May 13, 2021

Airbus appoints CPO to lead Canadian A220 programme

2 min
Airbus has appointed its procurement chief, Benoit Schultz, to take over as the leader of the A220 programme and as the Chief Executive of Airbus Canada.

Airbus has announced it is appointing its Procurement Chief, Benoit Schultz, to lead its A220 programme in Canada, taking over from former Finance Executive Philippe Balducchi. 

The aircraft manufacturer has said that Schultz will enter the role “on 1 September 2021, with the aim of reducing losses on the A220 jetliner series”, while his predecessor, Balducchi, will “pursue other opportunities”, the company said. 

Designed in Canada, the Airbus A220 replaced Bombardier’s CSeries after it bought out the business jet manufacturer in 2018. 

The Airbus A220, which seats between 110 and 130 passengers, saw a boost in sales after its development programme had been subjected to a financial loss which prompted Bombardier’s near 2018 departure from the industry. 

Schultz had previously worked as part of the team supporting Bombardier’s supplier relationships when Airbus saved the company from “financial shortages”. Airbus says that it is now looking for ways to cut its costs as it struggles to find aircraft components at an affordable price to keep the A220 programme going. 


How can Airbus reduce its expenses?

Guillaume Faury, Chief Executive of Airbus, says he is cutting costs of major components, such as engines and avionics, by up to 20%, but is still struggling to lower expenses in other areas. 

Airbus is currently facing the problem that the costs of producing aircraft under the programme remain too high, despite sales growth, which could further hinder their losses. 

One way in which cost reduction could be achieved is through redesigning parts rather than purchasing new ones, or through updating the A220’s production system. The company is yet to provide further details on its cost-cutting plans. 

The A220’s production system is a competitor to Embraer, a Brazilian Aerospace conglomerate, and the smaller Boeing 737s. A source claims that Airbus had obtained “solid cuts” from U.S. defence contractor Raytheon Technologies and aircraft manufacturing company and wing-maker, Spirit Aero Systems. 


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Jun 7, 2021

Coupa Launches US$50 Million Ventures Fund

3 min
Business spend management (BSM) is coming back ─ and with its return, Coupa intends to invest in the future of its supply chain operation

Operational resilience and agility. Following the events of the last twelve months, companies have focused on these strategic areas like never before. Some, as we’ve noted, have started to wonder whether this trend will continue post-pandemic—or will we go back to the same old supply chain? Not if Coupa Software has its way. 


Last week, the company launched Coupa Ventures, a global fund that will invest US$50mn in early- and growth-stage companies that target business spend inefficiencies. “Coupa Ventures enables us to invest in a future where businesses and their suppliers can harness the power of their spend to constantly adapt, transform, and innovate”, said Rob Bernshteyn, Coupa’s Chairman and CEO. 


What’s Business Spend Management (BSM)? 

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t sound particularly sexy—it sounds like a subsection of the finance department. But business spend management, together with ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management) and HCM (human capital management) make up the core operating process of any company out there. When companies spend money, sign contracts, analyse supplier costs, take inventory or budget for the future, that’s BSM. Overall, business spend management is made up of three main areas: procuring materials, managing invoice, and handling expenses. Essentially, it’s the engine of the entire operation. 


Why Change It Up? 

According to Coupa, the next wave of BSM is now. It wasn’t always this way: in March of 2016, advisory giant Gartner claimed that BSM was dead. At that time, the firm was partly right. Companies couldn’t handle trillions of bits of data by themselves—and they were sinking as the waves of big data swept over their heads. 


But recent developments have meant that BSM isn’t fated to die just yet. “The key to optimisation is data—and not just any data”, Coupa stated. The company has supported community intelligence, in which machine learning uses anonymised data from hundreds or thousands of client companies to suggest better spend tactics. This way, companies can get better insight into their suppliers, track supply chain disruptions, and investigate procurement alternatives. 


This network effect is part of what makes Coupa Ventures so exciting. Said Eric Christopher, co-founder and CEO of Zylo, “We’re excited to join an expansive ecosystem of customers, suppliers, and partners”. 



First Companies in the Ventures Portfolio 


  • Zylo, a leading SaaS management platform that helps companies manage cloud-based applications, offers visibility into what software is being used, how much is present, and how a company can optimise its software investments. 


  • SourceDay, a leading supply chain performance solution, bridges the gap between a company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) and its supply chain network. 



At SourceDay, Coupa’s investment is heralded as a chance for the company to really take off. “The investment from Coupa Ventures will...enable our joint customers to save money and leverage supplier performance as a competitive edge”, said Tom Kieley, SourceDay CEO. “We’re honoured to expand our relationship with the Coupa ecosystem”. 


Looking ahead, Coupa will capitalise on community intelligence to help its partners make smarter spending decisions. “[Organisations will] place bets on which investments will quickly pay off to accelerate their growth and resilience in the post-pandemic economy”, said J.J. Freitag, senior vice president of Corporate Development at Coupa. “[And] we’re looking to back the best ideas across Europe and beyond to help businesses build back even stronger”. 


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