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March 1st Symposium Recap: Tail Spend Management

Earlier this month, SDI, in partnership with Penn State’s Center for Supply Chain Research, The Hackett Group, Dryden and Ascend Performance Materials hosted this year’s first quarterly Innovation Symposium. The theme this quarter was Tail Spend: The eProcurement Perspective.

Over 50 Procurement professionals from manufacturing, education and industrial supply came together at SDI headquarters in Bristol, Pennsylvania to dive into the different approaches to managing tail spend.

From a research perspective, Kurt Albertson, Principal in The Hackett Group’s North American Procurement advisory talked about tactical sourcing, self-service in respect to the digital transformation and how driving self-service spend to eCatalogs will drive more value.  He outlined a multitude of different approaches to start getting tail spend under control.

Lauren Bechtel, Program Director from Penn State’s Center for Supply Chain Research outlined the 45 different activities that inform the 7 pillars of MRO best practice and talked about how leaders are prioritizing master data management, total cost of ownership evaluation and KPI reporting.

Carole Wendt, CPO from specialty chemical manufacturer, Ascend Performance Materials, brought it home by sharing how she brought 5 disparate manufacturing plants across the country into a single program to manage their tail spend, focusing on service agreements to drive speed to value.

Finally, Brian McDevitt, Principal from The Dryden Group, talked about focusing on process and the supply base to find value. He outlined how the challenges in indirect spend and tail spend can lead to margin creep and talked about measurable pricing methodologies to help avoid nebulous terms and creep.

Watch the full presentations on SDI’s YouTube channel.

And don’t forget to enter your company in the Excellence in MRO Awards at

Success Story

It takes a progressive manager to push the organization to look at indirect spend and managing it in a different way - but once you see it, then you realize the opportunity.

SDI at Work

Today's pace of change does not conform to yesterday's methods or business cultures. In this blog post, SDI explores the dynamics of internal colleagues as well as rapid changes in terms of market disruptions and technology advances. 

The project team has worked its way through Define, Measure, Analyze, and Improve. It’s time to begin the Control phase. The key stakeholders gather to evaluate the solution as implemented and create a plan to sustain the improvements. The goal is to standardize the improved processes, establish an audit schedule and schedule periodic follow-up to identify additional opportunities for improvement.