February 13, 2023

GEP, the Source to Pay and Consulting company, expands its presence in France

By Patrick Chabannes

On February 9, 2023, in the comfortable setting of Ladurée, twenty or so purchasing managers from major companies had breakfast at GEP’s expense to discuss a topic of crucial importance presented by the perfect master of ceremonies, Geoffroy Naegelen: Trends and Perspectives for Purchasing Managers in 2023.

GEP, a Source to Pay and Supply Chain software company, but not only! 

From this short introduction, we learn that, founded at the dawn of the 2000s by 4 consultants (ex-Accenture & Kearney) companies still at the helm, GEP offers a world-class GEP Smart Source to Pay software suite comparable to Ivalua and Ariba and extended to a Supply Chain solution, NEXXE, putting it on a par with Coupa Software. 

GEP has two characteristics that should be weighed up when comparing it to its peers in the context of your purchasing IS tenders.

  1. Software publisher, consulting firm and BPO all in one

    With nearly 6,000 employees, GEP is also a purchasing consultancy and a BPO provider using in-house technology: a balance that, to my knowledge, no one has managed to maintain over the years, given that the business models of the three activities have nothing in common. 
    1. Customer Benefit: The GEP Smart Platform includes market intelligence information based on $300B of spend and hundreds of market indices. An uncommon offering among the competition.
    2. Customer concerns: Purchasing departments will need to look beyond the consulting firms as they may see GEP as a competitor in both service businesses and ensure that the software business remains central to the company’s strategy for the next decade.
  2. GEP, industrial growth without raising funds

    GEP’s choice of endogenous growth, with no fundraising and no IPO in sight, implies a weakness in sales and marketing investments compared to its competitors, where spending is often higher than 30 or 40% of sales for US software publishers. Therefore, its discreet visibility should be interpreted in the light of this choice. 

Trends and prospects for Purchasing Departments in 2023.

In two pages, Geoffroy Naegelen presents the 5 risk factors known to each of the directors gathered: inflation over 5%, slowing economies, geopolitical tensions, energy crises, rising interest rates and the 7 trends or action plans for Purchasing Departments, of which I will voluntarily retain the 2, 4 and 5.

Trend #2 – Adapting the Supply Chain to polycrisis

1) Did you say polycrisis?

A debate is opening up. Do these poly-crises, or cascading crises, as several Purchasing Directors have pointed out, have a beginning and an end? 

Are we witnessing a change of world between the one of the last 30 years of globalization under the reign of the dollar and western rules or are we heading towards a Westphalian multi-polar world with rate wars, open conflicts and disputed reserve currencies?

The positions are not yet clear, everyone is thinking, doubting, guessing…

Investing in a new Supply Chain organization accompanied by its digital twin does it not require to be convinced to have entered a new era for several decades? Otherwise what is the point?

2) Risk or accident?

The question of the fragility of the Supply Chain animates the room, the measure of the risk is then discussed, debated with the fundamental difference between the accident and the risk.

It would seem that this nuance, widely described in Nicolas Taïeb’s famous book, Le Cygne Noir, is not shared by all the players.  

3) Aligning Purchasing KPI’s with those of Finance and Supply Chain

The connoisseur Franck Capron, Supply Chain Consulting Director, detailed the ideas and hypotheses that fascinated the audience.

The hypothesis of the need to align Purchasing KPI’s with those of their colleagues in Finance and Supply Chain, especially on Savings, is underlined. 

Eyes meet, but the debate does not open, we move on to another topic … But we feel that there is a topic

Trend #4 – Business resilience is combined with digitalization 

Bernard Remacle, Director of Software Business Development, chooses to focus his speech on one of GEP Smart’s strengths in the Purchasing area: 

– The identification of internal and external data allowing, with the help of AI, the development of predictive models for risk anticipation and “what if” scenarios. 

– While these ideas are very fashionable, few vendors are willing to demonstrate them. An exploration of the possibilities of the GEP Smart Platform on the subject tickles our fancy.

Trend #5 – Thinking differently to limit the impact of inflation 

The excellent introduction to the topic by Sébastien Lecas, Director of Digital & Transformation Consulting, details the areas of exploration: differentiation and innovation, data visibility, cross-functional collaboration, reuse and reduction of consumption and pre-qualification of potential suppliers. The themes are there, we could spend several hours there but the button is waiting for us.

On the subject, see my article: Calculating Purchasing Performance in the face of inflation and rising prices.

Your GEP business contacts

  • Consulting : 
    • Geoffroy Naegelen, geoffroy.naegelen@gep.com , +33 6 22 25 50 68
  • Software
    • Bernard Remacle : bernard.remacle@gep.com, + 32 497 18 63 14

Lectori salutem, Patrick