Proxima — See the change

Insight & opinion


The need for a new approach to complex, global supply ecosystems


Customers are punishing companies they no longer trust. Research conducted by Proxima revealed that 45% of consumers would stop spending with a company whose supplier practices were called into question.

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Role reversal: Apple drags down suppliers

Apple drags down suppliers

Quite often, we use this blog to discuss the increased reliance companies have on their global network of suppliers – the notion of corporate virtualization - and the importance of carefully managing suppliers and understanding their behavior and ethics. We have seen and written about many circumstances in which a supplier-related failure or business behavior has impacted a company’s reputation or bottom line. In many ways, company and supplier have become one, with the lines between the two increasingly blurred.

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Leading businesses see procurement as a value, not a function

Procurement as a value, not a function

It’s not often that a story about new supply chain management software becomes a feature in a publication as respected as The Wall Street Journal. For that to happen, the deployment of said software has to represent something much more significant or herald a trend of highly compelling proportions.

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US retailer plays chicken with notorious egg supplier

US retailer comes under fire for supplier failure

When a major, well-known and generally respected retail brand retains a supplier with a shady track record for food sourcing, it should hardly be a surprise when that supplier drags that retailer into a PR fiasco. In the recent case of a popular US retailer (which stocks everything from cleaning supplies to electronics to groceries), and Hillandale Farms of Gettysburg, the question of “the chicken and the egg” and which comes first is quite a literal one, as it relates to who gets the blame.

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Tesco aside, supermarket-supplier relations improve in the UK

Tesco aside, supplier relations improve in the UK

We are in an age where companies of all shapes and sizes turn to global suppliers more than ever before. There is perhaps no group of companies more reliant on suppliers than supermarket chains. Without suppliers, the supermarket chain is nothing more than a store with empty shelves, baskets and a neon sign.

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Procurement’s happily ever after

Procurement's involvement Mergers & Acquisitions

There’s a marriage craze in the US – at least on the corporate side. Already this year, according to The Wall Street Journal, “the value of M&A deals in the U.S. has set a 20-year high of $821.2 billion…with 4,373 such deals so far this year, compared with 4,627 in all of 2014.”

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The search for procurement catalysts is on

Catalytic procurement

For some time, we have been talking about the opportunities for procurement and supply chain specialists to assume larger, more significant roles within their organizations. These opportunities have emerged as the supply chain has become more complex and companies grow more reliant on suppliers to fulfil their respective business promises.

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Defining procurement success

Defining procurement success

The Webster's dictionary defines success in a fairly straightforward way – an accomplishment, or meeting of an aim or objective. Success in the procurement field, however, is a more nebulous concept. Perhaps that’s because procurement’s objectives aren’t usually clearly defined. Or perhaps, more accurately, it’s because procurement’s objectives are defined quite differently by its practitioners and the business leaders they serve.

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CPOs: Beware false confidence in your procurement function

CPO Confidence

A recent Deloitte survey of Chief Procurement Officers suggested that more than 50% of CPOs are optimistic about their role and confident in their department’s abilities, but also raises flags about just how much of that confidence is warranted.

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Another Chinese supplier drops McDonald's in the fryer


In the latest example of the extent to which a geographically far-flung supplier can negatively impact a corporation’s reputation, we present the case of McDonald’s and their Chinese french fry supplier.

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Virtualized business: the interface between costs and customers

Making something out of nothing

There is a simple, but very powerful image circulating around social media this week, that really struck a chord with us. So much so, that we thought we would share it with you here:

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Is Microsoft its suppliers’ benevolent benefactor or dictator?

Microsoft and its suppliers

Last week, the technology giant Microsoft took a progressive stance with its supplier base, taking steps to ensure that the suppliers with whom it conducts business give their employees at least 15 days of paid leave each year. Sure there’s the questionable policy of corporate dictation (especially in the case of Microsoft, with its Samson and Goliath overtones). And, there’s the inevitable fine print: “this new benefits minimum will apply to suppliers with 50 or more employees in the United States. It will apply to their U.S. employees who have worked for them for more than nine months (1500 hours) and who perform substantial work for Microsoft.

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New US legislation takes aim at supply chain slave labor

New legislation around supply chain slave labor

In our blog and in our ongoing dealings with clients, we continue to advocate the importance of having explicit insights and knowledge into the business practices and ethics of those companies that live within one’s supply chain. We’ve pointed quite extensively to our corporate virtualization research that reveals just how much modern organizations rely on external suppliers for the services and goods necessary to not just run a successful business, but to have one in the first place. The importance of supply chain visibility has grown exponentially in recent times, as has the potential negative impact failures can have on brand and profitability.

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3 reasons procurement needs to focus on winning hearts and minds

Procurement hearts and minds

The notion of “winning hearts and minds” is remarkably recent. The phrase was first used by Vernon Bartlett, a journalist and MP who was reporting on British efforts in the Malayan Emergency in 1954. (It was also a cornerstone of President Johnson’s campaign in Vietnam and an evolution of George Bush’s Iraqi adventure. As a military tactic, it’s never been that successful…)

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Quick procurement wins for 2015

Quick procurement wins are key to success

This year is all about risk. We’re barely into February and the ruble’s collapse looks permanent, the Swiss franc has soared, oil continues its terminal decline and there’s so much conflicting data from the world’s major economies that most strategic planners’ heads are spinning. (And that’s nothing compared to the market analysts…)

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Procurement 2.0: Moving beyond data and process

People don't scale

Getting your processes right is one of the axioms of the industrial (and now digital) economy. People don’t scale well – and if you come up with a great way of working, you need to codify it. If it’s reliant on people, it’s vulnerable. If you have good process, people are (to quote former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld) “fungible”. 

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4 traits of the procurement team of the future

4 traits of the procurement team of the future

Many of you may already be in the midst of planning your procurement function for the year ahead, and deciding how your team will be shaped in 2016. What will they achieve? What challenges will they face? And what will be expected of them?

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Your procurement team is drowning

Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall

By now you will already be familiar with our corporate virtualization research, showing that the average company now spends around 70% of its revenues with suppliers. But what does it mean for your business, and how can you uncover the opportunities that this trend encourages?

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