I recently attended the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) conference in attending this year’s ISM Conference in Houston, TX, on behalf of Suplari, the pioneering Spend Management and Financial Performance System.  The event brought together 2,500+ supply chain & procurement professionals with the focus of “sparking” creative thinking with various keynote and breakout sessions.  

In between the exhibition hall and meetings, I was able to attend some of the great sessions presented by my peers. Below is a list of what I think are the Top 5 sessions I attended.

  1. Challenges of a New CPO

There are always a few challenges when starting any new position, but as a CPO in a growing space, there are a lot of new ways to set yourself apart and help drive growth for your business. Some CPOs may have to set a new strategy, execute, and drive change to their complex and dynamic organization. This session highlighted the changes a new CPO needs to implement in order to be successful.  Caldwell Hart, Chief Procurement Officer of MKS Instruments, suggested that when first starting out as a CPO, be sure to listen. Everything in the organization is new to you and you must listen and learn before you can introduce the team to your philosophy of working. Be sure to hire the right people, drive a clear simple consistent message, continuously improve, and help your team be successful. To be successful, you must have a strong team you to help you achieve wins for your organization and the company as a whole.

  1. Stand-out sourcing: How to Drive to the Transformational There

Based on a Deloitte Global CPO Survey 2018, 33% of procurement leaders believe that their digital strategy actually delivers value. So how do procurement teams actually transform themselves? Michael Leiken – Senior Direct of Spend Management of LendingTree, Stuart Andrews – Director of Global Indirect Procurement of Zebra Technologies, and Stan Garber – Co-Founder and President of Scout RFP, presented how they were able to drive transformation within their organization. Both Michael and Stuart discussed how their organizations were able to use innovative tools, like Scout RFP, to help transform their procurement organization.

  1. 2019 and Beyond! The Strategic Thinking Beyond Sourcing For Value

With the rise of digital transformation for procurement, many organizations are stuck being too tactical, leaving little bandwidth to be strategic, and challenged with trying to figure out how to bridge the gap between the two. This session took a deeper look into the metrics that are necessary to identify the supply chain value in the future for CPOs. Understanding that supply management employees account for 1.7% of all other employees within a company, with a shift in innovation being imminent. It is important to hire the right talent that is curious and willing to create conversations that will allow organizations to take the first step towards centralizing the organization.

  1. Simplify, Digitize and Scale!

The approach to changing your procurement process can be summed up by three concepts – Simplify. Digitize. Scale. Katie Smith of HERE Technologies shared how they were able to “take friction out of the [procurement] process.” Smith focused on what HERE was able to accomplish in year one of their 2020 plan for transformation. The key focus was to find a spend analytics platform, a contract management platform, and a workflow management tool. Once they found those, they focused on the plan, design, and execution of their 2020 roadmap. In order to execute, Katie mentioned that you need to find the value in the agility and productivity of the tools you choose. In addition, to properly plan, your team must understand the selection criteria to establish what “good” looks like.

  1. The Future of Procurement Technology: Mediocrity is No Longer Acceptable

In a world where global markets are being driven by consumer preference, technology, and economics, it makes sense that departments, like procurement, must continue to innovate to keep up and stay ahead of these trends. Hugo Evans from A.T. Kearney spoke about the best practices for procurement teams to stay ahead and be able to evolve with digital procurement. Evans highlights the key takeaways of this evolution is to start automating, build an ecosystem of innovative offerings, focus on product and non-product categories to leverage the new market innovations, assess/adjust talent profiles and mixes to build around high performing talent, and start generating proactive insights to look at forward-looking spend cubes.

If you weren’t able to visit Suplari at this year’s ISM, take a look at these resources to learn more about our AI-powered Spend Management system.

  • Suplari Intelligent Spend Management Brochure Download now to learn how Suplari helps enterprise companies optimize cost, risk, and compliance, the proactive, accountable AI-assisted way.
  • Procore Technologies Offers Principles to Evolving Procurement Read about Procore’s Director of Procurement – Michael Denari recommended top 4 principles to build a procurement organization into a center of excellence.
  • VSP Global Shares Best Practices for Digital Transformation of Procurement Watch this on-demand webinar to hear VSP Global share their success story with Suplari
  • Suplari Case Study KitDownload our Case Study Kit to learn how retail, e-commerce, manufacturing, and insurance companies are driving better business outcomes with AI and Suplari.