Procurement is famous for our terminology – it is perhaps the one area where we’ve mastered the fine art of marketing. The labels "direct" and "indirect" spend are a perfect example. Direct spend materials are eventually sold to the customer, and therefore they are essential. Very important. The management of direct spend determines the size and health of the corporate top line. As a result, procurement may or may not have access to manage direct spend categories.
How did you get into this field – was it purposeful or by accident?
In what ways do you hope to influence or transform the industry?
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.