21 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

    • Management
    • 5.0, 5 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/

    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 R&D are able to work with the most innovative companies in the space without having their hands tied by impossible T&Cs, 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 T&Cs 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:
    Gisela's LinkedIn profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/giselalinge/)
    Strategy Meets Reality website (https://www.strategymeetsreality.com)
    How to connect with James:
    James Meads Consulting website (https://jamesmeadsconsulting.com/)
    James' LinkedIn profile (https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/)
    Book a Call with James (https://bookme.name/jamesmeads/lite/initial-consultation)
    Follow The Procuretech Podcast on LinkedIn (https://linkedin.com/showcase/procuretechpodcast)

    • 29 min
    Deep Data on Employee Expenses - Anthony Devine from Finfo

    Deep Data on Employee Expenses - Anthony Devine from Finfo

    Expenses for items such as individual company mobile phone usage, printing and copaying is typically billed centrally against a centrally negotiated contract. The costs incurred, however, are often both a mystery and black hole of unaudited, unchecked invoices.
    They needn't be.
    All organisations can access individual employee expense data if they so wish. The reality is that few of them do. Which is really a lost opportunity, when you consider all of the anomalies, discrepancies and consumption-driven cost reduction which can be attained here through just having the right data.
    My guest this week, Anthony Devine, explains how organisations can, through the power of well presented data and a culture of transparency, use this data to drive awareness of cost and usage, and make a serious dent into the overall spend on these services.


    Driving 30% Savings with Deep Data on Employee Expenses: Anthony Devine from Finfo tells us how

    2:50
    Anthony tells a fascinating story of how he discovered this was a problem from a very different original career path he had been on.
    4:45
    What does Finfo define as indirect employee expenses for the purpose of what the tool can track?
    6:31
    How can these expenses be broken down to show what each employee or username is consuming? What are the means and mechanisms used to be able to get hold of the data and present it in an easily understandable format?
    8:59
    What is preventing the client from accessing this data themselves? Anthony’s answer is surprising in that the barriers to entry are relatively low but the penetration rate of clients actually requesting this data natively is very low.
    11:08
    I ask Anthony how they are able to fulfil the data privacy requirements of GDPR, and what data they are actually able to legally display within their own organisation.
    14:47
    Anthony walks us through how Finfo onboards a new client, and how they go about giving them visibility of the data which could generate an easy return on investment with regard to going after the low hanging fruit.
    18:14
    The savings figure in Year 1 that Anthony alludes to is an eye-popping number you won’t want to miss if you’re an IT or telecoms procurement professional!
    21:41
    Beyond year 1, how does Finfo manage to deliver value beyond implementing the initial quick wins?
    23:01
    How procurement category managers can benefit from a third party provider (such as Finfo) as a means to having better knowledge of their competitive position with regard to their contract terms with telecomms and printer/copier suppliers.
    26:05
    I ask Anthony to give me the elevator pitch of how Procurement Managers should be positioning this to persuade budget holders to invest in tools to assist with cost transparency 


    How to connect with Anthony:
    Anthony's LinkedIn profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthonydevinefinfo/)
    finfo website (https://www.finfo.io)


    How to connect with James:
    James Meads Consulting website (https://jamesmeadsconsulting.com/)
    James' LinkedIn profile (https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/)
    Book a Call with James (https://bookme.name/jamesmeads/lite/initial-consultation)
    Follow The Procuretech Podcast on LinkedIn (https://linkedin.com/showcase/procuretechpodcast)

    • 29 min
    P2P Software and Spend Culture - Aman Mann from Procurify

    P2P Software and Spend Culture - Aman Mann from Procurify

    Larger organisations tend to use enterprise level ERP systems such as SAP and Oracle, neither of which are particularly user-friendly. In fact, the average person who only uses them to request, approve or receive goods and services will usually find them cumbersome to the point that they find ways around them.
    Organisations typically react to this by offering solutions such as punch-out catalogues and P-cards, or even third-party integrators and BPO to deal with tail spend.
    Smaller and medium-sized organisations either don't have an ERP system (particularly for rapidly scaling startups), or they have a sales / accounts-oriented solution like Xero, Sage or Netsuite.
    In all of these situations, there isn't really much opportunity to have visibility of requisition and order tracking, as well as what is being spent against which budget in a format easily visible to users and budget holders.
    My guest this week is the CEO of Canadian scale-up Procurify, who are making waves through their super user-friendly P2P software which facilitates a more visible "spend culture" in organisations through its smartphone app first technology and easy to user interface.
    How Well Designed P2P Software Can Lead to Improved Spend Awareness: Aman Mann from Procurify2:14
    Aman begins the interview by walking us through what he views as being a good corporate spend culture, and examples of where it can easily go wrong.
    5:47
    We explore the differences between a healthy corporate culture of spend transparency vs. a more controlling, top-down approach of strict spend control, and how the former can result in a much more autonomy and less bureaucracy.
    9:35
    Uncontrolled spend vs. transparent spend - what is the difference and what can cause the former vs. the latter?
    16:00
    We look into two examples: A rapidly growing company that has no ERP system vs. a well-established organisation that has a legacy ERP system in place that does not really cater well to procurement's needs. I ask Aman how Procurify's system can drive benefits and what time savings this typically provides.
    22:18
    What to do if you already have an existing, legacy ERP system in place? If this has a finance module, what options are there to use a P2P system such as Procurify that has been designed with procurement in mind when there is still a need to use legacy systems for accounts and invoice processing?
    25:56
    Simple P2P functions such as approvals of requisitions and POs and performing goods receipts have only fairly recently become commonplace via mobile app, whereas travel & expense software has had functionality to submit reports in an app for years. I ask for Aman's thoughts around why this has taken so long to catch up.
    29:27
    How Aman sees Procurify's product as just a tool which can help as an enabler of how organisations can succeed through company culture and mindset.
    How to connect with Aman:
    Procurify website (https://www.procurify.com)
    How to connect with James:
    James Meads Consulting website (https://jamesmeadsconsulting.com/)
    James' LinkedIn profile (https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/)
    Book a Call with James (https://bookme.name/jamesmeads/lite/initial-consultation)
    Follow The Procuretech Podcast on LinkedIn (https://linkedin.com/showcase/procuretechpodcast)

    • 33 min
    AI-Powered Spend Intelligence - Sreeram Venkitakrishnan from Simfoni

    AI-Powered Spend Intelligence - Sreeram Venkitakrishnan from Simfoni

    While many solutions providers in the procuretech space have focused their efforts on automating or simplifying operational procurement, my guest this week is from a company who have used this technology to bring AI-driven benefits to the spend analysis process.
    Instead of just providing a spend dashboard, Simfoni is seeking to distinguish itself from an increasingly crowded marketplace by offering spend classification, a suggested savings roadmap and risk analysis all in one.
    We discuss how this can lead to faster decision making, as well as exploring some of the limitations where the procurement skills of the person managing the category will still come into play.
    Just like a pilot's relationship with an aeroplane's auto-pilot capabilities, AI can do the heavy lifting, but the nuanced expertise of the procurement professional is vital.


    Leveraging AI to Power Smarter Spend Intelligence: Sreeram Venkitakrishnan from Simfoni

    3:10
    What is AI-powered spend intellgence?
    5:41
    I ask Sreeram whether AI capabilities are really that advanced when it comes to classification of PO data and the ability to categorise vendors and individual POs into taxonomies or buckets of similar spend.
    10:15
    Can a machine or artificial intelligence perform risk analysis? Or is it more around accelerating decision making through making certain pieces of data more accessible?
    13:31
    We explore how using AI and machine learning can locate the most lucrative cost savings opportunities, which could vastly speed up the amount of time to come up with an expense reduction roadmap from an initial spend analysis.
    15:20
    Sreeram explains the concept of "should cost analysis", and how market intelligence can be utilised to project what direct materials should cost based on market price intelligence and various sources of commodity price data.
    17:32
    We discuss how tools like this can facilitate the ability to "hit the ground running" in a new category management position, especially in cases where Buyers and CMs don't have experience of purchasing that particular category before. Will Simfoni and similar tools enable access to more roles for experienced Category Managers with a more generalist background?
    20:17
    Of the 3 key pillars that Simfoni offers, I ask Sreeram his thoughts on which of them will have the most profound impact over the years to come.
    24:10
    I muse about some of the same topics coming up in several different interviews that I've done for the podcast and how this is very unlikely to be a coincidence! If you want to stay relevant, ensure you're aware of what these are!


    How to connect with Sreeram:
    Simfoni website (https://simfoni.com)
    Sreeram's LinkedIn profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/sreeram-venkitakrishnan-6aba9459/)


    How to connect with James:
    James Meads Consulting website (https://jamesmeadsconsulting.com/)
    James' LinkedIn profile (https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/)
    Book a Call with James (https://bookme.name/jamesmeads/lite/initial-consultation)
    Follow The Procuretech Podcast on LinkedIn (https://linkedin.com/showcase/procuretechpodcast)

    • 25 min
    Cognitive Market and Supplier Intel - Kent Ledgerwood from LevaData

    Cognitive Market and Supplier Intel - Kent Ledgerwood from LevaData

    Preparation for negotiations has long been something that we as procurement professionals know is vitally important, but all too often we're stuck in the weeds with firefighting and process-related administrative work to do what we should be doing.
    Add to this the difficulties we also face in obtaining the necessary market data.
    Maybe your organisation has stopped subscribing to commodity price data channels because the subscriptions are too expensive
    Or you're new to a category and you don't know how to pull this data.
    Perhaps your predecessor stored the Excel spreadsheets on his/her C drive or on some far flung corner of Sharepoint that you're not aware of.
    We've all been there.
    Time is scarce and access to the necessary knowledge isn't always straightforward. In today's episode, I interview Kent Ledgerwood, VP of Customer Success at LevaData. They're a company who are facilitating easier access to supplier data to help buyers in their negotiation preparation, as well as more general risk management assessment activities related to sourcing and supplier management.
    Using Cognitive Market and Supplier Intelligence to Cut Negotiation Prep Work: Kent Ledgerwood from LevaData2:53
    I start off by asking Kent whether he believes it's true that Sales typically know their customers better than Procurement knows their suppliers, and what we can do to catch up and level the playing field.
    4:48
    We go on to discuss how size of company may still impact overall perceived buying power. However, it no longer necessarily means better access to market intelligence and certainly doesn't mean ability to act faster.
    6:43
    Kent explains how there is a sweeping change of collaboration in diverse industries between buyer and customer, in order to become more innovative, maintain margins and be faster to market. Democratisation of data and the ability to open up is changing the way business is done.
    8:51
    Will this trend happen faster in certain industries than others?
    9:59
    We discuss to what extent having perfect knowledge of the market and of the supplier can assist a negotiation preparation, and why AI will still rely on the human at the other end and their ability to be able to interpret the data to facilitate them in making informed decisions.
    11:26
    How "big data" can give you the insights to how your organisation is performing in relation to not only the market, but also compared to other peer companies in the same industry?
    13:49
    What are the limitations of what a machine can provide vs. where does the human knowledge of the Commodity / Category Manager come in to complement this augmented intelligence?
    16:03
    How cognititve data can assist with New Product Introduction (NPI) through its analysis a Bill of Materials (BoM) to ensure that pricing can be optimised in real time in collaboration with both Engineering and Procurement.
    18:23
    We look into how intelligence of actual costs in the marketplace can ensure speed and effectiveness in sourcing, and how this can also avoid unsubstantiated budgets driven from financial controllers without the benefits of market insight.
    21:22
    Risk management is the buzzword of late, but no platform will completely eliminate all of your potential supply chain disruption. We explore the benefits as well as the limitations of this, as well as looking deeper into 2nd and 3rd tier vendors and how they can be analysed to spot potential risk.
    24:54
    Certain geopolitical risks are easier to predict vs. less predictable risk such as the emergence and rapid spread of Covid-19. I ask Kent to what extent good data is necessary in order to provide the necessary intelligence in the context of risk to your supply chain. His answer is surprising and unexpected...
    How to connect with Kent:
    LevaData website (https://www.levadata.com)
    Kent's LinkedIn profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kentledgerwood/)
    Kent's email address (mailto:

    • 30 min
    AP issues are a common bugbear of Procurement teams. Automating simple processes and eliminating paper and human error can fix this.

    AP issues are a common bugbear of Procurement teams. Automating simple processes and eliminating paper and human error can fix this.

    Accounts payable issues are something that we as procurement professionals shouldn't really need to get involved in but inevitably we do. In these instances, our role is usually the equivalent of a fire extinguisher. It performs no added value and very rarely do we receive any recognition for it.
    So why does it land in our inbox?
    Because, well, where does the buck stop when the supplier hasn't been paid or invoices have been lost? Yup, that's right. If we own the vendor relationship, then you can bet your bottom dollar that we'll hear about it when AP are underperforming.
    There are lots of reasons why this happens. Broken processes, poor onboarding of new staff, reliance on sending invoices by post or email, as well as high attrition rates within AP teams can all lead to a less than optimal process.
    My guest on today's show walks us through how automation can lead to productivity gains of up to 70% and redeployment of staff from administrative processes to more analytical work.
    This is a great example of how developing countries have leapfrogged us in the West to come up with a truly remarkable solution, and that innovation is everywhere.
    Automating Accounts Payable: Veekshith C. Rai on how to eliminate human error and non-value added admin
    3:10
    Veekshith walks through the 5 main areas that a CFO typically needs to cover off, and how Finly has contributed to automating these.
    4:21
    Why did Finly decide to include a procurement module? Learn how non-PO spend is much more common within Indian companies and how they were able to adapt a solution to accommodate this.
    8:09
    Veekshith talks about how automation can increase departmental productivity by ca. 70% and that smart companies can redelpoy the headcount saved through this to more added value tasks.
    12:09
    We talk about specifically the procurement modules and whether these can be used as stand-alone options without the need for ERP integration, and the pros and cons of doing this.
    15:26
    Because procurement teams typically don't have an IT or capex budget, persuading the business to invest in procuretech is usually a laborious and difficult task. Especially if there are no guaranteed P&L savings. I ask Veekshith his thoughts on whether selling directly to CFOs (because this is predominantly a finance tool) is easier than going through procurement. His answer is super interesting and also gives an insight into how corporate structure and governance in India is different
    19:24
    I ask Veekshith about his plans to conquer the US and European market and he explains some of the challenges of making this a reality. His answer was startling and was a huge eye-opener of how far behind our banking systems are in more mature markets vs. more innovative players in emerging economies.
    21:58
    This is a competitive space, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I therefore ask Veekshith as a final question what he sees as Finly's USP, especially in light of their plans to enter more competitive markets.
    How to connect with Veekshith:
    Finly website (https://www.finly.io)
    Veekshith's LinkedIn Profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/veekshith-rai/)
    Veekshith's Twitter Account (https://twitter.com/VeekshithCRai)
    How to connect with James:
    James Meads Consulting website (https://jamesmeadsconsulting.com/)
    James' LinkedIn profile (https://linkedin.com/in/james-meads/)
    Book a Call with James (https://bookme.name/jamesmeads/lite/initial-consultation)
    Follow The Procuretech Podcast on LinkedIn (https://linkedin.com/showcase/procuretechpodcast)

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 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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