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Procurement Leaders Lagging Behind on Sustainability Integration, Sedex Study Finds

ivalua business procurement

Procurement Leaders Lagging Behind on Sustainability Integration, Sedex Study Finds

A recent study conducted by Sedex, a prominent provider of supply chain sustainability solutions, sheds light on a concerning trend among procurement leaders in North America: a significant portion are still overlooking sustainability factors in their decision-making processes. Despite growing calls for businesses to operate more sustainably, many procurement professionals fail to recognize the importance of integrating sustainability into their operations.

Key findings from the survey of senior procurement professionals in the US and Canada, conducted among companies not currently collaborating with Sedex, reveal troubling statistics. Shockingly, 40% of respondents admit that sustainability is not a consideration when making procurement decisions. Furthermore, half of the participants acknowledge that sustainability remains an afterthought or is disregarded entirely in their overall business decisions.

This disparity between corporate commitments to sustainability and actual procurement practices underscores a significant challenge faced by businesses today. Despite the widespread adoption of sustainability commitments and the production of annual ESG reports by many companies, there remains a disconnect between rhetoric and action within procurement departments.

Even more concerning is the perception among some procurement professionals that sustainable practices are incompatible with short-term procurement goals such as ensuring supply continuity and securing competitive pricing. This mindset is reflected in the fact that 34% of respondents fail to recognize any benefits associated with sustainable practices.

However, mounting evidence suggests that sustainable supply chain management can yield substantial benefits, including enhanced supply chain resilience and improved business performance. A recent study conducted by Forrester found that companies investing in sustainable practices through Sedex realized a remarkable 372% return on investment.

Despite these potential benefits, procurement leaders who prioritize sustainability are in the minority, with only 28% stating that it is central to all decisions. Additionally, the study highlights a concerning lack of awareness regarding sustainability legislation, with 37% of procurement professionals admitting to being unaware of relevant legislation that affects their business operations.

Maurizio Capuzzo, Chief Marketing Officer at Sedex, emphasizes the urgent need for businesses to realign their ESG commitments with operational goals. By embedding sustainable practices into their organizations, companies can unlock numerous tangible and intangible benefits, including improved supply chain management efficiencies, more effective ESG risk management, and enhanced reputation supporting long-term success. This study serves as a wake-up call for businesses to prioritize sustainability in their procurement strategies for a more sustainable future.

ivalua business procurement

Pros of Hiring IT Procurement Services For Your Business

In the current business landscape, where data and technology play a pivotal role, managing IT procurement can be a challenging task for many businesses. This is where IT procurement services come into the picture, offering a streamlined and efficient approach to acquiring technology solutions. These services provide expert guidance and support in purchasing IT equipment and software, ensuring that businesses get the best value and performance. In this blog, we will explore the various advantages of hiring IT procurement services for your business.

What Are IT Procurement Services?

IT procurement services play a crucial role in the strategic acquisition of technology products and solutions, encompassing a broad spectrum of resources including hardware, software, and comprehensive IT infrastructure. These services are intricately designed to guide businesses through the intricate maze of technology procurement. The objective is to facilitate informed and strategic decisions that are in harmony with the specific business objectives and financial constraints of each organization.

The scope of IT procurement services is extensive. It begins with meticulous research and analysis to identify the most suitable technology products and solutions available in the market. This phase involves a deep understanding of the latest technological advancements, evaluating their relevance and potential impact on the business. Following this, the procurement process encompasses the selection of appropriate products, which requires a keen assessment of the business’s current and future needs.

Why Consider IT Procurement Services?

The decision to utilize IT procurement services is driven by several factors. In an ever-evolving technological landscape, keeping up with the latest trends and products can be overwhelming for businesses. Additionally, the complexity of choices, pricing models, and contractual terms associated with IT purchases necessitates expertise that many businesses may not have in-house. This is where IT procurement services like come into play, offering the necessary expertise and resources.

Pros of Hiring IT Procurement Services

Let’s get into some of the many advantages of hiring an IT procurement service: 

1. Expertise and Knowledge

One of the primary advantages of IT procurement services is the expertise they bring. These services are staffed by professionals who are well-versed in the latest technology trends and products. They possess deep knowledge of the IT market, including understanding of various vendors, products, and solutions. This expertise enables them to recommend the best options that suit a business’s specific needs.

2. Cost Savings

Another significant benefit is cost savings. IT procurement services can negotiate better deals with suppliers due to their volume of purchases and long-standing relationships with vendors. They have the know-how to navigate through complex pricing structures and can identify cost-saving opportunities that might be overlooked by businesses handling procurement internally.

3. Time Efficiency

Procuring IT equipment and services can be a time-consuming process, especially for businesses without a dedicated IT procurement department. By outsourcing this task to specialized services, businesses can save considerable time and focus on their core activities. IT procurement services handle all aspects of the process, from initial research to final purchase, freeing up internal resources.

4. Risk Management

Managing risks associated with IT procurement is crucial. IT procurement services help in identifying and mitigating risks such as compliance issues, vendor reliability, and cybersecurity threats. Their expertise ensures that businesses are not exposed to unnecessary risks in their IT investments.

5. Customized Solutions

Every business has unique IT needs. IT procurement services provide customized solutions that align with the specific requirements and goals of a business. They take into account factors like the size of the business, industry, existing IT infrastructure, and future growth plans to suggest the most suitable IT solutions.

6. Streamlined Procurement Process

IT procurement services streamline the entire procurement process. They have established procedures and tools to manage procurement efficiently. This includes handling of paperwork, contract management, and coordination with vendors, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free procurement experience.

7. Ongoing Support and Maintenance

Many IT procurement services offer ongoing support and maintenance as part of their package. This means businesses have continuous access to expert advice and assistance in managing their IT infrastructure. Such support is invaluable in ensuring the long-term success of IT investments.

8. Access to Latest Technology

Staying up-to-date with the latest technology is essential for businesses to remain competitive. IT procurement services have their finger on the pulse of emerging technologies and can provide access to the latest and most effective solutions, often before they become widely available.

9. Enhanced Vendor Relationships

Building and maintaining good relationships with IT vendors can be beneficial for businesses. IT procurement services often have established relationships with a wide range of vendors, which can lead to better service, support, and pricing for their clients.

10. Improved Focus on Core Business Activities

Outsourcing IT procurement allows businesses to focus on their core activities without being sidetracked by complex procurement tasks. This can lead to improved productivity and growth as businesses can concentrate their efforts on what they do best.


In summary, the engagement of IT procurement services offers a comprehensive array of advantages for businesses navigating the complex terrain of technology acquisition. These services not only simplify the procurement process but also ensure that businesses are equipped with the most suitable and advanced IT solutions tailored to their specific needs. By partnering with experts like, businesses can confidently address their IT requirements, secure in the knowledge that they are receiving the best possible advice and value for their investment.

The influence of such services extends beyond mere acquisition; they contribute significantly to a business’s overall efficiency, risk management, and strategic growth. In an era where technological agility and sophistication are critical to business success, IT procurement services act as vital enablers, empowering businesses to leverage technology for competitive advantage. They not only facilitate the smooth operation of current IT systems but also pave the way for future innovation and expansion. Ultimately, the decision to employ IT procurement services is a strategic investment in the future of a business, ensuring that it remains resilient, adaptable, and ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape.


ivalua business procurement

Ivalua Unveils Groundbreaking Generative AI-Powered Intelligent Virtual Assistant for Procurement Excellence

Ivalua, a prominent global leader in spend management, has introduced a cutting-edge generative AI feature integrated into its platform—a game-changing Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA). This innovative IVA, powered by Generative AI, empowers customers to enhance efficiency and make quicker, more informed decisions regarding suppliers, contracts, and expenditures.

The IVA stands out as a transformative force in procurement productivity, seamlessly integrating into daily operations and allowing teams to refocus on strategic initiatives. Engineered with a commitment to safeguarding customer data, IVA unleashes the potential of Generative AI while maintaining security.

While acknowledging the limitations of Generative AI, Ivalua emphasizes its transformative potential in expediting content-related tasks such as research, analysis, content creation, modification, and summarization. Ivalua has already curated a dozen concrete Generative AI add-ons covering a range of Source-to-Pay use cases, and this number is rapidly expanding. The distinctive advantage lies in Ivalua’s approach, offering a simple and powerful no-code extensibility of Gen AI within the Ivalua platform, allowing customers and partners to create tailored use cases without coding.

The unparalleled flexibility, coupled with Ivalua’s unified platform, facilitates the application of Generative AI to various processes, enhancing outputs based on access to comprehensive, high-quality data across sourcing, supplier management, contracts, spending, and invoicing. Additionally, Ivalua has developed AI orchestration services, providing access to best-in-class large language models (LLMs) from third parties like OpenAI on Microsoft Azure, along with open-source models fine-tuned by Ivalua on the Ivalua Cloud infrastructure.

IVA Powered by Generative AI offers out-of-the-box capabilities, including supplier research, category insights, legal assistance, RFP support, enhanced communications, improvement plan generation, and document interaction.

Pascal Bensoussan, Chief Product Officer at Ivalua, expressed excitement about IVA powered by Gen AI, stating, “Gen AI has the potential to significantly impact procurement and accelerate various activities within the Source-to-Pay process, freeing up time for more strategic focus. By enabling our customers and partners to build their own Gen AI-powered use cases, we anticipate faster and better co-innovation.”


Best Practices in Global Trade: Senior Management’s Role in Global Procurement

A critical area of any organization’s spend and, ultimately, its ability to operate successfully is in procurement management.

The larger a company is and as it grows, procurement is a critical area that will increasingly become an integral component of managing and controlling costs and the sustainability of its operation in the long term.

As most companies mature so does its structure of a fixed and robust purchasing management functioning department.

 Additionally, there are two very important and relevant factors:

  1. The pandemic created a greater role in importance in most organizations in any business vertical related to the supply chain, for which procurement is a critical silo.   
  1. Global sourcing is both a necessity and growing challenge as more companies seek alternatives to foreign purchasing in general and with China, more specifically.

Procurement must focus primarily on developing and managing supplier relationships. Keep in mind that suppliers can be a very important ingredient to your company’s overall business model and therefore greatly impact—both adversely and positively–your potential for sustainability, growth, and profitability.

Most companies have a supply chain that is a foundation for their operational profile. Typically, procurement runs in tandem with the supply chain and is sometimes the most important aspect in a supply chain, particularly in organizations that have a global presence where products and services are sourced, manufactured, or operated in overseas.

Procurement primarily impacts risk, spend and business processes. Depending upon a company’s gross sales volume, a 5% reduction in spend can be compared to several million dollars in sales.

Procurement is an internal servicing function that works on behalf of business owners and stakeholders who utilize the materials, products, components, and services purchased by the procurement group.

A robust procurement initiative keeps the supply chain open and the business model working successfully. Conversely, a poorly managed procurement operation causes delays, disruption, and additional expense to a company’s operation.

The best run procurement operations not only keep the supply chain running but they continually add value and benefit through their sourcing, purchasing and supplier/vendor management practices.

Procurement can be divided into three separate functions: sourcing, purchasing and vendor management.


Sourcing is the function that finds supplier and vendor options, both reactively and proactively to the internal needs of business owners and stakeholders in a corporation.

The successful sourcing manager has a corral of business contacts and will know who to call when an internal purchasing need is required.

Sourcing managers are responsive to internal “fires” when they ignite and often come to the rescue as imminent supply needs develop.

Great sourcing managers are engaged in the strategic planning process in an organization and will often proactively find sourcing options before they are called for, positioning them to be ready as needed.

Sourcing managers are “state of the art,” contemporary and utilize leading edge technologies and business processes to find and develop raw material, product, components, and services, anticipating future demand and need.

Often, they can add significant value in several ways:

– Lowering acquisition costs

– Negotiating better supply deals

– Finding supply options that offer competitive advantages

– Develop vendor/supplier relationships that assist your operations to be viable, productive, and sustainable


Once sourcing options are found it is the responsibility of purchasing personnel to transition the vendor/supplier into the organization. This transition process can often be convoluted and arduous and will often determine the outcome of a successful vendor relationship.

Purchasing managers need to be excellent negotiators as they will be the front line in finalizing a vendor/supplier relationship.

Some of the negotiated areas are:

– Price

– Payment terms

– Warranty and return policies

– Insurance requirements

– Dispute resolution

– Cancellation wording

– Responsible parties

– Scope of work

– Agreed deliverables

– Performance specifications

– Contract period or tenure

– Signing officers

 These relevant and salient points get transferred into a Statement of Work (SOW), Master Services Agreement (MSA), or simply a Service Agreement (SA) or contract between the parties.

This dimension of responsibility for the purchasing officer adds another required skill set: legal prowess. An attorney still may be required to review and finalize any contracts, but the purchasing officer must be able to negotiate the basic terms and bring it all the way past “third base.” 

 This brings us to an interesting and important aspect of the purchasing function: It requires an array of management skills:

 – Ability to communicate well, both written and verbal

– Be organized

– Prioritize

– Negotiation

– Understanding people’s behavior

– Leadership

– Insurance

– Finance

– Legal

– Product knowledge(s) in the company’s verticals

– Team and project management

– Conflict resolution

The purchasing manager is the conduit between all operations in a company to organize and execute their spend. Primary responsibilities are:

–  Reducing risk

–  Reducing spend

–  Business process improvements

Secondary responsibilities include:

– Creating internal controls on procurement

– Creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) and protocols in the purchasing functions

– Internal resource for all operating and business owners in an organization

– Vendor management

– Strategic planning for future purchasing needs 

– Managing requests for proposal (RFPs)

– Developing long-term sourcing options

– Market intelligence

– Budgeting

– Collaborating with demand planning initiatives 

– Managing various projects

– Transactional and enterprise solutions

– Technology and its utilization throughout an organization

– Compliance

– Diversity inclusions

– Sustainable practices

– Disruption management


Purchasing managers need to learn that managing RFPs is a principal responsibility and as they master the requisite skills they will have more successful RFP outcomes.

 RFP management is a process often taken in methodical steps that become a “defined process” that in turn lead to more favorable results.

 It is critical for purchasing managers to make sure they understand what the expectations of the RFP is to assure all deliverables are achieved.

 The purchasing manager has numerous personnel and personality challenges while trying to bring responsible procurement practices into their organization, namely:

– Silo protectionism

– Resistance to change and improvement

– Personalities

– Disbelief and suspicious motivations

– Internal leadership and cultural issues

– Lack of effective working relationships

All these challenges must be overcome and managed successfully if the purchasing manager will have any opportunity to move forward successfully with any procurement initiatives and improvements. 

Relationship building with business owners and company stakeholders will go a long way in creating more effective opportunities for successful collaboration.

Mutual respect and trust are paramount and foundation characteristics of good working relationships within an organization.

Trust will help a purchasing manager move company personnel into a better scenario for procurement initiatives and betterments.

Though ultimately, trust only goes so far … performance that delivers consistent and frequent successes will also greatly help relationships build and sustain.


The pandemic created a greater importance for critical suppliers and their overall critical nature in a buyer’s business model. This has raised the profile of vendor management within most organizations since March of 2020, when the impact of the pandemic began to raise its ugly head.

A process, with protocols, SOPs and consistency must be achieved to successfully bring on and manage sustainable relationships with key vendors.

We strongly recommend “tiering” suppliers so you can rank their importance, relevance, and supplier risk. Most companies have hundreds, if not thousands of suppliers and vendors. By tiering them you can than successfully prioritize where you spend time in managing and negotiating.

Tier 1 suppliers make up 20% of your supplier base that represents 80% of spend. It is also likely that you will want to include a supplier where the spend may not be significant, but the importance of those vendors’ products or services are considered critical.

It is in that Tier 1 supplier/vendor base where vigorous, disciplined, and robust management is focused.

Once a new supplier/vendor is on-boarded into an organization, the practice of “vendor management” is triggered, consisting of the following:  

– Successfully transitioning the new vendor/supplier into the organization 

– Taking ownership of the maintenance of that vendor/supplier and their well-being from an oversight perspective

– Taking responsibility for the vendors’/suppliers’ performance in the delivery of their product or service into the organization … to the benefit of senior management, business owners, stakeholders, or any of the other business beneficiaries. 

– Coordinating with internal stakeholders any activity with the vendors/suppliers that may impact on operations now or in the future.

– Conducting vendor risk assessments and managing any areas of risk to assume, mitigate or transfer. 

– Managing the system that “tiers” vendors by amount of spend or the critical nature of the product or service they provide to your organization.

– Maintaining a robust relationship with the vendors and suppliers, so that they continually add value to the alliance between both organizations.

– Continually benchmarking price and cost to make sure that your “spend” is “in order”–that you are continually receiving value for your spend.

– Handling a proactive system for renewing vendors as their contracts and agreements reach expiration.


A valuable tool for those in sourcing, purchasing and vendor management is the request for proposal or RFP. Often also referred to as RFI, RFQ, etc. … this business concept allows those in procurement to create a process to:

– Identify potential vendors and suppliers

– Keep favored incumbents “sharp”

– Vet potential providers

– Maximize favorable results in any bid initiative

– Establish a consistent and responsible means of managing spend with both existing and potential providers, vendors, and suppliers.

– Develop a favored and professional relationship both within your organization and with outside vendors/suppliers, of which will establish better working relationships and a greater opportunity for successful and consistent procurement.

The management of RFPs is both an art and science. Managing successful RFPs can be learned. Schools inside of organizations include AMA (, NIWT (, ASCM ( or ISM (

Continual learning is the key to mastering the management of RFPs and being a “top-notch” procurement professional, well respected and with a robust career … and accomplishing successful purchasing for your organization’s benefit.


Purchasing managers need to understand that vendors and suppliers, just as any aspect, activity, or person in your organization, carry risk.

These vendor risks must be evaluated, assessed and a determination made on one of the three options to manage same:

– Assume the risk and set up a contingent liability

– Transfer the risk to a third party, such as a surety or insurance company

– Mitigate the risk through actions sometimes referred to as loss control, loss prevention and other related options.

Managing the risks of vendors and suppliers can be a heavy percentage of work hours of those engaged in vendor management. But it is considered a necessary component of a successful vendor management program. This initiative will prevent occurrences from causing damage and financial losses within or to your supply chain when the vendor fails to perform.

Some of the risks might be:

– Financial failure of the vendor/supplier

– Missed deliveries or delays

– Quality Control issues

– Non-performance

– Intellectual property right concerns

– Inability to compete

In vendors/suppliers that provide critical raw materials, parts, components, finished products or services, their failure in anyone of the above outlined sample risks could cause a serious blow to your operations and even be catastrophic. With respect to the overall risk management of vendors and suppliers, those engaged in vendor management need to coordinate a continuous search with those responsible for sourcing to always have options in the pipeline and creating “Plan Bs” with alternate vendors and suppliers.

In the world of procurement this ties into the debate about “single source” versus “multiple source” strategies utilized by various companies to leverage spend and at the same time reduce risk. Some would argue that multiple options clearly reduce vendor/supplier risk. Others would argue that single sourcing allows you to focus spend in one entity to leverage your purchasing power. Both are correct strategies. A purchasing manager should always be assessing the risks in both options and making decisions where consensus and compromise provide viable choices. This must be done in concert with senior management to understand their tolerance for acceptable risk levels.


Procurement is clearly a vital and growing function of relevance and importance in every organization. Senior management must consciously recognize this fact and allocate funds and resources to the procurement structure within their organization. Since the spring of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic became troublesome is when the more serious relevance of procurement was raised.

Senior management must give the authority to procurement managers who will set up SOPs, protocols, and business processes in the sourcing, purchasing and vendor management verticals to assure that both risk and spend are completely managed on all goods and services acquired from third party entities.

Senior management must create a culture within the organization that brings both the quantitative and qualitative disciplines of procurement into every nook and cranny of your business model and the organization overall, understanding that the success of the company’s business model is now more than ever dependent upon the procurement management function.

Thomas A. Cook is a seasoned global supply chain professional, author of more than 20 books on global trade and managing director of Blue Tiger International. He can be reached at or (516) 359-6232.