Managing tail spend has been a major topic of discussion among sourcing professionals for at least the past two decades. In most companies, external spending has a Pareto-like distribution – the largest 20% of suppliers (by dollar volume) typically account for about 80% of the total external spend. Tail spend is generally defined as the 20% (or so) of the total external spend that is attributable to the smallest 80% of suppliers.
For organizations looking to identify cost savings, increase profitability and get a leg up on the competition, indirect spend management is an ideal place to look. Often considered the backend of procurement – involving expenses like IT services and equipment, professional services, office supplies and HR services – indirect spend actually accounts for a significant portion of overall spend.