My objective was twofold. Firstly, it was an investment in my education on our customers’ priorities. I was looking for a window into their world. What are the hot topics for CPOs and what are the solution providers doing to address those objectives? What does innovation look like in day-to-day terms, minus the acronyms and buzzwords?
Secondly, it was about extending our already mature network of procurement leaders. This is the foundation of our business and requires constant energy to keep our competitive advantage.
For those who haven’t attended the World Procurement Congress before the event is slick with a very high level of attention to detail. The delegate list is very strong in terms of seniority with around three quarters being ‘head of’.
Everything is geared around breaking the ice in the networking areas from a meet and greet app function to careful positioning of exhibitors stands to optimise opportunities to start a conversation.
From my observation it works. Between presentations there was a constant buzz of chatter with very few delegates hiding away on their phones. The meet and greet app is a great idea that just needs to gain traction through familiarity. Most people were happy just to go old school and offer a handshake and smile to start a conversation.
From the many headline presentations, panel discussions and roundtables I attended a clear theme emerged; how can procurement create value for their companies beyond savings and how can technology support that objective?
Examples of this included improving supplier relationships to encourage innovation, use of technology to increase supply chain visibility to address reputation of suppliers or using working capital solutions to improve the supplier’s financial health.
Times are changing quickly and even the trailblazers in change are still on unfinished journeys. They have great successes in innovation to report but know there is so much more to do.
I suspect that for many delegates in attendance their transformation has only just begun. The World Procurement Congress was a fantastic melting pot for the exchange of ideas, experiences and visions of what procurement could look like in the future.