In celebration of International Women's Day, we spoke to some of our incredible Keelvar customers, partners, and employees about their chosen career paths, and why women’s contributions to these industries are more critical than ever.
In celebration of International Women's Day, we spoke to some of our incredible Keelvar customers, partners, and employees about their chosen career paths, and why women’s contributions to these industries are more critical than ever.
There are numerous pathways that can lead to a fulfilling job within the supply chain industry. But how often do you really stop and think about what drew you to procurement in the first place? Was it a generational influence that saw you following in the footsteps of a family member, encouragement from a high-school career advisor, or – like so many others – did you ‘fall into it’ during young adulthood while exploring your career options?
A strong team is the foundation of a successful business. And few teams are more reliable than Santa Claus and his mighty team of reindeer led by Rudolph. But with the power to travel the entire globe in one single night at lightning speed, recalibrating and re-optimizing decisions along the way, it got us thinking: could Santa's most famous reindeer be an AI-powered Bot?
If deploying multiple RFQs for the effort of a single annual bid request or saving millions of dollars on cost aren’t reason enough to invest in dynamic market sourcing technology, then here are three more for you to consider.
In order to compete for suppliers' business and pursue more limited supplies, buying organizations need to enter the market more frequently. Read how businesses are reaping the benefits of optimizing their procurement using a dynamic sourcing strategy.
In order to thrive, businesses today must adapt to meet new regulations, emerging challenges and satisfy changing consumer preferences. Due to the devastating impacts of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions – a by-product of how we’ve been making, shipping, and/or providing energy-intensive products and services – sustainability is higher on the agenda of procurement leaders than ever before.
Sourcing optimization solutions may have been around for over two decades, but they haven’t truly gone mainstream...yet. Many procurement teams still view these esourcing software tools as limited to niche or large-scale sourcing cases and only to be wrangled by staff members who possess specialized training and advanced skill sets.
eSourcing software is a subset of the broader Procurement software market designed to streamline the process of evaluating, selecting and collaborating with current and potential suppliers, thus enabling buyers to select the optimal providers of goods and/or services needed to reach their business goals. The technology is a collection of digital workflow tools that can help speed up and simplify a company's strategic sourcing activities, enhance collaboration, and save valuable time for sourcing teams by removing some tedious manual steps in favor of automating elements of the supplier evaluation process.
Procurement departments have learned a variety of lessons while navigating disrupted supply chains in recent years, with agility emerging as a critically important attribute for business survival. Many large enterprises sought technical solutions to supply their customers with the goods and services they required and alleviate pressure on overburdened sourcing teams.
Procurement professionals have had a lot on their plates these past few years, with new supply chain challenges emerging regularly to play havoc with even the most strategically laid plans of sourcing functions worldwide. For many teams, 2021 saw the annual RFP take a backseat in favor of increasingly more routine sourcing and spot-buying needs. And, as the mitigation of environmental damage via the supply chain gains fresh momentum, time-poor executives are now struggling to balance resourcing alongside C-suite targets around sustainability and cost reduction.
Sourcing leaders and practitioners from Keelvar customers including McKesson, Samsung, Grupo Nutresa, and formerly from ABB had a lot to say in 2021 as they simultaneously navigated disruptions and modernization projects. As the calendar turns to a new year, many companies with supply chains will be acting in 2022 on the fresh opportunity to make better business decisions and implement new processes following 12 months of uncertainty and upheaval – including getting serious about sustainability, as Keelvar’s Voices of Sourcing survey findings reveal. Many sourcing teams also saw the annual RFP take a backseat in favor of increasingly more routine sourcing, with logistics, in particular, seeing ever-more-frequent spot-buying needs.
The supply chain and procurement community have no time to lose in the battle to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions, cautions John Muncey in Keelvar’s Buyer's Book, 'How To Enact Sustainable Sourcing Today To Reduce Scope 3 Emissions'. It’s a warning from the sustainable logistics expert that also echoed throughout our December 2021 webinar, which featured Mr. Muncey and Keelvar CEO, Alan Holland engaging in a discussion about Scope 3 – those indirect, value chain emissions coming from your suppliers – and the implications for procurement and sourcing should sustainability not become front and center in the supply chain agenda.
In the first part of this blog series, we discussed how now – more than ever – priority must be placed on making sure sourcing teams are appropriately equipped with the right technology to meet supply chain challenges. This is best achieved with the implementation of a powerful sourcing optimization tool that delivers savings not possible with Excel spreadsheets, and one that is also easy enough to deploy broadly throughout the entire organization.
It’s that time of year when making a list (and checking it twice) is all the rage. But while there’s a lot of satisfaction that comes with checking items off a list, evaluating a new sourcing software solution for your team isn’t going to be as easy as shopping around for seasonal bargains, and it’s easy to experience choice overload due to the abundance of e-sourcing options available in today’s market.
Today's sourcing leaders must operate within an intricate web of buyers and suppliers from around the world. Companies must factor in much more than price when deciding which parts of the business should be awarded. Prospective suppliers should be considered from multiple angles. Although cost savings can seem like a clear win for your bottom line, this can lead to missed opportunities to capitalize on additional value suppliers can extend to your business.
While most industries have seen disruption to some degree these past two years, few sectors have been harder hit than those responsible for navigating bottlenecked supply chains and enacting supply chain strategies for business survival. And as highlighted in Keelvar’s Voices of Sourcing Report 2021, procurement and sourcing leaders have had plenty to reassess regarding managing their priorities to cope with new challenges.
The procurement industry is in a state of flux. New challenges are emerging every day that play havoc with even the best and most strategically laid plans of sourcing professionals around the world. For many teams, the annual RFP has taken a backseat in favor of increasingly more routine sourcing, with logistics, in particular, seeing ever-more-frequent spot-buying needs.
Talk about nagging statistics: Not even half of enterprise procurement teams use an e-sourcing solution to automate their negotiations and improve award decisions with suppliers. In Ardent Partners’ 2021 State of Procurement study, 54% of 350+ procurement leaders report lacking an e-sourcing tool, and only 20% use sourcing optimization. Keelvar’s own August 2021 survey of sourcing professionals revealed that nearly one in three admit they rarely (less than 10% of eRFPs) or never use e-sourcing tech.
While many procurement teams are still grappling with when and how to use e-sourcing solutions, there are some industry leaders who have mastered best practice and are reaping the ROI benefits across many categories. Colombian food manufacturing giant Grupo Nutresa is just that company.
As Keelvar brings our sourcing optimization and intelligent automation products to market, our solution selling organization is on the “front lines” talking to procurement and supply chain teams every day. Everyone is all-too-aware of the difficulties faced over the past 18 months, but we wanted to ask our own team members how that is changing the nature of their conversations with sourcing decision-makers who are planning for 2022.
With little end in sight to the supply chain disruptions that have been making global headlines and the world seemingly “short of everything” thanks to pandemic-related hold-ups, it’s of no surprise that Chief Procurement Officers and sourcing teams are seeing an increase in workload complexity on all fronts. For logistics procurement in particular – ocean freight, air and even ground transportation – long-term commitments have taken a backseat as the practice of spot buying has become more routine come more and more into the sourcing picture. As a result, buyers are regularly forced to take an ad-hoc approach to meet business objectives and drive profitability.
In just a few short years, digital transformation in procurement has shifted from a fleeting consideration in board meetings to the top of the business agenda for myriad companies in the supply chain industry. According to Procurement Leaders (April 2021) research, there are multiple drivers for procurement’s accelerated march towards digital transformation, ranging from data-driven business objectives to contemporary supply chain challenges and the expanding scope of disruptors such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
In part one of this blog series, we looked at two incumbency scenarios that customers typically evaluate using Keelvar’s Sourcing Optimizer, emphasizing the technology’s ability to factor in non-cost attributes when finding optimal outcomes in complex settings.
The most successful procurement leaders are acutely aware that in order to remain competitive, they need to integrate and collaborate effectively with the core suppliers that play a critical role in meeting their business goals and reducing risk exposure. Alongside the many current challenges confronting sourcing teams and their global supply chains, it is also important to explore and recognize new supplier opportunities and to identify when current supply lines have become stagnant.
Henry Ford is cited as having said, "if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." Like many memorable quotes, the message is both simple and powerful; if you are looking for an improved outcome from your efforts, you need to assess what can be done differently to ensure superior results.
World Emoji Day 2021 is July 17th. In honor of this… Keelvar’s content marketing specialist shared some findings published by our CRM and marketing automation platform provider (HubSpot) of the top emojis used in email subject lines based on response rates:
More has been written about global supply chains in 2020 through 2021 than in the decade and a half preceding the COVID-19 crisis. Much coverage has been devoted to the devastating effects it has had on procurement functions. Today, procurement leaders are essentially facing an entirely new set of challenges, many of which will have significant impacts on future generations of Chief Procurement Officers and their teams.
With the balance of power so heavily shifted towards carriers in today’s logistics markets, transportation procurement professionals more than ever find themselves caught up in seemingly endless tactical activities and unable to find enough time to drive strategic category changes. Carriers today are unwilling to hold rates for one year and are often asking for quarterly, monthly, or even more frequent changes. Competition today is often more about the buyer needing to secure reliable capacity than about seeking the best rate.
Transposing complex subjects to simplified abstract forms is a major theme in art. Art is about shining a light upon what is most important. Seeing fundamental patterns amongst the noise; distinguishing simple forms amongst the complex and revealing salient details which convey the most meaningful attributes of the study.
On June 23, International Women in Engineering Day – an international awareness campaign that raises the profile of women in engineering and focuses attention on the career opportunities available in this exciting industry – celebrates its 8th year.
With plants and sales subsidiaries in 74 countries and a footprint across Europe equivalent to that of 45 football fields, Samsung Electronics is well accustomed to the complexities that come with managing multi-layered and interconnected supply chains. But even for one of the world’s largest producers of high-tech electronic devices and appliances, uncovering new ways for tendering processes to be streamlined, logistics costs reduced, and advantages gained over competitors is of utmost importance to keep business thriving.
With autonomous vehicles no longer confined to the imagination of science-fiction writers – studies suggest that we can expect to see one in 10 cars self-driving by 2030 – there’s been plenty of murmurings about to what degree intelligent automation technology may diminish the need for hands-on human involvement in the future. These debates are now active and ongoing in Procurement.
Supply chain disruptions call for rapid, agile solutions. To succeed in this ‘new normal’ with its new challenges requires new strategies and practices, with earlier whisperings of digital transformations now being widely implemented to help teams cope during quickly evolving times. Today, digital technologies impact every aspect of how companies run their businesses, from creating digitally connected products to automating data-driven supply chains.
Procurement has been gripped by the buzz surrounding emerging technologies for the last couple of years. We can hardly contain our excitement over the idea of applying Artificial Intelligence (AI), MachineLearning (ML), robotic process automation (RPA), and blockchain to age-old spend management problems.
The way we define success at Keelvar is simple: if our customers are successful, we are successful, and that is why we introduced a new Keelvar Customer Success team at the beginning of 2021. The Customer Success team acts as our customers' voice within Keelvar, working with our customers worldwide to ensure the highest level of satisfaction when bringing advanced sourcing optimization ROI to a broad range of their spend categories and sizes.
Spend Matters provides procurement teams a lot of value with their bi-annual SolutionMaps, packing a lot of insight into this visual vendor analysis. Keelvar is proud to once again rank as a value leader for both “optimizer” and “nimble” procurement team personas in the Sourcing SolutionMap in the spring 2021 update cycle. To achieve placement in the value leader quadrant, solution providers like Keelvar must have high combined scores from solution analysis and customer feedback.
Sourcing optimization has been around for over two decades, so it’s been puzzling that its use across procurement and supply chain has remained limited -- especially when there is so much proven ROI, usually after running just one sourcing event. It’s time for sourcing optimization to “go mainstream,” but that’s going to take an honest look at justifying and building the business case and having the right solution in place to ensure adoption and scale.
Most of us will be familiar with the pop-up chat bots that often greet us on e-commerce websites: virtual assistants designed to handle very specific interactions with customers and often also to ensure a smooth hand-off from automated messaging flows to a human for more personalized and qualitative assistance. But it’s important to remember that these chat bots are not fueled by optimization, and while sourcing bots -- such as the ones developed by Keelvar -- bear some similarities (both are primarily designed to save people time), they are also very different.
Ireland is known as the land of a hundred thousand welcomes due to a common refrain when a visitor is welcomed into someone’s home. Céad míle fáilte means just that, a hundred thousand welcomes, and we would like to warmly welcome David Clarke into the Keelvar family.
The vision of Keelvar’s Irish Founder and CEO, Dr. Alan Holland, has always been to push the boundaries of Sourcing Automation to a level that is unrivaled elsewhere in the industry. I think it’s fitting then that on St. Patrick’s Day -- a day where many parts of the world celebrate the wonderful things about Ireland -- Alan has been named a Pro to Know 2021 by Supply & Demand Chain Executive, and included among the innovators making waves in the global supply chain.
As Keelvar’s customers start to run e-sourcing events on our Sourcing Optimizer platform, a key ingredient for success is customer adoption and application of best practices. Sourcing team members greatly benefit from a flexible, efficient onboarding experience that acknowledges their time is limited and results must be delivered quickly.
Against the backdrop of challenges that 2020 brought for the procurement industry, Chief Procurement Officers and their teams had to adapt and pivot their processes as part of their effort to build supply chain resilience.This report published by Ardent Partners and sponsored by Keelvar explores some of the significant trends in procurement in recent years, and makes predictions for 2021 as businesses and the CPOs managing their procurement departments seek to optimize how work is done in the year ahead.
The use of automation technologies can look quite different in various parts of the procurement umbrella. For example, RPA (robotic process automation) may be developed to boost speed and accuracy in invoice processing or related data entry by automating typing and clicks previously executed by humans. In other areas, document and/or voice recognition automation features may be used to digitize incoming information.
In February 2020, Keelvar’s Sourcing Optimizer Connector became available for online purchase on the SAP App Center, heralding an exciting opportunity for sourcing teams that rely on the SAP Ariba Sourcing solution to leverage our best-of-breed sourcing tool to deliver powerful sourcing-optimization capabilities for large or complex sourcing events. Since then, a number of customers have gone live with this integration.
The events of 2020 tested the mettle of procurement teams managing volatile supply chains across the globe like never before, with resilience and agility emerging as essential qualities for business survival.As supply chain congestion and interruptions became more frequent throughout the pandemic, the critical role of pharmaceutical and medical supplies industries was thrust into the public eye.
While the chess world enjoys a Queen's Gambit-fuelled resurgence in the game's popularity, it's somewhat amusing to think that in 1997, a real-life chess world champion was beaten by "a $10 million alarm clock". At least that's how Garry Kasparov likes to depict his then formidable opponent – IBM's AI-powered chess computer Deep Blue – and it was a symbolic moment in the competition between man and machine for those who witnessed it. "I was a sore loser at the time," Kasparov recalls. "The writing was on the wall. The machines had caught up."
Following a groundswell of public support for action on environmental, social and corporate governance issues in the first few weeks of 2020, an almost universally observed pivot on the part of large global enterprises towards incorporating more sustainable strategies into their supply chains was put on ice as the coronavirus crisis gained traction.
In January 2016, we asked, “What will procurement look like in 2020?” Few could have predicted the year would bring a perfect storm of events that would necessitate companies across all industries to adopt intelligent automation into many of their daily processes, solutions, and resources just to survive.
In the past year, we saw a backlash against the emerging consensus that Autonomous Procurement will be a key part of the future for procurement. Although it’s been a year since Andrew Bartels, a VP and principal analyst with Forrester and former guest speaker at a Keelvar Konnect event in New York City, launched a broadside claiming ‘Autonomous Procurement is a Really Dumb Idea’ (December 2019), the topic in the past few months resurfaced as a discussion on social media.
On December 3rd, Keelvar hosted a prequel event in the lead-up to the groundbreaking Human+Machine Contest due to take place in 2021.The Human+Machine Contest will test how one of Keelvar's sourcing bots designed for intelligent sourcing automation fares against an expert human buyer in a bidding event (Ocean Freight sourcing) under real-life conditions. The Human+Machine Prequel was designed to whet the appetite of attendees and sought to provide further context for the event next March.
Forget the adage about dogs and tricks: you don't make it to your first 100 years in business without finding innovative ways to capitalize on opportunities and manage potential risks. After nine decades, food processing giant Grupo Nutresa pivoted its supplier negotiation process for complex categories by swapping basic spreadsheets and desktop tools for e-sourcing and optimization solutions.
“The most fruitful areas of R&D are at the intersection between disciplines where previously siloed concepts are blended to form novel breakthroughs. The combination of optimization and automation is proving to be compelling because synergies generate force multiplier effects in speed, agility, and excellence.”- Alan Holland, CEO and co-founder of Keelvar
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected global supply chains in countless ways, but it appears that the category of air cargo transportation has been particularly impacted. Dramatic drops in air cargo capacity continue to be a significant constraint due to the ongoing decline in commercial flights since Q1 2020. According to weekly flight data from Statista, for the week starting October 5, 2020, the number of scheduled flights globally was down by 46% compared to the same week in 2019. And Accenture, in its weekly updates to the industry, has reported that global air cargo capacity is down 22% year on year.
Celebrating 100 years in business in 2020, Grupo Nutresa N.A., headquartered in Colombia, is one of the most important food processing companies in Latin America, with 46,000 employees covering eight business units. Their supply chain involves 47 production plants and products distributed to 74 countries on 5 continents.
While technology is starting to play an important role in some shape or form in the logistics industry, it will be the digital transformation in freight procurement that separates the wheat from the chaff when it comes to world-class performance and world-class operations.
Spend Matters published its Fall 2020 Solution Maps for various procurement categories on October 1. Within the Sourcing category, Keelvar is proud to announce its very favorable standing among solution providers, particularly against larger suite providers like Coupa and JAGGAER.
Keelvar’s intelligent Sourcing Bots are ready to compete. Our debut Human+Machine Contest has been rescheduled for 2021, due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions affecting our studio location and travel in Ireland. During that Contest, attendees will see how a Keelvar sourcing bot compares to an expert human buyer of ocean freight, as buying organizations submit spot bids to invited shipping carriers to win new pieces of business.
A few of my Millennial friends get together at the beginning of each year to create literal “vision boards” for goals they want to achieve and changes they want to make over the next 12 months. They paste collages of photos, drawings, and encouraging quotes onto sturdy cardboard posters and make notes on them. My Gen X approach to life always found the exercise amusing, quietly thinking to myself, “just develop a plan and do it.” But I get that this could be a fun activity to do with a group.
Companies are currently facing many challenges in a rapidly-changing, disrupted market. In this 60 minute webinar, you will learn how to fully optimize your supply chain to maximize the return on your team's work processes.We will discuss minimizing risk through contract optimization by looking at fixed versus flexible contracting.