved through using the tool to redeploy FTEs onto more strategic procurement activity? Or are they just using the benefits to reduce procurement headcount?
    34:01
    A final example given by Kevin focuses on the concept of sourcing smarter.


    How to connect with Kevin:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-frechette-49652921/ (Kevin's LinkedIn profile)
    https://www.fairmarkit.com (Fairmarkit website)


    How to connect with James:
    https://jamesmeadsconsulting.com/ (James Meads Consulting website)
    https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/ (Ja

    • 38 min
    Collaboration with Startups – Dr. Gisela Linge from Strategy Meets Reality

    Collaboration with Startups – Dr. Gisela Linge from Strategy Meets Reality

    Buying smart, and measuring total value rather than just price, is a popular concept right now. And for good reason, given the supply chain fragilities that the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare.
    Nonetheless, the automotive industry is one that's renowned for being particularly cutthroat in its often combative relationships with suppliers.
    My guest on today's show, Dr. Gisela Linge, is a strategy consultant who has over 10 years of experience in the automotive industry. So, it's all the more relevant to talk to someone with her experience about how sourcing smart and collaborating with innovative startups can move the needle.
    We discuss how some of the process and regulatory roadblocks can be removed to ensure procurement and RandD are able to work with the most innovative companies in the space without having their hands tied by impossible TandCs, bureaucracy and book-length contracts.
    Sourcing Smart and Successfully Collaborating with Startups - an Interview with Dr. Gisela Linge from Strategy Meets Reality2:09
    I ask Gisela for a short intro of how she got into the space of strategy, specifically in procurement
    5:18
    Buying smart rather than buying cheap - how does it work in an industry that is as cutthroat as the automotive sector?
    8:21
    Do large organisations such as OEMs and Tier 1s actually have the self-awareness to see the opportunities of how they can benefit from working with startups, or do they require external help from consultancies to understand the lay of the land?
    13:07
    Will we as time goes on see a more open interface between ERP systems and individual apps offering specific solutions that can integrate with them?
    15:27
    We look at examples of where companies do have a strategy of working with smaller and more innovative startups, but can often become unstuck with the usual big company compliance and legal bureaucracy. This can prevent startups from getting a foothold into these organisations as vendors, so we look at how this could play out and what needs to change, including an example of how Gisela overcame this in a previous position she held.
    19:20
    We touch on one of my favourite topics - I promise I didn’t lead the conversation this way(!) - of pragmatism over rigid process and how there must be more flexibility within legal and internal audit departments to make these collaborations a success.
    21:58
    I ask Gisela her experiences of being able to convince legal colleagues to be more pragmatic, in the quest of being able to work with startups who don’t have the bandwidth to sign up to standard large corporation TandCs and contractual requirements.
    23:46
    Exploring the opportunity of using risk management software to assess risk level of working with a specific vendor, and how this can be used to procurement’s advantage in preparing the business case to gain buy-in from Legal or any other sceptical internal business partners.
    24:47
    I ask Gisela for a tip for buyers who are struggling to get their stakeholders to agree to working with smaller startups to drive innovation.
    How to connect with Gisela:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/giselalinge/ (Gisela's LinkedIn profile)
    https://www.strategymeetsreality.com (Strategy Meets Reality website)
    How to connect with James:
    https://jamesmeadsconsulting.com/ (James Meads Consulting website)
    https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/ (James' LinkedIn profile)
    https://bookme.name/jamesmeads/lite/initial-consultation (Book a Call with James)
    https://linkedin.com/showcase/procuretechpodcast (Follow The Procuretech Podcast on LinkedIn)

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

A.Zarro ,

Procurement enhancement

James explores very well with subject matter experts how procurement enhancement can be obtained using technology and he is doing this while keeping all interviews light and fresh

Brit In Germany ,

Great insights into different digital solutions in the space

This is for any procurement professional or finance leader who is struggling to understand all of the different digital solutions out there to provide more transparency of, and automation for the procurement function. If you need some background on the different vendors and solutions, as well as pros and cons to various different approaches, this podcast is a plain-English, easily digestible way to achieve this.

Barnesy_ ,

Awesome information and a great host

James has made a special podcast here full of informative content around procurement tech and procurement best practice.

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