Coupa Blog

Coupa is a company of talkers, passionate about sharing tips, tricks and advice for improving finance and procurement and saving companies of all sizes time and money. But we’re not the only people with opinions and ideas. We’d love to hear from you so join the conversation!

How do you respond to a crisis with resilience and agility? Chris DiOrio, VP of Strategic Sourcing/CPO of Staples, recently explained that his organization’s journey over the last several weeks has been filled with interesting and unique procurement challenges. From protecting workers, to dealing with demand spikes, to monitoring spend activity through data, Chris advises us on coping with COVID-19 uncertainty through smart Business Spend Management. Check out his interview below: We’ll be debuting more interviews with BSM leaders over the next several weeks. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about building resilience, please visit our Resilience Hub for a three-part framework on how to get there.
As we continue down the Road to Resilience, we’ve heard stories of companies who have stepped up to provide value to society where it’s most needed. From arresting the spread of the disease, to developing test kits, to giving advice to businesses on how to stay resilient, many organizations are contributing significantly to ease the pandemic.  This week we want to recognize organizations in the Business Spend Management community who are helping to treat patients, provide valuable health information, and build life-saving medical devices. Thank you to: Airbus, The American Red Cross, Highmark Health, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Novartis, and Rolls-Royce.          We’ll be sharing more examples of how our community is combating COVID-19 soon. For information on how you can build business resilience in times of uncertainty, visit coupa.com/resilience.
We recently unveiled our new series, Spendsetters: The Road to Resilience. The series explores the heroic efforts of the Business Spend Management community during this time of uncertainty.  Today, we’re proud to introduce the next component of this series: interviews with prominent procurement and finance leaders from the BSM community. During these interviews, we asked our guests to share their experiences of leadership in these challenging times. What you’ll hear are honest answers about their boots-on-the-ground efforts to build resilience. We’ve noted before that this crisis has put Business Spend Management in the spotlight. The stories you’ll hear are inspiring examples of how BSM leaders have stepped up to address the difficult challenges placed before them. To set the stage, we thought we’d start off by asking our own CPO, Michael van Keulen, for his perspective on how the COVID-19 crisis has changed procurement and what it means for the future. Check out his interview below: We’ll be debuting more interviews with BSM leaders over the next several weeks, and we hope they will inspire you, inform you, and allow you to connect more with your peers. We’re all in this together, and if we truly connect as a community, then we’ll all grow safer, stronger, and smarter together too. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about building resilience, please visit our Resilience Hub for a three-part framework on how to get there.
Last week, we introduced our Spendsetters: The Road to Resilience series, honoring the BSM community’s efforts to combat COVID-19 and its economic impact on many levels. We shared some inspiring examples of how the BSM community is working to arrest the spread of the virus by making PPE, tracking infections, and aiding shelter-in-place efforts.  This week, we are recognizing members of the BSM community that are working hard to develop testing for COVID-19.  Thank you to Abbott, BD, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Roche for working relentlessly to expand accurate testing capability. Testing will remain essential to our collective safety as businesses begin to reopen in the coming months. And as we head into this next phase, staying agile will be necessary on both medical and business fronts. To prepare your business for the months ahead, visit our Business Resilience Hub for tips and our new resiliency framework about how to contain costs, mitigate risk, and increase agility. 
Every industry faces unique challenges in these uncertain times. For online retailers, ensuring customer orders are fulfilled while keeping the business running smoothly – and safely – is the top priority. Zalando, Europe’s largest online fashion retailer (and member of our global community of Spendsetters) is facing this challenge with a proactive approach, aided by digitization. Alejandro Basterrechea, the e-retailer’s head of procurement, recently shared his company’s story of rapidly adjusting to meet new business needs on our Procurement Leaders’ Coronavirus Webinar Series. Impact of coronavirus: how procurement can lead in times of crisisOn the webinar Alejandro shares how his procurement team has stepped up to the challenge. Supporting all aspects of Zalando’s strategic response plan to the coronavirus and its business impacts, the procurement team is focused on ensuring employee safety and business continuity, managing risk, and identifying new opportunities for business resilience. This has involved procuring PPE for employee safety, driving cost containment for indirect spend, and protecting cash and EBIT – all while providing continuous visibility into execution and impact. Health and safety comes first: sourcing PPEZalando’s leadership team immediately recognized that the health and safety of their employees, partners, and anyone else who's working in their offices come first, even before business continuity. With digital sourcing technology, Zalando was able to quickly source and purchase the PPE needed to ensure workplace safety for employees who had to be in an office or warehouse or shipping center, those who couldn’t shift to working remotely from home. Shifting to a predominantly remote workforce: a surprise efficiency twistThe prior digitization of Zalando’s entire procure-to-pay processes enabled most employees to shift to working remotely without significant disruption to purchasing operations. In some cases, this has accelerated process optimization like requiring suppliers to submit invoices electronically, since offices were not open to manually scan paper invoices.  Digitization’s #1 value in times of crisis: spend visibility and cost controlWith full visibility into indirect spending due to moving the organization’s P2P processes to a digital business spend management platform, Alejandro and his team were able to quickly provide strategic advice on reducing unnecessary costs, like those associated with daily maintenance of physical offices while employees were working from home. The team also was able to rapidly assess control mechanisms and reconfigure approval thresholds in less than an hour. With all of Zalando’s strategic response tactics – from sourcing PPE to enacting new cost controls – Coupa’s business spend management platform supported rapid adjustments to reduce costs, mitigate risk, and increase agility.  "Coupa plays a significant role in each of our COVID-19 response priorities and makes it easy to respond quickly in an uncertain and ever-changing environment,” Alejandro said. “With Coupa, we have full transparency into spending. Most importantly, with Coupa we can track and measure what’s going on and make continuous adjustments and improvements.” Crisis time is the time for procurement to leadAlejandro sees this time as an opportunity for procurement to lead their companies in navigating today's challenges and building business resiliency for the future. Through his efforts, procurement has taken center stage at Zalando, and now, more than ever, Alejandro is seen as a strategic advisor helping business leaders navigate the uncertainty faced today while preparing to thrive in the future. Watch the full webinar nowLearn more about how Zalando is navigating through the different phases of the crisis by enabling their remote procurement function to remain agile during the crisis while providing stakeholders with insights that drive greater business resilience.